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Owen Roberts is a journalist and a columnist with daily, weekly and monthly print and online media. He is active on social media, particularly through twitter as @theurbancowboy, and typically discusses urban perspectives on agri-food issues. Owen is president of the 5,000-member International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, which represents journalists in 45 countries, and a senator in the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation. Owen is an adjunct professor in the Department of Animal Biosciences and the research communications director at the University of Guelph. As well, he serves as editor of the University’s Research magazine. Owen created the popular student-research writing program Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge (SPARK). Many of his former students are active in journalism, communications and marketing in Ontario and elsewhere. His programs and research papers have been recognized nationally and internationally through awards from the Journal of Applied Communications, the Association for Communications Excellence and others. Owen holds a Bachelor of Arts (communications) from the University of Windsor, a Master of Science (rural extension studies) from the University of Guelph, and a Doctor of Education (agricultural education and communications) from Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University. In 2005 he was awarded an honourary life membership by the Ontario Institute of Agrologists. Owen is a native of Mitchell’s Bay, Ontario (pop. 350) and resides in Guelph with his wife Angi. They have five children and three grandchildren.
Will Heeman discusses the value in automation