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Serving the producers of the Northwest


FARMER North Battleford, Saskatchewan

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Progressive Agricultural Safety Day

When it comes to safety, start them young By Josh Greschner Staff Reporter

Learning about safety doesn’t need to be boring, a number of local students recently found out. The Battlefords Agricultural Society hosted a Progressive Agricultural Safety Day Friday, May 10.

The event in North Battleford attracted almost 500 kids from area schools. Kids learned about urban and rural safety, not limited to information about ambulances, how to stop infections, nutrition and railroad safety. Melody Lindebach wanted to lean about how

to crawl out of a fire. Battlefords Agricultural Society Director Rhonda Erickson said she hoped students learn one thing. Next year, students could learn about boat and water safety. The event was organized with the help of the Saskatchewan Association

of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitons. Executive Director Glen Duck said the organization work with agricultural societies across the province and supplies them with resources. The North Battleford presentation is one of about 20 in the province, and about 6,000 students

are expected to go through the program every year. Duck said it was important students think about safety when they’re young, since once people get old, “it can be pretty hard to retrain somebody.” Teaching students when they’re young, Duck said, can “change the culture,”

and help them remember their lessons down the road. The Progressive Agricultural Safety Day Program is geared towards Grade 1 to 6. Participation in this program is free thanks to the sponsorship by SAASE and local sponsors.

Who wants to learn about safety? The Battlefords Agricultural Society hosted a Progressive Agricultural Safety Day Friday, May 10. The event in North Battleford attracted almost 500 kids from area schools. See more photos on Page 2. Photo by Josh Greschner

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Page 2 - The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019

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Progressive Agricultural Safety Day in North Battleford

The Battlefords Agricultural Society hosted a Progressive Agricultural Safety Day Friday, May 10. Students learned about electrical safety at the SaskPower booth, and had a little fun with the photographer as well. Photos by Josh Greschner

In light of recent changes to Canada’s Food Guide, nutrition was on the agenda.

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Serving the producers of the Northwest


A community newspaper published Monthly . Owned & Operated by Prairie Newspaper Group LP a division of GVIC Communications Corp. 892 - 104th Street, North Battleford, Saskatchewan S9A 1M9 Telephone: 306-445-7261 • Fax: 306-445-3223 E-mail:

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The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019 - Page 3

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Page 4 - The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019

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Biosecurity at issue with passage of updated civil trespass legislation

‘Anything that can travel on a vehicle, or a piece of equipment, or even a clump of mud on a pair of boots, poses a potential threat to our livelihoods’ The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is pleased with the passage of provincial civil trespass legislation. “Producers have been facing growing risks around biosecurity, and we need more control over who can access our land. “APAS President Todd Lewis stated. “The potential economic and environmental costs to our industry from the spread of disease and invasive pests are considerable. Having a consistent set of rules for agricultural land access is very welcome.” Lewis pointed to the growing incidence of clubroot In Saskatchewan, which is a disease that affects canola and other plants in the brassica family. “The spread of a soil-borne disease like clubroot is a major risk to our most important cash crop In Saskatchewan. It can be spread by hunters, recreational vehicle users, contractors or anyone accessing our property,”

Lewis explained.” Once the disease is established, the affected producer is unable to grow canola for the next 15-20 years. The risk to our farms and to our provincial economy is too great to ignore.”

Lewis added that other risk factors include the spread of animal diseases and weed species. “Anything that can travel on a vehicle, or a piece of equipment, or even a clump of mud on a pair of boots,


poses a potential threat to our livelihoods,” Lewis concluded, “ Producers need to have the right to control those risks, and this legislation provides a uniform and consistent approach that requires our

consent to access our property.” Soil-borne biosecurity risks include weed seeds, bacteria, spores, prions, viruses and other pathogens) Key Risks: • spores (Clubroot, Root

Rot, Black Leg) • bacteria (Anthrax, Botulism) • prions (Chronic Wasting Disease including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) • soil-borne viruses

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The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019 - Page 5

Vehicles may not be exactly as shown/Vehicles are for illustrative purposes only. All vehicles were available at time of print. Prices and payments are plus tax and doc fees. All dealer rebates, discounts, factory incentives, prices, and interest rates are subject to change or end without notice as new retail incentive programs are announced. $1,500 Loyalty Bonus Credit valid toward the down payment of a retail purchase, lease or finance of one eligible new 2019 model year Light Duty Chevrolet Silverado purchased and delivered between, April 18 - May 31, 2019 at a participating GM dealer in Canada. Offer valid to any current owner of any model year pickup truck and must have been registered (in Canada) in customer’s name for the previous six (6) consecutive months. Eligible individuals may transfer their Bonus Credit amount to another immediate family member residing in their household (ie immediate family member living at the same address), as supported by appropriate documentation (ie, copy of driver’s license verifying the address). Immediate family member is defined as parents, siblings, children, spouse, partner or in-laws (Note ‘step’ family members are included). Credit is a manufacturer to dealer incentive (tax exclusive). Offer valid on eligible new 2019 Chevrolet Light Duty Pickup, excluding: Medium Duty Pickups. As part of the transaction, dealer may request documentation to verify eligibility. $1,500 Bonus Credit Discount is applied against eligible new 2019 model year Chevrolet Light Duty Pickup purchased during the program period. This offer may not be redeemed for cash and may not be combined with certain other consumer incentives or dealer lease alternatives. Certain limitations or conditions apply. Void where prohibited. See your GM Canada dealer for details. GM Canada reserves the right to amend or terminate offers for any reason in whole or in part of any time without prior notice. Example vehicles for advertised offer of 0% financing for 72 months are stk#19218 and stk#19364 OAC. See dealer for full details. Offers expire May 31st. 2019.

Page 6 - The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019

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WDM hosts Smarter Science Better Buildings display

‘Nails and wood – that’s basically all I knew’ By John Cairns Staff Reporter

Western Development Museum is providing an interactive experience for students who are learning about energy efficiency. A program called Smarter Science Better Buildings, or SSBB for short, is being hosted at the museum from May 6 to 24. The program has rotated around five communities since October, with Yorkton the first stop followed by Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. The program is geared to Grade 7 science students. The Farmer Rancher caught up with the Grade 7 class from Notre Dame School who took part at the North Battleford WDM for the afternoon. The first portion of their learning experience was through interactive displays set up about energy efficiency. The displays focused on areas such as water, lighting and appliances, “net zero” homes (defined as a home that makes as much energy as it uses), solar energy, building retrofits and building materials. In those interactive displays, they learned about 19053OS2

Eureka! The displays focused on areas such as water, lighting and appliances, Photo by John Cairns.

concepts such as proper insulation and the “building envelope,” water usage in

homes, and how building materials relate to heat and temperature.

Afterwards, the students headed out to examine the various historic buildings on the WDM grounds, to learn how those buildings were made and see how they might compare to modern day buildings for energy efficiency. The students noticed deficiencies such as cracks in the exterior or windows that weren’t property sealed – the sorts of things that could allow energy to escape. Carma Douglas, a Grade 7 teacher at Notre Dame, said the program al-

lowed the students a handson experience “which correlates to the curriculum, but in a much more exciting way than we can do in the classroom.” Her hope was that it broadened the students’ understanding of “heat, temperature and energy efficiency in home building,” and that they are able to make strong choices based on that. The Notre Dame students felt they learned things they didn’t know before, especially about what types of materials to use in

a home to make it energy efficient. One Grade 7 student, Kreasha, realized there was more to building a house than just “nails and wood – that’s basically all I knew,” she said. She added it was interesting to learn what houses are made of. Another Grade 7 student, Elena, pointed to concepts such as how insulation works. “Being green is really easy,” she said, adding “I never knew the ‘Net Zero’ houses existed,” she said. See more on Page 7

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The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019 - Page 7

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‘I never knew “Net Zero” houses existed’

Students from Notre Dame School took part in the Smarter Science Better Buildings program at the Western Development Museum Wednesday, May 8. The students are seen here using the interactive displays, which focused on water, lighting and appliances, “net zero” homes (defined as a home that makes as much energy as it uses), solar energy, building retrofits and building materials. Later, they took a look at some of the historic buildings on the WDM lot, and compared how energy-efficient those buildings were compared to more modern-day structures. Photos by John Cairns

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Page 8 - The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019

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Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas

Declaration readily understood in the global south, but not so obvious to the global north

Farmers’ right to seed is a matter of principle By Ann Slater Last December the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. This declaration was brought forward by La Via Campesina (LVC) – a global movement that brings together organizations representing small- and medium-scale farmers, peasants, agricultural workers, rural women and indigenous communities. The National Farmers Union (NFU) is a founding member. LVC advocates for food sovereignty and it advocates for an agriculture and food system based on agro-ecology. One of LVC’s red-line (ie must be included) articles in the negotiations leading to Declaration was article 19 - the right to seeds. Under article 19, the right to seeds includes the right to the protection of the traditional knowledge contained within seeds and the right of peasants to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed or propagating material. Article 19 goes on to state that agricultural research should take into account the needs and experience of peasants and should ensure peasants are actively involved in setting priorities for agricultural research.

As organic farmers in Canada, we may not define ourselves as peasants but the definition of a peasant in Article One of the Declaration certainly includes me, and I would suggest, many other organic farmers. A peasant is defined as any person who engages in small-scale agricultural production for subsistence and/or for the market and who relies significantly, though not necessarily exclusively, on family or household labour, and who has a special dependency on and attachment to the land. In her keynote speech to the NFU National Convention last November, Romanian farmer Ramona Dominicioiu, who was closely involved in the negotiation and lobbying effort for the declaration, said that the need for the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants is readily understood in the global south, but not so obvious to those of us in the global north. She suggested that one of the reasons it is not so obvious to us is that we have already allowed many of our rights to to be degraded, including our right as farmers to save, re-use and exchange farmsaved seeds. She said that we have made it possible through legislation such as the Plant Breeders Rights Act and patents to allow

corporate seed companies to sue us for infringing on their intellectual property rights (seeds) - seeds that are based on our knowledge as farmers; seeds that are based on our genetic resources. In 2015, Canada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR)

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Act was brought under UPOV ‘91. UPOV is an intergovernmental organization that creates model laws related to Plant Breeders Rights for countries to adopt. Each new version of UPOV has given seed developers more rights and more control over new varieties of seed. Prior to 2015, Canada’s PBR Act was based on the UPOV ‘78 model law, which allowed plant breeders to charge royalties on the sale of seed of new varieties but also allowed farmers to continue their age-old practice of saving and re-using farm saved seed. The UPOV ‘91 model law adopted in 2015 gives seed companies additional tools to make more money on and have more control over new variet-

ies of plants. Specifically, the 2015 version of Canada’s PBR Act brought in a “farmers’ privilege” to save seeds, as opposed to the farmer’s right to save seed, and it opened the door to End Point Royalties. These two changes are key to the current discussions around changes to the Canadian seed system. End Point Royalties allow PBR holders to charge a royalty on the sale of the harvested crop from new PBR protected varieties. As farmers, we now have the privilege to save and re-use seed from our own farms. But a privilege is not a right – a privilege is something that can be taken away and under Canada’s PBR laws, the privilege can be

taken away by regulation. A regulatory change can be made more quickly and with less debate than a change via legislation. And the farmers’ privilege can be removed for certain crops, for certain regions, for certain farm sizes or for various other situations. Based on current discussions, it appears the Canadian PBR Office is preparing to remove the farmers’ privilege for wheat grown in western Canada and for horticultural crops including vegetables which are grown from seeds as well as fruit trees, ornamental plants and vines that are grown from cuttings and tubers. I started out by talking about the UN’s adoption Continued on Page 9

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The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019 - Page 9

Testimony harks back to the late Senator Sparrow’s landmark study

Getting the dirt on soil at the Senate CNW – The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry heard recently morning from witnesses with expertise in soil health. The Honourable Robert Black, who joined the Senate last year after a 30-year career in the agricultural industry, proposed that the committee undertake a study on soil health. Agriculture and soil use have changed dramatically

during the past few decades and reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly food production should matter to Canadians now more than ever. The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, under the Chairmanship of Senator Herbert O. Sparrow, completed a landmark study in 1984 entitled, “Soil at Risk: Canada’s eroding future.”

This study proposed a number of solutions to address the issue of soil degradation and has been widely referenced within the industry ever since. As an advocate for soil health, Black has concerns about the status of Canadian soils. “Today’s soil continues to face threats of erosion, salinization, and loss of organic material,” says Black. “In 2016, only

about seven per cent of Canada’s land mass was determined to be suitable for agriculture. Protecting our soil will be crucial for the continued success of our agricultural industry.” One of the witnesses at the meeting, Don Lobb, is a farmer who has done extensive work on soil protection. He provided a written testimony during the Senate’s soil study under Senator Sparrow. “Soil is real-

ly where it all starts,” Mr. Lobb told the committee on Thursday. “It’s soil productivity that determines food availability, and food availability determines the price of food, and that determines whether you can have a holiday or buy a boat or not. The whole economy is dependent on the productivity of our soil. Nothing else matters until that’s in place.” Black hopes that these

testimonies will spark further interest on this issue. Examining the current state of Canada’s agricultural soils and charting a responsible and sustainable soil care and protection path into the future is something he will continue to push for. The five witnesses present at the committee stressed the importance of the Senate’s role in tackling this critical challenge going forward.

Farmers no longer have the right to save seed from new varieties Continued from Page 8 of the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. One of the things that struck me as I looked through the declaration is how well the Declaration fits alongside the General Principles of Organic Production in Canada’s Organic Standards – principles that we agree to uphold and farm under as organic farmers. As a reminder to all of us those four principles are: the Principle of health; the Principle of ecology; the Principle of fairness and the Principle of care. The Principle of health says that organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plants, animals, humans and the planet as one and indivisible.  How will we as organic farmers continue to sustain the health of soil, plants, animals, humans and the planet if we continue down the road of losing control of seeds? Organic agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them, according to the Principle of Ecology. As Canadian farmers we no longer have the right to save seed from new varieties of plants, we only have a privilege to save seed from those new varieties. How can we as farm-

ers base our agriculture on living ecological systems and cycles and work with those cycles, if the privilege to save and re-use the seed grown on our farms is also removed, step by step? The Principle of fairness says that organic agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities. Since the development of any new varieties relies on the work done by generations and generations and generations of farmers to select, save and replant seeds, and more recently by public breeders who undertake their work in the public interest, is it fair to give fewer and fewer seed companies control over newer varieties of seed? Under the Principle of care, organic agriculture should be managed in a

precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment. As organic farmers, if we follow the principle of care to manage in a precautionary and responsible manner for future generations, we need to take action now to protect the right of the next generations of farmers to save, re-use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed from varieties being developed now and over the coming years – new varieties that farmers will need to cope with a changing climate and all that entails. As organic farmers we all need to consider whether efforts to remove the farmers’ privilege and efforts to open up new opportunities for larger seed companies to take more control of seeds fit with-

in our General Principles of Organic Production in Canada. La Via Campesina has convinced the United Nations to recognize our right as peasants and small farmers to our traditional knowledge contained in seeds. As Canadian organic farmers we need our government to also recognize and protect our right to save, re-use and exchange the seeds from our farms. There are other ways to move ahead and strengthen organic farming in Canada as it pertains to the development of the new varieties we need to farm in a changing climate. We can make ourselves

aware of and push for the NFU’s Farmers’ Seed Act. We can advocate for a re-investment in public breeding for the public good. We can support farmer-led plant breeding initiatives, such as those being undertaken by the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario and the Bauta Seed Initiative, which include a commitment to keep any new varieties in the public domain. We can tell our organic organizations to stand behind our organic principles and to stand with Canadian farmers by speaking out against the proposed changes to seed laws and regulations.

We can demand that our government representatives support farmers age-old practice of saving, reusing and exchanging farmsaved seed. Whoever controls our seed controls our food. More information on the NFU’s analysis and Save Our Seed Campaign is available on the NFU website at Ann Slater has been an organic market gardener in the St. Marys, Ont., area for over 35 years (certified organic for over 20 years). This article is based on her presentation to the Organic Council of Ontario annual meeting, April 12, 2019. (306) 695-2460

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Reduce, reuse, recycle with your flock

Everything you wanted to know about zero-waste chicken keeping but were afraid to ask With millions of people raising chickens, there’s millions who want to learn how to raise their flocks with less environmental impact, as chickens produce a lot of waste. Their food is scattered on the ground to rot. Their waterers are soiled with dirt, causing it to be unfit

for them to drink. They poop. The chicken feed bag goes in the trash.   Now comes The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Zero-Waste Chicken Keeping (Quarry Books, June 11, 2019) the first book designed to help chicken keepers keep chickens with

limited resources and environmental impact. This essential guide collects the Chicken Whisperer’s own personal tips, tricks, and suggestions for reducing waste, re-purposing materials, and recycling what can’t be reused. With this book, chicken keepers will save money, improve

production, support sustainability, and use fewer resources overall. With the Chicken Whisperer’s step-by-step insights and how-to secrets, your life with chickens will be more fruitful, less expensive, and better for the planet. What could be better?

selves have been vocal about needing humane treatments for years. “Producers have long recognized the importance of pain relief for procedures like castration and branding, but have not had the tools to control pain,” he says. In response, they have approached Dr. Olson for a solution. After five years of research and development, Dr. Olson produced Meloxicam Oral Suspension as an easy-to-administer pain relief product for livestock. It has been recognized across the in-

dustry as a significant innovation in animal welfare. Kim Hextall operates a family-run cattle farm with her husband in Grenfell, Saskatchewan, and is an advocate for humanelyraised beef. Hextall Livestock is designated Verified Beef Production +, a certification that acknowledges responsible on-farm beef production and food safety practices in Canada and is endorsed by industry and regulatory bodies, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. “We do what we can to relieve as much stress as possible,” she says. “We used Meloxicam for this reason, and all the cattle were mothered up very well. The next day after branding they looked very normal and that is what we were really looking for in a pain relief product.” Dr. Olson acknowledges that although oral Meloxicam was developed for cattle welfare reasons, the pain control has been shown to translate into healthier and more productive animals. Alberta-based beef producer Sue Giles has seen the benefit first-hand. “When we used it, our weights were definitely up at weaning,” says Giles, who, alongside her husband

Jason, is a partner in Giles Ranch. “It kind of makes sense if you’re reducing stress that they’re going to give something back to you,” she says. Now that pain control has established its place in cattle production, consumers, cattle producers and veterinarians can be confident that Canadian production systems are meeting animal welfare concerns. Research coming out of

Western Canada and the rapid adoption by producers and veterinarians have significantly contributed to this. “Ultimately, producers want Canadians to know that we all have a common desire for doing the right thing,” says Dr. Olson. “We too care about these animals, and our industry is responding with innovations to demonstrate that.”

Pain control a concern for producers and consumers alike Submitted

The demand for humanely-raised farm animals has reached a critical point in Canada. The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity estimates that 40 per cent of Canadians are concerned with humane treatment of farm animals, and support for that is rising every year. The beef industry wants consumers to know they’re listening. “Every producer, veterinarian, research scientist – we all respect the animals we work with, and

care deeply about doing what’s best for them,” says Dr. Merle Olson, a prominent Canadian veterinary researcher who has dedicated his career to developing humane treatments for production animals. He is the lead pharmaceutical developer at Solvet – a Calgary-based company that generates veterinary medicines for the Canadian livestock industry. The demand for humanely-raised beef is not just driven by consumers, however. Cattle producers and veterinarians them-

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The Battlefords, Thursday, May 16, 2019 - Page 11

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Farmer Rancher May 16, 2019  

Farmer Rancher May 16, 2019