Manitoba Growth


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C M Y K SPECIAL SECTION Manitoba GROWTH WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY MARCH 27, 2021 1 C M Y K PAGE Z1 Manitoba GROWTH 2021 View online at SATURDAY MARCH 27, 2021 Helping to build business from the ground up. We've been helping to grow Manitoba businesses for decades. To learn more, visit or talk to an ACU Business Account Manager at 204.258.3385. By Jennifer McFee T he agriculture field reaps the re- wards of new forms of technol- ogy that continue to crop up. Technology has always been part of education and research offered through the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Mani - toba. However, in recent years, the use of on-farm technology is a topic that's become more rooted in the Diploma in Agriculture program. Easton Sellers is a farm management instructor in this program, and he also runs a U-pick fruit farm and orchard in the Interlake. He enjoys learning about new technology and finding ways to im - plement it on his own farm. "From developing effective seed variet- ies to growing crops and caring for ani- mals to processing and preparing, tech- nology is used in some way or another throughout every step of the agricultural process," he said. "Each step within this process requires precise decision making and implementa - tion in order to provide the world with nutritious food. Technological tools, both tangible and digital, allow primary producers and the entirety of the industry to accomplish this goal of supporting a growing population." This incredible level of creativity and innovation in the agricultural industry is often overlooked by the public as well as by students looking for careers, he added. "I wouldn't say the image of a farmer working hard with hand tools is inaccu - rate, but it misses the magnitude of prog- ress that has been built to complement this classic foundation," Sellers said. "It's certainly an oversimplification of what it means to be a farmer and com- pletely misses the reality of modern-day production and processing." Coming from an urban background, Sellers took over Plum Ridge Farm, a re- tired U-pick fruit farm and orchard, in 2017. "I learned the practices and processes that the old farmers implemented to grow non-conventional fruit for 40 years as I established strawberry fields and managed the orchards with their guid - ance," he explained. "I've definitely adapted some of those practices to fit the modern world's tech- nological state, with the internet and so- cial media being one of the biggest tools available to direct marketers." During his studies in the Diploma in Agriculture program at the University of Manitoba, Sellers learned how to build and code an irrigation switch that he could control from his phone to auto - matically activate or de-activate his irri- gation system on a timer. "These experiential learning oppor- tunities offered by the Faculty of Agri- cultural and Food Sciences opened the door for me to explore an entire realm of technological possibilities for my farm," he said. "This year, I'll be testing out an in-field weather station with soil moisture and temperature probes in order to improve my ability to react to and prevent damage during the varying spring and fall condi - tions that are critical for successful fruit production. This precise data collection and analysis is what's currently empow- ering farm managers to make impactful decisions." CONTINUED ON P2 ยป "From developing effective seed varieties to growing crops and caring for animals to processing and prepar- ing, technology is used in some way or another throughout every step of the agricultural process." - Easton Sellers TECHNOLOGY BLOOMS IN AG EDUCATION

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