Wheat Growers Announces New President

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The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is pleased to announce the election of a new president.

At the March Board meeting, Gunter Jochum (Manitoba) was unanimously elected as the next President.

“I’m honoured to have the trust of the Wheat Growers Board of Directors to represent this dedicated group of people. Wheat Grower members across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are some the most dedicated people that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Our Board of Directors embodies this dedication towards strong agriculture public policy that supports and builds our agriculture economy,” stated Gunter Jochum.

The Wheat Growers Directors are a voluntary board, that regularly meet to advocate for wheat producers at all levels of government, seeking market-based decisions to the challenges faced by today’s farming community.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Levi Wood, the outgoing President, for his years of dedicated service to the Wheat Growers. He has left big shoes to fill and I’m grateful that he remains on the Board to provide his wisdom and insights,” closed Jochum.

Source: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association 

Canadian Canola Growers Association launches 2019 cash advance program

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New this year, farmers who take out an interest-bearing advance will benefit from a reduced interest rate below prime.

“Farmers anxious to complete their advance application before seeding have been contacting us,” says Rick White, CEO of the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). “Having our application form ready well in advance of the April 1 program start date is just one way our team is enhancing cash advance services for Western Canadian farmers.”

In the past two years, CCGA has implemented several important changes to its cash advance services, and in 2019, the organization is taking another step to create even more value for farmers.

“We are passing on the benefits from our operational efficiencies directly back to farmers who use the program,” says White. “Beginning this April, farmers who have an interest-bearing advance with CCGA, will benefit from an interest rate of prime minus 0.5%.”

Through CCGA, farmers can access advances on nearly 50 field crop and livestock commodities. Farmers can apply for a cash advance of up to $100,000 interest-free and an additional $300,000 at prime less 0.5%. Combined, that amounts to $400,000 at a blended interest rate well below prime and considerable borrowing cost savings.

Farmers can call CCGA’s Winnipeg office at 1-866-745-2256 to apply over the telephone, or download the application form.

Source: Government of Alberta

lberta Canola welcomes Holly White as the new region 12 director

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Holly White of Rolling Hills, has stepped forward to be the director for region 12.

Alberta Canola is pleased to announce that Holly White of Rolling Hills, has stepped forward to be the director for region 12. White’s role on the board of directors representing canola growers from south-eastern Alberta begins immediately.

White takes over the director role previously held by Brian Hildebrand who completed his term following the Annual General Meeting. Directors may serve two consecutive three-year terms on the Board of Alberta Canola.

“I’m honoured to be joining the other farmers on the board and look forward to working with Alberta Canola to help our farmers succeed,” said White.

To find and contact your local director, please visit www.albertacanola.com/board and for information on the Alberta Canola regions visit albertacanola.com/regions.

Source: Alberta Canola

Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program announced

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Canada’s agriculture and agri-food system contributes over $114 billion to our gross domestic product, and provides safe, nutritious and sustainable food for the world, while creating well-paying jobs for our middle class. The sector is working hard to find innovative approaches to respond to growing domestic and global demand while addressing emerging challenges and maintaining its environmental sustainability.

On February 12 while celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day with farmers, ranchers, food processors, industry leaders and youth in Ottawa, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced the new Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), an investment of $50.3 million over five years. Funding available through this program will help facilitate the sector’s ability to address emerging issues and capitalize on opportunities.

The CASPP focuses on four priority areas: adoption of new technology; environmental sustainability; strategic development and capacity building; and, emerging issues. Examples of potential projects could include those addressing artificial intelligence technology, tools to assess future labour and skills needs, bio-crops, environmentally sustainable farming techniques and strategies to help the sector adapt to changes in consumer preferences.

The program also builds on other Government of Canada initiatives to support competitiveness and sustainability in the agricultural sector. These include the $3-billion, five-year Canadian Agricultural Partnership, $70 million announced in Budget 2018 to support agricultural discoveries in science and innovation to address climate change and soil and water conservation, the $25 million Agricultural Clean Technologies Program, and the Strategic Innovation Fund.

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program is a $50.3 million, five-year investment to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. The new program replaces the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program.
  • Applicants may apply at any point during the life of the program, until available funds have been fully allocated.
  • Projects must be national in scope or deal with cross-sectoral issues. Applications for the program are now being accepted online.
    Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

CCGA Launches 2019 Cash Advance Program With Interest Rate Savings For Farmers

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Starting March 5, farmers wanting to get a jump start on their spring cash advance can submit their 2019 Advance Payments Program application form to Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). New this year, farmers who take out an interest-bearing advance will benefit from a reduced interest rate below prime. CCGA has also expanded its advance offering with four new organic grains including wheat, oats, peas and flax.

“Farmers anxious to complete their advance application before seeding have been contacting us,” says Rick White, CEO of CCGA. “Having our application form ready well in advance of the April 1st program start date is just one way our team is enhancing cash advance services for Western Canadian farmers.”

In the past two years, CCGA has implemented several important changes to its cash advance services, and in 2019, the organization is taking another step to create even more value for farmers. “We are passing on the benefits from our operational efficiencies directly back to farmers who use the program,” says White. “Beginning this April, farmers who have an interest-bearing advance with CCGA, will benefit from an interest rate of prime minus 0.5%.”

Through CCGA, farmers can access advances on nearly 50 field crop and livestock commodities. Farmers can apply for a cash advance of up to $100,000 interest-free and an additional $300,000 at prime less 0.5%. Combined, that amounts to $400,000 at a blended interest rate well below prime and considerable borrowing cost savings.

CCGA has implemented several changes that directly benefit farmers who use the program. “Last spring, we reduced the program administration fee, and in September we launched a new online account system that was designed with direct input from our customers,” says Dave Gallant, Director of Finance and Operations at CCGA.

“By applying in March, farmers can have their advance processed during our pre-application period, which means their advance could be approved and advance funds available to them early in April,” says Gallant. “Our first advances will be issued to farmers on Monday, April 1st.”

Farmers wanting to apply for a cash advance are encouraged to call CCGA’s Winnipeg office at 1-866-745-2256 to apply over the telephone. “Our experienced team make it easy for new customers to apply,” says Gallant. Farmers can also download an application form at CCGA’s website or existing customers can soon use the new online application system directly accessible from their online account.

For farmers who have short-term financing needs, CCGA will continue processing applications for the 2018-19 cash advance program through March. The final date CCGA can issue an advance under the current program is March 31, 2019.

CCGA represents canola farmers on national and international issues, policies and programs that impact farm profitability, and has been administrator of the Government of Canada’s Advance Payments Program since 1984.

Enhancing farm safety in Alberta

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Last year more than 125 communities and organizations used resources from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Farm Safety Program to deliver important messages on farm safety to Albertans.

The Alberta Farm Safety Program provides easy access to services and over 60 informational tools and resources for farms and organizations to promote farm safety awareness and education. Much of it is available online and all of it is free.

“The program’s website is full of farm safety information with access to services, displays and resources,” says Kenda Lubeck, farm safety awareness coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “From there you can browse through seasonal news articles, displays and activities, information on regulations that impact farmers, as well as tools and educational resources to help plan for worker safety.”

The Farm Safety Program also administers the Farm Health and Safety Producer Grant. This grant is available to help agricultural producers with paid, non-family workers to meet the new Occupational Health and Safety requirements. Eligible expenses for this grant include things like education and training, health and safety equipment, and safety consultant or contractor services.

One of the most-used features of the Alberta Farm Safety Program is event coaching and planning assistance for community groups eager to organize an educational event. Coaching from a farm safety coordinator is supported by resources, including a step-by-step guide Planning a Farm Safety Day Camp, designed so that organizers can customize their own safety days.

“We listen to the needs of the community, assess their available resources and then align them with relevant topics and event logistics,” says Lubeck. “This helps the group run a successful event that meets the needs of the community and is sustainable for years to come.”

The program has developed a vibrant and practical suite of safety resources designed for children, youth and young farm workers. There are over 15 topic-specific interactive displays accompanied by an assortment of activity booklets, safety decals, and fun farm safety activities. Children and youth can also subscribe to twice-yearly newsletters, Kids Club (ages 3- 8) and Safety Wranglers (ages 9-14), where they learn interesting facts and age-appropriate ways to stay safe on their family farm.

Another feature of the program is the Farm Safety Online Directory found on the website. The directory lists over 55 businesses or individuals offering expertise and services related to farm safety. The listings are categorized by areas of knowledge, regions covered in Alberta and services offered.

Lubeck says the online directory is a great resource for those seeking professional safety services, educational speakers and resources, or safety products. She adds, “If you are a safety professional or business, and you offer services to the agriculture industry, you can post your own listing on this page for free.”

For more information or to sign up for the farm safety newsletter contact the Alberta Farm Safety Program via email at [email protected], or visit the website at www.agriculture.alberta.ca/farmsafety.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Farmers Seeking Class 1 Driver’s Licences Can Apply For One-Year Exemption From New MELT Program

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Team Alberta is pleased that Transportation Minister Brian Mason has heard farmers’ concerns and will be allowing agricultural workers to apply for a one-year exemption from the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) as part of the new Class 1 driver’s licence regulations. The new rules are set to come into effect on March 1, 2019.

Understanding that the March 1 timing of the new rules could have significantly impacted many farmers’ ability to hire properly trained and licensed drivers prior to seeding the 2019 crop, the Government of Alberta has proposed the extension to address these concerns in the short-term.

Team Alberta agrees that proper training is important to improve the safety of our roads. However, the unintended consequences of the March 1 timing for the MELT program are concerning to farmers who are dependent on seasonal labour for seeding this year’s crop. MELT requires over 100 hours of training, and the current capacity to administer the program will take time to ramp up to meet the surge in demand across the province.

“This is extremely good news for farmers,” says, Kevin Serfas, Alberta Canola Vice-Chair. “By accommodating the agriculture industry’s unique needs, we’ve avoided significant challenges that would have hurt our ability to seed this year’s crop. We appreciate the Ministry’s support on this issue.”

“Safety has always been the number one priority on my farm,” says Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair. “We appreciate that the Department of Transportation recognizes that we can have safer roads without compromising farmers’ ability to get our crop in.”

“In many instances, farmers were finding it impossible to access current services to obtain a Class 1 licence under the current rules,” says, Gary Stanford, Alberta Wheat Commission Chair. “This gives us some breathing room when the new regulations come into effect and time to discuss the implications of this policy on the agriculture industry.”

Following this news, Team Alberta and other members of the agricultural industry will be having a technical meeting with the Deputy Minister of Transportation to develop the industry’s path forward with the Class 1 Licence. Team Alberta looks forward to communicating additional details to farmers as they become available. Further information from the Government of Alberta can be found here.

“We appreciate the government working with us to ensure we can avoid skilled labour shortages while keeping our roads safe,” says Don Shepert, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair. “We will keep farmers updated as this file progresses.”

Alberta wheat farmers and the SR&ED tax credit

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Wheat farmers paying the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) check-off are eligible for a tax credit through the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) program for their investment in AWC funded research and development (R&D) projects. The rate for the 2018 tax year is 17 per cent.

AWC-funded research focuses on genetic and agronomic improvements aimed at improving the long-term profitability of Alberta’s wheat producers.

The federal SR&ED program encourages R&D investment through tax-based incentives, giving claimants tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work. The tax credit percentage is based on the amount invested in R&D that meets the criteria laid out by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Farm individuals should use form T2038 (IND) to claim this credit when filing their taxes while farm corporations must use form T2SCH31.

For more information, contact the Canada Revenue Agency directly, or visit the CRA website.

Producers who have requested a refund of their check-off are not eligible for the tax credit.

Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Farmers’ Markets And Food Regulations Webinar

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Learn the ins and out of food regulations as they apply to Alberta approved farmers’ markets during a free webinar on March 13, 2019.

Alberta Health Services will share the requirements vendors need to meet to sell food products at these farmers’ markets. Participants will also learn the difference between Alberta approved farmers’ markets and other public markets, as well as what can and cannot be sold. The webinar will also cover how to safely display product and the requirements for sampling.

Register for Alberta Health Services Food Regulations for Farmers’ Markets on Wednesday, March 13, from 9 to 10 a.m.

Source: Government of Alberta

Crop Varieties Factsheets Now Available

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Three crop varieties factsheets have been published to help producers make sound decisions when deciding which varieties to grow.

“The factsheet Varieties of cereal and oilseed crops for Alberta provides information on cereal and oilseed variety performance within Alberta and northeastern British Columbia,” says Alex Fedko, crop research technologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Important agronomic characteristics and disease resistance information are provided for varieties of wheat, barley, oat, rye, triticale, flax and canola.”

Varieties of pulse crops for Alberta provides information on pulse variety performance within Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Important agronomic characteristics and disease resistance information are provided for varieties of field pea, chickpea, lentil, faba bean, dry bean and soybean.

“An important component of the annual feed supply for Alberta’s cattle producers comes in the form of silage, green feed and swath grazing,” says Fedko. “As evidenced in Silage varieties for Alberta, the selection of varieties that produce the highest forage yield and/or nutritional quality becomes increasingly important.”

View a listing of all the crops publications here. Hard copies of the factsheets are available to Alberta residents by using the online order form or by calling 780-427-0391.

Source: Government of Alberta