March 30, 2018
Increasing Productivity to Remain Competitive
Canadian Pork Highly Valued by Japanese Consumer
Claude Vielfaure from Hylife, Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Canadian Pork Council Chair Rick Bergmann check out a Hylife restaurant in Tokyo.
By Harry Siemens In March, in observance of the signing of the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership and to celebrate Canadian pork’s ongoing relations with Japan, a delegation representing the sector traveled to Japan to meet with customers.
Scott Peters, a Steinbach area pork producer and Executive Director of Manitoba Pork, said it was only after arriving in Tokyo that he became aware of the significance of Canadian pork to the Japanese market. “From the very first meeting in Japan until the day we left, Japanese represen-
tatives told us how important and how great the quality of Canadian pork is to the people of Japan,” said Peters. “Specifically the marbling, the texture, and the fact that there’s no odor to it is specific to that market. When they slice the pork in Japan, they want it extremely thin, and that’s called shabu shabu. Because our product is firm and the fat is firm, it slices extremely well, and so Continued on Page 2...
Canadian farmers need to continue to focus on efficiencies and increased production of commodities in order to remain competitive within a rising tide of production around the world, according to J.P. Gervais, Chief Agricultural Economist for Farm Credit Canada (FCC). “Our long-held reputation as a safe and reliable producer of high-quality food opens the door to existing and new export markets, but competitive pressures are mounting,” Gervais said. “The game is quickly changing and it’s becoming more and more evident that it’s mostly about volume and value added.” Recent years of record-high production have boosted global stocks of many agriculture commodities. But even as the planted acreage of major crops in the US is expected to be lower than its high in 2012-14, when it averaged almost 257 million acres, improvements in yields allow for continued growth in overall production. That is why it is important for Canadian agriculture to invest in innovation for continued growth in productivity. Gervais said increasing productivity does not necessarily mean farmers need to expand their operations. “Canadian producers need to find ways of reducing costs while increasing productivity from their existing operations, whether that means increasing the yield per acre or getting more butterfat from a litre of milk,” he said. “Investments in innovation and technology will go a long way in ensuring Canadian agriculture remains productive, competitive and sustainable.” Gervais said changing food preferences are also driving investment decisions. For example, milk production in Canada is trending upward, requiring further investment in processing capacity. Canadian consumers also seek healthy and convenient food products, which are expected to trigger more investments in pre-packaged and easy-to-prepare foods. The food manufacturing sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 5.4 per cent higher than at the same time in 2016. “The climate for investment in Canadian food processing is positive, given a Canadian dollar under US$0.80, continued low interest rates and growing demand in the US,” said Gervais, who projects exports of food manufactured products to the US could increase again in 2018, despite the uncertainty surrounding current negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He believes this type of investment in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector will help keep the industry competitive and, in many cases, a world leader in agriculture innovation and technology. “Increasing productivity and adding value to agricultural products is the avenue that will grow Canadian farm revenues,” Gervais said.
March 30, 2018
Canadian Pork Highly Valued... the people of Japan prepare their meat exactly like that just to get that full taste.” Peters said Canadian pork producers are hitting the nail
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on the head for that market and essentially hitting it right out of the park so to speak. “From my perspective, as an owner-operator, I would
say we should just keep doing what we are good at and keep the ball rolling because we’re doing an excellent job,” he said. “Regarding trade to Japan, I would say we’ve only scraped the surface of that market potential. They will continue to buy more of our product, and as long as we keep doing it right, I think there will be lots of opportunity there.” Peters said when he and fellow pork producers stepped into a cold storage unit filled with hundreds of thousands of boxes of pork, he saw boxes from Maple Leaf, Olymel, and HyLife; it struck him with a sense of pride in the knowledge that he was a part of producing that product. Rick Bergmann of Steinbach, chair of the Canadian Pork Council said the group on the trade mission to Japan included 15 producers from across Canada. “We spent our time primarily in Tokyo and what a testament to going to the Costco stores in Tokyo seeing Canadian branded pork, the verified Canadian pork brand on a lot of the meat,” said Bergmann. “So for me, it was great to see the brands of HyLife, Maple Leaf and Olymel and others is a testament of all the hard work that producers are
doing here in Canada to provide a product recognized as superior in Japan.” The Steinbach area producer said things are getting a little easier with the Manitoba Pork Council creating a group to help with all the red tape. As a producer, Bergmann said when he wants to build a barn, don’t dwell too much on the paperwork but think about the placement, which piece of land, what equipment is necessary, and where the product is going. This group created by the MPC is there to help producers with the red tape and paperwork and making sure the timing is right.
In Japan, one of the major importers they met with had one question: with the demand for Canadian pork increasing in their retail stores in Tokyo can Canadian producers supply the increase in pork? “So when you have a customer concerned about a depleting supply, that means they like your product and want it to continue in larger quantities. So there’s a lot of good things right now that pork producers can be happy about,” said Bergmann. He agrees with Peters that growing up with farmer sausage then going to Japan and having shabu-shabu is quite an experience.
“What I found out very quickly with the group is the firmness of the meat, cut into very thin slices, the firmness of the Canadian product is that where it doesn’t matter how thin you slice it, it still maintains its texture and firmness,” said Bergmann. The Japanese said the pork from numerous other countries they receive product from wasn’t able to do that. “So they recognize ours as the premium product, and that’s a testament to the work of our producers and processors,” he said. “It’s a lot of things that have to come together to have that product and market into a marketplace like Japan.”
The trade team takes an opportunity to check out Canadian Pork on in the coolers at a Japanese Costco.
Renewable Technology at Soybean Based Epoxy Lab Funded More than $167,000 in new equipment will help a local epoxy and resin company increase the renewable content of its products, improve efficiency and create new jobs, Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced together recently, noting funds will be provided through Growing Forward 2, a fiveyear Federal-Provincial-Territorial initiative. “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting innovation and efficiency in the agriculture, agri-food and bio-products sector. Initiatives like these help strengthen our economy and create good middle-class jobs for Manitobans, and will reduce our environmental footprint,” said MacAulay. “Manitoba is proud to support the growth of our Ag research and bio-product industries with investments like this,” said Eichler. “The important work being done at EcoPoxy advances both our economic and environmental goals in agriculture, and builds on Manitoba’s strategic advantages. These include our growing conditions and access to bio-products such as soybean oil, world-class testing and research facilities, and innovative Manitobans who are committed to capitalizing on new ideas and opportunities.” EcoPoxy produces epoxies and coatings from bio-based ingredients such as soybean oil and other renewable materials, which are used for floor coatings, artwork, boat building, countertops, tables and many other applications. The funding will be used to purchase and install lab equipment to test product quality, and automated processing and packaging equipment, improving overall production levels by 80 per cent and reducing packaging costs by 75 per cent. “EcoPoxy will benefit greatly with the addition of this equipment,” said Jack Maendel, Chief Executive Officer, EcoPoxy. “The testing equipment will allow us to immediately test newly developed epoxy samples and get the results within 24 to 48 hours, instead of the current process which is at great cost and takes three to four weeks. The filling equipment will speed up our process to fulfil orders, which is currently being done by hand.” EcoPoxy is based near Morris and currently employs 15 people. The minister noted that two new jobs are expected to be created as a result of this investment. Many of the company’s ingredients are grown in the province and its products are manufactured with bio-based materials such as soybean oil, cashew nut oil and recycled eggshells. Currently, some of EcoPoxy’s products are considered 53 per cent renewable content. The minister noted this investment will support the company’s goal of producing a fully renewable product.
Industry Puts Plans in Place for PEDv
Difference between a litter affected by PEDv (left) and a healthy litter (right).
Photo by John Carr
By Harry Siemens Dr. Glen Duizer, an animal health surveillance veterinarian with the Chief Veterinary Office of Manitoba said time will tell whether Manitoba’s swine industry will ultimately eliminate the PED virus. On April 29, 2017, the first of what would grow to 80 cases of PEDv, becoming the largest animal disease outbreak in the province in 30 years, was reported in southeastern Manitoba. Dr. Duizer told the 2018 Manitoba Swine Seminar in February in Winnipeg that the PEDv outbreak peaked at the end of June and before tapering off there was another bump in mid-September. “The good news is of the 80 sites, 44 of them have reached presumptive negative status,” he said. “The producers, herd veterinarians, service providers, transporters, feed companies have all worked very hard to contain this disease because it takes on average four to six months to get there.” Dr. Duizer thinks that only one farm had a recurrence
of the disease. “I would be speculating to say that we’re out of the woods, but I remain hopeful,” he said. “This upcoming year will be the telling piece while we wait to see if all the changes made within farms, around farms will be effective in preventing the disease from coming back.” Robyn Harte, a swine industry focus specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, told the same audience there were 80 operations confirmed positive, over 1 million pigs under surveillance and, at its height, an industry wondering what they could do to protect their operation. “When an operation breaks with a disease, we conduct a review of the farm’s activities, staff behaviours, and protocols,” said Harte. “This gives a snapshot of what occurred on the farm before infection to pinpoint a window of time for potential disease entry and the contributing factors.” She said as the outbreaks grew, questions arose regard-
Robyn Harte, a swine industry focus specialist with Manitoba Agriculture. said that we do not have a full understanding of the progression Photo by Harry Siemens of PEDv through a herd yet.
ing why were barns close by to positive operations not contracting PEDv. What was happening on negative operations, if anything, that was providing a protective effect? They also wondered if there could be enough difference in protocols between operations to produce a protective effect. “To examine this question further, we surveyed to evaluate the bios-
one quickly becomes humbled and unsettled and will remember for a long time the awareness of industry gaps that accompanied the 2017 outbreaks. “Communication and collaboration are key to any successful disease outbreak and elimination strategy,” she said. “All parties require trust of each other and continual open and safe channels of communication.” Next, said Demare is support to any employee or person involved should be quickly granted to ensure the mental well-being of farm workers. The protocols implemented are a tiring process, and staff turnover would slow down disease elimination success. “All must practice biosecurity, internal and external, seven days a week, 365 days a year to reduce disease spread on a site,” she said. “The benefits to following McRebel principles can increase piglet quality and reduce antibiotic use on the farm.” Demare concluded that the industry collaboration and information sharing is a highly valuable tool. She
Jennifer Demare with Swine Health Professionals in Steinbach said communication and collaboration are key to any successful disease outbreak and elimination strategy. Photo by Harry Siemens
ecurity protocols of negative operations versus those of the positive operations. The survey questions focused on key biosecurity areas, entry and exit protocols of staff and animals, cleaning and washing protocols for barns and transportation, interactions of staff, service providers and the barn environment,” said Harte. Jennifer Demare, of Swine Health Professionals in Steinbach, reflected on what they learned in tackling this PEDv outbreak and from the cleanup. Demare said like any disease outbreak every-
asks, “What if the next disease is a foreign animal disease? What cost would this bring to the Canadian swine industry?” Finally, international livestock consultant Dr. John Carr said he would never have moved nursery and finisher pigs to another site even if the lab reports are negative. “All the finishing pigs should go at the lowest weight possible in Manitoba not at the best weight maximizing profit,” said Dr. Carr. “We need to consider the greater good personally.”
March 30, 2018
March 30, 2018
Farmers Set Priorities to Build Resilient Industry International trade, transportation, climate change, mental health and government programs emerged as priorities during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) 2018 Annual General Meeting, held in Ottawa recently. “Farmers in all parts of Canada recognize that by building on each other’s strengths, we can not only meet the challenges we face today, but lay the foundation for an even more resilient sector going forward,” said Ron Bonnett, CFA President. During his opening keynote, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay highlighted the productive relationship between farm organizations and governments, particularly on rapidly evolving issues such as international trade. He also spoke about new programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and current research initiatives. Farm leaders also heard from Agriculture and Agri-Food Deputy Minister Chris Forbes, who gave an update of
Above, right to left: Parliamentary Secretary Jean-Claude Poissant, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, and CFA President Ron Bonnett.
the Business Risk Management programs review process. CFA members passed 42 resolutions that will guide its advocacy efforts in the coming year. This year’s resolutions cover a range of areas, including trade, business risk management, transportation, tax policy, sustainability, crop protection, labour, animal health, rural infrastructure and other topics. Among the other AGM speakers were John Barlow and Luc Berthold, the Conservative party agriculture critics, Alistair MacGregor, the NDP’s agriculture critic and Mike Hoffort, President and CEO of Farm Credit Canada. Dr. Lois Morton, of the North American Climate Smart
Agriculture Alliance, spoke about the application of climate science to the agriculture and forestry sectors. In a special session prior to the AGM, CFA held a symposium on mental health in agriculture. Attendees heard from farmers, health and safety experts and leaders from several organizations that offer mental health support to agricultural communities. CFA announced a new partnership with the Do More Ag Foundation that will introduce a new award for best practices in mental health, the Brigid Rivoire Memorial Award and a research fund to support a stronger knowledge base in this area.
Farm Leaders Underwhelmed by Federal Budget Dear Editor: The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is pleased that Budget 2018 includes moderate investments that will support the agricultural sector, but they’re disappointed that the government hasn’t directly followed up on the vision from last year’s budget, which set ambitious targets to grow the industry for the benefit of all Canadians. In its pre-budget submission, CFA recommended a range of strategic options to expand the sector’s profitability and competitiveness investments that would strengthen opportunities in an industry that already supports 1 in 8 Canadian jobs. However, agriculture and agri-food received relatively few mentions in the Minister’s speech and budget plan. CFA is pleased to see commitments that will modernize regulatory systems, recognize innovation, support the pursuit of new markets, and allow more access to capital for women entrepreneurs. The continued focus on research and innovation is also positive, and we look forward to working with the government to better understand how Canadian agriculture can benefit from various initiatives. On small business tax reforms, CFA is pleased that changes regarding passive investment incomes have been further clarified. However, more time is needed to review the legislation with more scrutiny. We will continue to monitor the activities of Canada’s agri-food economic strategy table and other key initiatives launched in 2017 to ensure the $75 billion export target for agri-food and other growth targets are realized. Ron Bonnett President Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA)
More Curling Please Most Canadians love curling, and say terrific things about the sport. But what does it have to do with politics? During the recent Olympics, the game caught the eye of the editors at Reason, a Libertarian magazine based in Los Angeles. They suggest that curling has a lot to teach us about politics and how people could get along better with each other in a fractious world. Reason points out, rightly, that, “The culture of curling rejects appeals to authority and encourages civility even in the midst of intense competition.” As an example, they point to an incident between the Canadian and Danish women’s Olympic teams that happened so quickly most people probably missed it. The controversial moment happened in the fifth end. Danish skip Madeleine Dupont was sweeping one of her team’s rocks as it was going into the house and right before it stopped, her broom made contact with the rock. She immediately told her Canadian counterpart, Rachel Homan, about the infraction. Curlers call this “burning” a rock. When it happens, the opposing team’s skip can do one of three things. Everything can be left alone the way it stands, and play continues, the rock can be removed from play completely or the skip can choose to put the burned rock and any other rocks it might have hit back where they were prior to the burn, although both skips must agree on these placements. In this case, the burned rock had just about stopped before it had been touched. The touch may not have had any effect on the final resting place of the rock, or made only a very slight difference. In many cases, the rock is either left alone or some minor adjustment is made and the game carries on. This is considered good sportsmanship and a sound strategy, because the next time your team may be the one that burns a rock. It’s an unspoken reciprocal agreement. In this case, however, the Canadian skip decided to exercise her option to remove the burned rock. While legal, and totally within her right to do so, the decision was still controversial in the curling world, eliciting a hearty round of “Tsk, tsk”ing far and wide. CBC’s commentator, Joan McCusker, an Olympic gold medalist herself, said, “They should have left it in play. It doesn’t look good on you.” Others took to social media and joined the chorus of disapproval, with some old timers predictably blaming this new younger generation of curlers for disrespecting the “spirit of the sport.” What didn’t happen is what caught the attention of Reason magazine, “There were no referees blowing whistles, no instant replay reviews from six different angles. There was no appeal to authority of any kind, not even by the Danish skip who felt, well, burned by what had happened (though Denmark rallied to win
March 30, 2018
Pass the Bread
Penner’s Points By Rolf Penner
the game, 9-8).” More than any other sport, they concluded, curling comes the closest to the Libertarian worldview. Maybe even the highly misunderstood Libertarian preference that people should live as close as possible to a “state of anarchy.” Curling has all sorts of rules. Even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, Libertarians also believe there must be rules in the world. However, just like in curling, they don’t believe that there needs to be very much in the way of enforcement for things to work. Even when the stakes are high, and you’re playing at the highest level of competition. Officials in curling have a role that acts more like an appeals process than an original judgment. It’s only when the two teams can’t agree on which stone should get the point in a given end that an official may be called upon to make a measurement and settle the dispute. For the most part, though, the seconds and skips on the respective teams settle contentious matters. Consider our toxic political culture, and how refreshing it would be if the players called, their own fouls like curlers do, instead of pouncing on every little mistake their opponents made. What if politicians behaved with the same level of good sportsmanship? “A mutual expectation that both sides will respect the unwritten rules of the game,” as Reason describes it. This may sound a little utopian. But those crazy Libertarians are on to something with their idea of “civilized rivalries - of ambition counteracting ambition, without any need for a higher authority to restrain it.” And why not just like curling, once things are settled, everyone goes for a beer afterwards? That’s a world well worth working towards.
Sometimes one has to go away to appreciate how good things are at home, and that is indeed the case these past couple of months as I spent some time in the southern United States. I cannot say that I missed the weather of southern Manitoba, Texas won that one hands down, but there were times at the dinner table that I longed for things Canadian. I like bread, and we take good bread for granted in this country, and that good bread starts with good wheat and the good job Canadian farmers do growing it. One needs to travel a bit to find how good the bread in this country is and how our standards would judge other products as less than acceptable. There is little wonder why Britain still uses Canadian wheat for its baking standards and contracts production in our province. Snowbirds had told me that they take Canadian flour down to their trailer parks in the south, but I had never thought much of it. I thought it a personal preference but now I understand it a quality issue. Before I get accused of making too much of this bread issue, I will make the claim that I do enjoy bread and good bread is more enjoyable. I did enjoy the bread when I worked in Russia and on more than one occasion was told that I must be from the poor class because of the amount of bread I ate and how I enjoyed it. By Russian standards, moving up the economic ladder meant no longer relying on bread as a mainstay. I happened to think it was the best food they had. Whichever the explanation, the people I worked with thought I consumed a generous amount of bread. So do I. Bread has been used as a symbol in many stories and two major religions rely heavily on its imagery. This is one of those years when the high festivals of Christianity and Judaism fall on the same weekend, and the bread image will be used in both places of worship. Yes, bread has been elevated to higher than a mix of flour and water by religions and I might list it as one of the higher food groups. The Lord Earl of Sandwich, who invented the sandwich by asking a servant to place a slice of meat between two pieces of bread so he could continue gaming (gambling) is one of my most respected royal characters. I think bread is an important part of the diet, and I think Canadian farmers do a great job of raising quality wheat to make the bread I am used to. Good planting.
Wheat Growers Very Much Relevant in Today’s Farming Environment
We attended the annual meeting of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association (WCWGA) in Washington DC and I wrote this column from our hotel listening, reading and watching reports of snow and more snow at home. One reason for going to the WCWGA’s convention was to find out if the organization that I’ve followed, worked with is still relevant. Why do I say that you may ask, well for one the big issue the Wheat Growers tackled since the day I discovered them getting marketing freedom for all farmers. That happened with the removal of the old CWB in 2012
thanks to former Ag Minister Gerry Ritz, former Prime Minister Harper, and a host of farmers who believed it was right. It’s refreshing to mingle, work with, listen and interact with those making the WCWGA still very much alive and relevant in today’s farming environment. The farm associations, commodity groups, and now commissions all have their place working on behalf of commodity and crop-specific farmers. However, the Wheat Growers, a voluntary funded group can take on the issues that matter to their membership specifically, don’t have to be politically correct, and can move on the issue always benefiting other farmers, too. Grain transportation or the lack thereof in the current go-around high on the list for every farmer in western
Canada got an excellent airing-out at the convention in DC. Jeff Nielsen is the President of the Grain Growers of Canada. Also, a Wheat Growers member gave me his perspective on the current situation. “Well, it’s a very frustrating fallout right now. You look at CN’s performance numbers on car movement, have dropped off the map. We’re hearing parts of northern Saskatchewan, northern Alberta that hasn’t seen trains for quite some time, and contracts that are backing up. People are still waiting to deliver their December contracts, and now we’re into March, it snowballs and pushes everything back,” Nielsen said. “We need to see Bill C-49 pass with a couple of minor amendments that we propose. One is just a better definition
of a long haul inter switching and allowing soybeans under the MRE, [maximum revenue entitlement]. Soybeans in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are one of the fastest growing crops and moving into Alberta fast too, and we need to see those producers have the same benefits from the MREs that the rest of us do.” Bill C-49 is in front of the Senate waiting for revision and passage. As its written right now, initially introduced in the House of Commons last spring, would give grain shippers the right to charge railways with reciprocal penalties for poor service. Also, increase the powers of the Canadian Transportation Agency, and clarify the definition of “adequate and suitable” service by railways. Changes that grain industry stakeholders
and farm groups have been requesting for many years. Jeff told me things are pretty good on his farm. “I’m on a CP line, so it hasn’t been too bad. But we’re seeing traffic coming over from CN line, which is 40 miles away, to our facilities, because those producers are having troubles moving grain on their rail line,” he said. So as I said, the Wheat Growers are still very relevant, and I’m looking forward to hearing and writing about their work on behalf of their farmer members. PS: Just because the Harper Conservatives with then Ag Minister Gerry Ritz put the single desk selling system, the CWB monopoly the way of the dodo bird, and last but not least marketing freedom for all farmers in Canada, the work of the Wheat Growers doesn’t stop.
March 30, 2018
Service Canada Conducts Surprise Inspections Under Temporary Worker’s Program By Harry Siemens Reports suggesting a policy that allows Service Canada officers to conduct surprise inspections and require employers of temporary foreign staff to allow investigators to search their computers, electronic devices, and all documents or risk losing their workers is causing severe concern within Canada’s agriculture industry. Rick Bergmann of Steinbach, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council said initially even the thought of something like this happening where officers from Canada Service can come onto farms without warning, to check hiring of people under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) is unthinkable. “Yeah, we did but again when you see something like this, it’s almost so surreal it doesn’t make sense,” said Bergmann. “You question how to respond, but there’s no way that somebody is going to walk into any multi-million dollar hog farm in Canada and take their position in front of the computer and go through the records there. It’s so far fetched I can hardly believe it’s accurate but they can do this.” He said with the PED virus outbreak in different parts of Canada including Manitoba, people know how easily it spreads. “Imagine somebody not educated on biosecurity and attempting to reach places, so I think it’s a huge liability concern for people within the Service Canada to do this because producers work long and hard to ensure that the biosecurity of their farms is well taken care of,” said Bergmann. “I’m trying to understand the foundation of all of this, and I understand now that Service Canada is wanting to ensure people don’t mistreat the temporary foreign workers and I applaud that. I think every employee in Canada needs to be looked after well and I know that there’s significant investment from the pork industry. When a producer wants to employee temporary foreign workers, there’s a significant engagement that needs to take place to have these people on farm and also look after them well.” Biosecurity is also big concern because an untrained inspector could arrive at a farm un-announced and even if the producer is not on site. Both the Provincial government and the Federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency have extensive science based biosecurity standards and protocols in place to protect agriculture throughout Manitoba. There has been no assurance that inspectors are trained properly in these protocols. Bergmann also a hog producer said there is obligations, and appreciates they are wanting to ensure there is no mistreatment but he has concerns about the awareness within Service Canada on what the proper protocols are when entering a producer’s facility and yard. “I think it’s fantastic that we have people that are wanting to look after temporary foreign worker placements well,” he said. “But I think the solution isn’t rolling into farms across Canada and with a heavy stick and ability to look at the computer records and that sort of thing, which is somewhat bizarre. We wait for the telling of the rest of the story.” Gerry Demare, a grain and special crops farmer near Somerset, said there is a push for Canada wide environmental farm plans. “Probably allow a government official to search a farmer’s purchases and charge the tax on US side products. The precedent is the Service Canada officials are gaining access to farm books already,” said Demare. Employers of temporary foreign workers received an email from Service Canada on February 14, with a reminder of the requirements and responsibilities and that a surprise search of the premises, documents, computers or “other electronic devices” without a warrant or any warning could occur. Legislation was introduced after abuse of workers was reported in 2013. Under the International Mobility Program (IMP), all employers, apart from those exempted, who make an offer of employment to a foreign national is subject to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) and must comply with the conditions imposed. Inspections are conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer or an Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada officer acting on behalf of Immigration and Refugee Protection. If found non-compliant the company’s name and penalty will be published on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions when a monetary penalty and/or a ban is assessed. Since the legislation was passed, 59 companies have been found noncompliant with three directly related to agriculture.
Canadian Farm Groups Ready for New Markets By Les Kletke Canadian farm commodity groups are positioning themselves to take advantage of recent trade agreements. The signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Chile in early March has several commodity groups anticipating new and increasing markets. The Canadian Pork Council was part of a trade mission to Japan and met with Ag Minister Lawrence MacAulay on the first day of the mission. “During this trade advocacy mission, delegates will be able to understand the new opportunities being created by the signature of the CPTPP and how to further develop the market. Pork producers will also witness the importance of on-farm programs for international customers and see how their product is marketed to buyers in Japan,” said Rick Bergmann, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council. Canadian producers export over 70% of the pork produced in this country and Japan is the second largest market purchasing over 250,000 tonnes annually at a value of more than $1.2 billion but the organization sees room for further growth. Canadian Pork goes to more than 100 countries currently. Cereals Canada also applauded the deal and urges speedy implementation. Cam Dahl, President of Cereals Canada said, “The CPTPP agreement will improve access and trading conditions between Canada and key partners such as Japan. The agreement’s benefits and influence are also expected to grow as potential new entrants such as Indonesia seek to join,” he added. “This agreement demonstrates how like-minded partners across the Asia-Pacific region can continue to work together to promote the benefits of trade.” Once the agreement enters into force, Canada will gain new opportunities for diversification and growth through reduced tariffs and stronger science-based trading rules.” An umbrella group, the Canadian Agri Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) had representatives in Chile at the signing of the agreement and sees it as a real opportunity for all aspects of Canadian agriculture, from production through processing. The group claims representation of over 90% of the famers in this country and more than a million jobs in the processing sector. “Now we need the Canadian government and Parliament to make it happen,” said Brian Innes, President of CAFTA. Canadian agri-food exporters generate a GDP of $ 96 billion. The food and beverage sector are the largest employer in Canada with close to a quarter of a million jobs, more than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined. The deal will enter into force 60 days after six countries ratify it and several members are expected to do so by the summer.
Learning Outside of the Classroom Leads to Industry Connection A University of Manitoba student has partnered with Manitoba Beef & Forages Initiatives (MBFI) in a unique learning opportunity that brings together academic learning and industry experience. Mikayla Rouire, second year Diploma in Agriculture student, utilized a special project course offering in the School of Agriculture to create her own project with MBFI last fall. Over the past year, she interacted with industry members, attended a producer event, developed communications materials and organized an on-campus information booth. Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives is a Brandon-based collaborative effort between Manitoba Agriculture, the Manitoba Beef Producers, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association, with input and leadership from producers, academia and other industry stakeholders across Canada. “At MBFI, we utilize science-based research and innovative farming practices within the beef and forage industry to boost producers’ economic success and environmental sustainability, and to engage the next generation of consumers on topics of public trust,” said Ramona Blyth, MBFI Chairperson and a beef producer from MacGregor. “So for MBFI to build this relationship with the University of Manitoba students via Mikayla is a valuable step on all of our key fronts.” The win-win for both parties was clear to Rouire. “This project has given me the opportunity to forge valuable relationships with members of the industry that wouldn’t arise in a classroom setting. I strongly believe the special project option has allowed me to gain real world experience in the agriculture industry,” said Rouire. Rouire noted that public engagement is a critical part of MBFI’s mandate. “I quickly learned that the success of this industry in our evolving society relies on having an educated consumer base. Knowledge exchange was at the heart of some of the assignments that I completed as part of this project.” The Agriculture Diploma Special Project is a three-credit hour course, which allows a student to make practical application of scientific knowledge acquired to intensify the study of a topic of particular interest. Students must be active participants in developing the course and project requirements so that it can meet their individual learning objectives.
March 30, 2018
March 30, 2018
New Cattle Feed Supplement Has Methane Falling and Optimism Rising Beef and dairy farmers around the world are looking for ways to reduce methane emissions from their herds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is a global priority. To help meet this goal, researchers from Canada and Australia teamed-up for a comprehensive three-year study to find the best feeding practices that reduce methane emissions while still supporting profitable dairy and beef cattle production. “We need to know how feed affects methane production, but we also need to know how it affects other aspects of the farm operation, like daily gains in animals, milk production and feed efficiency. Farmers want to help the environment, and they need to know what the trade-offs will be, which is why we took a holistic approach looking at the overall impacts,” explained Dr. Karen Beauchemin, Beef Researcher from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Researchers and farm system modellers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agriculture Victoria (Australia), and the University of Melbourne, worked together to examine three feed supplements. One of the feed supplements, a methane inhibitor called 3-nitrooxypropanol (3NOP) could reduce costs and increase profits. 3NOP is a promising commercial feed supplement that can be given to cattle to inhibit the enzyme methyl coenzyme M reductase, an enzyme responsible for creating methane in the animal’s rumen (first stomach). After blocking the enzyme, 3NOP quickly breaks down in the animal’s rumen to simple compounds that are already present in nature. AAFC’s Dr. Beauchemin studied the short and long-term impacts of feeding 3NOP to beef cattle and shared her findings within the broader study. “We now have clear evidence that 3NOP can have a long-term positive effect on reducing methane emissions and improving animal performance,” explained Beauchemin. “We saw a 30-50% reduction in methane over a long period of time and a 3-5% improvement in feed efficiency.” Producing milk, gaining weight, and creating methane all take energy that a cow fuels by eating. Cattle eating a diet that contained the 3NOP supplement produced less methane. Because there was less methane, more energy could be used by the animal for growth. When using this supplement, cattle consumed less feed to gain a pound of body weight compared to control animals. “What is also great is that the inhibitor worked just as effectively no matter what type of feed the cattle were eating,” said Dr. Beauchemin. “We don’t know the actual market price of the supplement yet because it is still going through approvals for registration in Canada and the US. That will be important for farmers who want to calculate the cost-benefit of using 3NOP to reduce methane emissions from their cows and enhance profits.” To get to this point in the research the nitrate cycle was studied extensively. Microorganisms in the cattle’s rumen need nitrogen to be able to efficiently break down food for the animal to absorb. Nitrate is a form of non-protein nitrogen similar to that found in urea, a compound used in cattle diets. When nitrate is fed to cattle, it is converted to ammonia, which is then used by the microorganisms. During this process, nitrogen in the nitrate works like a powerful magnet that is able to hold onto and attract hydrogen. This leaves less hydrogen available in the rumen to attach to carbon to make methane, thus reducing the amount of methane produced. Researchers in Canada found that adding nitrate to the diet of beef cattle reduces methane production by 20% in the short-term (up to 3 weeks), and after 16 weeks it still reduced methane up to 12%. In addition, feeding nitrate improved the gain-to-feed ratio. However, administering the correct dosage is extremely important, as too much nitrate can make an animal ill. So it is recommended this method should be used with care and caution. Dr. Richard Eckard, a researcher from the University of Melbourne explained, “I understand that in Canada, most forages are not that low in protein. But in the rangelands of northern Australia, the protein content in the forage is extremely low. It is possible that adding nitrate to Australian cattle feed may be able to improve the feeding regime from the current use of urea, but it depends on the price.” In addition, the study looked at whether beef farmers should supplement or not supplement with wheat, corn, or barley. In the short term, wheat effectively reduced methane production by 35% compared with corn or barley grain; but, over time, cattle were able to adapt to the change in feed and the methane inhibitory effect disappeared. Essentially, after 10 weeks, methane production was the same for corn, barley, and wheat. The study also showed genetic variation in cows where about 50% of the cows that were fed wheat remained low in their methane emissions, even for as long as 16 weeks. However, the other cows adapted to the wheat diet and had methane emissions similar to, or even greater than those fed diets containing either corn or barley. Based on genetics, some cows are more adaptable than others are and, in the long-term, it is more difficult to reduce the amount of methane they produce. For dairy cows, Dr. Peter Moate, Dairy Researcher with Agriculture Victoria, was particularly intrigued about the link between milk fat, yield and methane emissions. “We found that feeding cows wheat increased milk yield but fat levels decreased. For the farmer, it really depends on what they want to achieve in order to say whether this makes sense economically,” explained Dr. Moate. “Overall, feeding wheat didn’t have the long-term ability to reduce methane emissions, so it really couldn’t be recommended as a best practice to achieve this type of goal.” There were many lessons learned said Dr. Beauchemin. “Our better understanding of feeding regimes will make a difference for farmers, but more importantly this research has really helped us understand more precisely the volume of greenhouse gases (GHGs) the industry is producing under different feed regimes. This is powerful information for policy makers,” stated Dr. Beauchemin. This is particularly true for countries that have implemented or are thinking about putting a price on carbon or a carbon-trading scheme in place to reduce GHG emissions. “By adopting different farming methods to reduce GHGs, farmers may be able to sell these “carbon credits” for revenue. But the key is to prove that these farming methods work and warrant being officially recognized for carbon credits. This work is one step closer in this process,” explained Dr. Beauchemin. While this project has wrapped-up, the work has not ended. Researchers in both countries unanimously agree that they will continue to help farmers and the industry find solutions to reducing their carbon footprint.
Railways Repeat Same Excuses During an Emergency Meeting on Grain Transportation
Retired former Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz said that CN and CP rail are repeating exactly the same excuses they had from 2013-2014 during a recent Standing Committee on Agriculture that held a four-hour House agriculture committee emergency meeting on grain transportation.
By Harry Siemens Grain transportation service is lacking once again. The AG Transport Coalition latest weekly report showed CN and CP supplied a combined 53 per cent of hopper cars ordered in grain week 32, up slightly from 45 per cent provided the week before. On Monday, March 12, the Standing Committee on Agriculture held a four-hour House agriculture committee emergency meeting on grain transportation. The schedule had both railways testify just days after submitting their grain movement plans to Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. Hour 2 saw presentations from the Canadian Canola Growers Association, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, G3 Canada Limited and the Western Grain Elevator Association. Next, former Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joined Jeff Nielson of the Grain Growers of Canada. The last hour of the hearings had producers from the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, Alberta Wheat Commission, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, and Keystone Agricultural Producers. “Well, it started with the CP and CN talking about everything that happened this winter, and it was déjà vu all over again from ‘13-‘14,” said Gerry Ritz in an interview the morning after. “The excuses are always the same. It got cold, it was winter, it happens for every commodity, and it happens for everybody who lives in Canada, we all know what’s coming. The excuses really didn’t hold water, as they never really have. It’s a matter of logistical coordination with the shippers, with farmers, everybody in that whole value chain.” He said that chain is only as strong as the weakest link and it typically comes up that it is the railways. “It comes down to a lot of coordination between everybody sitting down and discussing what’s going to move, when. They even talked at the hearing how this large crop caught them unawares,” he said. “StatsCan’s coming out with projected crop reports before anybody’s even done combining, so I mean the numbers are always there and they’re within the margin of error, but they should have a pretty good idea of the tonnage of grains they’re going to have to move in that particular calendar year.” The grain sellers are good at conveying what they are going to need. They do that by ordering cars in advance and the railway still ca not figure out that when somebody orders 500 cars, that is what is needed in one week. “The rest of it just comes down to actually physically being able to do it,” Ritz said. “Years ago, CP made a change to layoff a whole bunch of crews and get rid of a bunch of engines and streamline down so their bottom line looked good, and CN is now going through that. They just changed their CEO, and the only thing different this time around was the railways actually apologized for coming up short, but that’s not something any farmer can take to the bank,” he said. “They’re constantly making changes in personnel at the top. That’s the nature of answering to a board. But at the end of the day, I’m not sure that any of that really speaks to shippers’ concerns and farmers’ concerns as to what these railways can do.” Ritz said, “They both talk a good game about infrastructure. CN is talking about spending some $3.4 billion, but half is in the US so that’s really not going to help Canadian shippers.” One of the presenters, Rick White from the Canola Council, said they administer the advance payment program. The Canola Council has considered doubling the program for a while but the reality is, it is only five percent of farmers that actually ever use the maximum $400,000. “Everybody’s interested in that first $100,000 interest free portion and that’s picked up quite widely. But what the government can do, as we did in ‘13-‘14, is not call the fall advance and allow them to take the spring advance, which gives them that second $100,000 interest-free,” said Ritz. “By taking on more debt that’s interest bearing is not right. That means the debt load just transfers back to the farm gate, as we’ve always seen.” Ritz said he was asked to talk about what was done in ‘13-‘14 and what the government could do now. “I guess based on the fact that C-49, which is not a bad bill, there are some other amendments required to make it right but it’s a good start. It’s stuck in the Senate,” said Ritz. “The liberal, independent Senators are holding it up, more to do with the passenger bill of rights for airlines than anything to do with grain. I know our guys in the NDP had put forward a motion saying split it apart. Let’s get this piece done. But in light of that not moving, there are tools that the Minister of Transport could do. Macaulay could change the cash advances; make that happen. Farm Credit’s doing that. Banks are doing well, but the government has to show some leadership on this,” continued Ritz. Ritz said that Minister Garneau has tools in his kit. He could, by order in council direct the railways to put the inter-switching back into play. “You don’t need the minimums per week,” said Ritz. “But certainly there are other things that he could do that would put the pressure back on the railways to start performing in light of the fact that C-49 has stalled.”
March 30, 2018
March 30, 2018
March 30, 2018
Beef Cattle Check-Off to Increase
Manitoba Beef Producers has announced that effective April 1, the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off Agency will begin collecting the increased Canadian Beef Cattle Check Off (commonly referred to as the National Check-Off or NCO) of $2.50/head. A resolution to support the increase of the NCO from $1/head to $2.50 was passed at the 37th Manitoba Beef Producers Annual General Meeting in February of 2016. Since then a great deal of work has been going on be-
hind the scenes to ensure that the proper procedural steps were taken to enact the increase. MBP President Ben Fox said the NCO increase was deemed necessary by the industry to support the goals laid out in the National Beef Strategy. Released in 2015, the National Beef Strategy is based around four pillars of connectivity, productivity, competitiveness and beef demand that each contain a number of goals and outcomes, which were developed by an
Canary Seed Not Just for the Birds Anymore Canary seed, a cereal grain crop previously used as feed for caged and wild birds, was recently approved for human consumption by Health Canada. The approval of this unique cereal grain, in January 2016, offers exciting possibilities for potential food and non-food applications. This is good news for Canadian farmers, who produce up to 65% of the world’s canary seed. Historically, Manitoba has for the most part been the second largest contributor to Canada’s total canary seed production. The area seeded to canary seed has varied significantly with the volatility of the price, reaching levels greater than 60,000 acres, but also declining to levels as low as 15,000 acres. The 10-year average yield is 965 pounds per acre. Dr. Elsayed Abdelaal, Associate Director and former research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)’s Guelph Research and Development Centre (GRDC), played a critical role in evaluating hairless canary seed as a novel food. To conduct this research, Dr. Abelaal worked in partnership with the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan (CDCS), Dr. Pierre Hucl of the University of Saskatchewan a cereal crops breeder and the developer of hairless canary seed varieties and Dr. Carol Ann Patterson of The Pathfinders Research & Management Ltd. Until now, the seed’s hairy shell limited its use to bird feed and caused human skin and eye irritation during harvest and processing. The hairless variety was developed as an alternative cereal grain for whole grain foods and a renewable source of starch, protein, and oil. “Canary seed is a real Canadian crop and true cereal. Its unique starch, protein, and oil components hold great potential for food and industrial applications,” said Dr. Elsayed Abdelaal, Research Scientist, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. The seed’s nutritional components, starch, protein and oil can be used in many food and industrial applications. Dr. Abdelaal noted that its uses could include using the small starch granules as “filler” in cosmetics, or fat replacement in foods, using the exceptionally high tryptophan protein as a supplement for other plant or animal protein sources, such as dairy products and using the oil as a healthy alternative to saturated fats. The high composition of polyunsaturated oil also contains high levels of antioxidants. Dr. Lamia L’Hocine, Research Scientist at AAFC’s St. Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre will further evaluate the properties of hairless canary seed starch, protein and oil that distinguish it from other grains in collaboration with the CDCS and University of Saskatchewan. For instance, the exceptional gelling abilities of the starch could be beneficial as a fat substitute in food products and other related applications. The CDCS is actively working to assist canary seed producers in creating new market opportunities. New markets will provide crop diversification opportunities for the grain industry and provide food manufacturers with a new whole gluten-free grain ingredient for consumers. Hairless canary seed earned the designations of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration and as a novel food by Health Canada, which recognizes that the substance can be lawfully used in food products. The CDCS played a significant role in securing the funding and managing the research necessary to obtain the regulatory approvals. One of the key goals of AAFC research is to improve attributes of agricultural commodities for food and non-food uses. This focus helps provide consumers with a variety of beneficial choices and opens up new marketing opportunities for Canada’s farmers and food processors.
industry-led planning group. That same group also determined that if the beef industry is to meet those goals an increase in the national checkoff, the first since 2002, was required. “The increase is needed to support the strategy which, we believe, will ultimately lead to a stronger industry for our producers here in Manitoba,” Fox said. Canadian Beef Check-Off Agency General Manager Melinda German said the NCO increase will be invested into
market development, promotion and research initiatives that will continue to advance the Canadian beef industry as a whole. She added that studies show producers have received a strong return on their check-off investment and can expect that to continue into the future. “The benefit-cost ratio of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-Off was calculated at returning $14 to the industry for every $1 that was invested between 2011 and 2014. This is incredible value for the $1
check-off, and we expect to continue seeing a high rate of return for the industry with an increased check-off across the country.” MBP’s provincial checkoff of $3 per head will not be increasing. General Manager Brian Lemon said that provincial check-off is used to fund MBP’s work on behalf of its members as well as the association’s membership in national organizations such as the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattle Feeders Association.
“These check-offs, whether it’s our provincial check-off or the national check-off, enable us to market our member’s product, support research and to advocate with governments and other organizations on the industry’s behalf,” Lemon said. “The beef industry is fortunate to have a number of dedicated and talented people working to ensure everything is in place for all involved to be successful. The funds collected through the provincial and national check-offs are the lifeblood of that work.”
March 30, 2018
March 30, 2018
Legislation Tabled to Enhance Fair Play for Municipalities The Manitoba government is introducing new legislation that would modernize The Planning Act and ensure fair opportunities for economic development in rural municipalities. “Our government has worked extensively with municipalities and industry to see how improvements could be made to our existing regulatory framework,” said Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton. “This new legislation strengthens our government’s commitment to providing a fair say for municipalities on matters that affect their local community.” In addition to modernizing the current municipal zoning by-law review and approval process, Bill 19 The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning) would enhance ‘fair say’ by giving municipalities the option of setting a threshold for conditional use hearings for livestock, according to local needs. Other changes would include setting timelines for municipal board reviews of development plan bylaws, harmonizing hearing process requirements with those established in The Municipal
Act and introducing the option for members of the public attending planning hearings to opt to receive notice by e-mail. In addition environmental protections will be included by introducing a technical review process for aggregate quarry proposals, requiring municipalities to review their livestock operations zoning bylaws within one year, improving animal safety by enabling producers to upgrade existing facilities and clarifying this reinvestment does not require a new approval from council. The legislation is aimed at speeding up the process with the dissolution of the Interdepartmental Planning Board, which held its last meeting in January 2014, expediting the municipal zoning bylaw approval process by increasing the minor variance threshold from 10 to 15 per cent and allowing municipal officials authorized by council to grant variances on zoning bylaw requirements such as square footage, height and parking spaces without holding additional council hearings. “We have seen many examples of the significant economic benefit that livestock
development can offer communities in Manitoba,” said Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “Our government
wants to provide municipalities with the opportunity to achieve that growth and development through a more
equitable process. The proposed legislation takes a balanced approach to the livestock review and approval
process that improves animal safety and maintains a high standard of environmental accountability.”
March 30, 2018
March 30, 2018
Reduce the Threat of Grass Tetany in Your Beef Cows By Peter Vitti About the beginning of each spring, I think about the possibilities of grass tetany as cowherds go out on lush prairie grass to graze. While nobody wants to find a fresh cow that died under mysterious circumstances on pasture, there is no need to panic. Fortunately, most threats of fatal grass tetany can be reduced by providing beef cows with a well-balanced mineral fortified with magnesium and covered by some sound management tips. That’s because grass tetany or hypomagnesaemia is essentially a metabolic disorder, which affects most mature beef cows grazing lush and yet magnesium deficient pastures. Symptoms of grass tetany in beef cows may start with extreme nervousness and progress to a lack of muscle coordination, spasms, staggering and finally failure to stand. If not immediately treated, most afflicted animals often die. While grass tetany can be a real problem on some farms, we should be aware that misdiagnosis of grass tetany is always a possibility in similar looking cases. Some clinical magnesium-deficiency symptoms of grass tetany are mimicked in other nutrition-imbalances such as milk fever, selenium toxicity (blind staggers), nitrate-tetany, polio-encephalomalacia (PEM) as well as relatively rare lead-poisonings. Despite these reservations, I can think of a recent story told to me by a beef producer in southeastern Manitoba that took place at his farm
last year, which I strongly believe was a case of classic spring grass tetany. It happened to his herd of about 60 Angus brood cows during a particularly cool and wet spring, which happened about two months before my own visit to his farm. The producer told me that he let his cowherd out to graze about 20 acres of lush green swamp grass. At the time, these cows had just calved-out in the last month and still had access to a commercial mineral (with vitamins) in an adjacent dry-lot. The operator told me that within a couple of days of grazing, several of the older cows were very excitable to the point that he could not go near them. That night, an older cow died in a convulsive fit. The producer told me that he chalked it up to one of those “things” and took no further action. I can understand why this producer did not call his veterinarian, because grass-tetany can leave an animal dead within hours of the onset of its symptoms, making detection, difficult and treatment, improbable. However, I wish he had called his vet in order to confirm this incident as a true case of grass tetany, so I could have helped him by setting up a proper mineral feeding program and likely prevent grass tetany in his cows’ future. My mineral feeding program would include elevated levels of magnesium (Mg) to assure that his late-gestation cows receive their requirement of 15 grams of Mg per day, while the lactating beef cows would receive closer to 20 - 25 grams Mg, daily.
Grass tetany or hypomagnesaemia is essentially a metabolic disorder, which affects most mature beef cows grazing lush and yet magnesium deficient pastures.
I would have also taken into account in reformulating his new feeding program that some pasture grasses may contain adequate levels of magnesium (0.20%), but still cause grass tetany, because its dietary magnesium is rendered biologically unavailable in some way. For example, lush green pastures may contain high levels of soluble-protein that are easily digested into ammonia in the cows’ rumen. If too much ammonia is released, it can transform dietary magnesium into an insoluble and biologically unavailable form, which cannot contribute to the animals’ Mg requirement. Similarly, high potassium levels in for-
ages (greater than 3%) have also been shown to inhibit dietary magnesium absorption across the rumen wall in cattle in order to be utilized. Whether one’s grass tetany situation is a simple magnesium deficiency caused by lush pasture grasses or a more complex one here are a few points that I recommend to assure magnesium requirements of beef cows grazing potentially dangerous grass tetany pastures are met: - Feed a “high magnesium” mineral (with vitamins) that contains at least 15 - 20 grams of magnesium oxide in every 100 grams of mineral mix. Provide this mineral mix to cattle about two three weeks before cattle are
release to pasture. Continue to feed this high Mg mineral for the first few weeks of the pasture season, when the grasses are in their lush growing stages. - Assure that all cattle are consuming about 100 grams of this mineral mix in order that they receive the recommended amount of dietary magnesium. In addition to the prescribed cattle mineral, feed salt (sodium chloride) at the rate of 30 - 45 grams per head per day in loose form (although block salt is fine too). Note: feeding salt (NaCl) has been shown to reduce the incidence of grass tetany in beef cattle on its own in some cases. - Consider turning cattle out
to pastures at a later date. Once grass plants are over 6” tall, much of the inherit risk of grass tetany is past. Some producers continue to feed bales of grass hay during the early days of the grazing season. Other people avoid high-risk pastures all together, which are known to cause a high incidence of grass tetany (lush orchard grass pastures) among cattle. Lastly, it is important to work with your cattle nutritionist and veterinarian when implementing these grass tetany preventative measures. As a result, you should be able to significantly reduce potential cattle cases of grass tetany grazing spring pastures.
Co-Insurance... Don’t Get Penalized Co-insurance is one of the most commonly misunderstood and confusing concepts in insurance. Many people do not understand the possible penalty within their policy. Your broker can help you understand what co-insurance is and how it works. Farm and commercial insurance policies include a co-insurance clause to ensure policyholders insure
their property to an appropriate value and that insurance companies are collecting a fair premium for the risk involved. I have heard the argument time and time again – if something happens to my building, or my machinery, or my facility, it will not all burn down in one fire, or blow over in one tornado, therefore, I only want to insure half of it. When the
claim happens and the adjustor asks the client “Which half were you intending to insure?” the policyholder becomes confused. It is in situations like this that the insurer may apply the co-insurance clause, which commonly states the policyholder must insure to a certain percentage of replacement cost. For example, a building valued at $1,000,000 replacement
cost with a 90% co-insurance clause must be insured for at least $900,000, or the policyholder will face a penalty based on the percentage of the value insured to, versus what they were supposed to insure to, multiplied by the amount of the loss. Co-insurance formula: (Actual Amount of Insurance) X Amount of Loss = Maximum Amount of Claim
Payable (Required Amount of Insurance) When policyholders choose to insure for less than the value required by the co-insurance clause, they assume part of the risk and become a co-insurer. Your broker can provide you with information so you are insured to a reasonable value and don’t unknowingly end up as a co-insurer. Insure to value!
Seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business! David Schmidt is an Account Executive and Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Contact office 204-746-2320, Text 204712-6618, email davids@ rempelinsurance.com, rempelinsurance.com.
March 30, 2018
What We Stand For It has been said by quite a few people that organizations are best defined by what they oppose versus what they support. That seems like too cynical of a view of the world. I want to talk about what we stand for. Canadian agriculture stands for sciencebased regulations and rules of trade. Why? Because farmers across this country depend on access to international markets for their livelihood. A farmer in Mortlach Saskatchewan must have access to Japan, Indonesia, Algeria and about 100 other countries in order to ensure their farm is economically viable. If countries are free to set up trade barriers in response to the latest internet trends with no reference to evidence-based health or safety concerns than our friends farming in Mortlach will soon find themselves without any markets to sell into. What is this “science” that we stand for? This is the science behind Canada’s regulatory approval process for pesticides. Pesticides that are registered for use in Canada have been tested and found to be safe – safe for human health, safe for animal feed and safe for the environment. This applies even to pesticides like glyphosate that the “experts” on the internet might not like. This assessment of safety is built upon rigorous research, scientific peer review and studies that have been replicated around the world. Modern Canadian agriculture also stands for sustainability. What is “modern agriculture?” Modern agriculture makes use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Modern agriculture is often large in scale. Modern agriculture makes use of cuttingedge technology to deliver new plant varieties that give higher yields, are more resistant to disease and have superior quality. Modern farmers use GPS, satellite imagery and big data to precisely place seeds and crop nutrients. Many might think words like “modern”, “large scale”, “pesticides” and “chemical fertilizer” do not belong next to “sustainability”. But these words do belong together. Modern Canadian agriculture has a fantastic sustainability story to tell. And yes, I am going to use a bit of science to tell that story. Between 1981 and 2011 (the last year for which we have data) the amount of energy needed to produce a tonne of wheat in the prairies declined by 39%. Back in 1981, soil organic matter was being depleted. But because of modern agriculture, such as conservation tillage, organic matter in prairie soils is increasing every year. What does this mean? Well, it means soil is healthier today than it was in 1981. Soil is more productive, it is less susceptible to wind and soil erosion and farms across the country are sequestering carbon dioxide every year. If you happen to live near Mortlach, Saskatchewan, you will know that the summer of 2017 saw record low rainfall in the region. In many towns, there was less rain than the famous droughts of the 1930s. And yet farmers in Mortlach did not have a complete crop failure. Nor did Saskatchewan soil blow into Ontario all summer long like it did in the “Dirty ‘30s.” I find it hard to think of more graphic demonstrations of the sustainability of modern agriculture. Modern agriculture stands for science, we stand for innovation and we stand for sustainability. Some try to say that this means we stand against other approaches, like organic or natural production. This is not true and is a false conflict that is harmful to farmers who utilize both production systems. There is room for many different ways of producing food, provided these production systems are safe for the people who eat what is produced, safe for the livestock that depends on the feed grown and is safe for the land and water. These are scientific questions that are a matter of evidence. What we do not stand for is governments deviating from scientific evidence because of pressure from activists who do not believe the scientific consensus on modern agricultural practices. Deviating from an evidence-based approach, such as banning or limiting pesticides that have been shown to be safe or limiting the use of modern biotechnology, will limit the tools available to farmers. This will reduce the environmental gains that we have seen in the last twenty years. Deviating from science-based rules of trade will limit agriculture’s ability to access markets around the world, deliver jobs to every region of the country and support our economic health. So I guess in the end we are defined a bit by what we are against. But this is not fellow producers who are trying to make a living meeting varying demands coming from consumers. That is what we stand for. Cam Dahl is President of Cereals Canada.
Don’t Play Musical Chairs with Your Dairy Cows When I was a small boy in elementary school, my first-grade teacher loved us to play musical chairs. Initially, she would set up 9 chairs and have the 10 of us in class walk around the chairs to music. When the music stopped, all of us would scramble to sit down. The odd-person who didn’t get a chair was tagged, out. She kept removing a chair during each cycle of song, until one of two children literarily fought for the last chair and won the game. The winner was always a bigger kid, who was a foot taller and weighed 20 lbs heavier than the rest of the class. With recent increase of incentive days and more quota allotments, it reminds me of the musical chairs of years gone past when the population of lactating dairy cows in many free-stall barns is significantly greater than the number of stalls allowing them to lie-down and rest. Consequently, it triggers “the law of diminishing economic returns”, which dictates that each additional cow per total number of stalls generates less additional milk, which increasingly compromises milk production per cow, reproductive rates and general health status. Therefore, I believe dairy producers should take a barn-walk and observe unnatural behaviours amongst their crowded lactating herd and judge if their barn is “too crowded”, so necessary actions to alleviate the situation can be taken.
I find it astonishing that much of the subsequent research on the effects of crowding lactating dairy cows is quite limited, yet there is a universal agreement among dairy scientists that the negative effects of over-crowding lactating dairy cows start, once a threshold of 120% (120 cows per 100-stall barn) is exceeded. Rather than collect quantitative data, many of these researchers take a special approach and study the unnatural behaviour of dairy cows in over-crowded free-stall barns. From these situations, many of them come to the conclusion that dairy cows have a strong natural desire to lie down and rest. They also observe that lactating dairy cows will likely sacrifice feeding-time in order to make up for lost-resting time and thus crowded cows tend to stand around in the alley ways waiting for a stall to become available in order to lie down (similar to us waiting for a parking space at the mall) rather than go up to the feed bunk to eat. I remember being in a similar crowded barn situation in which 175 dairy cows were being milked but were housed in a lactation barn with 150 stalls (117% stocking rate). It was the middle of the day and fresh feed was just set out. I found it unusual that a low number of cows were coming up to the bunk than expected for fresh feed. However, there were a significant number of standing cows hovering over their lying herd-mates. In hindsight, it seemed to me that the resting cows were not giving up their stalls and standing cows simply were waiting to lie down.
Along the same lines, the University of British Columbia also showed lactating dairy cows in a crowded free-stall barn will utilize virtually every available stall, but it doesn’t mean that particular stall is comfortable. The researchers recorded that cows stand up in these stalls for appreciable time before lying down or will perch with two front feet in the stall; compared to other cows that find a comfortable stall and lie down in it within a few minutes. Furthermore, I have witnessed similar events on my own travels, where sections of uncomfortable stalls are simply abandoned by lactating cows, despite a limited number of stalls in the barn being available. These dairy behaviour studies and others also find as the rate of crowding in a lactation barn increases, cows respond with increasing aggressive behaviour toward one-another in order to gain access to a free install (as well as to available bunk space). Since, first calf heifers are at the bottom of this social ladder in the barn, they suffer at the discretion of their more mature herd-mates. Although, I have witnessed older cows head-butt heifers from access of an available stall in either uncrowded or crowded barns, I speculate that the problem is often much more intense in the latter situation. Recently, I talked to a dairy producer in Saskatchewan and told him about these university findings and some of my own experiences, because
he crowds his cows and is even looking to bring more cows into the lactation barn. He currently milks about 330 dairy cows with about 300 stalls (110% stocking rate). Concurrently, we determined that about 21 stalls were actually avoided by most cows, because the pasture-mats were in dire need of repair. As a result, the actual stocking rate of his barn is closer to 120%! As a quick solution to his overcrowding problem, he opened up an adjacent bedding-pack that could house 12 fresh cows and, in the spring, he plans to rip out the unusable stalls and install new ones (goal of 318 cows/300 usable stalls = 106%). To date, six-weeks later, by utilizing the bedding pack or 114% - stocking rate, there was no change to milk or reproduction performance. I am not surprised at this lack of any performance response, because his actual stocking rate change was minimal. I speculate that once he replaces the 21 bad stalls that these expected positive responses as well as reduced lameness, less metabolic disease, and less mastitis or even more cows coming to the feed bunk should become more apparent. I believe such efforts are a step in the right direction by not playing musical chairs, which should not allow the sweet music of good cow performance to stop.
Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities Receives Donation BSI Insurance together with The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of British Columbia (MFI) has donated $2,500 to Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities. BSI Insurance was awarded MFI’s 2017 Broker of the Year for the Prairies for being an outstanding broker partner. As part of the award, MFI granted BSI Insurance a $2,500 donation for a local charity of their choosing. They chose to support Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities. Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities (MFWD) is committed to the education and promotion of health, safety, and wellness in farming communities across Manitoba. Through Child Safety Programs, Safety Showcases, and Safety Awareness and Education Programs, MFWD maintains safe farms and safe Ren de Moissac Chief Executive Officer with BSI Insurance presents cheque to Jill families across Manitoba. Stafford Secretary/Treasurer of Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities.
Moderate Flood Risk this Spring
By Elmer Heinrichs The March flood outlook continues to suggest that the risk of widespread major flooding remains low to moderate across most of the province said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler on March 23. However, he noted that there might be some overland flooding for low-lying areas along the Red and Assiniboine rivers. “After the storm earlier this month, the risk of major flooding remains low on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, but there is a moderate
risk of some overland or overbank flooding,” said Schuler. “Levels along the Red River and the Assiniboine River are forecasted to remain below flood protection levels.” Schuler commented that the risk of major flooding continues to be low for the Pembina near Gretna, Souris, and Qu’Appelle rivers and their tributaries and within flood protection levels even with unfavourable weather conditions.
Research Funding for Grain Quality and Storage The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing nearly $484,000 in equipment and infrastructure needed to conduct specialized research projects on grain preservation and storage. “Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector is a key driver of our economy,” said Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. “As we innovate new crops and enhance existing ones, we need improvements in storage to keep up with an evolving sector. This funding will help Canadian grain producers grow their businesses and stay competitive, while creating good well-paying jobs in the local economy.” Funding will be invested to complete the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute’s (PAMI) grain innovation facility near Portage la Prairie. This includes basic infrastructure needs, as well as specialized equipment such as hopper bins, a grain weighing wagon, lighting, conveyors, ventilation fans and related research instruments. “Manitoba has an internationally-recognized network of grain handling and storage
manufacturers, making this investment essential to supporting the future of these sectors while preserving the quality and standards of our grain products,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “For Manitoba’s value-added processing industries to grow, we must also continually improve how we store agricultural commodities, with the goal of avoiding spoilage and other losses.” Once complete, the results of the research at the grain innovation facility will be used by the farming community and agribusiness sector. “The scale of grain storage bins has increased 10 to 20 times over the last 30 years,” said Harvey Chorney, Vice President and Manager of PAMI’s Manitoba operations. “On top of that, innovations in crops and harvesting techniques are changing the characteristics of grain going into bins. Scientific and engineering testing has not kept up, leaving agricultural producers in a risky position. The research facilities made possible by this funding will help us to answer new questions in grain storage.”
Monsanto Announces Agriculture Scholarship Opportunity If you are a student thinking about the future and looking for limitless opportunity, then agriculture and food is a good place to start and the Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarship Program can help. Sponsored by the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, the Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarship Program offers graduating grade 12 high school students the opportunity to secure one of 65 entrance scholarships valued at $1,500 to help fund their post-secondary education in an agriculture or food-related field of study. Historically, Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarships have been awarded to eligible students who come from farm families. However, in recognition of the close connection between agriculture and food and to attract a new crop of students to agriculture and food, up to 25 scholarships are now set aside for students who come from non-farm families. “Modern agriculture is innovative, sciencebased, high-tech and full of rewarding job opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds with diverse skill sets,” explained Trish Jordan, public and industry affairs director with Monsanto Canada. “We need well-educated young people in our industry and with many Canadians passionate about improving their health and nutrition there are job opportunities in food science and the culi-
nary arts too so we’re happy to support these additional areas of study.” The criteria to apply for a Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarship are students with a confirmed plan to enroll in their first year of post-secondary education in agriculture, an agriculture-related program or a food-related field of study at a Canadian educational institution and demonstrated academic excellence, leadership capabilities as well as a keen interest and involvement in their communities. Students must submit a completed application and include an essay that outlines the future role they hope to play in agriculture or food and how they see themselves making an impact in the industry. They also need to have a farmer or food-related professional provide a reference letter for them. All completed application forms must be post-marked no later than May 31, 2018. All applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges and winning entries will be announced in September 2018. Scholarship application forms are in the process of being distributed to high schools, 4-H Clubs, provincial and federal agriculture offices, farm retail outlets and seed companies. Application forms and complete program details are also available by calling 1-800667-4944 or they can be accessed online at monsanto.ca.
March 30, 2018
The Future of Sustainable Energy Conference This year’s Manitoba Sustainable Energy Association Conference is set for April 11 at the Bethel Mennonite Church, 465 Stafford St. in Winnipeg and aims to provide answers to some questions on where energy costs will be in the future. Conference leaders will speak about upcoming carbon taxes, exploring options for alternative energy solutions, updates on biomass and energy storage. Event presenters include Dr. Danny Blair (Climatologist, University of Winnipeg), Philip Gass and Daniella Echeverría (International Institute for Sustainable Development), Dan Mazier (President of Keystone Agricultural Producers), Jeff Kraynyk (Manitoba Agriculture), Melissa Pawlisch (University of Minnesota) and Jeff Blais (Alternative Energy Specialist at Manitoba Hydro). Registration fee is $50 and a special student rate of $25 is available. To register for the conference and for more information visit wmansea.org or email info@MANSEA.org or phone 204730-0559.
Province Launches Round of Consultations on Crown Lands The Manitoba government has launched a consultation focused on agricultural Crown lands, to ensure upcoming policy changes reflect the views of the livestock industry while improving fairness and transparency in the system. “This is an important step toward modernizing the agricultural Crown lands leasing policies with the goal of supporting a thriving livestock industry in our province,” said Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “I encourage all Manitobans with an interest in this issue to review the consultation document and share their opinions. This will help guide our government’s policies and ensure the new tendering process is transparent and accountable.” The consultation document highlights a number of areas to provide input on including possible limits on how much agricultural Crown land a person or farm entity can hold under a lease or permit, what additional eligibility criteria should be considered to hold a lease or permit, design considerations of a forage tendering process, and appropriate terms for the length of forage leases and renewable permits. The public consultation document is available online at gov.mb.ca/agriculture under Surveys and Consultations. The deadline to submit comments is April 6. The new Agricultural Crown Lands Leases and Permits Regulation was introduced in December 2017 and deals with forage leases, hay and grazing permits and cropping leases. As of January 1, agricultural Crown lands for grazing and haying will be made available through a tendering system, consistent with how these lands are accessed for other uses such as growing crops. Eichler noted the system will ensure prices paid by producers for these leases and permits will more accurately reflect their market value. He added the shift to a tendering system for all agricultural Crown lands is expected to be in place for fall 2018.
March 30, 2018
There Is No Elevator to Success, You Must Take the Stairs
By Joan Airey
Manjit Minhas, a Beer Baroness and star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den from Calgary, addressed participants at Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) Forum held at the Keystone Centre in Brandon recently. At nineteen, she launched her first beer in partnership with her brother Ravinder Minhas. They now market over ninety brands of spirits. “We sell our products in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Manitoba and forty five states plus fourteen more countries. I was introduced to the liquor business when I was thirteen after Ralph Klein privatized
Beer Baroness and CBC Dragon Manjit Minhas addressed the Farm Credit Canada Forum in Brandon at the Keystone Centre. Photo courtesy of FCC.
liquor stores in Alberta. When he privatized them my Dad had been laid off from his job as an engineer at Encana and decided to apply for a license to have his own liquor store. As a kid we had to stock shelves and everything else we could do to help our Dad including sweeping floors.” said Minhas. While working on an undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering she saw an opportunity to start a private label for the stores’ hospitality clients. She decided to sell her car for ten thousand dollars and launch Mountain Crest Spirits and started setting up a supply chain. She believes we all need a mentor and her Dad was her mentor in the beginning. “A big break I got was when I attended a distiller’s conference in Texas and met a distiller I’ll call Max. He promised to help me. I wasn’t sure he was for real and this was before smart phones where you could check someone out instantly. I phoned my brother and got him to check him out on his computer. My brother told me talk to him that he runs one of the biggest distilleries in the US and he ships to Canada. I asked him to meet me for a drink so I could present my business plan to him. He said he loved my passion for the business and he would show me the ropes. Being only nineteen I wasn’t even old enough to buy a drink in his country. I wasn’t prepared for this and we ended writing our agreement on a napkin. I have it framed and on the wall in my office. He became our mentor,” said Minhas. Another lesson in business she said, in order to be successful is you have to be cautious, courageous and conservative. “Life is not fair and you will face obstacles but don’t give up,” she stressed. Minhas found this out when applying to sell liquor in Ontario. She was prepared to launch the beer, having her license and beer stock ready for Ontario liquor store shelves. Then the Ontario police showed up saying they needed the company’s books as someone said they were in business with the Mafia. “By the time we were cleared of that charge the government said our beer was stale even through it has a year’s shelf life and was only seven months old. I contacted our lawyer he said it would be cheaper to refill the beer orders than fight them. In Ontario bureaucracy runs the industry and Molson’s and Labatt’s have eighty-five percent of the volume sales. We had to meet minimum sales everywhere our beer was sold to keep our license to sell in Ontario,” said Minhas. She told everyone to live within your means in both your personal life and your business life. “This truly helps you sleep at night. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. The more you negotiate the better you will at it,” she said. “Find a business you are passionate about and run it as well as you can.” She reminded everyone there is no elevator to success you must take the stairs one-step at time no matter what business you are in.
KAP Comments on Provincial Budget Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) is looking forward to learning more about how the $102 million Conservation Trust Fund announced in the recent Provincial budget will be allocated, and the role farmers will play in making investments on the rural landscape. “We are hopeful that projects supported by the fund will include on-farm initiatives that deliver ecological goods and services to all Manitobans, including carbon sequestration and flood mitigation.” The trust will be administered by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation and Mazier said he is pleased with the arrangement. “It’s an independent overseeing of the fund. We asked for transparency and here it is.” Commenting on the exemption of marked fuels from the carbon tax, as well as emissions from livestock and crop production, Mazier said, “It’s a myth that farmers will be entirely exempt from the carbon tax. We know from the experience of farmers in other provinces that costs are passed on by the inputs and service suppliers that farmers rely on.” “Farmers don’t have the option to pass on costs as prices paid to farmers for their production are set globally, based on world market demand, so Manitoba prices cannot be altered to pass on additional production costs and taxes to customers. We are hopeful that the government recognizes these costs and makes the investments back into the sector to help farmers adapt to climate change, a measure not included in the current budget.” Mazier noted that heating fuels for greenhouses, grain dryers, and barns was not specifically identified as exempt from the carbon tax in the budget. “We are hopeful that the government of Manitoba doesn’t make the same mistake that British Columbia did when it introduced their carbon tax and included it on space heating fuel. It saw a mass exodus of investment in their greenhouse sector south into the US and was forced to create a rebate program the following year.” He said he is looking forward to more details on many of the budget announcements. “For example, we are eager to learn more about the planned output-based system, but we are pleased that mid-sized emitters including oilseed crush facilities will have the option to be included.” On another note, KAP is concerned about the increase in farmland assessment, which was not addressed in the budget. It means another unprecedented increase in the range of 50 to 75 per cent in municipal and school taxes for farmers. “Farmers pay a disproportionate amount of education taxes, and we urge the government to conduct the K to 12 education review it has promised, including funding, as soon as possible,” Mazier said.
March 30, 2018
Manitoba Beef Producers Offers Bursaries
Local Artists Brings Rural Community to Life
Local farmers painted a two-story mural depicing how Hamiota used to look.
By Joan Airey The community of Hamiota commissioned Mary Lowe and her daughter Erica to paint a historical mural on their local Heritage Arts Centre recently. “We did a painting in the centre of what the main street in Hamiota looked like in
years past and also what wildlife and farm life was like around the rural community. It was exciting to use our artistic talent to do such a large mural, which is over two stories high. It was a little scary at times my husband Eric and Stewart McConnell lent us their scaffolding to paint higher
Photo by Joan Airey
portions of the mural as we had nothing to hold onto but the wall. We ended up having to rent a cherry picker to paint the highest points of the mural. It was an enjoyable and satisfying project for us,” said Mary Lowe. Mary and Erika both live on farms in the Harding-Kenton area.
Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) will again award six $500 bursaries to deserving Manitoba students in 2018. 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. “Awarding these bursaries to our members and the children of our members is always a highlight of the year,” said Manitoba Beef Producers President Ben E. Fox. “Each year these bursaries go to deserving recipients, many of whom have returned to their communities following graduation and made substantial contributions to rural Manitoba.” Those applying must be at least 17 years old as of January 1, 2018 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 a high school or postsecondary 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 should be submitted to MBP by June 1, 2018. All entries will be reviewed by the selection committee and the winners will be notified by July 31, 2018. The winning essays will be reprinted in the September issue of Cattle Country.
March 30, 2018
Grain Prices in a Humdrum
By Harry Siemens
Elaine Kub draws on her experiences as a futures broker, fully communicate about the commarket analyst, grain merchandiser, and farmer to thought- modity markets. Before earning an engineering degree from the University of Nebraska and an MBA from the University of California San Diego, Kub grew up on a family farm in South Dakota, where she is still active in grain and livestock production. Kub spoke at the recent Western Canadian Wheat Growers convention in Washington DC. “In the near term, I see a very predictable pattern, and we’re stuck in a rut with these prices. When you look at the prices of corn and soybeans, our big benchmarks in the US, so far in 2018 have tracked the same path that the 2017 prices are making sense because we’re just in this path of oversupply,” she said. “I mean, we have ample supplies. We are not going to have any supply shortage anytime soon in our big three crops in the United States, so I think we’re in a period of low prices until something major changes. We have to be managing profitability very carefully because of those low prices.” With record-breaking land prices in both the US and parts of Canada, Ms. Kub does not see any shift just yet. “I think the trigger will be the interest rates rather than
the grain prices. I think these low grain prices; we have not seen a reaction in the land prices. They’re still as high, almost as high as they were for the past three, four years. When it’s even selling, I think fewer land sales are happening,” said Kub. “But as interest rates rise, it may be an asset that some of those investors that got into, not the farmers but the investor, the land speculator may start to get rid of some land investments and we may see more sales, but at lower prices because of the rising interest rates.” While recent snowfalls and storms dumped some snow in many parts, a snowfall in February/March does not replenish subsoil moistures nor does the lack of moisture make or break a crop at this time. When asked if a growing drought map impact grain prices she that, “This is the problem, is that there’s still the potential that things could drastically change in the next couple of months. We could get a wet pattern. That 12 inches that came to Minneapolis, that was fairly sudden. They haven’t been receiving steady snow all winter so things could change fast before planting season, or certainly before growing season that we would no longer be bullish about.”
So while large parts are in a serious drought pattern, it could change before the crops, or the markets start to get concerned about it. When asked about her farm back in South Dakota, she said things do not change much. “Corn and soybeans; I always do corn and soybeans, which is a bummer. I would love to have more of the specific opportunities that Canadian farmers have.”
Speaking at a recent Western Canadian Wheat Growers convention in Washington DC Elaine Kub, a futures broker, market analyst, grain merchandiser and farmer in South Dakota said the trigger for change will be the interest rates rather than the grain prices.
March 30, 2018
A Healthy Shelter Belt Needs a Trim By Les Kletke Few producers would argue the benefits of shelterbelts yet they can be a mixed blessing, as equipment has grown in size the shelterbelts have become a challenge to work around. Research shows that while the yield adjacent to the shelterbelt may be reduced, the area protected by the shelterbelt may realize significant yield increases from 5 to 40%. They also provide a variety of other benefits to landowners and the environment. “The shelterbelts have also grown and now encroach on the fields,” said Richard Warkentin, Technician with the Stanley Soil Management Association a non-profit organization based in Winkler. To that end, he has been working with farmers to trim shelterbelts back to their original width. The Stanley Soil Management Association has received some funding to demonstrate various control measures and he said one method uses forestry equipment to trim the trees. The equipment used in the demonstration left the shelterbelt approximately 15 ft. wide. “In the past farmers have used chain saws and then a chipper but this equipment is like using a chipper immediately,” said Warkentin. He acknowledged that the result may not be visually appealing at first. “It is a bit of a rough finish, but the shelter belt does some back.” The Soil Management Association has received some funding through Environment and Climate Change Canada to help encourage landowners to rejuvenate existing shelterbelts rather than remove them. Warkentin said that the age of shelterbelts has brought some other issues to the fore. “We had a lot of shelter belts that were planted earlier and then attacked by Dutch Elm Disease, so the ones planted in he last 30 years did not have as much Elm but were replaced by ash which are now being attacked by the Ash Bore,” he said. “We seem to be under attack by a pest of the times.” While farming practices have changed from the 1930s when dust storms were commonplace shelterbelts may again become a vital part of the agricultural scene. “Minimum and zero till
Stanley Soil Management Association demonstrated forestry equipment to trim shelterbelts. The equipment trims the belt back to original width.
have reduced the amount of soil erosion,” he said. “But shelter belts have a role to play as they continue to add to the carbon sink.” As climate change becomes more of a focus, shelterbelts are seen to play a major role in sequestering significant amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide into the soil as biomass.
KAP Report Considers Climate Change Solutions By Elmer Heinrichs Manitoba’s chief farm organization, Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), recently released its final report on agricultural solutions to climate change. In the preamble to the report, KAP noted that in the coming decades, climate change is expected to bring profound changes to agriculture in Manitoba. To help farmers address this challenge, KAP created the Manitoba Agricultural Climate Initiative to assess how climate change is likely to change production conditions in Manitoba, understand Manitoba farmers’ priorities for managing these changes, and to develop ideas on how government can support farmers’ efforts to address these priorities. “It’s quite remarkable just how much things are projected to change,” said KAP President Dan Mazier. “You think about northern Kansas and South Dakota, those are the kind of climates we’re going to have here.” KAP reviewed data from the Prairie Climate Centre a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. According to the analysis by 2020, summer temperatures and precipitation will be similar to North Dakota, in 30 years closer to Nebraska and in 60 years close to Kansas and northern Texas. Spring precipitation is predicted to increase by 26
% and almost two months with plus 30 °C temperatures by 2080. Over the summer growing season, there is a possibility of more droughts and increased forest fires. Overall, this would mean a growing season that is a full month longer on average, which would present opportunities to introduce new crop varieties to Manitoba. However, these benefits would be limited by the risks, which are expected to include new invasive species and pests that are not killed by cold weather, drier summers, more precipitation in winter, spring and fall, and severe and variable weather. Looking to the short and long-term plans in agriculture, farm organizations and governments at all, levels will need to implement changes to support healthy soil innovations, improve water management, flexible risk assurance and insurance pooling, carbon sequestration models and improve pest management. The report is intended to be used by Manitoba farmers, to support their efforts to develop official KAP policies through KAP’s democratic process. It is also intended for government officials, environmental organizations and the public to offer an agricultural perspective on the solutions to climate change.
Pictures courtesy of Richard Warkentin
March 30, 2018
Focus on Youth Careers at Agriculture Awareness Day By Elmer Heinrichs Sixty high school students from the Pembina Trails School Division joined Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler recently at Fort Richmond Collegiate to celebrate Agriculture Awareness Day to learn more about exciting careers available in the agriculture industry.
“Agriculture is an incredibly exciting industry to be a part of in Manitoba,” said Eichler. “It is constantly growing and evolving as the industry benefits from new technologies and innovative thinking.” Most importantly, he said, “Agriculture offers rewarding opportunities and a
Mark your Calendar for Cropalooza By Les Kletke Spring seeding may not be underway yet but it is time to mark your calendar for a summer event that truly does promise to have something for every one. Cropalooza is planned for July 25 and promises to be one of the major crop events of the season. Roberta Galbraith is the Members Relations Officer with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association and said the event is an outgrowth of Canolapalooza, which was held last June in Portage la Prairie. A similar event was held in Alberta and that province is going the same route this year but Manitoba has decided to expand the offering to more crops and move the date. “We have cut our teeth on Crop Connect,” said Galbraith. “And we see the benefit of having an event that features more crops. Crop Connect has proven very successful and attendance indicates that is what producers want.” The summer event will have participation from the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers, Flax Growers, the Canadian Sunflower Association, the Oats Growers, Wheat and Barley Growers as well as the Manitoba Corn Growers Association. The only member of Crop Connect not joining the summer
event are Seed Growers. “A summer event was just not a good fit for them, so they have opted out at this time,” said Galbraith. The timing of the event is consciously later than Canolapalooza. “Last year’s event was held in June and we felt by going a month later we would have much more to show farmers in terms of crop growth and staging,” she said. “We also moved later than the major shows in Saskatchewan because we know that farmers like to attend those shows.” Work is already underway to pull displays together for the summer show and demonstration areas will need to be planted in the spring to provide exhibits for July. “We are working on a collaborative effort,” said Galbraith. “From our experience in winter we know that we can have an event together with other commodity groups and keep our identity.” The Manitoba Canola and Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association held joint events in March in Brandon and Dauphin. The event previously known as CanoLab was expanded to include soybeans. “We had great turn out to the events in both Brandon and Dauphin,” she said. “Farmers are not about competition between the groups they are about getting good information.”
bright future to young Manitobans who, like the students here today, are at a stage where they are making important decisions about their lives and their careers.” He noted that organizations like “Agriculture in the Classroom - Manitoba” are doing tremendous work, providing students a window into the world of agriculture. Eichler pointed out that agriculture contributes more than 62,000 jobs to Manitoba’s economy and directly employs about 27,000 workers The day’s events included a panel discussion with indus-
try professionals who spoke about their jobs and the roles they play in the agriculture sector. Local producers served a Manitoba-made breakfast to all students and participants. Students from Fort Richmond Collegiate provided a tour of their new state-of-theart educational tool, a controlled environment chamber, which allows students to observe how temperature, light and other factors affect plant growth. It is one of four that have recently opened in North American high schools as part of an innovative pilot
March 30, 2018 program to engage students in plant research focused on food and water security solutions. “In Pembina Trails, we are always looking for unique learning experiences,” said Julie Fisher, Board Chair, Pembina Trails School Division. “This cutting-edge technology allows our students an opportunity to engage in a deeper understanding of water and food safety issues. The controlled environment chamber also gives students a chance to partner with other North American schools and study optimal
growing conditions in different environments.” “High school students are at a pivotal moment in choosing their future career paths, and it’s crucial they don’t rule out a career in agriculture,” said Sue Clayton, Executive Director, Agriculture in the Classroom - Manitoba. “As students graduate from postsecondary programs, diverse science and business career opportunities in agriculture and the agri-food sector are waiting for them and these bright young minds are in high demand,” added Clayton.
March 30, 2018
Lake Manitoba Residents Continue with Rebuilding
By Harry Siemens
and new people representing them, understood what the committee represented, and number two whether or not they wanted to continue,” said Teichroeb. “Very clearly, everyone there was in full support of the committee, understood what the mandate of the committee is, and thought the value was still genuine, it needed to carry on, and deal with some of the ongoing issues that are still very real around Lake Manitoba.” First, the water levels for Lake Manitoba are still too high and have yet to reach the bottom end of the lake levels recommended by the province making this a significant issue. “We also have never achieved our surface water management strategy that we have around the province in the way that we think it needs doing,” he said. “Those are two big issues that will remain for a long time and then thirdly, of course, the announcement of the channel construction with a date in mind, and we want to make sure we see that through.” The support and vote of confidence of those around the table at the last meeting convinced Teichroeb that there was a good reason to start the committee and that the board did an excellent job because it will continue. “Absolutely, Tom Teichroeb, a cattle rancher at Langruth and and I think Chair of the Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation the chalCommittee said they are still recovering and working towards full recovery of the land and people’s lives. lenge with Back in 2011, Lake Manitoba looked completely different at this time of year. That year people’s lives and the land changed as the snow and ice thawed, turning into a flood. Bad decisions were made and destruction followed for farmers, the fishing industry, and tourist businesses. Many lost everything. As a result, local citizens formed the Lake Manitoba Flood Rehabilitation Committee (LMFRC) to gain a footing, to determine losses, connect with governments, fight for survival, and get help to continue. Recently Tom Teichroeb, a cattle rancher at Langruth, Chair of the LMFRC spoke about what issues remain and especially about the outcome of the latest meeting. “Well, the committee itself needed to regain focus because we hadn’t met for some time. First and foremost, we needed to establish whether or not with the new councils and the amalgamations that happened in the recent years,
any single voice is that the question you always ask, is it relevant? Yes, when you have nine different councils, and northern communities on the committee, all agree we accomplished and achieved certain goals, and there is more to accomplish. After being around now for approximately six years, that you do have relevance and that you do have a purpose, and that you do have the respect,” he said. “We feel that we do and certainly want to reach out to the Rural Municipality of Grahamdale , who is now obviously dealing with a revenue loss, a potential revenue loss that we want to make sure there is an understanding what’s happening.” While the flood and resulting damage changed the land and lives, Teichroeb said the land and particularly pastureland vary anywhere from about 60 to 80 percent recovered. “The question that people fail to think about is that it’s not just 2011, but it’s also 2014,” he said. “We had made some recovery, which again was compromised by 2014. When you look at beaches, when you look at the resort right next to my ranch, those owners have certainly restored it.” Teichroeb said some people have rebuilt but have nowhere near the momentum. When talking to people around the lake or any of the other lakeside resort areas it seems they have all lost significant momentum. “When you lose momentum you lose industry, when you lose industry you lose money, and every single person is affected negatively by such flooding events,” he said. He feels strongly about the confidence the committee received at the last meeting, confidence to tackle the significant issues and help with the small ones, too.
Ag Scholarships Available By Joan Airey The Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference (MFWC) has available a $500 scholarship presented to a female student from rural Manitoba studying agriculture or any field that supports rural life. In addition, there are many other opportunities according to Carol Dalgarno of the Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference. “Students did you know there are eleven Agricul-
ture and Agri-Food industry scholarships available worth $500 to $3,000. Visit the Red River Ex Foundation website for more information to apply,” said Dalgarno. “Parents please tell your students planning to further their education about these scholarships.” To apply for the MFWC scholarship, students should provide proof of enrolment in a university or accredited college anywhere in North America, copy of resume that
includes education, employment and volunteer, community and school activities and three reference letters from a teacher, employer, or community leader. Scholarship funds are paid after enrolment in the second term of study. Deadline to apply is the second Friday in May. Information for this and nine other agricultural related scholarships can be found at redriverex.com under, scholarships.
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March 30, 2018
Tips to Maximize Serotonin Levels and Lower Stress By Joan Airey Recently at the Keystone Centre in Brandon Dr. Georges Sabongui addressed the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Forum on stress in every day life including farming. He defined stress as a lack of equilibrium in the human body that is perceived as threatening that individual. He said the degree of psychological stress is determined by the individual’s assessment of given situation. If an environment is perceived as threatening, it is more likely to cause stress. Certain attitudes or actions can help the individual take the situation in hand. They are referred to as a coping strategy. “Human beings are three-dimensional. We have physical, emotional and psychological dimensions. Our challenge on a daily basis is to balance the demands placed on us by using our physical, emotional and psychological energy. When we feel stressed or overwhelmed by a difficult situation, it is because the demands placed on us by using our physical, emotional and psychological energy,” said Sabongui. “Resilient people do not face fewer challenges; they face more because they rely on the other side of the scale.” He further describes resilient strengths in people. “They have developed strategies for finding the physical, psychological and emotional resources to give them the strength to tackle life’s biggest challenges,” he said. “When our energy stores are depleted, the slightest setback upsets the balance and we feel overwhelmed. We overreact and everything seems like a burden. But when our energy reserves are full to overflowing, everything becomes possible. Challenges become stimulating or even exciting. We see opportunities where other only see potential failure. Above all we feel valued, energized and engaged.” He explained that low serotonin is associated with several mood disorders including anxiety, depression, aggressiveness, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder and fibromyalgia. Dr. Sabongui suggested the following tips to maximize serotonin levels. “For success try this exercise on days when everything is going wrong. Visualize the time when you experienced personal success to bounce back on terrible days,” he said. The sun plays an important role. “Our bodies go through natural energy fluctuations called circadian rhythms. One of the ways our bodies regulate the rhythms is by secreting melatonin from the pineal gland. The pineal gland is activated by sunlight,” he noted. “In the evening, it detects changes in light and induces sleep. Unfortunately, when we have a light deficiency, the gland calcifies. As result, we are
never truly awake or asleep and we are always tired. He recommended for a better sleep and feeling more awake afterwards to get two hours of sun. This is enough to decalcify our pineal gland and stabilise our circadian rhythms.” Another factor is sleep. While we sleep, our melatonin is transformed into serotonin, which is why we feel well after a goodnight’s sleep. Our emotions return to normal. Never underestimate a smile he said. “We smile when we feel happy, but when we force ourselves to smile, the contraction of the cheeks alone trigger secretion of serotonin, making us feel happy, he pointed out. Sports play a big role in coping strategies. Cardio and aerobic exercise is good for the heart while very intense exercise to the point of exhaustion is ideal for the brain. It turns out that it is in this anaerobic zone that your body burns protein. Metabolites bound to the proteins are then used by your body to manufacture more serotonin. He recommends that exercise for seven minutes with a heart rate of about 160 beats per minute is all it takes. Social Contact is a factor as well. It has been shown that people with a broader social network secrete more serotonin and are much more resilient when it comes to dealing with life’s stress factors. Of course, we are talking about actual social networks, interactions with real human beings he said. Virtual social media such as Facebook or Twitter do not count. Eat steak he said. “The chemical name for serotonin is 5-hydroxytamine. To manufacture the protein tryptamine, the body needs an amino acid called tryptophan. Fortunately for carnivores, tryptophan is found in red meat.” Vegetarians, should not worry he said since the chemical can also be ingested from linseeds. Work the soil, gardening helps he explained. “Researchers found a bacterium called mycobacterium vaccae in soil and sand. The bacterium apparently stimulates a very rich area of serotonin, the raphe nucleus and also has a natural antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect, while stimulating the immune system at the same time,” he stated. Two other tips are sexuality, which is a balm for the soul, but only for women and spirituality since our soul is the third dimension that requires daily nourishment. “We feed our souls with spirituality and a purpose for our lives,” he summed up. Dr. Georges Sabongui holds a PhD in psychology and specializes in stress and burnout prevention and leadership training. He is author of numerous books in including his most recent Diamonds or Dust: What Makes People Shine or Crumble under Pressure.
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Revolutionary Bioplastic in Development at AAFC Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Dr. Qiang Liu is developing a new environmentally friendly plant protein-based bioplastic that will keep meat, dairy and other food products fresher longer. The bioplastic is made from the by-products created by industrial processing of certain plants. Not only will this bioplastic protect perishable food better than regular plastic packaging, it is also more environmentally-friendly and sustainable. Dr. Liu has been working to advance the science around bioplastics for over 15 years. He is a “green” chemist, someone who specializing in making plastics and other goods from agricultural plants. “I, along with industry, saw great opportunity to create something useful out of the leftover by-product from industrial canola oil processing, which is why this project was funded under the Growing Forward 2 Canola Cluster. We can extract all sorts of things like starches, proteins, and oils from plant materials to make plastics, but I am particularly interested in proteins from canola meal in this research project,” explained Dr. Qiang Liu, Research Scientist, AAFC. Plant protein-based bioplastic has been shown to have similar attributes to other plant-based bio-products. It can stretch, it does not deform in certain temperatures, and in some cases, it biodegrades. That being said, building the polymers (long chains of repeating molecules) that are the basis of biofilms and plastics can be tricky and finding just the right technique and formula is challenging. One challenge with some protein polymers is that they are can be sensitive to a lot of moisture, not a good trait if you want to use them to protect food with a natural moisture content. Dr. Liu and his team recently discovered a formula and technique to make soy and canola protein polymers water-resistant by “wrapping” them in another polymer. The team was also able to add an anti-microbial compound to the mix, which not only made the resulting bioplastic able to prevent nasty bacteria like E. coli from growing but also, depending on how much was added, also could change the porosity of the film. The porosity of bioplastic, essentially how many holes are in it, is very important in food packaging since different foods need different amounts of moisture to stay fresh. Having a way to adjust porosity is a great feature in a potential plastic because it can either let more or less water go into or out of the area where the food is. Even though it is in the early stages of development, Dr. Liu believes there is great future for bringing this technology into the marketplace. “The use of plant-based plastics as a renewable resource for packaging and consumer goods is becoming increasingly attractive due to environmental concerns and the availability of raw materials. My hope is that someday this research will lead to all plastics being made from renewable sources. It would be a win for the agriculture sector to have another source of income from waste and a win for our environment,” explained Dr. Liu.
Agriculture on Show in Manitoba Budget By Elmer Heinrichs Tax cuts for individuals and business, record spending in health, education and families and a dramatically reduced deficit are the highlights of Manitoba’s 2018 budget, said Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen as he introduced the budget on March 12 in the Legislature. The budget speech itself referred to agriculture employing more than 33,000 Manitobans, generating around $6 billion in annual economic activity. It also highlighted the roughly $1 billion in private investment going toward the new Roquette pea processing plant and Simplot potato plant expansion at Portage la Prairie. “We’re pretty excited with the opportunities that we’ve been able to accomplish in a few short years,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “We’re very pleased with the announcement of Roquette, and of course Simplot, the expansion of the livestock sector, we’ve seen almost $200 million invested there as well.” Manitoba plans to tax more, spend more and slash a third of its core deficit this year in a provincial budget that leans heavily on new fossil-fuel charges and more money from Ottawa. The budget also sets up a $102-million conservation trust, an allocation that will release an estimated $5 million annually into the local economy to support projects and programs that preserved and enhance natural resources. But at least one issue in the budget is unpopular among the agricultural community. Manitoba’s $25-per-tonne carbon tax will come into effect on September 1. The tax is expected to generate $143 million in revenue but will raise the prices of gasoline, diesel, natural gas and propane. However, while some fuels marked for farm use will be exempt from the carbon tax, farmers will still feel the brunt of the increased costs. And several farm groups questioned how agriculture will be impacted by the carbon plan. “Farmers don’t have the option to pass on costs since prices paid to farmers are set globally, based on world market demand, so Manitoba prices cannot be altered to pass on additional production costs and taxes to customers,” said Dan Mazier, President of Keystone Agricultural Producers. Some of the other highlights for the Ag sector include implementing the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) multilateral framework agreement on April 1 to support the investment of $176 million over five years in strategic programming focused on the sustainability and competitiveness of the agriculture and food sectors, maintaining crucial programs such as AgriInsurance, and Agricultural Income Stabilization including AgriStability and AgriInvest and enhancing coverage to include corn, soybeans and some novel crops. In addition the budget will provide targeted financial assistance of $1.5 million to agriculture producers in advance of the adoption of beneficial management practices to improve environmental sustainability of their operations, provide $70 million to launch the Lake Manitoba outlet project, invest an additional $3.6 million for the farmland school tax rebate program, making sure farmers get to keep more money in their pockets and can put more money back into their operations, provide a $133,000 increase in funding for the Veterinary Diagnostic Services Laboratory to purchase specialized equipment and increasing the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program budget by $151,000 to mitigate damages caused by wildlife.
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Alternatives Within Biomass Fuel By Les Kletke Manitobans trying to combat rising fuel costs are continuing to search for and find alternative energy sources. Several Manitoba firms have been successful in developing solar energy systems that have found their way into several commercial facilities including hog operations. Ian Band believes that biomass may be a solution to rising fuel costs. He said that it is a move that is somewhat ‘back to the future’ in it’s approach because it uses almost any biomass as an energy source much like pioneers did when they arrived on the Prairies and for lack of trees were forced to burning material like animal waste. Band said that it is not beyond the realm of possibility. “We have clients that are using animal litter, but it is not our first recommendation,” he said. “We have several clients that are using wood chips and flax chives and that is working very well.” Band is with a firm that markets the Blue Flame Stoker System that is manufactured in Manitoba. Currently most of the marketing has been in Manitoba and regionally but he sees it going further afield. “I see that this technology can go world wide,” he said. “That is one of the reasons that I became involved with the company. The potential is that great.” Band said that one of the company’s systems is being used at Vanderveen’s Greenhouses with 20 acres of greenhouses at Carman, one of western Canada’s largest greenhouses. The firm was facing escalating heating costs from fossil fuels, made the switch to a Blue Flame Stoker system, and now uses flax chives as a primary energy source. It has the benefit of being near a flax fibre processing plant with access to the chives. “Not everyone has access to flax chives but much of Manitoba has access to wood chips,” said Band. “Many people are surprised by the volume of wood chips available.” Band said the system is not restricted to agricultural clients and has success at commercial venues as well. “Providence College has a unit and were able to use it during a construction project that they have as a result of an earlier fire, and the unit served them well and helped reduce their heating costs during the construction project.” Band is confident that interest in the system will grow as environmental concerns increase but he said the system is economically competitive at this time and its biggest advantage is the versatility of fuels it accepts.
Federal Budget Would See More Women in Agriculture and Opening More Trade Doors By Elmer Heinrichs While there was little emphasis on agriculture in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s 2018 Federal budget, there were a few items of note that will affect many in the agricultural sector. Morneau unveiled a new plan to tax passive income. The changes are the result of months of public consultations launched last October in the midst of a firestorm of public and political backlash around the Liberals proposed changes to how Canadian controlled private corporations are taxed. Passive income includes money earned from rented out farmland. Ottawa’s initial proposal was heavily criticized by farm groups who called it unworkable. The new structure unveiled Tuesday sees the Department of Finance set a threshold of $50,000 on passive income to allow for some personal savings, like retirement, sick leave or parental leave. On the trade front, Global Affairs Canada is receiving $75 million over five years to improve Canada’s trade and diplomatic presence in China and Asia as Ottawa works to diversify this country’s trade portfolio including the ratification of one of the largest free trade deals, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that was signed on March, 8 2018. An additional $11.8 million has been earmarked
per year thereafter. Despite concessions being made under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership, there is also no concrete compensation package for Canada’s supply management sector. Securing market access for Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-food Products will receive $29 million over five years. No details were available in the budget around possible contingency plans if ongoing NAFTA trade talks fail. The budget did reiterate the trade pact’s importance to the Canadian economy. The budget does build on the efficiencies and renewal of Federal science based research by launching the first phase of a plan with $2.8 billion over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $4.5 million per year after. The process begins with the construction of multi-purpose technology facilities across Canada so that rather than working in silos, Federal scientists in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the National Research Council and others in order to advance interdisciplinary research on, among other things, climate change, ocean protection, and human health. Initially Manitoba did not receive the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund’s
$1.4 billion in projects funding to make buildings more energy efficient, help industries innovate to reduce emissions, and help the forestry and agriculture sectors increase stored carbon in forests and soils. Announcements for the remaining jurisdictions that have signed onto the PanCanadian Framework will be forthcoming as project proposals are approved. The Liberal government did promise $4.3 million over five years to reopen the shuttered prison farms at the Joyceville and Collins Bay penitentiaries, starting in 2018. The farms will be run by CORCAN, one of Correctional Services of Canada’s rehabilitation arms. These farms, which were recognized around the world for their successful programming, were closed by the Harper government as a cost-saving measure despite significant public backlash. Public interest in the file was high particularly in the Kingston area where the institutions are located. Ottawa is also looking to engage more women in the agriculture sector by creating a new lending project through Farm Credit Canada. Details of how that project will operate are still pending. Long term consistent funding has historically been a problem with infrastructure planning in green technology and for rural communities. The Federal government is
finalizing negotiations with the provinces and territories to provide long-term funding through integrated bilateral agreements. The budget over 5 years has allocated $200 million for these bilateral agreements as well as targeting reduction and reliance of rural and remote communities on diesel, with $141 million. Last but certainly not least, there is also $100 million over five years for rural broadband with a special focus on projects that involve the use of low Earth orbit satellites. Those satellites, the Federal government said, have the “Potential to provide Canadians living in rural and remote areas with significantly improved access to internet and wireless services at affordable prices.” Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) President Ron Bonnett, commenting on the budget, was pleased that there would be a review of regulations that are blocking opportunities and growth. “I think that will be fairly well received by not only the farm community but the processing sector as well.” Bonnett was also pleased the government is pledging to provide funding to help address food safety risks, as well as for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to support the negotiations of export conditions for agricultural, fishery and forestry products.
Farmers Weigh Seeding Options By Elmer Heinrichs
Ian Band says the Manitoba firm is ready to take the alternate energy technology worldwide. They had a model on display at the recent Poultry Expo in Minneapolis. Picture courtesy of Ian Band
Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (AAFC), in its March 2018 outlook, projects that based on current market conditions and historical trends, the area seeded to field crops in Canada will increase slightly compared to last year. AAFC adds that expected prices, input costs, delivery opportunities and moisture conditions will likely play a crucial role in determining actual seeding decisions in the spring. In its perspective on the upcoming crop year, AAFC forecasts average yields for
grains and oilseeds (G&O) and are expected to decrease slightly while average yields for pulses and special crops (P&SC) will increase modestly. The production of G&O is expected to increase by 2 per cent while the output of P&SC is expected to decrease by 20 per cent. Total field crop production is expected to increase marginally from last year to 93.3 Mt. For 2018-19, canola seeded area in Canada is forecast to increase to 9.7 million hectares (Mha). This is due to attractive expected returns compared to alter-
native field crops and the strong marketing pace for 2017-18. Production is forecast to rise to a record of 21.7 Mt versus the previous record 21.3 Mt in 2017-18, as higher area seeded morethan offsets the decline in yields compared to the 5year average of 2.3 t/ha. Pea plantings will probably decline to a seven-year low this spring, while lentil acreage drops 27 per cent, according to the Federal agriculture department. Seeding will decline as farmers swap land for wheat and canola, the Canadian-made
oilseed that is used in everything from salad dressing to French fries. Soybeans planted area is expected to rise by 2 per cent, to a record 3.0 Mha, due to attractive returns in comparison to alternate crops. Production is forecast to rise slightly to a record 8.1 Mt due to higher area and higher average yields. In general, world grain prices are expected to be pressured by abundant world grain supplies but grain prices in Canada will continue to be supported by the low value of the Canadian dollar.
Partnership Builds Between Canola and Soybean Associations By Les Kletke ‘To be forewarned is to be fore armed’ is a good adage when heading into any battle but it is particularly good when dealing with the challenges of producing an oilseed crop in Manitoba. Two events held this past month were intended to do just that, have producers ready for the challenges they will face in the field producing the 2018 crop. The event formerly known as CanoLAB and sponsored by the Canola Growers Association was expanded to include soybeans this year with the inclusion of the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG) Association. Angela Brackenreed is an agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada and said the event has always had an informal flavour, “It has always been a hands on, low pressure event and this year we had 8 canola and 8 soybean stations with great instructors.” Roberta Galbraith is the Member Relations Officer with the Manitoba Canola Growers and she was pleased with the turn out. “We had a full house in Brandon and about 80 producers in Dauphin,” she said. “That speaks well to the intent of the event, producers want the information and while they are familiar with the crops they are looking for more information.” Assiniboine Community College gets involved with the growing of plants that are used at the stations. Danielle Tichit said the event is valuable for the school. “We are fortunate to align our school with organizations that support our vision of hands-on learning and provide students with an invaluable networking opportunity.” Students not only worked on growing out the plants but also interacted with the instructors at various stations. This year’s topics included Sclerotinia: life cycle and management, Canola and Soybean Stand Establishment, Weed Identification, Canola Fertility, Aphids and Beneficial Insects of Soybean, Nodulation and Inoculation of Soybean and Phytophthora Root Rot of Soybean. Toban Dyck the Director of Communications with the MPSG said, “These two crops cover a lot of acres, and this event will cover a lot of ground.” The joint venture was an indication of more things to come. The two organizations have already committed to collaborating in Cropalooza a July event that will have 7 commodity groups come together to highlight crops during the production cycle.
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March 30, 2018
Garden Fever Is in the Air By Joan Airey All my neighbours are starting to talk gardening and many have started some bedding plants. Over the past few days I have had a few calls from people wanting to know what radio stations have gardening shows and what local websites are available. Golden West 1220 on your radio has a new garden host, Carla Hrycyna on Saturday mornings at 9:10 am. Their website is pembiavalleyonline.com/lawn-garden-journal. This morning Hrycyna said the combination of gained daylight hours and warmth has escalated the stimulus to think green. It sure has around my neighbourhood even with a foot of snow on the ground. CBC has a garden show on 97.9 between 8:30 and 9 am, Sunday morning. Dave Hanson hosts it and his website site is a wealth of information sagegarden.ca. On his Facebook page you will find some very interesting podcasts on gardening.
Blake picked a cucumber off our cucumber plants grown under grow lights on February 28. It was a Salad Bush hybrid variety. At the moment I’m waiting for a new flat of lettuce to start producing and looks like the radishes and onions will be ready early this planting. With everyone into making salsa it’s nice to have a large Roma type tomato to use. Last year I grew Super Sauce Tomatoes from Burpees but they are extremely hard to find in Canada. Burpee seeds are sold in Safeway and Superstore but you cannot order them directly from the states. T & T advertises an Amish Paste Tomato that grows to 8 -12 ounces so I’m trying them this year. Paste tomatoes make a better salsa or tomato sauce plus the bigger the tomato the less work peeling them. As you all know my grandchildren garden with me and Chase picked all the Roma tomatoes for me. For the most part they were as big as a navel orange.
(Above) The tomatoes on the lawn in front of Chase are Burpees Super Sauce.
It’s also time to begin your Spanish onions and hot peppers. I germinated my Geraniums on a damp piece of paper towel in a plastic bag and moved them in pots yesterday. That method works great.
(Right) A Salad Bush Hybrid cucumber grown in a pot and harvested on February 20.
March 30, 2018
March 30, 2018
Manitoba agriculture news and features