This week features major holidays on both sides of the border, Canada Day and the 4th of July, which celebrate the humble beginnings of two great countries. Since they were founded, Canada and the U.S. have become world leaders in many key categories – not the least of which is food security.
With both countries among the top nations in safe, plentiful food supplies, perhaps it should come as no surprise that both are also among the top five countries in acreage of biotech crops. Like these countries, agricultural biotechnology had humble beginnings, yet had taken the world by storm as the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.
In a bit of an ironic contrast, Canada and the U.S. were largely able to prosper the way they did thanks to plenty of natural gifts – fertile farmland and resources like lumber and oil. However, the willingness of Canadian and American citizens to embrace innovative farming techniques also played a huge role in not just their agricultural success, but their overall prosperity.
After all, around the time the Declaration of Independence was signed (July 4, 1776) around 90% of the country’s population were farmers! Not that we don’t love farmers, but thanks to their willingness to embrace more efficient farming techniques, that number is now closer to 2-3%, freeing up the vast majority of the population to pursue other goals while producing the number one most affordable and plentiful food supply in the world.
The story is similar in Canada, currently enjoying a top 10 food security ranking nearly 150 years after the Constitution Act of 1867. Consider the timeline of the country’s most important agricultural events, particularly the past 100 years. It’s easy to see the major role innovation has played and fitting to see the application of agricultural biotechnology as the list’s most recent entry.
Both Canada and the U.S. combined their considerable natural gifts with the spirit of innovation to achieve strong growth and an enviable food supply. Of course, these countries have been at it a lot longer than ag-biotech has – it will be truly amazing to see what can be achieved once we’ve celebrated another hundred Canada/Independence Days!