Podcast: Don’t Rush to Seed Canola2 years ago -
The Canola Council of Canada says growers donâ€™t have to be in a rush to seed canola in early May. Other crops such as cereals and pulses that are more suitable for deeper seeding to reach moisture may be better choices for producers waiting for rain.
Farm Sustainability Extension Working Group Hires Extension Coordinator to Boost On-Farm Sustainability Awareness2 years ago -
The Farm Sustainability Extension Working Group (FSEWG) announces that Jolene Noble of Manning, Alberta, has been hired as an extension coordinator to develop, coordinate, and implement an extension program to increase Alberta producersâ€™ awareness of on-farm sustainability.
Organized by the FSEWG with funding support from Alberta Agriculture and Forestryâ€™s Growing Forward 2 Program, this collaborative role is in place to address a growing need for the crop sector to meet high sustainability standards to maintain and expand international market competitiveness.
â€œSustainable agriculture is becoming increasingly important in building market access opportunities and ensuring the long-term viability of our industry,â€ says Noble. â€œI look forward to contributing to these end-goals by working with producers to bring awareness to social license issues and highlighting on-farm best management practices.â€
Noble brings extensive professional program coordination experience from the beef industry where she successfully managed programs for youth and advocacy. Additionally, she has actively participated in programs such as the McDonaldâ€™s Sustainability Pilot Project, Verified Beef Production, and the Environmental Farm Plan from a producer perspective on her familyâ€™s mixed farm.
In this position, Noble will support the crop commissions in better understanding farmer readiness with respect to internationally recognized sustainability standards and best management practices. This information will be derived via phone survey to be conducted by Ipsos Reid this summer, building on the information compiled through the Alberta Crops Sustainability Certification Pilot Project that was collaboratively delivered during the spring of 2015. Noble will subsequently develop and deliver coordinated extension programming to support the crop commissionsâ€™ membership in positioning their operations to meet current and emerging sustainability market standards.
Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture Launches Youth Speaking Competition at Calgary Stampede2 years ago -
â€œWeâ€™re excited to announce the launch of this exciting communications competition for Albertan youth at the Calgary Stampede,â€ said Eric Dalke, AYSA co-founder. â€œWe invite youth ages 11-24 to sign up and share their passion for the agricultural industry by speaking and sharing their views on Canadian agriculture.â€
The competition will be held on July 13th during the Calgary Stampede and offers youth the opportunity to compete with a five to seven minute speech on topics important to the agricultural industry. Winners have the opportunity to win a cash prize of up to $1,000 and will be eligible to compete in the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition in Toronto.
The topics for the 2016 competition are:
â€¢ What is the impact of public opinion on Canadian farmers?
â€¢ How would you explain a GMO to a non-farmer?
â€¢ What does the next generation of agriculture bring to the table?
â€¢ How can we improve the mediaâ€™s perception of Canadian agriculture?
â€¢ Old MacDonald had a farm â€¦ But what about Mrs. MacDonald?
â€œAgriculture is a vital industry for Canada and Alberta and itâ€™s important we develop future leaders to help this industry thrive,â€ said Dalke. â€œThis competition is about giving the young leaders of tomorrow the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed in Canadian agriculture.â€
Canadian Seed Trade Association Releases Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay2 years ago -
Following extensive consultation with stakeholders along the alfalfa hay production chain in Western Canada, aÂ Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay in Western CanadaÂ is now available.
Recognizing that GM development of alfalfa and other crop kinds will continue, the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) agreed to facilitate a value chain process to develop a coexistence plan for conventional, organic and GM alfalfa production, first in Eastern Canada in 2013, and now in Western Canada.
Many experts contributed to the development of the Western coexistence plan and voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPâ€™s), including forage specialists, alfalfa producers, seed companies and honey producers. The group reviewed the biology of alfalfa in Canada and alfalfa hay production systems, and tailored the BMPâ€™s to the specific needs of Western Canada. The planÂ does not advocate for or against the commercialization of GM alfalfa, or favor any one system. The result is a science-based document designed to help farmers understand and incorporate the voluntary BMPâ€™s into their crop management system, whether conventional, organic or GM.
â€œCSTA is happy to have facilitated this meaningful stakeholder process,â€ said Scott Horner, CSTA president. â€œWith stakeholder cooperation, solutions to help producers be successful with the system that best fits their needs can be found. We encourage everyone to view the Plan as an important component of successful alfalfa hay production in Western Canada.â€
TheÂ Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay in Western Canada,Â containing background on alfalfa production systems in Western Canada, the principles of coexistence, and Best Management Practices can be found atÂ cdnseed.org.
Grading Tables for New Wheat Classes Take Effect Aug. 12 years ago -
The Canadian Grain Commission will adopt primary and export grade determinant tables for the new Canada Northern Hard Red and Canada Western Special Purpose wheat classes on August 1, 2016 as recommended by the Western Standards Committee.
At their April meetings, both the western and eastern standards committees recommended adding â€œpoor colourâ€ to the definition for degree of soundness for:
- Oats,Â No.Â 4 Canada Eastern
- Oats,Â No.Â 4 Canada Western
This change takes effect on July 1, 2016 in eastern Canada and on August 1, 2016 in western Canada.
- The western and eastern standards committees meet twice a year to recommend specifications for grades of grain, and to select and recommend standard and guide samples to the Canadian Grain Commission. Members represent all stakeholders in the grain industry and include producers, grain processors, grain handlers and exporters.
- The Western Standards Committee met on April 5 in Winnipeg and the Eastern Standards Committee met on April 6 in Montreal.
- The Canadian Grain Commission is in its second year of study to determine if mildew standards and guides for western wheat are set at appropriate levels. At this time, testing is not complete. The Canadian Grain Commission will report back to the eastern and western standards committees in the fall.
- The Canadian Grain Commission is analyzing samples of Canada Western Red Spring and Canada Western Soft White Spring to determine the relationship between the percentage of Fusarium-damaged kernels and the level of deoxynivalenol (DON), a toxin associated with Fusarium head blight and how this relationship is affected by changing growing conditions and chemotypes. This study is part of the Canadian Grain Commissionâ€™s ongoing research to ensure food safety and functionality.
- The Canadian Grain Commission is studying whether a tolerance for ergot should be added to the grade determinant tables for fababeans and chickpeas. Although ergot is a disease of cereal crops, other pulse crops do have a grading tolerance for it. The Canadian Grain Commission will report back to the Western Standards Committee in the fall.
- On August 1, 2016, these wheat classes will be eliminated: Canada Western Interim Wheat, Canada Western General Purpose and Canada Western Feed. Varieties in the Canada Western Interim Wheat class will move to the Canada Northern Hard Red class and varieties in the Canada Western General Purpose and Canada Western Feed classes will move to the Canada Western Special Purpose class.
WGRF Invests $800,000 in U of A Wheat Breeding2 years ago -
The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) and the University of Albertaâ€™s Faculty of Agricultural, life & Environmental Sciences (ALES) announced that they have renewed their partnership in wheat breeding. WGRF will invest $811,587 into the wheat breeding program at the University of Alberta over the next five years.
â€œThe wheat breeding program at the U of Aâ€™s Faculty of ALES is an important piece of the western Canadian wheat breeding network,â€ said Dave Sefton, WGRF Board Chair. â€œWGRF has been investing in wheat research at the U of A since 2005 and, over this time we have seen the program take some significant strides towards the development of new wheat varieties and germplasm for the parkland zone.â€
â€œWGRFâ€™s support has been integral to the success weâ€™ve enjoyed,â€ said Dean Spaner, wheat breeder and professor. â€œThis continued long-term investment demonstrates the value the wheat producers of western Canada place on our work, and is the base that attracts other investors. This announcement is a tremendous boost in confidence and responsibility, for which we are deeply grateful.â€
â€œThis investment over the next five years more than doubles the previous five year commitment by WGRF,â€ says Garth Patterson, WGRF Executive Director. â€œOver the last five years alone, the U of A Wheat Breeding Program has registered five improved CWRS varieties, released one germplasm line, and graduated five PhD and four MSc students. This exemplifies the great work being done at the U of A.â€
â€œWe are very proud of our wheat breeding program that helps western Canadian wheat growers grow healthier, higher-yielding crops,â€ said Dr. Stanford F. Blade, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. â€œWeâ€™re also very grateful for the confidence shown by WGRF, whose support plays a pivotal role in the success weâ€™ve had with our program.â€
The U of A breeding program focuses on Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS), Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPS-R) and the Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP) class. The goal of the program is to develop and select germplasm that will result in higher yielding varieties that are earlier maturing, have increased straw strength and protect the quality characteristics of the CPS and CWRS wheat.
Listen Now: Stripe Rust Already Spotted2 years ago -
Stripe rust symptoms have already been identified in some winter wheat fields in southern Alberta. In this podcast, Mike Harding, research scientist at Alberta Agriculture, says that itâ€™s crucial growers continue to monitor their fields for the fungus.
Licence Exemptions Examined in Grain Sector Consultation2 years ago -
LastÂ week, the Canadian Grain Commission began consultations on its proposals to license producer railway car loading facilities, agents, and feed mills. These operations are currently exempted from licensing.
The Canadian Grain Commission is seeking input from producer railway car loading facilities, agents, feed mills, grain producers, producer groups, current licensees, and industry stakeholders on its proposals.
Relevant information, including descriptions of the issues and full descriptions of the proposals, are available on the Canadian Grain CommissionÂ website. Information is also provided on the website on how stakeholders can comment on the proposals. Stakeholders have untilÂ June 3, 2016Â to submit input.
- Licensing supports producer protection and the grain quality assurance system. The Canadian Grain Commission issues licences for primary, terminal and process elevators, as well as grain dealers.
- Producer railway car loading facilities, agents, and feed mills are currently exempted from licensing by annual Commission order or in theÂ Canada Grain Regulations.
- A producer railway car loading facility is an operation where producers can load their own grain, or have that grain loaded on their behalf into railway cars allocated by the Canadian Grain Commission. These railway cars are forwarded by the railway to a terminal elevator, process elevator, or consignee of the producersâ€™ choice.
- Producer railway car loading facilities would be licensed as a new subclass of a primary elevator licence. These facilities would not have to post security with the Canadian Grain Commission.
- An agent is a company that acts on behalf of a licensed company.
- Agents who have elevator facilities would be licensed as either a primary elevator or a process elevator, depending on their business. They would be required to provide security as a condition of licensing.
- A feed mill is an operation where a process or a combination of processes is used to produce or manufacture feed for livestock or poultry consumption.
- It is proposed that feed mills purchasing more than 5,000 tonnes of grain annually would be licensed.
- Feed mills would be subject to some of the same requirements as process elevators. They would be required to provide security as a condition of licensing.
Alberta Crop Commissions Praise Bill C-30 Extension2 years ago -
Albertaâ€™s crop commissions say theyâ€™re pleasedÂ to learn that the federal government has signaled its intension to extend measures within the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act that have helped improve railway accountability and competition. The postponement of the Aug. 1, 2016 repeal of these measures aligns with recommendations made by Team Alberta during its outreach mission to Ottawa last week, they note.
The year-long extension of provisions within the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) includes maintaining current interswitching limits of 160kms which has promoted railway competition and flexibility for shippers. Additionally, the Government of Canada will retain its ability to prescribe minimum grain movement by rail, an important mechanism of railway accountability.
â€œThis welcomed news from the Federal Government demonstrates that Transportation Minister Garneau and Agriculture Minister MacAulay have listened to the concerns of western Canadaâ€™s grain producers and understand the importance of a reliable and predictable transportation system to move our commodities into the marketplace,â€ said Kevin Auch, Alberta Wheat Commission Chairman.
â€œWhile the Minister of Transport considers the recommendations presented in the CTA review report, we will continue to advocate for measures that promote long-term railway accountability and adequate rail service,â€ added Mike Ammeter, Chair of Alberta Barley.
The federal governmentâ€™s news closely follows the Team Alberta Outreach Mission, a week on Parliament Hill where representatives from the crop commissions including Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola Producers and Alberta Pulse Growers, along with our colleagues at Grain Growers of Canada, met with top decision makers from Canadaâ€™s major political parties to discuss priorities for Alberta grain producers. Long-term transportation provisions and the extension of Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, were top priorities during the meetings.
â€œWe made it a priority to develop relationships with key federal policy makers during the Team Alberta outreach mission. In doing so, we encouraged decision makers to take steps forward to foster long-term improvements to the reliability and predictability of our grain and oilseed transportation system,â€ said Terry Young, Alberta Canola Producers Commission director.
â€œThe movement of our crops continues to be a priority for farmers,â€ said Allison Ammeter, Chair of Alberta Pulse Growers. â€œThe global demand for our products and our export capabilities rely on farmers and shippers getting product to port. Rail use is a huge part of the chain. The signaled intent from government to keep these tools available for farmers and shippers is very positive.â€
Alberta Crop Commissions, Grain Growers Embark on Lobby Mission2 years ago -
The Alberta crop commissions, along with theirÂ colleagues at the Grain Growers of Canada spent last week on Parliament Hill to meet with top decision makers from Canadaâ€™s major political parties and discuss priorities for Alberta grain producers.
Key priorities of theÂ Team AlbertaÂ delegation included grain transportation reform, international trade, and public investment in research and sustainability.
â€œAgriculture in Alberta is a $13.3 billion dollar industry and a significant contributor to Canadaâ€™s economy so it is imperative that the crop commissions come together and get in front of elected officials to deliver our message and share our story and priorities,â€ said Terry Young, Director with the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.
TheÂ Team AlbertaÂ lobby trip included a delegation of Directors from the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Wheat Commission and the Grain Growers of Canada. The delegation met with representatives from all political parties and shared a united message about how the government can support Canadian farmers.
With the recent release of the Emerson report on theÂ Canada Transportation ActÂ (CTA) review, transportation and the extension of Bill C-30, theÂ Fair Rail for Grain Farmers ActÂ were also top priorities during the meetings.
â€œLong-term solutions to Canadaâ€™s grain transportation system continue to be important for farmers,â€ said Henry Vos, Director with the Alberta Wheat Commission. â€œWhile the crop industry was pleased to be part of the consultations on the CTA review, the final report fails to provide specific recommendations that farmers feel will improve Canadaâ€™s transportation system.â€
â€œCanadian grain producers need adequate rail service, balanced commercial accountability and the retention of competitive provisions to improve rail service,â€ added Mike Ammeter, Chair of Alberta Barley. â€œWe are calling upon the government and Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport to extend the provisions within Bill C-30 while a long-term solution for improving our rail transportation system is developed. The provisions within the Bill include extending interswitching limits to 160 km to promote competition, and other features to keep railways more accountable for poor performance.â€
â€œAnother of the main priorities we discussed was how the government can support a competitive, predictable and open trade environment by ensuring that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) are both ratified immediately,â€ said Gary Stanford, President of the Grain Growers of Canada.
The TPP agreement would increase demand for Canadaâ€™s agricultural exports and ensure Canada can remain competitive in key markets, as two of our major competitors, Australia and the United States, would otherwise see preferential access to key Canadian markets within the TPP zone.
Other topics of discussion included the need for continued and stable research funding and capacity, as well as the need to consider the significant innovations and leadership role farmers have taken in protecting the environment and sequestering soil carbon when it comes to carbon tax discussions.
â€œFarmers work toward sustainability to help us save money, but also to sequester carbon and better the environment in the long-term,â€ added Fraser Robertson, Director with the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission. â€œA lot of people donâ€™t realize what is happening on the farm, so it is good for us to have the opportunity to share our message with government representatives.â€