Monday, 15 January 2018 10:01

Spots still available as 19th annual Tiffin Conference tackles “fake news” in agriculture

Written by  Contributed
Rate this item
(0 votes)

In an age of fake news and skepticism, the 19th annual Tiffin Conference could not be more timely or topical. Spots are still available to attend southern Alberta’s premier forum for discussing current issues and trends in the red meat industry, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Lethbridge Lodge.

The event, which regularly attracts 350 agricultural producers, students and industry experts, is made possible through the Ronald Tiffin Agricultural Endowment Fund, established in honour of Ronald W. Tiffin, a southern Alberta grain and livestock producer. The fund is administered by Lethbridge College, with a goal of providing world-class learning opportunities to producers, those working in agri-business and agriculture students.

Conference co-ordinator Kathy Waddell says that it’s a happy coincidence three of the day’s four speakers will address issues related to how those in the agriculture industry can share factual information about their work and encourage the public to be discerning consumers.

The featured speaker, for example, is a young farmer whose savvy use of social media is helping build awareness of farming.
Greg Peterson of Peterson Farm Bros. is part of a fifth-generation farm family in Assaria, Kan. Peterson and his siblings are known for their music video parodies and video blog on farm life and work.

Peterson shares information about the business of farming in a light-hearted but effective way. The family’s YouTube channel has more than 140,000 subscribers.

Peterson’s presentation on “An AgVocating Success Story” will cap off the conference.

With the ability of social media to give false information an immediate global audience and celebrities and marketing campaigns swaying perceptions of what’s healthy, Waddell says producers of food are realizing, “We have to be out there and be our own best cheerleaders.”

“We want people to come away from the conference with knowledge and information and maybe thinking in a different way,” she says.

The conference will also see the return of Dr. Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. His presentation a few years ago was so memorable, attendees still refer to it.

“He talks about science — all aspects of science — and how we can relate our message better and make it more accessible to the public,” Waddell says.

Other topics are:

·         “Managing the Generation for Farm Transition Success,” with Elaine Froese, a Canadian farmer, author and certified coach whose skills in communications and conflict resolution can help support succession planning. The session will address a difficult, but necessary, topic many farm families avoid.
·         “Building Public Trust,” with Cherilyn Nagel, who works with Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan and serves on national and international agricultural organizations. The presentation will take a critical look at how food is marketed and the impact on trust.

This year’s conference will have broad appeal to all aspects of agriculture.

“There are conferences that are very technical,” Waddell says. “You’ll come away knowing what to plant and how deep. This conference is about the bigger picture, everything from what government is doing provincially and nationally, and all sorts of international impact.

“Thirty or 40 years ago, farming was just what you did in your corner of the world. Now the impact is global.”

Registration of $115 includes lunch, sessions, cocktails and dinner, with discounts for groups of four or more.

Read 280 times

More Alberta News...