APG’s New Policy and Program Specialist is a Pulse Farmer and Ag Economist (PCN Fall 2015) OCT 1 2015 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Pulse Crop News.
The Alberta Pulse Growers welcomes Nevin Rosaasen to the new position of Policy and Program Specialist.
Rosaasen’s role combines several functions within APG, including inhouse agronomist and grower relations, in addition to addressing the numerous policy issues that APG deals with year-in and year-out. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Saskatchewan majoring in Agronomy and Ag-Economics, a Master’s degree in International Trade policy from Monterey, California, and has worked at the provincial, national and international levels, including with the United Nations.
“I am excited to be working directly for farmers once again and representing their interests to the best of my ability,” Rosaasen said. “Most people don’t realize that nearly 20 per cent of Alberta’s workforce is in agriculture services or the food processing sector, and earn their living directly or indirectly from producers. Despite being less than 0.5 per cent of the population, farmers are the backbone of this province’s economy. When farmers aren’t earning and spending money, a whole lot of people are suffering as a result.”
Rosaasen is always finding new ways to communicate the interconnectedness of one event to others. He can best be described as a technical generalist, understanding not only the science behind field cropping, the practical and historical knowledge of how to get it done, but also the big picture – the overarching geo-political trading environment and the entire value chain from farm gate to foreign forks.
Rosaasen is a fourth generation farmer who still actively farms with his parents and younger brother cropping 2,000 acres in east central Saskatchewan and has experience growing peas and faba beans.
“Pulses are an important part of our cropping system,” he explained. “They significantly reduce our fertilizer bills, are an integral part of our integrated pest management through crop rotation, and allow us to diversify our crop marketing portfolio. Green peas have been the most profitable crop on our farm for the last few years due to the lower cost of production.”
Rosaasen has already represented APG at the provincial level at the various policy working groups since starting his new position in June. He has also been fielding agronomy questions from growers, as well as providing input and direction on research funding. He has also worked with other crop commissions to collaborate and coordinate whenever possible to better leverage checkoffs and enhance the environment for crop production in the province.
“Whether it is farm safety, maximum residue levels, new agronomic practices or minor use registration, one way or another, it will likely impact a farmer’s pocketbook,” he noted. “I evaluate every decision as I would a business decision on my own operation. I understand it is producers’ checkoff dollars that I am spending and strive to ensure they receive as much value as possible, whether it be research or extension. When it comes to policy, sustainability needs to include not only environmental and ecological considerations, but long-term economic viability is also a part of that equation.”
Rosaasen is always eager to meet with pulse producers and discuss everything from diseases, insects, herbicides or even equipment modifications for seeding faba beans.
He likes to say that he has dirt under his finger nails yet cleans up well enough to represent producers’ interests in a diplomatic manner.
Interesting facts about Rosaasen include that he has traveled to more than 40 different countries, is fluent in French and Spanish, and still introduces himself as a fourth generation food and fibre production engineer: “It has a special ring to it that grabs attention, gets people asking questions and helps them to understand that farmers are a whole lot more technical than they realize,” he remarked.