Kids say the darndest things


There are many definitions of what it means to learn. The one that really speaks to me is that once you have learned something you are never the same again - you think differently and you act differently. This week we will be focusing on planning to learn. Rather than letting the winter months roll by, we are challenging you to be intentional in your learning. We want to think and act differently by the time seeding rolls around, and we hope that you do to.

Learning is active and involves give-and-take, two way communication and an open mind. Some of the most fun farm conversations we have involve kids:

  • You don’t live on a farm because there aren’t any animals.

  • You are a farmer. But you are a girl.

  • How do plants eat?

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Volunteering with Agriculture In The Classroom - Manitoba has allowed us to connect with kids to share our ag story. Please consider joining us this March in grade 2-6 classrooms for Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month (CALM). You have a story to tell, and kids love to learn new things. And, the best part is that we learn from them too!

Register as a volunteer, or register your classroom for a visit.

The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.
— Albert Einstein

Manitoba Farm Women - Chrissy Van Damme

Under The Hill Farms is the potato division of a family-operated farm business located near Cypress River, MB.  Chrissy VanDamme is the farm’s agronomist and front line in data collection and aggregation. Technology is helping her move beyond collecting data to actually gathering information.

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What else does John Deere Operation Center do for UTHF?

  • Allows users to pre-load all of the equipment specifications, such as implement sizes, into the monitors

    • Lesson learned: load all information into all monitors just in case monitors need to be moved between pieces of equipment due to a breakdown or other unplanned issue

  • Allows the farm manager to see where each piece of equipment is working, as well as details like how long it has been operating and the fuel level

    • This allows a supervisor or mechanic to know exactly where the equipment is located

    • This can aid in loss-recovery

  • Allows users to check things as specific as the combine settings, and enter the monitor to make changes remotely

    • Troubleshooting can be tricky and two brains are often better than one

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How does a “big name” like John Deere Operation Center bring added value?

As Chrissy continues to gain familiarity with the capabilities of operation center, she cited some added value that comes with working with a company with a high level of industry saturation.

  • Other apps are designed to sync with JD Operations Center

    • Soil Test Pro

    • Farm Dog

  • Technical support is available locally, through the dealership network

  • Operations Center has a full staff dedicated to fielding operator suggestions and making improvements based on these suggestions from the field (literally)


As farming operations gain size and complexity, both in the number of employees and the diversity of crops, it is helpful to have a repository to collect information.  The next step is being able to take that information and turn it into informed decision making and action to positively impact the operation.

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Corn Plots at OTHF


Chrissy said that “she doesn't’ really like technology” but once she got started it was pretty fun to see all of the things that were at her fingertips!  Thanks to Chrissy and Under The Hill Farms for giving us a sneak peak into running the John Deere Operation Center in a complex farming operation.




Canada's Agriculture Day is February 13!

Canada's agriculture day is February 13, 2018.  To celebrate, we will spend this week highlighting some of the reasons that we love farming, how Canadian ag has grown and diversified and how Canadian ag impacts the world.  We love farming, farmers and farm life - and we hope it shows.  If you have questions about where your food comes from, how farmers care for the environment, how other jobs can support agriculture or about anything else you see on our site please comment below or email us at Karen@farmfemmes.com or Teresa@farmfemmes.com.

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Global Big Data Conference: Precision Ag

It's presentation day @ the Global Big Data Conference on Artificial Intelligence!  One of my favorite videos is today's because I just read this fun stat in the January, 2018 issue of Canola Digest that only 15% of farmers are using precision agriculture.  

This video shows how Deer Creek Farms of Morden, Manitoba got started in Precision Agriculture, and the results it had on the 2017 Canola harvest.  If you enjoy the video, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.  If you have your own precision ag story that you'd be willing to share with us please comment below or send us an e-mail.