CSGA Unveils Strategic Plan

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Strategic Plan 2017–2023 confirms our core responsibility to work closely with our partners in government and industry and to build on our longstanding commitment to deliver and promote a flexible, responsive, and cost-effective seed regulatory certification system for Canada and Canadians.

This plan is of vital importance to our members and our association, but also to the seed industry and the broad Canadian agricultural sector whose success we enable. An integral part of the agricultural and agri-food value chain, the seed industry in Canada employs more than 57,000 people and contributes $5.6 billion in economic impact – both directly and indirectly – to our economy.

In developing this Strategic Plan, we have begun to lay out a roadmap that not only addresses the immediate question of “what can we do to fine tune our seed certification and regulatory system and make it more effective and user friendly now“ but also considers the larger questions of “whether our current seed system is sustainable and what will a next generation seed system need to look like for seed growers, the seed industry and the agriculture sector to thrive in the future, particularly in the face of the wave of technological and structural change that is already upon us”. More than ever before, the seed sector is a key enabler of innovation and growth for the entire Canadian agriculture industry.

Recognizing that seed growers are the heart of the sector, this Strategic Plan confirms that CSGA is a science-based organization that supports a competitive Canadian agriculture sector and maintains Canada’s reputation as a respected global leader in seed quality assurance and genetic traceability.

We wish to thank each and every person who shared their thoughts and ideas, and helped make this Plan what it is. And we look forward to working together with you to implement the ambitious agenda embodied within it.

Download the Strategic Plan

Reminder: Grading Changes for Western Canada

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The Canadian Grain Commission reminds farmers of the following grain grading changes for the 2017 to 2018 crop year in Western Canada, which take effect August 1, 2017:

  • Adding an ergot tolerance of 0.05 per cent in all grades of fababeans and chickpeas
  • Changing the tolerance for grasshopper and army worm damage from eight per cent to six per cent in No. 3 Canada Western Red Spring, No. 3 Canada Western Hard White Spring and No. 3 Canada Northern Hard Red wheat

he tolerance for grasshopper and army worm damage was tightened after research showed that 8% grasshopper and army worm damage can impact end-use functionality

Official Grain Grading Guide 2017

 

Canada’s Yukon offers free land if you’re willing to farm the north

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A general view of Kluane National Park near Haines Junction, Yukon, is seen in this 2011 archive photo. (Photo: REUTERS/Sean Kilpatrick/Pool)

In Canada’s far north, the government of Yukon Territory wants to attract small farmers to the frigid region with a simple pitch: free land.

And as global warming makes Canada’s northern regions more hospitable to agriculture by opening once frozen land to farming, the opportunities are growing.

Bordering on Alaska in northwestern Canada, the Yukon has given away nearly 8,000 acres (3,208 hectares) of farmland in the past decade, a senior government official told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. A dozen new applications are under consideration.

Now is a good time to start farming in the Yukon, say government officials.

“Our territory is expected to get wetter and warmer,” said Rod Jacob, a government official with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in the capital Whitehorse.

“We may see opportunity with an increased growing season,” Jacob told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.

“A number of programs help farmers to become more resilient to climate change, including funding to increase access to water for irrigation or to have better water efficiency,” Jacob said.

The Yukon is larger than Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands combined but only 40,000 people live there, according to government data.

Free land in the area is only available for Canadians and permanent residents who have been living in the Yukon for more than a year, Jacob said.

Would-be farmers who want a free 65 hectare (160 acre) plot of land, the maximum allowed under the program, must pay for surveying, pledge to make investments in the property and meet other conditions in order to join the initiative.

People who receive free land must farm on the property for at least seven years before they can sell it, Jacob said, in order to stop speculation. These rules do not apply to investors who want to purchase farmland through traditional investment.

On average, the government doles out about 10 parcels of free land per year, Jacob said, with most concentrated around Whitehorse.

The region’s agriculture industry is relatively small, the official said, with farmers producing mostly vegetables, hay, meat and other products.

Free land in the Yukon has been on offer since 1982 and some analysts believe demand for farms in the northern region will increase as the region heats up.

Canada’s far north is considered the “canary in the coal mine” by environmentalists, as global warming is felt there first and often with more intensity than other areas.

Average temperatures in the Yukon have climbed by 2 degrees Celsius in the past 50 years due to climate change, said a 2016 Canadian study, more than twice as fast as the planet as a whole.

Winter temperatures in the territory have risen an average of 4 degrees Celsius over the past half-century, the study said.

Rising temperatures have seen the population of caribou – an important food source for indigenous people in Canada’s northern boreal and Arctic regions – crash. But it has also opened up new areas for agriculture in some of the far north with a longer growing season.

The winter months are still harsh, however. In January temperatures in the Yukon still frequently drop to minus 20 degrees or lower, according to 2017 government figures.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Dan Wright new CSTA president

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Dan Wright is the new president of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA). Wright becomes the association’s 66th  president.

Wright has served on the board of directors for two years and on the executive for three years. He has a strong connection to agriculture, a foundation that was laid in childhood at his family’s cash crop farm and farm equipment dealership.

Wright continued that connection in his career, and has worked for Monsanto Canada since 2000. His roles have included licensing manager, marketing manager and business development manager. Currently, he is the Canada corn and soybean portfolio lead, which includes introducing new traits and the expansion of corn and soybeans in Western Canada. All of these roles have provided Wright with the opportunity to work with farmers and agriculture industry stakeholders in all regions of Canada.

Wright will guide an active board of directors in their endeavour to foster seed innovation and engage with members. The board includes: Todd Hyra, SeCan, 1st vice-president; Georges Chaussé, La Coop Fédérée, 2nd vice-president; Brent Derkatch, Canterra Seeds, past president; Doug Alderman, Pride Seeds; Darrell Dziver, BrettYoung Seeds; Wayne Gale, Stokes Seeds Limited; Bruce Harrison, Crop Production Services Canada; Bob Hart, Sevita International; Duane Johnson, Syngenta Canada; George Lammertsen, Bayer CropScience; Brian Nadeau, Nadeau Seeds; Roger Rotariu, NuFarm; Ellen Sparry, C&M Seeds; Marty Vermey, Dow Seeds; and Jim Schweigert, the American Seed Trade Association representative.

 

New Canadian Agricultural Partnership to Help Position Canada as a Leader in the Global Economy

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(Collage created by Margaret Morris)

Canada’s Ministers of Agriculture have reached agreement on the key elements of a new federal, provincial, territorial (FPT) agricultural policy framework during the annual meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture held in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, from July 19-21.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment, will come into effect on April 1, 2018.  It will strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity. In addition, producers will continue to have access to a robust suite of business risk management (BRM) programs.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership will focus on six priority areas:

  • Science, Research, and Innovation – Helping industry adopt practices to improve resiliency and productivity through research and innovation in key areas.
  • Markets and Trade – Opening new markets and helping farmers and food processors improve their competitiveness through skills development, improved export capacity, underpinned by a strong and efficient regulatory system.
  • Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change – Building sector capacity to mitigate agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment and adapt to climate change by enhancing sustainable growth, while increasing production.
  • Value-added Agriculture and Agri-food Processing – Supporting the continued growth of the value-added agriculture and agri-food processing sector.
  • Public Trust – Building a firm foundation for public trust in the sector through improved assurance systems in food safety and plant and animal health, stronger traceability and effective regulations.
  • Risk Management – Enabling proactive and effective risk management, mitigation and adaptation to facilitate a resilient sector by working to ensure programs are comprehensive, responsive and accessible.

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, BRM programs will continue to help producers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage. Governments responded to industry concerns regarding eligible coverage under AgriStability, ensuring a more equitable level of support for all producers. Highlights of upcoming BRM changes are available at Canadian Agricultural Partnership – Business Risk Management Programs.

Governments further committed to engaging in a review that explores options to improve BRM programming. The review will recognize the important role played by all programs (AgriStability, AgriInvest, AgriInsurance) in the risk management plans of producers given the diversity of the sector. The review will also directly involve producers and have an early focus on market risk, including as it relates to AgriStability addressing concerns regarding timeliness, simplicity and predictability. Ministers will be presented with options in July 2018 for consideration based on early findings of the review.

A summary of items discussed at the annual meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture meeting is available at Summary of items from the 2017 Annual Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture. The next annual FPT Ministers’ meeting will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in July 2018.

The agriculture and agri-food sector is a key growth industry in Canada, contributing over $100 billion annually to the economy and employing 2.3 million Canadians. Canadian farm incomes rose to $14.8 billion in 2016, the 2nd best year on record. In 2016, the total value of Canadian agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports reached an all-time high exceeding $62 billion.

ASTA Launches Plant Breeding Animation Video

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CropLife International and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) launched an animated video exploring the history and future of plant breeding – from the ancient domestication of wild crops to gene editing and beyond.

View the video

 

 

Dave Carey New CSTA Executive Director

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Dave Carey is the new CSTA executive director.

Dave Carey has been selected as the new executive director for the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA). Carey will assume his official duties effective July 7, 2017.

Carey, the outgoing director of government affairs and policy, joined CSTA in 2012 and has worked in roles of increasing management responsibility. Most recently, Carey acted as the lead staff member following the departure of Crosby Devitt, the former executive director.

Prior to Carey’s career with CSTA, he worked as a legislative assistant for members of parliament from Calgary, Alta. and Oakville, Ont. He is an experienced government relations leader, with an in-depth understanding of government and regulatory affairs, policy development and international trade priorities.

“Dave Carey is widely recognized for his ability to build strong relationships with all government parties, stakeholders and industry partners, and brings a strong collaborative approach and leadership style to the association, which will no doubt benefit all those involved with the organization,” said Brent Derkatch, president of CSTA.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and trusted organization.” Carey said. “I look forward to working closely with the staff, board of directors and our value chain partners to ensure that CSTA’s members can continue to innovate, trade and deliver value to their farmer customers.”

Alberta Farm families Honoured

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Alberta families who have farmed the same land for 100 years or more are being recognized with Century Farm and Ranch Awards.

Recipients of the Government of Alberta’s Century Farm and Ranch Award receive a bronze plaque to commemorate this significant milestone. A total of 52 families are being recognized across the province this year, including 19 families who will be honoured in Vegreville on July 6.

Since 1993, almost 1,700 families have received Century Farm and Ranch Awards.

Agriculture is the province’s largest renewable industry, with exports valued at more than $10 billion annually. There are more than 43,000 farms in Alberta, totalling more than 50 million acres.

Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award recipients being recognized at this event:

  • The Abbott family of Edgerton
  • The Bleakley family of Paradise Valley
  • The Brassington family of Paradise Valley
  • The Christie family of Kitscoty
  • The Gregoraschuk family of St. Michael
  • The Hall family of Dapp
  • The Homeniuk family of Mundare
  • The Kassian family of Thorhild
  • The Kozma family of Waskatenau
  • The Lychak family of Derwent
  • The Nazarchuk family of Derwent
  • The Powell family of Vermilion
  • The Scott family of Bonnyville
  • The Smiley family of Lavoy
  • The Tataryn family of Thorhild
  • The Tuck families of Lavoy
  • The Verbeek family of Morinville
  • The Wirsta family of Elk Point

Optimizing Fungicide Applications on Wheat and Barley

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Septoria (speckled leaf blotch) of barley.

Leaf spot fungal diseases can decrease cereal yield by up to 20 per cent or more, as well as diminish kernel weight, and in some cases reduce grade. This, according to Neil Whatley, crop specialist, Alberta Ag Info Centre.

“When disease risk levels are moderate to high, protection of the upper two leaves of a developing wheat plant with a timely in-crop fungicide application prevents significant losses. With barley, it’s essential to protect the upper three leaves,” he says.

Disease risk level increases when weather conditions are favourable for disease development, cereal crops are frequently grown in the same field, the chosen cereal variety is susceptible to leaf diseases, yield potential is good and crop price is high.

Tan spot and septoria leaf blotch are the most common leaf spot fungal diseases in wheat, says Whatley.

“While scald and net blotch most commonly affect barley, fungal diseases like spot blotch affect all cereal crops. These leaf spot pathogens survive on infected straw residue and stubble from cereal crops grown during the previous two to three years in a particular field. A prolonged period of rainfall, fog or heavy dew combined with moderate air temperatures in June and July raises the risk that these pathogens will produce spores and re-infect young, developing cereal plants.”

Although leaf spot diseases can be present during early plant growth, scouting for cereal leaf diseases is especially important prior to, during, and after flag leaf emergence. “The appearance of moderate levels of disease in the lower canopy indicates there is a risk to the upper canopy leaves,” says Whatley. “Under conditions favourable for disease development, leaf spot disease symptoms appear as tiny water soaked or brown or tan spots or lesions on the leaf surfaces of seedlings and tillering cereal plants. Lesions produce spores that act as the disease transfer mechanism. Under prolonged humid weather conditions, the spots become more visible as they expand and blend together. If the weather turns dry in June and July, risk level diminishes as the leaf spot pathogens remain confined to the lower leaves, causing little overall harm. However, as upper leaves emerge on the developing cereal plants, wind or the splashing motion of rain drops transfer spores from the lower canopy, and possibly from old infested crop residue, to the flag and penultimate (the leaf just below the flag) leaves, increasing the risk that key leaves for yield and grain filling may be compromised. A decision must then be made whether or not to protect the upper leaves with a foliar fungicide application.”

Spores that splash or are blown by wind onto the upper leaves will germinate under favourable conditions allowing the pathogens to infect leaf tissues and cause necrotic lesions on leaf surfaces, potentially resulting in significant loss of green leaf area.

“Preventing the loss of green leaf area on the flag and penultimate leaves is the main concern as optimal sunshine on these leaves contributes to over 50 per cent of the cereal crop’s eventual yield. The goal is to apply a foliar fungicide when the flag leaf has just fully emerged if disease risk level is moderate to high,” says Whatley. “As a rule of thumb, 20 per cent per cent disease coverage of the area of the flag leaf results in a 10 per cent yield decrease, so preventing this amount of disease is usually desirable if yield potential is good and grain prices are fair to high. If a fungicide application is made and weather conditions favourable for disease development persist, a second fungicide application may be necessary just after head emergence, and especially where Fusarium head blight is also a concern.”

Spraying too early or spraying too late results in poor disease control. “While the idea of mixing a half rate of fungicide with a late herbicide application may seem convenient, given that the flag and penultimate leaves are not fully formed, this crop management practice doesn’t directly protect the upper canopy leaves and is generally not economical for leaf spot diseases like tan spot, septoria, scald, net blotch and spot blotch,” notes Whatley. “In contrast, if stripe rust is observed early in the growing season, a fungicide application may be needed before flag leaf emergence and then again later at head emergence if risk is high and the variety is susceptible. It’s preferable to prevent leaf spot diseases with a full rate of fungicide at the flag leaf stage or just after head emergence. However, spraying too late, after the disease is well established on the flag and penultimate leaves, is also not economical because significant green leaf area has already been lost and the fungicide doesn’t cure infected leaf tissue, but instead protects healthy leaf tissue.”

Whether fungicide choice is a systemic or a contact mode of action, the fungicide should be applied directly to the leaves that are important for grain filling, i.e. the flag and penultimate leaves.

“Translocation movement of a systemic fungicide is limited to within an individual leaf and does not occur between leaves,” says Whatley. “Leaf spot pathogens can become resistant to a specific fungicide, so if disease pressure is high enough to spray more than once in the same field during the growing season, or during successive years in the same field, rotate fungicide modes of action. Adequate water volumes ensure optimal leaf coverage and, therefore, optimal disease control, so ten gallons of water per acre is generally applied with the fungicide.”