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Sep 27

Alberta Barley hires Tom Steve as Interim General Manager, Alberta Wheat and Barley undergo trial period operating with a shared management structure

Posted on Sep 27 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) September 27, 2017 – Alberta Barley is pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Steve as interim general manager effective immediately. Steve currently serves as general manager of the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and will continue in this role as well.

With Steve now leading both commissions, the boards of AWC and Alberta Barley have approved a project to assess the feasibility of amalgamating their management teams over a four-month trial period. The move is aimed at streamlining the commissions’ collaborative relationship and increasing efficiencies that will better serve Alberta’s wheat and barley farmers.

“Our board saw this as an excellent opportunity to leverage the strong working relationship we have with the Alberta Wheat Commission,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “By exploring the idea of a single management team, we hope to identify ways to provide greater value to the province’s wheat and barley farmers.”

Alberta Barley and AWC already share office space as well as accounting and administrative staff, making this move a logical next step in further building the working relationship between the two commissions.

“Since our inception in 2012 we have collaborated with Alberta Barley on projects that serve both crops,” said Kevin Auch, AWC Chair. “With a shared management structure, we believe we can operate with maximum efficiency and provide the best possible return on investment to farmers.”

Following the trial period in early 2018, the two boards will determine whether they will formalize an integrated management structure operating under one general manager and reporting to both boards. Alberta Barley and AWC look forward to reporting on the results of the trial period and sharing next steps with farmers.

The general manager position at Alberta Barley has been vacant since Rob Davies left the commission on September 6, 2017.

Media Contacts:

Victoria Russell
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat Commission
vrussell@albertawheat.com
403-219-7906

Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Barley
ecottee@albertabarley.com
403-219-7914

Sep 26

Get involved: Alberta Barley elections include 16 available positions

Posted on Sep 26 By: Ellen Cottee

Sept. 26, 2017 (Calgary, AB) Nominations are now being accepted for Alberta Barley’s 2017 director and delegate elections.

There are 16 positions available, including two directors (regions one and two) and one director-at-large (regions one, three, four or six). Thirteen spots are available for delegates with at least one opening in each of the Alberta Barley electoral regions.

“Alberta Barley does great work advocating on behalf of producers, and these elections are an opportunity to be involved in that work,” 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. “Volunteering your time as a delegate or director is an effective way to make a difference in the industry.”

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 ecottee@albertabarley.com on or before Oct. 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Votes for any  director-at-large will be cast at all six regional meetings, tabulated and then announced at the Alberta Barley AGM, Dec. 6 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, according to Section 17 of the Alberta Barley Plan Regulation. A director-at-large position allows a farmer to be eligible by having grown barley in any area of Alberta.

The following delegates are up for re-election. Delegates serve two-year terms with Alberta Barley.

Region 1 – Brian Witdouck, Brad Berger

Region 2 – Wade Christie, Shawn Gorr

Region 3 – Brad Wiese, Kevin Bender, Harold Haugen, Wade McAllister, Dick Wymenga, Trevor Petersen

Region 4 – Clint Jacula

Region 5 – Peter Smerychynski

Region 6 – Brent Konstapel

There are two directors and one director-at-large up for re-election. Directors and directors-at-large serve three-year terms with Alberta Barley.

Region 1, 3, 4 or 6 – Terry James (director-at-large)

Region 1 – Dave Bishop (director) 

Region 2 – Jeff Nielsen (director)

Click here for the director nomination form.

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

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator
403-219-7914
ecottee@albertabarley.com

Sep 6

CMBTC to Receive Continued Funding from Prairie Barley Commissions

Posted on Sep 6 By: Ellen Cottee

September 6, 2017 – Winnipeg, MB The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) announced today it will continue to receive funding from Alberta Barley, the Manitoba Wheat & Barley Growers Association (MWBGA) and the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) to support its operations serving Canada’s malting barley value chain.

The announcement comes after the July 31 conclusion of the Western Canadian Deduction (WCD) check-off, which provided the CMBTC with $0.03 per tonne of barley delivered to Canadian Grain Commission licensed companies over the past five years.

The three provincial barley associations have taken over the collection and administration of the check-off for their respective provinces and committed to continue supporting the valued work the CMBTC provides to prairie farmers.

“One of our main goals at SaskBarley is to strengthen the competitiveness of Saskatchewan’s barley industry and the CMBTC supports this goal by facilitating programs that aim to commercialize Canadian malting barley,” says Jason Skotheim, SaskBarley Board Chair.

“The MWBGA is pleased to partner with SaskBarley and Alberta Barley to provide core funding to the CMBTC,” says Fred Greig, MWBGA Board Chair. “The CMBTC is a leader in providing market support, technical services and training to the malting barley value chain and its customers, with the goal of improving net returns for Manitoba and Canadian barley farmers.”

“Alberta Barley recognizes the value of the CMBTC’s expertise in malting and brewing, and their work to help create and sustain markets for Alberta’s malting barley farmers,” says Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Board Chair. “It’s part of the Canadian quality brand recognized by our international customers.”

Canada is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of malting barley and malt, with combined domestic and international sales revenues of $1 billion annually.

“Continued funding from farmers will support the CMBTC’s operations, including our work to introduce promising new varieties to our domestic and international customers,” says Peter Watts, Managing Director of the CMBTC. “With improved yield and disease resistance, and equal or better quality than existing varieties, the new lines will create value for farmers and help make malting barley an attractive crop to grow.”

For more information, please contact:

Peter Watts
Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre Managing Director
204-983-1981
pwatts@cmbtc.com
www.cmbtc.com

Jason Lenz
Alberta Barley Chair
403-358-8876
jlenz@albertabarley.com
www.albertabarley.com

Pam de Rocquigny
Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association General Manager
204-745-6661
pam@mbwheatandbarley.ca
www.mbwheatandbarley.ca

Delaney Seiferling
SaskBarley Communications Manager
306-321-7533
dseiferling@saskbarleycommission.com
www.saskbarleycommission.com

About the CMBTC

Founded in 2000, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre supports the commercialization of Canadian malting barley and malt through applied malting and brewing research and technical support to members and customers. The CMBTC is a national, independent, non-profit organization with funding provided by members of the malting barley, malt and brewing industries, farmers, and provincial and federal governments.

Aug 21

Re-evaluation of Lambda-cyhalothrin

Posted on Aug 21 By: Ellen Cottee

Recently, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada has proposed a re-evaluation decision for Lambda-cyhalothrin (most commonly known as Matador) which would see the cancellation of use of the product for all food and feed commodities as well as indoor residential application.

Grain Growers of Canada has provided a template letter which will allow farmers to express comments and concerns to the PMRA as part of the official consultation and amplify our industry’s collective voice.

We encourage you to visit the GGC website to access the template letter and submission information. The deadline for submission is close of business Sept. 21, 2017.

If you have any questions please contact GGC’s Public Affairs Manager Lindsey Ehman directly.

Jun 29

Connecting the value chain from farm to fork: National EFP Summit will take place again this November

Posted on Jun 29 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) June 29, 2017 – As a member of The National Environmental Farm Plan (NEFP) steering committee, Alberta Barley invites Agri-food stakeholders from across the value chain to attend the second annual NEFP Summit in Ottawa this November. Building on unprecedented support from last year’s summit, attendees will further develop this national standard designed to connect environmentally sustainable practices at the farm level with global food buyers’ growing need to source sustainable ingredients.

The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary, whole-farm, self-assessment tool that helps farmers and ranchers identify and build on environmental strengths, as well as mitigate risks on their operations. The NEFP would not be a replacement program, but rather a harmonization effort across the existing EFP programs nationwide. Through a producer-driven national standard, the NEFP will be able to ensure consistency for buyers, regardless of where in Canada they source their products.

“The EFP has been a well-received and valuable tool for producers who have completed it,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley chair and member of the NEFP steering, verification and communications committees. “This initiative indicates producers want to demonstrate the environmental practices they already have in place, and are continuously looking to improve these efforts on their farms.”

The 2017 National EFP Summit will bring stakeholders together once again to learn about the NEFP steering committee’s progress and participate in valuable conversations that will further guide the national harmonization effort.

“The NEFP builds on the EFP’s more than 20 years of success within the farm and ranch community,” said Erin Gowriluk, NEFP Summit Chair and Policy and Government Relations Manager with the Alberta Wheat Commission. “The credibility of the EFP program has already attracted several major buyers. But the national standard will lay the groundwork for consistent sourcing from coast-to-coast while ensuring that the process continues to be driven by producers.”

The NEFP is well underway with work being led by a steering committee made up of stakeholders representing the entire agri-food value chain. Four sub committees are working toward developing a national protocol as it relates to data collection, standards and verification, all of which will be supported through comprehensive communications and stakeholder outreach. National EFP Summit attendees will hear from each committee, along with subject matter experts, about the progress to-date. These updates will serve to start a dialogue amongst attendees that will further guide this national standard.

Stakeholders can learn more about the NEFP and register for the 2017 National EFP Summit by visiting www.nationalefp.ca.The NEFP is always welcoming new stakeholders to become involved in shaping this made-in-Canada solution. Interested organizations should contact co-chairs Drew Black or Paul Watson.  Visit www.nationalefp.ca to view stakeholders currently involved.

Media Contact:
Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator
403-219-7914
ecottee@albertabarley.com

Jun 20

Alberta Barley urges farmers to participate in Federal Government Consultations for A Food Policy for Canada

Posted on Jun 20 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) June 20, 2017– Alberta Barley is urging farmers to participate in online consultations for the Government of Canada’s A Food Policy for Canada. As primary producers of Canada’s food supply, farmer input will be integral in developing this new policy that aims to address issues related to the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food.

Establishing a national food policy is a priority that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined to Canada’s Agricultural and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, in a 2015 mandate letter. In response, MacAulay announced May 29, 2017 that the Government of Canada will consult with all Canadians to support the development of A Food Policy for Canada.

“We are pleased to see the federal government engaging with stakeholders across the food industry,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley chair. “The input of farmers in particular will add perspective to this complex policy objective.”

A Food Policy for Canada will be the first of its kind for the Government of Canada and will, in part, explore the agriculture industry’s relationship to food. This includes producers’ commitment to conserving soil, water and air and growing high-quality food.

“Providing feedback on our use of environmentally sustainable practices, as well as the ability to adapt to changing conditions, will show the federal government our contribution to the long-term, reliable and abundant supply of safe, healthy food,” Lenz said.

The online consultation is the first of a number of engagement activities planned with a wide range of participants to inform the development of a food policy.

As primary producers at the beginning of Canada’s food value chain, it is important that individual farmers make their voices heard by participating in the online survey by July 27, 2017. Alberta Barley will be engaged in the consultation process and will see this as a policy priority in the coming months.

Media Contact:
Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator
403-219-7914
ecottee@albertabarley.com

Jun 8

Making the Grade expands to two locations for 2017

Posted on Jun 8 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) June 8, 2017 – Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC), Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Pulse Growers (APG) once again invite producers to a hands-on grain grading workshop following last year’s highly successful event.

This year, Making the Grade has grown to include two locations. Hosted at the Beaverlodge Research Station July 25 and Olds College July 27, each event will include sessions from experienced industry speakers on barley, canola, pulse and wheat grading.

“Making the Grade is a valuable tool in addressing knowledge gaps in grain grading,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley chair and regional representative for AWC. “Expanding to two locations will allow more producers the opportunity to learn about the importance of grain grading and factors affecting quality.”

Producers will participate in hands-on grading workshops for barley, canola, wheat and pulses. Speakers, representing organizations including the Canadian Grains Commission, the Canadian International Grains Institute and the Canola Council of Canada, will guide participants through the details of grading parameters and practices. As well, representatives from Rahr Malting and SGS will be speaking.

Grading for all crops – barley canola, pulse and wheat – is an important part of producers’ bottom line.

Space is limited and early registration is encouraged. Early bird registration is $75 until July 11 and $100 after that until tickets are sold out. Complete registration information and details are available on each host commission’s website.

Media Contact:
Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Barley
403-219-7914
ecottee@albertabarley.com

May 29

Team Alberta urges federal government to retain deferred cash purchase ticket option for farmers

Posted on May 29 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) May 29, 2017 – Team Alberta is warning the federal government of serious financial consequences to farmers if they lose the ability to use deferred cash tickets to manage wide variations in their income.

The potential end of the cash ticket deferral system was included unexpectedly as part of the federal government’s Budget 2017. Team Alberta’s submission to the federal finance department’s consultation process summarizes the specific necessity and utility of this tool in farmers’ business planning strategies and tax management.

“We believe that the government has overlooked the severe impact that farmers would face if this tool was no longer available,” said Kevin Auch, Alberta Wheat Commission Chair. “Farmers operate with a high degree of income volatility due to factors beyond our control and the cash ticket deferral mechanism allows us to manage risk and balance our income to ensure we can still remain profitable.”

The government maintains that the cash ticket deferral mechanism is out-dated since the single desk was dismantled in 2012. But Team Alberta points out that farmers have been exposed to the same income volatility regardless of the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) status, facing many of the same risks they did when the mechanism was first introduced in 1973. Data from the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) indicates that the percentage of cash tickets deferred annually has remained fairly stable throughout and following the end of the CWB’s monopoly.

Team Alberta further points out that removing this management tool could hamper Canada’s ability to increase agri-food exports from $55 to 75 billion per year by 2025 as outlined in the recent federal budget.

“Canada’s agriculture industry is poised and ready to meet these targets,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “But we will only be able to meet them if the government works with farmers to eliminate barriers that impede growth.”

Team Alberta’s submission provides examples from accounting firm MNP LLP that demonstrate impact on farm businesses – whether partnerships, sole proprietors, or corporate family farms. The information from MNP shows that removal of the deferral option will have a disproportionate and negative impact on farm operations relative to non-farm Canadian businesses of similar sizes.

“The existing policy allowing for deferral of cash tickets is an important tool in ensuring that farm operations, whatever their business structure, are treated fairly relative to other Canadian businesses,” said Greg Sears, Alberta Canola Chair.

D’Arcy Hilgartner, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair said: “We have a responsibility as a country to ensure that our farmers remain profitable and sustainable. The consequences of this proposed policy change would be dire for many Canadian farmers and severely limit the sector’s ability to meet growth objectives.”

Team Alberta’s submission can be viewed online here. 

Media Contacts:

Victoria Russell
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat Commission
(403) 219-7906
vrussell@albertawheat.com

Trevor Bacque
Communications Manager
Alberta Barley
(403) 219-6266
tbacque@albertabarley.com

Megan Madden
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Canola Producers Commission
(780) 454-0844
megan@albertacanola.com

Rachel Peterson
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Pulse Growers Commission
(780) 986-9398
rpeterson@pulse.ab.ca

May 16

Transport Canada comes through for western Canadian farmers with historic announcement

Posted on May 16 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, AB) May 16, 2017: Alberta Barley is thanking the federal government and Transport Minister Marc Garneau today for its commitment to farmers through the tabling of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act which seeks to amend  the Canada Transportation Act.

Details emerged this morning from Transport Canada on the proposed legislation, which will introduce multiple benefits for western Canadian farmers, including the right for shippers to seek reciprocal penalties in service agreements with railways, to bring balance and accountability to those responsible for service failures.

“Today’s announcement is fantastic news, we feel like we’ve been heard and we’re glad the government is taking our concerns seriously,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley chair. “While we have yet to fully analyze the proposed legislation, we are cautiously optimistic that with the introduction of reciprocal penalties this is the beginning of a balanced transportation system for Western Canada’s farmers.”

Lenz said that Alberta Barley has been working on grain transportation issues with government, especially since the 2013 bumper crop, when widespread system failures plagued farmers and shippers as grains were not delivered on time to their market destinations.

Min. Garneau also announced an updated definition of “adequate and suitable” service, which most feel is both lacking and long overdue, as well as introducing a new mechanism, Long Haul Interswitching, and continuous data tracking on rates, service and performance.

“If the Transportation Modernization Act is implemented properly, it could revolutionize the movement of goods in our sector,” said Lenz, adding the accountability that appears to be coming for railways will benefit Western Canada’s grain farmers.

For more information, contact:
Trevor Bacque
Alberta Barley Communications Manager
(403) 219-6266
tbacque@albertabarley.com

Apr 27

Grain Commission should scrap user fees in 2018 to reduce surplus

Posted on Apr 27 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) April 27, 2017 – Alberta Barley is asking the Canadian Grain Commission to reduce user fees to $0 for the 2018 crop year in order to start balancing the books from the over $107 million being carried in the CGC revolving fund.

To reduce further growth of the surplus, the CGC has now proposed a reduction in weighing and inspection fees for ships from $1.86 to $1.42/MT, effective Aug. 1, 2017. This proposal is now being vetted in the Canada Gazette. While any reduction is a good step, Alberta Barley would have preferred an immediate temporary elimination of fees in order to more quickly return the excess fees accumulated since August 2013 to the marketplace, and therefore to farmers who ultimately bear the cost.

While Alberta Barley recognizes that a $1.42/MT fee will likely be in place effective Aug. 1, 2017, a one year fee elimination in 2018 would address some concerns of its members. With an operating budget of about $60 million, the CGC will have more than enough in the revolving fund to operate for a year’s time.

“Even though it’s impossible to return every penny of the previous overcharges, we believe this solution is the best case scenario given the circumstances,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley chair. “The reduction to $1.42 will allow the CGC to slow the accumulation of surplus user fees, which is a good first step.”

The CGC began public consultation March 1, 2017, on what to do with its surplus, estimated at $107 million as of September 2016. The current fee schedule is set to expire April 1, 2018. There is also a simultaneous consultation on a new fee schedule to go into effect at that time.

The User Fees Act indicates that user fees should only be used to cover the cost of providing the service for which they are being charged. It appears a one-year fee suspension is the fairest way to return a portion of the accumulated surplus to the industry, and therefore producers who were effectively overcharged.

For more information, contact:

Trevor Bacque
Communications Manager
403-219-6266
tbacque@albertabarley.com

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