What’s your name? Colin Penner.
I have been a farmer since…: Officially my first farming tax report was filed in 2008, but I’ve grown up on a farm so really I’ve been a farmer all my life.
I have been a Farm At Hand user since…: earlier this year. I downloaded it but didn’t give it much thought until recently. I farm with my dad and my brother. It’s a neat app that helps us manage our inventory. Otherwise we might sell the same grain twice – that would be a nightmare.
Also, I like scouting so I can make notes about what type of herbicide we would need to treat weeds and my brother can quickly look at the notes on Farm At Hand and pick them up on his way to the farm.
Where do you farm? In Elm Creek, South of Winnipeg.
What do you grow? It depends on the year but typically we grow wheat, oats, soybeans and canola.
What do you love about farming? I love the fact that it’s not one job all the time. I can go from driving the tractor, which I enjoy, to fixing equipment, or going to town and talking to so many different people.
The flexibility is tremendous! There’s always things to do on the farm but you manage your time. My son, who is 3 now, wanted a sandbox earlier this year. I can be a dad anytime and take a break in the middle of seeding and build him one.
Tell us a little bit about who you farm with: I farm with my dad and my brother. In the Winter time, I teach Agriculture at University of Manitoba, passing on my experience to Ag students.
My brother, who is an engineer, is looking into farming full time. All three of us farm separately but we make our decisions together.
What’s one of your favourite moments when you’re out in the fields? So many things! Early harvest is probably my favourite – you know, when things haven’t gone wrong yet. You just have this excitement and there’s nothing like the fresh smell of grain going through the combine. It’s great to see all your hard work come to fruition.
Any (post-)harvest tips for other farmers? Communications is so important on the farm. On our farm, we all do different kinds of jobs. My mom typically drives the combine. We have a different combine this year and we didn’t communicate what we wanted her to do. It was not fair to expect her to figure things out right off the bat. We had a talk and communicate our expectations and it solved the issue.
Can you share with us what are our biggest challenge in Ag now? There’s a lot of potential issues. But in the near future I think it’s labour and farm safety issues. Once the older generation decides to step back, finding the people to work on the farm will be tricky. There’s legislation as well as finding people who understand farm safety standard.
If there’s one thing you want the general population to know about farming, what would that be? One of the biggest things I’d like people to know is that we’re a family farm. We are not just a big faceless company. The reason I farm is because I love it. It’s not for the money. If I work as hard as I do on the farm elsewhere, I could have made more money. I farm because I love what I do.
*Where can we find you online? *Twitter @ColinPenner.
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