Alberta Barley

menu button



Jan 31

Alberta Barley and Alberta Wheat Commission will move ahead with shared management team

Posted on Jan 31 By: Victoria Decker

(Edmonton, Alberta) January 31, 2018 – The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley today announced that they are moving forward with a shared management structure, providing added value and cost savings to the province’s wheat and barley farmers.

The move follows a four-month trial period, during which both boards and management assessed the feasibility of the shared structure. During the next phase of this work, management will formalize an operating model that will see the team serve both the Alberta Wheat and Barley boards.

“Alberta Barley and Wheat staff have always worked collaboratively,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “Now operating as one team, we’re able to further leverage the relationship between the commissions to create better efficiencies that serve both crops.”

“Working with Alberta Barley is a natural partnership,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “With this new structure, we believe we can provide better return on investment to wheat and barley farmers.”

Tom Steve was appointed as Interim General Manager of Alberta Barley in September, coinciding with the commissions’ decision to move ahead with a trial of the shared structure. Steve, who has served as AWC’s General Manager since 2014, will now serve as General Manager of both commissions and lead the transition to a new operating model reporting to the boards of Alberta Barley and AWC.

Moving to a single management structure is a logical next step for the commissions since they have been sharing an office since 2013 as well as a number of staff positions across the finance, admin and GrainsWest teams.

Media Contact:
Victoria Decker
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat Commission


Jan 19

Alberta Wheat and Barley call on the Government to ratify TPP-11

Posted on Jan 19 By: Megan Hall

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A3

January 18, 2018
Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley
6815-8 St. NE, Suite 200
Calgary, Alberta, T2E 7H7

Dear Prime Minister:

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley, on behalf of 14,000 primary producers within the province, implore the government to move ahead on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Canadian agriculture has a role, some would say even an obligation, to help feed growing populations. This is especially true in developing countries. Our productive capacity is untapped, and some would estimate that we could feed another billion people from the crop capacity right here in the prairie provinces. However, we need to have the competitive trade regulations in place to ensure that our agricultural goods can end up on the shelves of growing nations.

Alberta’s producers are dependent on export opportunities for our agricultural products.  Countries within the TPP zone import more than six million tonnes of wheat annually.  This represents 27 per cent of Canada’s wheat export market at a value of over $1.5 billion in farm revenues. The CPTPP agreement will benefit the Agriculture and Agri-Food sector and continue to provide jobs in both rural and urban Canada.

Canadian producers are already feeling the effects from falling behind in trade deals.  Since Japan and Australia signed a free trade agreement in 2014, Canadian barley exports to Japan have fallen by 26 per cent. In conversations with the Japanese consulate, it is clear that the Japanese government is invested in seeing the CPTPP signed. It was plainly stated that there is no interest in a bi-lateral agreement. If the Canadian government chooses not to participate in CPTPP, Canada’s next chance for trade negotiations with Japan will have to wait until a government change in Japan. Unless we remain involved in agreements such as the CPTPP, our access to world markets will continue to diminish and the Agriculture and Agri-Food sector will stagnate.

AWC and Alberta Barley expect Canadian negotiators to be present in Japan when the final loose ends of the agreement are finalized in Japan at the end of January. We expect to see the Canadian Minister of International Trade to be on hand when the agreement in principle is scheduled to be signed at the end of February. Non-participation by Canada will cause significant harm to those who work in and those who rely on the business of Canadian agriculture.


Kevin Auch
Chair of Alberta Wheat Commission
Jason Lenz
Chair of Alberta Barley Commission


Dec 14

Alberta Barley chair, vice-chair re-elected

Posted on Dec 14 By: Megan Hall

Dec. 14, 2017 (Calgary, AB): Alberta Barley’s board of directors has re-elected region three director Jason Lenz as chair and region one director Dave Bishop as vice-chair following the 2017 annual general meeting on December 6.

“I had a great experience in my first year as chair and I am honoured to have been re-elected,” Lenz said. “Alberta Barley is going to do great things in the coming year.”

Lenz has been with Alberta Barley as a delegate since 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.

Lenz farms 2,500 acres of canola, wheat, barley and faba beans and operates a small cow/calf commercial herd outside Bentley, AB. His re-election marks his second year as chair.

Bishop, hailing from Barons, AB, has served as director since 2014. He serves on the Alberta Barley governance and market development committees and is on the executive of the Grain Growers of Canada board.

“Being a part of Alberta Barley has been a rewarding experience, and I am looking forward to continuing our work on behalf of producers across the province,” Bishop said. “Along with the rest of the board, I expect another year full of opportunity for Alberta barley growers.”

Bishop, region two director Jeff Nielsen and director-at-large Terry James were up for re-election this year. All won by acclimation.

For more information, contact:

Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator

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: Megan Hall

(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

Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator
Alberta Barley

Sep 26

Get involved: Alberta Barley elections include 16 available positions

Posted on Sep 26 By: Megan Hall

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 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

Sep 6

CMBTC to Receive Continued Funding from Prairie Barley Commissions

Posted on Sep 6 By: Megan Hall

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

Jason Lenz
Alberta Barley Chair

Pam de Rocquigny
Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association General Manager

Delaney Seiferling
SaskBarley Communications Manager

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: Megan Hall

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: Megan Hall

(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 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 to view stakeholders currently involved.

Media Contact:
Ellen Cottee
Communications Coordinator

Jun 20

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

Posted on Jun 20 By: Megan Hall

(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

Jun 8

Making the Grade expands to two locations for 2017

Posted on Jun 8 By: Megan Hall

(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