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Jan 14

Alberta Barley announces funding for new research projects aimed at increasing farm profitability

Posted on Jan 14 By: Victoria Decker

Alberta Barley announces funding for new research projects aimed at increasing farm profitability

Alberta Barley is announcing $899,664 in funding for eight new research projects that will improve farm-gate returns through improved disease and crop management, variety development, feed barley promotion, and enhanced malting and brewing performance.

Alberta Barley’s investment is part of the National Barley Research Cluster, a component of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriScience program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. This five-year federal initiative totals $10.2 million in combined government and industry funds and aims to strengthen barley competitiveness while meeting the needs of Canada’s global customers.

Barley Cluster funding was announced this morning by federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay at a press conference in Saskatoon.

Farmers can look forward to Alberta Barley-funded projects that will provide new in-crop management strategies to reduce fusarium head blight, new information to strengthen nitrogen use efficiency for malt barley, and work aimed at enhancing the competitive value of feed barley – among a wide range of additional leading-edge projects. Alberta Barley will also be coordinating with other funders and researchers on an enhanced knowledge transfer plan.

“This funding is significant,” says Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair. “There is a lot of untapped potential in growing barley and each of these projects drives at improving performance, competitiveness and sustainability.”

Alberta Barley’s funding through the barley cluster is being administered by the Barley Council of Canada (BCC) alongside additional funding from SaskBarley, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA), the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute (BMBRI), the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA)and the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF).

Project titles and funding amounts are included in the backgrounder below. For more information on Alberta Barley-funded research, visit www.albertabarley.com.

Media Contact
Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
vdecker@albertawheatbarley.com
403-219-7906

Jan 14

Cereal commissions call for changes in value creation consultations

Posted on Jan 14 By: Victoria Decker

Cereal commissions call for changes in value creation consultations

(Calgary, Alberta) January 14, 2019 – Western Canadian cereal commissions including the barley, oat and wheat commissions from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are calling for major changes in the Government of Canada’s current consultation process on value creation. In a letter to federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay, the commissions say the likelihood of an industry wide agreement on either of the proposed models is low and are asking for more consultation including consideration of other options. Further consultations must focus on engaging producers with a new value proposition.

The two models include end point royalties and trailing royalties for wheat, oat and barley seed. Producers provided significant input on these models during recent consultation meetings and the majority of producers were not in favour. Producers put forward alternative options that must be included in further consultations.

The commissions agree that there is a need to maintain, sustain and grow research and have been involved in value creation discussions through the Grains Round Table (GRT). However, the GRT has not approved these two models and had requested that AAFC conduct an economic analysis of the two options prior to any farmer consultations. To-date, this analysis has not been done making it impossible for producers to make an informed decision on a path forward. The commissions say the government must put the time and due diligence into this issue to ensure the results are in the best interests of producers.

Canada has a strong public plant breeding system that currently integrates government and producer funding. All cereal commissions in Western Canada recognize the importance of variety development through public plant breeding programs and provide funding for variety development through provincially regulated levies that are mandatory, yet refundable to producers.

The joint letter can be viewed here. Further information on value creation and the proposed models can be viewed at www.albertawheat.com, www.albertabarley.com, www.saskwheat.ca, saskbarleycommission.com, www.mbwheatandbarley.ca, www.poga.ca.

Media contacts: 

Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
vdecker@albertawheatbarley.com
403-219-7906

Sask Wheat
Dallas Carpenter
Communications Manager
Dallas.carpenter@saskwheat.ca
306-220-7003

SaskBarley
Delaney Seiferling
Communications Manager
dseiferling@saskbarleycommission.com
306-250-1099

Manitoba Wheat and Barley
Kate Rodger
Communications Coordinator
kate@mbwheatandbarley.ca
204-807-1912

Prairie Oat Growers Association
Shawna Mathieson
Executive Director
smathieson@poga.ca
306-530-8545

 Backgrounder

Under the federal government’s consultation, AAFC and CFIA have proposed two models for evaluation.

Both these proposed models have the potential to have a large financial impact on producers. Given the lack of detail presented by AAFC and CFIA it is impossible to quantify the impact to producers at this point. It is important to note that these models are not the only options for future funding of variety development.

Dec 13

Alberta Barley announces new board leadership, new director-at-large and several new delegates

Posted on Dec 13 By: Victoria Decker

Following yesterday’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Prairie Cereals Summit in Banff, Alberta Barley is pleased to announce new leadership on its board of directors. Dave Bishop was elected as Chair and Bryan Sewell was elected as Vice-Chair. Alberta Barley also welcomes Wade McAllister as director-at-large, filling the final opening on the board of directors.

Bishop, who farms near Barons and has served as a director since 2015, takes over the chair role from Jason Lenz. Lenz served as a director since 2014 with the most recent two years as Chair. Lenz made the decision to step down from the chair role and will serve the final year of his commitment to Alberta Barley as a director. Sewell has served as a director since 2016 and farms near High River and McAllister farms near Innisfail and joins the board after serving as a delegate since 2016.

“As a farmer I see the direct farm-gate value and results that Alberta Barley delivers,” said Bishop. There is so much opportunity brewing in the barley sector and as a board we’re leveraging that to ensure barley remains a top choice for farmers and end-users alike. I’m honoured to take over this position from Jason Lenz and continue building on the vision he’s been leading to see these opportunities through for farmers.”

“In passing the torch to Dave Bishop, I’m confident he’ll bring the leadership needed to ensure Alberta Barley continues to add value to your farm,” said Lenz. “Our board knows the importance of board succession planning and we felt it was necessary to give a new Chairman the opportunity to serve for at least two years. It’s been an honour to serve barley farmer as Chair and I look forward to carrying out my final year as a director.”

Following its regional meetings that took place across the province throughout November, Alberta Barley welcomes several new delegates who join a number of delegates who were re-elected:

  • Region 1: Sean Stanford (new delegate: must be appointed by the board), Greg Stamp (re-elected)
  • Region 2: Kenton Ziegler, Doug McBain, Doug Miller, Doug Robertson, John McBain, Jamie Christie (John McBain is a new delegate, all others are re-elected)
  • Region 4: John Wozniak, Gordon Tuck, Bernie Klammer, Scott Keller (Scott Keller is a new delegate, all others are re-elected)
  • Region 5: Dean Wiegand (new delegate: must be appointed by board)
  • Region 6: Aaron Young (new delegate) Gerald Finster (re-elected)

Farmers who may be interested in joining Alberta Barley as a director or delegate in future years should contact the leadership in their regions which can be found on www.albertabarley.com.

Media Contact:
Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
vdecker@albertawheatbarley.com 
403-813-6956

Nov 1

Alberta Barley announces region 5 and 6 directorship results and open governance positions

Posted on Nov 1 By: Victoria Decker

(Calgary, Alberta) November 1, 2018 – Following yesterday’s nomination deadline, Alberta Barley is announcing the results of the region 5 and 6 director nomination process, along with open positions within Alberta Barley’s governance structure.

Alberta Barley’s region 5 director will be Shane Debock while the region 6 director is Brent Konstapel. Both Debock and Konstapel will step into these roles by acclamation. Debock has previously served as director-at-large, while Konstapel continues his role following one year on the board. Debock farms in the Barrhead area and Konstapel farms near Spirit River.

As of October 31, one director-at-large position with Alberta Barley remains open. Brian Sewell from region 2 and Terry James from region 4 hold two of the three director-at-large positions. Since there cannot be more than one director-at-large representing a region, the unclaimed position is eligible for nomination from regions 1, 3, 5, or 6.

Nomination forms for the director-at-large position can be submitted before Alberta Barley’s AGM in Banff on December 12. Barley farmers attending the AGM can also nominate a peer for the role during the meeting. For more information on the Prairie Cereals Summit and the Alberta Barley AGM in Banff, click here.

Upon the commission’s regional delegate reallocation, 22 Alberta Barley delegate positions are available. Barley farmers attending Next Level Farming events in their regions can nominate one of their peers for a delegate role. Dates and locations for Next Level Farming events can be found here.

The following regions have delegate positions open for nomination:

Region
Number of Delegate Positions Open
1 4
2 6
4 4
5 4
6 4
Alberta Barley’s region map can be found here.

Barley farmers are encouraged to attend their Next Level Farming event in their region and contribute to Alberta Barley’s governance process. To be eligible to nominate for the director-at-large position or delegate positions, farmers must have grown and sold barley and paid the service charge within the last three crop years. All positions will take effect following Alberta Barley’s AGM.

Media Contact:
Erin Tateson
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
403-219-7902
etateson@albertawheatbarley.com

Oct 11

Team Alberta providing input to government to help farmers deal with over $3 billion in unharvested crops

Posted on Oct 11 By: Victoria Decker


Team Alberta is alerting Alberta Agriculture and Forestry officials to over $3 billion in crops that remain in the field to ensure government agencies are prepared to respond promptly to unharvested acre claims and consider all options to help farmers deal with a difficult harvest.

“The conditions at this point in the fall are worse this year than in 2016 when weather caused many acres to remain unharvested in Alberta,” said D’Arcy Hilgartner, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair. “Team Alberta is working to help ease the burden on farmers by initiating proactive discussions with government officials who are in a position to help farmers.”

As of Oct. 10, it was estimated that the amount of harvest completed for Alberta’s major crops included: 26% of canola, 57% of wheat, 57% of barley and 34% of pulses, with approximately 7.8 million acres unharvested overall.

“Farmers need an early and clear indication of what the next steps might be in dealing with severely downgraded and high moisture crops,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) needs to make prompt decisions to deal with claims and communicate information to farmers in a timely manner.”

Many of the crops are being harvested wet, which is testing growers’ abilities to dry product to retain some quality considering the challenging situation and also adds additional production costs.

“For growers who have access to grain drying or aeration equipment, there is an additional cost to use of those tools that would not be as prevalent in drier conditions,” said Renn Breitkreuz, Alberta Canola Chair “To add to the problems of farmers without grain dryers, some grain buyers with drying capacity have reportedly stopped accepting grain as they are at capacity.”

“Much of the wheat crop left in the field will be downgraded to feed, even after drying, resulting in losses of up to $240 million from milling quality,” said Kevin Bender, Alberta Wheat Commission Chair. “We remain hopeful farmers can get back to harvesting soon but 2018 will be a major hit to the bottom line.”

Meanwhile, Team Alberta wants to also share resources available to help producers deal with the challenging harvest.

Team Alberta wants to remind our fellow producers that we are in this together. Harvest is usually a stressful time for farmers, but the stress is compounded this year by the pressure of not knowing when or if the crop can be combined since snow started falling in early September.

Resources available to farmers to help manage the added stress include Six Things You Can Do To Stay Resilient This Harvest Season at Domore.ag, and the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

Media contacts:

Rachel Peterson
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Pulse Growers
rpeterson@albertapulse.com
780-986-9398 ext. 108

Michelle Chunyua
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Canola
michelle@albertacanola.com
780-224-7970

Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
vdecker@albertawheat.com
403-219-7906

Oct 4

USMCA means continued access to the U.S. and Mexico for Canada’s wheat and barley farmers

Posted on Oct 4 By: Victoria Decker

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley are pleased to see the successful conclusion of a new United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA), securing continued access for Canadian wheat and barley to the U.S. market – the largest export market for Canadian wheat and the second largest market for Canadian barley.

The agreement replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

For Canada’s wheat and barley farmers, the news is significant. Together, the U.S. and Mexico account for roughly 15 per cent of total Canadian wheat exports. Total Canadian wheat exports to the U.S. are 2.3 million tonnes per year, Canada’s largest export market. Canadian wheat exports to Mexico are roughly 950 thousand tonnes per year. Total Canadian barley exports to the U.S. are roughly 183,000 tonnes per year, making the U.S. Canada’s second largest export market after China.

The commissions thank Minister Chrystia Freeland for her leadership throughout the renegotiation of NAFTA and also thank Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay for his commitment to the needs of Canada’s grain farmers.

“About 90 per cent of American wheat imports are grown on Canadian farms, making Canada the dominant supplier,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “Maintaining access through NAFTA gives Canada a continued edge over our competitors which is very good news.”

“The renewed agreement is excellent news for Canada’s barley farmers,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “With a continued open border between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, we are extremely appreciative to both Minister Freeland and MacAulay for recognizing the needs of farmers who rely on exports.”

The commissions look forward to reviewing the full details of the agreement which includes retention of the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism and measures to address U.S. concerns over grading of U.S. wheat in Canada.

Media contact:
Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
vdecker@albertawheat.com
403-219-7906

Oct 4

Team Alberta says PMRA’s proposed cancellation of Strychnine could cause severe economic consequences for farmers in controlling gopher populations

Posted on Oct 4 By: Victoria Decker

With the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) proposing the complete cancellation of Strychnine for its use in controlling Richardson’s Ground Squirrel (gopher) populations, Team Alberta says farmers must be able to retain access to this product since there are currently no safe or effective alternatives to protect crops from damage. Severe gopher outbreaks could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop damages to farms. Team Alberta is also calling for a long-term integrated pest management strategy to be in place prior to a final decision being made.

Team Alberta outlined its concerns and made several recommendations in a submission to the PMRA’s 90-day consultation for proposed re-revaluations of several products. Team Alberta recommends: 1) a long-term integrated pest management strategy to control the pests be developed prior to any final decisions from the PMRA, 2) the proposed decision be reconsidered taking into account all available scientific research and be based on peer-reviewed science, and 3) the PMRA should study the effectiveness and safety of alternative chemical options.

“Gophers are a common problem across Alberta and Saskatchewan, and have the potential to cause substantial economic losses, especially in drier years,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair.

“It’s absolutely imperative that farmers be able to retain the only tools that allow us to quickly gain control of outbreaks,” said Renn Breitkreuz, Alberta Canola Chair.

The PMRA has cancelled liquid concentrate Strychnine for use in gophers on at least two occasions in the past, only to bring in subsequent emergency product registrations to respond to population surges that caused the decimation of crops across the Prairies.

“Past emergency registrations demonstrate that cancellation is not a long-term solution,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “For this reason, one of our recommendations is for the development of a long-term integrated pest management strategy which has been discussed by the PMRA in the past.”

“Not only do farmers find Strychnine effective in protecting their crops, there is no other viable or safer alternative currently available to control severe outbreaks when this product is used according to the label,” said D’Arcy Hilgartner, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair.

Farmers can review the full Team Alberta submission here: PMRA_Strychnine_TeamAB_Submission_Final

Media contacts:

Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
vdecker@albertawheat.com
403-219-7906

Rachel Peterson
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Pulse Growers
rpeterson@albertapulse.com
780-986-9398 ext. 108

Michelle Chunyua
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Canola
michelle@albertacanola.com
780-224-7970

Sep 13

Alberta Barley Call for Nominations for Directors and Delegates

Posted on Sep 13 By: Megan Hall

(Calgary, AB) September 13, 2018 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 bkennedy@albertabarley.com 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.

 For media inquiries, please contact:

Megan Hall
Marketing and Events Coordinator
403-219-7911
mhall@albertabarley.com

Backgrounder

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:  http://www.albertabarley.com/about-us/members/elections/

A map of Alberta Barley’s regions can be found here:http://www.albertabarley.com/regionmap/

 

Aug 1

AWC and Alberta Barley disappointed in CGC decisions on surplus allocation

Posted on Aug 1 By: Victoria Decker

(Calgary, Alberta) August 1, 2018 – The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley are disappointed that the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) has decided to disperse $90 million of its $130 million surplus into numerous special projects and expand its operations rather than reducing service fees for Canadian grain farmers.

While the CGC has indicated it will hold further consultations on how the funds will be allocated, AWC and Alberta Barley are concerned that plans to spend the $90 million surplus have already received approval from the federal government without a detailed plan.

“The surplus is farmers’ money stemming from overcharging for the CGC’s services and should not be spent without a business case and cost-benefit analysis that demonstrates value to Canadian farmers,” said AWC Chair, Kevin Bender. “In today’s announcement the CGC has ignored the advice from numerous groups to use the surplus to reduce costs to farmers.”

Today’s announcement from the CGC states that investments will be devoted to safeguards for producers, grain quality assurance and science and innovation. AWC and Alberta Barley believe that the majority of these programs – if they can be justified – should be funded by the federal government, not Canadian grain farmers.

“In our view, the focus of the CGC should be on an efficient, low-cost grading system that elevates Canadian farmers competitively in the global marketplace,” said Alberta Barley Chair, Jason Lenz. “We question how these expenditures will achieve that and we look forward to making our views known to the CGC and the federal government.”

The CGC began industry stakeholder consultations in early spring of 2017 to determine responsible allocation of the surplus funds. Upon the consultation period closing in May 2017, the CGC received 92 formal written submissions, with the majority of proposals agreeing the surplus funds should directly benefit farmers. During these consultations AWC and Alberta Barley strongly advocated the CGC reduce service fees to farmers for a fixed period of time. The commissions also suggested updates to the CGC’s forecasting methodologies to more accurately reflect grain volumes to alleviate future overcharges and ultimately prevent future surpluses.

The commissions also believe the CGC should move away from its dual role as both a regulator and service provider.  AWC and Alberta Barley believe that all inspection services should be open to competition from private inspection companies and not restricted to the CGC to ensure the best value and lowest costs to farmers.

Media Contact:
Erin Tateson
Marketing Communications Coordinator
Alberta Wheat Commission & Alberta Barley
etateson@albertawheatbarley.com
403-219-7902

Jul 5

The Honourable Gerry Ritz among 2018 nominees to be inducted into Canada’s Agricultural Hall of Fame

Posted on Jul 5 By: Victoria Decker

(Calgary, Alberta) July 5, 2018 –The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), Alberta Barley and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) congratulate the Honourable Gerry Ritz on his induction into Canada’s Agricultural Hall of Fame. The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association honours and commemorates Canadians for their contributions to Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector. The association announced Ritz’s nomination, along with four other nominees yesterday.

The 2018 Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in Toronto, Ontario as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Sunday, November 4, 2018.

Throughout his highly respected 20-year political career, Ritz served as an MP in Saskatchewan for the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding, and was further appointed as federal agriculture minister where he served from 2007 to 2015. During this period Ritz achieved a long-list of worthy accomplishments that contributed to the advancement of the Canadian agriculture industry and developed Canada’s agri-food sector into a dynamic force on a global scale.

“Minister Ritz’s contributions paved the way to a new era in Canada’s grain industry,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. Kevin Bender, AWC Chair added, “Whether it was his efforts in gaining marketing freedom for western Canadian wheat and barley farmers or tirelessly working to expand global market access, Minister Ritz championed key files and put farmers first.”

Understanding the importance of global markets to farmers who produce world-class beef and cattle, Ritz travelled extensively to open, restore or expand market access for Canada’s high-quality cattle and beef products using a science-based approach to trade.

For the beef and hog sectors, Ritz led the battle against U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL). He stood ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with beef producers as Canada pursued all options available to resolve the dispute, including the establishment of a World Trade Organization compliance panel on COOL.

“Minister Ritz’s open and genuine collaboration with the beef industry, asking advice on where he could boost advocacy efforts or outreach efforts on difficult issues, effected positive results that remain appreciated by the industry today,” said CCA President David Haywood-Farmer.

As a joint nomination effort, AWC, Alberta Barley and the CCA would like to thank the numerous groups who submitted letters of support for Minister Ritz’s nomination. The commissions and CCA congratulate the other 2018 inductees into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame: Ted Bilyea, Peter Dhillon, Wilf Keller, and Larry Martin. Thank you for your contributions to agriculture.

Media Contacts:

Erin Tateson
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley
etateson@albertabwheatbarley.com
T 403-219-7902
C 403-501-1029

Gina Teel
Communications Manager
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
teelg@cattle.ca
T 403-275-8558 ext. 306
C 403-875-3616

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