Farmers expert voices behind Saskatchewan crop report
During the busiest months of the growing season, Mary-Jane Duncan-Eger still finds a few minutes each week to volunteer.
Duncan-Eger has been a crop reporter for the last four years, collecting data from around her family’s farm south of Regina and submitting it to Saskatchewan Agriculture.s
Duncan-Eger, along with 210 other volunteer crop reporters across the province, answer a weekly 15-minute survey from April to October and submit it by phone, fax or online.
The crop report is said to be Saskatchewan Agriculture’s most popular publication.
“You basically fill out the information on the email, so how much moisture, how far along the crops are, how much has been combined, whether there’s any pests or anything else that’s harmed the crop this week,” Duncan-Eger said.
“Most of them are farmers themselves, ranchers, retired farmers or agrologists that are out in the field every day, so boots-on-the-ground type information,” said Daphne Cruise, a crops extension specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture.
Cruise said the report has a great level of credibility because the information comes from the producer’s perspective.
“The crop report has been running since 1974, so for 44 years. We have crop reporters that have been with us for that long. So anywhere from 44 years, all the way to brand new reporters and everything in between. We have a really good knowledge base out there,” Cruise explained.
Staff in Moose Jaw compile the weekly report, based solely on what information the volunteers provide, with no industry or government influence.
“Farmers are willing to tell the public on the successes they have and the issues they’re dealing with,” Cruise said.
“Producers are willing to tell that story, and the crop report is one way to get that story out, but also provide some concrete numbers.”
“It gives you a bit of a hint as to how you want to market your crops. If you’ve heard that things are well behind, or if they’ve got a frost up north, you know maybe you’re going to want to change up your marketing strategy a little bit,” Duncan-Eger said.
The data is also used by policy-makers, marketers, investors and media.
Cruise said the subscriber list ranges from across the country, as well as in Europe, the United States and South America.
The reporters cover 296 rural municipalities, however, 123 RMs still need a reporter.
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