Alberta Leads The Way With Hemp Processor Upgrade

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MLA Jessica Littlewood of Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, meets with InnoTech Alberta representatives and partners at expanded hemp processing facility.

The $800,000 investment in new equipment for the decortication line will help secure Alberta’s leadership in the growing hemp industry and improve the quality and efficiency of hemp and flax fibres produced at the facility.

Improved fibres provide the foundation for a multitude of products, including green construction, automotive parts, erosion control, land reclamation, textiles, sustainable packaging and materials for the oil and gas industry.

A unique facility in an emerging market

Established in 2010 with a $3.9-million Government of Alberta investment, the Vegreville fibre decortication processing plant is the only one of its kind in the world.

Serving as a catalyst for industry growth, the pilot plant has been instrumental in advancing Alberta’s potential in the emerging hemp market. The facility is a critical bridge for industry, supporting research and product development.

“The equipment upgrades at this unique facility will help ensure that Alberta is at the cutting edge of the growing hemp fibre sector,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “The improvements in production efficiency and quality will provide companies with the raw material they need to create high-quality, eco-friendly products while also providing further opportunities for Alberta farmers.”

Jessica Littlewood, MLA, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville said that developing and expanding the hemp value chain provides an alternative cash crop for farmers in our area. “It’s another proof that our government is on the right path when it comes to diversifying our economy and providing additional opportunities for our producers.”

“Our scientists and engineers work with customized test batches of processed agricultural fibres from the decortication facility in Vegreville to create an ever-expanding range of products, with the potential to solve critical problems facing industries worldwide,” said Dan Madlung, CEO BioComposites Group. “Our Terrafibre products use Canadian-grown fibres that are mainly decorticated and cleaned at the Vegreville facility and then manufactured in Drayton Valley. We are selling our high-performance and environmentally responsible products to green building, automotive, erosion control and horticultural markets.”

Quick facts

  • Hemp is a multi-functional crop with different end uses, including seeds for food and oil, fibres for composite material and bio-active chemicals for ingredients in the food and personal health-care industries.
  • Decortication is the first step in processing which separates hemp into its valuable fractions –for textiles, composites, absorbents, building materials, animal bedding, mulch and more.
  • Alberta is the second largest hemp production jurisdiction in North America with 44,684 acres in 2017.
  • In 2016, the Canadian hemp industry was valued at $340 million and is anticipated to reach a market value of $1 billion by 2023.
  • Commercialization of hemp fibre for various applications is gaining momentum in Alberta with 34 new hemp fibre-based products being successfully introduced to market in the past year.

Source: Government of Alberta

United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement a Trade Agreement that Supports Free Market Wheat

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The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is supportive of the attention that grain – specifically wheat – has under the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement.

“Congratulations to the Canadian trade negotiators. This agreement affirms what the Wheat Growers have been advocating for several years, namely that registered wheat varieties on either side of the border should be recognized in the other country,” stated Levi Wood, President.

The Wheat Growers have collaborated with US Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) US on several occasions over the past two years pushing for these changes:

•    A Call for True Free and Fair Trade – July 5, 2018
•   Wheat Growers Call for Action on Cross-border Wheat Trade – April 28, 2017

The USMCA will require legislative and regulatory changes in order to ensure that the 2019 harvest is dealt with on a level playing field. It is anticipated that this will lead to greater simplification of The Grain Act, fewer barriers to trade as well as more open and free markets.

“I would invite wheat growers, elected officials and interested parties to join us at Agri-Trade Equipment Expo 2018 in Red Deer, where we are hosting an onsite luncheon panel featuring growers from both sides of the Canada/US border to discuss a number of significant policy issues that impact farmers,” said Jim Wickett, Chair.

Cereals Canada Welcomes the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement

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Cereals Canada welcomes the announcement of a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement, which will be known as the U.S.-Mexico- Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Achieving the agreement will ensure ongoing stability in agricultural trade within North America,” stated Cam Dahl, President of Cereals Canada. “Agriculture in all three countries has benefited from freer trade. Preserving these benefits was a key objective in these negotiations”.

USCMA will also modernize the agreement in critical areas, including chapters on biotechnology and new plant breeding techniques and addressing issues of low level presence. These updates will help bring the agreement up-to-date with modern technology.

“USMCA also sets the stage for equal treatment by the Canadian grading system for farmers on both sides of the Canada / U.S. border”, noted Dahl. “Again, this is a modernization that addresses issues that did not exist when the original NAFTA was drafted. The Canadian value chain supports these changes.” Dahl further noted that “there was some concern that the adjustments to the grading system would undermine Canada’s classification system for wheat. This is not the case as the agreement continues to allow both countries the ability to develop national policy.”

Cereals Canada thanks all the Canadian negotiating team who have carried out this work in order to accomplish the agreement. This includes Minister Freeland and Minister MacAulay who have been engaged throughout the negotiations.

AWC Calls for Nominations for Directors and Regional Representatives

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The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) is accepting nominations for one Director and three Regional Representatives in Region 3, as well as the Director-at-Large position, which represents all five regions.

Elected Directors and Regional Representatives will provide strategic direction and leadership to the Commission on behalf of wheat producers in the province. Farmers are encouraged to nominate peers who would be adept at representing producers in their region, as well as working with AWC’s management team throughout the year.

“Getting involved with AWC is a great opportunity to take a leadership role in our industry,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chairman. “This past year alone, AWC has had direct impact on creating a new Canadian Prairie Red Spring variety – AAC Crossfield, lobbied for the adoption of Bill C-49 and became an administrator of the federal Advance Payments Program. I would highly encourage anyone interested in leading the wheat industry forward to put their name up for election.”

Nomination forms can be downloaded on AWC’s elections page and must be returned in writing to the AWC office by Wednesday, October 31, 2018 by fax at 403-717-1966, email at [email protected] or mail to #200, 6815 8th St, NE, Calgary, AB, T2E7H7. Producers in Region 3 will also receive a package in the mail with more information and a nomination form.

Elections, if needed, for the Region 3 positions will take place at the Region 3 Next Level Farming meeting at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on November 13th. Results will be announced the same day.

Elections for the Director-at-Large position will be collected through a traveling ballot box system at all of following the AWC regional meeting locations:

  • Tuesday, November 13th, Lacombe Memorial Centre – Region 3
  • Wednesday, November 14th, Strathmore Civic Centre – Region 2
  • Monday, November 19th, Rycroft Ag Centre – Region 5
  • Wednesday, November 21, Westlock District and Community Hall – Region 5
  • Thursday, November 22nd, Willingdon Recreation Centre – Region 4
  • Wednesday, December 12th, Lethbridge Exhibition Centre – Region 1

Results for the Director-at-Large position will be announced following the final regional meeting in Lethbridge.

Next Level Farming and AGM information can be found on AWC’s events page.

Source: The Alberta Wheat Commission

Alberta Barley Call for Nominations for Directors and Delegates

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Nominations are now being accepted for Alberta Barley’s 2018 director and delegate elections.

There are 25 positions available, including two directors in region five and six and one director-at-large available to producers located in regions one, three, five and six.

Thanks to board approval of reallocation of delegate positions based on barley production in the province, 22 spots are available for delegates with at least one opening in each of the Alberta Barley electoral regions.

“Alberta Barley works diligently on advocating for producers, and these elections are a great opportunity for farmers looking to make an impact to get involved,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley chair. The Bentley-area farmer began representing Alberta Barley as a delegate in 2009, has served as region three director since 2013 and was elected Chair in 2016. “Becoming a delegate or director is an effective way to make a difference in the industry and in your community.”

Any farmers seeking a director or director-at-large position must submit paperwork via fax to Alberta Barley at 1-403-291-0190 or by email to [email protected]on or before October 31st, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

Elections, if required, for Region 5 and 6 will take place at the corresponding Next Level Meeting for the regions Westlock Community Centre on November 21 and Rycroft Ag Centre on November 19th, respectively.

Votes for any director-at-large will be collected at all six regional meetings through a traveling ballot box, tabulated and then announced at the Alberta Barley AGM, December 12th in Banff, AB.

Delegates are nominated and elected from the floor at each regional meeting.

All farmers running for a delegate or a director position must have produced barley in the region they are running for election in and paid a service charge on barley either in the current or previous two crop years. To be eligible for a director-at-large position, a farmer can have grown barley in any area of Alberta.

Click here for the director nomination form.

Click here for the director-at-large nomination form.

Locations and Dates of Next Level Farming meetings:

  • Tuesday, November 13th, Lacombe Memorial Centre – Region 3
  • Wednesday, November 14th, Strathmore Civic Centre – Region 2
  • Monday, November 19th, Rycroft Ag Centre – Region 6
  • Wednesday, November 21, Westlock District and Community Hall – Region 5
  • Thursday, November 22nd, Willingdon Recreation Centre – Region 4
  • Tuesday, November 27th, Stamp Seeds in Enchant, AB – Region 1

Role descriptions for Alberta Barley’s board of directors and delegates can be found here.

A map of Alberta Barley’s regions can be found here.

Source: Alberta Barley

Represent Canola Growers in Alberta

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The Alberta Canola Producers Commission is seeking four canola growers to serve as directors on the board of directors for a three year term. This year, directors are needed in regions 3, 6, 9, and 12.

Alberta Canola divides Alberta into 12 regions, with each region electing a producer director to represent the canola growers within that region. Visit albertacanola.com/regions for a map and information on the regions.

The board of directors meets quarterly and is guided in decision making by five committees comprised of board members and staff.

The committees are:

    • Research
    • Governance and Finance
    • Grower Relations and Extension
    • Government and Industry Affairs
    • Public Engagement & Promotion

For full descriptions and committee roles, visit: albertacanola.com/committees

Any producer who has paid a service charge on canola sold since August 1, 2016 can stand for election as a director. An eligible producer can be an individual, corporation, partnership, or organization and must produce canola within the defined region in order to be nominated. A producer does not have to reside within the region.

Directors:

    • Represent the canola farmers in your region on the Board, making informed decisions on issues based in research, finance, policy, extension, and market development.
    • Travel to 4 board meetings per year. You will also have the opportunity to attend a diversity of valuable meetings, courses, conferences, and events.

For complete details on becoming a director and to download nomination forms, visit: albertacanola.com/elections

Nominations for the position of Director must be filed in writing at the Alberta Canola office on or before 4:00 p.m. on October 31, 2018.

For more information contact, Ward Toma, general manager of Alberta Canola, at 780-454-0844.

AgriProfit$ expands in 2019

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The AgriProfit$ program offers customized business analysis to help Alberta producers maximize profits and lower costs for their farms at no charge. Anatoliy Oginskyy, senior production economist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, outlines some changes to the program and explains how the services will expand in 2019.

Currently, AgriProfit$ program participants receive customized cost-of-production reports, including a budget sheet, income statement, as well as cost-of-production summaries for cow-calf, backgrounder, forage, pasture, and commercial crop enterprises.

“The program not only will stay in place in 2019, but we actually are planning to expand the services,” says Oginskyy. “More beef and crop producers will have opportunity to participate in AgriProfit$ and receive their free customized cost-of-production reports.”

Several changes to the program have already been incorporated during the last two years, including a quicker delivery of reports. Explains Oginskyy, “Our final objective is to deliver the report in one month for beef producers, and in two weeks for crop producers, from the time the data is received. By doing so, producers can use the cost-of-production information to plan their activities for the following year. We will be improving the software and process to reach this standard.”

Oginskyy adds that the AgriProfit$ team will produce a series of short videos to help producers interpret the reports. They will explain how the measures are calculated, how to interpret specific numbers, and how to use them in the decision making process. “Also starting in 2019, participating producers will have the option to receive one-on-one help with a member of the team to interpret the reports.”

Those enrolled will also receive the historic 22 Year Cow-Calf Benchmarks, produced by the AgriProfit$ team along with additional products. “Along with the standard cost-of-production reports, returning participants will receive the historic performance report for all participation years,” notes Oginskyy. “They show the progress made in terms of cost reduction, improving physical performance like ADG, and many other economic and financial indicators. Starting this fall, we will be generating two new types of benchmarks – backgrounder and pasture efficiency – for producers and the public.”

Oginskyy says that AgriProfit$ survey data collection takes several hours to complete, partly due to the high level of details needed for both economic and physical performance measures of the reports. “Some cow-calf summary reports measures like cow conception rate, calf crop rate, length of the feeding period, etc., all require very specific data. Reducing the amount of data would affect the value of the reports, and we obviously do not want that.”

Survey data collection is also affected by how producers keep their own records and how that data is transferred to the AgriProfit$ forms. “We are currently investigating how data from major accounting software like QuickBooks, Quicken, or AgExpert can be automatically transferred to the AgriProfit$ data tables. It will not eliminate the issue completely, but it will definitely decrease the data entering time,” explains Oginskyy.

Producers interested in participating in the 2019 AgriProfit$ program can sign up at www.agriculture.alberta.ca/agriprofits, call livestock economist Ann Boyda at 780-422-4088, or contact crop economist Manglai at 780-422-4056. Deadline to apply is November 30, 2018. Find more information about the AgriProfit$ Business Analysis and Research Program.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Cash Advance Program Provided By Alberta Wheat Commission will Launch September 1

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The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) are pleased to announce another competitive option for Alberta’s crop, livestock and honey producers to help manage cash flow throughout the year. Beginning September 1, 2018, AWC will provide cash advances through FarmCash under AAFC’s federal Advance Payments Program (APP).

APP is a federal loan guarantee program which provides agricultural producers with easy access to low-interest cash advances up to $400,000 per program year based on the value of their agricultural product, with the Government of Canada paying the interest on the first $100,000 advanced to a producer and the remaining $300 thousand at a low interest rate.

FarmCash will offer interest free advances and low interest rates on 45 commodities, including all major crops, livestock and honey, through a fully automated and efficient web-based platform. The Alberta Wheat Commission will administer the program which is designed to help producers meet their financial needs, cash flow obligations and increase marketing opportunities to improve profitability.

“AWC believes that like any management tool, farmers need options,” Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “By launching FarmCash, AWC saw an opportunity not only to introduce a new competitive option into the market but also to better serve Alberta’s farmers and help improve long-term profitability.”

AWC is committed to administering a fully transparent and accountable business model where 100 per cent of any proceeds from the program will be used to benefit the entire agriculture industry in Alberta.

“Ensuring our programs continue to respond to the needs of farmers remains a priority for our Government,” Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “With its established relationships in the province, AWC is well positioned to offer Alberta farmers an additional option for cash advances that will help producers meet their needs and grow their businesses.”

AWC encourages farmers to sign up to receive notifications here or to call 1-855-376-2274 to learn more about the program. AWC is approved as an official administrator of the Advance Payments Program by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Leaders Wanted to Represent Alberta’s Canola Growers

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The Alberta Canola Producers Commission is seeking four canola growers to serve as directors on the board of directors for a 3-year term. This year, directors are needed in regions 3, 6, 9, and 12.

Alberta Canola divides Alberta into 12 regions, with each region electing a producer director to represent the canola growers within that region. Visit albertacanola.com/regions for a map and information on the regions.

The Board of Directors meets quarterly and is guided in decision making by five committees comprised of board members and staff.

The committees are:

  • Research
  • Governance and Finance
  • Grower Relations and Extension
  • Government and Industry Affairs
  • Public Engagement & Promotion

For full descriptions and committee roles please visit: albertacanola.com/committees

Can I become an Alberta Canola Director?

Do you grow canola in Alberta? Then yes!

Any producer who has paid a service charge on canola sold since August 1, 2016 can stand for election as a Director. An eligible producer can be an individual, corporation, partnership, or organization and must produce canola within the defined region in order to be nominated. A producer does not have to reside within the region.

What do I actually have to do as a Director?

  • Represent the canola farmers in your region on the Board, making informed decisions on issues based in research, finance, policy, extension, and market development.
  • Travel to 4 board meetings per year. You will also have the opportunity to attend a diversity of valuable meetings, courses, conferences, and events.

For complete details on becoming a director and to download nomination forms visit albertacanola.com/elections

Nominations for the position of Director must be filed in writing at the Alberta Canola office on or before 4:00 pm on October 31, 2018.

Grain Growers of Canada Welcomes New Vice President and Members

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Scientists have developed a sensitive new tool for identifying the fungus that causes “wheat blast,” an emerging disease of the important grain crop. Photo: ARS

Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is pleased to announce that four new members have joined the organization, bringing total membership to 16 national, regional and provincial grower groups. The announcement was made at the organization’s semi-annual Board meeting on Aug. 1, 2018 in Guelph, ON.

New members include:

  • Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO)
  • Producteurs de grains du Québec (PGQ)
  • Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SaskPulse)
  • Manitoba Oat Growers Association (MOGA)

“An expanded GGC means a stronger voice for grain farmers in Ottawa,” said GGC President, Jeff Nielsen. “Grain farmers are driving economic growth across Canada and by working together we can help deliver the conditions that Canada’s hard-working middle class grain farmers need to continue that growth.”

At the same meeting, the GGC Board elected Markus Haerle, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, as the organization’s new Vice President. Mr. Haerle is replacing Art Enns of the Prairie Oat Growers Association who stepped down from the position at the meeting.

“I am delighted to take on this role and help lead GGC into the future,” said Mr. Haerle. “The need for meaningful market access, reliable risk management programs and regulations that encourage growth is shared by farmers across Canada and we can help meet those needs with a united voice in Ottawa.”

At a time when grain farmers are increasingly challenged by trade volatility, policy priorities for GGC include expanded international trade including the quick ratification of CPTPP, the successful implementation of the Transportation Modernization Act, and a comprehensive review of business risk management programming that delivers programs that work for farmers.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.