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€
#Plant16: Tweet Your Experience3 years ago -
Farmers and other ag stakeholders across Alberta are tweeting pics ofÂ their activities under the hashtag #Plant16. Here’s some tweets from the past week we collected â€” don’t be shy to post your own!
— Albert (@abtsch) April 8, 2016
— Horsch LLC (@HorschLLC) April 8, 2016
— PROMAX AGRONOMY (@Promaxag) April 7, 2016
— James Bareman (@jamesbareman) April 4, 2016
Video: Stop Fusarium Before it Stops You3 years ago -
Fusarium graminearum has cost Alberta producers between $3 and $8.7 million annually due to reduced yield and downgrading. Alberta Agriculture has created a new video, to help raise awareness of this pest.
Canola Council Welcomes Opportunity for Stable Trade with China3 years ago -
The governments of China and Canada agreed to continue discussions on a permanent science-based solution to Chinese concerns about the disease blackleg. Canola trade will continue under current commercial terms until September 1, 2016 while further research and information sharing occurs. Dockage will continue to meet the terms of commercially negotiated contracts.
â€œThe canola industry remains committed to a science-based resolution of Chinese concerns about blackleg,â€ says Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada. â€œThe next five months will help to achieve a permanent risk-based solution that enables stable canola exports to China. We appreciate Chinaâ€™s ongoing commitment to collaboration and research.â€
Discussions on science-based solutions to concerns about blackleg have been ongoing as part of the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding established between the governments of Canada and China.
As part of this Memorandum of Understanding, the canola industry and Government of Canada have invested significantly in research to understand more about the potential risk from the disease blackleg and ways to mitigate this risk. This research has involved thousands of hours from scientists, industry and government, and included all aspects of the canola supply chain from seed genetics and agronomic practices through to handling and processing. The last component of research investigated how dockage, or foreign material, impacts the risk of blackleg transmission. Under the terms agreed to in 2010, canola seed exports to China can only be shipped to crushing facilities approved by Chinese authorities that are in areas where Chinese rapeseed is not grown.
â€œWe commend the government of Canada for their sustained and significant efforts to achieve todayâ€™s announcement,â€ says Miller. â€œUnder the leadership of Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, negotiations by government officials over the past several months enabled todayâ€™s success.â€
The Canola Council has worked closely on this issue with officials at the Market Access Secretariat of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Global Affairs Canada. Work will continue to answer any remaining scientific questions.
GM Alfalfa Controversy Rages On with Farmers Union Letter3 years ago -
The National Farmers Union (NFU) hasÂ written to Agriculture and Agri-Food MinisterÂ Lawrence MacAulay asking him to stop Forage Genetics International (FGI) from selling genetically modified alfalfa seed in Canada this spring. The NFU also asked the minister to put border controls in place to prevent importation of contaminated conventional alfalfa seed from the U.S.
Forage Genetics announced this week it will sell the GM alfalfa seed for hay production in Eastern Canada this spring.
â€œThis would be a disaster for farmers because, once it has been planted, there would be no way to stop the GM trait from spreading to organic and conventional farms and crops. There are many domestic and export markets that completely reject alfalfa seeds, hay or pellets with any GM content. Clearly, the minister needs to take action to protect the interests of Canadian farmers before it is too late.â€
Last week the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties passed a resolution to prevent the introduction of GM alfalfa into Alberta until there is market and consumer acceptance.
â€œIf GM alfalfa is sold in eastern Canada, it would only be a matter of time before it spreads into the West. FGI should not be allowed to sell a product that would cause so much harm to farmers all across Canada,â€ saysÂ Peter Eggers, NFU Region 8 Coordinator.
â€œIn light of the recent media report of an Alberta seed grower who suspects seed he purchased from the USA was contaminated with herbicide-tolerant GM varieties, we are also concerned about contamination from imported seed. A 2015 USDA study shows that GM alfalfa genes have escaped and are being spread throughout the countryside by pollinators. American alfalfa seed production is therefore at high risk for contamination.â€
To protect the CanadianÂ alfalfa sector, farmers should not purchase alfalfa seed from the U.S., said Slomp. â€œWhen buying from Canadian sources, seek out seed growers who have always used Canadian grown sources. It is legal for farmers to sell farm-saved seed from older varieties that are in the public domain. There are only two registered alfalfa varieties, AC Grazeland BR and Yellowhead, that are not in the public domain.â€
Forage Genetics to Sell GM Alfalfa in Eastern Canada in 20163 years ago -
Forage Genetics International (FGI) has announced it will offer commercial seed sales of HarvXtraÂ Â alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology to farmers in Eastern Canada in time for spring 2016 planting.
HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology is an elite alfalfa containing both the Roundup Ready trait and a reduced-lignin trait. The reduced-lignin technology was developed through a strategic partnership formed between FGI, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Centre and Pioneer, in conjunction with Monsanto Company.
HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology offers growers unsurpassed weed control with excellent crop safety and maximizes grower flexibility to ease the yield versus quality trade-off currently faced by alfalfa producers to produce quality alfalfa for dairy and beef cows.Â
Expected seed quantities will be limited in 2016 but are estimated to be sufficient to plant a small, targeted launch of less than 5,000 acres of hay.
FGI is introducing commercial seed sales of HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready TechnologyÂ in Eastern Canada only.Â At this time, there are no plans to commercially offer HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology to growers in Western Canada.
This decision is confined to the sale of seed for hay production. Companies are not permitted to undertake HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology seed production in Canada.Â All seed production has taken place in the U.S., with only commercial sales for hay production allowed in Eastern Canada in 2016.
The Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) has facilitated the development of hay-to-hay coexistence plans and best management practices for both Eastern Canada and Western Canada working in conjunction with the alfalfa forage industry value chain, which included FGI and Monsanto Canada.Â Â While HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology will not be sold in Western Canada at this timeÂ the completion of an updated plan was in response to requests for additional stewardship guidelines to address the possibility of product moving from Eastern Canada to Western Canada.
Similar stewardship plans in the U.S. have allowed organic, conventional and genetically modified (GM) alfalfa farmers to coexist, regardless of the production method they choose. GM alfalfa has been sold and grown by U.S. farmers since 2005.
Canadian regulatory agencies granted approval for the unconfined environmental release of reduced lignin alfalfa in October 2014 followed by authorization of HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology in December 2014.
Alberta Municipalities Resolve to Block GM Alfalfa3 years ago -
The resolution will be sent to the provinceÂ for consideration.â€© ItÂ asks that Alberta Agriculture and the federal governmentÂ collaborate with stakeholders to prevent the introduction of genetically modifiedÂ alfalfa until such a time that there is a demand for the product fromÂ Albertaâ€™s export markets.
Roundup Ready alfalfa seed â€” created and marketed by Forage Genetics International (FGI) â€” is now available commercially in the United States. Itâ€™s also approved for sale in Canada as well, but FGI has made the decision to hold off on commercial sales of the herbicide-tolerant genetically modified alfalfa, despite the fact that it was granted full food, feed and environmental approval by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2005.
Heather Kerschbaumer, president of Forage Seed Canada, has applauded the AAMDC’s resolution. She fears that those export markets will be lost if GM alfalfa is grown in Western Canada. In 2015, she lost a sale of clover seed to Europe due to the presence of some GM canola seeds in the shipment, despite the fact it was certified organic.
â€œUntil the rest of the world accepts GMO crops, why would we want to totally abandon our export markets?â€ she says. â€œWeâ€™re not opposed to the technology, we just donâ€™t want to be contaminated. But how do you build a wall to ensure contamination doesnâ€™t happen?â€
Alberta’s Terry Young, Keith Degenhardt Appointed to WGRF Board3 years ago -
The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) welcomed five new directors at its Annual Meeting in Winnipeg.
Graeme Manness of Domain, Man., replaced Gerrid Gust as the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association nominee. Glenn Tait of North Battleford, Sask., replaced Bill Gehl as the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission nominee. Robert Misko of Roblin, Man., replaced Ray Askin as the Manitoba Wheat & Barley Growers Association nominee. Terry Young of Lacombe, Alta., replaced Kevin Auch as the Alberta Wheat Commission nominee. Corey Loessin of Radisson, Sask., replaced Dâ€™Arcy Hilgartner as the Western Pulse Growers nominee. Dave Sefton of Broadview, Sask.,Â was re-elected asÂ chair and Dr. Keith Degenhardt of Hughenden, Alta.,Â was re-elected asÂ vice-chair.
â€œ2015 was a remarkable year for WGRF,â€ said Dave Sefton, board chair. â€œLast year WGRF invested $19.6 million into variety development and field crop research.Â We are currently managing over 245 research commitments including core program funding for wheat and barley variety development as well as singular projects from the Endowment Fund. I would like to express my appreciation to the retiringÂ directors for their commitment to WGRF and dedication to agriculture research.â€
â€œWGRF has experienced a lot of growth, over the past few years,â€ said Garth Patterson, WGRFÂ executiveÂ director. â€œWGRFâ€™s singular focus on funding crop research brings many diverse farm groups together to collaborate for the benefit of western Canadian farmers. WGRF is in an excellent position to continue this success for years to come.â€
Survey Finds Canola Disease in Six Provinces3 years ago -
A national survey led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has foundÂ Verticillium longisporumÂ in six provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
V.Â longisporumÂ is a plant disease that impacts a range of crops, including canola. It was first detected in Canada in 2014. Since then, theÂ CFIA, in partnership with industry and provincial partners, has conducted random surveys to determine its general distribution in canola-growing regions of Canada.
VerticilliumÂ is not a reportable plant disease in Canada and is not known to be regulated in other countries where it is found around the world.
As the planting season approaches, grains and oilseeds producers are encouraged to develop and implement a biosecurity management plan to prevent plant pests from being introduced or spread on their lands. Learn more aboutÂ Verticillium longisporumÂ andÂ crop biosecurity.
Judges Hear Case Over Seed Treatment Regulations3 years ago -
A panel of judges has reserved their decision on the Grain Farmers of Ontarioâ€™s request for appeal on the dismissal of the case surrounding the Ontario governmentâ€™s seed treatment regulations.
â€œWe appreciate that the court is taking the time to consider the significance of this issue,â€ says Mark Brock, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. â€œWe are pleased with todayâ€™s outcome and look forward to the decision.â€
The case was heard by a panel of judges, comprised of Justice Laskin, Justice Cronk, and Justice Miller.
Two hundred grain farmers filled the courthouse today, showing support for the case and concern over the outcome. Farmers arrived from across Ontario on five buses, as well as by car and train.
â€œWe would like to sincerely thank our farmer-members for their demonstration of support â€” we are all well aware of the serious impact of these regulations,â€ says Brock. â€œWe will share further details, as soon as they become available, with our membership.â€