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June 15, 2012

Issue No. 151

A Supplement to the Southeast Trader Express

Late Nester

A temporary nest and home was being provided in a pond north of Estevan last week as water fowl of all kinds and nature have made good use of the ample water-filled areas in southeast Sask.

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Reams of agricultural information from latest census By Norm Park for Agri-news It’s all about the numbers when it comes to farming and Statistics Canada. Reams of information from Stats Canada assists producers in making decisions, following trends, arriving at suppositions and plotting the future based on known factors. The 2011 Census of Agriculture released by Statistics Canada in late May showed for instance, that last year Canada had 205,730 farms which was a 10.3 per cent decrease (or 23,643) since the last census taken in 2006. The actual number of farm operators has declined by 33,135 to 293,925, representing a 10.1 per cent shift. In fact, farm numbers have been in general decline ever since 1941 and between 2006 and 2011, the number of farms and farmers fell in every province except Nova Scotia, where it increased by 2.9 per cent and in British Columbia where the hike was marginal. The total land available for farm production also declined by 4.1 per cent to 160,155,748 acres. What did grow though, was the average size of the Canadian farm, moving up 50 acres to 778, a 6.9 per cent hike. The average size of a Saskatchewan farm is 1,668 acres, a 15.1 per cent increase, the largest increase in the country. The age of the average Canadian farmer continues to increase too. The largest portion of producers in the

2011 census are now over the age of 55. Those who are that age, or older, now represent 48.3 per cent compared to 40.7 per cent in 2006. Farmers aged 35 or younger make up just 8.2 per cent, a decrease of nearly one per cent in the five years. Gross farm receipts also grew, but only by a modest 3.9 per cent between 2005 and 2010, said the statistical people, and that growth was primarily on larger farms. The trend toward consolidation of farms across the country continues, according to the number keepers and there was also a slight shift away from livestock-based farms to crop-based operations. Production choices are shifting across Canada: For many years the backbone of the industry has been typical crops and beef, but the gap between these two has widened. Oilseed and grain farms accounted for just under 27 per cent of all farms and beef farms represented 26.6 per cent in 2006 and now the oilseed and grain farms sit at an even 30 per cent while beef operations declined to 18.2 per cent. Paying the Farmer: When it comes to gross receipts for farming, Statistics Canada indicates that in 2009, gross farm receipts amounted to $51.1 billion, which was an increase of 3.9 per cent (at 2010 constant prices) from 2005. For every dollar of receipts in 2010, the average


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Canadian farmer had 83 cents going the other way in expenses (not including depreciation), which was about three cents less than in 2005. Only 11.5 per cent of this nation’s farmers showed gross farm receipts over $500,000 in 2010, which represented almost 68 per cent of total gross receipts, whereas in 2006, they represented 8.6 per cent of farms and just over 60 per cent of total gross receipts. In 2011, Canada had 9,602 farms that reported $1 million or more in gross farm receipts which was a 31.2 per cent increase from 2006. These farms accounted for 4.7 per cent of all farms and 49.1 per cent of receipts, up from 3.2 per cent and 42.8 per cent respectively five years earlier. Grain and oilseed farms reported $18.2 billion in gross receipts in 2010, which was up 49.5 per cent from 2005. Beef farms were next with $7.3 billion, 14.3 per cent of the total. Thirty-four per cent of farms reported that they had paid labour. The 2011 Census of Agriculture shows 297,683 paid employees on farms, of whom 37.6 per cent or 112,059 worked year-round in full- or parttime capacity. A total of 185,624 or 62.4 per cent were considered seasonal or temporary employees. The number of farmers, both male and female, who also worked off the farm, declined slightly from 2005 to 2010 at 46.9 per cent compared with 48.4 per cent five years earlier. What was grown: For the first time, canola surpassed spring wheat as the most popular crop in Canada in 2011. This represented a continual four-year decline in spring wheat as a crop of choice among producers. The area planted to canola was 19.4 million acres, a 55.9 per cent increase from 2006, while

spring wheat area fell by 10 per cent to 16.9 million acres. The number of certified organic operations increased 4.4 per cent from 2006 to 2011 to 3,713 which represented 1.8 per cent of all farms in Canada. Organic growers represented 1.5 per cent of all producers in 2006 and just under one per cent in 2001. No-tillage practices accounted for more than half of all area prepared for seeding across the country, an increase of 17.1 per cent from 2006. The use of the Internet in farm operations also increased from just under 35 per cent in 2006 to 55.6 per cent in 2011, with 44.8 per cent of all farms now stating they have access to high-speed Internet. Saskatchewan trends: As it was recorded across Canada, canola surpassed spring wheat as the field crop of choice in the country’s largest farm production area. Since 2006, areas seeded to canola increased 63.6 per cent to 9.8 million acres while spring wheat area decreased 16.5 per cent to eight million acres. This province accounted for just over half (50.5 per cent) of the canola area in Canada and despite the decrease in area devoted to spring wheat, Saskatchewan still reported the largest area sown to spring wheat with 47.4 per cent of Canada’s total. One huge increase in favour has been realized with lentils in Saskatchewan where growth has soared 94.1 per cent since 2006. There were about 2.5 million acres devoted to lentils in 2011, accounting for 96 per cent of the total lentil area in Canada. Gross farm receipts for Saskatchewan farmers increased 10.2 per cent by 2010 to $9.4 billion compared with 2005. Nationally, the increase was 3.9 per cent

in gross receipts. Saskatchewan farmers also showed they were a little bit more efficient at operations since they spent 76 cents on every dollar received on farm expenses compared with the national average of 83 cents. This was about 12 cents less than what they had to spend in 2005. This represented the country’s lowest ratio of expenses to receipts. The number of farms in Saskatchewan continued to decline at a more rapid rate compared with the national trend. There were 36,952 census farms in this province in 2011, a decrease of 16.6 per cent since 2006. The national decrease was 10.3 per cent. Saskatchewan accounted for 18 per cent of all Canadian farms in 2011, a slightly lower share than in 2006, making it third in the country. There were 4,764 Saskatchewan farms declaring gross receipts in excess of $500,000 in 2011. They represented 12.9 per cent of all farms in the province, but they accounted for 60 per cent of total provincial gross farm receipts. Actual farm operator numbers declined too, to 49,475, a drop of 16.4 per cent from 2006. Women made up just under 23 per cent of Saskatchewan farm operators which was just slightly lower than the national average. The average age of a farm operators in Saskatchewan in 2011 was 54.2 years compared with 52.6 years in 2006. Just over 46 per cent of all Saskatchewan farm operators had off-farm jobs or businesses compared with 48.3 per cent in 2005. The total acreages devoted to farming in Saskatchewan last year declined 4.1 per cent compared with 2006, now standing at 61.6 million acres. Saskatchewan still has 38.5 per cent of the total farm area in Canada.

Alfalfa and tame hay represented 12.6 per cent of the cropland in Saskatchewan in 2011 compared with 13.9 per cent in 2006. Summerfallow, as a proportion of total farm area in this province, decreased to 5.8 per cent from 9.3 per cent in 2006. The Census of Agriculture noted the 2011 report included a lot of “too wet to seed” notations so those areas were categorized as “other land” and not cropland or summerfallow since the land could return to cropland when conditions improve. In 2011, Saskatchewan had the second largest cattle herd in the country, right after Alberta, with 20.7 of the national total. The number of cattle in the province still decreased however, from 3.4 million head in 2006 to 2.6 million in 2011, a 21.5 per cent decrease. The number of beef cattle reported for breeding purposes (cows and heifers), decreased by 20.6 per cent since 2006, totalling 1.3 million head. Saskatchewan also had the second largest bison herd in the country with 39,343 head, a 31.5 per cent decrease, but Saskatchewan now accounts for 31.4 per cent of the national herd. In Saskatchewan, there are 1,064 certified organic farms or farms that are in transitional mode. This represents 2.9 per cent of all farms in the province, compared with two per cent across the country that are listed as organic. Saskatchewan had the highest number of certified organic operations in the country despite a 14.6 per cent decrease since 2006. Saskatchewan still continues to lead the country in largest areas sown to spring wheat, durum wheat, oats, rye, canola, flax, dry field peas, chickpeas, lentils, mustard, canary and caraway seed. Durum wheat area increased 14.8 per cent ⇢ 3

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Stalking Squirrel

This bushy tailed stalker attempted to put a fierceness into his squirrely swagger while being caught by the Agri-news camera

Letter to the Editor

White is only there to serve the minister

The Editor: It is quite funny to listen to CWB CEO Ian White comment that he sees farmers as the CWB’s natural shareholders. In most companies, shareholders have a right to vote on major direction changes, sellouts, or takeovers. No vote was given to the “natural shareholders” when Minister Ritz confiscated farmers’ assets through Bill C-18. If the CEO really felt this way, why has he never stated that farmers should have a vote on the direction of the CWB? Where was he when the CWB had their farmer meetings this past summer when the changes to the CWB were being discussed? The CEO states Cargill has not even raised the idea of acquiring a privatized wheat board. My question is ... why

would they even talk to White about this? He is not running the CWB — Minister Ritz is. Presently there are five people appointed to the CWB board of directors by Minister Ritz. This arrangement is a mockery of good governance and only portrays a puppet attitude of doing what the minister directs. This is a far cry from when a 10-member farmerelected board gave direction to the CEO. That was a democratic indication of what farmers wanted. White is more of a communications consultant for the minister, whose only remaining substantive task is to shut off the lights as he leaves the building and the CWB fails. His $800,000 per year job is probably short term at best. Donn Dutchak, Rama, Sask.

Sask. producers will support provincial commission The Agricultural Producers of Saskatchewan (APAS) have divergent views on the May 22 announcement by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz that a new producer check-off will be set up to support vital research, market development and technical assistance for Western Canadian grain industries. “APAS is pleased the federal government moved quickly to ensure that funding to the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Canadian International Grains Institute.and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre will continue beyond August 1, 2012 when the Canadian Wheat Board transitions from its former role in these areas with the implementation of Bill C-18,” APAS president Norm Hall said.

“The continued role of these organizations is innovation and research is pivotal to the future competitiveness of the Western Canadian grain industry.” The naming of the Alberta Barley Commission as the administrator of this new five-year temporary check-off raises questions for Saskatchewan wheat and barley producers. “What will be the administrative efficiencies and costs? What will the checkoff amounts be and will sufficient revenue streams be provided to the three organizations? Transparency will be all-important. These questions and issues are important to the success of the approach and we look forward to further information,” Hall added. APAS regards this announcement as a short-term

Reams of agricultural information ... ⇠ 2 in 2011 to 3.7 million acres while flax crops decreased 47.4 per cent to 812,437 acres in 2011 compared with 2006. This broke a trend of steady increase in acres devoted to flax that began in 1991. Emerging crops such as sour cherry and saskatoons were also noted in the statistics. Sour cherry area increased to 220 acres in 2011, a 37.5 per cent hike.

The areas dedicated to saskatoons decreased by 19.4 per cnt to 875 acres. Vegetable areas also decreased 5.9 per cent from 813 acres in 2006 to 765 acres in 2011. The largest vegetable areas saw crops that mostly consisted of sweet corn, cabbage and pumpkins. Pollinating bee production decreased by 44.8 per cent in Saskatchewan last

year to 122,706 gallons. There were 82, 452 honeybee colonies reported in 2011 which was down from the 91,254 reported in 2006. Just over 70 per cent of the farmers now use notill methods, an increase of about 10 percent over the five years. Just under 48 per cent of Saskatchewan farmers in Saskatchewan had access to high speed Internet service,

about four per cent better than the national average. In this province there were 28,904 paid employees on farms with just under 37 per cent of them being employed year-round in full or part-time capacity. And there you have it ... more than enough statistical information about the state of farming in Saskatchewan and across Canada.

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katchewan and that it was prepared to play a leadership role in the formation of these commissions. Since then, they have learned that the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is taking leadership in initiating a meeting or meetings to discuss the formation of commissions and APAS said they will be participants in those discussions. APAS will continue to work towards the principles which they believe are integral to effective commissions — inclusiveness, representation, transparency and accountability — all intended to gain wide support from grassroots producers. “Broadly based buy-in at the outset will ensure the success of a wheat commission in the long run,” Hall said in conclusion.

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solution and believes that cereal producers must be engaged in discussions as to how provincial commissions and, potentially, a Western Canadian commission could be established and operated on the longterm beyond the five-year life-span of this temporary check-off. “As farmers we need to invest in research, market development, product development and promotion. Check-offs established for these purposes should be controlled and directed regionally by the farmers who pay the check-offs,” Hall said. In early April of this year, APAS publicly announced it supported the development of wheat and barley commissions in Sas-

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Labelling law becomes major trade barrier The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) welcomed a joint report released by the Fraser Institute that finds the Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (MCOOL) law in the United States imposes substantial costs on producers for a labelling system that is of little benefit to consumers. The report by Canada’s leading public policy thinktank, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., recommends that the U.S. and Canada improve their already highly integrated supply chain for red meat by streamlining regulations to create a single red meat regime. Under this regime, Canadian and U.S. products would be priced according to their quality, with a single bi-national country of origin label. CCA president Martin Unrau said the recommendation makes sense. The CCA has already been working with the Regulatory Co-operation Council to streamline a number of regulations in the livestock industry to facilitate cross-border efficiencies. “The recommendation for a single red meat regime

would certainly be more productive for the beef cattle sectors in both countries than the MCOOL law,” Unrau said. “The COOL issue costs every Canadian cattle producer at least $25 on every animal they sell regardless of whether it goes to the U.S. or not. In the U.S. an estimated 9,000 U.S. meat processing jobs are at risk if COOL is left unresolved,” he said. The CCA has maintained that since coming into effect in 2008, COOL has increased costs for U.S. companies that import live Canadian cattle thereby reducing the competitiveness of those Canadian cattle in the U.S. market. In November 2011, the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute panel ruled in favour of Canada and Mexico’s complaint against COOL. The ruling supported Canada’s position that provisions of COOL discriminate against live cattle and hogs imported into the U.S. from Canada to the detriment of Canadian cattle producers. The U.S. appealed the decision and the matter is now before the WTO’s appellate body. They expect to deliver their ruling by the end of this month.

Room to

Seasonal Scene

Land prep, seeding and follow-up crop input activities are now in full swing in this corner of the province. Most of the seeding was finished by early June as producers got on the land between showers.

Cattlemen urge deal with European Union The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is a strong supporter of the Canadian government’s ongoing efforts toward a Canada-European Union (EU) free trade agreement. Achieving unfettered market access into the EU, where annual beef consumption is about eight million tonnes, will improve the industry’s competitiveness for the long term. CCA president Martin Unrau expressed appreciation for the efforts made by International Trade

Minister Ed Fast on the EU file during an event staged at Lewis Farms Ltd., near Spruce Grove, Alta. Market access is the lifeblood of Canada’s beef cattle industry and Unrau urged the federal government to conclude negotiations with the EU that provide meaningful market access for Canadian beef. “The CCA supports reaching a free trade agreement with Europe that will eliminate a prohibitively high beef tariff as well as address several technical issues that prevent Cana-

dian beef from realizing its potential in that very lucrative market,” Unrau said. “The CCA has worked very closely with negotiators and we are confident it is well understood on both sides that in order to be supported in Canada, the CETA needs to include major access for Canadian beef exports to Europe.” A successful agreement that provides unlimited duty free market access for Canadian beef and beef genetics would be a boon for all Canadian beef producers including the host

since Lewis Farms run 900 purebred Simmental and Angus cows and grows 600 acres of seed potatoes and 3,000 acres of grain. The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and the world’s largest integrated economy with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP over $17 trillion. Unrau said where there are significant challenges in the negotiation, the CCA believes the rewards are worth the effort and the objectives it has outlined are achievable.

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Agri News - June 15, 2012  

Agri News - June 15, 2012

Agri News - June 15, 2012  

Agri News - June 15, 2012