AgriPost June 28 2024

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Manitoba Crops Looking Decent, Just Need Heat

Field Agronomy of Carman, MB, said that overall, crops are decent to very good in the south-central region. Small grains, especially, are good. There are some water-stressed areas, especially high spots in sandier soils, and drownouts here and there. Canola is also decent. Corn is decent. Soybeans are good but need heat. Soybeans need to catch up.

Brunel Sabourin of Antara Agronomy at St. Jean-Baptiste, MB, said things are off to a good start. However, many other areas of Manitoba and the Prairie Provinces are less fortunate.

“We have maybe 10% of our acres that the rains significantly delayed, but we managed to get them in. Some areas have had too much rain,

but it’s been manageable. Corn is behind. Need some heat for it and the soybeans,” said Sabourin. “Some of the first-seeded cereals are at the flag leaf stage. The weather for the cereals has been very favourable this spring.”

Spring seeding is complete, with 97 percent of crops planted, but abundant rain and cooler temperatures hamper crop development.

Anne Kirk, a cereal crop specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, said that the week of June 13, Manitoba had more rainfall, ranging from a high of 55 millimetres to strong winds and hail, which damaged crops in those regions. Severe storms brought strong winds, hail, and even tornado sightings, resulting in crop damage.

“Those strong winds and

are decent to very good in the south-central region.

hail have caused some crop damage,” noted Kirk. “So far this year, we’ve seen all regions of the province have received more than 100% of normal precipitation, and many areas have exceeded 150%.”

Despite the high precipitation, cooler temperatures have persisted.

“We’re still seeing some fairly cool temperatures. The growing degree of day accumulation is near or below normal for the majority of the agricultural region of Manitoba,” said Kirk.

The recent weather conditions have had a varied impact on crop development. Kirk said the cooler temperatures have made the growth of some of the warmer season crops slower than typically expected. Additionally,

she observed a wide range of seeding dates, resulting in crops ranging from just emerging from the ground to, in the case of oilseeds, some canola plants already bolting.

Excess moisture in certain areas has led to challenges.

“In some of these wetter areas, we are seeing some drowned-out areas in the field, water laying in the fields, and some crops struggling due to that excess moisture,” she said.

Despite these challenges, seeding is nearly complete across the province, with about 97% complete throughout the whole province. The wetness delayed the seeding in some areas, like the Interlake and the eastern region, where it’s wet; some seeding is still ongoing.

Kirk highlighted ongoing

issues with flea beetles and other pests. For oilseeds, like for flea beetles, canola would range from the cotyledon stage to bolting or even flowering in some of the more advanced fields. There is some flea beetle activity and insecticide applications for those flea beetles.

Different regions have reported varying levels of pest activity. According to reports from the northwest region, farmers reseeded some fields due to flea beetle damage. It just depends on the region.

Other pests, such as cutworms, diamondback moths, and grasshoppers, are also under watch.

“We are seeing some cutworms sporadically affecting crops like canola and sunflowers in the central region, sometimes meeting that

threshold for spraying,” said Kirk.

Looking ahead, Kirk expressed hope for improved conditions.

“We’re hoping for warmer temperatures to help increase crop growth and development, both for crops and hay and pasture fields,” she said.

Farmers were completing remaining seeding as the crop insurance deadline approached. The deadline for many crops, including canola and cereal crops, was coming up right away.

Kirk concluded with optimism about the coming days.

“We’re expecting that there will be a bit of seeding, and hopefully, we’ll see some more crop growth and development with these warmer temperatures,” she said.

Brunel Sabourin at St. Jean-Baptiste, MB noted that rain delays affected about 10% of acres during seeding.
“Some first-seeded cereals are at the flag leaf stage. The weather for the cereals has been very favourable this spring,” said Brunel Sabourin of Antara Agronomy at St. Jean-Baptiste, MB.
Jason Voogt of Field 2 Field Agronomy of Carman, MB, said that overall, crops
Submitted photos

Manitoba Seeding Wraps Up

Planting across Manitoba progressed during the week despite cool, wet and windy weather.

Farmers have been dealing with a real mix of weather this year, from isolated heavy rains, to strong winds, hail and even a few tornado sightings, says Anne Kirk, cereal crop specialist with Manitoba Agriculture.

This included small tornadoes, at Rivers, Baldur and Swan Lake First Nation. Isolated heavy rains, severe storms accompanied by strong winds and hail were reported.

Seeding is completed in most areas, although additional acres are being planted in regions that have had excess moisture with some reseeding. Despite the wet conditions, seeding progress was made throughout much of the province and is estimated to be 92 per cent complete.

Spring cereals, peas, and grain corn are approximately 97 per cent complete. Canola and soybean planting advanced, with 88 per cent of canola acres and 92 per cent of soybean acres planted. Many of the unseeded acres are expected to be planted to canola.

In central areas the week was cool, windy and cloudy with scattered showers. The most rain fell in the central part of the region, and planting progressed rapidly this past week due to high winds allowing soils to dry sufficiently for planting and other field operations to take place. There is some water in low spots, with crops undergoing visible water stress. The cooler temperatures are slowing crop growth, and many crops are more advanced developmentally than they may at first appear given their height.

Weeds continue to emerge as ample moisture has aided germination; however the cooler weather has slowed growth. Herbicide applications and spot spraying are taking place to control weeds at the desired growth stage.

In eastern areas with the additional rainfall, producers struggled to make progress on seeding, spraying and field work activities. Seeding resumed later in the week and over the weekend, but conditions were not ideal and producers carefully worked

around wet areas of fields.

Fall rye is at full head emer gence to beginning to seed fill stage, winter wheat is coming along too with spring seeding complete and most operations are now well into herbicide applications.

Good moisture has allowed hay and pasture fields to grow rapidly, but warmer weather will spur growth.

Dairy producers are making silage, wrapping up first cut harvests of alfalfa but yield reports are below average, likely due to the cooler temperatures.

Many alfalfa growers in the southeast are wrapping up their first cut of hay for the season.

Growers expressed concern

ed, but lots of it were broadcast and incorporated due to the unfavourable soil moisture conditions.

The overall crop condition of field peas is good with some yellowing and flax and sunflower crops are both reported as in mostly good condition.

Most areas have exceeded 150 per cent of normal precipitation during this growing season with the central regions receiving the most. The two wettest locations in Manitoba this season were Winkler (216 mm, 208 per cent normal precipitation) and Eden (208 mm, 216 per cent).

Bucks Boost Barley Research

The Canadian Barley Research Coalition has received a commitment of up to $5,257,073 through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) is also investing just over $1 million over five years.

The total value of barley research funded under the fiveyear Cluster exceeds $9.6 million, making it a significant investment in advancing barley innovation.

The goal of this Cluster is to support research that will lead to a more resilient barley sector that is better equipped to respond to a changing climate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Barley plays a key role in meeting diverse needs in the food and beverage industry, as well as livestock feed. Among other initiatives, the Barley Cluster research activities will explore improving barley sustainability through integrated genetic diversity, nitrogen, and plant growth regulators; developing Canadian barley

varieties that are more resistant to climate change; developing next-generation barley traits for economic profitability and environmental sustainability in Canada; and disease resistance to improve environmental, economic, and sector resiliency.

Barley is grown in all areas of Canada with an average annual production of close to 10 million tonnes; it is mainly grown in the Prairie Provinces.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) Canadian exports in 2022, were valued at $806M for barley, making Canada the

5th largest exporter of barley in the world. For the same year, barley was the 115th most exported product in Canada. The main destination of barley exports are China ($633M), United States ($157M), Japan ($16.5M), Canada ($267k), and Costa Rica ($77.2k).

For 2022, the Manitoba Government reported there were 412,500 acres of seeded area in barley and exports totalled 281,936 metric tonnes with a total value of $93 million. In 2022, Manitoba barley producers generated $61 million in farm cash receipts.

Dairy producers are making silage, wrapping up first cut harvests of alfalfa but yield reports are below average, likely due to the cooler temperatures.
Photo by Myriam Dyck

MacAulay’s Visit to Iowa and Minnesota Advances Shared Priorities and Strengthens Ties with Key Trade Partner

Recently, Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, travelled to Des Moines, Iowa, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, to meet with key agri-food stakeholders and US officials, with the goal of strengthening Canada’s relationships in the US Midwest and advancing shared priorities.

While in Iowa, Minister MacAulay attended the World Pork Expo, North America’s largest pork industry trade show. He connected with key US pork stakeholders and producers, along with Canadian national and provincial industry representatives to highlight the importance of our highly integrated agricul-

tural sectors. He also visited several trade show exhibitors to see firsthand how Canada’s high-quality swine, genetics, and innovative products add value to producers on both sides of the border.

On the margins of the Expo, MacAulay met with Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, where he highlighted the importance of the strong and secure Canada-US agri-food trade relationship and reinforced Canada’s role as a reliable and indispensable trading partner.

As part of his visit to Iowa, the Minister toured the John Deere Des Moines Works production facility, and spoke at a gathering of key

US agribusinesses and stakeholders hosted at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

Minister MacAulay met with Ambassador Terry Branstad, President of the World Food Prize Foundation, and Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, a member of the Council of Advisors and President of Iowa State University, where they discussed the importance of Canada and the US helping to address the challenge of food security, both at home and around the world.

MacAulay also toured the St. Ansgar, Iowa, Grain Millers oat milling facility, which sources 95% of their grains from Canada. Grain Millers is the world’s largest organic oat processor and produces

Financial Support Announced to Advance Genetic Evaluation of Canadian Cattle

The Federal Government recently announced funding up to $1,627,270 to the Canadian Angus Association (CAA), through the AgriScience Program – Projects Component, to help improve genetic evaluation tools for Canadian beef and dairy cattle.

The Canadian cattle industry is one of the country’s largest industries and a major economic driver. Canadian cattle and dairy producers hold themselves to the highest standards for quality and sustainability, which is why their genetics continue to be sought-after around the world.

Genetic selection tools allow producers to increase their return on investment, while accurately predicting traits that benefit the environment and respond to consumer preferences. With the development of these tools, the challenge of collecting large volumes of data and managing the complexity of the collected data has increased. With this federal support,

the CAA will leverage cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, camera and computer vision systems to capture large volumes of accurate data on traits that impact producer profitability, animal health and welfare, and environmental sustainability. This research work will provide beef and dairy producers with valuable knowledge on genetic selection and support the development of new systems and technologies to further advance breeding tools. These advancements in genetic evaluation tools will further position Canada as a wellrenowned country for genetics within the global cattle industry.

“The Canadian Angus Association exists to preserve and expand the breed for Canadian cattle producers and beef consumers, doing so in part by leading research and development projects,” said Myles Immerkar, CEO, Canadian Angus Association.

“Through this project, and

in partnership with Holstein Canada, our goal is to leverage cutting-edge camera and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to develop new ways to measure traits for Angus and Holstein cattle. These traits impact producer profitability, animal health and welfare, and carcass quality.”

Investing in innovation to advance efficient and sustainable genetic traits in Canadian cattle will help maintain the quality of herds, while supporting a more productive and profitable industry for the future.

As of January 1, 2024, the Canadian herd totalled 11.1 million cattle and calves (including both beef and dairy), on 70,490 Canadian farms and ranches.

In 2023, farm cash receipts from the sale of Canadian cattle and calves totalled $15 billion, in addition to the $8.6 billion generated from milk and cream sold from dairy farms; all while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly.

nearly a quarter of all oats in North America, with facilities across the US and Canada. During his visit, the Minister spoke with company representatives to highlight Canada as a key supplier of oats and ingredients.

In Minnesota, MacAulay met with Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, Thom Petersen, where they discussed shared priorities, such as sustainability, innovation and prevention of foreign animal diseases.

MacAulay additionally toured the Indigenous Food Lab with representatives of the North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) organization. The tour highlighted

the importance of promoting Indigenous food systems and strengthening connections between Indigenous communities across borders.

Throughout his visit to the US Upper Midwest, MacAulay emphasised the unique Canada-U.S. relationship, shared commitments to continental and global food security, and the bonds of friendship that tie both countries together.

“After spending the last few days in Iowa and Minnesota, I’ve seen just how strong our partnership with the United States really is, and it’s vitally important that we continue to work together, as nations and as dear friends, to strengthen our supply chains,

address food security challenges, and put more money in the pockets of producers on both sides of the border,” noted MacAulay.

Canada shares a strong agricultural partnership with the United States – our most valuable trading partner for Canadian agricultural and agri-food products. Canada and the US enjoy one of the largest bilateral agricultural trading relationships in the world. Canada is the top agriculture and agri-food export market for Minnesota, and Iowa’s second biggest market. In 2023, bilateral agricultural trade between Canada and the two US states were $3.6 billion (CAD) and $3 billion (CAD), respectively.

It’s Time We Take Notice

A Call for Pragmatic Solutions in Agriculture and Infrastructure

In a recent conversation with Gunter Jochum, president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers, he made several crucial points about the current state of agricultural policy and its impact on farmers. His insights resonate deeply with many in the farming community who feel the pressures of government regulations and lack practical support.

Those are my thoughts exactly. We need to be careful that the government doesn’t get what it wishes for, or, as we know, farming will have many more struggles.

Jochum points out that while farm organizations do commendable work, the federal government’s narrow focus on climate change over the past eight years has undermined major economic drivers like the oil and gas industry. Now, agriculture is next in line despite its signifi-

cant economic contributions. He notes, “It almost seems like now the next industry under attack is agriculture.”

This raises a pressing question: Is agriculture next to be obliterated by government policies that they don’t fully understand?

Why do you think the Feds are so bent on hurting, to say it lightly, food producers?

Yes, I said that right: farmers and the entire agricultural industry produce the food that feeds Canadians and many others worldwide.

Canada’s agriculture sector, particularly its grain farmers, is already among the most efficient globally regarding greenhouse gas emissions. Jochum cites a study by the Global Institute for Food Security, which shows that Canada ranks at the top in efficiency. Yet, the government continues to push for further reductions, imposing regulations that often do not consider the current high standards already being met by farmers. As Jochum aptly states, “Farmers are always looking for ways to become more efficient, and yet the

government is putting in place all kinds of regulations that fit their narrative and restrict productive farming.”

This situation is frustrating from my perspective. I’ve seen firsthand how diligently farmers work to improve their practices, not just for the environment but also for the sustainability of their livelihoods. The narrative that more regulations are the only path to improvement overlooks the substantial progress already made.

Jochum told me one significant issue is the financial support linked to these regulations. The government offers substantial sums of money to implement new rules, but when spread across numerous farms, the amounts often translate to negligible per-acre support. Here is where it comes home to roost. Jochum expresses frustration that some agricultural organizations readily accept these funds without critically assessing the effectiveness or necessity of the regulations they support.

I share this concern, as it is a short-term solution that

doesn’t address farmers’ real issues.

Another critical area that Jochum highlights is infrastructure. He argues that the government should invest in maintaining and improving existing infrastructure rather than focusing solely on new builds. A prime example is the Second Narrows Bridge into the Port of Vancouver, a crucial rail line that must halt operations when ships pass underneath due to its low height. Jochum emphasizes, “The government needs to build a new bridge for rail as well, to keep that side of the equation going.”

Jochum argues that policymakers often need to pay more attention to practical, on-the-ground experience in farming.

I recall my farming background and the valuable lessons learned from past generations. These insights are crucial in shaping policies that truly benefit the agricultural sector.

Having worked alongside farmers as a farm journalist for over 53 years, I can attest to the importance of practical

experience and the need for policies grounded in reality. Jochum’s comments underscore the need for more pragmatic and effective agricultural policy and infrastructure investment solutions. He calls for a focus on what genuinely matters—supporting research, maintaining critical infrastructure, and recognizing the high standards already achieved by farmers. He concludes, “We need to spend more time on things that matter.”

It’s time for policymakers to listen closely to those who live and breathe farming, ensuring that future regulations and investments genuinely support the backbone of Canada’s economy. The future of agriculture depends on practical, experience-based policies that acknowledge and build upon the substantial progress farmers have already made. The question remains: Will agriculture be the next industry to suffer from ill-conceived government policies, or can we steer towards a more informed and supportive approach?

Farmers in Canada Face Challenges Due to a Bumper Crop of Strawberries in California

As strawberry season kicks off across much of Canada, the arrival of summer brings a vibrant display of nature’s bounty, offering consumers an array of fresh produce.

While this is typically welcome news for consumers, this year presents unique challenges for our farmers.

After recovering from a severe multi-year drought, California has seen a significant increase in water availability, leading to higher production for many commodities, including strawberries. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data reveals that California exported over 60

million pounds of strawberries outside the US just a few weeks ago. Similar trends are expected for other produce such as cauliflower, broccoli, onions, peaches, and lettuce.

The end of California’s drought has led to an oversupply of produce. As a result, prices are plummeting in the Golden State. To maintain profitability, California farmers are exporting low-cost strawberries as far away as possible, with Canada being a key market. If the Canadian dollar maintains a favourable exchange rate against the American greenback, despite the Bank of Canada’s recent interest rate cut, Canadians

should enjoy lower produce prices in the near term.

However, the influx of strawberries from California and Mexico is disrupting our own domestic strawberry season, which is typically a lucrative period for Canadian farmers. Currently, local strawberries in parts of the country are significantly more expensive, sometimes by 50 percent or more, so it is understandable that consumers might opt for cheaper alternatives given recent food price trends.

This situation presents a dilemma for consumers: choose between the more affordable but less flavourful and fresh imported strawberries or the more expensive, locally grown berries known for their superior taste and freshness. These are fundamentally different products; the imported berries are bred to endure long-distance transportation, ripening en route to Canada, while local berries offer immediate freshness. Consum-

ers should anticipate facing this choice frequently this year.

In some regions, such as Ontario, local strawberries remain competitively priced due to market scale. However, patience may be key in areas with more expensive local berries. Waiting a week or so after the local harvest begins can lead to lower prices, allowing consumers to enjoy local produce without straining their budgets.

Price competition is just one challenge for Canadian farmers. California-based Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry producer, has partnered with farmers in Quebec and British Columbia to cultivate California-developed berries domestically. While plant science can be costly, this partnership aims to produce high-quality berries closer to home, enhancing logistical efficiency and adapting to climate change. The trade of agricultural products now

includes the exchange of intellectual property and plant genetics, which can help farmers manage unpredictable weather patterns. However, integrating California-developed genetics into Canadian farming raises concerns about preserving the unique taste and freshness of local berries. The scale of California-designed berry production may dominate the market, potentially diminishing the distinctiveness of Canada’s local berries. Consumers desire variety, quality, and local produce. Yet, the concept of “local” is increasingly influenced by global factors. The intersection of local production and global trade highlights the complex dynamics shaping our food system today.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University. © Troy Media.

The influx from California and Mexico is disrupting our own domestic strawberry season, typically a lucrative period for Canadian farmers.

Farmers Would Lose Hundreds of Millions of Dollars if Bunge - Viterra Merger Gets Green Light Governments Supporting Indigenous Agriculture

Dear Editor:

Bunge announced plans to buy Viterra, Canada’s largest grain company. Bunge is the world’s fifth-largest grain company. The Competition Bureau has found the merger would significantly harm competition.

The National Farmers Union believes it is not possible to mitigate the negative impacts of this deal, and therefore urges Cabinet to deny permission for the merger.

The grain trade in Canada is already highly concentrated. The American multinational Cargill, Winnipeg-based Richardson, G3 and Viterra comprise nearly 70 percent of Canada’s prairie elevator capacity and 52 percent of total port terminal capacity. If Bunge is allowed to buy Viterra, the new company would be Canada’s largest by far. It is also likely to spur further acquisitions by fellow giants, Cargill and Richardson to scale up their own operations, leading to even greater corporate concentration in the grain trade.

Any merger that would result in market concentration of 35% or more within a sector triggers a review by Canada’s regulatory authorities. The Competition Bureau studied the proposed Bunge-Viterra merger and on April 23, 2024 reported that it “is likely to result in substantial anti-competitive effects and a significant loss of rivalry between Viterra and Bunge in agricultural markets in Canada.” Because the merger involves port facilities, the Minister of Transport must review potential impacts. Bunge expects to get regulatory approval and for the merger to be done by mid2024.

Four prairie farm organizations – APAS, SaskWheat, SaskBarley and Alberta Grains commissioned agricultural economists Richard Gray, James Nolan and Peter Slade to do an in-depth study of the merger’s impacts on farmers. Their report “The Economic Impact of the Proposed Bunge-Viterra (BV) Merger on the Grain Sector in Western Canada: A Preliminary Assessment” concluded that it would reduce farmers’ incomes by $770 million per year. It would lead to a 15% increase in discounts from primary elevator grain prices, and farmers selling canola for crushing would also lose $200 to $325 million dollars annually, depending on whether the new company’s monopoly power was achieved by building the proposed Viterra crush plant (and thus own-

ing 42% of Canada’s crushing capacity) or by not building it (causing a bottleneck). The new company plus G3 would control 47% of Vancouver port capacity. A merged Bunge-Viterra company would thus be able to capture hundreds of millions of dollars per year from farmers, and transfer that money to its own shareholders at the expense of Canada’s economy and the prosperity of prairie farmers and their communities.

The Competition Bureau has a very limited range of remedies it can recommend to reduce the negative impacts of mergers.

The economists’ study analyzes these possible remedies and finds that even if these conditions were imposed by Cabinet, there would be considerable economic harm to farmers and the prairie economy.

As the NFU has said in its submission to the public consultation on Canada’s competition policy, a central challenge for decision-makers is to recognize the difference between competition and competitiveness, and to manage their dynamics in the public interest.

The word “competitive” is often used in contradictory ways: to describe a high degree of competition among buyers, or to refer to a company’s ability to win a competition due to its size and power. It is critical to recognize that the “competitiveness” of a market and the “competitiveness” of an individual firm represent different phenomena, and over time, the success of a few competitors can eliminate effective competition from their market.

As the economists’ study pointed out, the CR4 (measuring a sector’s concentration of market share among its four largest firms) for grain buyers is already over 80% for nearly three-quarters of the prairie land base; and if the merger goes ahead nearly half (45%) of the prairie land base will face a CR4 ratio of over 90%. Canadian grain farmers have very few choices of buyers, trucking to an alternative buyer is costly, and the ability to hold out for a better price is limited due to the need to pay their production costs.

There is a compelling case for stopping the merger based on how it would restructure Canada’s grain trade. The merger’s negative implications are even stronger when considering the new company’s potential to dominate markets internationally – which the Competition

Bureau does not examine. Bunge and Viterra operate in approximately 40 countries, and both have particularly large footprints in South America. Multinationals can source grain from different countries, own massive storage facilities, and have access to increasingly sophisticated production data and market intelligence. When Canadian farmers sell grain, they may at best be choosing between a handful of elevators in their region, but at the same time, they are competing against farmers in other countries – including farmers who are desperate to sell. The power imbalance between companies like Bunge and Viterra compared with individual farmers is already extreme. Allowing the two giants to merge will make it significantly worse.

Cabinet could approve the merger with conditions in order to reduce its negative impacts. However, selling off some of the elevators, one of the port facilities and/or its stake in G3 would have little impact on the ability of the newly merged entity to use its concentrated economic power to advance the company’s interests at the expense of Canadian farmers and Canada’s economy more broadly – and any buyers for these assets would also be among the world’s most powerful grain companies. We also recognize that a Bunge-Viterra merger would not be the end of the story: rather it would likely trigger a new round of consolidation by prompting strategic responses from other Canadian and multinational grain sector players.

With its expanded footprint of country elevators, processing facilities and port facilities, the merged corporation would be able to increase its profits at the expense of farmers and would be able to influence production decisions to align with the company’s interests, which could conflict with farmers’ autonomy and/or Canada’s national food security and economic interests. The hundreds of millions of dollars farmers would lose as a result of this deal every year is just the beginning. A BungeViterra merger would significantly harm farmers, undermine Canada’s food sovereignty, and transfer billions of dollars out of the Canadian economy over time. For these reasons we call upon Cabinet to deny approval of this harmful merger.

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing in the revitalization of traditional food systems under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP).

“Funding for agricultural projects led by Indigenous Peoples is a crucial step towards building a more inclusive, sustainable and climate-resilient food system,” said federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay. “By continuing to diversify and include traditional food systems, we can help to address food security for folks right across the country and build an even stronger sector.”

The program is aimed at increasing food security, training and resource development, and expanding Indigenous participation in Manitoba’s growing agriculture and agri-food sectors.

This year, 26 projects have been funded, totalling $1.52 million, and applications are now open for next year’s funding.

“Agriculture and food production are important drivers of economic growth in our province, and we’re working with Indigenous communities so they can see those benefits,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn.

“We’re supporting communities to bring back and expand traditional ways of growing food and address food insecurity, and we’re working with them to train workers and grow businesses in the agriculture sector.”

The 26 projects funded through Sustainable CAP include:

- Long Plain First Nation Community Wellness’ Hunting and Gathering, Foraging and Processing Project will enhance current community food systems through the development of new food harvesting and preservation processes to ensure that food is properly preserved and available for consumption throughout the year.

- Arctic Buying Company Kivalliq Inc.’s Niriqatiginnga, a northern food systems innovation project, will address issues of food insecurity with northern Indigenous communities through a collaborative approach, engaging farmers, food producers and system innovators on ways to create an approach where northern and Indigenous communities, youth and elders are actively involved in addressing and enhancing northern food systems.

- Aki Foods will purchase equipment to enhance crop productivity and the quality of harvested goods including grains, vegetables, fruits, herbs, poultry and eggs.

For more information on the Indigenous Agriculture and Relationship Development Program and to apply for funding, visit manitoba. ca/sustainableCAP.

Senate Report Recommends

Reinstating Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration

The National Farmers Union applauds the release of Critical Ground, the new Report from the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry,” said NFU Climate Committee member Rick Munroe. The Senate report was released June 6.

“The NFU supports nearly all the report’s recommendations,” added Munroe. “We’re especially pleased to see the Committee recommend that the Government of Canada reinstate the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA).”

Munroe explained that the PFRA provided exemplary front-line, integrated services to farmers for more than seven decades. It was created in 1935 to help Prairie farmers deal with soil drifting, water supply challenges, and other severe Dust Bowl problems.

“As a result of climate change impacts and predicted warming, we anticipate that the need for coordinated, multi-disciplinary federal supports will be even greater during the decades ahead than was the case in the 1930s,” said Munroe.

The NFU has met with MPs and others to advocate for a “21st Century PFRA” - an expanded and updated national version that the NFU is calling the CFRA: Canadian Farm Resilience Agency. Their vision of the CFRA would work with farmers to help them adapt to climate change, build resilience, and take steps to reduce emissions while maintaining yields and net incomes.

“The NFU advocates for the PFRA model to be adopted nation-wide in order to help farmers in all regions contend with the challenges that lie ahead,” said Munroe. He noted that the Senate’s recommendation is a major step in the right direction.

The Report’s final recommendation that “The Government of Canada recognizes a sense of urgency and act accordingly” is something that Munroe fully supports. “Protecting soils and supporting farmers as climate impacts intensify are both crucial tasks” he added.

Refocusing on Real Solutions for Farmers

Gunter Jochum, president of the Wheat Growers Association, reflects on the recent seeding season and criticizes current government policies and farm organizations for not adequately addressing farmers’ real needs. Due to persistent wet weather, Jochum and his team decided to halt seeding and focus on solutions for the affected fields rather than rushing to meet crop insurance deadlines.

“I wish our government would work this way, but instead, they propose solutions to problems that don’t exist, have very little impact, or are unrealistic,” Jochum stated. “Farm organizations have enabled this, and I believe that must stop. We need to advocate for what grain farmers truly need and want.”

He calls for a refocus on critical issues such as trade-enabling infrastructure, Grain Act reforms, and research reforms.

Jochum’s frustration with the government’s approach to climate change and sustainable agriculture does not dismiss their importance. He believes the government could address these issues more practically and directly tackle the real issues farmers face. He also points out that some farm organizations have supported these policies, which he feels

need to be more aligned with the genuine needs of grain farmers.

According to Jochum, the federal government’s narrow focus on climate change over the past eight years has undermined Canada’s vital oil and gas industry, and now, it is targeting agriculture.

“It almost seems like now the next industry under attack is agriculture,” he argues.

He emphasized that Canada’s agricultural sector is already performing well in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

“If you look at the Global Institute for Food Security out of Saskatchewan, they did a major study of how Canada’s agriculture compares to the rest of the world. And Canada comes out right at the top,” Jochum notes.

He expressed concerns about government policies misaligned with farmers’ actual needs.

“I wish our government would work this way, but instead, they bring solutions to problems that don’t exist, have very little impact, or are unrealistic,” he stated, pointing to climate change mitigation and sustainable agriculture strategies as major areas of ineffective intervention.

He also criticized farm organizations for supporting these policies rather than advocating

for farmers, saying, “Farm organizations have enabled this, and I believe that must stop. We have also made the mistake of ‘going along’ with many of these ideas instead of truly advocating for what grain farmers need and want.”

Jochum calls for a shift in focus towards issues that directly impact farmers’ livelihoods, emphasizing the need for practical solutions.

“We need to spend more time where it truly matters [like] trade-enabling infrastructure, Grain Act reforms, research reforms, PMRA reforms, etc., not cover crops that don’t work for the majority of the cropped areas or forcing types of tillage that don’t work in other areas,” he said.

He highlighted the importance of government recognition of farmers’ contributions, saying, “We have fallen into the trap of believing we should be asking the government for money for everything we do when, in reality, we should be asking the government to acknowledge what we do and allow us to continue to innovate with industry, as we have for over a century on our farms.”

Jochum criticized the current approach of many agricultural

lobby groups. It’s well known that the Wheat Growers have little regard for working to have a ‘seat at the table’. Rightfully or wrongfully, the Ag lobby has to get away from the ‘seat at the table’ or the ‘photo op’ mentality and get back to doing what’s best for farmers instead of all the rest of the noise,” he asserted. He said the government should invest in maintaining and improving existing infrastructure rather than new builds. A critical example is the second Narrows Bridge into the Port of Vancouver. It’s a vital rail line that goes into the Port of Vancouver, and it has to shut down the railways when a ship passes underneath it because it’s too low. Rail service into the Port of Vancouver is virtually at 100% capacity he said.

“So every time you stop rail service going into Vancouver, even if it’s just for half an hour, it backs up the whole supply chain,” Jochum explains.

He argues that while there’s a new bridge for car and truck traffic, a similar investment is needed for rail.

“Yet they have no trouble putting billions of dollars towards climate change initiatives, many of which won’t make a difference,” he said.

Gunter Jochum, president of the Wheat Growers Association noted that the 2024 crop season is variable. “Our crop is all over the place. We have some early cereals that look very nice. We have some canola that looks okay.” Submitted photo

Opinion: Is Supply Management Really Driving up Food Prices?

Many Canadians argue that supply management should be eliminated because it drives up retail food prices. However, data from the last decade shows little evidence that supply management significantly increases food costs, though some caveats exist.

Using Statistics Canada’s database of selected food products, my team at the agri-food analytics lab at Dalhousie University analyzed the price increases of all food items from 2017 to the present. We compared the price increases of supply-managed products to the overall increase across all food categories.

The average price increase since 2017 for all categories has been 30.2 percent. Among supplymanaged items, only three exceeded this average: cream at 30.9 percent, butter at 30.7 percent, and eggs at 37.9 percent.

Here are the rest of the supply-managed products: whole chicken: 17.5 percent, chicken breast: 20.1 percent, chicken thighs: 14.5 percent, chicken drumsticks: 1.9 percent, milk (one litre): 25.3 percent, milk (two litres): 25.9 percent, milk (four litres): 25.4 percent, cheese: 20.7 percent, yogurt: 27.1 percent. These are all below the average increase for all food products tracked by the federal agency.

This data underscores how specific supply-managed items have performed relative to the broader food market. Notably, products like butter, cream, butterfat products, and eggs are exceptions, having increased more than the average since 2017, but not by a significant margin.

We also examined how supply-managed products have influenced food inflation over the last decade.

The graph below shows the black line representing the overall food inflation rate. Compared to the lines representing supply management categories, there are no significant spikes or drops, indicating a stable inflation rate for general food items over the 10 years.

The fresh or frozen poultry (orange line) category shows more fluctuation compared to the general food line. Inflation rates for poultry have peaks and troughs, reaching as high as around 12 percent and dipping below -5 percent at times. This volatility is likely due to factors such as changes in feed prices, demand, or supply chain issues.

Dairy products (green line) display a moderate level of fluctuation but remain largely within a zero to 10 percent range. This suggests some stability but with periodic adjustments, possibly influenced by production costs or market demand. Finally, eggs (blue line) exhibit the most volatility among the categories shown. The inflation rate for eggs peaks at over 20 percent and has sharp declines, including a significant drop below -5 percent. This could be due to factors such as avian influenza outbreaks, which historically impact egg production and prices.

Based on the evidence over the last decade, it is hard to conclude that supply-managed products have significantly exacerbated the cost of food for Canadians. However, there is still cause for concern.

Supply-managed food categories, especially eggs, appear to fluctuate as much or more than many other food products. While supply management aspires to stabilize prices, the data suggests otherwise. There-

fore, while it’s not entirely fair to claim that supply management consistently drives food inflation higher, it does seem to occasionally contribute to higher prices.

The latest CPI report from Statistics Canada indicates that month-to-month increases for dairy, poultry, and eggs are much higher than the average for April. Price volatility is a significant reason Canadians perceive a food category as expensive, and supply management is not preventing that from happening.

Additionally, our analysis covers only 10 years and doesn’t consider that supply-managed product prices may have been higher when compared to other categories. Anecdotal evidence suggests these products tend to be cheaper in other parts of the world, including the United States.

Beyond price volatility, supply management inflates prices for processors, particularly dairy, which, in turn, suppresses innovation up the food chain. Our discussions with dairy processors indicate that industrial milk in Canada is much too expensive. In fact, industrial milk prices in Canada are the highest in the industrial world.

For supply management to better serve Canadians, reducing retail price volatility and lowering industrial prices should be key objectives for policymakers.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University. © Troy Media

Alumni Presented with Certificates of Merit for Leadership and Service

Two alumni of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences were honoured recently for their outstanding professional and personal contributions to Manitoba’s agricultural community.

The Certificate of Merit is presented each year in recognition of leadership with agricultural organizations and service to the community at large.

The 2024 recipients are Arthur Cameron, renowned Roland pumpkin grower, and Delaney Ross Burtnack, executive director of Manitoba Canola Growers Association.

Arthur Cameron

Arthur Cameron was raised on a family farm just outside Roland, MB. In 1970, Arthur graduated from the University

of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in Agricultural Economics. Following graduation, he worked with Grain Insurance & Guarantee in Winnipeg from 1972 to 1996 until he returned to the family grain farm in Roland.

Cameron believes strongly in community service and has volunteered his time with various groups, including the Roland Curling Club and Rink Board. He served for seven years on the Carman Area Foundation, of which the R.M. of Roland is a member. He has often been called upon for grant writing and thanks to his time commitment, community infrastructure such as the Roland Walking Path and Roland Electronic Reader Board projects were successfully achieved.

Perhaps his most significant leadership is evidenced through

his community’s annual agricultural fair. As background, in 1976, Roland resident Edgar Van Wyck set the world record for growing the heaviest pumpkin, weighing around 400 pounds. In subsequent years, giant pumpkins continued to be grown which brought the small community a high level of fame. In 1991, the annual Roland fair for the heaviest pumpkin (now termed the “Roland Pumpkin Fair”) began, and in 1996 Cameron began volunteering with the event.

Since then, Cameron has been instrumental in the organization and advertising of the Roland Pumpkin Fair, and without his efforts, the fair would undoubtedly be a fraction of what it is today. For 18 years, Cameron served as Chair of the Roland Pumpkin Fair and President of the Roland Agricultural Society. Under his leadership, the Roland Pumpkin Fair has grown immensely over the years; bringing in thousands of attendees and making North American headlines. In addition to the great pumpkin weigh-off, the fair is filled with a wide variety of organized events – ranging from a pancake breakfast, craft sales, agricultural and educational displays, entertainment and children’s activities, and a full course harvest supper.

The Roland Pumpkin Fair is

now a staple event each October in Roland, drawing massive crowds from across Manitoba and even the United States.

His conversations and advocacy with numerous agribusinesses have amounted in substantial sponsors to make this event possible. Cameron’s tireless efforts have amounted to countless smiles, memories, and amazement to all those who attend the annual Roland Pumpkin Fair.

In 2006, Cameron and other growers established the Manitoba Giant Growers Association (MGGA), a non-profit association. He has since served as Chairman of the MGGA for many years and currently serves in this capacity. His leadership with the MGGA has promoted the hobby of giant pumpkin growing all across this province, and he spends time mentoring new growers and providing his expertise on the subject. Cameron has been vital in organizing annual seminars and patch tours across the province for over a decade to promote awareness and educate others on the hobby.

In 2023, he set his personal best for his heaviest pumpkin weighing 1,178.0 pounds. He has donated many of his giant pumpkins each year to “A Pumpkin Promise”, a fundraiser for CancerCare that gathers attention through carving these

giant pumpkins into jack-o’lanterns.

Today, Arthur Cameron resides on the family century farm in Roland, where he con-

tinues to grow giant pumpkins and watermelons. In fact, he holds the Manitoba record for watermelons at 167 pounds. He also enjoys golf and curling.

Delaney Ross Burtnack

Delaney Ross Burtnack was born and raised in Winnipeg, spending many summers and holidays at the family farm near Swan River in the Parkland Region of Manitoba.

Her lifelong love of agriculture began on the Cotton Century Farm through her close relationship with her grandparents John and Margaret Cotton.

Ross Burtnack graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Crop Protection Major) from the University of Manitoba in 1998 and completed her M.Sc. in Plant Science in

2001. After graduation, Ross Burtnack began cultivating her reputation as an excellent communicator, joining Issues Ink publishing company as advising agronomist in 2000. She became managing editor for Lester Communications, another publishing group in Winnipeg in 2003. She then joined Cargill in 2005 at their Canadian head office in Winnipeg as communications coordinator. Ross Burtnack’s role as a nationally-respected communicator and leader in Canada’s agricultural industry was firmly established when she joined the

Continued on page 9...

L to R: Dean Martin Scanlon, Certificate of Merit recipient Arthur Cameron and nominator Milan Lukes.
L to R: Dean Martin Scanlon, Certificate of Merit recipient Delaney Ross Burtnack and nominator Don Flaten.

Alumni Presented with Certificates of Merit Continued from page 8...

Canadian Association of Agricultural Retailers (CAAR), first in 2007 as communications and membership manager and then as their President and CEO from 2011-2017. She led the development of a formal business strategy and restructured the organization, engaging the CAAR Board in strategic planning and development of an updated mission and vision. With the joint effort of a great CAAR team, she led improved the profitability of CAAR’s annual conference and a stronger program format, developed new agronomy and safety training resources, and re-engaged the association in advocacy issues at a national and regional level.

In 2017, Ross Burtnack became Executive Director with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA), where she was fortunate to step into leadership of an exceptional team. By updating and refining management systems, policies and procedures, she continued to collaboratively build the team into the strong and innovative group that drives MCGA’s successful programming today. Working closely with the board, she established a new Revenue Reserve in 2021 that allowed strategic investment in research

infrastructure at the University of Manitoba and Assiniboine Community College, while planning ahead to offset the risk of low-income years. Supported by Ross Burtnack’s leadership, the MCGA team built stronger collaborative relationships provincially and nationally, improved cost-sharing, expanded the Research pillar with dedicated staff and new research programs, expanded MCGA’s innovative Market Development pillar into a collaborative national program, grew outreach to farmers with more valuable and relevant programming, and established MCGA as a strong and informed voice for Manitoba canola farmers on a wide range of issues.

She has also continued her family’s commitment to volunteering, serving in a variety of voluntary leadership roles in external agricultural organizations including Northern Agriculture Development Corporation; PMRA Maximum Residue Limit Steering Committee; Fertilizer Canada’s Fertilizer Safety and Security Council; Fertilizer Canada’s Safety, Training, and TDG Subcommittee; Prairie Certified Crop Advisor Board; and Canadian Agri-Marketing Association for Manitoba.

Her service also extends to her local community, with volunteer roles with Graffiti Art Gallery –Mural Fest Event, and coaching and team support for Rally Cap Baseball, and Interlake Minor Baseball 9U and 11U.

Ross Burtnack is truly honoured to add this Certificate of Merit to her Cotton family’s distinguished history supporting agriculture and community that continues through her extended family today. The Manitoba story started many years ago with her great, great grandfather Almon James Cotton – an agricultural pioneer who served on the Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba from 1917 to 1934, was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, and later came to be known as “The Wheat King”.

Ross Burtnack’s grandfather John Cotton also contributed honours like two-time World Flax Champion and recipient of many awards for outstanding volunteerism, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

She hopes to continue contributing to the industry and the Parkland region following her family’s move in 2024 back to her husband’s hometown and nearer the Cotton family farm.

Ag Education Leader Receives Assiniboine Honorary Diploma

Johanne Ross, a distinguished leader in agriculture education, was awarded an Assiniboine College Honorary Diploma in recognition of her dedication to education in agriculture and passionate contributions to this important sector.

“I was equal parts shocked, delighted, and then humbled when I heard I was to be honoured with a diploma from Assiniboine College,” said Ross. “It has been a distinct privilege to have my name associated with the college over the past seven years, first as a member of the Board of Governors and then to help lead in the Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture fundraising campaign. I have learned so much about Assiniboine over that time and have seen how the college has embraced change and growth through both challenges and opportunities.”

“I am so proud of Assiniboine - the leadership, the faculty, the programs, the research, the students and of course our graduates, all striving for excellence, and achieving it! I thank the Board of Governors and faculty for this tremendous honour, and I will carry it with pride,” she added.

Ross’s accomplishments include decades of experience in organizational development and senior leadership within the Canadian agriculture and food sector. Known for her insightful relationship-building, Ross has led hundreds of stakeholder collaborations, ranging

from government entities to private industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba and has pursued a diverse career path that ignited her passion for inspiring youth to engage in agriculture.

Throughout her career, Ross was a foundational builder with Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) in Manitoba and then across Canada, where her leadership was instrumental in the management and growth of AITC programming nationwide, ultimately serving as the national organization’s first Executive Director. Through this work, she was breaking new ground to build strong agriculture literacy offerings in Canada that continue today to deliver unique, relevant and inquiry-based educational experiences for all grade levels. She ensured the development of interactive programs and resources that are embraced by urban and rural educators, while inspiring curiosity, critical thinking and lifelong learning for Canada’s agriculture and food sector.

“The college is pleased to be recognizing Johanne for her service to the agricultural sector nationwide. She has been an inspiration in our own pursuit of Ag leadership and expansion,” said Mark Frison, President of Assiniboine College. “She has been advancing the sector for many years, educating youth on how vast the sector is, the role it plays in each of our

everyday lives, and the diverse career opportunities available. She’s a leader in every sense of the word.”

Her contributions to the agriculture and community extend beyond the classroom; Ross has served with local 4-H clubs, the Minnedosa Credit Union board, the Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation, The International Agri-Food Network, the Assiniboine College Board of Governors, and as co-chair of Assiniboine’s Prairie Innovation Centre campaign cabinet.

Ross has been recognized for her exceptional contributions to agriculture with a YWCA Woman of Distinction award, and in 2021, was inducted into the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame, honouring her leadership in promoting and enhancing national agriculture education.

Not slowed by her retirement from AITC Canada, Ross continues her involvement in agriculture, now working in human resource management specializing in the agri-food sector.

Ross, along with her husband, three sons and their wives, operates a beef cattle farm north of Minnedosa.
Submitted photo

Congratulations to the 2024 University

Agricultural and Food Sciences Grads Celebrate at Spring Convocation 2024

At the University of Manitoba Spring Convocation session on June 6, parchments were presented to the graduates from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. The Class of 2024 includes 49 Diploma in Agriculture, 139 Bachelor of Science, 38 MSc/MEng and 12 PhD graduates.

Award Winners

Diploma medal winners include Callum Fortin

who received the Governor General’s Bronze Medal, an award given to the graduate with the highest academic standing in the twoyear Diploma Program in Agriculture.

Riley Kehler received the President’s Medal, given annually to a student who combines scholarship with outstanding qualities and has demonstrated leadership to the members of the graduating class through-

Boda, Martin J. East St. Paul, MB

Boonstra, Gerrit J. Marquette, MB

Burley, Ashley K. Morris, MB

Conrad, Nathan J. Swan Lake, MB

Cousins, Bailey A. Stanley, MB de Rocquigny, Samuel R. Haywood, MB

DeMare, Stijn Winnipeg, MB

Erb, Zachary J. Domain, MB

Fairlie, Bobbie C. Warren, MB

Fortin, Callum R. Souris, MB

Friesen, Brendan T. Stanley, MB

Friesen, Brody Winnipeg, MB

Friesen, Colby St. Adolphe, MB

Gilmore, Matthew E. Warren, MB

Gilmour, Hayden R. Scanterbury, MB

Gluska, Steele La Salle, MB

Harder, Cole Schanzenfeld, MB

Hellegards, Justis B. Stonewall, MB

Hildebrand, Brendan R. Stanley, MB

Hofer, Carter C. Ile des Chenes, MB

Janke, Riley E. Marquette, MB

Johnson, Noah Arborg, MB

Kaur, Anmol Faridkot, India

Kehler, Riley S. Sunnyside, MB

Krahn, Nathan J. Rivers, MB

Kubinec, Alexander Holland, MB

Locke, Cory Niverville, MB

Locke, Jesse A. Niverville, MB

Manchester, Lane C. Winnipeg, MB

Meinen, Andrew C. Landmark, MB

Miller, Graham R. Oakville, MB

Moorhouse, Asher S. Portage La Prairie, MB

Moorhouse, Carter D. Portage La Prairie, MB

Mroz, Mark R. Beausejour, MB

Norrie, Trenton R. Swan Lake, MB

Peters, Chase R. Steinbach, MB

Recksiedler, Matthew Winnipeg, MB Schmuelgen, Matthew B. Balmoral, MB

Sernowsky, Janessa L. Lorette West, MB

Singh, Harmanpreet Winnipeg, MB

Singh, Manpreet Winnipeg, MB

Singh, Vikram Winnipeg, MB

Stanze, Robert M. Rosenort, MB

Verhoeven, Jared H. Portage la Prairie, MB

Wasnie, Austin J. Selkirk, MB

Wegner, Abigail T. Winnipeg, MB

Wolf, Alexander O. Fannystelle, MB

out their time enrolled in their program.

Degree program medals are presented to students with the highest standing in their program. This year’s recipients include Andrew De Pape who received the B.Sc. (Agribusiness) Medal; Milan Lukes who received the B.Sc. (Agriculture) Medal; Maryna Plaksii who received the B.Sc. (Agroecology) Medal; Thuc Quyen Nguyen who received the B.Sc. (Food Science) Medal; and Zeta Ward who received the B.Sc. (Human Nutritional Sciences) Medal.

Mireille Krul who graduated with a B.Sc. (Agriculture) in Animal Systems was honoured with the University Gold Medal in Agricultural and Food Sciences given for the highest grade point average.

Milan Lukes who graduated with a B.Sc. (Agriculture) in Plant Biotechnology was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Gold

Medal, given on the basis of scholarship, personal excellence and leadership.

Joel Gardener was honoured with the Governor General’s Gold Medal (Ph. D), awarded for outstanding achievement at the doctoral graduate level.

The School of Agriculture Teacher of the Year Awards were presented in recognition of teaching excellence and contribution to the students’ program of study. The First Year award, selected by firstyear diploma students, was given to Bailey Delf,

The recipient of the President’s Medal is awarded to a graduate who combines scholarship with outstanding qualities of leadership. The graduating class nominates a candidate for this award which was endorsed by the Faculty’s Award Committee and by the FAFS Council. The 2024 recipient is Riley Kehler. L to R: School of Agriculture director Sue Clayton, Riley Kehler, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Martin Scanlon.

School of Agriculture. The Second Year award, selected by the graduating class of diploma students, went to Garrett Sawatzky, School of Agriculture.



year Diploma in Agriculture Program. The 2024 recipient is Callum Fortin. L to R: School of Agriculture director Sue Clayton, Callum Fortin, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Martin Scanlon.

The James Farms Award is presented to the graduate with the highest standing in Farm Management courses. The 2024 recipient is Nathan Krahn. L to R: David James of James Farms and Nathan

Diploma in Agriculture students with Director Sue Clayton.
Photo by Milan Lukes
The Governor General’s Bronze Medal is awarded to the graduate with the highest standing in
proficiency in
The Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR) Agronomy award goes to the graduate with the highest academic standing in the Crop Management Option of the Agriculture Diploma program. The 2024 recipient is Callum Fortin. L to R: Executive director of Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers Myrna Grahn and Callum Fortin.
The Pallister Farm Award goes to the student who has demonstrated excellence in Agricultural Marketing and Agricultural Policy. The 2024 recipient is Chase Peters. L to R: Associate Dean (Academic) Michel Aliani and Chase Peters.
The Cyril L. Anderson – Feed-Rite (Masterfeeds) Prize is presented to the student with highest standing in our animal health and welfare and animal biology and nutrition courses. The 2024 recipient is Ashley Burley. L to R: Ashley Burley and Head of the Department of Animal Science Kim Ominski.
Degree students named Kathleen Wilson, School of Agriculture, as Professor of the Year, an honour voted on by the graduating class.

of Manitoba Agricultural Graduates!

The Manitoba Pork Council Prize goes to a graduate who demonstrates an interest in animal production and animal nutrition while maintaining a high grade point average. The 2024 recipient is Brendan Hildebrand. L to R: Manitoba Pork Council board member Scott Peters and Brendan Hildebrand.

The Rylan Laudin Memorial Prize is to recognize graduating students from the Agriculture Diploma program who demonstrate a passion and strong heart for agriculture and innovation and bring enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn into the classroom. The 2024 recipient is Riley Kehler. L to R: Riley Kehler and School of Agriculture instructor Reg Dyck.

The Dr. Eugene H. “Papa” Lange Memorial Prize in Agriculture is presented to the graduating student with the highest standing in the communication courses in the Agriculture Diploma Program. The 2024 recipient is Brendan Friesen. L to R: Class of 1963 member Harvey Dann and Brendan Friesen.

Each year, the diploma classes elect a “Teacher of the Year” in recognition of teaching excellence and contribution to the students’ program of study. This award is sponsored by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Students Organization (FASO) and given to a teacher elected from the graduating class. The




The Prof. Paul and Anna Stelmaschuk Awards are presented to students who have achieved excellence in the development of a business plan for a farm or an agribusiness. The award is presented to the two students with the highest marks in the Farm Management Project 2 course. The 2024 recipients are Riley Kehler and Nathan Krahn (below).


The FASO Minor award is presented to students who have shown significant faculty involvement throughout their undergraduate degree. The 2024 recipients are Nathan Conrad, Bailey Cousins and Alex Kubinec. L to R: Alex Kubinec, incoming Diploma Stick Randi Verwey, Nathan Conrad and Bailey Cousins.
Class of 2024 group photo.
2024 recipient
Garrett Sawatzky. L
R: Instructor Garrett Sawatzky
student representative Cole Harder.
L to
Riley Kehler and instructor Bailey Delf.
Instructor Noah de Rocquigny and Nathan Krahn.
The Back to the Land Association Prize encourages graduates with high academic standing in the Diploma in Agriculture Program to return to farming. The 2024 recipients are Callum Fortin and Brendan Friesen.
L to R: School of Agriculture instructor Garrett Sawatzky, Brendan Friesen, Callum Fortin, and instructor Riley Buchanan. All photos

Cattle Prices High and Despite Heavy Rainfall Feedstocks Flourish


The cattle market performance is solid, benefiting individual operations and the entire industry.

“This robust performance signals a healthy demand for our products, ensuring stable revenue streams and fostering confidence among stakeholders,” said cattle producer Tom Teichroeb from Langruth, MB. Additionally, the favourable market conditions encourage further investments and expansions, ultimately contributing to the overall growth and resilience of the industry.

“We have seen so many down years, and for this in-

dustry to stay vibrant and for young producers to want to come into this industry, we need to be where we’re now,” said Teichroeb.

He recently spoke with an auctioneer friend from St. Rose, MB, who mentioned a successful cow sale attended by a young family who purchased an animal, indicating a positive sign of succession.

“That’s something that we have not seen an overabundance of,” he commented.

However, Teichroeb warns that there are better times to invest heavily.

“The banks have always been the opposite of how I think they should operate,”

he noted adding that banks give producers all kinds of money when prices are incredibly high, but producers end up carrying debt that needs servicing down the road.

While the market and prices are firm, ensuring serviceable debt is crucial.

Teichroeb explained that while selling a 900-pound steer calf for $3,000 each reflects current market prices, purchasing a female can cost around four or five thousand dollars. Consequently, it only takes a few purchases before the expenses reach one hundred thousand dollars.

Sustainability and profit-

ability over the long term are critical considerations. Investors and succession plans must ensure that the business remains viable now and in the future, considering factors like weather and crop growth for feed.

Recently, Teichroeb’s operation had a perfect feedstock season, completing corn planting on May 11. However, the recent heavy rains left many fields flooded.

“There’s a lot of water. A guy beside me across the fence line just finished seeding a quarter. He also put it into oats, and I’d say 50% is underwater,” he shared.

Despite the challenges,

the rain promoted pasture growth.

He said in the Langruth area they received about two and a half inches of rain, on top of the over four inches received over the previous two to three weeks. Usually, if this had been the first rain, it would have been welcome however, due to the already saturated ground, pooling became an issue. This year, they’ve been fortunate with good feed production, unlike neighbouring areas that didn’t fare as well.

Overall, even though the current situation presents challenges, it also offers opportunities. The good soil conditions for seeding are the best Teichroeb has seen in a long time, which bodes well for crop growth.

“I haven’t seen seeding conditions like this that I can remember as good as it was this year in a long, long time. I mean, a long time,” he said.

As long as they don’t get hit by another heavy rain, the excess water should find

its way into the ground, and they can manage any necessary reseeding.

Reflecting on the difficult years when they didn’t know how to make it through spring, the conditions significantly improved despite the mud and water.

“All we need to do is think back a year and a half to two years ago when it was so desperate that you didn’t even know how you would come out of the spring, and that’s heading for disaster. So that’s huge,” he reflected.

Despite the recent heavy rain, it slowed down overnight and they avoided the accumulation of snow that affected other areas.

He thinks that while the market is strong and offers opportunities, it’s essential to be cautious with investments and debt. Ensuring sustainability and profitability in the long term, along with managing current weather challenges, will help maintain a vibrant industry and attract new generations of producers.

“There’s a lot of water. A guy beside me across the fence line just finished seeding a quarter. He also put it into oats, and I’d say 50% is underwater,” said Tom Teichroeb who farms at Langruth, MB.
Teichroeb’s operation had a perfect feedstock season, completing corn planting on May 11. However, he recently received about two and a half inches of rain on top of the over four inches of rain in the previous two to three weeks.
Submitted photos

Europe’s Agricultural Uprising is a Warning for Canada

European politics are notoriously intricate, and the recent EU elections have highlighted a growing fatigue in the West towards socialist and urban-centric policies that impact agriculture and the agri-food sectors. Following months of farmer protests across Europe, the Green Party, previously the fourth most significant party, lost 19 seats and has now slipped to the sixth position in the EU Parliament in Brussels.

Pro-farming parties now hold more seats than the Greens. This shift suggests that Europeans are increasingly eager for Europe to compete against China and the United States to bolster its economy.

The political upheaval was particularly pronounced in France, Europe’s largest country after Germany. French President Emmanuel Macron has called for snap elections for the National Assembly, and Belgium’s President has resigned. Germany is experiencing similar turbulence, with the Social Democrats being relegated to a lower ranking.

The farmers’ revolt, which peaked in January and February of 2024 and has affected most EU member states, is fuelled by escalating production costs, foreign competition, declining incomes, environmental restrictions, and onerous administrative procedures. In essence, Europe is undergoing significant turmoil, and it seems farmers’ voices are finally being heard.

From a food security standpoint, the situation in Europe is deteriorating. Extreme agricultural policies that empower the state to control farming have rendered Europe less food secure. The results of the EU election will have a profound impact on the continent’s future food security. Farmers have been burdened by bureaucratic policies and restrictive regulations dictating what and how they can produce. Government oversight has reached extremes, with satellite images used to monitor compliance with allowed crops and field activities, triggering automatic notifications if discrepancies are detected. This level of state control is unprecedented.

Even before the election, the EU Parliament was under pressure. Facing mounting tension, several environmental regulations,

including pesticide rules, were either diluted or repealed. This relaxation of green objectives may indicate a broader trend with the new parliament, which could be seen as a positive development.

We have witnessed a significant shift in European regulatory approaches, causing the continent to retreat from exports and focus on self-sufficiency. For instance, Europe’s pork production, one of the world’s most popular animal proteins, is down by three million metric tons from 2021, representing 25 percent of the US’ entire pork production. Grain production is also languishing, making it increasingly challenging to feed livestock.

The EU projects that overall cereal production this season will be 4.3 percent below the five-year average, not only due to adverse weather conditions but also because farmers feel unsupported and lack incentives. Europe’s struggles have created opportunities for American producers, who are now targeting markets like Korea, previously served by Europe. Brazil has also capitalized on Europe’s challenges, and Canada should follow suit.

While the US views Europe’s self-inflicted food insecurity as a chance to expand its market reach, Canada is enamoured with European-style, urban-centric agri-food policies. The EU’s experience is a critical case study for Canada on what not to do.

Undermining farmers and disregarding their expertise is reckless and perilous for citizens and the economy. Restoring dignity to farming in Canada is imperative.

For effective environmental stewardship, governments must prioritize farmers’ insights. Their expertise is invaluable, surpassing that of vocal NGOs and federally funded entities like the Canadian Climate Institute or the Smart Prosperity Institute. These organizations have received over $51 million to promote the federal government’s environmental policies, often to the detriment of farming communities.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the agrifood analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University. © Troy Media.

From a food security standpoint, the situation in Europe is deteriorating. Extreme agricultural policies that empower the state to control farming have rendered Europe less food secure. Submitted photo

Impact of Capital Gains Tax Increase on Family-Run Grain Farms

On June 25, the federal government will increase the capital gains inclusion rate from 50% to 66%. While the intended goal was to target the “wealthiest Canadians”, unfortunately, this tax increase will impact most grain farmers and their succession planning.

Grain Growers of Canada said their research shows that this will cost family-run grain farms 30% more in taxes at the time of succession.

It’s crucial for those affected to understand the implications of this policy change and take action to voice their concerns. The increased tax burden could significantly affect the financial stability of familyrun farms and their ability to pass down the business to the next generation.

The upcoming increase in the capital gains inclusion rate from 50% to 66% will significantly affect family-run grain farms, costing them millions of extra dollars.

According to Grain Growers of Canada the increase will impact farmers.

Most Canadian farmers are over 55 and plan to retire in the next decade. Unlike other Canadians, farmers rely on their land and assets for retirement since they don’t have pensions or RRSP matching programs. This tax hike targets these funds, introducing uncertainty into their retirement plans.

Although Budget 2024 is titled “Fairness for Every Generation”, the tax changes will burden the next generation of farmers who already face high costs in taking over family farms. Farmland values increased by 11.5% in 2023, and the rising cost per acre adds financial hurdles for young farmers. The tax increase makes it even more expensive, adding hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to the cost.

A 30% tax increase significantly raises farm costs, pricing out many families. With agricultural land already expensive, only corporate farms or development companies can afford the additional millions in taxes.

Alberta Grains calls on the government to tax all eligible intergenerational farm transfers at the original capital gains inclusion rate.

As part of Budget 2024, legislation tabled on June 10, 2024, proposes changes to the capital gains inclusion rate, which will see it jump from

CFA Frustrated with Capital Gains Legislation

50% to nearly 67% in some instances.

For individuals, the higher rate applies only to capital gains above $250,000, with the first $250,000 taxed at the original 50% rate. Corporations and trusts, encompassing many family farms, will see all capital gains taxed at an increased rate. Despite an increase in the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) to $1.25 million for qualifying farm operations, the higher inclusion rate effectively nullifies this benefit.

Over 95% of Canadian farms are family-owned and operated. The proposed changes threaten the financial stability of these farms, especially as many prepare for succession planning and to transfer farming assets to their children.

“Farming is a capital-intensive business,” said Shannon Sereda, Alberta Grains Director of Government Relations, Policy & Markets. “Farmers make significant investments early in their careers and look to withdraw the equity from these investments upon retirement. The new inclusion rate adds significant barriers to both retirement and succession planning.”

With over 40% of Canadian farmers expected to retire in the next decade, Alberta Grains and other farm groups have long advocated for tax rules that facilitate these transitions. For instance, Bill C208 introduced amendments in Budget 2023 to help ease provisions associated with intergenerational farm transfers. Changes to the inclusion rate will hinder the intent of those amendments.

“If Canada wants to maintain a thriving agricultural sector, it must exempt intergenerational farm transfers from this tax increase,” added Tara Sawyer, Alberta Grains chair. “These changes are a barrier for young farmers carrying on the family business and new farmers entering the industry. Alberta Grains remains committed to supporting family farms and advocating for policies that promote a sustainable and prosperous future for Albertan farmers.”

Alberta Grains encourages farmers to participate in the Grain Growers of Canada’s Protect Family Farms campaign. Farmers can ensure their concerns are heard by their local elected officials by visiting Protect Family Farms and writing to their MP.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), who represent over 190,000 farm families across Canada, is disappointed with the Government of Canada’s decision to ignore calls to delay implementation of changes to the recently announced capital gains inclusion rate. By announcing the proposed tax changes in the Federal Budget on April 16 and the implementation on June 25, the CFA accused the Government of Canada of not providing Canadian farm businesses with enough runway to fully assess the potential implications of these changes for farm succession

tax planning purposes and adjust accordingly.

While the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) was increased to $1.25 million, the capital gains inclusion rate was also increased from one half to two thirds. CFA’s concern is that by increasing the capital gains inclusion rate we are neutralizing the increase to the LCGE threshold and jeopardizing the success of genuine intergenerational farm transfers and the financial health of the next generation of farms across Canada.

“By ramming these very significant tax changes through while farmers are in the field planting, we aren’t

giving producers enough time to fully assess the implications for their families and their businesses,” said Keith Currie, CFA President. With 40% of Canadian farm operators set to retire over the next decade, the CFA believes we need to ensure that the proposed personal income tax measures announced in Budget 2024 do not jeopardize the transfer of assets from one generation of farmer to another, but rather encourage the next generation of farmers to take up the calling, drive much needed rural economic activity and help the agriculture sector reach its growth potential.

Dr. Michael Eskin is one of four distinguished figures in Canadian agriculture to be selected by the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame as its 2024 inductees. His journey began in England, where he completed his PhD in toxicology. He then worked in food science in London before seeing an advertisement from the University of Manitoba in 1968. His research led to groundbreaking contributions to canola oil’s early development and refinement.

Dr. Michael Eskin is one of four distinguished figures in Canadian agriculture to be selected by the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame as its 2024 inductees. The induction will be held formally on

Submitted photo

November 2 at a ceremony during the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario.

“This year’s inductees have made tremendous and lasting contributions to their segment of Canada’s agricultur-

Trailblazing Canola Researcher Inducted into Agricultural Hall of Fame

al landscape, improving the opportunities for Canadian farmers, the larger agricultural industry and Canada’s place on the global stage,” said Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame chair Phil Boyd.

“As a key part of their professional careers, they have mentored future leaders – an equally vital contribution to Canadian agriculture’s longterm sustainability,” said Boyd.

Dr. Michael Eskin, a distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba, made groundbreaking contributions to canola oil’s early development and refinement. His work has transformed the quality and stability of canola oil, expanding its market on an international scale and establishing it as an important heart-healthy addition to the Canadian diet. This quality work has extended the benefits of canola oil to producers, the economy, and consumers alike.

Dr. Eskin’s journey began in England, where he completed his PhD in toxicology. He then worked in food sci-

ence in London before seeing an advertisement from the University of Manitoba in 1968.

“I thought, why not? So, I applied. Before I knew it, the director interviewed me, and by August 1968, I flew to Manitoba,” he said.

The timing was serendipitous.

“It was the time when the industry looked at rapeseed,” Eskin recalls.

His arrival coincided with significant developments in the rapeseed industry, later known as canola. Collaborating with colleagues like Dr. Bruce McDonald and Dr. Vivian Bruce, Eskin contributed to the research that improved canola’s nutritional profile, making it high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and low in saturated fats.

Canola oil’s development was transformative for Canadian agriculture. Initially used as a lubricant for marine engines during WWII, rapeseed faced limited applications post-war. Research to eliminate erucic acid, which caused health issues,

led to the creation of a highly nutritional oil.

“We reduced erucic acid from 70% to less than 2%,” Eskin explains, highlighting the rigorous oil refining process.

Eskin’s work with canola oil extended beyond the lab.

“The commissioning was to summarize our group’s work on canola and introduce it to the world,” he says. This dissemination of knowledge helped establish canola oil’s reputation for health benefits and economic viability, contributing to its status as Canada’s largest agricultural crop.

Reflecting on his 56 years at the University of Manitoba, Eskin stated, “I’ve never considered it a job. It’s something I love doing.”

Even after officially retiring, he continued working on a reduced appointment, remaining actively involved in research and writing.

“I’ve written 19 books,” he noted, with his first book on the biochemistry of foods published in 1971.

Eskin’s passion for his work is evident. He enjoys

blending science with creativity, composing songs about food science, and even performing raps at notable events like receiving the Order of Canada.

“I became a rapper, a lipid rapper,” he jokes, adding that his career has been incredibly fulfilling.

Dr. Eskin has received numerous awards in his distinguished career, including his recent induction into the Agricultural Hall of Fame.

“Many of my major awards came in the last ten years,” he remarks, underscoring a career marked by dedication and innovation.

His contributions to the development of canola oil have had a lasting impact, benefiting the agricultural sector and promoting heart health globally.

He lives in Winnipeg, MB, and continues to inspire future scientists and researchers. His legacy in food science and agriculture remains profound, celebrating a lifetime of achievements dedicated to improving human health and agricultural practices.

Rain and Snow Submerge

St. Jean-Baptiste Seeded Crops

In most cases, farmers welcomed the recent heavy rains as they soaked their fields and replenished muchneeded subsoil moisture. However, there are unfortunate instances when these downpours bring unexpected consequences. Such was the case in St. Jean-Baptiste, MB where overland flooding caught farmers off guard, leaving them concerned and possibly facing some reseeding.

Among those affected is Gilbert Sabourin, a resilient farmer who witnessed approximately 80 to 100 acres of emerging seed crops submerged under water. Deadhorse Creek becomes the Hespeler drain, which dumps into the Plum River 1/2 mile north of Sabourin’s place.

On the Canadian Agriculture WhatsApp Group, he reported that the rainwater from the Winkler/Morden area arrived at his place southwest of St. Jean-Baptiste.

“Before the rains, the river was about 6 feet wide and probably 2 feet deep,” said Gilbert.

He had seeded all his fields, but on May 27, about 80 to 100 acres were under river water. The corn and canola were starting to poke out before the flooding occurred.

Brunel Sabourin of Antara Agronomy in Ste. Jean-Baptiste responded to reports of 3 to 5 inches of snow on seeded crops in parts of western Manitoba.

“It’s a game of wait and

with some cold nights leading up to this event.

“It depends on how long the snow stayed before melting. The growing points in cereals should still be underground, thus protected from frost this early in the season, said Brunel.

However, he expressed more concern for canola.

Farmers plant it a little later and it likely just emerged over the last week. Being fresh, it would not have had a chance to harden off and might be more vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, a crucial insight for farmers to consider.

Jaason Voogt of Field 2 Field Agronomy in Carman, MB, commented on the situation regarding canola and wheat under the snow.

“Canola and wheat under the snow will be fine,” he said.

Voogt recalled a similar situation in 2004, noting that the snow will insulate the crops from frost if temperatures drop at night. The crops should be fine if the snow melts over the next few days.

Voogt also provided an update on seeding progress in the south Central region. He reported that seeding is nearly complete with corn at 98%, wheat, oats, and barley at 100%, peas at 100%, soybeans at 95%, and canola at 90%. He noted that they have received between 1 to 1.25 inches of rain since last night.

Local farmers shared their reports as well. Randy Waldner mentioned that the seeder had just started pulling in after working all night, and the rain had just begun north of Plumas.

Sam Waldner reported receiving 1 inch of rain at Somerset, with light rain


Gavin Robertson expressed concern about the excess moisture, stating, “Probably okay, but we were fighting too much moisture before this. Seeding progressed pretty well, with 320 acres left out of 3,700. The field was wet before this.”

Scott Kehler, President and Chief Scientist at WeatherLogix, shared the latest Prairie drought and precipitation maps, noting that most of the Prairies have seen rainfall ranging from 115200% of normal over the past 30 days. This marks a significant change from the conditions at the start of the spring.

Kehler explained the weather pattern, “It’s an up-and-down weather pattern right now. We’re seeing frequent weather systems moving across the prairies, creating a mix of nice, sunny days with normal temperatures followed by lows that drop and bring more rain.”

He indicated that this pattern could persist through the rest of May and into early June, with intermittent rain but not as heavy as the current downpours.

“It could be another week or two of this type of weather,” Kehler added, suggesting that a more stable summer weather pattern might not arrive until mid-June.

The precipitation trends show substantial rain over the past 30 days, ranging from 115-200% of normal.

The weather outlook remains variable, with frequent weather systems expected until early June and a potential shift to summer heat by mid-June. Kehler said that WeatherLogix will continue to monitor the weather patterns and provide updates as conditions evolve.

On the Canadian Agriculture WhatsApp Group, farmer Gilbert Sabourin reported that rainwater from the Winkler/Morden area arrived at his yard southwest of St. Jean-Baptiste.
“Before the rains, the Plum River was about 6 feet wide and probably 2 feet deep,” said Gilbert Sabourin.
Photos courtesy of Gilbert Sabourin
Sabourin had seeded all his fields, but on May 27, about 80 to 100 acres were under river water. The corn and canola were starting to poke out before the flooding occurred.

Common Sense Reduces Heat-Stress in Breeding Beef Cows

A late-spring calving season has several advantages compared to beef calves born on the bitterly cold days of February and March. However, the practice of April to June calving usually moves backwards their corresponding breeding season into the hottest days of summer. And such related heat-stress can have a direct negative impact

upon these cows’ conception rates. I have never met anybody that can control hot weather, but I know many people that use common sense to reduce their cattle’s heat-stress. As a result, more of their cows get pregnant by fall-time.

Breeding and other class of cattle suffer from heat stress at any time when the science-based Temperature-

Humidity Index (THI); a gradient humidex scale based on 72 °F (22.2 °C) degrees and 100% humidity is exceeded. When a THI of about 80 is reached it is considered dangerous to the well-being of beef cattle because they are unable to maintain a normal, but life-giving body temperature of 101.5 °F (38.6 °C).

Consequently, it doesn’t take much know-how to see heat-stressed beef cows (and breeding bulls) are miserable. For reasons, I think that bovine scientists have yet to figure out - heat-stressed beef cows seem to bunch up together, which to meshould make them, even feel hotter. Or, one or two cows always lie in the shadows of their panting pasture-mates. I have also seen cattle lie on patches of open black dirt rather than seemingly cooler green grass, growing right next to them.

That’s the heat-stress that I see. Yet, I am unable to see is how heat stress affects internal workings of fertility. I understand by reviewing

physio-reproduction information; heat-stress adversely alters the natural hormone patterns in beef cows (and bulls – sperm viability, too). Such environmental interference upsets her otherwise regular estrus cycles to occur in the first place.

As a result: heat-stress negatively affects normal follicular development, delays ovulation and lowers the quality of fertile eggs prepared for fertilization by the bull’s sperm. Even if a releasedegg is fertilized during this hot weather, heat-stress increases the internal temperature of the cow’s uterus and can decrease the chance of successful embryo implantation on its uterine wall. This failure leads to greater embryonic mortality. Cows that experience early embryonic loss during the first weeks of the summer breeding season usually appear as repeat breeders, weeks later.

Even when scorching heat strikes cows (and bulls) – there are a few short-term precautions that can be

implemented. All it takes is common sense:

- Water is essential to cope with heat stress. Lots of cool clean water must be provided (re: about 8 litres/50 kg of body weight). Some cattle field studies show that drinking water temperatures of over 25 °C can actually increase the water requirement for heat-stressed cattle. It should also be recognized that water surface area should be sufficient for a large number of cattle to drink at the same time, and the waterflow from the waterers or tanks be able to replenished water, quickly.

- Cattle should access to tree stands and other natural forms of shade. Open buildings and pole-sheds with light coloured roofs can provide some shade. Watch out for cattle bunching up in these structures. Windbreaks will provide some shade, but they often reduce air movement and can contribute to heat-stress.

- Pasture management might be adjusted; such that if one

is using a rotational grazing system; rotate the cattle through pastures more quickly. This change can allow cattle to graze more digestible pasture forages which in turn may lower the internal generation of heat from fibre fermentation. I also think it is a good idea to provide molasses-based lick tubs on more dried-out pastures. The molasses in these tubs; aid in the digestion of more mature grass, which also lowers its heat of fermentation.

In these ways, we can lessen cattle misery as well as reduce its negative impact on reproduction. As a footnote to this subject of heat-stress, I recently spent 10 days in Arizona with my girlfriend, where daytimes high temperatures were 100 °F (38 °C) and 5% humidity. According to the THI system, our THI = 78, which is “only” moderate heat-stress. In one such afternoon, we completed a 10-km hike around Red Rock mountains near Sedona. Needless to say, we each drank 5 litres of bottled water.

Some field studies show that drinking water temperatures of over 25 °C can actually increase the water requirement for heat-stressed cattle. Waterflow from the waterers or tanks must be able to replenished with cooler water quickly. Submitted photo

Destination Minnedosa: A & B Dalrymple’s Country Farm Greenhouse

Personally, I could tour a different greenhouse every week. I find you can learn from their owners and staff every visit if you listen. I’ve visited Trestle greenhouse in Rivers twice this season chatting with Doug and I always learn more info on different varieties.

When my neighbour and I ventured to Minnedosa to Alan and Barb’s greenhouse I was not expecting such an interesting place to visit everything from plants to sculptures in wood and metal

“The first year we were married we found all the bedding plants I wanted for my yard were more than my budget would bear so Alan built me a small greenhouse. Now we have over ten thousand square feet in our four greenhouses, said Barb Dalrymple. “We start most of our plants from seed except certain plants you can only buy as plugs. We try to use environmentally friendly peat packs. We dunk everything in biological dip to ward off bugs and disease

from plants we bring in.”

“We open the greenhouse around May 3 and generally we are out of plants by June 8 when the greenhouse is closed for another season,” said Barb Dalrymple. “Alan does all the watering, fertilizing and trimming of the plants. We don’t use any growth regulators.”

You can enjoy a coffee in the Dalrymple’s coffee room and chat with other gardeners visiting their greenhouse. Alan’s great sense of humour will brighten anyone’s day.

I would like to hear from my readers on what they feed their tomatoes and pepper plants. I have used the tomato fertilizer sticks previous years along with bone meal and blood meal. I always put my coffee grounds and eggshells in my compost bin. This year I washed the egg shells and crushed them to put around my tomato plants. I have set up an email address for a few weeks so you can share your thoughts at

Prairie Weeds Website Launches

The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) has officially launched, a comprehensive online platform designed to support the Prairie Weed Monitoring Network (PWMN) through the Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster. The goal of this new website is to help prairie farmers manage weeds.

Led by Dr. Charles Geddes and Julia Leeson from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the PWMN is a pioneering initiative aimed at implementing an all-inclusive weed biovigilance strategy across the Canadian prairies. The PWMN is a coordinated

collaboration among federal, provincial, and academic weed science experts.

“The launch of marks a significant milestone in the development of the PWMN,” says Dr. Charles Geddes, Weed Scientist, AAFC. “Prairieweeds. com will serve as the digital home of the PWMN, offering a wealth of resources and up-to-date information on weed abundance, herbicide resistance, and integrated weed management specific to the Canadian prairies.”

The PWMN will build on the existing and highly successful models of the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network,

and Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network, and will formalize and coordinate weed awareness, detection/identification, and assessment activities for the Prairie region.

Laura Reiter, WGRF Board Chair, expressed enthusiasm for the project.

“ will be a great resource for farmers, agronomists, and researchers,” noted Reiter. “The website is a great opportunity to provide the agricultural industry with the information required to manage weeds effectively, anticipate new threats, and mitigate herbicide-resistant weeds.”

The website will provide the agricultural industry with the information required to manage weeds effectively, anticipate new threats, and mitigate herbicide-resistant weeds. Submitted image
Alan’s unique wood carving can be found throughout the greenhouses at A & B Dalrymple’s Country Farm Greenhouse.
One corner of the greenhouse has been turned into their little bit of Britain with an old fashion telephone where you can take a selfie or leave a message.
Throughout A & B Dalrymple’s Country Farm Greenhouse you can find gorgeous hanging baskets.
Barb Dalrymple can show you some great planting ideas to
You have to check out every inch of the greenhouse to see Alan Dalrymple’s wood sculptures. Their huge yard features many of his metal sculptures plus stone fences, gigantic stone fish pond.
Photos by Joan Airey

Fixed Versus Variable Loans in a Rate-cutting Era

With the Bank of Canada lowering its key interest rate, now is a good time for farmers, agribusiness operators and food processors to begin reviewing their financial strategies says Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) Manager of Economics, Krishen Rangasamy.

On June 5, the Bank of Canada lowered its overnight target rate by 25 basis points to 4.75 per cent from 5.00 per cent. The overnight target rate is used to set financial institutions’ prime rate and influences variable mortgage rates. When the overnight rate changes, the prime rate typically changes by the same amount.

“This key interest rate has been increasing since March 2022. With inflation having peaked and now heading towards the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target, it makes sense for the central bank to provide relief to a struggling economy by lowering the overnight rate,” Rangasamy said. “With this decrease it is a good time for producers, agribusinesses and food processors to review their financing options, especially as FCC Economics forecasts two additional interest rate cuts in the second half of this year.”

A recent analysis by FCC assesses the costs and benefits of taking out a fixed or variable-rate loan, considering today’s economic environment and different forward-looking scenarios. The analysis shows that if the Bank of Canada were to drastically cut rates, borrowers could benefit from lower payments over a fiveyear period if they opt for a variable rate loan. But if the Bank of Canada instead opts for a gradual approach in cutting interest rates, there would be little difference between taking out a fixed-rate or variable rate loan with respect to total payments over a five-year period. Yet, a fixed rate option would bring predictability in managing future interest expenses.

“Borrowers should think carefully about their personal risk level given the pros and cons between fixed and variable rates,” said Rangasamy. “An option that borrowers can consider is diversifying their debt portfolio by using a combination of fixed and variable rates. This allows them to benefit from both types and to spread their risk over different time periods. For example, a borrower could have a variable rate loan for a short-term project, and a fixed rate mortgage for a long-term investment.”

However, diversifying also adds complexity to managing multiple loans or mortgages, and may require more attention and monitoring. Therefore, borrowers should consult with their financial advisors and lenders to find the best solution for their specific situation and goals.

Rangasamy said that the interest rate cut is a good opportunity for farmers, agribusiness operators and food processors to take advantage of the lower borrowing costs, but he also cautions them to be prudent, and to have a contingency plan in case of unexpected events or changes in the market.

“There are still risks with regards to both the global and domestic economies which, if they materialize, can have repercussions on Canada’s inflation and therefore interest rates. That’s why it’s important to stay informed, stay flexible and stay prepared,” Rangasamy said.

Drinking Water is the Cheapest and Most Important Nutrient for Lactating Dairy Cows

Corn silage is $85/mt and good alfalfa hay is $200/mt, yet I don’t place any monetary value on water added to a dairy lactation TMR and certainly not on the milking cows’ drinking water. Maybe I should - afterall water is hands-down; their most important nutrient. A source of available clean water touches all facets of a lactating dairy cows’ life. She can not live without water and it is essential to her continued health, growth, reproduction, and good milk production.

Drinking water accounts for about 85 – 90% of the lactating cows’ water requirements. Here are solid facts that illustrate how important water is:

1. Without water, dairy cows will stop milking within two days and will die within 10 days or sooner.

2. Lactating dairy cows come up barn waterers about a dozen times a day. They drink about 10 litres per visit or 100 – 125 litres, daily.

3. Most dairy cows will drink water before eating nutritious TMR, often right after being milked.

4. Water consumption by dairy cattle doubles or triples during heat-stress.

5. Lactating dairy cows drink about 4 litres for every 1.0 kg of dry matter intake. The drier the diet, the more water is consumed.

6. Scouring lactating dairy cows (as well as dry cows, youngstock), which lose more than 10% of their bodyweight in water fluids, perish.

7. Water quality is equally important as water quantity in achieving the lactating dairy cows’ body water re-

quirements and production goals.

Aside from the widespread drought years on the prairies, securing enough drinking water for most dairy farms is not a problem.

The issue lies with above point #6 - finding a good source of high-quality or clean water. It has been my experience that many Manitoba dairy farms have highsaline (salty) water (greater than 3,000 mg/ml) as their only source of livestock drinking water. It is usually non-life threatening to most dairy cows. Yet, it may cause

nearly half of cows’ udders; balloon-up and it would continue into the couple weeks of early lactation. It got so bad, that some cows had udder ligament damage and were culled.

To implement a quick solution, I removed all dietary sources of sodium-laden ingredients such as added salt (sodium chloride), sodium bicarbonate, and any added potassium chloride. After about a month; no cows were culled, the udder-ballooning stopped and the overall incidence of udder edema was reduced a few

various states of chronic diarrhoea, which in turn alter how their dairy diet is digested and essential nutrients are absorbed. In some of the more dire cases, good milk production is not achievable.

About three years ago, I had a similar high-saline water case on a 100-lactating dairy farm, where salty barn water (3,600 mg/ml) caused severe udder edema in the closeup cows segregated away from the rest of the lactation herd. When, they bagged-up in preparation of lactation,

1st-calf heifers.

A debilitating case of water salinity in lactating dairy cows is not the only reason for water quality issues experienced on other dairy farms.

Here is a brief outline of other parameters that are tested to determine the quality of drinking water for dairy cattle:

- Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): TDS provides an overall evaluation of water quality in a single index. As mentioned, salinity makes

up a large part of TDS.

- Water pH: Water should fall within a pH of 6.5 – 8.5 for cattle. Values outside these limits may reduce dry matter feed intakes and often interferes with normal feed digestion.

- Mineral concentrations: High concentrations of specific contaminants will bind essential nutrients for dairy cattle. For example, a level of sulphates has been proven to bind dietary levels of copper in cattle.

- Bacteria contamination: Even drinking water near freezing may teem with bacteria. Pathogenic E. coli (causes disease), coliform bacteria (including fecal) and salmonella counts in cows’ drinking should be zero.

- Algae and feed contamination: Cows often drop feed from their mouths and this could be a source of decaying organic matter in their troughs (black sludge). Algae growth is also a common phenomenon. This pollution should easily be removed. Not all dairy operations have water quantity or quality problems. I know of several local dairy operations that have untreated crystal-clear drinking water. It’s a natural gift that seems to help their dairy cows and other livestock to excel in vitality and performance. If these producers had to go to the store and buy the same purified water in one-gallon jugs like many of us do for ourselves, it would cost about $100 per cow per day!

Funding Announced for Crop Diversification Research

Diversity in field crops creates an agriculture ecosystem that is profitable and resilient to climate change. Small acreage crops, like camelina, carinata, flax, mustard and sunflower, contribute to the resiliency of Canadian crop production thanks to their ability to withstand drought, heat, and soil nutrient deficiency.

To support research to increase crop diversity, Law-

rence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced up to $8,124,319 to Ag-West Bio Inc. through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Ag-West Bio will manage the Diverse Field Crops Cluster, a coordinated group of organizations representing small acreage crops,

with the goal of building capacity and increasing the acreage seeded to diverse crops.

Crop research is a key driver of innovation and advancement for producers, and it has the potential to generate long-term, sustainable economic growth for Canada’s agricultural sector.

The Cluster research activities aim to benchmark

the GHG emissions produced by diverse crops and understand how those emissions are impacted by nitrogen fertilizer use; further develop new oilseed crops, such as camelina, that are more adapted to production on lower-quality land; and improve genetic resiliency, yields, and disease resistance in rotation crops such as mustard, flax, and sunflower.

Lactating dairy cows drink about 4 litres for every 1.0 kg of dry matter intake. The drier the diet, the more water is consumed. Submitted photo

In Season Delicious Recipes

Last month I mentioned Davison Orchards in Vernon, BC. Shortly after that column was written I received a new cookbook from Tamra “Davison Orchards” compiled and written by Tamra and her family. The recipes in the book uses products you have in your kitchen and garden along with fruits and vegetables available in season in Canada. My grandchildren love the Rhubarb Cake recipe so much I’ve frozen extra rhubarb to make it year-round.

I asked my friend Joyce Stewart, an excellent cook who after retiring from her job at the Canadian Charolais office in Calgary owned one of the most highly rated Bed and Breakfast’s in Canada called Harbourlights in Vernon for her opinion on the cookbook.

“I’m so fortunate living in Vernon and five minutes from Davison Orchards! I never need an excuse to visit, but the other day was special as there was a cookbook signing. One can never have too many cookbooks,” says Stewart. “The Davison Orchards Cookbook is full of favourite recipes from the farm and the family as well as many cooking and preserving tips. The first recipe I tried was the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies. They were a hit.”

“Its strawberry season in the Okanogan, so the Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries were the perfect dish for an afternoon get together. They must be eaten while fresh, but that didn’t seem to be a problem as the plate was soon emptied, notes Stewart. “Davison is a multi-season food destination—icecream cones loaded with chopped fresh fruit, rhubarb muffins, apple pie, freshly squeezed apple juice, apple cider, donuts and the most requested menu item in the Farmhouse Café Farmhouse Tomato Soup. I love ordering it with one of Nana’s Cheese Biscuits.”

Rachel’s Rhubarb Cake


1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter or margarine


2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream that has gone sour (see note)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

For the topping in a small bowl, mix together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the butter and use your finger to mix it in to make a crumble. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar. Stir in the cream and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Fold in the rhubarb. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the topping over the cake.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Note: You want your heavy cream to be just a couple of days past the expiry date it should smell pleasantly sour, not rancid. If you don’t have expired cream, you can substitute 1 cup fresh heavy cream mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar.

Apple Rhubarb Muffins

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees


3 Tablespoons brown sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon butter

3 Tablespoons chopped nuts-Optional

Mix together until fine crumb mixture.


2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/4 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup rhubarb diced

1 large apple peeled and diced

1/2 teaspoon salted

1/2 cup of melted butter or margarine

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients together well and then add chopped rhubarb and apple. In a separate bowl, mix egg, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla.

Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients and add wet stirring until moist.

Divide batter between 12- XL muffin cups and sprinkle with a heaping TBSP of topping.

Bake for 25 -30 minutes or until the toothpick inserted is clean and light touch to top is firm. DO NOT overbake.

Check out Davison Orchards at The above recipe is one Tamra did on YouTube. If you like to follow cooking shows I recommend following Tamra on their website. It’s full of great recipes. The cookbook is so chalk full of excellent recipes I’m treating my cookbook with extra care and keeping it covered in plastic when baking from it. After the past few weeks talking with my friends in the Okanogan, I really want to make a trip back to Vernon.

Sheryl Normaneau, author of “The Little Prairie Book of Berries,” wrote the following on the Davison Orchards’ cookbook:

“Anytime you’re offered a family recipe that has been perfected and shared through generations, you don’t hesitate to accept it. And if you’re given the chance to obtain a whole cookbook of such recipes featuring farm fresh vegetables and fruits, you jump on it! The powerful connection between family and food and the celebration of farm life truly shines through every sumptuous page of The Davison Orchards Cookbook.”

Growers Eye More Beans for Ready Market

Planted dry bean acres in Manitoba were expected to increase for 2024/25, according to Statistics Canada, but a specialist with Manitoba Agriculture said actual acres are likely to be a little bit below the StatCan estimate.

Dennis Lange, industry development pulses specialist, said dry bean producers seeded about 145,000 acres in 2023/24. For 2024/25 he said that should increase to just short of 200,000 acres.

“The increases are going to be in pinto and black beans mainly,” he added.

Dry beans yields in 2023/24 were quite good Lange said, but below the record yields in 2022/23. Nevertheless that decent harvest last year led farmers to make plans to plant more dry beans.

In part growers in Canada and the United States are planting more black and pinto beans and fewer navy beans in response to Mexico’s production hardships. Mexico has had three straight crop failures due to poor rainfall during the spring and summer crop season which runs from July through December.

However Manitoba seeding has been delayed by wet weather and Lange feels some growers may shift acreage to a crop like canola. The cooler weather has delayed crop growth.

Manitoba Foodgrains Project Seeding Underway

Many farmers engaged in growing projects for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank have finished seeding, and are busy with spraying while others, delayed due to the persistent wet weather are still hoping to put in a crop, says Gordon Janzen, regional representative for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Seeding got off to an early start but then slowed down due to wet and cool weather, explains Janzen.

Janzen also points out that projects vary a lot with the active Thunder Bay Community Growing Project engaged with raising calves. This year, the group has 13 donated cows. When the beef is processed later in the year, some of the beef will go to local food banks in Thunder Bay. Another portion of the beef will be auctioned off at a fall gala supper, all in support of the food bank.

He also reported being blessed in attending a Rogation service at St. Luke’s Pembina Crossing, south of Manitou. This service of blessing for farm crops has been a regular part of the Anglican Grow Hope project since 2018. With 200 people gathered for worship under a tent in the beautiful Pembina Valley, it was an inspiring way to gather and affirm our common purpose of responding to others in need, he said.

Chris Lea, farmer, Grow Hope supporter, and Anglican priest, explained that “The Rogation service is a service to ask God’s blessing on the seeds that have been planted and the growing crop, plus the land, rain, sun, and all who work the land. In this service, we are asking God to use this crop to bring food to all who need it.”

The Rhubarb Cake, two of my grandchildren give this recipe thumbs up! The rest couldn’t because they never got a chance to taste it.
The Davison Orchards Cookbook.
Apple Rhubarb Muffins are definitely a keeper in my eyes.
Photos by Joan Airey

Mechatronics Program at Assiniboine College Now Accepting Applications

A new program at Assiniboine College, Mechatronics Engineering Technology (Controls and Automation), is now accepting applications for the September 2025 intake. The program combines mechanical and electronics engineering technologies, with controls and automation, and will give graduates the hands-on expertise to pull together knowledge from these disciplines to develop automated machines to service the agricultural, food processing and manufacturing sector.

“This program is responding to an industry need for professionals skilled in mechatronics,” said Kevin Rogers, Academic Chair of Manufacturing and Agricultural Processing in the Edwards School. “This program will train students interested in careers in automation, robotics, precision agriculture and ag-tech development, and give them the hands-on learning experiences we are so proud to offer.”

The three-year diploma program is an integral new part of the Russ Edwards School of Agriculture & Environment.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our first class for this highly anticipated program, ultimately training graduates who can design, implement and maintain mechatronics systems,” said Rogers.

With an increase in the use of technology across all industries, the career options available to graduates are immense. Graduates will be able to seek careers as technicians/technologists in automation, control system repair and design, electronics and mechanical systems repair and design, robotics, manufacturing, product development, and instrumentation.

Those interested in more information about these new programs can visit mechatronics. Financial aid and awards are available for this program visit awards to find out more.

US Agriculture Alliances Discuss Animal Rights Legislation

Based in Arlington, VA, the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s (AAA) Stakeholder Summit held in Kansas City, MO, themed “Ready, Set, Solve! Advancing Animal Agriculture”, united a diverse group of participants to shape the future of animal agriculture collectively. Echoing the spirit of the year of the Olympics, the conference underscored the shared responsibility of all sectors, from farmers and veterinarians to processors and allied industries, in advancing the industry. Each stakeholder’s role was recognized as crucial, emphasizing their value and integral part in the industry’s future.

As Hannah Thompson-Weeman, president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, stated, “We safeguard the future of animal agriculture.”

A critical insight was the imperative of innovation and creative solutions to ensure the sustainability and success of animal agriculture. The conference catalyzed professionals to connect, exchange knowledge, and draw inspiration from each other’s journeys.

Thompson-Weeman emphasized that the conference’s primary focus was legislative issues affecting animal agriculture. Proposition 12, upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2023 has spurred similar legislative efforts by activist groups at state and local levels. This recurring theme included discussions on various initiatives, such as one in Denver, Colorado threatening a processing plant

With an increase in the use of technology across all industries, the career options available to graduates are immense. Graduates will be able to seek careers as technicians/technologists in automation, control system repair and design, electronics and mechanical systems repair and design, robotics, manufacturing, product development, and instrumentation. Submitted photo

and another in Sonoma County, California, aiming to ban large farms.

Thompson-Weeman said the animal rights activist community has gained significant momentum from the Supreme Court’s upholding of Proposition 12, using it as a catalyst to push for similar legislation and regulations elsewhere. At various activist conferences, including a recent Animal Legal Defense Fund conference, the success of Proposition 12 has been highlighted as an inspiration to introduce incremental changes at local levels, which can gradually expand to significantly impact animal agriculture.

“The animal agriculture community is increasingly recognizing the implications of these legislative changes,” she said.

While Proposition 12 has mainly affected the pork industry, it also concerns the poultry and dairy sectors. The Summit emphasized the need for solidarity within the industry, as local initiatives today could become broader challenges tomorrow, urging all stakeholders to support one another in facing these legislative threats.

Law enforcement has stated that there is no connection between the recent poultry processing plant fires, attributing them to coincidences and the time of year. However, animal rights activist groups often capitalize on such disasters.

“For instance, after a poultry barn fire in California, Direct Action Everywhere sent a ‘rescue crew’ and used

drones, even though there were no birds in the barn,” said Thompson-Weeman.

“Local media used the footage to highlight how activists can leverage such incidents.”

In addition to the ongoing discussions at the Summit, another key focus was the potential rollback of Proposition 12 and similar state legislation. The EATS Act, which aims to limit States’ ability to pass regulations affecting producers in other states, was a significant topic.

“However, it faces significant opposition and is con-

sidered ‘dead on arrival’ by some due to its perceived conflict with animal welfare,” she said.

Efforts continue to include similar provisions in the farm bill to restrict such state legislation. With this wording, the House has passed its version of the farm bill, and now the Senate’s decision remains crucial.

“This development could substantially impact statelevel legislative actions, and producers should closely monitor these changes,” said Thompson-Weeman.

Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Website Launched

The Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network (PCDMN) launched a new website recently at The PCDMN is a coordinated field crop disease monitoring program for the Prairies, focusing on providing timely information about crop diseases and highlighting effective disease management strategies.

“We are really excited to be launching this new website,” said project lead Dr. Kelly Turkington, Plant Pathologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research and Devel-

opment Centre. “The goal of the network has always been to provide important and timely information to growers and agronomists. By enhancing the functionality of our PCDMN Blog, this new website will greatly improve our communication and engagement, ensuring that stakeholders have access to the latest research and disease management strategies.”

The PCDMN is composed of field crop pathologists who conduct research and actively monitor field crop diseases on the Canadian

Prairies. The network includes researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Manitoba Agriculture, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Alberta Agriculture & Irrigation, and Prairie-based universities.

“The PCDMN is a valuable resource for farmers, agronomists, and scientists,” says Wayne Thompson, Executive Director of the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF). “We are proud to have funded the development of this new website. With this launch, WGRF

has successfully developed websites for the three major pest monitoring networks in western Canada—Insects, Weeds, and Disease. These networks play a crucial role in providing the information needed to anticipate and manage major crop threats.”

The PCDMN also provides weekly updates via email during the growing season. The updates alert subscribers to crop disease risks and management. To view the new site and to sign up for weekly updates please visit

“The animal agriculture community is increasingly recognizing the implications of these legislative changes,” said Thompson-Weeman, president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance.
The Stakeholder Summit, themed “Ready, Set, Solve! Advancing Animal Agriculture conference catalyzed professionals to connect, exchange knowledge, and draw inspiration from each other’s journeys.

Addressing Unsustainable Labour Shortages in Canadian Agriculture

The Canadian agriculture sector is currently grappling with a labour shortage that significantly affects productivity and the ability to meet domestic and global commodity demand. Jennifer Wright, Executive Director of the Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council (CAHRC), shed light on these challenges and their strategies to address them.

Wright said agriculture has faced a labour shortage for some time, and it’s just increasing. As with every other industry in Canada now facing severe shortages, the retirement of baby boomers exacerbates the situation. The average age of a farmer is around 57 to 58, which is older than in many other industries. Fewer young people are entering the workforce, and rural populations are smaller, with fewer large farm families contributing to the labour pool.

The impact of these labour shortages is profound.

“Producers work 30% extra to cover gaps due to labour shortages, but this is not sustainable. We now hear that some producers are choosing to exit the industry altogether because of the labour shortage, which impacts productivity,” she said.

The CAHRC is implement-

ing several initiatives to attract skilled workers to the agriculture sector to tackle these issues. There isn’t one solution to fix everything.

“Our organization and partners, like the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Food and Beverage Canada, are leading the national workforce strategic plan,” said Wright. “We are working across Canada to identify gaps and determine how to address this complex issue.”

One key strategy involves raising awareness about the diverse opportunities within modern agriculture. She said there is a need to ensure an understanding of modern agriculture.

“For instance, over 50% of respondents in our recent research thought the only job in agriculture was farming,” said Wright.

While farming is crucial, many other roles in modern agriculture involve technology and innovation.

Infrastructure in rural areas also plays a critical role in attracting and retaining workers. Wright highlighted, “Access to daycare, schools, internet, transportation, and affordable housing in rural areas are all vital for attracting and retaining a workforce in rural Canada.”

Foreign workers have be-

come increasingly essential to the Canadian agriculture sector.

“Our data shows there are around 122,000 job vacancies in agriculture, with approximately 85,000 of those jobs filled by temporary foreign workers,” Wright said. “These workers play a vital role in ensuring our industry thrives. Our industry would struggle to exist without them, whether seasonal agriculture workers, temporary workers, or those on a pathway to permanency.”

Employee retention is another significant focus for agricultural employers. Retention is becoming more important, especially with the growing labour shortage. Agriculture employers are good employers, offering strong industry prospects. There are also non-monetary benefits.

“For example, if you work in the field, you may be fed by the farmer. However, competition for workers across all industries is increasing, so retaining employees is a major challenge,” said Wright.

Additionally, the evolving nature of agriculture requires upskilling the current workforce with more technology, AI, digitalization, and automation.

Wright noted, “Employers are looking at how they can upskill their current

of the Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council (CAHRC), sheds light on labour shortages. A shortfall of 122,000 vacancies is not sustainable as it impacts productivity and is even causing some producers to exit agriculture altogether.

Submitted photo

workforce to retain them as new technologies come into place.”

In conclusion, Wright stressed the importance of agriculture as a sector with vast opportunities.

“Agriculture is a fantastic workplace, and it offers many opportunities. We continue as an organization and as an industry to build awareness and attract more people to work in agriculture at all levels,” she said.

The Canadian agriculture sector aims to overcome labour challenges and ensure a sustainable and productive future through these combined efforts.

Canadian Crop Seeded, Growing Conditions Good, Says

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), in its June report, says 2024-25 production and supplies for all principal field crops are forecast to rise to 94.4 million tonnes (Mt) and 106.9 Mt, respectively, assuming trend yields.

Growing conditions are mostly favourable across the country with extensive rains restoring topsoil moisture and slightly cooler-than-normal temperatures aiding vegetative growth, with weather forecasts calling for more of the same.

Aggregate yield for all principle field crops is forecast to rise by 5 per cent, with grain and oilseed yields up 5 per cent while pulse and special crop yields are predicted up by 14 per cent from last year.

Yields remain sensitive to growing conditions and ongoing rains are required during the growing season.

Demand for Canada’s field crops is forecast to weaken slightly on an increase in world output.

Total domestic use is forecast to fall by 2 per cent despite an ongoing rise in domestic canola processing while exports rise by 5 per cent on increased shipments of grains and oilseeds out of the country.

Carry-out stocks are forecast to rise by 12 per cent to the highest level since 2020-21. Prices for most principal field crops are forecast to decline, in line with lower world values, with notable exceptions being wheat (excluding durum), corn, flaxseed, and sunflower seed.

Uncertainty in the world’s grain markets remains elevated because of Russian aggression against Ukraine and other ongoing geopolitical risks.

Keep Canola Bins Malathion-Free Be Ready for Harvest

Keep it Clean is reminding producers that Malathion residue can linger in bins for months after treatment and can be transferred from the bin to canola seed, putting marketability at risk. Canola found with Malathion residues is unacceptable for export customers and can damage Canada’s reputation as a trusted supplier of high-quality canola.

Reduce the risk of contaminating your harvest by planning storage requirements accordingly — never use Malathion to prepare canola for storage or treat bins in which you plan to store canola.

Malathion can be used to treat cereals and other nonoilseed grains in bins that have been contaminated with insects. Any grower doing so should record the date of treatment and must not use that bin to store canola in this growing season.

The Canola Council of Canada recommends growers also follow these storage procedures to protect the quality of your crop:

- Clean bins thoroughly prior to storing your crop.

- Only use approved bin treatments (e.g. diatomaceous earth) prior to storing canola.

- Condition crops to moisture and temperature levels safe for long-term storage.

- Keep bins cool, dry and well-ventilated and check their condition regularly.

- Make sure your storage bins are free of treated seed and animal protein like blood meal and bone meal. Practice safe storage and keep Malathion out of your canola bins to protect your investment and help keep markets open for all.

Storing your crop properly is just one of the 5 Tips to keep your canola ready for market.

Tip#1 - Use Acceptable Pesticides Only

Only apply pesticides that are registered for use on your crop in Canada, are acceptable to both domestic and export customers, and won’t create trade concerns.

Tip#2 – Always Read and Follow the Label

Always follow the label for application rate, timing and pre-harvest interval (PHI).

Applying pesticides without following the label directions is illegal and may result in unacceptable residues in the harvested grain.

Tip#3 – Manage Disease Pressures

An integrated disease management plan is not only important to maintain the yield and quality of your crops, but also helps to ensure Canada’s canola, cereals and pulses meet the phytosanitary requirements of our export markets.

Tip#4 – Store Your Crop Properly

Proper storage helps to maintain crop quality and keeps the bulk free of harmful cross-contaminants that may create market risk.

Tip#5 – Deliver What You Declare

The Declaration of Eligibility affidavit is a legal assertion that your crop is the variety and/or class you have designated, and it was not treated with the crop protection products specified in the declaration to ensure it meets the requirements of our export markets.

Keep it Clean is a joint initiative of the Canola Council of Canada, Cereals Canada, Pulse Canada and the Prairie Oat Growers Association that was created to provide growers and crop advisors with resources that help them grow marketready crops.

Join their webinar on July 10 at 11 am CDT for timely pre-harvest tips and tools to protect the marketability of your canola, cereal and pulse crops.

This webinar will include presentations by Krista Zuzak, Director of Crop Protection and Production, Cereals Canada, Greg Bartley, Director of Crop Protection & Crop Quality, Pulse Canada and Ian Epp, Agronomy Specialist, Canola Council of Canada.

Presenters will cover topics such as proper staging for pre-harvest glyphosate application, the importance of following pre-harvest intervals for crop protection products and scouting for disease. You will also learn about handy online tools from Keep it Clean that you can take into the field.

Please register for the Zoom webinar at https:// CEU credits are eligible for CCAs.

Jennifer Wright, Executive Director

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