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Apr 30

Team Alberta welcomes new Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and looks forward to working together on farmers’ top priorities

Posted on Apr 30 By: Victoria Decker

Today, Team Alberta welcomes the province’s new Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Devin Dreeshen. Team Alberta looks forward to working with Minister Dreeshen and fellow members of cabinet on advancing Alberta’s $6 billion crop sector.

Minster Dreeshen is the Member-elect for the Innisfail – Sylvan Lake riding. Minister Dreeshen was raised in central Alberta on his family farm near Pine Lake and studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Alberta. In 2008, he started working for the Honourable Gerry Ritz, former federal minister of agriculture in the Harper Conservative Government. Over the eight years, Minister Dreeshen worked in communications and policy promoting grain transportation and international trade; most notably on the introduction of marketing freedom for wheat and barley farmers.

Team Alberta is a collaboration of four of the province’s crop commissions: Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission. Our key priorities aim at improving the economic success of farmers through:

  • Continued access to international markets for nearly $5 billion of Alberta crop exports;
  • Enhanced competitiveness through research and innovation;
  • Recognition of agriculture’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and exemption from carbon levies for all sources of energy used on farm; and
  • Reducing regulatory hurdles.

 

Team Alberta is eager to work with the new minister, the department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) on matters that impact Alberta farmers. Further, Team Alberta extends congratulations to all cabinet ministers upon today’s appointments.

Media Contacts:

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

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

Michelle Chunyua
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Canola
michelle@albertacanola.com
780-454-0844

Mar 28

Farmer participation needed for Team Alberta grain conditioning

Posted on Mar 28 By: Victoria Decker

(Calgary, Alberta) March 28, 2019– Team Alberta is seeking farmer participation for a grain conditioning study that will assess on-farm energy consumption and efficiency of grain drying and conditioning systems.

The data obtained from the grain conditioning project will be a critical source of information for Alberta farmers regarding efficiencies, implementation or expansion of grain conditioning systems. Information gained will also be used for advocacy purposes such as improving programs and policies that seek to reduce the cost burden associated with on-farm grain conditioning in Alberta.

Interested farmers can expect a three-year commitment working closely with experts to install necessary measuring implements, perform data readings and manual logging throughout the drying periods. Participating farmers will have their energy-use monitored and gain valuable knowledge of their system’s efficiency rate, along with individualized recommendations to make operational decisions to reduce costs of their grain conditioning practices.

Team Alberta is seeking farmers who may be drying in the spring for a pilot project that will start in April 2019. For the study launch in July 2019, Team Alberta requires 40 systems and is seeking farmers who operate with one or more systems. All information collected in the study will remain confidential and only aggregated data will be used in final reports.

Team Alberta needs volunteers! Interested farmers are encouraged to complete the form in the link below. Upon completion, farmers will be contacted for an intake interview by our project partners at 3D Energy, an energy engineering, management and project development advisory company.

For further questions regarding the study please contact Shannon Sereda, government relations and policy manager with the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions at 403-219-6263 or ssereda@albertawheatbarley.com.

APPLY NOW TO PARTICIPATE

Media Contacts:

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

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

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

Mar 25

AdvancingAg graduates encourage participation, deadline for applications approaching

Posted on Mar 25 By: Megan Hall

(Calgary, Alberta) March 25, 2019 –The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions would like to remind potential mentees to apply for the AdvancingAg program ahead of the March 29, 2019 deadline.

The AdvancingAg Future Leaders Program is an initiative focused on mentoring young agriculture professionals in Alberta. The year-long program pairs mentees, aged 18-35, with a carefully selected mentor who is passionate about the agriculture industry and eager to help mentor the next generation. Mentors and mentees will be paired up based on the interests and career goals of the mentee.

“As we enter our third-year, we are so proud of the mentorship that this program has provided and the opportunities that have been given,” said Gary Stanford, chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission and member of the AdvancingAg Selection committee. “Many of these outstanding young professionals have gone on to make a big impact in Alberta agriculture and we are excited to see what this year’s group will go on to accomplish.”

Among AdvancingAg’s 20-plus graduates, a few have gone on to represent the cropping sector in Alberta at the producer group level. This includes 2017-2018 program alumnus Holly White and Olivia Sederberg.

White recently stepped forward to join the Alberta Canola board as a director for region 12, representing south-eastern Alberta. She credits her time in AdvancingAg with providing critical tools for personal growth.

“The AdvancingAg program was a very rewarding experience,” explained White. “Through this unique opportunity, I was able to network, take leadership courses and access further educational opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”

Sederberg joined the Alberta Wheat Commission as a regional representative for region two in 2018.

“AdvancingAg allowed me to improve my agronomy and agribusiness skills by connecting me directly with resources at conferences and crop tours throughout the province,” said Sederberg. “The information and experience I gained will help to guide me when representing the producers in my area. I can’t recommend this program enough!”

To become a member of the next generation of Future Leaders, visit www.advancingag.ca/apply or contact info@advancingag.ca. The program deadline for entry in March 29, 2019.

 

For more information, contact:

Cole Christensen – Administrator, AdvancingAg

P: 403-589-3529

E:info@advancingag.ca

Mar 15

Class 1 driver’s licence extension application is now available to agriculture workers

Posted on Mar 15 By: Victoria Decker

The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions are pleased to inform farmers that the extension application from the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT), as part of the new Class 1 driver’s licence training requirements, is now available on the Alberta Transportation website. Agriculture workers looking to obtain a Class 1 driver’s licence may apply for the extension between March 15 to November 30, 2019. Successful applicants granted the extension have until March 1, 2020 to comply with MELT requirements.

Farmers and agriculture workers looking to obtain a Class 1 driver’s licence are encouraged to refer to the attached documents that further detail the application process for the one-year extension. Agriculture workers who have obtained a Class 1 driver’s licence between October 11, 2018 and February 28, 2019 are also encouraged to refer to these documents as there’s imperative information regarding the MELT transition period of which this time-frame pertains to.

Upon hearing farmers’ concerns on the new-MELT implementation date of March 1, 2019, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions as part of Team Alberta fought hard for this extension from the Government of Alberta. The unintended consequences of the March 1 timing for the MELT program were concerning 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 meet the surge in demand across the province.

MELT Class 1 Driver’s License Agriculture Sector Extension
Extension Application Form for Agriculture Workers
Agricultural Sector Stakeholder Message from Alberta Transportation

If farmers require clarification or more information please contact Shannon Sereda, Government Relations and Policy Manager with Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions at ssereda@albertawheatbarley.com or 403-219-6263.

Farmers can also find more information on the Alberta Transportation website.

Team Alberta is a collaboration between four of Alberta’s crop commissions: Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission, that advocates for the growth, competitiveness and sustainability of Alberta’s crop sector. Collectively, Team Alberta represents approximately 20,000 grower members. 

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

Mar 1

Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions thank Minister MacAulay for his dedication to farmers, welcome Minister Bibeau as new agriculture minister

Posted on Mar 1 By: Victoria Decker

Following this morning’s news of the federal cabinet shuffle, The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions wish to thank the Honourable Lawrence MacAualay for his service and dedication to farmers throughout his time as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The commissions also welcome Marie-Claude Bibeau as she steps in to lead the agriculture portfolio. The commissions look forward to working with Bibeau to further advance farm policy.

Lawrence MacAulay leaves AAFC to serve as minister of veterans affairs and Marie-Claude Bibeau joins the agriculture portfolio following her post as minster of international development.

During his time as agriculture minister, Lawrence MacAulay played a key role in securing several political wins for farmers including the passing of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, historic legislation that paves the way for long-term solutions to the rail transportation challenges that farmers have faced for decades. MacAulay also played a critical role in supporting the commissions’ successful lobbying efforts to retain the cash ticket deferral mechanism, following threats of its elimination in the March 2017 federal budget. This cash flow management tool helps farmers avoid excess swings in taxation levels and encourages grain delivery during optimal market conditions.

“The Alberta Wheat Commission had been pressing for rail transportation reform since our organization started in 2012,” says Gary Stanford, Alberta Wheat Commission Chair. “We saw this historic legislation as a major priority and Minister MacAulay showed commitment and dedication to ensuring it would pass. Further, Minister MacAulay put farmers’ needs first when the cash ticket deferral mechanism was on shaky ground. We took a lead role in lobbying for its retention and he pushed hard to ensure we were successful. Looking ahead, we welcome Minister Bibeau and we look forward to working with her to continue building competitiveness and success for farmers.”

Minister MacAulay also played a critical role in ensuring farmers’ needs were met during the federal government’s negotiations of two major trade deals – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – which secures continued access for Canadian wheat and barley to both of these markets, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which unlocks new access to key markets and improves the trading environment for Canadian wheat and barley. His dedication to further opening the Chinese market for Canadian agricultural products is also clear from his most recent trip to China where 18 agriculture and agri-food agreements were signed worth more than $353 million.

“These trade deals were critical to ensuring global competitiveness of Canadian barley,” says Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair. “This a major win for farmers and we were appreciative of Minister MacAulay’s leadership in ensuring our needs were met throughout the negotiations. We look forward to working with Minsiter Bibeau to ensure farmers are well represented on key policy files.”

The commissions appreciate Minister MacAulay’s overall contributions to the Government of Canada’s target of increasing global agricultural exports to $75 billion by 2025.

With a mission to drive profitability for Alberta’s wheat and barley farmers, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions operate with an integrated management team. Our amalgamated staff results in administrative cost savings that allow the commissions to further advance innovative research, market access, farm policy and government relations. In this new era of collaboration, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions serve as leaders in the Canadian agriculture industry.


Media contact:

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

Feb 27

Farmers seeking Class 1 driver’s licences can apply for one-year exemption from new MELT program 

Posted on Feb 27 By: Victoria Decker

Farmers seeking Class 1 driver’s licences can apply for one-year exemption from new MELT program 

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.”

Team Alberta is a collaboration between four of Alberta’s crop commissions: Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission, that advocates for the growth, competitiveness and sustainability of Alberta’s crop sector. Collectively, Team Alberta represents approximately 20,000 grower members.

Media contacts:

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

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

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

Feb 21

Barley farmers can claim 7 per cent SR&ED credit on their 2018 taxes

Posted on Feb 21 By: Victoria Decker

Barley farmers paying the Alberta Barley check-off are eligible for a tax credit through the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) program for their investment in Alberta Barley-funded research. The rate for the 2018 tax year is 7 per cent.

Alberta Barley funds research aimed at breeding for higher yield, better disease resistance, improved agronomic performance and better end-use quality.

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.

For more information, please contact:
Syeda Khurram
CFO and HR Director
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions
skhurram@Albertawheatbarley.com
403-219-6264

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

Feb 7

Team Alberta requests extension to the March 1, 2019 mandatory Class 1 driver training deadline

Posted on Feb 7 By: Victoria Decker

(Calgary, Alberta) February 7, 2019 – Changes that affect obtaining a Class 1 driver’s license are coming March 1, 2019 and Team Alberta is requesting that the Government of Alberta consult with the agriculture sector and establish a reasonable deadline to avoid unintended consequences for farmers who are dependent on seasonal labour.

These changes will require any person who wants to obtain a Class 1 driver’s licence to take the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) Program. Many farmers are highly dependent on seasonal labour that requires a Class 1 licence and much of that labour is hired and trained immediately prior to the spring planting season. This could significantly impact many farmers’ ability to hire properly trained and licensed drivers prior seeding the 2019 crop.

The existing provincial shortage of skilled labour in this area, combined with changes to the privately-run licensing bodies, including re-training and re-testing of instructors and examiners, means that training programs are difficult to get into.

“Team Alberta supports safer and more highly skilled drivers operating on our roads and highways, says Hannah Konschuh, Alberta Wheat Commission Vice-Chair from Cluny. “But the timelines and lack of consultation with farmers would make it virtually impossible to comply with new regulations by the deadline. Additionally, there doesn’t seem to have been an increase in the training capacity to accommodate this big change.”

“We fully support the need for proper training and safety on our roads and highways,” said Kevin Serfas, Vice-Chair of Alberta Canola from Turin, Alberta “We get where this came from, our Board meeting after Humboldt was very emotional as my family and others in Alberta Canola had direct connections to players on that team.”

“These regulations will have an immediate impact on farms in the short-term if they don’t already have Class 1 drivers in place for this year,” said Dave Bishop, Chair of Alberta Barley.
“Longer-term, we need to ensure there is appropriate training for the increasing number of farms that rely on Class 1 drivers and their ability to attract them to agriculture.”

“There is already a shortage of skilled labour in agriculture and these changes in regulations will make access to labour increasingly more difficult for this crop year,” said Don Shepert, Alberta Pulse Growers Chair. “We ask the government to work with us so we can seed our crops and comply with necessary training requirements.”

For more information on the mandatory Class 1 training regulation visit: https://www.alberta.ca/commercial-driver-training.aspx.

Media contacts:

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

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

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

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.