Brandon University will host renowned ag thinker Robert Saik at free public lecture

Robert Saik

Futuristic technology could upend agriculture and global food security sooner than we realize, while crises like Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine hint at a world of ongoing global supply chain challenges that places like Westman must constantly adapt to.

“A core group of farmers will be called on to grow the vast majority of the world’s staple food supply, and while mighty in their ability they need support from the general public,” says agriculturalist Robert Saik, a renowned thinker and futurist with deep roots in Westman. He will be bringing his guidance and insights to that general public at Brandon University on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Saik points out that demographic trends foresee a world population nearing 10 billion people by 2050, implying that agriculture must increase production by 60–70 per cent while also becoming infinitely sustainable.

“We know that these challenges bring enormous opportunities for Westman, and we know that Brandon University researchers, alumni, and partners can play a big role,” said Carla Eisler, BU’s Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs, which is bringing in Saik for the inaugural JRC Evans Public Lectureship.

Saik’s talk, which builds on his Amazon best-selling book Food 5.0: How We Feed The Future, will briefly explore the growth of agriculture through eras of muscle and machine through increasingly scientific approaches, then look forward to the disruptive technological convergence that’s already beginning to happen, as tech like drones and 3D printing and artificial intelligence transform the world’s food production.

“There are profound changes coming in the next two years — not the next five. How will tech change our ability to feed the future? This is essential knowledge for communities here in Westman, whether you’re directly involved in ag production, whether you work somewhere that does business with ag and really, for anyone who eats,” Saik said. “This is an optimistic talk. Let’s get pragmatic about the policies!”

Saik is an in-demand and compelling keynote speaker who appears regularly across Canada and internationally, including at many university campuses, but he got his speaking start right here in Brandon through Toastmasters.

“I’m pretty excited to come back to Brandon,” he said, noting that he once played hockey in Boissevain and continues strong business ties in the region, including having started one of the first carbon-trading companies in Manitoba in 2007, and continuing with precision ag and a new artificial intelligence company,, that helps customers trouble-shoot and repair their equipment — including a recent deal with MazerGroup.

Saik is bringing the same innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit to the stage as the first speaker in the new JRC Evans Public Lectureship, which was sponsored by BU alumni, and builds on previous Homecoming speakers like Chris Hadfield and Samantha Nutt. 

Dr. Arnold and Glenyce Tweed, alumni from the Class of 1959, helped fund this year’s speaker.

“Through the JRC Evans Public Lectureship we wanted to bring meaningful, relevant thinkers to Brandon so that we can help share cutting-edge knowledge with the community,” said Dr. Tweed. “A focus on agriculture and food security is a perfect first-year topic, given how critical ag is to this region, and how it dovetails with BU’s ongoing work on food security, including through urban honeybees and community gardens.”

There is no charge to attend Saik’s talk, which will be held at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. The talk is part of BU’s annual Homecoming, which has been moved earlier in the year to take advantage of better weather, improved scheduling opportunities, and back-to-school energy on campus.

“Everyone is invited to join us at Homecoming, from Sept. 14–17 this year,” Eisler said. “We have a wonderful lineup of events and activities — including many that are free, including Robert Saik’s talk.”

For more information about all Homecoming events, visit


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About Robert Saik — agricultural futurist

In 2021 Robert was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 50 Most Influential Agriculture Leaders and was named one of Canada’s Top 10 Ag Mentors.

ROBERT SAIK has forty years of experience as a Professional Agrologist, entrepreneur and an international consultant who's worked with a wide variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates. He was one of only 3 private citizens to address the October 2020 FAO_UN High Level Special Event (Rome) organized by the Committee for World Food Security to address agriculture sustainability.

His latest book, “FOOD 5.0 How We Feed the Future” is a look at the five iterations of agriculture, culminating in an examination of how technology convergence is reshaping the farm and the consumer.  His latest newspaper column, "prAGmatic" discusses the road to the sustainable intensification of agriculture.

Robert, an outspoken champion of agriculture, is a Distinguished Agrologist, Professional Agriculture Consultant, a veteran entrepreneur and has been hailed as an agriculture futurist with unparalleled insight into where the industry is headed. 

He has leveraged these strengths to found over 15 companies in the areas of Farming, Agri-Retail, Distribution, Media and Ag Tech.  He was the founder and CEO of The Agri-Trend/Agri-Data Group of Companies which was acquired by Trimble.  He also served as CEO of DOT Technology Corp (Autonomous Farming) through the acquisition of DOT by Raven Industries.

Robert is the founder and CEO of award-winning AGvisorPRO, a technology platform that connects those seeking agriculture advice with trusted experts who can provide answers now. 

Through Saik Management Group Inc he facilitates the PowerFARM peer group for progressive farmers.

His first book, “The Agriculture Manifesto – Ten Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade” was a 2014 Best of Amazon Books and this TEDx Talk “Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion People?” has been viewed over 170,000 times. Robert is a passionate keynote speaker and is executive producer of the Know Ideas Media a science based multi-media company addressing issues such as GMO’s and their use in food production.

He has financed both the Rob Saik Bar None Scholarship at the University of Alberta that provides support for two rural first year students entering the faculty of agriculture and the Robert Saik Ag Tech Award that supports two urban students entering the Ag Tech program at Olds College.

He serves on several Boards including the Canadian Agri-Food Autonomous Innovation Network (CAAIN) as well as Proteum Energy. Rob is an advisor to Olds College, is a member of the A100 (Alberta Tech Entrepreneur Network), a student of Strategic Coach and Singularity University and a member of Abundance 360.  As a partner in Perigro Venture Partners he participates in early-stage technology investments.

He has been recognized for agriculture leadership by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (Provincial Distinguished Agrologist of the Year 2006) and in 2016 was awarded Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.

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