Regenerative ag takes off online

The MFGA says it has been happy with numbers after the pandemic forced its normal November conference online

Regenerative ag takes off online

The Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) says it has gained traction after taking its November regenerative agriculture conference online.

Earlier this year, the MFGA announced it would shift its multi-day conference in Brandon to four weekly online sessions in November.

Duncan Morrison, MFGA executive director, says over 700 participants have registered.

“I think we got different people registering for different events that they’re interested in, and then all the events are posted on our website to access free afterwards,” he said.

The two-hour sessions covered topics from the role of beef in a sustainable food system to soil health, optimal water management and grazing systems for productivity and profitability.

Free registration may have also bolstered numbers. The MFGA waived attendance fees for the virtual conference.

“We believe strongly in our role as information facilitators, as networkers,” Morrison told participants on the opening night of the conference.

The MFGA relies significantly on both the annual conference and memberships to balance its books, he noted.

“This isn’t free for us to put on,” he later said. “I think we maybe gained the optimists — ‘Well, I’m going to sign up and hopefully I can make one’ — but I’d like to say that somewhere in there there’s a silver lining that says people are interested in what we’re doing,” Morrison said.

Morrison also pointed to provincial support for regenerative agriculture.

During an opening video message, Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen noted projects that dovetail with regenerative ag, including the province’s GROW program and Conservation Trust and efforts to bolster the protein sector.

“There is growing interest among producers to learn more about the economical, environmental of regenerative agriculture practices and develop their own approaches to on-farm adoption,” Pedersen said.

Morrison also noted provincial support for the MFGA’s Aquanty water modelling project.

About the author

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Alexis Stockford

Alexis Stockford is a journalist and photographer with the Manitoba Co-operator. She previously reported with the Morden Times and was news editor of  campus newspaper, The Omega, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She grew up on a mixed farm near Miami, Man.

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