April 26, 2019
HyLife Signs Share Purchase Agreement with Thai Company
Claude Vielfaure, President of HyLife, said HyLife would continue to with the existing management, staff, and production people to have the ability and the money to make those decisions while running it by the new shareholders.
By Harry Siemens HyLife has signed a Share Purchase Agreement with Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CPF) of Thailand to purchase 50.1 percent of the company’s shares. ITOCHU, a Japanese partnership, will continue to own 49.9 percent, the remaining shares. According to Hylife management, CPF will propel HyLife’s growth into the fast-growing Asian and international markets while proudly showcasing Manitoba’s locally grown and produced high-quality pork. “This is a win-win for HyLife, CPF and Manitoba’s agricultural industry. Together, our globally established companies will
significantly strengthen our market position. Not only do we share similar values, but our strategies also correspond with one another,” said Grant Lazaruk, Chief Executive Officer of HyLife. “Through this agreement, we will build on the success of our growing pork business and brands to our customers globally, including our fresh, chilled pork products to Japan which we proudly grow and process right here in Manitoba.” He believes HyLife with CPF will be able to leverage their shared corporate values of environmental friendliness and social responsibility while investing in their employees, customers, and communities. Combining
forces will propel the growing demand for HyLife’s high-quality pork and enable the company to expand its current 2,500 plus employee workforce. Even though the Canadian ownership component will be gone, Claude Vielfaure, President of HyLife, said he’s confident about the direction of the company moving forward. “We have assurances by CFP that they looked at the current management of our company, our employees, our leadership, to continue to grow the company as in the past. They’re investing in what we’ve done, but also with the future in mind, and they want to grow quickly, and fast in Manitoba and
North America. And so for them, the structure of HyLife, the dayto-day operations, our culture, our philosophies will stay all the same, and essentially, all we have to do is report to our shareholders what we’re going to be doing.” Vielfaure said HyLife would continue to with the existing management, staff, and production people to have the ability and the money to make those decisions while running it by the new shareholders. “We did that before, also. We had ITOCHU as a shareholder in our company so nothing will change. Our executive senior management group in the company, and, if our shareholders approve, will continue to move forward,” said Vielfaure. The HyLife president said there Continued on Page 2...
Expanded Rebate Available to Young Farmers As part of Budget 2019, the Manitoba government is partnering with the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) to increase the maximum amount eligible for the Young Farmer Rebate program to $200,000 from $150,000. “One of our government’s priorities is to increase the number of young people in the agriculture industry,” Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler said. “Increasing the young farmer rebate supports our focus on young producers by reducing the cost of borrowing while they grow their operations.” Recent census data shows the average age of a Manitoba producer is over 53. In consultation with stakeholders, industry groups and young producers, it was noted that assistance for young farmers is necessary, given rising costs and changes in farm economics over the past decade. The program provides an annual rebate of up to two per cent on the principal of a loan from MASC for up to five years. As a result of the expansion, the lifetime maximum rebate will also increase, to $20,000 from $15,000. “Agriculture is the backbone of Manitoba’s rural economy, and young farmers are the future of the industry’s growth,” said Jared Munro, president and CEO, MASC. “This enhancement to the Young Farmer Rebate program is expected to provide an additional $500,000 in interest reductions next fiscal year.” MASC designs and administers lending and insurance programs targeted at young and beginning farmers. As farms consolidate and barriers to entry increase, MASC is enhancing its programs, with a target that 75 per cent of new loan approvals be for young farmers. The young farmer rebate program is part of MASC’s Bridging Generations Initiative, which provides producers under the age of 40 with financial incentives and customized terms and repayment options. In 2017-18, MASC issued 815 direct loans under the Young Farmer Rebate program. Other measures geared at young producers include higher percentages of available financing for large purchases and the ability to make interest-only payments for the first five years of a loan.
April 26, 2019
The AgriPost HyLife Signs Share Purchase Agreement... Continued from Page 1...
are government regulatory approvals that the company needs, both in Canada and from different countries around the world, because it’s a Thailand company that does business in many different countries. So, that’s what the three to six months will do, is give time to get all the approvals. Vielfaure outlined where he sees this new company going, reflecting how this small
Claude Vielfaure, President of HyLife, said he’s confident about the direction of the company moving forward.
Manitoba company started with a 300 sow farrow-to-finish way back in the ‘80s. “That’s right it’s quite the story. I know for the three brothers, the three Vielfaure brothers and my dad, we bought his farm in 1980, and then got together with Don Janzen in 1994, which really was the start of HyLife, and had 20 employees in ‘94, and grew the company to where it is today with 2,500 employees, and exporting meat all over the world,” said Claude. “So, it’s quite exciting, and I think this investment… there’s tremendous backing by the two shareholders… that the company will have [opportunities], and they want us to grow faster than we ever have before.” He said the next expansion and purchase could be anywhere. It can be buying production and processing plants in North America; it could be growing their live production
sites, it could be increasing their value added processed food sites… all kinds of different opportunities. “This new agreement will ensure continued job creation across the province and beyond as well as promote increased demand for our value-added pork,” Vielfaure added. “The Province of Manitoba has been open for business and has empowered our company to attract foreign investment and to enable us to grow our integrated pork company domestically and internationally. We are proud to put Manitoba on the world map and look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with suppliers, partners and communities across Manitoba.” The transaction is subject to customary conditions and Canadian and international regulatory approvals and could close during the third quarter of 2019.
Outstanding Young Farmers Get Closer to the Consumer By Les Kletke Will Bergman has heard more than his share of “Farmer Outstanding in his Field” jokes and in fact is probably tired of them, but Will and his wife Jen will most likely hear a bunch more since they have been named Manitoba’s Outstanding Young Farmers. It is not only field work they have earned their recognition for, they have expanded their operation and grown extensively although not in acres. They have expanded along the food chain getting closer to the consumer. “We decided that the best opportunity for expansion was to produce for and build relationships with the people that use and consume it,” said Bergmann who farms at Glenlea. The couple have been involved in Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) for several years. They deliver baskets with in season produce to their clients in Winnipeg. “It has been an education,” he said. “We have learned a lot about people and they have learned about seasonality of food.” He said that customers have been surprisingly accepting of the change in composition of the baskets as the seasons change. The couple has taken the process of getting closer to the consumer to another level with being shareholders in a restaurant as well. The
cookery also reflects seasonality in its menu. Bergmann said the restaurant has a bit more flexibility than the basket of food he delivers to his clients weekly throughout the summer. “The restaurant has some storage and the menu changes from summer to hard root vegetables later in the fall,” said Bergmann. The farm he has taken over from his father and uncle is not a large acreage by today’s standards and because of the heavy clay soils it is restricted to traditional cereal and oilseed crops. At one time the brothers did have a dairy operation but sold it to concentrate on field crops. That was before Bergman’s involvement. He said that,
he is not sure that he would want the day-to-day grind of a dairy. “We are happy with the operation we have and look at different production regimes,” he said. “We have looked at organic production as a return on time and a viable economic operation.” He is confident that a large grain operation and an organic farm can co-exist. “People think they are two different camps,” he said. “But it is not about being at odds with the other type of production. It is about understanding your market and producing what the consumer wants. There are people that want organic production and there are people who want the lowest cost ingredient they can get.”
Will and Jen_Bergmann, Winners pf Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers award for 2019.
Detecting African Swine Fever By Harry Siemens Detecting African Swine Fever (ASF) received needed support from Canada’s Federal government when MarieClaude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced new funding of up to $31 million to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports to help prevent illegally imported meat products. This funding will allow for the addition of 24 detector dog teams over five years, bringing the total number to 39 Food, Plant, and Animal Detector Dog Service (DDS) teams. Importing illegal meat and meat products from countries affected by ASF presents one of the most significant risks for introducing this disease into Canada. Detector dogs are the best available method to intercept meat products, making them the most effective tool in protecting Canada’s swine population from ASF as well as other animal diseases. Canada will also host the first international ASF forum in Ottawa from April 30 to May 1, 2019. The forum will provide an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation further to stop the spread of ASF. Although Canada has never had a case of ASF, the disease continues to spread in parts of Asia and Europe. Although ASF poses no risk to human health, it could disrupt Canada’s pork industry, which includes over 100,000 direct and indirect Canadian jobs.
Dr. John Carr, an international veterinarian and livestock consultant now lecturing and living in Australian said earlier the issue is with Canada’s border patrol. “We need to keep it then it is not a worry for the Canadian Industry. The Australians are reporting it in illegally imported meat from China,” said Dr. Carr. “Has the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found the same in illegally imported meat from China or Vietnam for example?” During a national media conference call to announce two ASF initiatives one reporter Ashley Robinson asked the question, “Has there been any issues before? Have you guys caught anything that could have possibly brought African Swine Fever into the country?” Minister Bibeau said Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) was on the conference call and could respond on this specific issue. A spokesperson for CBSA responded. “Yes, we can answer that question regarding the amount of food, plant, animal goods that are being intercepted at numerous airports across Canada. Regarding your question about African Swine fever itself, we’re not testing right now. We’re working with the CFIA on that, but we do intercept pork products on a regular basis, whether they be meat, or they are in snacks, and otherwise, whether declared or undeclared, but numerous products are intercepted and
The Canadian Federal Government is stepping in with a significant investment to increase the number of detector dogs at airports and other ports of entry to stop the inflow of banned meat products that could carry African Swine Fever. Photo provided by Harry Siemens
seized from numerous travellers on a regular basis.” Reporter Ashley Robinson from Bloomberg News wondered aloud whether there was more information on the ASF summit. Minister Bibeau explained that the agenda is being built in partnership with different stakeholders on this issue. “The idea is to have a multilateral approach to contain and to find a solution to this situation. From our part here, our objective is to make sure that the disease will not get on our territory. There will be approximately 15 countries participating in this forum,” said Bibeau. On the same conference call, we had the opportunity to ask Minister Bibeau
what the Federal Government knows about the extent of the disease in China and what the number of infections are. Specifically she was asked what the Federal Government believes, and how much credibility on the reporting is placed as far as the African Swine Fever breakouts in China. Minister Bibeau said that, “China is also taking measures. The situation is critical for them. Well, for our part, my first objective, my priority is to make sure that it doesn’t get here.” On the question of how many ASF infections have occurred in China she said, “In China, it would be around a million pigs they’ve killed because of the disease.”
Federal Program to Strengthen the Canadian Pork Industry
Minister Bibeau attended the Canadian Pork Council’s Spring Meeting where she met with producers from across Canada.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced an investment of over $6 million to help the Canadian Pork industry harness innovation to boost production,
strengthen public trust, and expand markets for Canadian pork at home and abroad. The funding was made under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Over
$3.8 million through AgriAssurance will help launch on-farm programs for food safety, traceability and animal care and ensure compliance for the PigTrace program. Under AgriMarketing,
$1.2 million will help promote and expand markets for Canadian pork and $1.1 million under AgriScience will help producers increase their production with efficient feeding strategies.
April 26, 2019
April 26, 2019
Weather Matters There is little doubt about our industry being weather dependant, if we thought we were getting better and producing crops and feed, last summer reminded us that when the water is turned off there is nothing we can do about it. Speaking to seed salesmen this year they tell me they are seeing the impact of the feed shortage as producers make decision based on how to replenish their feed stacks quickly with the least risk. Even though our industry knows that weather plays a large role in our business, it still surprises me when I hear how much the weather of the May long weekend impacts beef prices across our continent. I can reason through the process of no rain, short crops, little feed. The factor of how big an impact May long weekend has on the beef industry is still a bit of a stretch, but the analysts tell me that good weather in the northeast of the US on May long weekend means strong beef prices through the summer and subsequently the fall. You see if the weather is good, people will be buying steaks for grilling on their May holiday and that increase in demand carries through the summer because the consumer is remembering how good that steak was and want to do it again. A cool rainy weekend means not so much grilling which results in lower demand not only on Memorial Day but throughout the summer. There is not much we can do about the weather, and even scientists developing drought tolerant crops, selecting the best genetics for feed conversion in the herd can have an impact on a fickle market like this. So as we head into May it is not only critical that we get some good weather in Manitoba that allows producers to get a crop in the ground but now we have to hope that the eastern US seaboard has a great Memorial Weekend. Going through the market analysis for beef market and the various factors that affect it got my mind going, what else has an impact on the crops we produce? Sure trade issues and border closings come to mind, but at least there is some hope of them being dealt with in a reasonable manner. I acknowledge that reasonable is not an oft use word in trade issues, but after this the canola situation seems almost manageable.
Processor Problems In Canada, we produce among the best foodstuffs in the world, but when it comes to adding value by processing agricultural commodities, we have a big problem. Progress ranges anywhere from full stop to glacially slow… to backwards. For years now, we’ve actually been losing a serious number of full-time jobs in the sector. Maple Leaf Foods is the latest example. The company has decided to By Rolf build a brand-new $310-million plant-based burger and sausage factory Penner in Shelbyville, Indiana. The main ingredient for the veggie burgers will be peas. The facility is touted as the largest of its kind in North America, and will employ around 460 people. Let that sink in. A company whose very name is an iconic symbol of Canada has done its homework and concluded that, at least in this case, it’s better off south of the border than here at home. In this country, peas, the main ingredient in this new venture, are plentiful. We should seriously be asking ourselves why Maple Leaf’s decision is good for them. Ironically, Manitoba’s government has set a goal of becoming a “protein province”. We may be competitive with other provinces in this regard and have had some success in attracting business such as a new pea-protein processor now setting up shop in Portage la Prairie. But obviously Manitoba was not attractive enough to land a metaphoric “big fish” like the Maple Leaf plant. Professor Sylvain Charlebois, Director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University is not particularly surprised. “In the last decade, the US has seen almost 4,000 brand-new food processing plants, whereas Canada has seen a mere 20,” writes Charlebois. He adds, “The number of full-time employees has declined by 7.3% over the last five years, due to labour relocation and outsourcing of certain operations outside of Canada. During this period, there have been 22,000 jobs lost within the sector, and all these positions are in food manufacturing. Essentially, the sector has lost 12 jobs a day, every single day, for five years.” So this problem hasn’t exactly been sneaking up on us. It’s been going on for a long time and the explanation involves more than not just one factor. Our public policy landscape is unpredictable, our taxes are high, our regulations are burdensome, and talented skilled labour can be hard to come by, as can unskilled workers. Electricity prices are uncompetitive, particularly in Ontario. Our current obsession with “green” energy also means that energy-intensive manufacturing and processing industries don’t really know what price they’re going to be paying for power over the long haul. It’s just one more major cost that’s out of their future control. Despite the flowery rhetoric, the ever-increasing carbon taxes promised by our dear leaders don’t help, either. Biosecurity and trade issues are other important factors. We’ve seen what BSE did to our cattle industry; African Swine Fever is causing chaos in Asia. Our canola, and possibly other grains, is now locked out of China. Then there are transportation and infrastructure issues. Our railways are overloaded, our highways are crumbling, and our sewer and water systems aren’t always up to the task. The list goes on. Another problem is that we like to pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves how smart and clever we are. It’s one of a number of self-deceptions that infect the Canadian psyche. Yet Food and Consumer Products of Canada, an industry association that represents our food manufacturers, has a new report showing that “83% of new, branded products launched in Canada were neither developed nor manufactured in Canada.” So we don’t innovate, we aren’t creative enough and, more importantly, we don’t create the intellectual property that allows the agri-food sector to move forward in the world. We’re followers, not leaders. The Maple Leaf move should be a wake-up call for Canada. We need to do a lot better. Unless we become more creative, competitive and efficient in a number of ways, we’re just going to keep falling further behind.
Agriculture and Climate Change Credits By Jon Gerrard With the right approach tackling climate change can be a win-win for farmers. The soil has the potential to store large amounts of carbon, and in general the more carbon in the soil the healthier the soil is. For farmers, if you look after the soil, the soil will look after you and give you good crops. Thus addressing problems with soil from erosion to salinity to declining fertility is good for farmers in maintaining high quality soils and these are the same goals which are desirable goals in addressing climate change. Reducing the nitrous oxide released into the air from nitrogen in fertilizer
or manure added to farm fields can also be a win-win for farmers. When nitrogen added to fields is converted to nitrous oxide it is released into the air and the nitrogen is no longer available to crops. There are now varied approaches to reducing the conversion of nitrogen to nitrous oxide and by decreasing such conversion the availability of the nitrogen to the plants is increased. Techniques to reduce methane production by livestock by adjusting feed or genetics are becoming more possible, as is the technology to use methane produced by animals or from manure to heat barns. Once again there are potential benefits to farmers from using approaches to re-
duce greenhouse gases. Around the world vehicles are changing from gasoline powered vehicles to electric powered vehicles. This change is happening in part because of concerns over climate change. But experience is now demonstrating that electric vehicles have lower maintenance and operating costs, and whether they are cars or trucks (and potentially in the future tractors) they are being chosen not just to address climate change, but more and more because they are, or will be in the not too distant future, competitive from an economic point of view and from an operating and maintenance point of view. In Manitoba agriculture
produces about 40% of our greenhouse gases. Fifteen percent are from nitrous oxide production, 15 percent are from methane production and it is estimated that up to ten percent is from the use of fossil fuels in farm vehicles (cars, trucks, tractors etc.) and from heating farm buildings. Keystone Agricultural Producers has provided an important report on climate change, its impact on farmers and measures which are needed to address climate change. These include suggestions such as supporting efforts to adopt 4R nutrient stewardship, to enable soil carbon sequestration to be credited in offset markets and to use the Centre for Sustainable
Agriculture to strengthen farmer-driven innovation. These are all areas which Manitoba Liberals support. The challenge for us and for our provincial and federal governments is to work with farmers to provide programs which will help farmers in the transition we are facing. That is our goal as Liberals. We want an approach which will give farmers credit for practices which reduce greenhouse gases and which store carbon in the soil. Such incentives can provide a win-win scenario for farmers and for our climate. If you have additional ideas to suggest you can send me an email at email@example.com.
April 26, 2019
Bringing the Canola Trade Issue Up to Date
There are several significant issues facing farmers in Manitoba, western Canada, and all of Canada for that matter. The carbon tax - tax grab and don’t let anyone tell you any differently, it affects us all despite bribing you in the left pocket. The African Swine Fever that’s devastating the hog industry in China presents a threat on the one hand, but also an opportunity on the other for the Canadian hog industry. In the land of canola, lots of questions but no answers. Nothing has changed in the canola, China, Canada, canola dispute. That was clear as the Canola Council of Canada closed off a 40-minute open access webinar on Thursday. So far there is no indication that China will speak with Canadian officials about socalled phytosanitary issues. Growers have a lot of questions about the ongoing suspension of canola sales to China. In Answering those questions, Jim Everson President of the Canola Council of Canada and Rick White, executive director of the Canadian Canola Growers Association. The pest China said is present in some shipments from two Canadian companies is public knowledge, but the council official could not name them, merely saying they are open and there’s
been no assessment of any sort to provide that information to farmers. “Everything is on the table,” said Jim Everson, of the Canadian Council Canola Council, extending interest-free cash advances to canola growers is under consideration by the government as are potential support means under current risk management programs. People tuning into the webinar heard that the government also is considering expanding the biodiesel mandate from two to 5 per cent in biodiesel, which could increase canola use by over a million tons. Canada potentially could increase exports to the US and Europe, and other friendly countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. According to officials, while exploring all matters, really no options for farmers. As for selling canola stocks, it is still a farmer option, and there may be some infrastructure loans possible for them to build more storage. One of the questions, if a producer has stored canola - is it better to sell now or wait? “That’s a question that every farmer needs to make for themselves. We don’t have any insight any better than anybody else in terms of where prices are going to go, where demand is going to go and when China might come back into the market,” said White. “But again, the basics of marketing, you never grow broke I guess, selling at a profit. It’s up to every single farmer to access their cash flow needs, what they need out of the market, what their costs are and their ability to
store this product all goes into the mix. I don’t have a clear answer on that; farmers will have to make their decisions based on the best available knowledge that they have.” Another question came from a producer in Manitoba named Don who wondered if producers will get government support to help them get through this ordeal. “I’m sure the government certainly heard us loud and clear. They’ve committed to helping farmers through this,” said Rick White. “We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. We do think that the advance payments program is one of those mechanisms where they could make limited changes in the overall limit, from $400,000 currently, to $800,000. Maybe do something on an interest-free component, move that up from $100,000 to $200,000. These are just ideas at this point with the government making no decisions. The government has assured us at every meeting that the government is well aware and certainly willing to help farmers get through this and support them as they need, as time goes on.” Ken in Saskatchewan asked a slightly pointed question. “Could this be a contamination issue? Do the line companies blend down or add foreign material to get to the highest allowable dockage?” “To repeat, that we’re very confident of the quality of canola that we’re shipping. Canadian export-
Manitoba Approves Conservation Grants By Elmer Heinrichs Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation has selected the first round of projects approved under the Manitoba government’s $102-million Conservation Trust. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister describes the conservation trust as an innovative, forward-thinking approach to investing in local projects that will conserve and enhance natural infrastructure and support the implementation of our best-in-Canada climate and green plan. “With this long-lasting partnership, we are building a legacy of work that will benefit all Manitobans.” The premier hailed the announcement as, “The first instalment of many years of projects that will ensure Manitoba remains Canada’s cleanest, greenest, most climate-resilient province.” The first round of initiatives includes 41 projects,
with funding totaling over $2.2 million across four distinct program areas to include 16 watershed projects with a funding total of $1,145,520, habitat and wildlife projects total 12 projects at $751,500, nine projects in connecting people to nature at $ 235,000, and under innovation and conservation planning there are 4 projects receiving $85,000 in total. Funding is based on a two-to-one matching formula, with the first group of projects receiving support ranging from $4,000 to $125,000. Among the approved projects are Kirkella Community Pasture Grassland Enhancement, $100,000 funding (total project $200,000), Wetlands and Waterfowl Conservation Project, $100,000 funding (total project $385,000), Brandon Riverbank Wetland Restoration and Access Improvement, $100,000 (total project $250,000) and Dis-
tributed multi-functional water storage, Whitemud Watershed Conservation District $100,000 (total project $323,000). “Funding from the Conservation Trust will help Manitoba conservation organizations tackle these important projects and create added environmental benefits for all Manitobans,” said Tim Sopuck, CEO, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation. “The Conservation Trust offers a lasting approach that will fund conservation, and will inspire new ideas and projects that may not have been possible until now,” said Sopuck. The Conservation Trust was first announced in Budget 2018 and is now permanently endowed so it can support and inspire important conservation projects for generations. The fund is expected to generate about $5 million a year.
ers are working within contracted terms that they have with importers, not only in China and in other markets,” said Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada. “To resolve the issue, what you need to do is determine what kind of process China is using to sample vessels that are coming into their port, what sort of methodology for testing they
have applied to those. Because it would appear, coming to different conclusions; then the Canadian Food Inspection Agency which has done the same thing. As I said earlier, there’s a request to have a technical dialogue. There have been a couple of conference calls between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and officials in China.”
Everson said up to this point in time there is a need to have a face-to-face meeting. It appears government ministers have asked for that over the past couple of weeks. The government is looking for opportunities to have that discussion and that is the means under which, Everson thinks they have to resolve it.
April 26, 2019
Airport Border Biosecurity in Canada is Lacking
Dr. John Carr, an international livestock veterinarian, consultant, and lecturer from Australia and no stranger to hog producers in Canada said the biosecurity at airport customs is not good enough.
Dr. John Carr asked a customs officer recently if he could take a photograph of the African Swine Fever poster and the officer said yes.
By Harry Siemens Dr. John Carr, an international livestock veterinarian, consultant, and lecturer from Australia and no stranger to hog producers in Canada said the biosecurity at airport customs is not good enough. Dr. Carr landed at the Toronto airport recently around 9 pm, not that late in his opinion, and not that busy and attempted to make a point of how vital the hog industry is to Canada and how critical biosecurity is. “I came in from a flight from Poland, via Ukraine, before that, in Australia. I’m coming from Asia as far as they would know and through Ukraine, through Poland, which both of these countries have African swine fever,” he said. “So, I get into immigration. Of course, John wants to be a good boy because John would love to come back to Canada. So, I tick all the boxes, and one of the boxes is, ‘Are you going to visit a farm in Canada?’ The answer is yes. ‘Do you have any contact with livestock?’ And the answer is definitely yes. So, it was a bloody big tick. And then, always beside the point, I write the word vet because
then that explains to the customs people why I would tick this.” Dr. Carr walked up to the customs booth, with no one behind him and speaks to the first customs officer, and said, “I’m a swa...” And he said, ‘That’s fine, thank you, next.’ And I looked at him, and he looked at me, and he said, ‘That’s fine, thanks.’ And I said, ‘Oh right.’ What I was trying to say to him is I’m a swine veterinarian but only said half the word and he waved me on,” said Carr. Next, Carr asked if he could take a photograph of the African Swine Fever poster and the officer said yes. “So, I stood there and took a photograph. Now, how many people are interested in the poster? On the piece of paper, it says that I’m a swine veterinarian. I’ve come from an African Swine Fever positive country, and I’m going to a Canadian pig farm. And the only approach I have was, ‘I’m a swa...’ and it is acceptable for me to come into the country,” explained Dr. Carr. After the photograph, Dr. Carr spoke to the first officer’s superior, nice lady, very polite. And he said to her, “I have a problem.” And
she said, “What’s that?” I just felt that it was cursory that of all the people who come into Canada, I could have at least been asked a couple of questions. “Have you been to an African swine fever positive farm? Can I see your boots? Can I have a look inside your case? Are you carrying any pork? I mean, I’m a pig veterinarian, I love pork. Why would I not be carrying pork? Because I don’t want to import it but how do they know all of that? And she saw me taking the picture.” After approaching her verbally several times and speaking to her for about five minutes, she indicated they are too busy and said they couldn’t interview everyone. “And so, I made some other comment, and she said, ‘I would advise you to move on, sir.’ It just isn’t good enough,” said Dr. Carr. “I mean, seriously. I said to her, “You do realize you’re going to threaten our entire industry.” And she said, ‘We’re just too busy. We have a poster.’ And it isn’t good enough.” The lack of biosecuriy at the airport is happening at the same time the Federal Government is announcing
a $31 million program for biosecurity at airports by using sniffer dogs and making plans for a large international African Swine Fever conference at the end of April in Ottawa. “But I think the border patrol guys at that point let themselves down. They need to take this more seriously. And it’s not just the cost to the farmer. You’re looking at rural Canada, a lot of guys work on the farm. Their wives work in shops; their kids buy things at the shops; the pig industry is an integral component of Canada life. And if you take that away, a lot of small, rural Canada is going to suffer,” he said. “I give lots of talks about African Swine Fever at the moment. But what I do know when I talk to the Chinese and now the Vietnamese, if they could go back in time and stop the thing coming across their border, they would do so. We have the opportunity at the moment to stop it from coming across our borders. We must do so. There is no option. There is zero tolerance.” He said while the relative risk is small, the fallout could be devastating should ‘Heaven forbid’ an outbreak
occurs in Canada. “To delay me by two minutes at the airport is inconsequential to the potential loss to this industry. And I should have at least been able to say that I was a swine vet. Not just a swa…,” he said. The situation in China said Carr is that, “The bottom line is we have a duty of care to our Chinese friends.” When asked what the Canadian pork industry should do and what is it he recommends producers he explained, “The least we can do is not go greedy, not go stupid, but fill the farm. I know we’ve had a period of bad times and people are drawing in their horns a bit and trying to save costs and everything else and I understand,” said Carr. “I am recommending that we fill the farm. Breed the right number of gilts; breed the right number of sows. Fill the farm. Because then if the price, A) goes silly, we can capitalize on it. B) if China needs, Asia needs and maybe Asia, not just China, Asia needs food, as I say, we have a duty of care to step up to the line and say Canada is here to help. And we are very good at producing excellent quality pork, what can we do to help?”
April 26, 2019
Danish Entry Key to Effective Transport Biosecurity and Driver Happiness By Harry Siemens While a given, the outbreak of PED virus raised the focus of biosecurity beyond the barn. Tyler Jutzi, the Vice President of Brussels Transport, told the London Swine Conference the introduction of PED to the province created a considerable difference in biosecurity. “Five or six years ago we hardly had to wash any trailers at all. Hardly any of our producers wanted to spend money on washing,” said Jutzi. “As soon as PED hit, we had to start washing 75 percent of our trailers immediately, build new wash space, hire new wash staff, making a huge difference in the way we do business today.” He said a well designed, utilized Danish Entry is one of the most effective defences against the spread of swine diseases. Jutzi said a proper Danish Entry provides a way for drivers to get into their clean trailers and prevent any outside contamination from getting into trailers. It creates a clear line of separation, and it allows the driver to change into coveralls and boots inside out of the elements,” he said. “It’s 2019; drivers shouldn’t have
to climb into a trailer anymore and get soaked in the process. We should be able to build good enough entrances that these drivers are comfortable and safe while changing and then that line of separation needs to be clear, the barn staff needs to keep it clean so that we’re not doing all this work changing and then changing into a dirty system.” Jutzi explained that first; steps should be used instead of a ladder to get into the trailer because steps are much safer for the driver to climb up carrying a tote. As well, the doors to get in should swing outward so that you the entire inside space can be used to change. The bench should be clean so the driver can sit down on a clean surface and change into clean boots. All of the clean areas must be clean he stressed. “The loading area should have a double gate, so one gate that swings back across the hallway to stop any pigs from going back into the barn once they are past you and then a second gate that swings back to cover the entrance into the change room area when you go to chase those pigs in,” he said. Jutzi said most systems
have one gate to stop the pigs from going back into the barn, but they do not have a second gate to prevent the pigs from going into the change area. He also addressed some critical factors in preparing the pigs for loading. “Producers should take hogs off feed at least eight hours before shipping. A hog with an empty stomach loads better and doesn’t make the trailer as dirty,” said Jutzi. “I like to use the metaphor of someone doing a 5 km race for the first time. If you’re going to run your first 5 km race, you’re not going to do it on a full stomach. You’re not going to eat a huge meal right beforehand.” He said everyone could agree that a pig getting loaded on to a trailer is the most stressful time in its life and should not be packed full of feed but instead taken off feed eight to 12 hours beforehand. The recommended method by the government is currently 36 hours without feed, going down to 28 hours. “So if you’re shipping hogs to an Ontario plant, you have 28 hours from the time those hogs are without feed before slaughter, you’re never going to reach 28 hours. There’s
no way,” said Jutzi. “Hogs are much easier to move, a driver has a much easier time getting them into the trailer, closing the gates, getting them off the trailer. They run off way easier if their stomachs are empty. You have a much cleaner trailer at the end of the day, which helps reduce the spread of PED and other diseases. A clean trailer is easier to wash for the next load. It’s easier for me to clean my boots and coveralls for my next load. It keeps the plant docks and receiving assembly area docks cleaner. And reduces the risk of cross-contamination with other trucks there as well.” He noted that these steps are essential to keep the drivers happy and keep them employed in the livestock transportation industry.
Hog barn gate that swings back to block pigs from returning into a barn.
Tyler Jutzi, the Vice President of Brussels Transport said that when PED virus struck washing trailers increased to 75 percent from occasionally, immediately, new wash spaces were built, new wash staff were hired all factors which made a huge difference in the way we do business today.
A clean change area inside a barn.
Hog barn with a gate that blocks pigs from getting into the changing area rather than just blocking the hallway.
April 26, 2019
Royal Manitoba Winter Fair Pork Quality Competition The results for the 2019 Royal Manitoba Winter Fair Pork Quality Competition are in. The 2019 Grand Champion is Plainview North Colony
with their donation going to Moosomin Union Hospital. Reserve Champion is Maxwell Colony, donating to Children’s Hospital Winnipeg.
2019 RMWF PQ Grand Champion winner - Plainview North Colony
Third place was Waldheim Colony Farms, donating to Union Gospel Mission Winnipeg, fourth place was Waldheim Colony Farms also donating to Union
Gospel Mission Winnipeg and fifth place was Sprucewoods Colony with their donation going to Neepawa Hospital.
2019 RMWF PQ Reserve Champion winner - Maxwell Colony
With Good Conditions Seeding to Begin in Late April By Les Kletke Heading into the last week of April things are ready to roll for seeding operations. That was the word from Kelly Branigan of Ellis Seeds at Wawanesa. He said that while conditions are currently good for seeding a bit of rain would not be to detrimental. “Conditions are good now,” he said. “We did have some moisture last fall to replenish soil moisture so things are better than last spring and we have the moisture to get the crop started but we will need adequate rain to produce a crop.” Branigan said that for the majority of Ellis’ clients
situations have changed little over the past couple of years. “We hear a lot in the media about guys cutting back canola acres but we don’t see that in seed sales. Most of our clients are staying with their long term rotations. They are locked in because of weed control and disease concerns.” He said that the majority of their clients are within a 50 km radius of Wawanesa and face very similar conditions. The interest in canola has remained relatively unchanged with InVigor with Liberty Link traits being the largest share of the market. “Fellows use Liberty Link canola to save glyphosate for
other crops or pre plant burnoff,” he said. “They want to use a product on their canola that has a different mode of action and comes from a different group.” Where he has seen a slight increase is the feed grain market. “We have a slight increase there, Copeland and Metcalf are popular 2 row malts and we have some newer Secan varieties in the feed market.” The spring wheat market is dominated by Brandon, Cardale and Tisdale said Branigan. “The Tisdale tends to provide a higher protein but the Brandon seems to be the higher yield.” Soybeans have established
themselves as a feature on the farm in western Manitoba and Branigan said most of their sales are Mahoney a roundup ready variety. “The flax acreage is small but there are growers who produce some every year,” he said. “Lightening is a popular variety and it has been around for a while.” Branigan expects seeding to begin in the last week of April. “We have some clients who pick their seed up early but a lot pick it up as they go because of the seed treatment. We treat a lot of the seed that goes out to our clients and we do that as they pick it up,” said Branigan.
Farmers Carefully Weighing Their Planting Options By Elmer Heinrichs Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) April preliminary outlook for the upcoming 2019-20 crop year says there is major uncertainty about the areas seeded by province, by crop in Canada. Across eastern and western Canada, moisture conditions remain below normal but this is not currently expected to have a significant impact on planting decisions. Expected commodity prices, input costs and perceived delivery opportunities will play a significant role in determining the mix of crops. Nonetheless, assuming
trend yields, AAFC is currently forecasting a marginal increase in total area seeded and total production in Canada. The spring wheat area is forecast to increase because of relatively good prices and a shift out of durum, winter wheat and canola in western Canada. Production is projected to rise by 8 per cent to 28 Mt. Seeded area for corn is forecast to increase due to continued good overall demand, especially for high quality corn. Production is expected to rise by 6 per cent to 14.7 Mt on larger area and
higher yield. The area seeded to oats in Canada is also forecast to increase by 13 per cent from 2018-19 due to good prices and low carry-in stocks. Production is forecast to increase by 10 per cent to 3.8 Mt. Seeded areas for canola in Canada is forecast to decrease to 9.0 million hectares (Mha) under pressure from the decline in prices caused by burdensome world supplies of oilseeds and the uncertainty over Chinese buying. The area seeded to soybeans is forecast to decrease by 3 per cent from last year,
to 2.48 Mha, mostly due to dry growing conditions in western Canada. Production is forecast to fall to 7.0 Mt due to lower area and lower average yields, which are based on 5-year averages. The area seeded to dry beans is forecast to rise from 2018-19 to 145 thousand hectares (kha) because of higher potential returns compared to other crops. Prices will continue to be pressured by an abundant supply of grain, but the impact on grain prices in Canada will continue to be partly mitigated by the low value of the Canadian dollar.
April 26, 2019
Empres Invited to Celebrity Alley at Midwest Horse Fair By Joan Airey Young and old alike enjoyed spending time at Empres’ stall at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon. The week following the fair Prue Critchley and her friend, Aime St, Vincent, from St. Anne spent sixteen nerve racking hours driving through a blizzard to Madison, Wisconsin where he was on display at Celebrity Alley at the Midwest Horse Show. The show is classed as the largest three day show in the US with over 60 thousand people attending. On Friday at Madison he was in the Grand March where they told his history of accomplishments in the show ring. Saturday Empres did a Liberty performance running free to music. Sunday he was on display in a similar manner as at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair where thousands visited his stall and signed his guest book. “We enjoyed visiting with the thousands who stopped by his stall. We were invited in February to go to Madison and display Empres on Celebrity Alley,” said Prue Critchley. Empres is an Arabian Stallion owned by Critchley of Bartongate Farm near Hamiota. He was born in 1995 at Michalow State Stud in Poland. During his career, Empres has competed in numerous shows in Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, the US and Canada. He has also been named Canadian National Champion Sport Horse Stallion. Critchley purchased Empres in 2011 from an American seller in Mississippi. After being purchased by Critchley he was shown across western
Canada by several trainers from Saskatchewan over a period of five years. After his summer show he came home in the winter to Bartongate Farm. Everyone who visited his stall at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair was impressed by the kind well-mannered stallion with a teddy bear disposition. Monday afternoon Jeanette Jardine showed him in full native Arabian costume with flowing robes and decorated horse tack in the main area and Friday Georgina Sanche of Sanche Performance Horses rode him in full costume. Empres was shown at the Ag Action stage for four days where Critchley gave a talk on Arabian Horses and Empres in particular. “Polish bred Arabian stallions have a distinctive athletic appearance with a pleasant disposition and have more substance than other Arabian breeds.” said Critchley. “We were honoured when Breyer chose Empres to be immortalized in a model. The model was made available in January, 2018. Empress was then invited as a guest horse to BreyerFest from July 13-15, 2018 at Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Kentucky. He performed in the arena for three days and was available for daily autograph sessions, meet and greet. “We had a wonderful time meeting everyone.” said Critchley. In 2019, Empress will again make an appearance in Kentucky, Wisconsin and at other events throughout the Canadian prairies. If you’d like to learn more about this amazing stallion visit his website empres.ca or check him out on Facebook.
Danialle Negrich from St. Francois Xavier was thrilled to spend time visiting with Empres in his stall at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon. Empres’ Teddy Bear personality attracted everyone to his stall.
April 26, 2019
April 26, 2019
Corn Feed Acres to Increase Financing a Hog Barn Across the Province
By Les Kletke Farmers in southeastern Manitoba plan on growing more corn in 2019, said Marc Hutlet after seeing an increase in corn seed orders. Hutlet operates Marc Hutlet Seeds Ltd, near Steinbach. “There is no doubt the concern over trade issues is having some impact,” said Hutlet. “We have some larger operations that might have some swing acres available but this time they are not going into canola. We might also see a slight decrease in soybean acres.” When asked if the honeymoon is over for soybeans in Manitoba Hutlet said that it is too soon to predict. “I would not say that but we might have been pushing acers a bit because of some of the other factors that swung acres to soybeans, and now some of those acres have gone to other crops,” he said. “We saw some good corn yields in areas like La Broquerie and
Niverville, so those fellows are planting more grain corn. Any one that got some rain had a good crop,” said Hutlet of last year. He said that the short crop last year may be driving corn acres this year. “We had a small crop in the southeast and a real feed shortage,” he said. “Many of the dairy producers that like to have a year’s supply of feed on hand do not have that so they are looking to get some extra silage and build up their reserves.” The shortage of feed also added some new clients contacting him. “Producers, even beef guys were short of feed and tried corn silage this past winter. They saw what it can do and are getting some acres of silage either custom done or making plans to buy it,” said Hutlet. “There are fellows that can provide the custom service and that is something attractive to those that are just starting to feed corn silage.”
He said some swing acres in grain production are going to corn this year. “We don’t have many new producers but fellows who have the equipment to grown corn are putting in some extra acres.” He cited the price of grain corn hovering around the $5 mark as an attractive feature for these growers. While he does not handle cereal grain seed he knows that the acreage has increased and so has the demand for rye grass. “We have fellows who want to get some feed early in the year and alfalfa does not provide that so they are considering rye grass which assures them good tonnage if they get a rain in spring.” Although not a scientific measurement Hutlet feels that soil moisture is at a better level than a year ago. “We have good conditions to take advantage of with the snow melt this year, and that has gone into the ground to help replenish soil moisture,” said Hutlet.
CFA Launches Producing Prosperity Campaign in Ottawa By Elmer Heinrichs The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), advocates for Canadian farmers at the national level, launched its Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign on Parliament Hill, April 9. The campaign is a non-partisan initiative leading up to this year’s Federal election aimed at incumbent MPs, new candidates, and policymakers, to promote the potential of the agri-food sector as the most significant economic engine in Canada, a champion of food security, and innovative contributor to national envi-
ronmental stewardship. Bill Campbell, President of Keystone Agricultural Producers and member of the CFA board also attended the promotion with a Lobby Day on Parliament Hill. Here the board of directors met with MPs, senators and policymakers to discuss the importance of agriculture and the three pillars of the campaign, economic growth, environmental stewardship and food security. New President Mary Robinson said, “The CFA looks forward to collaborating with our membership, industry stakeholders and government,
as we continue to identify solutions for Canadian AgriFood issues. Over the coming months we are looking forward to meeting hundreds of political candidates and officials as we move toward the federal election. Our goal is to convince government to treat agri-food policies as a national priority, regardless of whether they represent rural or urban ridings.” The Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign will request support for the Agri-Food industry from all political parties leading up to the Federal election in October.
Provincial Resolution on Livestock Education Introduced Brad Michaleski, MLA for Dauphin, recently proposed a private member’s resolution encouraging the provincial government to continue to support livestock education in Manitoba. “Farmers and farm families are the backbone of the Manitoba economy, and our Progressive Conservative government has strongly supported and invested in the livestock industry leading to growing employment opportunities in agriculture,” said Michaleski. “Our hardworking livestock producers deserve support and recognition for their contributions to our province. It’s important
that we highlight the essential education and appreciation of our diverse agricultural supply chain that feeds people around the world.” Manitobans have traditionally understood where their food comes from, and are proud of the farming process with an awareness of responsible and respectful consumption. Michaleski noted, however, that changing lifestyles are leading the province to become more urbanized and creating a greater disconnect between Manitobans and food products. Agriculture has had the largest growth in GDP of any Manitoba sector. The prov-
ince exported $5.94 billion worth of processed and unprocessed agri-food products in 2017, up almost 10 per cent from 2016. Food processing continues to be Manitoba’s largest segment of manufacturing, worth $4.7 billion in 2017 and accounting for nearly one-quarter of all manufacturing value. As well, market demand for protein is increasing and allowing for increased livestock production. Michaleski’s resolution was supported by PC members, though Opposition MLAs used their allotted speaking time to run out the clock and prevent it from going to a vote.
The financial world has a role to play in helping facilitate the construction of new hog finishing capacity in western Canada.
By Harry Siemens Only two short years ago, when the hog industry’s recovery began after some tough years Barry Watson, the District Director for the Steinbach District with Farm Credit Canada said the financial world has a role to play in helping facilitate the construction of new hog finishing capacity in western Canada. Fast forward to the Manitoba Swine Seminar 2019 where Watson discussed the topic financing a hog barn and what the producer’s lender wants to know on that initial application form. Watson said it starts with understanding the size and scope of the existing operation or the size and scope of what is proposed at the start of something new. Next the applicant’s background and history but answered verbally up to a point when the lender needs an understanding of an existing operation if there is one already established and some historical financial statements at a minimum of three years, or financials to support the loan application. If the applicant is a new entrant, this requires projections typically anywhere from one to three years, as a projected income statement. “So, income and expense projections that show us your profitability and your ability to repay debt, not only today but fully established whether a new entity or expanding an existing one,” he said. “Also a projection on the balance sheet, just in terms of how things will look today. Once we lend the additional money and how the balance sheet looks afterwards, once full production is underway. Finally, a month to month cash flow projection, what your income and expenses would look. That gives us some assurance that you’ve got the cash needed to run the operations day to day, and also meet any capital cost investments that you’re making.” Watson said if the applicant is building a new hog barn, then, every time the builder needs a payment, the funds are available to make a payment on time, and there is still the ability to run the business day-today. The components from the business planning standpoint, it’s important for the lender to understand who the producer is selling his pigs to and what his take is on the market. “If you were in hog production, or you’re selling weanlings, or you’re selling finished pigs to the processor, what does that look like, what kind of marketing plan do you have, what kind of strategy do you have behind your marketing plan, and do you have a risk management plan,” said Watson. “And are you contracting those hogs in one way, shape or form, to take away a bit of the market risk. Those are all important facets of the business plan.” He said the lender wants to understand who is helping with the business, if it is a larger farm, what kind of people are managing the business daily and what are their roles? “It helps us understand how you will function daily and whether you can stickhandle your way through the undula-
tions of the market,” he said. Collateral is a secondary source of payment while the primary source payment is the cash that the business generates. “We ask for collateral as a backup, sort of a plan B, some assurance that, if their business has issues covering its annual payment obligations, in a worse case, we could sell the assets that are offered as collateral and still get the loan paid,” Watson said. “The majority of cases, the customer can make the payments, and if there’s an issue in making the payments, we’re typically able to find ways to help them to make those payments, and not have to rely on their collateral.” He said normally, in the agricultural industry, and specifically, hogs, indeed open farmland is acceptable. But FCC does lots of financing that involves hog barns and hog facilities. “It’s just a function of arriving at an evaluation that we’re comfortable with, in terms of how much money we’re willing to lend against that asset, and moving forward from there,” said Watson. He said it is crucial to involve the lender in the conversation as soon as possible and it is important for that potential lender to ask questions that might be good food for thought, in terms of how he might proceed in putting the plan together. “You don’t need to have a fully baked, written, or prepared plan, to have the conversation with a banker. Let them know that you’re thinking about something, and there might be some good questions and some good conversation that drives some good thought for you, in terms of what you want to do in bringing that plan to fruition,” Watson said. He said it is very exciting and encouraging to see there are far more positive vibes in the hog industry these days.
Barry Watson, the District Director for the Steinbach District with Farm Credit Canada said have a discussion with your banker then come in with a plan, project your income and expenses and balance sheet when it comes to financing a hog barn.
April 26, 2019
Royal Manitoba Winter Fair Entertaining for All Ages
Thrill Trick Riders Keely Wamsteeker (left) and Shelby Thue (right) perform for visitors to the Royal Winter Fair in Brandon recently.
Tuesday evening’s calf scramble saw 20 young people trying to catch one of ten calves in the ring at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. Ten lucky winners Photos By Joan Airey in the ChemTrade Calf scramble went home with $200 while those not catching a calf were $100 richer.
April 26, 2019
MBP Announce Six Bursaries for 2019 Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) will again award six $500 bursaries to deserving Manitoba students in 2019. The bursaries are available to MBP members, or their children, who are attending a university, college or other post-secondary institution. Students pursuing trades training are also eligible. Preference will be given to students who are pursuing a field of study related to agriculture or those acquiring a skilled trade that would benefit the rural economy. “It is our pleasure and privilege to be able to recognize deserving students who are from beef producing families and pursuing further education,” said Manitoba Beef Producers President Tom Teichroeb. “Each year these bursaries go to outstanding people, many of whom have returned to rural Manitoba following graduation and made substantial contributions to their communities.” Those applying must be at least 17 years old as of January 1, 2019 and be an active beef producer or the child of one. Applicants must use the bursary within two years of receiving it and the program they are attending must be at least one year in duration. Interested students are required to submit an essay no more than 600 words in length discussing what the beef industry means to them, their family, community and Manitoba at large. Students are also asked to include the reasons they enjoy being involved in agriculture. Applicants must also submit either a high school or post-secondary transcript, proof of enrolment in a recognized institution, a list of their community involvement and three references. The application can be found at mbbeef.ca/producers/mbp-bursary. The winners are selected by a group of MBP directors. The names of applicants are redacted from the essays to ensure fairness in the selection process. Completed applications must be submitted to MBP by Monday, June 3, 2019. All entries will be reviewed by the selection committee and the winners will be notified by July 31, 2019.
April 26, 2019
Animal Rights Activism is a Big Business By Harry Siemens Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Vice President of Communications Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) in Arlington, VA said animal rights activism is big business, with prominent groups in the US bringing in more than $500 million annually. Thompson-Weeman said these groups are not raising this money and spending it on promoting animal agriculture are instead trying to put farmers and ranchers out of business. One of the most common questions she hears is from where does the money come from. “We are a non-profit organization, and our mission is to bridge the communication gap between farm and fork,” said Thompson-Weeman. “So an essential part of that is paying attention to the groups out there who are spreading a lot of myths and misinformation about animal agriculture.” The AAA dedicates a lot of their time and resources to monitoring animal rights activist organizations and has done so since 1987. “We know they are very strategic, very savvy, and often very well funded. Animal rights groups in the US are bringing in to the tune of $500 million annually, and as we know, they’re using those funds most of the time for lobbying efforts, and campaigns and negative work against animal agriculture rather than any efforts on the ground to help animals,” she said. In many cases, it would shock the public which organizations are working against animal agriculture she noted. There are groups out there that people might think focus on pets and doing the right thing for dogs and cats. “But they dedicate a lot of their resources to attacking animal agriculture and encouraging people not to eat meat because these are animal rights organizations, not animal welfare,” Thompson-
Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Vice President of Communications Animal Agriculture Alliance in Arlington, VA, said animal rights activism is big business, with prominent groups in the US bringing in more than $500 million annually. Photos provided by Hannah Thompson-Weeman
Weeman said. “That’s a fundamental distinction. These organizations believe that animals should be afforded the same rights as people, and that means we can’t use them for food, for transportation, or for really any purpose,” said Thompson-Weeman. “They believe that’s unacceptable. Such groups like the Humane Society here in the US, groups like Mercy for Animals are very active in the US and Canada. Even a group like ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals people tend to think that they are very active in dogs and cats, but they also have a farm animal division that promotes, veganism and is very negative towards modern animal agriculture.” She said the AAA maintains profiles on over 100 of these organizations. According to Thompson-Weeman, there are groups of all different sizes, using different tactics working together, with the same goal and that is to put farmers and ranchers out of business. “And they’re intentionally very misleading realizing that just telling people, we want you to go vegan, doesn’t work because people like eating our products,” said ThompsonWeeman. “The products of animal agriculture are nutritious; they’re delicious. People want to support farmers
Hannah Thompson-Weeman Vice President of Communications Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) in Arlington, VA on a farm tour the AAA hosted for restaurants and retail foodservice leaders in fall 2017 to help dispel the myths and propaganda that focuses on putting farmers and ranchers out of business.
and ranchers and want to eat milk, meat, poultry and eggs. So these groups are intentionally being misleading about what they want. They intentionally are targeting certain production practices because they want people to think that their goal is animal welfare, but it’s not.” She said when you look at some of these organizations through their websites and the staff that they have, it’s clear what their goal is. “A lot of these groups are attacking farmers on different platforms. So it’s not just animal welfare or animal rights that they’re promoting, we’re seeing these same groups look at the environmental impact of animal agriculture and trying to target either individual farms or eating meat as a whole, saying that it’s detrimental to the environment and the best thing people can do to reduce their footprint is to stop eating meat,” said Thompson-Weeman. “And that’s despite the fact livestock in the US is less than 4 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. There are a lot of other things that would be much more impactful, but the level of conversation about animal agriculture is so outsized because of activist groups intentionally trying to drive that conversation.” Antibiotic use is another example she said. “Some groups are attacking farmers’ ability to use antibiotics to manage animal health and animal welfare, and it’s because that’s a valuable tool that farmers need.” She said these groups attack the efficiency. “Any production practice that allows farmers to be more efficient is going to come under fire by these groups because that’s what they want. They want to find any way to make production less efficient, drive up costs, and try to put farmers out of business that way as well.”
April 26, 2019
National Working Group Looks at Restoring Market Access for Canola Seed to China The Government of Canada working group on canola held its inaugural meeting recently to resolve the market access issue affecting Canada’s canola seed exports to China. At the first meeting of the working group on April 4, representatives discussed the importance of focusing on a science-based solution to resolve this issue. The group also touched on future opportunities to expand into new markets for canola, and reviewed support available to affected producers. Co-chaired by the deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the president of Canola Council of Canada, the working group membership includes the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the president the Canadian Canola Growers Association, deputy ministers from the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as other senior government and industry officials. “Canada’s farmers can rest assured that we understand the importance and the urgency of this issue, and that we stand with them and are working hard to secure unrestricted market access for Canada’s high-quality canola. The newly formed working group brings together the canola industry and producers to work together to resolve this issue,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Canada is the number-one producer and exporter of canola in the world. Canadian canola has an international reputation as being of the highest quality, while its inspection system is known as being robust and world-class. As Canada’s largest crop, canola accounts for approximately $11 billion of the country’s exports each year. “It is imperative that we find a science-based solution to this issue and we look forward to getting a response from Chinese authorities regarding the proposed Canadian delegation. Resuming canola seed exports with China is the canola industry’s top priority. It is essential for our farmers and their families, and for our entire agricultural industry,” said Jim Everson, President, Canola Council of Canada. In addition to creating the working group, the Federal government also recently called for in-depth technical meetings with Chinese officials, proposing to send a delegation of Canadian plant health experts to China, led by the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to meet face-to-face with their counterparts in order to identify a science-based solution to this issue as quickly as possible. The working group will continue to meet regularly to closely monitor the situation and collaborate to resolve this issue.
April 26, 2019
Battle Footrot in Your Herd During Pasture Season
By Peter Vitti After the snow melts, it’s not unusual to hear a lot of stories about footrot on pasture and it may not ease up, if we continue into a wet summer. That’s unfortunate, because hooves of cattle standing on wet ground or in puddles, become soft and pliable, which makes them particularly susceptible to infection. Immediate antibiotic action is effective footrot control, but sound management and nutritional prevention can save cattle from a lot of pain and producers from spending money on treating footrot. Money spent on treating footrot often starts with a deep scrape, cut, or puncture wound around the inter-digital space between the claws of soft and pliable hooves. This creates an opening, which allows anaerobic bacteria called Fusobacterium necrophorum to enter the hoof, but also may include other invaders such as strep- and staph- organisms; all found in soil, manure and sometimes from the rumen contents belched up by infected cows. Misdiagnosis of footrot in cattle hooves is common despite that Footrot has its own set of characteristics upon close examination, namely; the space between their claws (inter-digital space) and the
skin region right above the hoof horn (coronary band) is swollen and red. Furthermore, as footrot progresses, these claws separate and the skin between toes will crack and tissue will be dying. Thus, giving off the classic smell of decaying flesh. It is also well documented that footrot is very contagious among cattle. Pus and discharge from infected swollen feet often contaminates muddy pasture or water, which allow another set of healthy hooves to become infected within a few days, if unaffected cattle have similar injuries to their hooves. Several environmental studies have shown that footrot bacteria can also live for years in unfrozen ground, mud or manure. Since, footrot is largely a soil-borne organism this is where pro-active management should take place. For example, I have known of a few producers whom overwinter their cowherd in drylot after the snow melts - to scrape cattle pens of mud and manure as well as concrete aprons, where cattle stand to eat at the feed bunk. Other producers avoid having cows on wet early-spring pastures for extended periods by rotating them more frequently to drier pastures. Large areas that are constantly under water are often fenced off from
An Ideal Spring Start for Seeding By Elmer Heinrichs While a few farmers in western Manitoba were out with equipment and seeding in late April, most are hoping for nice May days and a quick start on the 2019 crop. Officially, spring of course arrived in March, and farmers began to get ready, but with cooler than normal temperatures and some April showers, fields were very slow to dry. With the threat
of a Red River flood dissipating, Altona farm production advisor Dennis Lange is optimistic about the farm outlook. “We’ve had a bit of moisture, and of course it’s not really late yet, and I expect to see farmers putting in a lot of crop in May.” While it is not unusual for farmers to seed in April, early could also be the first week of May, if air and soil temperatures are still not reaching 10 °C as daytime
cattle. As a beef nutritionist, I advocate feeding a wellbalanced mineral to cattle that help harden hooves and thus prevent entry of footrot. For example, I formulate a “spring” cattle mineral that contains elevated levels of calcium, trace-minerals; copper, manganese, iodine, zinc and selenium as well as vitamins A and E. That’s because they play an important role in the maintenance and strength of good hoof claw integrity. In addition, the latter traceminerals are added in highly bioavailable “chelated” forms, which offer superior mineral absorption, retention and metabolism in beef cattle as compared to equivalent inorganic or “rock” sources. In “high footrot risk” cases, I would also recommend to add 5 - 6 grams of highly bioavailable zinc-methionine per head, daily to the same cattle mineral. It’s a result of reading several university field-trials, which mirror a classic study conducted by KSU (1993). They demonstrated that by adding zincmethionine to free-choice range mineral, significantly reduced the incidence of footrot and improved daily weight gain in steers grazing native pastures. This same Zn-meth prevention works for a beef producer that raises 250 black
Angus cows (and calves) that I’ve known for years. Only his cattle graze well-drained pasture, except for some lowlying areas. He also hadn’t had a single case of footrot in over five years, until a couple of years ago, when within a two-week period, he treated 14 footrot cases with vet-prescribed drugs. All, we could determine was that footrot organisms may have originated from sloppy overwintering pens or else came from mud surrounding the waterers on pasture, typically where cows congregate. In either, case, he started to feed a spring mineral formulated with zinc-methionine. As a result, only a handful of new footrot infections have appeared and were immediately treated in the last couple years. Corrective action or Consequence? This producer’s experience with footrot is a good testament to a workable prevention battle plan, which should reduce (does not eliminate) the number of lame cows stricken with footrot on pasture. I summarized it as: 1. Watch cattle, diagnose, and segregate true footrot cases. 2. Treat each new case with veterinarian-recommended antibiotics. 3. Implement a hoof-strengthening mineral feeding program on pasture.
highs and below zero overnight. Looking at this year, Lange does not see farmers making a lot of changes to their usual rotations, however after disappointing results last year he said there will be a further drop in soybean acres. While there may also be a drop in canola acres, Lange, who is also Manitoba’s pulse specialist, said there is additional interest in peas which increased to 80,000 acres last year, and with local firms Cargill and Roquette showing interest, pea acreage will likely go up again. Dry bean acreage will probably stay steady locally and Lange feels there may be a bit of an upsurge in acres provincially. Perhaps the biggest driver for early seeding is the potential for higher yields. The majority of seeding date re-
search conducted in western Canada reported increased yields with early seeding. With fields starting to dry up, many farmers in the province are turning their attention to spring fertilization, with seeding of a variety of crops following. While it may not seem like an ideal outlook for central and eastern Manitoba, a few days of sunshine and warming temperatures as the month ends will clear the way for a busy May. Of course farmers have until early June to get their crops in, so a little rain delay in late April will not have much of an effect. It has been a favourable spring for most farm fields, and with warmer weather most fields are snow-free and drying off quickly. It looks like a near ideal spring start for Manitoba farmers.
April 26, 2019
Farmers - Share Your Farm Stories in the First Person
Share your values with the consumer, says Dr. Leah Dorman, the Director of Food Integrity and Consumer Engagement with Phibro Animal Health.
By Harry Siemens Dr. Leah Dorman, the Director of Food Integrity and Consumer Engagement with Phibro Animal Health in Columbus, OH encouraged farmers to engage with consumers on a shared value basis. Dorman who spoke on ‘Reframing the Conversation’ in Winnipeg during the 2019 Manitoba Swine Seminar said consumers have a lot of questions about how producers grow and raise their food, but farmers have not done a good job explaining what they do on the farm and why.
“I think the first thing that farmers need to do to engage with consumers effectively is to share your values,” she said. “Our values align very closely with consumer values and much more so than most consumers believe. You can talk about things that concern consumers, which may be animal care, animal health, or it may be the environmental impact of what we do on the farm.” Dorman told producers to relate what producers do on the farm and how it affects the consumer’s healthy affordable food that feeds their family. “It’s important that we get to what concerns them and connect with them at that level, understanding what they’re asking of us and then giving them additional information once we’ve made that connection,” she said. “Trust is key, and that’s part of the reason that we need to be sharing those values in each of our conversations with consumers. We have to connect at that value level demonstrating that our values align even more closely with consumer values than the consumer may have thought. During that conversation, we have to set that groundwork.”
According to Dr. Dorman, once a producer makes that connection and consumers understand farmers care about the same things they do, farmers can follow up with the science that supports what they do. “Consumers today are smart, extraordinarily smart knowing a lot more today than they ever did before with more and more information at their fingertips,” she said. “Unfortunately, not all of that information is good and positive. That’s where we need to be part of that conversation as a voice in the first person. As farmers, it’s our responsibility, as veterinarians, it’s our responsibility to make sure we treat sick animals appropriately because that’s the ethical thing to do. To prevent and treat disease prevents an animal from suffering.” With so many attacks on animal agriculture and protein from meat, it is even more critical for farmers to keep their collective houses in order she noted. “One of the things that I see and certainly in the media, even online, is that sex sells. You know, if a farmer feeds his pigs, the video will not go viral,” she said. “But a farmer does something wrong, and that gets caught
on video, that’s going to go viral because it’s negative. And I think as humans, what is the media, they don’t bring us necessarily those positive stories every day. And so it’s essential that we have lots of voices out there with a short video, with whatever you want to do. Maybe it’s a short post or a photo. We need lots of voices out there that are talking to that movable middle out there, so they have a better understanding and know what we do and why we do it on the farm.” Dr. Dorman said it is vital to keep the food safe because when consumers express concern about the medication given to farm animals, their interest is food safety. “They want to make sure that what they’re feeding their family is healthy. As farmers we can let them know we want to make sure that the food is safe,” she said. “Because we’re also feeding our families that same meat and let them know there are safeguards in place to do that. And one of those is withdrawal time. If we give an animal a medication, it is our responsibility as farmers and veterinarians, to allow that animal time, before it enters the food system.” She said medication labels
Attention to Detail Wins Yield Competition for Wisconsin Farmer By Les Kletke Gene Steiger has won a lot of corn yield contests. While he farms at Bloomington, Wisconsin and his yield potential is probably higher than most Manitoba farms he does have some tips that area farmers can use to increase their production to the maximum. Steiger is clear that he is not in yield competitions for the win but rather to learn what works best and apply those practices to all of his fields. In March he was recognized by the National Corn Growers Association for having the highest yield in Wisconsin,
297 bushels an acre on a notill non-irrigated field. He assigns 30 to 40 acres to yield competitions each year and views them as trials for the rest of his farm. Mike Binsfield is Steiger’s agronomist and said that he walks his field often and takes action when something looks out of place, but it does not stop there. “He tries to never make the same mistake twice,” said Binsfield. That is important in the Steiger operation, to see something that corrects a problem or makes a decision to avoid a problem before it happens. He applies that to his farm and the com-
mercial production next year. He begins with soil tests and then does tissue analysis three times during the growing season. The longer growing season in Wisconsin may provide him with a longer time to adjust the plant nutrients in the field. Manitoba growers may not be able to use the same strategy but could take a page from the Champion grower’s book. He pays attention to trace nutrients and provides them during the growing season with foliar applications that contain a fungicide. He is meticulous about his planting practice and places
seed 2 inches deep and seeds at 4 miles an hour. He replaces the chains on his John Deere planter every year and occasionally lets them go two years before replacement. He has a monitor system on his tractor that alerts him if he is travelling too fast and in danger of skips or doubles. “It shows me if I have skips or doubles,” he said. “Seed placement is the start to a good crop and we want to get the seed in the ground as uniform as possible.” Steiger has used DeKalb seed for the past 20 years and targets an average of 38,000 plants per acre.
Slow Melt Dries Up Red River Flood Fears By Elmer Heinrichs The biggest Red River flood since 2009 did not materialize. A flood that was first forecast to be one that would match the flood of 2009 got downgraded to one less than the 2011 flood. Even the winter storm that
struck North Dakota did not appear to have much impact. While still predicting high water levels, officials now allow there may be no need to close Highway 75 at Morris. Favourable weather conditions have kept major flood fears at bay in Manitoba. The
threat of a flood has largely disappeared, as less than normal snow fell over the last month and there has been an ideal gradual thaw thanks to below normal temperatures. Most of winter’s considerable snowpack has melted without incident, thanks to
three weeks of temperatures just warm enough during the day to melt a little snow and cold enough at night to freeze the surface again. Instead of fighting a flood, farmers are looking to an early May start in the fields.
have that time period listed and farmers and veterinarians must abide by it. Then there is the check and balance system. All along, farmers and food companies are doing tests to be sure that food is safe and that no unsafe medication residues are present in the animal’s system, in the harvest facility or processing plant. “So there’s routine testing then to make sure that, again, that food is safe to feed our families,” she said.
April 26, 2019
Photo by Ingrid Kristjanson, MB Agriculture
Invasive Species Awareness
The Province of Manitoba has declared the last week of April as Invasive Species Awareness Week. The Manitoba Weed Supervisors Association (MWSA) recognizes this week by highlighting just a few of the invasive plants considered to be a significant threat to the landscape of our province. The MWSA is comprised of and represents Weed Supervisors who are individually employed by Weed Control Districts formed by one or more Municipalities. Weed Supervisors work under the authority of The Noxious Weeds Act of Manitoba (NWA). The NWA sets out requirements regarding various control or destruction measures for different plants. A comprehensive listing of noxious weeds is found in The Noxious Weeds Regulation, which contains schedules that rank plants according to their threat levels and specifies the areas of the province to which these levels apply. The Act requires that Tier 1 weeds must be eradicated without conditions. Weed Control Districts, first started in 1964, have developed programs to deal with invasive plants such as leafy spurge and red bartsia, which have managed to establish within Manitoba, causing severe agronomic and economic impacts. Leafy spurge, an invasive perennial first recorded in Manitoba in 1911 is a serious pest of forage and grazing land. A
study conducted in 2010 by the Rural Development Institute (Brandon) estimates that leafy spurge caused a staggering annual economic loss (direct and indirect costs) of approximately $40 million. There’s little doubt that these costs have risen significantly since then. Red bartsia is another forage and pasture invader. It was first introduced to the Gimli area in the 1950s. The Interlake Weed Control District was formed in 1967, and throughout the ensuing years control measures were undertaken. Unfortunately, a truly effective control program was not initiated until 1999. By that time red bartsia had infested much of the Interlake region. Although the weed is now being controlled on roadsides, the cost is huge. In the 2018 season, a total of $176,849.20 was spent controlling the weed on the district’s rights-of-way. With the district’s total known red bartsia infestation at 1,768.5 miles (one side), extensive seed reserves in the soil, and seed viability in the nine year range, there is no easy, quick fix for this problem. With new infestations of red bartsia already appearing in other parts of Manitoba, it is imperative that all areas incorporate careful monitoring and aggressive control measures to prevent further outbreaks. As with any invader, the best control is to prevent its initial introduction. Both leafy spurge and red bartsia are on Manitoba’s Noxious Weeds Act, as are the following two weeds which are Tier 1 weeds on the Act. Either of them could pose a greater threat to Manitoba landscapes. Orange Hawkweed A perennial herb, Orange Hawkweed reproduces by seeds as well as by numerous horizontal stolons, and rhizomes underground. It is fibrous rooted, with milky latex in the stems and leaves. Orange Hawkweed prefers well drained, coarse textured soils, moderately low in organic matter and typically low pH. The plants tend to exclude desirable plants (including native wildflowers) by forming dense mats that can cover large areas. Orange Hawkweed has been identified in the SE corner of Manitoba within the past few years. Known to have been a problem in neighboring Minnesota, it is suspected to have been transported across the border by construction equipment and recreational vehicles. Other common names include, devil’spaintbrush, king devil, red daisy, flameweed and devil’s-weed.
Photo by Tammy Jones, MB Agriculture
Tall Waterhemp This member of the pigweed family can grow more than 8 feet tall. The leaves of waterhemp plants are often glossy and more elongated (lanceolate) compared to redroot or smooth pigweed. Waterhemp is well-adapted to high temperatures and intense sunlight, and is capable of producing 500,000 seeds per plant that tend to germinate throughout the summer. (Late flushes can keep coming after the control measure window has closed). Waterhemp is native to the US but it was not considered a major agronomic problem until the 1980s when herbicide resistance and changing production systems that included more corn and soybean favoured the “weediness” of this plant. It is a serious threat to soybean production. The native habitat of waterhemp is wet, low-lying areas, but it is quite at home in reduced tillage and no-till environments. Watch for patches to pop up along field edges or near the field entrance. Waterhemp seed is easily transported when equipment moves from field to field. In fact, at least one case of tall waterhemp detection in Manitoba is related to the purchase of equipment from an area where waterhemp is more prevalent. More information on Invasive plants either threatening or already present in Manitoba can be found in The Noxious Weeds Act (C.C.S.M. c. N110) and the Noxious Weeds Regulation (Man.Reg.42/17), by contacting your local Weed District or at the MWSA website, mbweeds.ca.
Choose High-Quality Calf Starter for Your Baby Dairy Calves There are many types of dairy calf starter buyers. Some people buy calf starter, strictly for its lowest price. Some order unseen bags or bulk, to be thrown onto the next delivery truck. Lastly, there are people that look for the best value in high-quality calf starter. It has been my experience that these are successful dairy producers, which others should follow in order to raise healthy and good growing dairy heifers. Fortunately, high-quality calf starters are easily available and can be incorporated into most conventional or accelerated whole milk (or milk replacer) feeding programs for newborn dairy heifers. Usually, we start them off at two weeks of age, because calf starter feed when readily eaten, performs many vital functions, such as: (1) Introduces calves to complex non-milk carbohydrates, (2) encourages rumen development, (3) supplements nutrients for optimum bone and lean tissue growth and (4) facilitates early weaning. It’s only high-quality calf starters that can achieve these four goals, because they are likely to be formulated to be highly nutritious, easily digestible and well-accepted by baby calves. Such key features in calf starters were examined in a recent western Ohio study (2018) that fed dairy heifer calves in a 56-day pre-wean phase, which employed; high- and low-feeding rates of milk replacers in combination with high-starch (texturized/steam-rolled) and lowstarch (pelleted) calf starters. This initial phase was followed by a 56-day post-weaning phase/ diet of calf starter and 5% chopped grass hay. At the end of the 112-day trial - regardless of both milk replacer feeding rates, calves fed high-starch texturized calf starter gained 30 pounds more bodyweight than calves fed low-starch calf starter pellets. Feed efficiency was 12% better for calves in high-starch diet group. This is good evidence that convinces me that high-quality calf starter should be a texturized complete feed and as “texturized” name implies contains steam-rolled grain; 3/4 oats, 1/4 corn and no added barley. As bonus, oats used should be 40-lb bushel oats and double-clipped like the kind of oats formulated in high-quality horse feed. Well-formed feed pellets should also be added to this texturized grain, which carries supplemental protein, mineral/vitamin pack and possibly medicated with a coccidiostat. While the number of pellets in texturized calf starter does not have a negative effect upon baby calf acceptance and performance, they should not exceed 40% of the total calf starter formula, so calves can take advantage of nutritional benefits of the steam-rolled grain portion. Nevertheless, high-quality calf starter made of only stream-rolled grain and protein pellets is likely rejected by baby calves, simply because it is a very dry diet. So, I add 5% molasses to the final mix to increase palatability. This is in-line with many field trials that study the optimum amount of molasses to add. Finally, I add 0.5 – 1.0 kg/mt of caramel flavor to further attract baby calves. At one time, I did some dairy consulting around New Liskeard, Ontario and used tangerine flavor to accomplish the same thing. Unfortunately, many dairy producers buy high-quality calf starters, only to waste its superior nutrition, because they feed too little or too much. Therefore, I present a very useful table, which shows the proper amount of calf starter to feed baby calves. It was adapted from the University of Minnesota extension service (2009): (see Table 1 below)
We can also use this feed table to determine the optimum age to wean dairy calves from milk or milk replacer; which should not be based upon their age, but rather on their final intake of calf starter. For example, a calf can be weaned from milk or milk replacer (i.e.: six-week milk feeding program), when it is eating about 2 - 2.5 lbs of calf starter per day for three days in a row. When candidates are getting closer to their prescribed weaning date; feed the half-rate of milk or milk replacer in the last week before weaning to encourage more calf starter consumption. Such high-quality calf starters are specialized feeds for pre-weaned dairy calves. They are formulated to work within high-quality milk (and milk replacer) feeding programs to help calves grow and develop. Thus, making them irreplaceable on the dairy farm.
2019 calf eating calf starter
April 26, 2019
McCain Foods Portage la Prairie Facility Celebrates 40 Years
Provincial government legislators joined McCain McCain Foods Portage la Prairie, to officially open a new $10 million potato receiving area as part of celebrating 40 years in business on April 15. Pictured left to right: Ian Wishart, MLA, Portage la Prairie; Eric Durand, McCain Foods Plant Manager; The Honourable Candice Bergen, MP, Portage-Lisgar and Opposition House Leader; The Honourable Ralph Eichler, Minister of Agriculture for Manitoba; Irvine Ferris, Mayor, Portage la Prairie; Christine Wentworth, Vice President, Agriculture NA (McCain); Danielle Barran, President McCain Foods (Canada); Dale McCarthy, Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain NA (McCain); and The Honourable Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba.
In April, Provincial government legislators joined McCain Foods (Canada) to officially open a new potato receiving area and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its Portage la Prairie facility at a special ceremony. Premier Brian Pallister and Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler were among others in attendance, as were local growers from the Keystone Potato Producers Association, McCain executives and some employees who have worked at the plant for 40 years. “[The] official opening of the new potato receiving area reflects McCain’s ongoing commitment to our business in Manitoba and to the people that live and work in the Portage la Prairie community,” declared Dale McCarthy, Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain, McCain Foods North America. “McCain Foods is a key part of Manitoba’s agricultural sector and our entire provincial economy,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “We congratulate McCain on the 40th anniversary of their Manitoba operations, and join them in celebrating their recent investment in Portage la Prairie.” The expansion of the potato receiving area was part of a multi-year $45 million capital investment commitment made by McCain to the facility. The expansion now allows the Portage la Prairie facility to receive additional potatoes from local growers in a more timeefficient manner, as well as an allowance for additional holding capacity, a new cleaning line and a new refreshment break area. Additional capital investments made by McCain to the Portage la Prairie facility from 2016 to 2019 include the installation of a new high efficiency potato sorting system; cutting-edge processing and packaging equipment; new onsite waste water treatment systems; and, upgrades to the facility’s heating, freezing and refrigeration systems, which helps improve the facility’s environmental footprint. The new potato receiving area expansion opening coincides with the 40th anniversary of McCain Foods continued operation and investment in Portage la Prairie. “Congratulations to McCain Foods for celebrating 40 years of business operation in Portage la Prairie,” stated The Honourable Candice Bergen, Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar and Opposition House Leader. “The McCain Portage la Prairie facility has long been an important contributor to our region not just for employment but also for partnering with the surrounding grower community and its longstanding involvement in the area.” “As we celebrate both the opening of the potato receiving area and 40 years of continued operation at the McCain Portage la Prairie facility, we want to express the ongoing importance of the foundational relationships we share with our employees and growers in the Portage la Prairie community, some who have been with us all 40 years,” added Danielle Barran, President of McCain Foods Canada. Manitoba growers annually plant about 26,000 hectares of potatoes, which represents about one-fifth of Canada’s total potato crop. The $45 million investment in the McCain Portage la Prairie facility is reflective of the continued demand for McCain frozen potato and potato specialty segments and signals the company’s long-term commitment to the region and the province. “McCain Foods has been a part of the Portage la Prairie community since 1979 and throughout that time has remained an important corporate citizen with the city, offering leadership and significant community involvement with projects big and small,” concluded Irvine Ferris, Mayor, City of Portage la Prairie. More than 300 employees work at the Portage la Prairie facility and are part of a proudly Canadian-based company with a global enterprise, including more than 21,000 employees operating out of 52 production facilities on six continents with sales in ex- The expanded McCain Foods Portage la Prairie facility in Manitoba. cess of CDN $9.5 billion.
April 26, 2019
4-H Canada Launches the Discover Science Initiative 4-H Canada recently announces the launch of its newest club outreach initiative Discover Science, offering 4-H youth members the unique opportunity to develop their skills and interest in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For the first year of this ini-
tiative, 4-H clubs will take part in a science experiment ‘in a box’. The Discover Science kit will contain all the components needed to build a wearable health monitor following the engineering design process to build, test and refine the device. Wearable technologies are becoming more and more integrated in our lives.
Thanks to this initiative, 4-H members will learn about human health and how it can be tracked and improved using technology. “With this initiative, our goal is to encourage young people to be engaged actively in STEM by learning to do by doing through fun and interactive experiences,” said Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada CEO. “We
The kit will contain all the components needed to build a wearable health monitor.
Following the engineering design process to build, test and refine the device.
are grateful to our founding Science & Technology pillar partner Bayer Canada and for the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for investing in youth and working with us to build global citizens with the passion and skills to create sustainable change.” These kits were created in 2017 by the National 4-H Council in the US as the Incredible Wearables kit, and developed by the University of Nebraska– Lincoln with the support of various donors. Thanks to 4-H’s resource-sharing network of 70 countries, 4-H Canada is able to distribute the kit to 4-H clubs across Canada, offering youth members the chance to spark science and cultivate their scientific curiosity. The Discover Science kits will be distributed to 90 Canadian 4-H clubs in Canada this spring, introducing over 2,200 young members to inquiry-based learning and the importance of science in everyday lives. “We’re thrilled to support 4-H Canada launch its Discover Science initiative to 4-H youth across the country,” said Al Driver, Country Division Head, Bayer Crop Science Canada. “As a life science company, we understand that exploration and innovation are key factors helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, and it’s encouraging to see the large number of clubs and youth participating in this pilot program.” This pilot year will pave the path to more exciting opportunities for youth to broaden their understanding of STEM, with other topics to come in future projects. For more information on Discover Science, visit 4-h-canada.ca/discoverscience.
CUSMA Delayed by Steel Tariffs and Mexican Labour Reform Legislation to ratify Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) can be introduced anytime in Canada now that treaty has gone through the 21-day tabling requirement. In the US, the ratification process appears more complex with obstacles including demands by Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that Mexico pass its labour reform provisions before the pact is considered by US lawmakers. As reported by media, other obstacles to ratification may include the persistence of the steel and aluminum tariffs that have not yet been lifted on Canadian and Mexican products. Despite the desire of all three countries to bring the updated agreement into force before the summer, these latest developments threaten that timeline.
Kenya’s Women Farmers Show Strength and Perseverance
Colleen Dyck in Kenya
By Les Kletke Colleen Dyck admits that spending 10 days with a farmer in Kenya was just a bit overwhelming. Dyck, who farms with her husband Grant at Niverville and operates an energy bar business that has grown to more than a hobby, said the trip left her with a range of emotions. “The first thing that comes to mind is the sacrifices that this lady makes in her life to raise her family,” said Dyck. “It is amazing to think of how hard she has to work just to get clean safe water for her family. It is a task that takes most of the day.” Dyck said that hearing about the lack of clean water is one thing but experiencing it first hand is another. “When you spend time walking to the bore hole with this lady and carrying it back to the home you really get an understanding of what she deals with on a daily basis,” said Dyck. Not only did the trip make her aware of what people in this part of Kenya go through to get clean water, she also spent time thinking about a secondary source.
“What happens if the well is contaminated, or if it does not rain?” she asked. “There is no secondary supply and there is no infrastructure to help these people if the water fails. There is no safety net.” Dyck also experienced the extension work of the Foodgrains Bank by attending some of the meetings that Lucy Anengo and other women were attending. “Those meeting were a basic education, they were not limited to agricultural practices but dealt with how to calculate gross margins, micro financing and other issues of business,” she said. “I also learned how complicated these things can be for an NGO (non-governmental agency), what it goes through.” The program is called Partners on the Ground and deals with many issues Canadians would consider basic to agriculture such cover crops and conservation tillage. “I also learned that Lucy had to ask the men in her family for some land to try the new practices on,” said Dyck. “She was given a 1/4 of the
poorest land and expected to prove her new practices on that. It also seemed strange that the people making the decision to allocate the land to her were not aware of the practices she was willing to try. They had not attended the classes and did not know what she was hoping to do.” Not only were the men of the village in charge of land allocation there were certain crops deemed male and other female. “Men would not work with certain crops, those were for women,” said Dyck. “Women are not allowed to plant trees, that is a man’s crop and the women can be punished if they work with planting trees.” Dyck said that the irony of the situation was brought home when a woman told her how she had snuck away and planted trees in the past and now her family was able to cut those trees and use the lumber to build their home,” said Dyck. “But yet they do not understand that there is value in working together in something like that.” While Dyck was struck by the poverty and the day-today existence of the agricultural village she did find a feature she sees missing in Canadian communities. “They would all come together to work in someone’s field to either plant the crop or to harvest it,” she said. “It was almost reminiscent of the threshing crews on the prairies. We don’t have that community anymore but they are very rich in it.” The documentary of Dyck’s trip is in production and scheduled for October release in Winnipeg.
KAP Working with Province on Agricultural Trucking Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) acknowledged the recent announcement from the province that the new training requirements for commercial truckers with Class 1 licenses will be delayed a year for farmers. “The requirement is that
truckers will have to take 121.5 hours of training by September 1, and the province recognizes this would impact the 2019 farming season,” said KAP President Bill Campbell. “However, I do stress that farmers are concerned about safety both on and off the farm, and we
will work with the province over the coming year.” KAP also acknowledged the province’s plan to consult with the agriculture industry and is looking forward to developing training requirements that meet the unique needs of agricultural trucking.
April 26, 2019
April 26, 2019
Telling the Story of Farming Simply and Truthfully By Harry Siemens Myrna Grahn, the Manager of the University of Manitoba’s Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre said consumers want to learn more about the food they eat from someone they can trust. Grahn spoke recently at the 2019 Manitoba Swine Seminar in the session ‘Once Upon a Time: Our Story through the Eyes of an Advocate’. She said the vast majority of consumers acknowledge they know little about farming, but most want to know more about where their food comes from. “Consumers want to talk to someone they can trust, and they want to know that the information they’re getting is beneficial to their families,” said Grahn. “They’re feeding young children, or there are athletes, millennials, seniors, all concerned about what they’re eating and what is going into the food. They hear so much about what’s happening in the food industry and so it’s important when we talk to anyone about food, that we’re just telling the basic truth of what happens on our farm. That true transparency, answering the questions that are important to them and making sure that we are just polite, respectful, engaged in the conversation and that we share our values and beliefs.” She said those same people care about the animals just as they may have a pet that they
care about. That is how they want to make sure farmers treat their animals, very humanely and doing the right things on their farms. When asked who they trust, the Canadian consumer said they believe the farmers. “It doesn’t have to be speaking in front of the public. Rather it can be a conversation about what you do on the farm,” she said. “A lot of what we see on TV or online, which is where people are going to for information, isn’t always accurate, balanced, and current. It’s important that we, as farmers, as anyone working in the agriculture and food industry talks about what we do in a very engaging conversation and asks a lot of questions to find out what it is that most concerns the consumers about their food.” Grahn said as government bodies or other organizations come up with Food Guides that look a little different from before in order to keep bodies as healthy as possible changes the conversation. “So for the past year at those value chain round tables, all of the Ag sectors have been talking to the Federal government about that even before they launched it,” she said. “To try to make some changes to learn why and learn what was happening with the food guidance and some of the policies and recommendations that they will make. Now that it’s
here, we have to know that dietitians, home economists, home ec teachers are going to be using that information with their clients.” She said there might be different recommendations on helping sizes that are still vital for health. “How do you get the right amount of protein? So I find some of the Ag sectors and commodity groups are putting out information if you want protein, this is where you can get your best sources of protein, including all of them,” she said. “And people still have that choice. Yes. In the food guide we see less of some things, but people still have to get the same amount of protein or calcium or whatever it might be. And as long as we’re spelling out all of the different amounts that you’re getting in serving sizes, then I think it’s again, communicating that message and getting the story out.” She said it is essential to talk about everyday things that relate to people, because that is what is important to them, not the technical or scientific terms. “So if we can have the conversation, engage, don’t be afraid to talk about what we do on the farm or in our industry, because people need to hear it,” Grahn said. “There’s so much information out there, but it still feels that by word of mouth and meeting the real person wins out over all of the media that
Consumers want to talk to someone they can trust and hear beneficial information for their families said Myrna Grahn, the Manager of the University of Manitoba’s Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre.
they might see through social media, through websites, YouTube, whatever it may be. We have always thought, oh everyone loves food, trusts food. They’re just going to continue to eat it.” Grahn feels that for decades farmers forgot to tell their story about making the changes and why. “People see this big change in agriculture. They hear corporations and factory farms, and it gives a different impression in their mind than what that means on the ground or the farm. And I think we’ve missed a group of people that need to hear the messages and we need to talk to them in basic, simple terms,” she said.
Canola Front and Centre at KAP Advisory Meeting At Keystone Agricultural Producers’ (KAP) spring Advisory Council members discussed a wide range of issues, especially the current canola crisis. KAP President Bill Campbell noted that Federal Agriculture Minister MarieClaude Bibeau indicated she had forwarded a letter to her Chinese counterpart, requesting to send a delegation led by the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to talk about the quality of Canada’s canola.
“We believe in a sciencebased approach to regulation and market access, and we support a technical delegation to China,” said Campbell. It is evident that China’s allegations are not science-based or this would be sorted out by now.” “We need a diplomatic response as well, and we expect high-level elected officials to deal with China as soon as possible,” said Campbell. “Farmers want and need action immediately. We’re four weeks away from seeding,
and each week we don’t get a decision puts us in a more precarious situation.” KAP recognizes that the Advance Payments Program, a program that assists farmer with short-term cash flow, some of it interest free could be an important tool for some if the limit and the interest-free portion were increased, and the deadline extended. However, although this program may help in the short term, it will not help longer-term market disruptions. “If prices don’t improve from the low they are at now due to lack of demand, many farmers will have difficulties paying their advances back,” said Campbell. Another option could be the FederalProvincial AgriStability program. However, Campbell said that farmers are skeptical that AgriStabil-
ity will provide assistance in this situation and what, if any, assistance it may provide will be a long time coming. “The long and the short of it is that we need the government to be prepared for an ad-hoc program designed for this critical situation,” he said. “This situation has created uncertainty and we do not know the impact and will not know the impact until long after the canola acres are in and the new crop is off,” stressed Campbell. “We would ask AAFC to provide regular market updates so that we can continue to monitor the situation.” Another issue addressed at the meeting was a review of the Canadian Grain Act that created the Canadian Grain Commission to protect the quality and reputation of Canada’s grains. Farmers and the industry should go to firstname.lastname@example.org to have their say.
Proper Pesticide Use Protects Farmers’ Investment By always reading and following the label, Canadian growers protect their own investment and do their part to keep markets open for all. “The label has important information like a product’s rate, timing and registered crops,” said Brian Innes, Vice President, Public Affairs with the Canola Council of Canada. “Applying crop protection products without following label directions is illegal and may result in residue levels that are unacceptable to both domestic and export customers.” Improper or off-label use of crop protection products can jeopardize growers’ investments and market access for all agriculture commodities. Products of Concern The Canola Council of Canada, Cereals Canada and Pulse Canada are reminding growers that along with reading and following the label for all products applied to crops, there are some products that could create market risks if applied to certain crops.
“Growers need to know that using these products may jeopardize their crop marketing options and market access for all,” said Brenna Mahoney, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations with Cereals Canada. “If the product is not acceptable to our customers to begin with, following the label becomes irrelevant.” Growers should be aware of the following crop protection products of concern for the 2019 growing season: - Canola – Metconazole (i.e. Quash) Consult your grain buyer before application. - Wheat – Glyphosate (i.e. Roundup) Only apply when seed moisture content is below 30% in the least mature plants in the field. - Malt Barley – Glyphosate (i.e. Roundup), Saflufenacil (i.e. Heat) Will not be accepted by grain buyers if treated preharvest. - Oats – Glyphosate (i.e. Roundup) May not be accepted by grain buyers if treated preharvest.
- All Pulses – Glyphosate (i.e. Roundup) Only apply when seed moisture content is below 30% in the least mature plants in the field. “Glyphosate is registered for pre-harvest weed control. Glyphosate is not a desiccant nor is it a tool to speed up crop drydown,” said Mac Ross Manager, Market Access & Trade Policy with Pulse Canada. “It is critical to ensure the least mature plants in the field are below 30% seed moisture content before you spray.” Canadian canola, cereals and pulses have a world-class reputation for quality and safety, and Canadian growers make significant investments to produce their crops to these high standards. Let’s all do our part to maintain Canada’s reputation as a trusted supplier of canola, cereals and pulses. Visit keepingitclean.ca/followthe-label to learn more about how following label directions help to protect grower investments and keep markets open for all.
MFGA’s Green Gold Program Removes the Guess Work A long-running, alfalfamonitoring program to help producers harvest high quality hay continues to march forward in Manitoba. Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association (MFGA)’s Green Gold Program is launching Year 24 of predicting “Hay Day”, the best cut date when harvested pure alfalfa stands are at optimum quality, 150 Relative Feed Value (RFV). The potential boost to producer productivity is why MFGA continues to deliver this long-standing program, especially with the dairy hay market being so competitive. “We want the best feed values being used provincially and within our dairy hay exports,” said John McGregor, MFGA extension lead, and the long-time overseer of the Green Gold Program. “When it comes to haying, Mother Nature is the biggest determining factor for good quality forage.” The key, according to McGregor, is understanding how quickly alfalfa quality in their field is dropping or where it is at any given point for producers to decide when to cut. As an example, if the forecast calls for rain in three days and a producer is aware that
the alfalfa is at 180 and dropping five points per day they have a choice of either cutting and putting the forage up right away at a quality above what they may want or they can wait and take up the forage at a quality that is slightly below what they were targeting. Every May and June, McGregor leads a team of provincial staff and volunteer producers who clip samples from selected fields across Manitoba, twice each week on Monday and Wednesday or Thursday and delivered to Central Testing Laboratory in Winnipeg before 11:00 am that day. Regional results are emailed to more than 500 producers and industry people, including alfalfa, dairy, beef and sheep producers twice each week through Mc-
Gregor. Results are also posted on the MFGA website and communicated via agricultural publications. Lawrence Knockaert runs a dairy and beef operation near Bruxelles. He sits on the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (DFM) Board of Directors and serves as the DFM producer rep on the MFGA board. Knockaert uses the MFGA Green Gold Program to hone in on the best time for his first alfalfa cut. “The thing I really like is the reports are current and really point out when we should do our first cut based on the highest feed value,” said Knockaert. “It removes the guessing point for the producer, especially when it comes to varying weather and conditions. We know immediately when we should cut via Green Gold.”
April 26, 2019
Interest in Gardening Grows in Manitoba By Joan Airey At the recent “Growing Great Gardens” Hort Day hosted by Westman Gardeners Mick Manfield, President of the Board of Gardens Manitoba many important tips were shared with attendees. Manfield did a slide presentation on the Royal Horticultural Society Wisley Gardens where he volunteered before immigrating to Canada from England. During his presentation on seed starting basics he suggested little seeds should be directly planted into a flat or pot in soilless mix. When the plants have reached the two true leaf stage, they can be thinned or separated and transplanted into individual pots containing potting soil. While large seeds or plants that do not like their roots disturbed should be planted in their own container in potting soil and let to grow without thinning or transplanting. Large seeds like melon, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber and squash should be planted on their side not flat. Any container which is two and half inches deep is good for starting seeds he explained. Manfield did stress the importance of disinfecting containers before planting with a mild bleach solution. Seedlings in seed flats need to be transplanted into 4” containers by the time they have two true leaves. This will give your seedlings more room to grow, stimulate the feeder roots and improve ventilation said Manfield. “Don’t try to germinate your seeds on the window sill; the outdoor temperature will make the area cool. Most seeds are genetically programmed to germinate only in warm soil so start seedlings in a warm area but grow them where it is cool,” continued Manfield. “You should water from the bottom until the plant has two true leaves. Don’t use softened water as it will contain salt. Personally I melt snow or catch rain water for my plants.” “Make sure you use a water soluble seed starting fertilizer when seeds are started in sterile mix as they need to be fertilized,” he said. “Evolve is what I use and it is a Manitoba product. It can be found at Sage Garden, T & T Seeds in Winnipeg or Lindenberg’s in Brandon for example.” Other important tips are that you need fourteen to sixteen hours of light a day for bedding plants. Mix the type of light bulbs used. Cool white bulbs provide light in the blue/green range and encourage leaf growth, a grow light or warm light provides light in the red range, which encourages flowering. By mixing the type of light bulbs this gives a full spectrum of light. He explained that style T5 and LED lights last longer but are more expensive and growers should ensure that their output is rated at 6,400K. “I can’t stress the importance of Hardening Off your plants to make them ready to plant outside too much,” he said. “At least a week before you plan to plant them into the grounds they need to gradually get used to the sun, wind and various outdoor temperatures. This can be done in a cold frame or you can also use row covers or you can also place your plants in a shaded, sheltered part of your garden for a few hours each day, gradually moving them into more sun. These unprotected plants will have to be brought back indoors each night unless you know it is going to stay above 10 °C all night long.” To hear Mick Manfield speak on “Starting Seeds” and “Composting” he will be guest speaker at “Leap into Spring” hosted by Hartney Horticultural Society at Hartney Centennial Centre on Saturday May 4. Registration starts at 9:30 am and the $10 cost includes lunch. The workshop program runs from 9:45 am to 3:30 pm. Other guest speakers are Greg and Jolene Thiessen from “Real Garlic” and Tannis Podobni from the “Pumpkin Patch”. There will be horticultural displays, sales and door prizes. For further information contact Claris Isabey at 204-741-0671. Another great event on growing Hydrangeas is taking place on May 2 at 7 pm with Coleen Zacharias, Master Gardener who will be speaking at Westman Gardeners Central Community Centre, 529-4th Street, Brandon.
Master Gardener Mick Manfield shows participants at Westman Gardeners Hort Day a great way to make sure they remember when to plant their seeds indoors on the best possible date. He pointed out the importance of reading the seed package to know the proper date and how to plant them. Photo by Joan Airey
April 26, 2019
Manitoba agriculture news and features