CANowledge Update: Canola Fields

Have you been out driving in Alberta and thought to yourself “Wow! Wouldn’t that beautiful golden yellow flowering canola field look great in our next family picture?” Or perhaps you have thought “Oh, I sure would like some of those pretty yellow flowers growing in my garden. I’ll pull over and grab some! What is the harm in taking a few of the plants?” Well, before you photograph or take the plants here are a few etiquette rules and reasons why you may want to rethink that idea!

1. ALWAYS ASK THE FARMER FOR PERMISSION TO ENTER THEIR FIELD (and yes this includes drones too)!!  

Not everyone is entitled to walk in on any field or farm related property they see fit. Permission must be granted by the land owner. Find out who owns the field and ask first, as without permission you are trespassing. If you trespass remember serious legal consequences can result from this (if you don’t believe me check this out).

Besides how would you feel if you found some person randomly walking into your yard and picking your apples or making their own bouquet by clipping your flowers.

 2. ALWAYS FOLLOW THE FARMER’S protocol for how you should enter the field or take pictures!

Farmers are very proud of the crops and livestock they raise. They are excited when people want to learn more about their animals and/or crops. However, if the farmer gives you permission to take a picture or interact with their crops or livestock that comes with rules, DON’T disregard these! The farmer is putting rules and protocol in place because they want to keep you, their livestock and crops safe. You may not realize it but you could be carrying damaging soil pathogens on your footwear that could easily move to a farmer’s soil and cause an infestation of various diseases. Remember, farmers follow certain protocols to keep their crops and livestock healthy.  

At various points throughout the crop season, farmers will be using a variety of equipment in their field depending on the growth stage of the crop. In particular at harvest, and if the farmer is straight cut combining it may be particularly challenging to see you in 2-6 feet tall canola. The farmer is trying to keep you safe and not get injured by their heavy equipment. It can be challenging at the best of times to see you, especially in early dawn or at dusk during harvest.  Farmers protect what they grow and produce. 

3. ASK THE FARMER FIRST BEFORE TAKING PLANTS FROM THEIR FIELD!

Back to seeking permission, this also applies to helping yourself to some of the farmer’s plants from their crop or other goods produced by the farmer’s livestock. This action is trespassing, a form of theft and is therefore a chargeable criminal offence. 

You also want to seek permission before taking plants or other goods from a farm out of respect for the farmer. They work diligently to ensure their crop and livestock are safe and healthy so they can produce the best quality of food for us all. You may also not realize it but when you “help yourself’ to what you think the farmer won’t miss, this can be very detrimental to the farmer as you may bring in diseases to the rest of the crop or livestock. Other animals or living organisms also rely on that crop. For instance, bees and canola have a sweet relationship. 

Did you know?
You need to sign a technology use agreement to grow canola, but if you want to grow the canola greens, which are similar to mustard greens for cooking, you can buy the seed mix at your local Agro-store. 

If you still feel compelled to ignore rule 1 and 2 to get that “picture-perfect-golden-yellow-backdrop” REMEMBER DO NOT ENTER the field. DO YOUR PART and  Help farmers keep their crops and livestock safe and healthy for us all! 

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