The First Sixteen Podcast

The First Sixteen is Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) podcast series that explores the freshest ideas in agriculture and food. Each episode explores a single topic in depth—digging deep into new practices, innovative ideas, and their impacts on the industry. Learn about Canada's agricultural sector from the people making the breakthroughs and knocking down the barriers! Farmers and foodies, scientists and leaders, and anyone with an eye on the future of the sector—this podcast is for you! A new episode is published each month.

Episode 023 - Saving our organic soils

40% of Quebec’s fruits and vegetables are grown in the Montérégie region due to its abundantly fertile organic soils. But these soils are under threat. We speak to Jacynthe Masse, an agroecology researcher, and Denys Van Winden, a vegetable producer from Sherrington, to learn about the challenges they’re facing and the experiments they’re running to save these soils.

An overhead view of an organic soil field

Episode 022 - Agroforestry: The new-old science

When agriculture meets forestry, the result can have a surprising impact on the environment, wildlife habitats, crop production, and beyond. AAFC research scientist Dr. Raju Soolanayakanahally and Kevin Boon, General Manager of the BC Cattlemen’s Association, explore the roots of the long-standing practice of agroforestry, and the benefits it brings to the future of agriculture and climate change.

Cattle graze in a forest

Episode 021 - Shedding light on food fraud

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency come together in this special two-part episode on honey fraud in Canada. Hear a scientist from each organization discuss how they identify fraudulent products – and check out the CFIA’s Inspect and Protect podcast for the perspective of a policy leader and a beekeeper!

Episode 020 - Putting a rope around antimicrobial resistance in cattle

When veterinarian Dr. Greg Dimmers noticed an alarming pattern of infection in beef cattle, he contacted microbiologist Dr. Tim McAllister to get some answers. Hear the two speak about their respective paths in the study of antimicrobial resistance.

A close-up of green bacteria.

Episode 019 - The Cutting Edge

Have you ever wondered where companies go to develop their secret recipes and test new food processing technologies? Canadian innovators go to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's research centre in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec to develop and test new products. Listen to Sabine Ribéreau, the pilot plant manager, and Deena Alari, the research and development manager from Smuckers, as they discuss the Saint-Hyacinthe Industrial Program and how it can help get your products on grocery store shelves.

A food processing employee works with a machine at Saint-Hyacinthe's Research and Development Centre

Episode 018 - Resolving soil nutrient loss and pollution in Lake Erie

From buckwheat and bees to cover crops and no-till practices, we explore how Henry Denotter, a farmer on the Wigle Creek watershed, and Pamela Joosse, a soil and nutrient management specialist, worked together to reduce pollution in Lake Erie as part of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Living Labs program.

A Lake Erie watershed

Episode 017 - Reducing greenhouse gasses with drainage systems

Anything's possible when researchers and producers come together. Hear from Dr. Chandra Madramootoo of McGill University and Guy Vincent, a grain and cash crop producer, as they discuss their collaborative journey to reduce greenhouse gasses and increase crop yields.

A field of young corn plants

Episode 016 - Cybersecurity and agriculture

Farmers and many others in our sector spend much of their time managing risk. In this episode we focus on a new risk to manage - cyber threats. Dr. Janos Botschner from the Community Safety Knowledge Alliance and Christine Beauchamp from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security tell us some true cyber heist stories. And they share some solid advice on how we can up our cybersecurity game.


Episode 015 - Citizen Science

Researchers cannot be everywhere at once. Laura Richard manages the Agroclimate Impact Reporter (AIR). This citizen science projects relies on producers all across the country to help our scientists and decision-makers to know how the weather impacts agriculture at a local scale. Trevor Atchinson is a fourth generation rancher from Pipestone MB and a second generation contributor to AIR.

Episode 014 - Mental health: UPA's work to break the stigma

In this third episode on mental health, we explore the topic from the perspective of a trade union. We speak with Marcel Groleau, President of Quebec's Agricultural Producers Union (UPA), who tells us about the resources available to producer. From overcoming mental health challenges, to breaking the stigma, he shares insights into the unique programming developed in Quebec.


Episode 013 - Mental health: from the farmer's perspective

Cynthia Beck and her family run a cattle and grain operation in South-East Saskatchewan. After facing her own mental health challenges and discovering a lack of resources tailored towards the agricultural sector, Cynthia decided to do something about it. She shares her story of overcoming depression and her commitment to helping others in the agricultural community address their own mental health. For the past six years she has been a crisis line worker, specifically for producers and ranchers, and is currently completing a master's degree in clinical psychology at the University of Regina.

Episode 012 - Food Waste Reduction Challenge: The Next Level

Over 300 ideas were submitted to the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Twenty-four of the best ideas were selected for funding. Now it's time to test their concepts and compete for the $1.5M grand prize. In this episode, jury member and celebrity chef, Bob Blumer, tells us about the selection process. He also shares tips on reducing food waste at home. Mohamed Yassine from Impact Canada joins the conversation to tell us what's next.


Episode 011 - Climate change and agricultural solutions

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for our times - and the impacts are especially challenging for the agricultural sector. In this episode, we talk about a science model that the Government of Canada is using to generate solutions, as well as issues related to climate change and agriculture. We hear from two generations of environmental scientists on the topic.

Episode 010 - Mental health on the farm

In this episode we speak with Dr. Briana Hagen about tailoring mental health programs to the needs of farmers. She explains how mental health in farming is fundamentally different than in other sectors. And she points toward solutions and successful programs across the country including the program called, In the Know, which she helped developed at the University of Guelph.


Episode 009 - Living Laboratories Quebec

Hear about this Living Laboratories initiative and its revolutionary new approach to innovation. It brings together farmers, scientists, and other collaborators to address agri-environmental issues in a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Episode 008 - Leading Women

Minister, President, CEO: This is a very frank discussion with three women leaders in the agriculture and food sector. They talk about their experiences and the benefits of a more inclusive and diverse sector at all levels.


Episode 007 - The opportunity of food waste

Is food waste really an opportunity? Denise Philippe of the National Zero Waste Council believes so. Listen to this discussion where she outlines gaps in our food system and shows us where opportunities exist. As well, learn about the new Food Waste Reduction Challenge.

Episode 006 - The next generation: Who is going to produce your food tomorrow?

Meet the next generation of Canadians working in agriculture and agri-food sector. Jerry Bos, a young dairy farmer and co-chair of the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council, shares his vision for the future. Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau tells us why it's important to have young farmers like Jerry and the other members of the council at the decision-making table.


Episode 005 - Saving nutrients with novel science

Christopher Garnham and his team at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have discovered something very small that could have big impacts in the food and feed industry.

Scientist looking through microscope

Episode 004 - RADARSAT Constellation Mission: Agriculture from space

Learn about the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, the type of data that flows from it, its applications in agriculture and how it is used by environmental stewards to work with farmers.


Episode 003 - The science of reconciliation: Bridging Indigenous knowledge with agricultural science

In discussion with two agents of change in the world of agricultural science, we explore a new and brilliant way forward.

Episode 002 - Rapid response: Feeding Canadians during the pandemic

Listen in as we shed light on an innovative and nimble collaboration that is addressing food insecurity during the pandemic.


Episode 001 - Farmers, innovators and how good ideas spread

Interview with Julie Dawson, a beef specialist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and a sixth generation farmer. Listen in on this fascinating discussion about how much farming has and is changing, and how fast.