January 29, 2021
Agricultural Crown Land Auctions to be Held Online
Livestock Enjoying the Warmer Temps This Year
Some views of a family farm in Plumas, Manitoba. “It is hard to believe that this is January. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and the cattle are enjoying such warm temperatures at this time of year. These are some photos of our 4th generation family farm. Our son Justin and wife Jenna continue to raise cattle on our native pastures,” commented Brenda Lynn Walker. Photo by Brenda Lynn Walker
The Manitoba government announced a new, modern online approach to agricultural Crown land lease auctions beginning in February. “By modernizing our approach to service delivery we are better able to meet the needs and expectations of our clients,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “The new, online auction format will ensure we can offer all Manitobans the opportunity to rent additional lands that will support their farming operations.” A number of agricultural Crown land parcels will be available to rent for haying, grazing, or cropping. The official listing of agricultural Crown lands available for rent can be found at resd.ca under leases and permits. The online auctions will be hosted by Garton’s Auction Service from February 8 to 12, with further information to follow on gartonsauction.com. Allocating agricultural Crown land leases by way of a public auction is part of the modernization of the Agricultural Crown Lands Program, the minister noted. These leases and permits are available to farmers and ranchers, to provide an additional land base on which to conduct agricultural activities. The Agricultural Crown Lands Program supports the sustainable expansion of the livestock herd in Manitoba, contributes to ecological goods and services, and supports mitigation and adaptation to climate change. More information on the upcoming auctions can be found at resd.ca under leases and permits or by contacting the Agricultural Crown Lands Program at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 204-867-6550 or 1844-769-6624 (toll-free).
Manitoba Liberals Call to Support Ranchers in Legal Fight Against Pallister Manitoba Liberal MLAs are asking Manitobans to help ranchers facing eviction and insolvency from changes the Pallister PCs have made that have tripled the price of their ranch land. For decades, Manitoba
ranchers have leased “Crown lands”, often less-than-prime agricultural land for raising cattle. Last year, the PCs announced massive changes to leases on “Crown Lands”. “The PCs changes have limited leaseholders of their
ability to pass on leases, which has destroyed equity and retirement incomes, and affected producers’ ability to borrow,” said Jon Gerrard MLA River Heights and Liberal Agriculture Critic. “The result of the PCs policy has
been very unfair because this has had the effect of driving up the price of leased land, instead of the agricultural producers having stable and competitive low costs.” As a result, ranchers have seen their lease costs triple.
Some have already been rendered insolvent and others are facing insolvency and eviction if they can’t pay by the end of March, 2021. The ranchers have pooled their resources and are hiring a lawyer to take the PCs to
court. “All kinds of farmers are being affected by this. Young farmers starting out, people who have farmed for decades, and people who have just moved to Manitoba,” Continued on Page 2...
January 29, 2021
The AgriPost Manitoba Liberals Call to Support Ranchers in Legal Continued from Page 1... Fight Against Pallister said Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont. “Basically, Pallister has tripled the rent and now he’s going to evict people because they can’t pay. We’ve been telling the PCs to reverse course for over a year, but if they won’t listen to reason, or the people, maybe they’ll listen to a judge.” “Our Premier has lost his way and is destroying the small ranchers, many of whom got him elected. All of the younger ranch families regret that they ever began ranching in Manitoba. My neighbours who are near retirement will be left with no equity after decades and generations of hard labour,” said Dale Myhre, the head of the Manitoba Crown Lands
Leaseholders Association. “It’s a form of corruption that those in power can destroy the lives of those who have put blood sweat and tears into building sustainable farms here. This government is going down, but by then it will be too late for many.” As of January 4, the ranchers
had already raised $23,757. People who want to donate to help the ranchers sue the Pallister government can send a contribution to Manitoba Crown Lands Leaseholders Association, Box 155 Crane River, R0L 0M0 or send an etransfer to dalemyhr@gmail. com.
For decades, Manitoba ranchers have leased “Crown lands”, often less-than-prime agricultural land for raising cattle. Last year, the PCs Photo by Brenda Lynn Walker announced massive changes to leases.
Grain Ships Again from Churchill
By Elmer Heinrichs The first grain vessel in four years left the northern Manitoba Port of Churchill on the weekend of September 7-8, according to social media posts from port owners Arctic Gateway Group (AGG). “Happy to report the successful completion and departure of the first grain vessel of the season from Churchill,” said Arctic Gateway on Twitter and Facebook. The vessel arrived at the port August 25, but loading was delayed due to adverse weather, according to reports. AGG is a partnership of Indigenous First Nations and other northern communities, Toronto financier Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and Saskatchewan-based pulse company AGT Food and Ingredients. Since AGT Foods is a large Saskatchewan pulse crop exporter it should not be surprising that lentils was one of the first crops to move. The other grain moved in the first couple of years under the new ownership has been durum wheat. A leading company in shipping pulses around the
world, AGT Foods is clearly expecting a huge increase in shipping pulses to markets around the world, including from Churchill. Another point made about Churchill relates to climate change. The same weather that is the cause for longterm concern for polar bears is a cause for optimism for export traffic from Churchill. Arctic Gateway described the shipment as, “A really important first step in re-establishing the Port of Churchill as an important part of Canada’s position as an agricultural export leader in the world.” When reached, Arctic Gateway officials declined to comment and said they would not provide any further details on the cargo beyond the available social media posts on what was a “commercial transaction.” According to Canadian Grain Commission data, there were 35,400 tonnes of durum and 11,500 tonnes of lentils in storage in Churchill as of September 1, 2019. Online tracking data shows a cargo ship named Federal Satsuki left Churchill September 7, with Sarroch,
on the Italian island of Sardinia, as its next port of call. The vessel had the capacity to carry 43,561 tonnes of grain. The Port of Churchill, located on the shores of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba, is Canada’s only deep-water Arctic port and a typical season runs from late July through October. OmniTrax, the previous owner of the port and rail line servicing it, abruptly halted grain shipments in the 2016 season, after less than 200,000 tonnes moved through the facility the previous year. Grain movement had also slowed since the demise of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk in 2012. Sections of the rail line then washed out in 2017 cutting off Churchill and its residents from receiving any ground shipments. The rail line was left in disrepair until the Arctic Gateway Group took over in 2018 and began repairs. The port was built in the late 1920s and began exporting grain shipments in 1931, following a six-year project to build the railway to connect Hudson Bay to other Canadian points.
Thunder Bay Strategic for Western Grain Shipments By Elmer Heinrichs The Port of Thunder Bay has reported an outstanding shipping season. Cargo volumes came to 10.2 million tonnes, which
marked the first time the tonnage topped 10 million since 1997. Much of the success in 2020 was attributed to the port’s strategic position as western
Canada’s gateway to eastern markets for grain. Grain accounted for 9.2 million tonnes of the total movement through the port, up from 7.9 million the previous year.
Grain Prices at Decade Highs By Harry Siemens Grain prices at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 caused quite a stir amongst farmers and traders. Jonathan Driedger of LeftField Commodity Research in Hanover, Manitoba said despite the significant volatility at the beginning of the third week in January, commodity prices are in some cases are at a decade high. Canola and soybean prices pulled back through the first part of that week. But overall prices are higher said Driedger. “I mean, we’re just at multi-year highs in, well, most futures markets, and actually in most cash prices, too.” Canola hit shy of $700 a tonne, at a price level not seen in close to a decade. The same happened for corn and wheat which are at the highest levels in several years. He said that it didn’t get quite as frothy as some of those other markets, but that multi-year highs across all these crops, despite the significant correction, are still incredibly high levels. He explained this does not only pertain to the futures market it includes those cash prices in the backyard that are following the same trend. For anyone who’s a grain farmer that is good news although input costs for production have
also gone up. Driedger said there was less production than maybe people were expecting back last summer, particularly in the US. For western Canada some new export grain markets have also caused an increase in demand. “The pile is smaller, and we’re using more of it and using it more quickly, and that’s maybe the short line,” he said. “A broad generalization, but that’s kind of what it comes down to. We could drill down into the details of China or other places consuming more and so forth, but really, in a nutshell, there’s less of it, and people are broadly, globally using more of it, and that’s what has caused prices to move aggressively.” He tells his clients to stay the course with some slight shifts in acres where it makes sense. When prices increase across the entire board, the market often sees smaller acreage swings than looking at a canola chart. Indeed, farmers will plant more canola and soybeans may make a resurgence in western Canada compared to the last couple of years. If most crop prices move higher, it allows farmers to remain honest to their rotations and have confidence they can make money. In that sense, farmers will adjust acres,
Biodiesel Requirement Increase Creates On-Farm Benefits Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA) is pleased with the Manitoba Government’s announcement in late December approving a phased-in increase to the biodiesel requirement effective at the beginning of January. The mandate increased to 3.5 per cent from two per cent, and it will rise again to five per cent on January 1, 2022. This progressive policy change is a win-win-win for Manitoba’s environment, for our economy and for our farmers. It is an effective way to reduce emissions from transportation fuel while diversifying markets for canola and increasing economic opportunities and demand right here at home. “Increasing the demand for biodiesel in Manitoba is a target our board has been work-
ing on for the better part of a decade,” said Delaney Ross Burtnack, MCGA Executive Director. “We have long recognized that this represents opportunity for canola farmers and Manitoba’s economy through the expansion of a stable, domestic market, while meeting emission reduction goals.” This policy sends a strong market signal for more domestic canola processing and investment in renewable fuel production here in Manitoba. “Canola is an excellent feedstock for biodiesel,” continued Ross Burtnack. “And we anticipate that this change will generate more opportunity for investment in this sector. Continuing Manitoba’s clean fuel leadership is a step in the right direction for our environment, our economy and our farmers.”
without the wild swings because everything is higher. Farmers can effectively make the bigger swings in some operations, although many farmers might be better off not straying too far from their rotations, using good agronomic practices. This can lead to a little more yield if they stick to their plan because prices are good across the board, which might be more profitable than chasing what looks like a higher price on a chart today for one particular crop. Driedger said canola is trying to buy more acres coming at the expense of some other crops on the margins. That story will look different in across western Canada, too because the cropping options look different in, for example, southern Saskatchewan than they might be in Yorkton or the Red River Valley and Peace River. However, when the crop is feed barley, corn, or pulses, the swings are not as wild as these other markets and still promise reasonably good prices for now. Most farms will have a few fields in their rotation that could go in a different directions. By and large, the mindset has shifted slightly, and, when everything’s prices and costs are higher, that makes it easier to keep to those rotations.
Main crop prices held their own and for grain, prices rose in January.
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
KAP Welcomes a New Communications and Government Relations Coordinator KAP is pleased to welcome Graham Schellenberg to the KAP team as its communications and government relations coordinator. Graham is an experienced media and communications professional who worked for the provincial government as a Policy Analyst before joining KAP. He was raised in southern Manitoba and now resides in Winnipeg. Outside of work, Graham is involved in several historical research projects and enjoys reading, photography, and travelling.
Wartime Farm On a number of Internet platforms, including YouTube, you can find an interesting documentary called “Wartime Farm.” The 8-part BBC mini-series takes a look back at what it might have been like to be a farmer in Britain during World War II. A historian and two archaeologists go to a farm that’s set up to operate just as it would have back in those difficult days and try to duplicate the circumstances and conditions of the time. It’s fairly recent history, but they still have to guess a lot about what happened. It also doesn’t help that none of them has any kind of farming background. It shows. They don’t think like farmers or prioritize like us, either. Still it’s worthwhile to see and hear the challenges they discover. Britain was a trading nation, highly dependent on imports to feed itself. The strength of the Nazi’s navy blockades slowed imports to a trickle, and Britain’s farmers were told they had to make up
the difference. The government was looking for them to double production pretty well overnight. Worse still, the bureaucrats told farmers exactly how they were supposed to do it. Government controlled almost everything. Supplies were rationed and prioritized, most of the livestock was slaughtered, and farmers were told to concentrate on growing grain. But they were also told to grow flax, which they’d never done before, because the fibre was needed to make tents and parachutes, and the like, for the troops. The burden took other forms. Farms were asked to look after children from cities and towns that were targets of German bombing, operate refugee feeding stations from these same urban centres, form guerrilla-style militias in case of a land invasion, and monitor and provide intelligence on any enemy movement they might see, day or night. As the war dragged on, farmers were re-
quired to do more and more with less and less. One of the first orders of business involved plowing up pasture and grass fields that had never seen crops before. This virgin land had the benefit of a large quantity of stored nutrients but, as farmers know, if crops have never been grown on the land before, there was usually a reason. The team picked just such a field, heavy clay soil with drainage issues. The archaeologists did a good job surveying the field and mapping out the low spots. After that, they decided to build a moldbore plow out of scrap metal, as a government-issued pamphlet suggested. Building it was a major undertaking. Then they couldn’t get it to work properly; eventually they twisted it all up so it was unusable, abandoned the effort and hoped it wouldn’t rain too much. Several episodes later, we see the final outcome. They had planted flax in one of the wettest seasons ever. The
field was a By Rolf complete mess Penner of weeds, with so little crop it was a complete writeoff. Other crops such as wheat fared much better and they were able to take them to harvest. Perhaps the most interesting part of the series is all of the old machines and contraptions used at the time. Like tractors that you had to start with a hand crank and a lot of swearing, or a shotgun shell and a burning wick. A truck they rigged up to run on fumes from a coal fire. A baler that could take off a limb, or end your life in the blink of an eye. One- and two-bottom plows. A homemade grain dryer, makeshift silage bins, clay tiles, a primitive milking machine. Even a self-propelled combine set up for straight cutting the crop. In terms of interest, though, how they lived would be a close second. What they had to eat, how the food was
prepared, the early use of electricity, clothes, bedding, laundry, curfews and blackouts. Working with unskilled labour and prisoners of war, socialization, etc. It was not just a different time, but really a whole different world than what we’re used to now. You have to read between the lines a bit and use your imagination to fill in the blanks. But the series is beautifully shot, filled with gorgeous footage of the English countryside, the farmyard and the surrounding area. The re-enactment is augmented by interviews with people who lived through those times and collectors of all the vintage equipment they used. The series fills in some of the gaps on what otherwise would be a forgotten part of the war effort. Take a look.
Major Milestones Reached in the Farm Media Business I will mark four milestones this year, 75 years old in October, 50 years in the media business in April, and most of them as an advocate for the farmer, and telling the story of farming, one farmer and farm supplier at a time. One more not so much a milestone but has helped broaden my work as a journalist, especially after slowing down following my quadbypass heart surgery in 2007. This is not a swan song! In 2008, I joined Twitter and soon after LinkedIn, and in 2018 Facebook. In total, I have 27,000 followers and what an outlet that is for my posts, writings, videos and audio podcasts. Turning 75 and I give God
all the glory for His grace to sustain me for most of those 75 years. It isn’t such a big deal other than I’m still working, serving, having fun and loving it. Notwithstanding some health issues, losing my soul, travel, and inspirational mate of 50 years, my good wife Judith in 2018. I continue to stay healthy, keeping in relatively good shape and keeping my mind active through work and service. The age milestone has another factor tied to it: keep working with a positive attitude and reaching out to others as much as possible. I have never seen people’s engagement, but able to make contact and turn on a recorder for another exciting interview. Interviewing and engaging people are the lifeblood of my articles, stories, columns, podcasts and social media posts. I often get asked why I only
interview the large farmers; well, many of those so-called large farmers today I interviewed when they were either starting out or on the way to becoming more prominent farmers. I remember interviewing one local farmer, Ray and at the end of the visit, I asked him a question I didn’t expect an answer to. I asked how many acres? He said, “Harry,” and was quiet. “If you want to put something in, just say a little less than Mel.” A great answer. The third milestone is that of helping start the AgriPost farm publication 20 years ago. Wow, I remember sitting down with my brother-in-law Henry C. Dyck and now the owner and publisher Dan Guetre at a convention in Winnipeg. And the rest they say is history. I’m proud of how Dan has carried on, putting out a monthly publication month
after month. And how farmers read and advertisers post their company ads. Of the 50 years in total, it is twenty I’ve spent writing for the AgriPost, I doubt whether I have missed an issue. The fourth milestone and the more I write, the more come to mind, but this too is a farm publication in Leduc, AB, owned and published by another great friend Laurie Brandley. Twenty-five years ago, I started writing for the PHC and had not missed an issue either. The farmers who read that publication and the AgriPost came to me well before the pandemic, and shook my hand and sometimes hugged me for the information provided in those two publications. Kind of an honourable mention, the Ontario Farmer owned by Postmedia is one that I’m now thinking I’ve written for maybe 30 years,
starting with the Western Canadian Dairy Farmer. When I look back at the 50 wonderful years, I thank the publishers, the people, the sponsors, and most importantly, the farmers who let me serve them for all these years. Things have changed so much in technology, but the farmer’s will, the eternal optimist, keeps going. Wow-what a fantastic industry we serve. As my mentor, colleague and friend, the fabulous ‘Big O’ said to me in December, yes, I know Orion Samuelson, “Harry, ‘Serving agriculture, the basic industry, is such a privilege and honour,’” and he retired after 50 years behind the same microphone on December 31. Had I not embraced technology early on and buying my first computer in 1982, I may not be still in it today. Thanks again, and God Bless!
Blanket COVID-19 Test Requirement Hurts Farmers and Puts Food Supply at Risk Dear Editor, The Federal Liberals have issued a blanket requirement for all international travellers, including international farm workers, to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding a Canada-bound flight. Yet this does nothing to reduce isolation times so workers can get our food to market. For weeks, Conservatives have been calling
on the Liberal Government to implement a rapid testing pilot for international farm workers in time for the greenhouse growers’ season that began January 1. Greenhouse vegetable producers rely on international farm workers for their growing season and vegetable growers need workers to continue packing crops. The new PCR policy is set to
come into effect this week with no clarity for thousands of Canadian farmers and their employees. Conservatives have been raising concerns with the Minister since November, yet we see no action while thousands of Canadian farmers are left in the dark. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to stand up for Canadian farmers and their
employees. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals must address this important issue immediately – before this season is lost. Lianne Rood, Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Richard Lehoux, Conservative Member of Parliament for Beauce.
Co-Chairs on Proposed Changes to the AgriStability Program Dear Editor, As co-chairs of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) agriculture ministerial meetings, we urge all provincial and territorial Ministers to support the proposed changes to the AgriStability program. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged farmers in unprecedented ways. From labour, to housing, to processing issues every aspect of farming has been impacted by the pandemic. Through it all, our farmers have pressed on and continued to work tirelessly to ensure that their workers are kept safe from the outbreak and that our grocery stores remain stocked with safe, nutritious, Canadian food. However, farmers across the country continue to face challenges, which is why the swift endorsement and
delivery of this enhanced AgriStability program is critical. The offer to improve AgriStability includes the removal of the reference margin limit as well as an increase of the AgriStability compensation rate from 70% to 80%. Taken together this would result in a 50% increase, around $170 million per year in direct support to farmers who need it the most. In order for these changes to be put in place, we need the support of a large majority of provinces and territories soon. Accepting the proposed changes soon is key to ensuring the enhanced supports can be applied retroactively to 2020, something we know farmers across the country have been asking for. Since the Federal govern-
ment has confirmed its 60% contribution, it rests with the undeclared provinces and territories to come forward with their 40% share. We thank those provinces who have already confirmed their participation and hope to hear from those others soon. Furthermore, for many years we have been consulting on improving the suite of business risk management programs and we agree that fixing AgriStability is the priority. It needs to be simpler, fairer, more predictable and more generous. While the proposed changes to AgriStability may not be the perfect solution for all farmers or governments, they reflect a good start to achieving a national consensus and allow Canada’s Agriculture Ministers to continue discussing enhancements to the program
while still improving supports for farmers today. We are all committed on more long-term changes to the suite of Business Risk Management programs as we begin consultations for the start of the next 5-year policy framework, which begins in 2023. Improving the BRM programs is a top priority for our Governments. Farmers have shown their resiliency during COVID-19, however many could still use the added help that these short-term changes could provide. We have an opportunity to act now, to offer them increased support. It’s time to get it done.” Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
KAP Responds to Manitoba Rural Service Delivery Model
Dear Editor, The ability to access quality services, reliable information, and speak with specialists is essential to the strength of Manitoba’s agriculture sector. Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) acknowledges the efforts of Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development and Manitoba Agricultural Service Corporation (MASC) to provide enhanced services to
producers in Manitoba. While producers welcome the option to access forms, applications, and information online, the opportunity to speak face-to-face with specialists is essential. This will be more challenging for many producers, particularly in western Manitoba. Though we are assured that these measures will not impact staffing levels, our members are concerned
about ongoing access to staff and have noted this issue for some time. Furthermore, the loss of rental revenue for rural business owners represents yet another challenge for many communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage the provincial government to release more information about how the rural service delivery model will impact the quality
of services provided, along with its plan to introduce additional online tools and improve rural connectivity. KAP welcomes the opportunity to participate in consultations regarding these tools because producers must continue to have access to the services, information, and specialists they require. Bill Campbell President, Keystone Agricultural Producers
January 29, 2021
A Look at Agricultural Changes in Manitoba By Jon Gerrard Congratulations to all those at the AgriPost for 20 successful years. It is a remarkable achievement and speaks to the relevance of good and timely reporting on activities in agriculture in Manitoba. The agricultural industry in Manitoba is well positioned to lead the way as we emerge from the COVID pandemic later this year. Food is one product that is essential at all times and its demand has little to do with whether there is a pandemic. Further, during the pandemic there have been a number of innovations which may help those in the agricultural and food processing industries. It is in the context of the need for continuing advances and innovation in agriculture that it is disappointing to see the large cutbacks in agricultural offices across Manitoba. These cutbacks are some of the most severe in the last two decades as the availability of agricultural services in our province has been shrinking under both the previous NDP government and currently under the present Conservative government. In the 1970s and 1908s, Agriculture offices were a vital source of unbiased information for farmers needing to better understand the merits of competing industry claims. Agriculture offices were helpful in understanding and interpreting government support programs. While people now rely more on advice over the internet, many farmers still welcome information delivered locally, in person and from someone who is very familiar with the local soils and farming practices. As I write this, I reflect on a zoom session I attended last week hosted by the Red River Basin Commission. There was a keynote presentation by Erin Meier dealing with some coming areas of innovation including Continuous Living Cover (CLC), Green Lands Blue Waters (GLBW) and adaptations which may be needed as temperatures increase with global warming. Agriculture was presented as being important from a broader socio-cultural perspective in which people, plants and the planet are all important, and managing water is essential. To presume that we know it all would be a mistake. Ag offices and Ag representatives have played a vital role in keeping the agricultural community aware of the latest options and the latest innovations. They have often been essential for farmers just starting out, and have helped share good practices as they move from farm to farm. In a period of climate change, and as we adjust to a continuing avalanche of innovation in agriculture, we need Agriculture reps more - not less. I would also be remiss to not mention concerns I am receiving from many farmers with respect to the Conservative government’s new policies regarding Crown Lands. The approach does away with unit transfers and thus does not allow producers to build equity in the land they care for. The change prevents Crown Land farmers from building up a retirement nest egg as they have done for generations. The changes are also of concern in that they will not foster good land stewardship as much if the person who rents the land does not have a long term stake in it. Many farmers are in strong opposition to these changes which are bringing large increases in their lease costs and are facing insolvency or evictions have come to us for help as they challenge the government’s approach which is robbing them of opportunities. For more information about how you can help, email Dale Myhre the head of the Manitoba Crown Lands Leaseholders Association at dalemyhr@gmaillcom. Jon Gerrard is MLA for River Heights and Manitoba Liberal Agriculture Critic.
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
What is Twenty Years? When I got the note from our esteemed editor that the AgriPost was celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and in particular this edition, I took some time to think about 20 years and what it means. How long is 20 years? Ask a teenager who is waiting to reach the age of majority and they will tell you it
is more than a life time and seems like an eternity. Ask a grandparent and they will tell you it is the blink of an eye, and is gone before you can turn around. They will tell you about the joy of holding their grandchild for the first time, and she is in college now. Twenty years ago when this paper started to visit Manitoba farm homes, the way we got information was a lot different. The internet was new, cell phones were just that – phones. The word
selfie had not yet arrived because you did not need it; google had not become a part of our language especially as a verb because the company was only 4 years old. Facebook was 6 years away from being thought of, and now it has become a major source of news for many people. The world has changed a lot in 20 years and so has our little corner of the world, soybeans were a new crop to Manitoba, well realistically it was their third incarnation in the province but the first two didn’t stick and now the crop has arrived with the
Bibeau Speaks at Virtual Summit of State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Canada and the US enjoy the largest agricultural trade relationship in the world. The Canada-US agriculture partnership strengthens our place in the global market, ensures people have access to safe and high quality food and will be vital to the relaunch and recovery of our economies. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau recently delivered a keynote address during the virtual 2021 Summit of State Agriculture and Rural Leaders (SARL). During her address, Bibeau pledged to work with the incoming US administration to further strengthen the bilateral agricultural trading relationship between Canada and the United States. The annual SARL summit is the premier meeting of Canadian provincial and US state legislators. It continues to be an effective voice for education, co-operation and leadership on agriculture issues. In 2019, bilateral trade in agriculture and agri-food between Canada and the US reached $60 billion.
Bibeau spoke of the many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressure it has put on farmers, processors, and the entire food value chain. The Minister raised many areas of collaboration between governments such as research,
regulatory, health and safety, as well as joint efforts to prevent and prepare for African Swine Fever. The Minister also highlighted the importance of continued collaboration to ensure our agriculture sectors remain resilient and globally competitive.
backing of major breeding programs to make the crop work here. Ask a farmer how long is twenty years and they’ll give you a list of changes an arm’s length long by breaking it down to how many droughts, floods and early frosts there have been in the two decades, and oh yeah, “We had a good crop in ‘11 but it was tough to get off.” For me twenty years in the business of agricultural reporting and information has brought a lot of changes, some of my own doing and some by a power greater than myself.
Twenty years ago was a time that I worked for what was then called Manitoba Agriculture, the list of name changes that department has gone through would fill this column but the purpose has remained the same as it had for decades before; it was about providing unbiased information; information that farmers could use in producing livestock or crops that helped them make a living and feed us. It was a time that there was some fear of budget cuts meaning the end of the rural extension service and some jurisdictions had gone
to a pay-for-service model. Manitoba chose not to go that route and while there have been minor changes in structure the department has stayed relatively the same, but times change and now a dozen or so offices will be closed. Farmers are able to see the trend; it is the beginning of the end. Things change in twenty years, especially the way we get information, but the AgriPost has stayed and continues on. Congratulations Dan, on what was a good idea at the time and continues to be 20 years later.
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
20 Years: The Changing of the Guard
By Les Kletke As the AgriPost celebrates 20 years of delivering reliable information to Manitoba farmers it has asked a few farmers to look back on the
time period and highlight the changes they have seen. Gilbert Sabourin farms at St. Jean with his son Jayden who graduated from the School of Agriculture at the
Jayden and Gilbert Sabourin farm at St. Jean. Gilbert began farming with his Dad and is now the senior partner in the operation.
University of Manitoba 3 years ago. In 2001 Gilbert was the young generation on the farm as he worked with his brother and dad, Gilles. His brother tried the farming way of life and after 4 years decided on other things. Sabourin said a lot of things have changed in twenty years but one thing that he notices most is the proximity to elevators. “This might not be the case in other areas of the province but for us the number of elevators has increased dramatically,” he said. “We have so many more choices to deliver our grain, within 45 minutes we have the traditional grain companies, two canola crushing facilities and two oat processors.” He said that the increased options have meant that he is able to shop his crop around and the market is competitive. The crops he is shopping around have also changed. “Twenty years ago we had canola, wheat and oats which
we still grow but soybeans were a brand new crop then and we have added corn to our farm,” said Sabourin. He has made a commitment to corn by building a drier system and having a natural gas line to the farm. While the farm acreage has varied over the years the operation has increased its acreage by 20% and he said that has allowed him to make the commitment to features like the corn drying system. It is not only his acreage that has increased; it is also the cost of putting a crop in the ground. He estimates that in 2001 his Dad and he would budget about $150 per acre for input costs. That has doubled and he now estimated $350 per acre. “The operating costs have increased and it varies so much depending on the crop, but they are all in that $300 an acre range. Soybeans don’t need the fertilizer but your seed costs are $90 an acre and with seed treatment
The Biggest Change is the Way We Do Business By Les Kletke Allan Calder said that twenty years have brought a lot of change to the farm just south of Letellier, Manitoba. “Twenty years ago we were placing ads in the AgriPost for our soybean roaster,’ he said. “We had just set up out roaster and found a market for the beans in the dairy and sow barn market.” He remembers soybeans being introduce a few years earlier and the acreage steadily climbing in the early 2000s. At the time Allan farmed with his brothers Murray and Russell, along with running the soybean operation and as a dealer for Pioneer Seeds. There was enough to keep the three busy and Allan’s older son Jeff was just begin-
ning to farm at the time renting his first acres in 2002. Allan said the seed business was continuing to grow as the acreage of soybeans expanded, at the time as when corn seed was better known as a market which had matured. “The fellows that were going into corn had already made the move and the acres leveled off for a bit but as soybeans came along they were a good fit in the production. He recalled a conversation he had with Dwayne Beck a South Dakota researcher. “He told me that we should try to have a warm season broad leaf and grass crop, and a cool season broad leaf and grass crop. That would be a good defense against
weather, disease and insect issues.” As a result of that conversation the brothers focused their attention to beans, corn, wheat and canola respectively. It seems to have worked. Today the farm has expanded its acres under the direction of Jeff and William Calder. Chris Loewen has taken over the Pioneer seed business after working for the Calders for several years, and has moved it to another location where he operates the business with the help of father James. “The boys have said they would like to take the farm in their direction, so we have stepped back but are available when needed,” said Allan. “They each have their
own interests and have come up with a division of labour that works. William has an accounting background that serves well on the management side, and Jeff focuses on the agronomy. When asked what has been the biggest change that he has seen over the last two decades Allan said, “The way people do business and the way they gather information. There is much less personal contact even before COVID and information is available via the internet. He did not pass judgment on the changes rather he sees it is an evolution and they way things are done. “It is more efficient in many ways, but it has reduced the human element,” said Allan.
that is over $100. Even the choice of weed control has changed over the years. “You can grow GMO with two small treatments of Roundup or you can produce conventional crops with much more herbicide appli-
cation,” said Sabourin. “It is a choice to make and a concern for the environment.” The crop choices and costs may have changed but the constant for the Sabourin farm is still as an inter-generational business.
January 29, 2021
Province Says Closing Ag Offices is a Catch Up to Change Rather than Cuts By Les Kletke Closure of some Manitoba Agriculture and Manitoba Ag Services offices will not mean cuts in staff but are intended to catch up to the way farmers do business. The Department which has undergone several name changes in recent years is now officially Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Development and Minister Blaine Pederson said the changes were in the works before the COVID pandemic. “Pre-COVID we were averaging about one to two people per day physically coming into these 21 offices. We even had some offices that were closed and some offices that were averaging two people per week. So there was definitely need for modernization here. All of these offices have
closed since March, in reference to public health orders,” said Pederson adding that there will be no cuts in staff as a result of the closure. The closures will amalgamate at some sites in the province for a total of 17 offices which continue to operate. Ten will be agricultural service centres with lending, insurance, farmland school tax rebate and wildlife compensation as well as handling agriculture and resource development program information. Five centres will focus on resource management and two will focus on mineral and petroleum serves. “By investing in resources and new ideas, we are meeting clients’ needs to access services using a modern robust approach,” said Pederson.
Some producers were not pleased with the announcement. Scott Peters is one of those, he farms at Altona. “The closure is a message that the government is abandoning the needs of our industry,” he said. “The closure of these offices means it will be further for us to drive and that will mean a decrease use of the information.” Pederson acknowledged that it may be even a greater distance for some farmers, but he said the days of oneon-one consultations about cropping and varieties had been disappearing for several years and farmers had turned to industry resources or the use of crop consultants. The changes will take place on April 1. As of yet there has been no word on relocation of staff or if there will be
Ag Minister Blain Pederson says the reduction of Departmental offices was in the works before the Covid pandemic hit.
a concentration of staff in the existing centres. “The array of services that will be provided online, by telephone or in-person at the agricultural service centres throughout the province will offer producers a convenient and client focus means to access the programs and services available to them,” he said.
Amid Ag Office Closures New Delivery Model Added The Manitoba government is launching a new rural service delivery model to modernize services provided to clients whose needs and expectations have changed. “Meeting the needs of our clients with professional knowledge, current research and data, connections to appropriate links, and timely, unbiased information has always been a priority for our department,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “The array of services that will be provided online, by telephone or in-person at agricultural service centres throughout the province will offer producers a convenient and client-focused means to access the programs and services that are available to them.” Effective April 1, Manito-
ba Agriculture and Resource Development will leverage existing synergies with Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) to offer a single window for Manitoba farmers and businesses seeking services provided by either organization. Through the modernization of the department and MASC’s physical footprint, 17 rural and northern offices will continue to deliver a multitude of services including 10 agricultural service centres will provide insurance, lending, farmland school tax rebate and wildlife damage compensation services; handling of licensing and permits applications; and provide agriculture and resource development program information; five centres focusing on resource management, and; two cen-
tres focusing on mineral or petroleum services. To support the multichannel service delivery model, an interactive online chat program, which will allow clients to access real-time assistance from a smartphone, tablet, computer or through a toll-free number, will be developed in the future, the minister noted. In addition, each office will have a client-accessible kiosk to access online services and connect virtually with other government service providers. “By investing in resources and new ideas, we are meeting clients’ needs to access services using a modern, robust approach,” said Pedersen. “We’re building capacity for future technological advances and elevating the client experience.”
The NDP opposition accuse the PC government of not caring for farmers as the plan involves closing 21 MASC offices. “It’s disappointing to see Mr. Pallister and his cabinet, who claim to be on the side of rural producers, shutter more than twenty MASC offices in the Parkland, Interlake, Westman and across the province,” said Wab Kinew, leader of the NDP. “It’s another sign they don’t value producers’’ needs to have agricultural services close to home with people they know and trust. It’s also more job losses to small communities in the middle of a pandemic. The government should reconsider these closures and recommit to Manitoba producers that the quality services they expect will be accessible.”
January 29, 2021
Most Rural Manitoba Ag Offices Scheduled to Close By Elmer Heinrichs Manitoba will close 21 agricultural service offices in rural areas and streamline services provided by the remaining 17 centres. The service centres will combine resources from Manitoba agriculture and resource development and Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, a crown corporation that provides insurance, loans and other resources to farmers. Agriculture minister Blaine Pedersen announced agricultural service centres will be centralized in 10 locations, at Arborg, Brandon, Dauphin, Headingley, Killarney, Morden, Neepawa, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach and Swan River. While 21 service offices are closing, many in small rural communities across the province, nine locations will continue to provide workspace for Manitoba agriculture and resource development employees, but will not be open to the public. It is part of the Manitoba government’s launch of a new delivery model to modernize services. “Meeting the needs of our clients with professional knowledge, current research and data, connections to appropriate links, and timely, unbiased information has always been a priority for our department,” said Pedersen. “The array of services that will be provided online, by telephone or in-person at agricultural service centres throughout the province will offer producers a convenient and client-focused means to access the programs and services that are available to them.” Effective April 1, all Manitoba agriculture services will be available to Manitoba farmers and businesses through a single window. Ten agricultural service centres will provide insurance, lending, farmland school tax rebate and wildlife damage compensation services; handling of licensing and permit applications and provide agriculture and resource development program information. Five centres will focus on resource management, with two centres for mineral or petroleum services. To support the multichannel service delivery model, an interactive online chat program, which will allow clients to access real-time assistance from a smartphone, tablet, computer or through a toll-free number, will be developed in the future. In addition, each office will have a client-accessible kiosk to access online services and connect virtually with other government service providers. “By investing in resources and new ideas, we are meeting clients’ needs to access services using a modern, robust approach,” concluded Pedersen. The closures of these offices are emblematic of a troubling trend that is happening across rural Manitoba said the province’s largest farm lobby. “When you look at the number of communities that are losing their services, 21, that’s pretty significant and all in rural Manitoba,” said Keystone Agricultural president Bill Campbell. “It’s quite a blow to these communities.” “It’s another sign the government doesn’t value producers’ need to have agricultural services close to home with people they know and trust,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. The closures are undoubtedly a big hit to the communities losing local jobs, but COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns solidly lay to rest any doubts that there are more efficient ways of delivering information and extension support than face-to-face meetings.
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
Biggest Change Over Twenty Years Has New Generation Running the Farm By Les Kletke Neil van Ryssel said the last two decades have brought big changes to the family farm at Oak Bank. He jokes that a feed bunk becoming a sheet of curling ice is one of them even though it may not be permanent. “In 2001, I was just coming off my term on the Milk Marketing Board,” he said. “I sat down with my herdsman and we discussed the future of the industry. I was tired of fighting for supply management and we looked at the situation and said we are the only country with
supply management, it is unlikely that we will get the world to change to our point of view.” He added his choice does not reflect on his lack of support for the system but rather it was a pragmatic approach to the world situation. It was also supported by the next generation of preference for crop production. “My son [Jeff] was becoming more involved with the farm and he was not as dedicated to the dairy, so we sold the quota and bought more land,” he said. Van
Ryssel went from being head of Manitoba’s dairy farmers to leaving the business in less than a decade. With the help of some advisors and Farm Credit Canada, Neil and Jeff worked out a 10-year transition program to transfer ownership of the farm. Today Jeff’s son Aaron is working his way into the farm and has enrolled in the School of Agriculture at the University of Manitoba. Aaron is a competitive curler and is the reason that the former feed bunk has undergone the conversion to a sheet of curling ice.
The family purchased a set of rocks from a rink that no longer needed the granite and has made the sheet regulation length. “The farm is doing better than ever,” said van Ryssel. “Jeff does much more research before going into an enterprise and his management is better, he studies things much more than I did.” Van Ryssel said a decision to work with Farm Link has also been beneficial. “We know exactly what our costs are and what our break even is,” he said. “That makes
for better management decisions.” He uses the example of an acre of corn costing $486 to produce. “That means that if you are growing 100 bushels an acre, corn better be $5 a bushel.” He said the 2020 crop year was a difficult one with the farm only receiving 3.6 inches of rain. “It is tough to grow a crop with that, especially after trying to get some of the land in shape in spring. The previous fall had a lot of ruts in some fields and we needed to drain water and work that
land before seeding. That did not get the crop off to a good start.”
Neil van Ryssel was inducted into the Manitoba Ag Hall of Fame in Submitted photo. 2017.
January 29, 2021
Get a Handle on Your Expense Ratio By Jamie Arbuckle Ask yourself the question; is your operating expense ratio above or below average? Here’s a tip from Jamie Arbuckle, Relationship Manager for FCC in Winnipeg, “You can use the Operating Expense Ratio (OER) as a rough benchmark when budgeting for your operation, or assessing your financial health. Arbuckle explained that it is a good ratio to use year-overyear to track your farm’s efficiency. OER = Total operating expenses / Gross revenue. “The average OER for a grain operation is 65%. That means that 65% of your expected revenue goes towards your variable operational
expenses (labour, fertilizer, crop protection, fuel, maintenance, insurance, and repairs, for example). The rest is for fixed expenses like loan payments, land rent, and capital improvements. And then the leftover is your profit margin. “Typically, the lower the OER, the better the business is doing. If the ratio is too high, you might not be able to cover expenses and you’d be at higher risk if prices decrease or expenses increase, unexpectedly,” said Arbuckle. “Reach out to your local Farm Credit Canada (FCC) office if you’d like help calculating your OER, getting a suggested average ratio for your specific sector, or ana-
lyzing your financial statements,” said Arbuckle. Jamie Arbuckle is a Rela-
tionship Manager for Farm Credit Canada (FCC) in Winnipeg.
Pandemic Biggest Shock for Agriculture By Elmer Heinrichs Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) team of economists say the COVID-19 pandemic was the single biggest shock to the Canadian agriculture and food industry in 2020. FCC chief agricultural economist J.P. Gervais said its impact will have some lasting effects. Gervais added the upheaval will continue to test global supply chains and disrupt trade patterns around the world. As much as the pandemic caused supply chain disruptions, Gervais said it also created an opportunity for Canada to further establish itself as one of the world’s most trusted and reliable suppliers of food and agriculture commodities. “A year ago, we were saying climate change, protectionism and automation had the most potential to not only significantly reshape Canada’s agriculture and food industry, but also disrupt the global economy,” said Ger-
vais. “I think it’s safe to say the emergence of the global pandemic has added fuel to that fire of change and now tops our list of most significant trends to watch in 2021.” According to FCC’s twopart blog series, the upheaval caused by the pandemic continues to test global supply chains and disrupt trade patterns around the world, as countries apply various measures to stop the spread of the virus. It has slowed or shuttered momentarily food processing facilities, disrupted movement of Canadian agriculture commodities and processed food to several export markets, and significantly altered consumer buying habits, especially when it comes to in-home dining and grocery shopping. At the same time, geopolitical tensions added to the uncertainty brought on by the global pandemic, shifting trade flows. Climate change
continued to wreak havoc in agriculture, spawning extreme weather events in parts of the world. However, Gervais said as much as the pandemic has caused supply chain disruptions, it has also created an opportunity for Canada to further entrench itself as one of the world’s most trusted and reliable suppliers of food and agriculture commodities. “The pandemic has only heightened consumer demand for locally sourced food, accelerating what was already a pre-pandemic trend,” he said. “At the same time, the needs of major food importers and our key export markets will grow even if economic uncertainty continues to prevail in 2021.” Gervais added that there are clear signals pointing to strong domestic and global demand. He noted, for example, higher savings and pent-up demand that could drive growth in red meat consumption, which could
be bolstered by the possible reopening of food services in 2021. Globally, weather challenges could strengthen import demand of major grains, oilseeds and pulses. In addition, supply chains are still signalling that Canadian exports are important. High-income economies, such as Japan, the US and the European Union, continue to have the potential to further tap into Canadian exports. China, given its size and growing economic strength also holds potential for opportunities. “If we are able to quickly turn the corner on this pandemic in 2021, we could see an economic rebound that allows us to mostly recover from last year’s 4.2 per cent global economic contraction,” Gervais said. “By meeting the needs of importers during a pandemic, Canada has an opportunity to further strengthen its position as one of the world’s leading agriculture exporters.”
Farm Transition Guide Now Available Online
Farm Management Canada, with the support of Farm Credit Canada (FCC), MNP and the Government of Canada, have announced the debut of farmtransitionguide. ca, a brand-new web portal for all stages of farm transition planning. This bilingual website connects farm owners and farm owner hopefuls to the tools, experts, and
resources they need to develop and implement their farm transition plans. Over the next 10 years, 75% of farms will change hands, yet only 8% of farmers have a written transition plan. This uncertainty about the future of the farm is putting tremendous stress on our farmers and future farmers and jeopardizes the fu-
ture of farming in Canada. Farm Management Canada knows transition planning is part of effective business planning. Each farm has unique circumstances and each situation requires its own plan using the tools, resources, and expertise to best support their needs. That’s why farmtransitionguide.ca has been designed
January 29, 2021
Decades of Consistency Two decades of publishing farm articles is worth celebrating. Congratulations to the team at the AgriPost for being a pillar in the agriculture community in Manitoba for the past twenty years. This milestone led me on a journey back through articles written on insurance over the past two decades. It is interesting to see that in some areas not much has changed, while in others, everything is different. I started by polling our team and asking what their experience was like in the past two decades of insurance, and I had to sort through people who were being potty-trained, watching cartoons, or dancing in the halls of their junior high school, to get to the tried-and-true veterans on our team who were actually working in the business twenty years ago. In a nutshell, what has changed is the process that gets insurance coverage in place. Fax machines were incredible technology when they replaced carbon copy paper, and when the internet and email came into practice, the speed of business changed. The idea of waiting for the courier to bring the insurance company replies and answers for the day became obsolete. I remember hearing that experts predicted our lives would be so empty because technology would improve our efficiency so much that the biggest fear for the future of humankind was boredom. For those that spend their lives fighting off a constant barrage of emails all day, this concept is laughable. On the insurance coverage side, there have been some changes, but in a cyclical market it’s interesting to see how similar some things are. Farm markets have come and gone. When enough insurers pull away from a class of business, someone new enters and before long, there are multiple insurers pursuing business hoping for their opportunity. Challenges that we saw from insurers haven’t changed much, as they are still looking to improve loss prevention, properly value buildings, and provide a profitable, yet competitive product that interests consumers. I also enjoy dreaming about what the next two decades will hold for our industry. We haven’t had to insure the flying cars that many predicted would be the norm by 2020. To date, insurance brokers haven’t been replaced by artificial intelligence, although there have been rumblings that Google and Amazon would love to take our place. Insurance brokers haven’t been replaced by a modern version of R2D2 to deliver insurance coverage and risk management, and the team at Rempel Insurance remains committed to serving the agricultural community for decades to come. Is insurance simple? Do you have questions? Work with someone who will explain the differences and options to you to make the best decisions for your farm. Rempel Insurance Brokers Ltd. is open for business and we are glad to assist you with your insurance needs. David Schmidt is an Account Executive at Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Call or text 204-746-2320, email davids@ rempelinsurance.com or visit rempelinsurance.com.
to help farmers navigate their transition journey, starting with a needs assessment, all the way through to creating and implementing the plan, and connecting with advisors along the way to support the journey. The resources and tools include family and non-family transition options as well as inspiring stories from future
farmers. “By pledging to take steps towards transition planning, farmers are not only building upon their own legacy, but ensuring the continuity of Canada’s agricultural excellence through effective management planning,” said Heather Watson, Executive Director with Farm Management Canada.
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
Pork Producers Take Advantage of Contracting Opportunities
Tyler Fulton the director of risk management with HAMS Marketing Services noted that most of the supply chain stepped up, and no major disruptions through the transportation side and consumption continued. The pandemic altered how it pork got to the consumer though.
Tyler Fulton said markets show 2021 will be a much more profitable year for pork producers.
By Harry Siemens Tyler Fulton, the director of risk management with HAMS Marketing Services, said markets show 2021 will be a much more profitable year for pork producers than 2020 with COVID-19 dominant factor influencing live hog prices. Fulton said 2020 showed event disruptions in the supply chain, have negative consequences and June, July and August saw prices drop lower than $140 per hundred kilograms in some weeks resulting in losses of $20 to $30 to $40 per pig. One indication of better prices is that the breeding herd will be down substantially, with the tough 2020 showing some pullback in production gains. “The latest Hogs and Pigs Report indicated that and I think that, if current forward prices are representative of where cash markets will be, then I think we can expect to see a profitable summer.” He said producers are hedging the summer months, locking
2021 and be prepared to cover some of that price risk by taking forward contracts. Fulton said a good lesson to learn from 2020 is not to rely on anything necessarily being there. Sometimes a wild pitch can up end-all predictions on what the year will bring. However, on the other hand, most of the supply chain stepped up, and no major disruptions through the transportation side and consumption continued. It altered how it got to the consumer, but there is resiliency in that demand for the product. “I’m optimistic we’ll work through any of the future disruptions.” Before COVID-19, there was a slight increase in pork consumed outside of the home, the pandemic upended that average trend and consumers ate their pork at home. The system and the markets responded initially with volatility. Still, later, when it became apparent that retailers, for example, could ramp up their sales, if needed, then the markets got a lot more comfortable with pivoting back and forth quickly.
in at better than $200 dollars a pig. By any measure, that’s a reasonable level and great indication producers may recover some of the equity loss in 2020. COVID-19 is still with us, and some negative impacts could happen but there is room for optimism. Fulton said producers need to cover some of their price risks by taking forward contracts at hopefully profitable levels. “We know that we can expect a fairly large US hog slaughter over the next two months with expected weekly kills of around 2.6 million hogs.” Compared to three years ago, that’s a 10 percent jump for that time frame to put that into perspective. While not typically the peak season, a reasonably good period of growth now could mean that this year there will be a little bit of moderation with higher prices into the fall months. He said producers need to keep tabs and even keep a benchmark as to their expectations for this fall and the latter half of
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
Federal Government Launches Consultation on the Canada Grain Act Review
The Federal Government has launched the consultation phase of the Canada Grain Act. The consultation will allow the Federal government to hear the perspectives of the grain sector on how to reform the Act. The consultation portion of the Canada Grain Act review will be held online until April 30, 2021. The government is seeking feedback from grain industry stakeholders on ways to po-
tentially update the legislation, which has largely been unchanged for almost half a century. Views and suggestions from grain industry stakeholders will be analysed to determine what changes to the Act may be needed to help ensure Canada remains a strong competitor in the modern, global grain market. The review will cover access to binding determination, producer payment pro-
tection, licensing, official inspection and weighing and other issues related to Canada’s agri-food and aquaculture Regulatory Review Roadmap and the Economic Strategy Table for Agrifood. To participate, explore the discussion document questions that can be used as a guide, but should not limit your feedback. The document highlights several issues that may be of interest.
Participant responses should be received by April 30, 2021 whether by email to aafc.cgareview.aac@canada. ca or mail to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 1341 Baseline Road, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C5. The Canada Grain Act is the legislative and regulatory framework for grain quality assurance in Canada for both domestic and export markets. Under the Act, the Canadian Grain Commission is
responsible for establishing and maintaining Canada’s grain grading system. The Commission also provides various safeguards for grain farmers. The Canadian Grain Commission’s operations cover three major areas, the grain quality program, including establishing grain grading standards, grain inspection weighing and certification, and grain safety testing, analysis and monitoring;
the grain quality research program including assessing and developing procedures and technologies for grain grading, assessing grain harvest quality and end-use properties, and developing new uses for grain and evaluating new varieties; and, the safeguards for grain farmers program including payment protection, the allocation of available producer cars, and the resolution of grading disputes.
Rural Manitoba Women Enjoy Virtual Speaker Series By Joan Airey The Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference Committee is sponsoring three free virtual speakers this winter for rural women. Last week Mike Kerr had over a hundred farm families sharing a fun-filled hour on Humor, Leadership and Creativity. It was all about finding the funny during challenging times even in a fun-sucking situation. If you’d like to learn more or re-watch the webinar visit Mike Kerr’s website, mikekerr.com. Those who signed up for the webinar received handouts via email that could be read later from their computer or printed. He shared numerous award ideas that you could give your employees so they knew they were appreciated from the ‘The Swiss Army Knife Award” for the best multi-tasker to the ‘The Always Has Something Positive to Say Award”. These awards would also be great for a class room to a 4-H Club. Kerr told his audience, “More humour and fun at work has been demonstrated to improve productivity, lower stress levels, improve communication, foster greater team work, build relationships, boast moral, and spark greater creative thinking.” This is true even in the farm work place. Last week during Thursday’s blizzard, our daughter-in-law was doing chores in gale force winds and posted her experience on Facebook. She was also going to post a review on her new ice grip muck boots later in that day. From the posting the messages back from family and friends had us all laughing. Her positive attitude working in blowing snow with gale force winds and icy conditions from freezing rain kept everyone’s attitude bright and cheery. Kerr suggested we anticipate our customer’s needs. This is true when working in some farm operations whether it is in meeting customers’ needs, alongside your fellow workers or the family members we work with. Sometimes just offering someone a fresh up of coffee or a word of praise can improve their day. The book “The Fred Factor” by Mark Scanborn was recommended during the presentation. Personally I plan to see if our local library has it available. Next Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference webinar has Rebecca Gray, who resides on a farm near Erickson Manitoba and holds a Master of Education. She will be leading us through mental health first aid in her presentation on February 17 at 10:30 am. If you are not already registered you can register at wmanitobafarmwomensconference.ca. For all those who attended Kerr’s webinar, remember what he said, “We don’t get our best ideas when we are working but when we are showering, driving, exercising or in bed or sleeping so jot them down when you have a free minute and put them to work. Hope to see your smiling face on the next webinar.”
Dealing with Twins Born on the Dairy Farm I used to think that when a dairy cow gave birth to a set of twins, it was a time to celebrate. However, when I talk with dairy producers, most of them frown at the thought. That’s because twin calvings are not only hard on the freshening cow, but also can lead to many of her post-partum problems. Furthermore, twin calves usually don’t do as well as a calf from a single birth. Unfortunately, twinning rates have grown in the last decade from about 3% to 10% on many dairy farms, so a good twinning protocol set in place helps deal with them. In order to get a better personal understanding of some of these problems; I asked three producers, what their experience was and how they effectively worked with twin calves. The first producer operates a 150-cow dairy and he admits that his cowherd hasn’t birthed many twins. Only in a recent case, his wife had just come back from the morning feedings and said that a 2nd lactation cow was struggling. When he returned to the calving pen, the first calf popped out unassisted, and he only had to remove the placental sac from its head to prevent suffocation. The second calf was backwards and required his intervention to get it safely out of its mother. Both calves were heifers, but were significantly smaller (85 lb.) than his other routine single-births. Otherwise, they drank milk replacer and grew without many issues in the post-partum weeks. Their dam on the other hand didn’t fare as well. After calving, she had a retained placenta and he treated her for metritis. She took an extra cycle to breed-back and has yet to produce the same amount of
milk that she did as a 1st calf heifer, (< 5 kg) during early lactation. The second producer operates a 350- cow dairy and has about a 4% twinning rate (see illustration). He hasn’t assisted many twin-calvings, because like the first-producer, the newborn calves are much smaller than normal. His biggest challenge is also similar, because these cows have a high rate of retained placentas, plus more ketosis, milk fever and metritis. These dams also need more time to return to active heatcycles and get rebred. Subsequently, at least 50% of the second producer’s twin-births yield the infamous heifer-bull pairs that make it difficult at times to come up with enough good replacement heifers. That’s because nearly all male-female pairs produce an abnormal heifer called a freemartin. She is irreversibly made sterile during gestation because her embryonic membranes fuse with those of the bull fetus and their bloods mix. Therefore, bull hormones then contaminate the blood exchanged between both fetuses, which underlies suppression of the female’s reproductive organs. Nevertheless, one thing that my friend implements on his farm that helps deal with twin-births is a strong close-up feeding program that I designed for his barn. It is a handful of mixed TMR (contains ensiled feed), 15 - 20 kg of mixed grass hay, and 2 - 3 kg of a 16% dry cow close-up pellet. This latter complete feed is a palatable no-salt formula with higher levels of chelated trace-minerals and vitamin levels, especially vitamin E (+3000 iu/head/d). Last, it contains yeast and probiot-
ics as well as protected choline and niacin to help reduce ketosis. Unlike these first-two dairy producers, the final dairy producer of a 150cow dairy had a much higher twin-calving rate of about 17% during 2017 - 2020. This means that because he calves out about 12 - 14 cows per month that he deals with one set of twins for every sixth calving. Since, the number of close-up dry cows was lower toward late-summer during these three years; there were only a couple sets of twins born at this time. On a positive note, this producer told me that so far, his twinning cows do not need much assistance during calving, despite in most cases; one calf being born – head first and the other one backwards. Yet he did observe
some post-partum problems. Like the first two producers many of his cows had a high incidence of retained placentas and he had to treat a few cows for ketosis. But unlike them, he had no trouble getting cows back to normal active estrus and get in-calf. These are good twinning stories. They confirm many aspects of twinning in dairy cows (assisted births, post-partum problems, and freemartins) and how real producers deal with them in their own way. Such practical means should be very helpful to other dairy producers in overcoming their own double-troubles.
Twin calvings are not only hard on the freshening cow, but also can lead to many of her post-partum problems. Furthermore, twin calves usually don’t do as well as a calf from a single birth.
On-Farm Network Releases Trial Results
The 2020 results of the 56 on-farm research trials that were conducted in partnership between Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers’ On-Farm Network (OFN) and its participating farmers have been released. With the intention of ensuring the results of this unbiased and farmer-guided approach to research is as accessible and valuable as possible to Manitoba’s growers, the information has been released in a variety of formats, including as short, easy-to-consume videos. In addition, and for the first time since the program’s
inception, this year’s OnFarm Network results package contains a brief economic analysis for each trial. “From investigating a novel curiosity to testing product efficacy and validating agronomic management practices, the OFN supports farmer decision making,” said Megan Bourns, On-Farm Network agronomist. “Creating the opportunity for meaningful, unbiased, home-grown science to take place in your fields on your farm, the OFN answers the questions that are important for your operation. We are passionate about bringing par-
ticipatory, precise and proactive research to the farm. We hope you enjoy the 2020 Results Series, and look forward to what 2021 has in store!” The videos related to the 2020 OFN trials can be viewed at manitobapulse.ca, results series. The full and searchable OFN database can also be viewed online along with the 2020 OFN researchresults booklet containing results pertaining to trials conducted by Manitoba Crop Alliance. MPSG’s On-Farm Network is characterized in part by its continued commitment to
work with participating farmers to draw as much value as possible from its trials, looking beyond bushels or pounds per acre to determine the agronomic outcomes/implications that drive yield differences between treatments. OFN investigates a variety of agronomic questions and it is always open to new ideas, new questions and new participants. “This program is for farmers, by farmers and we need farmer-input to make sure it stays relevant and applicable to decisions faced on the farm today,” said Bourns.
January 29, 2021
NPPC Applauds Proposed Regulations in Gene-Edited Livestock By Harry Siemens The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in the US is confident a proposed jurisdictional change in the regulation of gene-edited livestock technology will allow the full realization of the promise the technology offers. Andrew Bailey, the science and technology legal counsel with the NPPC said the council expressed its support for a proposal that would see the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assume primary regulatory jurisdiction over the development of gene-edited livestock. Exciting and very new, there is a lot of interest from the academic and producer communities because of a host of potential benefits in livestock. At the top is disease resistance and what it means for animal welfare. Gene editing can, through improved health, reduce the need for antibiotic use and improve sustainability. It allows specific changes within an animal’s genome, offering the potential to produce more disease-resistant animals requiring fewer antibiotics and a smaller environmental footprint. Gene editing is very precise using technologies like CRISPR-Cas9, the discovery of which won the Nobel Prize for chemistry last year. “It allows you to make, very targeted, far more precise edits than some of the more conventional GMO technologies developed over the last 30 some odd years, particularly on the crop side,” said Bailey. It opens up a world of possibilities for improvement in livestock with conventional breeding. Many of the changes are looking at the pig genome. “It’s just the imagination of the academic and research community that is the limit,” commented Bailey. Although the new science is at the beginning, the USDA’s process holds the promise to have a robust, transparent regulatory structure that everyone can rely on and puts the US in a position to capture the promise this technology offers. According to Bailey the US lags behind other parts of the world in developing this technology. Already many other countries such as Canada or Brazil, Argentina, even China, are moving forward. Some counties are adapting their novel food regulations to adopt the science with modern biotech legislation. Most are moving forward in a way that facilitates the gene editing research and the innovative science behind it. However the US, is also trying to approach gene editing from the drug paradigm. Bailey noted that this is not a model adopted anywhere else in the world, and it creates a host of problems, both practical and legal when it comes to trying to develop this technology. The science drives a decent amount of research dollars and jobs to other countries where there is a promise that by doing all the work, there might be a possibility to bring a product to market. “That’s why we support this proposed rule because it starts us on the path of catching up,” said Bailey. He said it is not going to change tomorrow but, through this public rulemaking process, it can move them to a spot where the science-based practical regulatory mechanism is in place to help innovate agriculture. Bailey said the USDA has plenty of experience regulating the livestock sector and is already overseeing geneediting in crops, so it is well-positioned to take charge of gene-editing in livestock.
Gene editing can, through improved health, reduce the need for antibiotic use and improve sustainability.
January 29, 2021
Grain Buyer’s Unique Talent
Ray Baloun is a grain buyer for Viterra at Brandon North making his home with his wife in Minnedosa. This is the second sculpture Ray has completed this winter. Dilbert is a comic strip character.
Ray Baloun may be a tad excited to see 2021 roll in.
Bull Test Station Longest Running in Manitoba By Joan Airey The Manitoba Bull Test Station at Douglas, Manitoba marks its 57th year this year as the longest running Station of its kind in the province. The Station is a non-profit organization owned and operated by the Manitoba Beef Cattle Performance Association Inc. and for over 50 years to this day the evaluation of cattle remains the primary objective. Last June, Cody Nolan who was hired as the new manager of the station said that the annual sale will be held online. “We have over a hundred bulls on test now from eight breeds, Angus, Charolais, Simmental, Gelvieh, Limousin, Maine-Anjou, Shorthorn and Salers. There are thirty-three heifers on test from all breeds,” said Nolan. “In March along with the bull sale we will have a Ranch horse sale. On the day of the sale we will be bringing the horses to the sale ring and returning them to their pens. The sale will be on line online at dmls.ca.” Mature herd bulls can also be custom fed over the winter at the Test Station. Ranchers who consign their bulls receive vital information as to the direction of their herd and what may need to be some adjusted. Buyers also have the advantage of picking right from the top end of these herds and can be confident that the bulls developed at the Station are going to improve the quality of their herds not to mention their bottom lines. In addition to the Bull Testing the facility offers a younger bull development program, heifer project, a yearling bull custom feeding program and an artificial insemination program. Visitors are welcome all year round to view the facilities and talk to the manager about the programs available. During the test season, visitors can get statistics on the bulls and heifers on site and view the cattle on test. For further information you can check out their website at charolaisbanner.com/douglas or manitobabulltest.com.
Cody Nolan, new manager at Manitoba Bull Test Station with his daughter Ellie and his fiancé Kendra Graham.
Aerial view of the Manitoba Bull Test Station at Douglas, Manitoba. Photos supplied by Cody Nolan
Long Time Advocate for the Pork Industry Pleased With How it All Turned Out By Harry Siemens Andrew Dickson, the retiring general manager of Manitoba Pork (MP), said the public’s understanding and appreciation of the pork sector’s economic contributions to the provincial economy has increased substantially over the past 16 years. Manitoba Pork represents the interests of the province’s 600 swine operations. Dickson, who retired on January 29 after 16 years as the general manager saw an evolution of the public’s attitudes toward the sector. He said that in the 1990s that saw a lot of expansion, public meetings saw 200 or 300 people attending and significant rows occurred. At several meetings organizers had to call in the police to restore order. “I think this effort to try and reach out to local governments, local communities and talk to them about develop-
Andrew Dickson, the retiring general manager of Manitoba Pork, said the public’s understanding and appreciation of the pork sector’s economic contributions to the provincial economy has increased substantially over the past 16 years.
ments, reduces some of the conflicts and improves the positive attitude,” said Dickson. Today some rural municipalities contact Dickson to meet because they would like to see some barns developed in their area, which is very different from 16 years ago. When dealing with urban audiences, he said it is wrong to assume what people know. This is why pork sector advocates, have spoken in Winnipeg and other urban centres throughout rural Manitoba explaining what the pig industry is about, why there is a need for more development and its positive impact on the Manitoba economy and society. Dickson said pork producers need to continue working with the public to maintain their faith and the benefits it brings to protect their social licence. While some people oppose the pork industry, the vast majority of the province supports it. He pointed out several highlights that occurred over his 16 years. At the start, the MP board members told him to make the council relevant to the hog sector’s business operation. “Introduce programs and services that would assist producers in their day-to-day activities and succeed in their businesses,” said Dickson on his mandate. “We’ve made a real effort to put packages together of different things that would do this.” The other highlight was how they dealt with the challenge of misconceptions faced by Canadian hog producers. When he started, they wrapped up winning a trade
case against the US. And the board told him to help them get ahead of the game to prevent it from happening again. This led to the interaction with hog producers and their organizations at the grassroots level, in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska to change how American producers viewed Canadians. “How we do business up here and try to knock off the myths and fables that tend to float around about subsidized Canadian production and so on,” said Dickson on their efforts. To win a big trade case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) both the provincial and national councils and the federal government took a major role and substantial time was invested, particularly with their Trade Bureau staff and their lawyers. The Canadians won the country of origin labelling (COOL) case. Unfortunately, he said the Canadian pig industry never got back up to the preCOOL regulations, although the sector is in a better place now than in 2008. Recently the provincial government came in with a different approach on how to deal with barns in rural areas. He said it is encouraging to see a significant number of new barns and upgrades over the last five years compared to the previous eight years that saw no new construction. Now, there is an air of optimism, as some producers build up their operations albeit slowly. “It’s going to be a couple of barns at a time and we’ll slowly restock, rebuild the inventory of our physical assets over the next ten
years,” said Dickson. The market price formula that farmers can use to sell pigs continues to face significant challenges. The sector across Canada is putting a lot of effort into how a farmer sets their selling price to a processing plant. The Pork Council is working with other provinces on an innovative approach with some success. Already a new model is in place in Quebec. The result sees Olymel now offering a new contract with producers in western Canada. It seems reasonably attractive and other processors are trying to offer similar packages that would keep producers incentivized to continue production, if not ramp it up. He said that he has also seen many changes over the years with the addition of new board members and in its structure. They have moved away from individual producers’ meetings that had up to 1,500 people at one time down to 200 or 300. Each pig operation is a business that employs a lot of people said Dickson. To succeed this meant restructuring to get fairer representation and making sure that producers had their concerns met while building a robust and viable board. The Manitoba Pork council developed a good cross-representation of the industry on the board by including large operators such as the Hutterite colonies and the many independent producers. “I think we have a young staff group who are keen, well-trained, experienced and knowledgeable, and I’m quite pleased with how it’s all turned out,” noted Dickson.
January 29, 2021
Scientists Developing Electronic Honeybee ‘Veterinarians’ The University of California, Riverside, is leading a new effort to stop and reverse a worldwide decline in honeybees, which threatens food security and prices. Honeybees pollinate more than 80 agricultural crops, which account for about a third of what we eat. Several factors, including pesticide exposure and the spread of parasites and environmental changes, are to blame for the widespread collapse of bee colonies over the past decade. To boost dwindling honeybee populations, the University of California’s Office of the President has awarded $900,000 to a four-campus network of bee researchers and engineers. “This will become one of the largest honeybee health networks in the country,” said Boris Baer, a professor of entomology at UC Riverside and principal investigator of the project. “I’m very excited about so many different kinds of bee expertise joining forces through this project.” The network, which includes researchers from the Davis, San Diego and Merced campuses, is approaching the problem in three main ways. The first is through breeding programs, a particular focus of Baer’s laboratory. “We seek to identify and breed bees that are better able to cope with environmental stress,” he said. A second goal of the new network is to develop medications and treatments for sick bees. Certain types of honeybees generate molecules that make them more tolerant of pesticides and parasites. New technology will enable the scientists to isolate those molecules and use them as a basis for drugs. Finally, the group is looking to give beekeepers tools to better monitor bees’ health. Small devices will be able to ‘listen’ and ‘smell’ inside hives to give beekeepers indications about the health of the hive. “We know bee queens have a special pheromone they give off when they’re hungry or dying, and these can be traced,” Baer said. “We are essentially building ‘electronic veterinarians’.” “Preventative devices like these are key to keeping bees alive, because once the colony collapses, it’s too late to bring it back,” Baer said.
Professor Boris Baer’s family tending beehives in Riverside, California. Photo courtesy of Boris Baer/UCR
Grazing Cattle Take Advantage of Post Harvest Husks and Cobs By late fall, much of the US Midwest is a pleasing landscape of dry, harvested corn fields. It makes for a bucolic rural scene on highway drives. But the corn litter that’s left over does not seem useful, at least to untrained eyes. But to those in the know, that corn residue is a valuable resource. Scattered leaves, husks, kernels, and cobs can serve as food to grazing cattle. When managed well, corn residue can increase farm income, provide affordable food for cattle, and efficiently use the land to feed people. “Corn residue is an underused resource. Only 15% of the corn residue acres in the central US are grazed,” said Morgan Grabau, a member of the American Society of Agronomy.
One big concern farmers have about cattle grazing corn residue is soil compaction. If cattle compact the soil too much, future crops might not grow well. Addressing the issue of soil compaction is the main focus of Grabau’s work. In the past, Grabau’s research team has shown that compaction isn’t too bad during fall and winter grazing. When the soil is dry and frozen, it resists stamping cattle hooves. “My research was focused on the effect of grazing in the spring when the soil is thawed and wet,” she explained. Grabau studied two different grazing systems. In one system, researchers let a small number of cattle graze corn fields for 45 days start-
ing in mid-February. The other system tripled the number of cattle but cut grazing time to just 15 days in March. This way, the total amount of grazing was equal. But the time the cattle spent on wet fields varied, which could affect how the soil responds to all that trampling. The researchers studied corn fields in Nebraska, where around half of the corn fields are grazed after harvest. The team measured various soil properties that contribute to compaction and the yield of the soybeans planted in the fields the following season after cattle were done grazing. The team repeated the experiment over two years. “Much like previous fall grazing studies, minimal effects were seen on soil prop-
erties and yield due to spring grazing, regardless of the number of cattle and area grazed,” said Grabau. The soybean productivity of the fields following grazing did show some changes. The highly concentrated grazing for just 15 days actually increased yields slightly. “This yield increase could be due to more residue removed, causing warmer soil temperatures for plants to grow,” Grabau said. The cattle did cause some soil compaction. But their effects were limited to the surface level of fields. “Compaction isn’t permanent,” Grabau said. “Soil can loosen up again as it dries and saturates over and over, and microbial activity in the soil also reduces compaction.”
Fortunately, soybean seedlings had no problem establishing themselves in the soil after grazing even with some surface compaction present. “Even when we created a worst-case scenario, grazing in the spring when the ground was wet, compaction was minimal and subsequent soybean yields were not negatively affected,” Grabau said. Although Grabau said that fall and winter grazing is
probably still the best solution, farmers should not be afraid of grazing cattle in the spring. “The integration of crops and livestock is a beneficial production system,” said Grabau. “Grazing cattle on corn residue can be a great way to make even more food for human consumption from corn fields, as both the corn grain and plant residue can be used as feed for livestock.”
The normal stocking density treatment involved eight cattle grazing corn fields for 45 days. Submitted by Morgan Grabau.
January 29, 2021
WGRF Commits to New Research Projects Through a continuing co-funding partnership with the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and other producer commodity groups, the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) has announced over $2.6 Million of new funding for 16 crop-related research projects. “Directing investments in field crop research on behalf of farmers is WGRF’s primary responsibility,” said Dr. Keith Degenhardt, WGRF Chair. “We are committed to supporting research that will deliver a positive on-farm impact.” The approved projects include research into rapid and low-cost disease diagnosis, insect pest surveillance, fusarium head blight management, epidemiology and virulence of plant pathogens, as well as breeding for disease resistance, increased yield and trait improvements. “WGRF is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year,” said Garth Patterson, WGRF Executive Director. “One of our strengths as an organization over the years has been the ability to build strong collaborative relationships to fund crop research. Through our relationships with ADF and other funders, farmers and researchers truly win.” A full listing of projects will be posted on the WGRF website once research contracts are in place. More than 550 past and present WGRF funded research projects are currently listed on the new WGRF website wgrf.ca.
The New Year’s Challenges of Planning Your Garden By Joan Airey Between Christmas and New Year’s I started planning my greenhouse and garden for 2021. When I started ordering my seeds online Boxing Day, I received the message out of stock for some seeds. Stokes and T&T Seeds have arrived but Vesey’s are in transit as far as I know. I purchased two potato pots from T & T for the younger grandchildren to grow potatoes in on the patio. Last year we had an early feed of potatoes from the potato bags we started in the greenhouse plus the ones we had in the floor of the greenhouse. We are still eating potatoes from our 2020 garden crop. With lots of time on my hands with no AAA hockey games or Minor hockey to attend I’ve been filling time reading and growing greens under grow lights. I prefer to use pelleted lettuce seed for planting indoors but do use regular too. Before Christmas I had ordered seed from Sage Garden Greenhouses for my supply of winter greens. Their website said you could grow Antigua green beans and Gold Rush yellow beans under lights in 55 days so I’m trying it. At the moment I have a couple
of green bean dishes I want to try out, so I’m hoping to get a crop of beans. Also they had beets, Early Wonder Tall top that you could grow and use the leaves in salads. When I was touring Vancouver Island with friends twenty years ago, I enjoyed a salad with several baby beet leaves and decided to give them a try too. If you haven’t checked out sagegardens.ca you should. They have some great podcasts available to the public. Ever wonder why onions make you cry when you peel and chop them? When you cut an onion its cell walls are damaged and it releases a sulfur compound called propanethal-5-oxide into the air. When this contacts water like the moisture in your eyes it produces sulfuric acid. This causes your eyes to sting. Chilling inactivates propanethial-5-oxide so chilling onions helps. Also, you can put them under running water to dilute the sulfuric acid. I’m one of those cooks that use lots of onion and garlic, so I should practise what I write about. We used all our green onions in the garden last summer and I tried to buy more multipliers but none were available.
I found a few sets in the cold room from 2019’s garden and planted half of them under lights and have just been cutting their tops off on a regular basis for salads. The plan is to plant some more shortly. I’ve noticed that gnats seem to be a problem in some potting soil I purchased this year. Being a person that hates bugs I remembered we used to sterilize our soil in the oven for starting plants. So, I googled how to sterilize potting soil. Instructions say place soil in a 93°C (200 °F) oven safe container covered with tinfoil until it reaches an internal temperature of 82° C (180 °F) and keep it at that temperature for thirty minutes. DO NOT go higher than that because it can release toxins into your air. After the soil has cooled it is ready to use. A meat thermometer can
Green beans growing under lights.
be used to check the temperature. However buying a new meat thermometer at the moment isn’t the easiest thing to do. Our local hardware is sold out and their warehouse last week had none.
Lettuce crop for January 2021.
Peppers started from seeds I took out of a pepper that I picked up at the local grocery store. They are loaded with flowers. Hope they produce!
Photos by Joan Airey
January 29, 2021
Twitter’s Ag Community is Cautiously Optimistic By Harry Siemens Gospel preacher Charles R. Swindoll said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life...I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.” In a survey of farmers and agricultural support people on Twitter we asked for them to share their attitudes about farming in 2021. The survey showed that for the most part the agriculture community is guardedly optimistic and farmers will continue to persevere. Cliff Graydon in southeast Manitoba said, “Head up, chest out, don’t look back.” Eldon Klippenstein of Altona is cautiously positive while pointing out facts that at face value seem pessimistic and driven to be a good influence for those around him. Philip Shaw in southwest Ontario said, “Cautious.” Lee Fortin of Moose Jaw, SK said, “A new year brings new potential and new opportunities. The only thing for sure is it will be different than last year.” Ken Foster of Arborg, MB said, “As long as we can stay healthy, I think we should have a great year. Prices are decent, and we will be watching markets to lock in some of the field prices. Concerns, as usual, will be costs, as everything seems to be moving up.” Josh Umscheid, a custom
On Twitter, while preparing to ship lentils, Lee Fortin of Moose Jaw, SK said a new year brings new potential and new opportunities. The only thing for sure is it will be different than last year.
sprayer and farmer in southern Alberta is upbeat, excited to try some new and different things. “Hopeful prices will be good, moisture will return, and the government will stay out of our way and let us do what we do best!” Marcia Cripps Agronomist/ Scientist @cropqueenmarcia in California said, “Same hustle and grind, different year.” Kirby Krier said cattle and oil and doesn’t know which one he enjoys the most at Claflin, Kansas. “I am afraid agriculture will be right behind the oil industry and seeing what they did and what just about happened at the end of Obama’s regime. EPA can be crippling without any more legislation. And that was before the new President Biden did to the oil industry at the stroke of a pen.” Farm broadcaster Max Armstrong and friend is optimistic, though watchful of what Washington or in Canada’s case, Ottawa might do to foul things up. John Schlessiger said he farms, “With his eyes wide open...while loving his wife and raising a daughter and
three boys.” Also, Claflin of Kansas said it never gets as bad or as good as everyone says, “I’ll adapt to whatever changes take place.” Brent Johnson, a Saskatchewan farmer, said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” is about the best attitude I think to go with into 2021. He added that, “We are very dry in the soil but have had more snow than in the last two years, so continue to look forward.” Dave W. tweeted, “I will keep chugging along as though the sun will come up every day, and I will be there to see it. Cropping expectations won’t change as I have a solid footing to reach targets and am nimble enough to change things as the weather dictates. Last year does not dictate this year for me.” Vickie Dutton in Saskatchewan said, “It feels like we are at crossroads with Ag issues bigger than our farm, we need our associations to organize around #carboncredits and better market-
ing of our brand, including beef.” Ryan Wipf, who farms at La Salle, MB, is hoping for more rain than last year. But he hopes he doesn’t kick himself for saying that! Jim Pallister of Portage la Prairie, MB, said, “It feels like we could make some money next year. We have some decent hedges and the costs are flat.” His land will need some rain but starting dry is a good thing for them. The most significant risk is what governments will do. Kelly Flag of Canada CowCurling stone feels that across the Ag industry of Flag of Canada and the world; the most extensive possible dark horse is government Ag policy. Restrictions, negotiations regarding export and imports, environmental variances and having the Ag voice heard at all government levels. In the future, Ag needs savvy leadership. Former Ag minister Gerry Ritz said, “No Ag allies at government cabinet and a PM who doesn’t grasp Canadian agriculture’s significance to Canada’s economic recovery.”
KAP Disappointed the Federal Carbon Tax Continues to Be Ignored KAP has called on Federal Ag Minister Bibeau to support Canadian farmers and stand up to her government’s recently announced carbon tax increase. “Putting in place an exemption for fuel used for drying grain and heating and cooling barns, just like the one in place for greenhouses, is a start,” said KAP president Bill Campbell. “We also need recognition that carbon tax costs are embedded in every aspect of the food supply chain, from inputs to production to marketing, and the proposed tax increase will put unnecessary pressure on farmers and consumers.” “What is also missing from this announcement is recognition of the climate benefits that farmers provide every day, including carbon storage and green house gas mitiga-
tion,” said Campbell. The National Inventory Report (NIR) is a means of accounting for emissions and reductions but does not include land use, land use changes, and forestry in agriculture’s emissions totals which could make them lower. Farmers manage nutrients on the landscape through nutrient stewardship practices, abiding by nutrient management regulations, and using enhanced efficiency fertilizer (at a higher cost), that they are not getting credit for in the NIR. “The fact is that farmers store carbon short term in their products and long term in their soil, and thanks to good management practices and new technology, emissions intensity in agriculture has improved year after year,” Campbell said. The carbon tax issue is an
important one for Manitoba farmers and generates much heated discussion, and KAP had been making progress. In February 2020, KAP met with a number of federal officials to talk about the carbon tax, including MP Philip Lawrence who tabled a Private Members Bill, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel). “We were glad to see concrete steps at the federal level that respond to the very clear message that all farmers have been sending. We see crossparty support for this bill and we are hopeful that the Liberal government will show their support for farmers by passing this bill.” In July 2020, KAP communicated with Bibeau to provide data on the impact of the carbon tax on farmers,
including one situation where the carbon tax added 22% to a chicken producer’s natural gas bill in the first year of the tax. That impact will only worsen as the tax increases, and even more so under the latest announcement. On March 5, 2020, the Manitoba Government announced a green levy for July 1 in conjunction with a 1% drop in Manitoba’s PST, which would have exempted fuel for grain drying and barns. Due to COVID-19 the government later announced the green levy would be deferred, and the federal backstop would remain in place. “We need to see these efforts come to fruition and for the provincial and federal governments to figure out solutions that better support farmers as climate stewards,” Campbell said.
On Twitter, former Ag minister Gerry Ritz commented that it has been 5 years of Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers and hopes there will be continued success and growth for of our Canadian farmers.
WGRF Celebrates Forty Decades of Crop Science 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the ground-breaking organization that has grown up to be the largest producer funder of field crop research in Canada. The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) has undergone significant changes in strategic direction in recent years. These changes and the anniversary have created an opportunity to refresh the look of the organization with a redesigned logo and website, as well as reflect on the impact that the organization has had on farmers. Originally formed by 12 farm groups in 1981 with a vision for a robust agricultural research funding organization directed by and for western Canadian grain farmers, WGRF has always stayed true to its roots. “WGRF is committed to the original intent of the founders of the organization, that we would be a western Canadian, multi-crop organization comprised of a diverse membership and working with the sole purpose of funding research to benefit western Canadian crop producers,” said Garth Patterson, WGRF Executive Director. “That vision and mission have really held up over time. As part of our 40th anniversary, we’ll be reaching out to stakeholders in 2021 for their views on the most pressing issues affecting farmers and the types of research that WGRF should be funding.” Dr. Keith Degenhardt, WGRF Chair, applauds the founding members for getting farmers involved from the outset. “We are the ones who are on the land experiencing the different challenges, so we have a good feel for where the funding should go in research,” said Degenhardt who operates a mixed cattle and seed farm at Hughenden, Alberta. “It’s important for farmer funded research to be farmer directed because it gives you ownership and responsibility to make investments in research that help farmers.” Since 1981, WGRF has invested more than $200 million on behalf of farmers in more than 550 crop research projects. More than 130 farmers from across western Canada have worked together on the WGRF Board over the past four decades. By guiding research funding decisions, they’ve been instrumental in advancing agriculture for the betterment of all Prairie farms. Today, the WGRF Board is made up of 18 farmers from the four western provinces. Their collective voices ensure that funding is awarded to research that is most needed by their fellow farmers. “The fact that WGRF is still going strong after 40 years means that Prairie producers have shown the willingness to invest in research on a long-term basis,” said Degenhardt.
January 29, 2021
The Upside-Down Year in the Business of Hogs By Harry Siemens Bill Alford, the general manager of Hams Marketing Services in Winnipeg, said in a year-end interview the hog industry finished 2020 on an unseasonably high note regarding hog prices. But 2020 wasn’t a typical year. And to finish the year, averages in hog prices came back and were even higher than 2018 levels. “So as bleak as it looked in the summer, amid all the issues with packing plant disruptions due to COVID-19, it was a bounceback year and production, North America wide was slightly up over the previous year,” said Alford. When one industry person in the US said there are about 30 per cent more pigs than America needs because of an uptake in Chinese production Alford said that message goes back ten years. Still things happen that somehow keep the Chinese buying more pork, but they like to buy it at a lower price. Much of North America’s growth was spurred on in 2019 when African Swine Fever (ASF) decimated the Chinese hog herd. To meet the demand for pork protein the rest of the world expanded production. This ended 2020 on a positive note that was centered on supply chain disruptions early on due to COVID-19 that quickly eroded prices because of production cutback. The industry took some drastic actions with the hog producers and packers. Back in April/May, production dropped creating lower supply heading into the fall months. With some uptick in the economy those pipes emptied but filled back up again. “So it’s just a very odd year where you get a counter-seasonal, no barbecue season, but yet still there was demand there. And there was a pull on it and a reduction in the supply of hogs lifted ev-
erything, including pork prices right through to live prices in the fall.” In 2021, he said optimism over the breeding herd was reported by the USDA with hog prices down 3 percent. As the economy gets back to normal, the US has historically low available cold storage, 40 per cent below average, and that’s due to the uncertainty. According to Alford, once COVID restrictions ease there should be a pull from food services and restaurants to replenish pork stocks. It will be a balancing act of supply and demand again, that may see continuing drastic and overnight fluctuation of yields in a volatile situation. With just in-kind processing and stocking, whether vegetables, fruits or other primary ingredients, because pork costs more to produce, consumers may pay more for their food. While the justin-time system is efficient during good times, nobody plans for a pandemic and the weakness has shown up. Many countries start to look at stocking up to reduce reliance on outside supply chains or imports. “It’s not such a straight line anymore, and that inefficiency increases and inflates prices,” Alford said adding that the way many companies did business in the past might also change because travel budgets came way under this year. He noted that this is a specific saving. However even overhead costs for a business’ office space, that is one big one everybody seems to be talking about and how many people are not going to go back to the office. It may even mean a round of pay cuts because the employee saves money by staying home. “Back to this pandemic, to some degree everybody’s got to refill storage, and supply chains, it’s a timing thing now, like when we get into these vaccines, we’ll only get back to that normal, I guess,” he said.
Bill Alford, general manager of Hams Marketing Services is looking forward to going back to in-person producer hall meetings.
New Research Sheds Light on Nitrogen Loss in Food Production Differences in nitrogen loss intensity between livestock and crops confirm the need for change. The element nitrogen is a double-edged sword. It is essential for growing plants and feeding people, but it is also a leading cause of pollution across the world. Only by using nitrogen more sustainably can the positive and harmful effects of nitrogen be balanced. Xia (Emma) Liang, a member of the American Society of Agronomy, studies nitrogen loss during food production. Liang and her team created a framework that accurately measures nitrogen loss across a wide variety of crops and food products. “This framework can capture the environmental impacts and societal costs of nitrogen losses,” Liang explained. “This allows us to potentially provide information to inform consumers, producers, and policymakers.” The team hopes this research will help make major progress in making agricultural systems across the world more sustainable, less polluting, and more profitable. Their framework measured both overall nitrogen loss and nitrogen loss intensity. The latter is the loss per unit of food or per unit of nitrogen produced. This allowed better comparisons across different crops and food items. For example, cereal grains have a low loss intensity but a high overall loss because they are grown in such large quantities. On the other hand, an
animal product like buffalo meat has a high loss intensity but a low overall loss. This is due to the small amount produced. The framework revealed that the loss quantity and loss intensity vary a lot for different food products, especially when compared between farmers and countries. The database includes 115 crop and 11 livestock commodities at the global scale. Cattle contribute the most to global nitrogen pollution. They are followed by the production of rice, wheat, maize, pork, and soybeans. Beef is also the food with the highest loss intensity, followed by lamb, pork and other livestock products. Generally, the loss intensity of livestock is much larger than the loss intensity of crop products. “The lowest nitrogen loss for the 11 livestock products exceeds that of vegetable substitutes,” Liang said. “This confirms the importance of dietary change to reduce nitrogen loss through
consumption.” The nitrogen loss from fields can cause harm in multiple ways. It can cause smog and further climate change. It harms soil and water, as well as the plants and animals that live there. For humans, high levels of nitrogen in the air and water have been connected to illness. Liang highlighted that with current activities, the planet’s nitrogen boundary, a “safe operating space” for humanity, is exceeded by over twofold. Solutions are complex. On farms themselves, there are many techniques to better manage nitrogen. These include better fertilizer technologies and practices, improved crop varieties, and following the “4 Rs.” This means using the right fertilizer in the right amount at the right time in the right place. There are also ways to improve nitrogen management in livestock,” said Liang. However, Liang explained that on-the-farm solutions are
only half the battle. An economic approach is also needed. “An economic approach would provide incentives for adopting better nitrogen management practices,” she said. “For instance, incentives should be given to promote sustainable measures to maintain the soil nitrogen. These include reducing the risk of soil degradation and erosion and the overuse of fertilizers.” Individuals can also adopt helpful changes, she adds. Reducing consumption of meat and reducing food waste are two options. Another is having discussions about sustainable nitrogen management. “When we buy a washing machine or a car, we can choose a more water efficient and energy efficient product by water and energy rating,” Liang said. “However, despite growing recognition of the importance of nitrogen in sustainable food production and consumption, we don’t follow a similar idea for foods we eat.”
To measure greenhouse gas emissions from manure application on a celery farm, researchers covered some of the plants with chambers that would trap the gases. The metal border is the base of the chamber. Photo by Shu Kee Lam
Grain Prices Look Positive
By Elmer Heinrichs
While nearly all Manitobans are hoping for a more positive 2021 than the year we just left behind, that dream has quickly become reality for the province’s grain farmers. Prices for their crops have skyrocketed over the past few weeks, due to short supply, leaving those with some crop left in their bins able to sell it at a premium price. Recently wheat prices surged to a six-year high in the Chicago market after top exporter Russia said it is ratcheting up efforts to cool domestic food inflation by curbing grain exports. The agriculture markets went on a roller coaster ride through 2020, starting off with turmoil from the Coro-
na virus pandemic and then recovering by the end of the year. That was the case for grains, which in recent weeks have turned into a full-fledged, demand-led bull market, especially soybeans. In 2020 Canadian farmers grew their second largest durum crop on record, some 6.6 - 6.7 million tonnes, and the crop has been selling well. Farmers also grew some 22 million tonnes of canola, and with exports between about 10 and 10.5 million tonnes and 10.2 million tonnes of crush the carryout stocks for canola in Canada are expected to fall significantly. Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is forecasting moderately higher prices for corn, canola and spring wheat for the
first six months. Grain growers can look forward to strong prices in the first half of this year for most major grains while harvest and weather events will determine prices during the last half of 2021. Moderately higher prices for corn, canola and spring wheat are forecast for the first six months. Weather factors play a key role in canola prices with the projected $520 a tonne price being 11 per cent above the fiveyear average. Drought has reduced the South American soybean harvest, according to Oil World. Forecast spring wheat prices of $256 a tonne sit 16 per cent above the five-year average. Unexpected Russian export quotas near year end will
boost prices as that harvest came in at two-thirds of normal. The US grain handling system is having difficulty moving grain with all the soybean and corn imports by China. Durum wheat forecast of $271 a tonne is seven per cent higher than the fiveyear average. Impacting durum prices are production issues in Morocco and the potential for drought in the Arizona durum growing region. Feed barley forecast of $228 a tonne is seven per cent below the five-year average. Farmers will benefit from continued low interest rates. Most analysts predict the Canadian dollar will fluctuate between 75 cents and 80 cents American this year.
January 29, 2021
Keep Beef Replacement Heifers on the Right Track By Peter Vitti Many producers are retaining more replacement heifers than in previous years. There are many good reasons to do so, but we should assure unbred replacements are receiving adequate mid-winter nutrition in order to be ready for breeding in the spring and those bred-heifers that are only few months away from calving, give birth to their first healthy calf. Given that breeding season is about four to six months away, unbred replacement heifers should be put on a steady plane of nutrition, where they gain about 0.5 1.5 lb. per head on a daily basis. Subsequently, this growth should also parallel their own body condition. For example, a young unbred beef heifer should maintain a mid-winter body condition score (BCS) of 3.0 - 3.5 (1 = emaciated to 5 = obese) to achieve at least one strong estrus cycle prior to being bred as well as be prepared for breeding at least three weeks, prior to the main cowherd’s own breeding season. In a similar way, bred/gestating 1st calf heifers should also achieve or maintain the same growth rates as well as
3.0 - 3.5 BCS at calving to achieve their own objectives. These are: 1. Have a troublefree calving season, 2. Return to active estrus cycles and 3. Get pregnant by 80 - 85 days post-calving in order to synchronize with the cowherd’s annual calving interval. Whether unbred or gestating, one of the biggest challenges to feeding all of these replacement heifers is that they require about 20 - 30% more dietary energy, protein and other nutrients, comparatively to mature cows (re: 1200 lbs, BCS = 3.0), all the while having about a 20% less feed intake capacity. Furthermore, their dietary energy intake and its metabolism is prioritized; first for vital body functions, and physical activity, then for heifer growth and/or pregnancy, and lastly given to activating estrus cycles and conception. As a beef nutritionist, that is why I recommend that beef producers segregate their replacement heifers in the early-winter and feed them a good plane of nutrition. This means that they should be fed a nearly all-forage diet of fair- to high-quality; encompassing a final TDN energy
level of 55 - 58% and protein level of 11- 12%. A good mineral-vitamin premix should also be provided at 2 - 4 ounces that compliment forage levels of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium as well as fortified levels of trace minerals and vitamins A, D and E. Consequently, here are three examples of good overwintering diets for 400 - 600 lb. and 600 – 800 lb. unbred heifers as well as for 800 – 1,000 lb. gestating replacement heifers*: The biggest value of feeding these replacement heifer diets is that they are well-balanced, yet practical enough that changes can be easily made. For example, I consult with a family that runs a 250 red Angus x Simmental cowherd. This past fall, they kept back about 50 weaned replacement heifers, which weighed on average about 650 - 700 lbs. From the start of this winter, they feed a similar diet as outlined in Diet B and yet they realize that very weather in January and February is inevitable, which can increase heifers’ dietary energy requirements by as much as 50%. So, they plan to add 2 – 3 lbs. of bar-
Replacement heifer overwintering.
*average daily gain = 1.0 - 1.5 lb./d and DMI (dry matter intake) = 2.3% BW.
ley per head. This is a good testimony that good nutrition is necessary to maintain good growth and body condition in young growing unbred replacement heifers as well as those
that are already carrying their first calf. It really becomes a matter of common sense to raise these animals that will one day become part of the main cowherd.
The Shorthorn Breed a Niche Market for this Mixed Farmer By Harry Siemens When Ian Smith’s parents at Argyle, MB bought the quarter section farm in 1953 it came with some dairy cattle. In the late 60’s they switched from dairy to hogs but kept some cattle and it became a mixture of Black Angus, Charolais and eventually Limousine. When son Ian took over the farm, he added the Shorthorn breed to keep his herd docile and calm because calmer cattle gain more weight and are easy to work with. He said that they are excellent milkers and yield nice calves with the marbling of their meat that the consumers like. In the spring of 2017-18, he bought four registered Shorthorn heifers and two more registered heifer calves from Tom Walls of Balmoral, MB who became his mentor in the Shorthorn breed. Shorthorns come in many colour combinations such as the solid Red Shorthorns, the Red and White Shorthorns, the White Shorthorns and the famous Roan Shorthorns. These cattle can be an excellent 4-H calf with all the Shorthorn breed’s wonderful traits and a distinctive look. Using Shorthorn bulls on any other breed of the cow will only improve the farmer’s calf crop. Five years ago Smith switched to Shorthorns. He
keeps some black Limousin because the calves are calmer when crossed with a shorthorn bull and are exotic breed. “The shorthorn just makes a complete difference to your herd all through, “said Smith. He said that the rodeo days are over, and people want calmer animals with less stress. “Less stress means more money in your pocket, and the packers prefer that too,” said Smith. “Makes more money for them, puts on more pounds, and more packers and feedlots want the shorthorn genetics.” The Shorthorn is one of the last breeds crossed without any other genetics. Take the Simmental, Limousin, and the Gelbvieh bred with Black Angus to get that black into them. Everything is so black, and people find they need to have something different he commented. The Shorthorn is the choice because of the mothering ability, good milking, and quietness. “Being so docile means so much, and yet they keep the good frame to them, medium to large frame, so it’s a win-win situation for everybody.” Smith intends to stay at his current small size herd of 14 or 15 cows and one bull. He uses about four or five different AI bulls and his own. “My goal is not to have the
quantity, but to have quality, and my goal is to sell breeding stock and quality breeding stock. So I’d rather have less but have the best.” He ties the cows up in his barn during the winter and lets them out for water and exercise during the day and combs them down, too. Buyers walk in looking for a quiet heifer or a peaceful bull coming from him, his little niche market. Smith sells from the farm, but his main goal is taking the heifers and bull calves to the Douglas Bull Test Station in October or November. The cattle remain at the Station for the whole winter, and then they have an auction sale the last Saturday of March or the first Saturday in April. The test station includes up to six different cattle breeds, including the Shorthorns that are fed the same feed, the same test and feed conversion, and weighed every 28 days as part of the perfor-
mance record. It costs a bit more money to have them there, and when a person buys from cattle held at the Station, they know they are getting a good performance animal, he said. While selling natural pork to regular customers off his farm for years, he is selling beef, anything he considers not suitable for breeding stock, he sells sides of beef, fed up in the feedlot nearby, and finished off properly. “If anybody wants sides of beef or pork, I guess I’m the little shopping centre now.” His other goal is to promote the Shorthorn breed because it is the first registered breed to North America in 1825. The settlers brought them over from Europe and Great Britain since they were docile and are a dual-purpose animal for their beef and milk. “As
we all know, a shorthorn animal pulled the oxcart back in the day. The ox on that cart, that’s a shorthorn,” said Smith. “So the Shorthorn was here before the horses even to break the land up here in North America.”
Ian Smith ties the cows up in his barn during the winter and lets them out for water and exercise during the day and combs them down, too.
On January 23 a 90 lb Shorthorn heifer was born at Ian Smith’s farm. It was the first calf, of 2021 and 6 hours later another cow had a calf. Ian Smith with a 2021 spring heifer calf that will be kept on the farm.
Photos submitted by Ian Smith
Province and 4-H Council Launch New Development Program The Manitoba government has launched the new Alexander Cherban Agriculture Industry Development Program, which supports activities to strengthen development and leadership in the agriculture and food industry. “Our government is honoured to support projects and initiatives made possible by Mr. Cherban’s generous donation to MARD,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “Mr. Cherban’s support and passion for agriculture will have a significant impact for years to come.” Cherban worked in the grain-handling industry and farmed in the Swan Valley region. He passed away in January 2013. He directed that proceeds of his estate be given to Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (MARD) to support agriculture in Manitoba and $450,000 from the estate was used to create the Alexander Cherban Agriculture Industry Development Program. The program will provide up to $50,000 per year for projects of local non-profit organizations, governments and academic institutions for innovative province wide initiatives. Increasing public awareness of the importance of agriculture to the economy, building public trust for agriculture and processing, and supporting skills development of agriculture and food-related career opportunities are some of the initiatives the program will deliver. The program will be administered by the Manitoba 4-H Council Inc. “We are honoured to partner with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development on this generous grant opportunity,” said Candace Tolton, president, Manitoba 4-H Council Inc. “4-H Manitoba looks forward to making new connections and witnessing innovative projects that will advance the growth and sustainability of agriculture and food here in Manitoba.” The deadline for the 2021 annual intake of the Alexander Cherban Agriculture Industry Development Program (ACAIDP) is February. 28, 2021. For more information, including how to apply visit manitoba/ca/agriculture and the Manitoba 4-H Council Inc. website at 4h.mb.ca.
January 29, 2021
Manitoba agriculture news and features.