Alberta Barley

menu button

Blog

Blog

Apr 24

Team Alberta calls for immediate provincial government action with unharvested crops

Posted on Apr 24 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) April 24, 2017 – Team Alberta will meet with the province’s agriculture minister and representatives from the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) this Wednesday to request immediate action regarding approximately one million unharvested acres still sitting in farmers’ fields throughout the province.

Team Alberta will continue to recommend that farmers in the hardest hit areas of Alberta be provided with options for removing last year’s crop without having their insurance payout compromised. This recommendation is consistent with the message Team Alberta has carried in discussions with the provincial government throughout the fall and winter of 2016 in anticipation of the spring seeding season.

“In many areas, destroying last year’s crop is the only solution that ensures farmers can seed this year’s crop early enough to avoid fall frost damage,” said Kevin Auch, Alberta Wheat Commission Chair. “We need quick action from the government to ensure farmers avoid a repeat of the circumstances they faced last year.”

The crop insurance program requires that farmers obtain a pre-harvest assessment before putting their crop to another use even though it may not be salvageable. Heavy snowfall over the Easter weekend likely ensured that crops in hardest hit areas will have limited commercial value. Additionally, weather forecasts for this week predict snow in regions throughout the province. Added snowfall will deteriorate conditions even more, making harvest virtually impossible and further jeopardizing the viability of this year’s crop.

“If harvesting simply isn’t an option because of timing and wet conditions, the procedures around crop insurance payouts will need to be adjusted so farmers’ crops aren’t compromised two years in a row,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair.

“Farmers that were hit with more wet weather last week are even worse off since the conditions aren’t conducive to harvesting,” said Greg Sears, Alberta Canola Producers Commission Chair. “With more snowfall predicted this week, the reality is that farmers in certain areas won’t have a viable crop again this year if options aren’t immediately made available to them.”

“Last year’s unseasonably wet conditions led the Alberta Government to declare a state of agricultural disaster,” said D’Arcy Hilgartner, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair. “Our intent with this meeting is to work with the government to find solutions that ensures last year’s disaster doesn’t put this year’s crop at risk.”

Team Alberta will keep farmers updated on potential options for unharvested acres following discussions with the provincial government.


Media Contacts:

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

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

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

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

Apr 12

Farmer directors deliver Alberta’s grain industry messaging and priorities in Ottawa

Posted on Apr 12 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) April 12, 2017 – Team Alberta, along with the Grain Growers of Canada, were in Ottawa last week meeting with various parliamentarians to discuss priorities for Alberta grain farmers to ensure a viable and profitable crop sector.

“This collaborative outreach couldn’t have happened at a better time. There is a lot of good news for agriculture right now, most notably Agriculture’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the federal budget and Canada’s goal to grow agri-food exports to $75 billion annually by 2025,” said Mike Ammeter, a Director for Alberta Canola. “We were pleased by the prospect  that the government views agriculture as an engine for growth and are committed  to collaborate with them to unleash that growth.”

Alberta’s four major crop commissions that make up Team Alberta agree that aggressive progress in transportation, trade, research  and innovation are not only needed  to achieve Canada’s ambitious growth plan, but they are essential for our competitiveness. While in Ottawa, Team Alberta also raised the issue of cash ticket deferrals and the impact it may have on their membership.

“As farmers, our success is directly tied to the effectiveness  of Canada’s transportation system and the ability to get our product to market, so we continue to share the message that accountability is the only way to make real gains,” added Jeff Nielsen, President of Grain Growers of Canada. “It is imperative a system is put in place that gives shippers the ability to negotiate meaningful, reciprocal, service level agreements and ensure a basic level of accountability for rail companies.”

“Alberta grain farmers are major exporters  and to grow our exports we need free trade agreements with key global markets, such as the United States (U.S.), China, European Union (E.U.) and Japan,” added Warren Sekulic, Director with the Alberta Wheat Commission. “Non- tariff barriers to trade are our number one concern for market access. Biotech and pesticide regulations, and phytosanitary measures continue to impede our crops from getting into foreign markets.”

Alberta’s farmers are among the most innovative and sustainable  in the world. They adopt and invest in technology, research  and innovation that will increase efficiency and reduce costs, but also have tremendous benefits to the environment.  Many of these practices stem from investment by growers in science and research.

“Team Alberta recommended that the federal government put peer reviewed science and risk based approach at the core of its regulatory decisions and future investments in innovation,” said Tim van der Hoek, Director with the Alberta Pulse Growers.

The Team Alberta outreach mission included a delegation  of Directors and staff from the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Wheat Commission, and Grain Growers of Canada. The delegation met with representatives from all political parties and shared a united message about how the government can support Canadian farmers.

“Alberta is a significant contributor to Canada’s agricultural economy and Team Alberta saw tremendous value for our members  sitting down with officials in Ottawa to discuss how the Canadian government could have a role to help achieve greater  success for Alberta’s agriculture industry,” said Dave Bishop, Vice-Chair of Alberta Barley.

Media Contacts:

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

Lindsey Ehman
Public Affairs Manager
Grain Growers of Canada
(613)-233-9954
lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

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

Amanda Ryan
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat Commission
(403) 219-7902
amanda.ryan@albertawheat.com

Mar 27

Termination of the cash ticket deferral program would have significant consequences for Alberta barley farmers

Posted on Mar 27 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, AB) March 27, 2017 – Alberta barley farmers are extremely concerned at the prospect of the federal Liberals’ proposal to scrap the long-standing cash ticket deferral program, announced last week in the 2017 federal budget.

An estimated 80 per cent of Alberta farmers participate in the deferred payment program on sales for barley, wheat, oats, flaxseed, canola and rye. Farmers have used the program for more than 40 years, as a way of ensuring they have appropriate cash flow year-to-year.

Alberta Barley is working hard to help the federal government understand the potentially significant harmful impacts associated with the elimination of the ability to defer payment for grain sales.

“This isn’t just a program used by one or two farmers. Deferring payments is very common and used by an overwhelming majority of Alberta farmers,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley chair and Bentley-area farmer. “If you do away with deferred cash purchase tickets, an inordinate number of farmers are going to be negatively impacted.”

Due to the uneven nature of the timing of grain sales from year to year based on end users’ needs, farmers have, for decades, been allowed to defer portions of their income into the following year in order to balance farm revenue. The net effect on the federal treasury would appear to be neutral, however the impact on farm businesses from year-to-year would be significant.

By ending the deferral program, farmers would immediately be forced to restructure marketing and purchasing plans that are core to their businesses, and potentially drive decisions that are not market focused.

“Both capital and operating expenses are often planned around the ability to normalize income year-to-year. There will be significant impact on farmers if they are forced to revise a long-standing business practice,” said Lenz.

With spring planting rapidly approaching, the May 24, 2017, deadline for comments is not adequate for Alberta farmers to properly weigh in. Alberta Barley will strongly advocate on farmers’ behalf to address their concerns.

Anyone wishing to provide feedback to the government may do so by emailing consultation_tax_2017@canada.ca.

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

Mar 16

Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada and Imidacloprid – Request for Member Action

Posted on Mar 16 By: Ellen Cottee

Dear members: 

As you may be aware, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada has proposed a re-evaluation decision for the imidacloprid. 

The proposed phase-out of the use of this insecticide is based on the perceived risk that imidacloprid may pose to aquatic invertebrates.

On behalf of our members and along with other cropping sector representatives, we are asking the PMRA and Health Canada to work alongside Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada roundtable of industry stakeholders to improve the quality of the data and information to which to base this important decision. It is imperative that sound science, peer review and due process are followed as this issue impacts not only the Canadian agricultural industry, but also our national food security. 

We are asking for our members to voice their input. Please read the letter linked here and if you are in agreement, please sign, date and email it to the Standing Committee and the PMRA contacts in the list provided here, copying only your respective MP and MLA. 

The deadline for submissions is March 23, 2017. 

Please do not hesitate to contact Policy and Market Development Manager Shannon Sereda if you have any questions or concerns. 

Feb 21

21% tax credit available for Alberta’s barley farmers

Posted on Feb 21 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) Feb. 21, 2017 – Alberta barley farmers who did not request a refund of their check-off dollars will qualify for a 2016 Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit.

The SR&ED credit allows farmers to claim the portion of their check-off dollars used to fund research. The rate for the 2016 tax year is 21 per cent.

“Investments in research are direct investments in our industry and farms,” said Alberta Barley board chair Jason Lenz. “21 per cent of the money Alberta Barley’s farmers have invested in check-off dollars is eligible for this tax credit.”

Research is Alberta Barley’s No. 1, farmer-driven investment to maximize barley’s potential. Alberta Barley funds and participates in more than 40 research projects that aim to create new opportunities for its members now and in the future. These projects are detailed on www.albertabarley.com/research.

“I want to thank Alberta barley farmers for entrusting their check-off dollars with us,” said Alberta Barley vice-chair David Bishop. “By investing in Alberta Barley’s research projects, each farmer is contributing to the future of their operation and the future of barley.”

To learn more about the program, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.

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

 

Feb 15

Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley launch new mentorship and leadership program

Posted on Feb 15 By: Ellen Cottee

(Calgary, Alberta) Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – This week the Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley are launching the AdvancingAg Future Leaders Program, a new program to inspire future farm leaders through a leadership and mentorship experience.

“The AdvancingAg Future Leaders Program is about fostering a strong network of future agriculture leaders for a progressive and vibrant cropping industry in Alberta,” says Kevin Bender, Vice-Chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission and a member of the AdvancingAg Selection Committee. “The goal is to pair young agri-professionals – whether that is young farmers or those interested in a specific career in the agriculture industry – with leaders who can share their knowledge and experience and facilitate key professional development opportunities.”

AdvancingAg is a 10 to 12 month program that will pair selected mentees, aged 18-35 with a carefully selected mentor who is passionate about the agriculture industry, eager to share their experience and help shape the professional growth of a young agri-professional. Mentors and mentees will be paired up based on the interests and career goals of the mentee.

“We felt it was important to launch a program like this for the cropping sector because we want to advance the skills of young agri-professionals as they start their careers and provide them with industry-specific training, networking and learning opportunities,” added Dave Bishop, Vice-Chair of Alberta Barley and a member of the AdvancingAg Selection Committee. “The program will be flexible and tailored to the goals and aspirations of the mentee.”

Young agri-professionals interested in applying to become a mentee in the AdvancingAg Future Leaders Program can visit www.advancingag.ca to complete an application. The deadline for applications is March 13, 2017. In the first year of launching the program we will be selecting eight mentees to participate, with the goal of increasing to 15 mentees in the following years. Each mentee will be paired with a mentor, as well as provided a budget for professional development opportunities, and AdvancingAg will host a workshop-style leadership forum for the successful applicants.

Visit www.advancingag.ca for more information about this exciting new program, or follow us on Twitter @AdvancingAg.

Media Contacts:
Amanda Ryan
amanda.ryan@albertawheat.com
p. 403-219-7902
e. info@advancingag.ca

Ellen Cottee
ecottee@albertabarley.com
p. 403-219-7914
e. info@advancingag.ca

Dec 21

Minimizing the carbon levy

Posted on Dec 21 By: Trevor Bacque

 

Alberta Crop Commissions Working to Minimize Carbon Levy Impact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Leduc, Alberta) December 21, 2016 – Alberta’s four major crop commissions, operating as Team Alberta, continue to work together to minimize the impact of the carbon levy on farmers.

In recent consultations with the provincial Climate Technology Task Force, Team Alberta advocated for many solutions-based changes to be considered, including research investments, and recognition that agriculture already contributes to reducing greenhouse gases.

In these meetings, Team Alberta recognized the farm fuel exemption for a significant input, but never waivered that the full impact of the tax on input costs, transportation and prices that farmers receive for their crops remains unclear.

“Producers are natural leaders in carbon capture and an important part of the climate change solution,” said Allison Ammeter, Chair of Alberta Pulse Growers. Kevin Auch, Chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission adds, “Agricultural crops are great users of carbon dioxide (CO2) as part of their metabolism to produce essential oxygen through photosynthesis, making producers who grow crops natural leaders in carbon capture and sequestration.”

In a series of meetings with provincial cabinet ministers, Team Alberta has reinforced that farmers rely on global markets and cannot pass the increased costs onto their customers. Farmers should be recognized for the contributions they have already made to reducing greenhouse gases through practices such as conservation tillage. In addition, Team Alberta cautioned the government against imposing an increased tax burden on exporters, processors, and crop input manufacturers that will reduce market competitiveness.

Team Alberta has also called for more funding for research into technologies that would benefit farmers, as well representation on the Emissions Reduction Alberta panel that allocates research expenditures.

“The tremendous growth in the cropping sector can be traced back to research investment, and adoption of new practices and technologies,” said Jason Lenz, Chair of Alberta Barley. “Sustainable cropping practices in Alberta, which are among the most globally advanced, contribute to productivity increases that produce more yield per acre using less resources and more research can be done for further advancements.”

Continuous improvement in land management practices and a strong commitment by farmers to address soil degradation have resulted in crop productivity increasing at twice the rate of increases in GHG emissions between 1990 and 2013. In 2000, for the first time in Canada’s history, agricultural soil sequestered more carbon than was emitted.

Team Alberta met with Alberta’s Health and Deputy Minister Sarah Hoffman, as well as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier and Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips to discuss climate change and the work that producers have done in this regard.

“Climate change policies aimed at the cropping sector must be fluid in nature,” added Greg Sears, Chair of Alberta Canola. “Economic and environmental conditions change rapidly and producers employ different production practices for diverse growing regions.”

The cropping sector is engaged on this file as farmers are an important part of the climate change solution. Team Alberta will continue to represent our members with the provincial government and advocate for a thriving and competitive agriculture industry in Alberta.

Team Alberta is made up of the Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Pulse Growers Commission and Alberta Barley. Together the organizations represent over 43,000 farms across Alberta.

 

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

Dec 9

Jason Lenz elected as new chair of Alberta Barley

Posted on Dec 9 By: Trevor Bacque
Region three director had served as vice-chair for the last two years


Dec. 8, 2016 (Banff, AB):
Jason Lenz has been unanimously elected as the new chair of Alberta Barley following today’s board meeting. Lenz was first elected as vice-chair at the 2014 AGM and served two years in that role.

The changing of the guard comes after region three director-at-large Mike Ammeter termed out at Alberta Barley after serving on the board of directors for the last six years.

Lenz was acclaimed in the region three director election this November and now begins his second three-year term, which extends until 2019. Region one director Dave Bishop of Barons was elected as vice-chair, replacing Lenz.

“I’m certainly excited to be the chair of Alberta Barley,” said Lenz, who farms near Bentley in west-central Alberta. “It’s a big responsibility that I am looking forward to with both returning directors and new faces, as well. We have appreciated Mike’s leadership on our board for the last two years. Now, with a couple years of experience, I’m optimistic I can help lead Alberta Barley together with eight other talented directors.”

Lenz farms 2,500 acres of canola, wheat, barley and faba beans and operates a small cow/calf commercial herd. He first joined Alberta Barley as a delegate in the fall of 2009. Since then, he has served on Alberta Barley’s research, policy and governance committees, the GrainsWest magazine board and was the Alberta Barley representative for the Barley Council of Canada for two years.

Other new additions to the board of directors include Neil Gorda of Willingdon, who was acclaimed in region four following Bernie Klammer’s two successful terms as a director. In the director-at-large election, Brian Sewell of Blackie was elected after a three-way race, with ballots being cast by eligible producers at all six regional meetings. Both men will begin their three-year terms immediately.

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

Nov 3

Barley farmers applaud reciprocal penalties, continued investment in transportation

Posted on Nov 3 By: Ellen Cottee

Nov. 3, 2016 (Calgary, AB): Alberta Barley is very pleased with the Liberal government’s Transportation 2030 strategic plan that will include the long-awaited provision of reciprocal penalties for railways in service level agreements. The proposed amendments to the Canada Transportation Act outlined by federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau would create balanced accountability for system failures between shippers and railway companies.

Today in Montréal, Garneau’s announcement is part of a broader $10.1 billion stimulus to the country’s transportation sector. This legislation will be introduced by Garneau during the House of Commons’ spring session in 2017.

“This is the news we’ve been waiting to hear from government after many years of work on grain transportation issues” said Mike Ammeter, Alberta Barley chair and Sylvan Lake-area farmer. “Reciprocal penalties and an updated definition of adequate and suitable service are welcome changes for western Canadian farmers. We are very happy to see that the concerns brought forward by farmers and other grain industry stakeholders have made an impact with the government, and we thank Minister Garneau and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay for their leadership on this file.”

In addition to reciprocal penalties and an improved definition of adequate and suitable service, the government said it will also improve access and timelines for Canadian Transportation Agency decisions and address the future of extended interswitching, currently set at 160 kilometres, along with the Maximum Revenue Entitlement.

“We’re expecting all aspects of the grain transportation value chain to be scrutinized and improved for the betterment of barley farmers here in Alberta,” added Ammeter. “Our livelihood depends on a functional rail transportation system, so seeing recognition of that by the transport minister has given us hope that rail service will improve moving forward.”

Alberta Barley prioritized making submissions and attending consultations—with provincial and federal agriculture and transportation ministries—and worked diligently on a submission in response to the CTA Review Report, also known as the Emerson Report. Our focus was on balanced accountability and on clarification of the definition of suitable and adequate service, and the positive outcomes that improvements to these areas would have for Alberta farmers. Both of these items were highlighted in the announcement in Montréal.

Alberta Barley is committed to continuing to work with the federal ministers of transport and agriculture to ensure legislation is introduced that will work for its members.

Over the last 30 years, the volume of goods transported by rail has doubled, but the infrastructure hasn’t kept up with demand, according to government.

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

Nov 1

CETA deal has long-term potential for Alberta Barley farmers

Posted on Nov 1 By: admin

Oct. 31, 2016 (Calgary, AB): Alberta Barley is pleased the hard work of the federal government has paid off with the official signing of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday in Brussels, Belgium.

The deal will give Canada unprecedented access to 500 million EU customers along with reduced, or altogether eliminated, tariffs for Canadian farmers. It is expected that an additional $100 million from grains and oilseeds exports will be pumped into the Canadian economy once CETA is fully implemented.

“CETA will allow barley farmers to have meaningful amounts of their product go into new markets, and it’s exciting because Alberta produces half the country’s barley on average,” said Alberta Barley chairman Mike Ammeter.

“With the grains and meat sectors both standing to benefit long-term, I think it’s definitely a win-win for Canadian farmers and ranchers.”

Subject to ratification, an estimated 65,000 tonnes of beef may be able to flow into the EU, which represents more than $600 million in economic stimulus. About 80 per cent of Canada’s harvested barley enters the livestock feed market on an annual basis. Over the last five years, Alberta alone harvested three million tonnes on average.

“There’s reason to believe that barley acres could rise within three years to satisfy the beef export demand,” said Ammeter.

Ammeter also thanked International Minister of Trade Chrystia Freeland her staff for the hard work to bring the CETA deal one major step closer to fruition.

Next, Canada will introduce legislation for CETA in the House of Commons as soon as possible. The EU, meanwhile, will vote on CETA’s ratification in the EU parliament followed by individual ratifications in all 28 EU member nations’ parliaments.

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

Page 1 of 1012345...10...Last »