Pulse Beat Individual Articles

Message from Board Chair

June 2021
Calvin Penner, Chair, MPSG

AS I WRITE this, it’s mid-April, and we’re experiencing some welcome, wet snowfall. Our farm is still trying to catch up from a large moisture deficit. I realize that not all Manitoba farmers are looking for moisture at this time. Manitoba has a large range of environmental conditions that vary greatly from area to area and year to year. At Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG), we have this range in mind and we’re always curious about the kinds of weather each region will experience. My wish for every farmer is that his or her farm receives the right amount of rain at the right times. If I am wishing, I might as well wish big, right?

I was looking at social media and saw a video of a sheep being rescued from a narrow trench. The video showed the sheep being pulled out of the trench and bounding off, only to leap back into the trench. While this amused my grandchildren and me, it made me think of how I sometimes try to repeat the same thing, even though it didn’t work the first time. I do this hoping that conditions

will change and have a different, more favourable outcome. The video also made me think that perhaps the difference between getting in a groove or being stuck in a rut (trench) is quite subtle. I was reminded of these quotes from Albert Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results,” and “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

This is why MPSG continues to do research. We want to find new ways to solve problems and create a better bottom line for Manitoba’s pulse and soybean farmers. This is why our On-Farm Network will continue to replicate and test the claims of new products and compare seeding rates against farm-scale trials.

And this is why we at MPSG collaborate with university researchers, work with partners to develop new markets for our crops, go on trade missions — even virtual pandemic ones — and work with various government agencies and scientists. We are working with plant breeders to look for new and improved traits in smaller-acreage and/or niche pulse crops that may not be getting adequate research attention. We want to grow not only better crops but also increase the knowledge base that will help make Manitoba’s farmers more financially sustainable and improve their operations agronomically, so we all leave our farms in better shape than when we started.

As I mentioned earlier, we at MPSG also realize that growing conditions vary significantly across the province. That is why we have refocused and have two very knowledgeable agronomists — one in the eastern part of the province and one in the western part of the province. They are always ready to answer your questions.

I think we have a great, knowledgeable, hardworking staff who have the same goals as the board of directors — to make farms more sustainable and profitable while promoting the many advantages of pulses and soybeans. So, I would like to extend a big thank you to the staff and board for all your hard work.

I will close with another Einstein quote: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” On this note, I wish for you — in the midst of the difficulties that are typical of farming — much opportunity and success. Please take the time to be safe and enjoy the things that are important.

— Calvin