2 017 I S S U E
VO L U M E 2 5
A G R I C U LT U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D F O R T H E W O R L D
T HE R IGHT H ONOURABLE J USTIN P. J. T RUDEAU , P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Friends: I am delighted to extend my warmest greetings to the readers of Profile magazine, and to welcome everyone to the 2017 Calgary Stampede. This year marks a momentous occasion in our nation’s history: the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. Throughout 2017, Canadians will come together to celebrate our country’s accomplishments and triumphs, as well as our shared values of compassion, diversity and inclusion. The Calgary Stampede celebrates the region’s rich heritage and agricultural legacy, and gives visitors a chance to experience western Canada’s legendary hospitality. Through its wide range of activities, including musical performances, agriculture exhibitions, and, of course, rodeo competitions, this event offers something for everyone. I would like to commend the Calgary Stampede’s International Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee for their hard work in putting together this special edition of Profile magazine. I would also like to thank everyone involved with the Calgary Stampede for maintaining this cherished tradition, year after year. On behalf of the Government of Canada, please accept my best wishes for a memorable and enjoyable event. Sincerely,
The Rt. Hon. Justin P. J. Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada
T HE H ONOURABLE O NEIL C ARLIER
H IS W ORSHIP N AHEED K. N ENSHI
Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Mayor of the City of Calgary
As Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, I am pleased to extend greetings on behalf of Premier Rachel Notley and the Government of Alberta.
On behalf of my City Council colleagues and the citizens of Calgary, I am pleased to welcome you to the 2017 Calgary Stampede.
For more than a century, agriculture has been part of the foundation of this province, evolving into a modern and sophisticated industry that employs almost 90,000 people and generates more than $10 billion annually. Through the hard work, ingenuity and dedication to excellence of our producers and agri-businesses, Alberta has earned a global reputation as a reliable supplier of high quality food and agricultural products.
This year is particularly special as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday – the sesquicentennial. This celebration provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our history, and the Calgary Stampede has certainly played a large role in shaping our city, and our province.
Our government recognizes the incredible importance of agriculture to a strong and diversified economy and is committed to supporting a thriving and sustainable agriculture and food processing sector. Thank you to the Calgary Stampede for their outstanding work to showcase Alberta’s agriculture community and support growth in the industry.
For over a century, the Calgary Stampede has been integral in showcasing our agricultural industry to the world, and it has also provided a valuable connection between our food and those who produce it. I commend the volunteers with the International Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee (IAC) for their hard work and dedication to bringing together the world’s agricultural community, and I thank the Calgary Stampede for its continued commitment to promoting our agricultural industry to the world.
ABOUT THE COVER:
The photo, ‘Cowboy Loop’, was taken on a working family ranch west of Calgary, Alberta that’s been raising beef cattle for over a century. Both the cowboy and horse are pictured here ready for their next job. Looking back over the past 150 years, agriculture has embraced a great deal of change, but when it comes to handling cattle some of the traditional ways still work best. A respected cowboy has a reliable horse, and a rope to get the work done. Holly Nicoll was born and raised on a cattle operation west of Calgary. She has years of marketing and sales experience in agriculture. In her spare time, she loves capturing the beauty of the industry and the western lifestyle with her camera. For more information, visit: www.hollynicoll.com 2
I N T E R N AT I O N A L A G R I C U LT U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
D AVID S IBBALD
B RENT D IFLEY
President and Chairman of the Calgary Stampede Board of Directors
Chair of the Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and Agri-Food committee
As the Calgary Stampede’s president and chairman of the board, I invite you to celebrate with us in 2017! With animals and agriculture at our heart, the Calgary Stampede is as much committed to connecting urban with rural as we are to bringing like-minded people together to look to the future of the agri-food industry. A fifth-generation rancher, I have seen and experienced first-hand the rapid change in agriculture over the past few decades. Together we have much to share, much to celebrate and much to look forward to as our resilient industry continues to adjust and adapt. Knowing the urban population is becoming further removed from where their food comes from than ever before, the Calgary Stampede and its 22 agriculture-based volunteer committees are dedicated to creating memorable experiences for our guests. Throughout our agriculture zone, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in a world filled with animals, hands-on learning and just plain fun. Year after year, it remains one of the most popular spots on Stampede Park, and I’m so incredibly proud of the passion and dedication shown by the hundreds of volunteers who make it happen. The International Agriculture and Agri-Food committee (IAC) responsible for this publication is just one of those dedicated committees. The IAC’s focus on sustainable agriculture, fostering relationships around the world, and educating national and international audiences on the importance of agriculture is vital to our joined global successes. Along with the IAC, I invite you to join us at the 2017 Calgary Stampede, July 7-16. And should your travels bring you to Calgary at that time, know that we would love to host you in our International Room – a dedicated space for agricultural producers from around the world to connect and collaborate. I hope to see you July.
We hope you enjoy this special edition of the Profile magazine celebrating Canada’s 150 Birthday. The Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and Agri-Food committee (IAC) is a talented team of volunteers with deep roots in both agriculture and our community. We’re excited to grow our mandate by engaging international guests, our community and the agriculture and agri-food industries. With the special support of McDonald’s Canada, our committee hosts the Agriculture and Agri-Food International Reception. The event brings together industry leaders, government officials, dignitaries and value chain partners to celebrate an evening of agriculture and agri-food. We would like to thank all our sponsors for their generous and continuous support of our programs including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. In partnership with the Mexican Consulate in Calgary we will host the second Canada-Mexico Agribusiness Opportunities Seminar on July 11th, in the Arabian room on Stampede Park. As we establish a new normal in trade relationships between the current NAFTA members, there will be opportunities for both Mexican and Canadian traders to expand their markets and business relationships. We are excited that the Minister of Agriculture from Mexico will be joining us! The IAC will collaborate with the Calgary Stampede and Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame Association to host the 2017 Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on November 30th, in the BMO Centre. Join us to celebrate these exceptional individuals who have significantly shaped Canadian agriculture. Thanks to all of the members of the International Agriculture and Agri-Food committee, Calgary Stampede director Toni Dixon and vice-chairmen Dave Lantz and Aaron Grant for all your support of IAC. If you are from the agriculture or agri-food industry, we invite you to join us in the International Room. We look forward to seeing you!
The Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and Agri-Food committee W I T H A R E P U TAT I O N F O R S U C C E S S A N D P O S I T I V E L E A D E R S H I P , W E A R E C O M M I T T E D T O SHOWCASING ALBERTA AGRICULTURE, AGRI-FOOD AND THE CALGARY STAMPEDE TO THE WORLD BY BRINGING MEMBERS OF THE GLOBAL AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD COMMUNITY TOGETHER TO SHARE IDEAS, FACILITATE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND TO FOSTER FRIENDSHIP AND CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING. Toni Dixon
Anila Lee Yuen
Agri-Trade Seminars Lead
Profile Magazine Editor
I N T E R N AT I O N A L A G R I C U LT U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Strategic Planning, Innovation Lead
Agri-Food Initiatives Lead
6 Welcoming the World
Reflections 150 Years in Agriculture
SHOWCASING AND PROMOTING THE ALBERTA AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY TO THE WORLD.
The Profile is distributed throughout Alberta and across Canada to agriculture and agri-food producers, associations and industry representatives. It is shared worldwide with friends of the Calgary Stampede and distributed at major North American and International stock shows and agricultural associations as well at selected International embassies, consulates and trade offices. EDITOR:
Kristina Barnes Antoinette Benoit
The Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and Agri-Food committee (IAC)
Anila Lee Yuen
Anila Lee Yuen
Terry Andryo Penny Blackwell Kerrie Harvey Laura Laing Holly Nicoll Ranjan Pant Tina Zakowsky
18 McDonald’s Canada
Canadian Agriculture 150 Years and Growing!
Earning Public Trust in Food and Farming
Canadian Agriculture: Modern, Innovative, Growing
F ood for Thought
Lawrence MacAulay SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM:
Laura Laing IAC COMMUNICATIONS AND
14 The Calgary Stampede
Canola: A Canadian Success Story of Innovation
Building a Bridge
PHOTOS COURTESY OF:
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada Agriculture For Life
Between Agriculture and Consumers
34 Barley to Beer
Dustin Brewin Calgary Stampede
6 3 38
Keith Jones Todd Korol McDonald’s Canada Holly Nicoll
© 2017 Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee (IAC). All rights reserved.
Reproduction or reuse of any information in this publication, in whole or part, without the express written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. While all reasonable care is taken in the preparation of this publication, the IAC cannot be held responsible for unintentional errors or omissions.
Graphic Design: Eldon B. Rice Designs
Seeds of Change
Farm and Family Grow Together
G rown Right. Here.
I AC Sponsors
Printer: West Canadian Digital Imaging Inc.
WELCOMING THE WORLD
W E L C O ME TO THE CA LGA RY STA M PED E ! T H E STAMP E DE H AS 4 8 VO L U N T E E R C O M M I T T E E S A ND M OR E TH AN 2,3 00 VOLU N TEERS. WE AR E P R OU D OF T H E T IME , E N E R GY AN D L E A D E R S H I P O F TH ES E I NDI V IDU A LS THAT HAVE MADE T H E STAMP E DE ON E O F T H E MO ST R E S P E C T E D V O L U NTEER OR GA N IZ ATION S IN THE WO R L D. B Y A N I L A L E E Y U E N The International Agriculture and Agri-Food committee (IAC) is comprised of volunteers who actively promote business networking opportunities in the southern Alberta agriculture and agri-food industry. Not only do we enjoy hosting international agriculture and agri-food guests with our famous western hospitality during the 10 days of the Calgary Stampede, we host events and groups year-round.
As a committee we are most known for our hospitality of international guests. Each year we host over 2,000 guests. During the Calgary Stampede, if you are an international agriculture or agri-food industry visitor, we encourage you to look for our “Where in the World Do You Farm?” signage and our booth in the Agrium Western Event Centre, where you will be greeted by our committee members.
We are committed to showcasing Alberta agriculture, agri-food and the Calgary Stampede to the world by bringing members of the global agriculture and agri-food community together to share ideas, facilitate business opportunities and to foster friendship and cultural understanding.
Our signature event is the Agriculture and Agri-Food International Reception. It is held every year on the Wednesday of Stampede in the Palomino room, BMO Centre, Stampede Park. This reception brings together government officials, dignitaries, value-chain partners and our sponsors for an evening to celebrate agriculture and agri-food. Last year’s speakers included Brent Difley, Chair Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and AgriFood committee; Darrel Janz, Master of Ceremonies; Bill Gray, President and Chairman of the Calgary Stampede
Our executive team are the heart of our committee – Brent Difley is our Chair and Aaron Grant, PhD, and Dave Lantz are our Vice-Chairman. With well over a century of agriculture and agri-food experience between them, they are well-equipped to lead the committee. 6
I N T E R N AT I O N A L A G R I C U LT U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
The International Agriculture The International Agriculture & Agri-Food Committee & Agri-Food Committee
Brent Difley (IAC Chair), Honourable Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada), Dave Lantz (IAC Vice-Chair), Arron Grant (IAC Vice-Chair)
Board of Directors; The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence; The Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; His Worship, Naheed K Nenshi, the Mayor of the City of Calgary and Richard Ellis, Senior VicePresident, Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability McDonald’s Canada. This year, in partnership with the Consulate of Mexico in Calgary, IAC will host our second Canada-Mexico Agribusiness Opportunities Seminar on July 11th. This seminar provides participants with a better understanding of the opportunities in the agribusiness sector between Canada and Mexico, and some of the actions that both countries are taking to support prospects and economic growth within this key sector. For more information on this free event please contact us. The IAC will collaborate with the Calgary Stampede and Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame Association to host the 2017 Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on November 30th. Join us to celebrate these exceptional individuals who have significantly shaped Canadian agriculture.
2017 also marks Canada’s 150th birthday! To celebrate this occasion IAC has created the IAC Canada 150 Reflections Project. We asked industry leaders who offer a wealth of experience and insights across a broad range of industries to share their thoughts on what has been the biggest advancement in the agriculture and agri-food industy. The full 150 reflections can be found by following us on Twitter @stampedeIAC and Facebook: Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee. If you are from the agriculture or agri-food industry, please do come see us. We’d love to meet you. For more information or to register visit: http://bit.ly/iac2017
Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and Agri-Food
Anila Lee Yuen is the IAC communications lead and works in the not-for-profit sector in Calgary as the CEO of the Centre for Newcomers @anilainyyc
Reflections 150 Years in Agriculture RICH IN HISTORY, VALUES AND CULTURE, OUR IDENTITY AS CANADIANS IS A TRUE REFLECTION OF OUR CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY. WITH THE RESILIENCE TO ADAPT, THE BRAVENESS TO EXPLORE NEW IDEAS, AND THE COURAGE TO LEAD THE WORLD IN THE SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION OF SAFE, HEALTHY FOOD, WE CELEBRATE THE ROLE THAT CANADIAN AGRICULTURE HAS PLAYED IN OUR GROWTH. AS CANADA REACHES ITS 150 TH BIRTHDAY, WE HAVE ASKED THOSE WORKING IN AND LEADING OUR AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY TO SHARE THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST ADVANCEMENT IN THE AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY. B Y J O A N C O O L
Bruce Tait Senior Vice President, Agriculture and Resource Industries MNP LLP @MNP_Ag
Fawn Jackson Executive Director Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef @FawnJackson1
David Farran President Eau Claire Distillery @eauclairecraft
Ben Thorlackson President Thorlackson Feedyards Inc.
I see global trade as one of the biggest advancements. Although the global population is rising, fresh water and arable land is shrinking. With Canada ranked 8th in the world for arable land and trade barriers coming down, Canada’s Ag and Agri-Food sector has an opportunity to feed the world while leveraging the “made-in-Canada brand”. Add that this sector is now recognized by government as an economic driver and becoming a priority, I foresee significant growth on the global stage.
I am continually amazed by the Canadian agriculture and food sector’s ability to reduce the environmental footprint of the products they produce while increasing yields. The genuine commitment to stewarding and preserving Canada’s natural resources is a quality of the entire agriculture and food supply chain that I greatly admire. Research in areas such as plant breeding, soil conservation, animal health and genetics have all contributed to Canada being globally recognized as a leader in agriculture research and sustainable food production.
For many years, agriculture has been viewed as a commodity. The national quota and marketing systems disconnected the consumer from the farmer. In recent years, with the demise of the wheat board and the beginnings of brand development such as ‘Alberta beef’ or ‘Alberta barley’, we can start to differentiate quality, develop a sense of Alberta ‘terroir’ and we can market ourselves as world-class producers. This is good for the relationship between the producer and the consumer, where consumers can trust the value chain and farmers can start to see higher prices by developing targeted, niche products. The greatest advance for agriculture in recent years is a new free market—a driver of innovation. The development and utilization of recombinant DNA technology in crop production has been revolutionary for agriculture and the agri-food industry, allowing farmers to enhance productivity, reduce pesticide use, alleviate world hunger and nutritional diseases. Genetically modified Golden rice, fortified with carotene, is a vital tool against Vitamin A deficiencies, which kill or blind over a million young children and pregnant women in Asia each year. Closer to home, Roundup Ready Canola (and soybean and cereal crops) has allowed Canadian farmers to reduce pesticide use and increase yields and productivity.
I N T E R N AT I O N A L A G R I C U LT U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Dr. Greg Douglas Vice President, Animal Care Maple Leaf Foods @MapleLeafFoods
Bonnie Schmidt President Let’s Talk Science @BMSchmidt
Mo Jessa President Earls Kitchen & Bar @mojessa
Todd Klink Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer Farm Credit Canada @l_klink
Doug Blair Founder Western Breeders and Alta Genetics
Kevin Sich Manager, Grain Department Rahr Malting Canada Ltd. @kevinkevinrahr1
The transition of sow barns from crates to open housing has been a gamechanging animal welfare advancement. Raising animals without the use of antibiotics is significant. Canadian industry-leading biosecurity has decreased the threat of disease compared to our international competitors. Animal care programming through the National Farm Animal Care Council is recognized globally.
Genomics has profoundly changed the agriculture industry, significantly improving food safety, quality and yield. From improving plant resistance to pests, disease and extreme weather to enhancing animal health, genomics continues to improve the food we consume while reducing the environmental impact of producing it. While making great strides using science to benefit all people, we can do more to ensure the public, including youth, understand and appreciate the growing scientific and technological sophistication of Canada’s agriculture community!
At Earls, recent lessons have taught us how much our customers value a relationship between the people that grow their food and the people that make it. And there is enormous pride in local farmers and ranchers. We believe restaurateurs should continually strive to build and foster these relationships. Customers also crave authenticity and transparency. The origin and quality of the ingredients they eat matters more than ever. The future of food is brighter when chefs and farmers come together.
Canola has been one of the most important advancements in the last 150 years of Canadian agriculture. The crop contributes over $19 billion to the Canadian economy and it has been a great story for consumers in Canada and around the world. The fat profile of canola oil makes it one of the healthiest oils on the market creating global demand from consumers, chefs, restaurants, and food processors. Because of this, canola has risen to be one of the world’s most important oilseed crops.
The biggest advancement in dairy farming in Canada is the tremendous gain in productivity per cow and per farm. The average cow today produces three times as much milk as the average cow 60 years ago. This is a result of genetic and management constant improvement. The genetic gains are a result of the widespread use of artificial insemination (now 93%) in the dairy herds using frozen semen from genetically superior sires. There have also been matching improvements in the technology of feeding, housing, milking equipment, cow comfort, and forage production on the farms.
Barley, called the original ancient grain that can be traced back in history to significant artifact places on earth but yet to the modern-day consumer a virtually unknown ingredient. This coarse grain today is still the main ingredient in one of the oldest most enjoyable beverages on earth… beer. Canadian farmers should be proud that this great product they grow is demanded all over the world as global beer drinkers thirst this quality Canadian-grown grain.
Daren Kennett Founder Hi-Pro Feeds @HiProFeeds
The animal nutrition and feed industry has contributed greatly to agriculture over the years. Research and technology continues to provide insightful data that’s helped livestock, dairy and poultry producers improve efficiency in their operations. Precision feeding has helped increase production while feeding the same or less inputs. The industry has seen a 25% increase in efficiency over the last 20 years. The demand will be more as agriculture is challenged to produce more protein for a growing world population.
Simone Demers Collins
I believe that in the past 150 years, the Canadian agriculture and food industry has demonstrated its ability to be innovative, resilient, and progressive in meeting the challenges of rural communities, urban consumer wants, globalization, climate and Education, Marketing, Promotion Alberta Canola Producers Commission political changes. But even more important is a pride in what they are doing being demonstrated by today’s farmers, and the responsibility that these same farmers @learncanola have accepted to speak openly and knowledgeably about how they grow the food that we all need to live.
Crosby Devitt Executive Director Canadian Seed Trade Association @SeedInnovation
Dennis Laycraft Vice-President Canadian Cattlemen’s Association @CdnCattlemen
Art & Cherie Andrews Owners Chinook Honey Company & Chinook Arch Meadery @chinookhoney
Lesley Kelly Grain Farmer High Heels & Canola Fields @lesleyraekelly
Canadian crops feed the world and better plant genetics are driving of our success. The genetics in today’s seeds allow farmers to grow productive, high-quality, crops that are adapted to our harsh Canadian climate. Better genetics are contributing to the massive growth in canola in Western Canada – Canada is the largest canola exporter in the world! Soybeans and corn genetics allow expansion into new geography across Canada, providing farmers with more choice and market opportunities. Many new crops are coming to Canada because of breeding and genetics research and the future is bright! Over the past 25 years, Canada has emerged as a world leader in beef cattle production recognized for sustainable practices, superior quality, world-class genetics, and state of the art processing and food safety systems. Our skilled producers raise high quality Canadian beef for customers around the world while caring for the land and animals. Our commitment to the environment, animals, and the food we produce, will mean customers can continue to enjoy our great products long into the future.
Although honey bees have been a part of Canadian agriculture for at least 150 years, the recent threats to honey bee health have brought their importance into sharp focus. This hyperawareness has helped us to educate the general public about how fragile our agriculture and ecosystems are and why they must be protected – for ourselves and future generations.
As a mom and 4th generation farmer, the biggest advancement in agriculture is connecting with consumers. Farmers are seen as one of the most trusted sources and I’m grateful to be able to share my story to lots of people within my community and online. Consumers are curious about where their food comes from and I’m proud to say it’s from families like mine.
10 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Cherie Copithorne-Barnes CEO CL Ranches Ltd. @cheriecbarnes67
Nicolas Roy New found land, Labradour and Nova Scotia Director Canadian Young Farmers Forum @nrcroy
Dave Bishop Vice Chairman Alberta Barley @bisdvd
Tony Legault Owner Paradise Hill Farm @tomato_tony
Marilyn Boehm Presindent Alberta Food Processors Association @AFPA_food
Jake Schutter Vice-Chairman Potato Growers of Alberta @SpudBenz
Canadian producers have always embraced new technologies whether genetic, mechanical or now even social. As we drive to discover what the definition of sustainable agriculture looks like here in Canada, it is evident that there is one resounding reason why Canadian agriculture is as successful as it is. What sets agriculture apart is that it has always been driven by integrity and passion. Consumers long to connect to this and as such are a huge opportunity for us all.
Specializing in dairy management of on-farm automation and robotics, I have seen the positive change in physical and mental management in which these new technologies have eased the workload, increased productivity and quality of life for the producer. These advancements in management tools allow the producer the ability to focus their attention and time on the issues rather than having to spend valuable time looking for where the issues are.
As a Southern Alberta farmer, I believe that the greatest advancement in agriculture has been the improvement in communication technologies (cellphones/Internet). This has enabled us to keep up with commodity prices, input costs, social media, and other trends in agriculture while working at home or in the field. Therefore, we are able to take advantage of spikes in the commodity markets, last-minute deals on input costs and changing weather conditions at any time, making our farm more efficient.
The greenhouse vegetable industry in Alberta has had challenges mostly with our lack of a trained work force and the environment around us. Wind, hail and the cold especially. But growers are a persistent bunch and have overcome those challenges. This has allowed the industry to expand and in turn the market the last few years has had retailers highlighting local producers because consumers have been asking for local produce. The growers have again met the challenge with fresh, high-quality produce supplying the local consumer with their request for the same.
Automation in the food processing industry has been a game changer. Because of automation, Alberta’s food processing industry is now the province’s largest manufacturing industry, contributing $14 billion a year to the provincial economy. The speed with which Alberta food processing companies have embraced automation, not to mention how quickly food processing employees have adapted to this change, has allowed Alberta food processors to rapidly expand both domestically and internationally in a responsible and sustainable manner.
The vast majority of today’s prairie crops are direct seeded into last year’s residue. This in my opinion is the very definition of sustainable farming, preventing the loss of soil and soil nutrients and controlling wind erosion plus conserving precious moisture. More recently, GPS-based technology in combination with a variety of new sensors and software development for agricultural use, are helping farmers make advances in maximizing energy, chemical, fertilizer and irrigation water usage. This makes it possible for high-value irrigation crops like potatoes to be grown with fewer inputs creating a continuously growing and diversified local food processing industry.
Kayla Veldman Ontario Egg Producer Veldman Poultry Farm @kveldmann
Ron Glaser, Vice President Canada Beef Inc. @CanadianBeef
Rob Saik Executive Producer Know GMO the Movie @knowGMOmovie
Jody Berglund Owner/Producer JB Organic Grain @BerglundJody
Art Froehlich President & CEO Agr-View Inc. @art41594491
Antoinette Benoit CMO McDonald’s Canada @McD_Canada
As a young egg farmer, I feel that the biggest advancement in agriculture is egg-collecting machines. Our egg packer reduces the amount of time we have to spend collecting eggs, which allows us to divert that time and energy into maintaining our hens’ health and comfort. It also allows us to reduce food waste on our farm by reducing the amount of eggs cracked from manual collection, improving egg quality. Egg packers have been key to improving our on-farm efficiency.
Raising cattle in Canada has been a proud tradition for generations – a testament to our sustainability, commitment and innovation. Canadian beef is a visible part of our landscape, raised in each and every province. It is the pride, commitment and achievement of Canadian beef farming and ranching families that is the focus of Canada Beef’s Canada 150 Celebration. After all, “We put the best of Canada into our beef.”
The biggest change in agriculture in the last three decades is the advancement of breeding technology; specifically genetic engineering or more commonly (and poorly) referred to as GMO. Whereas old breeding techniques relied on randomized crosses or forced mutation with nuclear radiation (mutagenesis), today’s plant breeders harness computing power, combined with genomic sequencing to make very exact changes to crops, providing farmers and consumers with amazing benefits. It is unfortunate that most people do not fully understand the benefits of this amazing science. One of the biggest advancements in the Canadian agriculture/agri-food industry is giving consumers access to affordable, sustainable, and healthy products and produce. Through this, supermarkets are able to accommodate food sensitivities and specifications by supplying products that are organic, free-range, gluten free, and ethically conscious. By properly labelling these products, the consumer can make mindful decisions easier and promote a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Some 20 plus years ago I asked my father-in-law when he retired after 50 years of farming and ranching in Saskatchewan what were the greatest advancements in agriculture that he had seen. His answer was fast and concise. He named three innovations: the introduction of hydraulics, 2,4-D and Roundup herbicide. Even today it is hard to argue against these three!
We are passionate about the strength and quality of the many thousands of people without whom we would not be able to operate: those working every day in our Canadian agriculture sector. These men and women are our neighbours and are the foundation upon which this country is built, just as they are the foundation upon which McDonald’s Canada is built. They work tirelessly every day to grow the food we serve. Without them, there would be no us.
Joan Cool is a farm girl and proud Calgary Stampede volunteer. 12 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Official Agriculture Equipment Supplier
& THIN BACKING YOUR BUSINESS WITH SOLID EQUIPMENT SINCE 1982 For over three decades, Cervus Equipment has been working to keep you in the field, on the road, and on site. Behind every one of our machines is a network of trusted professionals, rooted in your industry, your business and in the local community. Weâ€™re a steadfast team powered by legendary equipment brands John Deere, Peterbilt, Bobcat, JCB, Clark, Sellick and Doosan. People count on us to keep them moving forward, and we meet that challenge through thick and thin.
The Calgary Stampede B U I L D I N G O N O U R P A S T, L O O K I N G T O T H E F U T U R E
14 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
FOR TEN DAYS IN JULY, STAMPEDE PARK IN DOWNTOWN CALGARY IS A WHIRL OF COLOUR AND SOUND, WITH FERRIS WHEELS AND FIREWORKS, MINI DONUTS AND MIDWAY GAMES. BUT AT ITS HEART, AS THEY ALWAYS HAVE BEEN, ARE ANIMALS AND AGRICULTURE. B Y K R I S T I N A B A R N E S The 10-day festival, which hosts more than one million visitors from across Canada and around the world, is a celebration of community spirit and western traditions. It encourages visitors from all over the globe to put on some boots, and make a connection to Western Canada’s rural roots. “The Calgary Stampede is one of the few places left in the world that still celebrates agriculture. We make it a commitment to introduce the urban population to the rural population,” says Stampede president and chairman of the board, Dave Sibbald. A local rancher whose family has been part of the Stampede for many generations, Sibbald is passionate about keeping the connection to agriculture alive. “It’s never been more crucial than it is today as the urban population becomes further and further removed.” A few things have changed since the Sibbald family first began attending the Stampede. From their ranch, nestled in the rolling foothills west of Calgary, it was a three-day journey by wagon made longer when animals were brought along to be shown or sold. Five generations on, it’s a quick commute for Sibbald, but growing up hearing stories and seeing pictures of the Stampede helped to spark his own love of the event. A Calgary Stampede volunteer for 26 years, Sibbald now heads a dedicated force of volunteers nearly 2,400 strong, many of whom make up the more than 20 agriculture-focused committees. Together with Stampede employees, those volunteers work to create the memorable experiences visitors to the Stampede have come to love. The agriculture area at the Stampede continues to be a mustsee for most guests, with its popularity remaining extremely strong year-after-year next to the bright lights and flashy excitement of the adjacent midway. Visitors are engaged with hands-on learning experiences, personal interactions with animals and among annual favourites, new exhibits representing the changing face of agriculture. “For me in 26 years, the thing that’s probably been the most amazing is the evolution of agriculture; where it’s been and where it’s come to. There’s been a lot of change,” Sibbald says, adding, that makes the Stampede’s role in sharing educational animal and agricultural-related experiences even more
essential. “We always have to be respectful of our past, we get to live in the current, but our job is looking to the future and what it may bring, not only to us, but to the globe from an agriculture perspective.” Just as the Stampede has changed from the time of his ancestors, Sibbald believes it must continue to evolve. “That’s what Stampede’s about; trying to see what’s around the corner. We are always moving forward,” he says. “Our ability to bring industry partners together in a collaborative effort to showcase agriculture as a whole, rather than in fragmented components, has big impact. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to the most, the impact Stampede can have on agriculture. There’s a role to play.” And that role extends beyond the 10-day Stampede. Stampede Park hosts events throughout the year focused on celebrating animals and agriculture, as well as introducing an urban audience to the agricultural world. At their core is an effort to engage youth in learning where their food comes from. Aggie Days brings the farm to the city for school children and the public to experience life with animals each spring. Now in its 32nd year, the free event attracts close to 40,000 people annually. A newer educational initiative, the Journey 2050 program, invites school classes to Stampede Park to become virtual farmers. Through fun and interactive games, students are challenged to sustainably feed nine billion people, the world’s projected population in 2050. It is an effort that will continue to grow, as the Stampede looks to the future. Says Sibbald, “Who’s better positioned than the Calgary Stampede to lead agriculture forward?” For more information visit:
Kristina Barnes is the Communications Manager for Western Events and Agriculture at the Calgary Stampede. @Barnes_in_Barns
C A N A D I A N AGRICULTURE CANADIAN AGRICULTURE: MODERN, INNOVATIVE, GROWING CANADA’S AGRICULTURE AND FOOD INDUSTRY STRONG AND GROWING AS CANADA TURNS 150 B Y L A W R E N C E M A C A U L AY
L A S T F A L L , A F A R M E R I N W I L C O X , S A S K AT C H E W A N , G O T I N H I S C O M B I N E A N D T R A C E D THE STYLIZED MAPLE-LEAF LOGO OF CANADA’S 150 TH ANNIVERSARY OF CONFEDERATION INTO ONE OF HIS WHEAT FIELDS. HE GOT HIS BEARINGS BY SATELLITE SIGNAL, WITH SOME HIGH-TECH HELP FROM GEOMATICS EXPERTS AT AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADA. THIS INSPIRING IMAGE REFLECTS THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES, HISTORY, FARMING, CULT U R E A N D C A N A D A’ S F U T U R E . B Y L A W R E N C E M A C A U L AY
This year, Canadians across the country are celebrating Canada 150. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is proudly celebrating its 150th anniversary as well. Agriculture shaped our nation and contributes to the health of both Canadians and Canada’s economy. Today, it’s a $100-billion industry that’s a supermarket to the world: Canadian foods and beverages are found on store shelves around the globe. Farmers can now link their tractors to satellites in the sky, something that would have seemed like science fiction in 1867. Where our grandparents or great-grandparents could produce enough food for 10 people, today’s farmer can feed well over 120. 16 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
At the same time, some things never change, such as the values that have built Canada and the Calgary Stampede – hard work, determination, love of the land, entrepreneurship, community spirit, and hospitality. Those values have also shaped an agriculture and food industry in Canada that numbers among the world’s leading exporters of topquality food. This show has been going for over 100 years and it keeps getting better and better. The Calgary Stampede is a great ambassador for Canada – and for Canadian agriculture. It’s a terrific showcase of Canada’s world-class top quality beef and other agricultural food products.
M O D E R N, I N N O V A T I V E, G R O W I N G. C A N A D A’ S A G R I C U L T U R E A N D F O O D I N D U S T R Y S T R O N G A N D G R O W I N G A S C A N A D A T U R N S 1 5 0.
Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Part of the original vision of the Stampede was to have strong international ties. Those international ties have strengthened over the years. The Government of Canada is proud to support the Calgary Stampede International Agriculture and AgriFood committee, to help connect our international customers with Canada’s world-class agricultural genetics and products. I know from my trade missions that nothing can replace the experience of meeting face-toface and networking to build new business opportunities.
Canada is a trading nation. We are the world’s fifth-largest exporter and sixth-largest importer of food, and our agri-food exports hit new records every year. Not only does trade build a stronger farm gate, it drives jobs and growth in all countries. As well, trade is key to feeding a growing world population. The Government of Canada promotes trade that is rules-based and founded in sound science and high standards of quality. We are also enhancing our access to key markets, for example through free trade agreements with our key partners like the European Union, and we are strengthening ties with fastgrowing economies, such as China. We are also driving a competitive agriculture and food industry through investments in innovation, food processing and the environment. Canada’s agriculture industry has made great strides in growing a product to meet our customers’ demands for sustainability. Over the past three decades, the Canadian beef industry has reduced its carbon footprint by 15 per cent per kilogram of beef produced, while boosting production efficiency by a third. In my travels with industry around the world, we’re always finding new customers who want to buy Canadian food and agri-based products. During your time at the Stampede, you’ll see our quality cattle and livestock. Canadian beef and livestock genetics are recognized around the world for premium safety and value. Our producers put the best of Canada into our beef – our land, our production skills, our environmental practices and strong regulations.
You’ll also see a whole range of other great Canadian-grown products, from grains, oilseeds and pulses, to meat, dairy and cheese, not to mention our advanced technologies and systems, including our global leadership in livestock traceability. Research and development lie at the heart of Canada’s global agricultural success. Innovation is vital to making sure farmers and food processors can compete globally and to keeping the industry on the cutting edge. Our iconic agricultural innovation, canola, was developed by Canadian scientists in partnership with AAFC in the 1970s. Today, Canada is the world’s number one producer and exporter of canola, a crop which contributes billions of dollars annually to the Canadian economy. The Government of Canada is supporting discovery science in agriculture – from DNA barcoding, to crops with built-in drought and pest resistance. The future is full of opportunity for Canada’s agriculture and food industry. Global demand for food is expected to rise by 60 per cent over the next three decades. I want Canadian producers to meet that demand. I am working with my provincial and territorial colleagues and industry from across the country to develop the next agricultural policy framework, which will help our producers and processors – including Canada’s beef industry -- capture new opportunities in the global marketplace. We’re talking with women, youth, Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians to make sure we have the programs that will take the sector into the future. I look forward to celebrating Canada 150 with you in beautiful Alberta at the Calgary Stampede. For more information visit: agr.gc.ca
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
P H O T O : Canada 150 logo in Saskatchewan wheat field traced using latest in satellite positioning technology from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
My job as chief marketing officer at McDonald’s Canada is to tell great stories.
I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK IN COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, BUT FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS HAVE BEEN PROUD TO HAVE CANADA AS PART OF MY STORY. THE PEOPLE FROM THIS COUNTRY – WHO I GET TO WORK WITH EVERY DAY – HAVE AN INCREDIBLE PRIDE IN THEIR HOME, AN INFECTIOUS SPIRIT THAT, WHERE I GREW UP (FRANCE), WE WOULD CALL “JOIE DE VIVRE.” B Y A N T O I N E T T E B E N O I T The reason I am so proud to be here is because I do not feel like an outsider just because I was not born north of the 49th parallel. And that is a feeling near and dear to the heart of McDonald’s Canada as well. It is not just a company operating in Canada. For almost 50 years, it has been a part of the Canadian fabric. In 1967, Canada became home to the first McDonald’s franchise outside of the United States. From that first restaurant in Richmond, British Columbia to today, things have changed remarkably. Together with our franchisees, McDonald’s Canada now employs nearly 90,000 people from coast to coast in more than 1,400 Canadian restaurants. The vast majority of those restaurants are owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs from the local communities they serve. While we are proud of the 90,000 people we employ, and while we are proud of our Canadian roots, we are just as passionate about the strength and quality of the many thousands of other people without whom we would not be able to operate: those working every day in our Canadian agriculture sector. These men and women are our neighbours and are the foundation upon which this country is built, just as they are the foundation upon which McDonald’s Canada is built. They work tirelessly every day to grow the food we serve. Without them, there would be no us.
This is a chance to hear the real story of our food, from the talented and passionate farmers who grow the quality ingredients that go into making many of the iconic McDonald’s menu items. It is an example of our commitment to being a Canadian company, through and through. Of the almost $1 billion we spend on food, more than 85 per cent is purchased from suppliers in Canada, including more than 120 million eggs and more than 67 million pounds of beef annually from Canadian farms. And, to further our commitment to Canadian beef, this past June we announced the successful conclusion of the Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot today, an industry-first. This marks a major milestone of our leadership and partnership with the Canadian beef industry over the past 30 months, dedicated to advancing more sustainable beef practices. It also support the global company’s broader aspirational goal to source all our food and packaging sustainably. As with everything else, McDonald’s Canada could not operate the way we do without the support of our farmers. They raise their animals and work their land with the same pride and joie de vivre all Canadians share. It’s their great story, and we are proud to be a part of helping them tell it. For more information visit: Mcdonalds.ca
@McDonaldsCanada 18 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
years and Growing! BY LAURA LAI NG
Agriculture. It feeds, fuels and employs us, and as
we celebrate our 150th Birthday in Canada, we also reflect on how we’ve “grown.” Agriculture and Agri-Food is Canada’s success story, contributing 100 billion annually to our country’s gross domestic product. At the heartbeat of Canada’s agricultural success, lies the story of the cattle industry in Alberta. A vibrant and vitally important piece of Canadian history, not only as to who we are as Canadians, but even more specifically for the development of a distinct and proud culture in Alberta. From the first commercial feedlot springing to life in the late 1950s near Strathmore, Alberta we remain the largest cattle-producing province in Canada, producing
of Canada’s fed cattle production, and leading the nation in cattle and calf inventories of over
5 million head.
Acre by Acre We Grow
There are over 43,000 farms in Alberta, with a total farm area of 50.5 million acres with an average farm size of 1168 acres.
Alberta is the second largest producer of wheat in Canada.
Where’s The Beef?
Alberta produces an estimated 653,000 tonnes of boxed beef. Alberta is setting new records in beef and dairy production – Alberta Livestock market receipts set a record in 2015 at
billion, up from 6.4 billion in 2014.
As last reported, Alberta is home to 1, 397,534 hogs, which the Canadian hog industry reports brings in But we produce more than beef. Alberta agriculture is thriving! In fact;
Agriculture is Hard at Work in Alberta Agriculture employs: more than 89,000 Albertans, with 62,800 people working in primary agriculture and 26,400 people working in food and beverage manufacturing industries. 20 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
The Process of Food
The food and processing industry in Alberta is one of the largest in Canada with shipments values at
In Canada, agriculture not only feeds people, but also significantly feeds our economy. Our diverse landscape is responsible for growing and delivering a vast menu of products — from fish to fowl, bacon to beer, steaks to salmon, milk to maple syrup and more! Here are a few facts about our diverse and bountiful agricultural landscape;
One in eight Canadian jobs are related to agriculture.
The industry employs over 2.1 million Canadians. Canada is the world’s
Cheers! Alberta continues an upward trend in food and beverage processing activity, with manufacturing sales, reaching record sales of
largest producer and
of flaxseed, canola, pulses, durum wheat, peas, lentils and mustard seeds. We are also the world’s second largest malting barley exporter (used to brew beer). There are approximately about 11,000 farms.
1million sheep in Canada on
Aquaculture is a thriving industry in Canada. Seafood is Canada’s
single largest exported food commodity, exporting overall production.
The Top Five Alberta agri-food exports as last reported by Alberta Agriculture (ranked by value) were:
Salmon accounts for just over
> Wheat $2.4 billion
Canada is the world’s blueberries.
> Beef $1.7 billion
> Canola seed 1.7 billion $
> Non-purebred live cattle 585 million
of our outputs in seafood.
largest producer of
of the world’s maple syrup.
Sales of milk and dairy products contribute Canadian economy.
billion to the
> Pork $469 million
The meat processing industry is Canada’s manufacturing industry, next to motor vehicles and petroleum products.
Thank you to the following organizations for resource materials for this article;
125 different fruits and vegetables grown
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Alberta Lamb Producers
There are over in Canada.
Alberta Beef Producers
Canadian Pork Council
Canadians enjoy some of the
Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association
Laura Laing is a communications & marketing strategist, Alberta rancher and Calgary Stampede volunteer. @llcommunicatio3
cheapest food costs in the world, spending just over 10 cents of
every dollar that we earn on food.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT CONNECTING 75 CONSUMERS AND 75 FARMERS OVER FIVE COURSES OF REAL FOOD AND CONVERSATION
SPENDING AN EVENING ENGAGED IN OPEN AND HONEST CONVERSATION WITH ALBERTA F A R MERS , WH I L E SHA RIN G LOCA L F OO D, H E L P E D ME L E AR N MO R E AB OU T A LB E R TA’ S AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY IN ONE NIGHT THAN I HAD OVER THE PAST 30 YEARS. B Y F E L I C I A Z U N I G A I was born and raised in Calgary, but I’ve never stepped foot on a working farm - unless you count field trips to Butterfield Acres as a kid. When I think of farms in our province, I visualize the rows of hay bales and barns I see whizzing past from the highway as we road-trip to Turner Valley, Nanton or Edmonton. B U S S N A C K : White bean and green lentil hummus with cold-pressed Mountain View canola - Andrea Harling, Made Foods. W E L C O M E D R I N K : Fallentimber Meadery Hopped Mead and Village Brewery Blonde Natural Golden Ale. 22 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
The Meet in the Middle event brought together 150 consumers, producers and industry leaders with a focus on millennials in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday and to celebrate Canadian Agriculture Day - for a five-course meal prepared by local chefs, complete with craft beverage pairings. We travelled from Calgary, Edmonton and everywhere in between to meet at the rustic Willow Lane Barn in Olds, Alberta. In the late afternoon of Thursday, February 16, those of us travelling from Calgary met at the base of the Calgary Tower.
As we boarded the buses, Andrea Harling from Made Foods greeted each of us with a snack. We sat down and began scooping the creamy hummus onto thin, crispy chips as she chatted to us about her company. Harling explained that her goal is to get as much truth into food as possible and that people should know what goes into their food. Our bus leader, Vanessa Gagnon, Brand Manager at Tourism Calgary, then shared some insightful facts about Alberta’s agriculture industry. We learned that our province represents 31 per cent of the land area farmed in Canada and that there are approximately 49,000 farms in Alberta. Women run 30 per cent of Alberta’s farm operations and we are the top province for barley production. During the hour-long ride from the heart of Calgary into the rural Alberta prairies, I once again noticed the barns and hay bales that dotted the landscape. I was looking forward to going beyond the surface and learning more about Alberta’s farms - and the farmers that keep them going. C O U R S E # 1 A P P E T I Z E R : One Earth grilled petit tender, thinly sliced on a toasted crostini topped with local blue cheese and chimichurri and a Sri Lankan delicacy made with tempered Alberta chickpeas, sautéed onions and tomatoes served on a homemade mini tart topped with savoury yogurt dressing - Samath Rajapaksa, Rajapaksa Catering. Beverage Pairing: Olds College Brewery Prairie Gold IPA.
As we pulled up to Willow Lane Barn, the views were picturesque with never-ending blue skies, wide-open fields and several cows grazing in the distance. A welcome table was filled with glasses of beer and mead and several people posed with the giant red and yellow tractors parked outside. Inside, the barn was a whir of activity with everyone popping appetizers and looking for their seats. To encourage conversation, guests had to search for their name card at one of the three long tables set in the middle of the barn, beneath the brightly lit rafters. I found my seat and met the diverse group seated next to me - Shawn Shultz, a second-generation farmer from East Didsbury, Emily Ritchie, a fourth-generation rancher and the Youth Leadership Coordinator at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Ryan Massel, a.k.a. Immrfabulous, a local fashion blogger and Mandy Balak, founder and creator of Branded Magazine and It’s Date Night. I looked around the room and noticed several handshakes across the tables as consumers and farmers started bridging the gap between urban and rural and preparing to break bread together. C O U R S E # 2 : Highwood Crossing bannock tuile with Sylvan Star
gouda and smoked Alberta green split pea and lentil soup - Marie Willier, WinSport Canada. Beverage Pairing: Troubled Monk Brewing Homesteader Saison.
We all tucked into our first course - a savoury lentil soup with soft, cheesy bannock - and began to learn more about each other. Shawn filled us in on what it’s like being a full-time
farmer. I pictured him working in the fields from dawn till dusk, but in reality, Shultz says about 65 per cent of his time is spent in the office. I didn’t realize that he had to sit down with his bookkeeper twice a week; manage financing; buy and sell equipment, fertilizer and grain; buy and sell futures and options; manage risk on commodities and keep up with Canadian agriculture regulations. Shultz explained that farming is a year-round operation and in addition to the dayto-day running of the farm (which he manages with help from his dad, wife and three full-time workers) they are always planning ahead - whether that’s making crop plans for the spring or lining up seed treatments. Shultz explained that his dad Louis bought the farm in 1974 with 320 acres and 50 sows. Shultz has since taken over, growing the farm to 3,000 acres and adding grain and hay production, custom seeding and harvesting and a herd of 340 Red Angus-Simmental cows. They weigh around 1400 pounds when they start calving in mid-February. We encouraged him to wear a Go-Pro on his head, capture some of that footage and start a YouTube channel. Many people would never get the opportunity to see anything like that and it would be a compelling way to grab people’s attention and allow them a peek into the life of a farmer. C O U R S E # 3 : Shaved Thundering Ground bison brisket served on
corn fry bread with smashed peas and lentils with bison marrow sauce - Jesse Woodland, Chartier. Beverage Pairing: Wood Buffalo Brewing & Distilling Bison Aquavit.
As our third course was served, a tweet caught my eye. Tweets with the hashtag #meetinthemiddle were being displayed on a screen near the back of the venue. It said, “When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” That really stuck with me. These are trying times for many in our province, country and beyond. We need to continue coming together like we were that night - connecting with people who were different, rather than pushing them away. Onstage near the front of the room, the evening’s MC, Amber Schinkel from Global Calgary, had been interviewing each chef about the dishes they prepared. Now, she was chatting to Wade McAllister, a fifth-generation farmer from Antler Valley Farm in Red Deer County. Wade was explaining how a bushel of barley costs $5 and could be used to make 333 bottles of a light, inexpensive beer or 275 bottles of a more expensive IPA. He ended by telling the consumers in the crowd, “You can help us by understanding what we do and why we do it.” That’s a statement that fellow diner Emily Ritchie would agree with. She felt that communication between agriculture and consumers was broken and that stronger, more open communication paths were needed. Emily felt there was a lot of positive information coming out of the agriculture industry, but it just wasn’t quite reaching the urban audience – that’s why events like Meet in the Middle were so important, to continue bridging that divide. PROFILE 2017
A SINGLE CONVERSATION ACROSS THE TABLE WITH A WISE MAN IS BETTER THAN TEN YEARS MERE STUDY OF BOOKS. H E N R Y W A D S W O R T H L O N G F E L L O W C O U R S E # 4 : Seared tri-tip with roasted jalapeno chimichurri on
top of Scholings buttermilk mashed potatoes & Blindman Imperial Stout demi-glaze - Rieley Kay, Cilantro and Chive. Beverage Pairing: Blindman Brewing Triphammer Robust Porter.
As we dug into our delicious fourth course, the conversation turned to weddings. Ryan Massel had recently gotten engaged, as had Mandy Balak and her fiancé James Boettcher of Fiasco Gelato, who was sitting a few seats down from us. Ryan shared the story of how he proposed to his fiancé at Heritage Park and was planning an all-white wedding in Palm Springs. Shawn told us about his wedding to his wife Tina when he was 23 and she was 20. They held it in a complex in Didsbury and more than 600 people showed up. They butchered two massive hogs for the event and the owner of the local liquor store supplied drinks all night. Shawn then asked Mandy for some Calgary date night ideas for when he and his wife came into the city every few weeks. Mandy suggested Bridgette Bar for cocktails and National on 10th for bowling. It was interesting to see how we were all so different - yet the same. I got up from the table to take a few photos of the scene around me and noticed many fellow millennials doing the same. We were snapping and sharing photos of the venue, food and our fellow diners - eager to share this unique experience with our social networks. C O U R S E # 5 : Alberta honey and Fairwinds Farms goat cheese mousse with Fruits of Sherbrooke ginger pea jam and granola brittle - Danielle Job, The Pink Chef. Beverage Pairing: Starr Distilling Raspberry Vodka.
As dessert was served, the question, “Can farmers still make money?” was asked. Our rural counterparts admitted that it was definitely getting harder. At this point, Greg Stamp of Stamp Seeds, joined our conversation. He explained that the costs of power, machinery, land, herbicides and more had all been rising over the past 10 years. To make a profit, farmers needed to farm more acres or produce more diverse crop types - all of which could spread the risk of failure, while increasing the complexity of a family business and the impact of management decisions. Emily added that being a profitable farmer wasn’t just about buying and selling a 24 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
product anymore. Modern farmers needed to be experts at botany, animal science, veterinary medicine and entomology, while also acting as mechanics and experienced businessmen - which is a ton of diversity needed at what are sometimes small, family-run farms. TA K E - AW AY : Assorted selection of Jacek Chocolates paired with
Calgary Heritage Roasting Company Drip Coffee.
As we nibbled on a few pieces of chocolate and sipped fresh coffee at the doors, we said our goodbyes. Shawn invited me to visit his family farm anytime and I gave him my card in case he wanted to discuss social media tips. There really is a lot we could all learn from each other. I felt more engaged and interested in our province’s agriculture industry than ever before, and I learned about the immense amount of heart, passion, dedication, time and knowledge that goes into farming. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have connected with people like Shawn, Emily and Greg - fellow Albertans that I never would have crossed paths with. As Shawn said earlier in the night, “We need city girls and farmers. Everyone helps make the world go round.” Special thanks to all the partners who helped make this event possible: ATB Financial, Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, AdFarm, Alberta Barley, Alberta Beef, Alberta Bison, Alberta Canola, Alberta Milk, Alberta Potatoes, Alberta Pulse, Bayer, Calgary Co-op, Calgary Stampede, Canada Beef, Dow AgroSciences, MNP, McDonald’s Canada Northlands, Rocky Mountain Equipment, Street Smart, Travel Alberta and UFA.
For more information visit: aseatatourtable.com
A Seat At Our Table
@aseatatourtable aseatatourtable Felicia Zuniga is a communications specialist and freelance writer.
EARNING PUBLIC TRUST I N F O O D A N D FA R M I N G THE CONVERSATION AROUND FOOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN IMPORTANT ONE, BUT THE WIDENING GAP BETWEEN THE PEOPLE WHO GROW THE FOOD AND MOST OF THE PEOPLE W H O E AT I T H A S C H A N G E D T H E T O N E O F T H AT C O N V E R S AT I O N I N R E C E N T Y E A R S . BY ANNEMAR I E PEDER SEN
Today most consumers may be three to five generations removed from a relative who farms – which means they have never been to a farm, seen livestock up close or seen crops grown or harvested. This changes their understanding and comfort level with how food is raised considerably. And it makes conversations around food so much more important. One of the organizations trying to help those conversations along is the new Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) launched in 2016. Building on the strong base started with the Center for Food Integrity founded in the United States in 2007, it helps today’s food system earn consumer trust. As an advocate for a transparent sustainable food system, it conducts comprehensive and balanced consumer research, facilitates engagement and dialogue between consumers and the food system on important food topics. Crystal Mackay, CEO of the newly formed Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) shares the same vision and sees the value of building partnerships along the supply chain and working together on solutions. “This is a pre-competitive issue for the entire agriculture and food sector,” she says. “If we want to drive change we have to get out of the back of the truck.”
Insights From Moms, Millennials And Foodies One of the tools that will be used to drive solutions extensive research completed in 2016 to help better understand what consumers thought and believed about agriculture and food, who they trust and where they seek information on what’s on their plate. The key take-away from the 2016 Canadian CFI Public Trust Research is that while impressions of agriculture and farmers are strong, Canadian public trust in the agri-food system is fragile and possibly at risk. The research reported low levels of consumer trust across the value chain due in part to an imbalance in the conversation – too much reactive messaging
and not enough leadership and transparency. However, Mackay is clear in her thoughts on the solution. “This is not only a communications problem, this is a food system business challenge,” she says noting that a collaborative and proactive approach is required. Three key consumer groups were identified: moms with at least one child; millennials between the ages of 18 and 34; and foodies. A common theme among more than 2,500 respondents was that many things (such as organic or GMOs) were either seen as good or bad with very little middle ground, and almost half of Canadians were unsure on many key issues. Low levels of trust resulted in a lack of nuance in respondents’ answers.
The group identified their top life concerns as:
The rising cost of food (69%) Keeping healthy food affordable (66%) Rising health care costs (58%) Rising energy costs (57%) Canadian economy (56%) Also about half of the respondents listed the safety of imported food and general food safety as a concern, followed by humane treatment of animals at 43 per cent. These concerns align fairly closely with the five principals of sustainable food: affordability of food; overall health of Canadians; food safety; Canadian environment; and animal welfare. This indicates shared values and goals for both consumers and those in the agri-food sector. The 2009 Journal of Rural Sociology shared the public trust model and indicated that both competence (expertise/they will do a good job) and confidence (they can be relied on to do the right things/shared values) were critical for trust, which could then translate into social license. PROFILE 2017
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” THEODORE ROOSEVELT
The CCFI Public Trust research showed that confidence is at least three times as important as competence in building consumer trust. “Shared values must be the starting point of any conversation with consumers,” says Mackay.
The good news
It is critical to note though that once trust is lost, due to a single event or a series of events, so is social license. While having social license provides more flexibility and reduced costs of operation, when it is gone it is replaced by social control. Social control is regulation, legislation, litigation and market demands or limits. Social control tends to reduce operational flexibility and increase both costs and bureaucratic compliance.
1. People want to connect with people. Farming and ranching
It is clear to see why building confidence in shared values with transparency and open communication is crucial to maintaining the trust of the consumer, as well as supply chain partners. Shared values such as compassion, responsibility, respect, fairness and truth will be the foundation of this communication. While the agriculture industry may have some ground to make up on trust, farmers and ranchers tend to still be trusted and well regarded and the average Canadian wants to know more about what’s on their plate. This is good news as it opens the door to start connecting with consumers. 26 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
According to Mackay, there are a few trends and opportunities that will help build a connection between consumers and those in agriculture. are becoming ‘cool’. There are ample ways to connect with people, either in person, at events or online.
2. People are looking to slow down and disconnect. Farm tours,
events and opportunities to connect with people who work in the sector allow them to get some ‘dirt on their boots’.
3. Post-truth backlash is a good thing. After a trend towards using
emotions and beliefs to make decisions, the tide is turning back to “the straight goods”.
4. Stereotype breakers. Start to shake up the conversation with
unexpected partnerships with those who are aligned with your goals, for example the World Wildlife Federation on the environment or dietitians.
5. Collaborations. Strengthen existing and build new
partnerships to extend reach and multiply the impact.
Mackay has advice for both those in agri-food and for consumers. “If you are part of the food chain that raises or
THE CANADIAN CENTRE FOR FOOD INTEGRITY — brings food to the table – share your story. Speak up. Go to the local school, host a farm tour, write a letter to the editor or get engaged online.” For consumers the advice is simple.
PUBLIC TRUST SUMMIT 2017
A telling quote came from the California Secretary of Agriculture when she spoke in Ottawa in 2016. “We farm in California because our urban neighbours allow us to.” Social license and public trust must be cultivated just like the most sensitive crops – the industry cannot afford to lose the opportunity to build and nurture these relationships.
Experience Alberta Farm & Food tour of agri-food businesses and farm and ranch operations;
“If you want to know more about your food, seek out the people who are directly involved in getting it to your plate. Find them online, at local events or opportunities to visit farms in your area.”
For more information visit: Farmfoodcare.org/Canada/Canadian-centre-for-food-integrity @FarmFoodCare FarmFoodCare
A full day of networking, presentations and evening program The chance to connect with farm and food sector leaders and food influencers from across supply chains and across the country Great food and drinks highlighting Canadian and Albertan food
Annemarie Pedersen is a communications consultant primarily within the agriculture industry. She is also a volunteer with the Calgary Stampede.
This year the CCFI is hosting its Public Trust Summit in Calgary, Alberta, September 18-20. This event will include:
THE SMALL YELLOW CANOLA FLOWERS THAT MAKE UP THE PATCHWORK FIELDS ACROSS THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES EACH SUMMER ARE A VIBRANT REMINDER OF THE OBSTACLES OVERCOME BY AN ANCIENT OILSEED THAT HAS TRANSFORMED FROM ITS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS AS LAMP OIL IN EUROPE TO ITS PLACE IN THE HEARTS AND KITCHENS OF CANADIAN CONSUMERS. BY DAWN IUS
It’s a story of perseverance, dedication, and adaptation, but ultimately it’s a tale of Canadian innovation. Canola was developed in the 1970s using traditional plant breeding techniques that removed the anti-nutritional components from rapeseed, a crop that was not considered heart-healthy due to its high levels of erucic acid in the oil. Today, canola is revered for its value: its culinary versatility including a high-smoke point, and its impressive nutritional benefits including low saturated fat. At just seven per cent, in fact, the lowest level of any vegetable oil. Development of canola itself, an abbreviation of Canadian oil, is perhaps inspiring enough, but throughout history this little crop that could has always owed its success to innovation. For decades, and through to the present, researchers have tweaked plant breeding in an effort to provide solutions to plant diseases like blackleg and sclerotinia and to provide fresh opportunities for the food industry by offering a high oleic canola oil as a solution to the elimination of trans fat in foods. 28 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Those outside the agriculture industry have also recognized canola’s innovative spirit. In 1996, Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk took 250,000 canola seeds into space on a mission to determine the effects, if any, of anti-gravity on plant production. Canadian Jet Engine Funny Car driver and innovator Kevin Therres built the only two race cars in the world that run on 100 per cent canola biodiesel; a remodeled Corvette and Mustang that produce a jaw-dropping 7,500 horsepower allowing them to rocket down a quarter-mile track in six seconds at a speed of more than 250 miles per hour. Both of these unique uses of canola are chronicled in yet another demonstration of industry innovation, this time in the form of educational graphic novels for Grades 4 to 6 students that take readers back to the root of canola’s beginnings in Canada, a literal handful of seeds brought into the country from Poland by Saskatchewan farmer Fred Slovonuk, through to covering curriculum-linked issues of importance such as soil conservation, pest control, resource management,
C A N O L A
A CANADIAN SUCCESS STORY OF INNOVATION
climate change, social license and sustainability. Written by professional author, Dawn Ius, and illustrated by wellpublished cartoonist, James Grasdal, and with the support of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission and the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund, the books journal the adventures of 12-year-old Chase “Superman” Duffy, a runner, an aspiring writer, a dreamer and the grandson of an Alberta canola farmer. Today, the use of this versatile and fascinating oilseed expands beyond kitchen doors and farmer’s fields. Canola-derived products can be used as additives in diesel fuel to reduce engine wear, as lubricants for engine and hydraulic oils; to create specialized products such as plastics and detergents, and in the creation of many beauty and spa products. Impressively, this is only the beginning. The pioneering spirit that led to the development of canola will lead it into the future with continued innovation and inspiration.
Farmers will celebrate canola crops that may be easier to grow, produce higher yields, and are more resistant to the evolving challenges of climate change, new plant diseases, and sustainable crop production. The industry will cultivate new market opportunities, strengthening its position as one of the world’s most sought after agricultural exports. Advanced plant-breeding techniques will create new products and new opportunities. And perhaps, most importantly, consumers can look forward to, and expect, safe, high-quality foods with enhanced nutritional qualities because they are made with canola. While it’s unlikely canola will be one of the first crops grown in space, it’s clear there is still an incredible amount of innovation to be harvested right here on earth. For more information visit: albertacanada.com @learncanola Dawn Ius is a short story author, novelist, screenwriter and communications specialist. @dawnmius PROFILE 2017
BUILDING A B R I D G E BE T W E E N
A G RI CU L T U R E AN D CO N SUMERS JUST AS AGRICULTURE IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND IMPROVING, THE INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD COMMITTEE (IAC) HAS MADE SOME RECENT CHANGES TO UPDATE AND EXPAND THE WORK THEY DO PROMOTING AGRICULTURE. B Y A N N E M A R I E P E D E R S E N “We are looking at ways to not only further agricultural business opportunities, but to provide a real link between agriculture and consumers,” says Brent Difley, IAC Chair. The name change to International Agriculture and Agri-Food demonstrates that evolution of focus to include new partners and members from along the supply chain.
The IAC has a wide array of members and sponsors from all along the value chain – from primary producers to equipment companies and producer associations. Not only do they assist their guests during the 10-day festival but they also work with their sponsors to help them make the most of the opportunities in the International Room and at the reception.
In 2016, the IAC hosted a number of international guests including an agri-trade group from Belgium as well as the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). They also participated in the Canada-Mexico Agribusiness Opportunities Seminar organized by the Mexican Consulate.
The cherry on top of everything that the committee does – including hosting international guests and trade missions – is the Agriculture and Agri-Food International Reception.
Over the 10 days, the committee hosted as many as 2200 guests from about 40 countries in the International Room – where daily they invite agricultural guests from Canada and abroad to meet new people from common backgrounds. “A large percentage of our international guests at Stampede are looking for an agricultural experience. That is their background and one of the reasons they travel to Calgary,” says Dave Sibbald, Calgary Stampede President and Chairman of the Board. “The IAC does an outstanding job of providing guests with an introduction to not only agriculture at the Stampede but also the agricultural opportunities onpark and off.” The link to agriculture is an important one, as it is the foundation of the Stampede of the 21st century. “The agricultural exhibition goes back to the 1880s and is part of the western heritage,” says the fifth generation rancher. Difley agrees. “Agriculture and agri-food is at the centre of what we do. We had guests from India interested in seeing greenhouses here – a committee member was able to connect them to the right people. Guests from the Falkland Islands, Australia, and the Congo were interested in specific agricultural sectors here and our team in the room were able to help them.” 30 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
“Our Minister of Agriculture said it best,” says Sibbald. “He said he didn’t think he had ever been in a room with so many agricultural influencers.” Industry leaders, ministers, government staff, and value chain partners among many others were part of the reception that brought together approximately 500 people and proudly served an Alberta menu. “That is a major coup. It makes me proud and I know it makes Stampede very proud,” he added. As a major sponsor of the evening, Richard Ellis, Senior Vice-President, McDonald’s Canada represents the shift IAC is making to include more than primary producers in their network. “McDonald’s and other food service and retail companies have a crucial connection to consumers. They are as interested in building links along the value chain as we are,” says Difley. The IAC network allows organizations to reconnect with the primary producers and others in the supply chain. Ellis shared his thoughts with the room. “We are very proud to partner with Canadian agriculture. And we are proud to serve Canadian beef and know that a vast majority of that beef comes from Alberta and producers like the ones in the room tonight.” These are the connections that will serve the entire supply chain for years to come. Annemarie Pedersen is a communications consultant primarily within the agriculture industry. She is also a volunteer with the Calgary Stampede. @ap_comms
McDonaldâ€™s Canada â€” Chat Sangha, Jeanette Jones, Sherry MacLauchlan, Danielle Jang, Usman Jutt , Shelly Hansen, Hope Bagozzi , Richard Ellis
Tom Droog (T&E Ventures Inc.), Leela Sharon Aheer (MLA Chestermere)
Brent Difley (IAC Chair), Kainoi Ando (Embassy of Japan), Kunihiko Tanabe (Consul-General of Japan in Calgary)
Honourable Ricardo Miranda (Minister of Culture and Tourism), Anam Kazim (MLA Calgary-Glenmore), Honourable Oneil Carlier (Minister of AB Agriculture & Forestry)
Darrel Janz (CTV News), Honourable Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence)
Rob Schmeichel (FCC), Deborah Wilson (BIXS), Crystal Mackay (Farm & Food Care Foundation Canada), Marty Seymour (FCC)
Nelson Godfrey (Smart & Biggar), Caroline Saunders (British Consul General), Alistair Simpson (Smart & Biggar)
Dana Peers (CS first vice-president), Laura Fabbro, David Sibbald (CS president & chairman of the board), Mary Beth Sibbald
Karen Engel (Honourary Consil Secretary High Commission of Belize), Allison Ammeter (AB Pulse Growers), Kevin Bender (AB Wheat), Sara Bender, Mike Ammeter (AB Barley)
Ravinder Minhas (IAC), Jyoti Minhas (Minhas Breweries), Thomas Palaia (Consul General Embassy of USA)
Warren Connell (Calgary Stampede CEO), Pat Hussey, Byron Hussey (CS Director)
Steve Snyder (Honorary Consul for New Zealand), James Noble (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise), Nick Fleming (Consul General & Trade Commissioner New Zealand)
Fraser Abbott (Hotel Arts Group), Terry Rock (Alberta Small Brewers Association)
Dr. David Chalack (CS Past President), Camille Jim, Kee Jim (Feedlot Health Management Services)
Kevin Hoppins (UFA), Carol Kitchen (UFA), Kim McConnell (IAC), Rob Giguere (UFA) 32 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Matthew Jerke (Export Development Canada), Iker Reyes-Godelmann, Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs (Embassy of United Mexican States)
PROUD SPONSOR OF THE CALGARY STAMPEDE MLT Aikins and the Calgary Stampede share western roots and a strong commitment to the community. As one of the pioneers in agricultural law, and with a history that spans more than a century, MLT Aikins has been involved in projects that have shaped the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry. Let our experience and creativity help you build your business for the next 100 years.
M LT A I K I N S L L P â€˘ M LTA I K I N S . C O M
Barley to Beer
ALBERTA’S CRAFT BEER JOURNEY IS A TRUE FIELD-TO-GLASS STORY
I T ’ S H A R D TO F I N D A N YO N E W H O WO N ’ T A G R E E T H AT T H E S E A R E E X C I T I N G T I M E S I N T H E WO R L D O F C R A F T B R E W I N G . M A N Y W I L L U N D O U B T E D LY AT T E S T T H AT , F O R A L B E R TA , T H E B E S T I S Y E T TO C O M E . I N FA C T , W E ’ R E R E A L LY J U S T S C R AT C H I N G T H E S U R FA C E O F W H AT I S N OT H I N G S H O R T O F A R E N A I S S A N C E I N C R A F T B E E R A N D S P I R I T S A C R O S S N O R T H A M E R I C A – D R I V E N I N PA R T BY A N U N P R E C E D E N T E D I N T E R E S T I N W H E R E O U R F O O D A N D D R I N K C O M E S F R O M . BY TS LANE Beer consumers, eager to understand the connection between local food producers and brewers, seem to have an unquenchable thirst for discovering the vast array of flavours, aromas and tastes that are being created by a growing number of micro-brewing operations – over 60 at last count – that are appearing all around the province. Last Best Brewing and Distilling in Calgary is one of four brewpubs in the Alberta-based Bearhill Brewing family of breweries. They are the self-proclaimed community liaison for beer, and beer culture, and so they seemed like a perfect place to begin to understand the connections that are being developed and nurtured between growers and brewers.
“Our customers absolutely get the connection to the barley farmer,” says Phil Brian, Head Brewer at Last Best, “They are very aware of where the ingredients in the beer they’re drinking has come from and just like the local food movement they’re interested in the traceability of those ingredients.” 34 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Brian also makes the point that malt-giant Canada Malting – responsible for producing malt for brewing, distilling and food markets around the world – has done a great job of bringing local brewers and farmers together at industry events. This has helped build closer relationships and put a face to the people who produce one of beer’s key ingredients – one that has been effectively shifting from pure commodity to specialty crop. Alberta barley growers rightfully boast growing some of the best malt barley in the world. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of malt is shipped across Canada, North America and around the planet to satisfy a beer-thirsty world. But while much of what is produced ships elsewhere there are some interesting stories happening close to home. Just northeast of Calgary, Dave Lantz manages a large, modern mixed farming operation featuring a variety of crops including malt barley. He’s seen a sea-change in the public’s interest in everything he grows.
– further enhances and develops the colours, flavours and aromas that will soon become the signature attributes of a growing variety of craft beers. In recent years, there’s been a lot of focus on hops – another key ingredient of beer – with many craft beer devotees developing a keen taste for hop-forward pale ales. “I’m probably a bit biased but we think there’s just so much potential for brewers and distillers to discover the limitless possibilities by experimenting with malting and roasting all types of grains,” says Dale Befus, a partner in upstart Heritage Malting Co. that is hoping to further connect barley farmers with local brewers and provide brewers themselves with the equipment and expertise required to turn local barley and other grains into some of the best – and most creative – craft beverages available anywhere.
“It’s consumer driven,” says Lantz of the public’s interest in the growing local movement. “People are looking for a more complete story of where their food – and favourite beverages – are coming from and producers welcome this new-found interest in what we do.” Lantz continues, “We take a lot of pride in farming and this kind of interest and the questions we’re asked help to build trust in us and in our products.” When asked about growing malt barley, Lantz is quick to point out that it is certainly a management intensive product. An earlier seeding and specialized management practice along with some always-appreciated cooperation from mother nature and early harvest, produces a malt barley crop with a profile – low protein, high germination, etc. – highly coveted by maltsers and brewers. This brings us to an important, and sometimes overlooked, process that’s integral to our barley to beer story – malting – the modification of barley by soaking, germinating, and kilning. The entire process typically takes about seven days. After soaking for up to 24 hours the barley begins to grow, producing tiny rootlets. Inside, processes are underway breaking down proteins and converting starches to sugars, which yeast will later feed on during the brewing process. Time, temperature and humidity all play their roles and are monitored closely. Roasting barley – and other grains
Having a beer or two with Terry and Dave is a bit like watching a brew-fuelled ping-pong match. Terry Rock is the executive director of the Alberta Small Brewers Association and brings a businesslike and thoughtful point of view as we discuss all things concerning Alberta’s craft beer scene. David Nuttall – a certified beer expert and beer school instructor – has a rapid-fire encyclopedic knowledge of beer and brewing in Alberta and beyond. They approach each question from unique points of view but both agree that the future is bright for Alberta’s growing craft beer market; they describe Alberta as a unique beer destination, world-renowned really, because people know this is where the world’s best barley comes from. While there are many definitions of craft brewing based on production levels and ownership, (again) they both agree that craft is as much about a state of mind and a particular way of doing things as it is about the size of operations or capacity.
“There’s so much promise for this industry in both rural and urban centres,” says Rock. There’s a real full and clear connection from the farm to the brewer but it will take additional government support in the form of changes in regulations, as well as true innovation within the industry, to fully realize that potential.” In the meantime the party for the craft beer consumer continues. They represent a growing segment of the public that are packing into local craft beer events in incredible numbers, frequenting multi-tap beer rooms, having their growlers filled at the brew-pub or craft beer specialty store, and discovering an expanding world of choice. Ultimately they choose what beer they enjoy at home with friends or at their local pub – but that choice is increasingly local. TS Lane is a Calgary-based communications specialist with connections to the Calgary Stampede and various brewing, malting and distilling operations. @tslane888
SEEDS OF I A N T Y S O N ’ S “ F O U R S T R O N G W I N D S ” I S E V O C AT I V E O F T H E A L B E R TA E X P E R I E N C E : N E W B E G I N N I N G S B U I LT U P O N T H E L E S S O N S O F T H E P A S T . T H I S I S T H E S O N G T H AT C O M E S T O M I N D W H E N TA L K I N G A B O U T TA B E R ’ S R O W L A N D F A R M S , W H I C H H A S B E E N O N A J O U R N E Y O F I T S O W N S I N C E B E C O M I N G W H O L LY O R G A N I C O V E R 3 0 Y E A R S A G O . BY LI SA SK I ERKA
“Think I’ll go out to Alberta, weather’s good there in the fall / I got some friends that I could go to working for / Still I wish you’d change your mind / If I asked you one more time / But we’ve been through this a hundred times or more” Despite a push to embrace the modern seed science of the 1980s—to adopt genetically modified commercial seeds and chemically intense farming practices—Roy Brewin was determined to go his own way. “Roy had been farming with his dad for a couple of years,” says Keith Jones, General Manager of Rowland Farms. “His dad was successful, but conventional. Roy decided early on to farm without fertilizer and chemicals, so he could put his money into land and people to help him.” With this vision, Roy started farming organically in 1984 with a half section of land, which has since grown to 35,000 acres, making it one of the largest irrigated operations in western Canada. Rowland Farms is best known for producing highquality ancient grains and hemp seed, as well as beans, other oil seeds and feed products. “We’re probably the largest industrial hemp grower on the planet,” explains Jones. “And it all started with a desire to do things differently.”
36 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
Rowland Farms is a small-town Alberta success story. As Rowland Seeds, its original focus was on pedigreed grain and forage seed production. These days, it’s one of North America’s largest organic grain, oilseed and hemp food and feed producers, and it’s undergoing a rebrand as Rowland Farms. The original location in Purple Springs, near Taber, has expanded into three main geographic blocks, which reduces risks due to weather. Raj Dhillon, director of procurement at Vibrant Health Products, which owns Silver Hills Bakery out of Abbotsford, British Columbia, says Rowland Farms is essential to their business. “Organic demand is growing,” says Dhillon. “Ultimately, it’s a belief system of Silver Hills Bakery to sell consumers sprouted organic breads and grains because we strongly believe in the health aspect of sprouted grains.” Silver Hills is known for its high-quality baked goods featuring ancient grains, such as Squirrelly Bread, The Big 16 and Mack’s Flax. “Rowland Farms’ ability to grow products organically sets it apart,” says Dhillon. “We see this as a long-term partnership. Our business has tripled in four years and the demand is growing. Our biggest challenge? How do we keep farmers invested to do more organic.”
CHANGE These concerns are echoed by Clarence Shwaluk, director, farm operations, at Fresh Hemp Foods Ltd., also known as Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods.
Taking on hemp seed production also allowed the company to expand into serving a developing sector of the natural products market.
“Farmers considering organic should look closely at the business opportunities available under that production system,” says Shwaluk. “There is a strong and growing demand for organic food products and organic growers are enjoying a good return for their efforts.”
“Organic products are in growing demand from consumers, being driven by the desire for healthy lifestyles,” explains Shwaluk. “We see the direction of organic hemp continuing to increase for the foreseeable future.”
For Dhillon, the Brewin family’s buy-in is key. “It’s a family operation at heart,” explains Jones, adding that key family members are involved in all aspects of production. Maintaining the trust of their customers is one way they stay true to Roy’s original vision, which includes keeping the business in the family. “The commitment to organic, veganic growing strengthens our partnership every year,” says Dhillon. “Rowland Farms is a big part of our business and there’s a strong trust factor there.” In addition to building trust, Rowland Farms is also committed to increasing production through strategic change. “Roy is open to trying new things,” says Jones. “At first, this meant moving out of seed production and into ancient grains and cereals.” Jones says Roy soon realized that, to make a profit, he’d need to do his own cleaning. The result? Rowland Farms now has four processing plants and can clean grains and oil seeds to 99.9 per cent purity—meaning their products can ship directly to bakeries.
Shwaluk says Rowland Farms is exceptional both in the scale of its operation and the infrastructure that supports its production.
“It’s unique to see an organic farm that operates on this level of sophistication,” says Shwaluk. “The farm operates using irrigated production on a very large scale, has a dedicated seed cleaning system for cleaning their hemp crop, and has an internal quality monitoring system complete with a seed lab. We don’t see this on other organic farms.” This commitment is what makes Rowland Farms a preferred supplier for both Silver Hills and Manitoba Harvest.
“Quality is our cornerstone,” says Shwaluk. “We’re obsessed about bringing the freshest, highest quality hemp foods from field to table.” And Rowland Farms is key to that success. For more information visit: rowlandfarms.ca
Lisa Skierka is a freelance writer based in Southern Alberta. @skielark PHOTO:
Mark Reinders (President of European Hemp Industry Alliance) with Roy Brewin
FARM AND FAMILY GROW TOGETHER
M E E T O L AV PAL LE SEN . SIX T Y F I V E Y E AR S AF T ER H E T RAVEL L E D ALO NE FROM D E N MA R K I N 19 51 W I TH $20 I N H I S PO CKE T AND A N O FFE R O F WO RK O N H I S UNCL E ’ S FARM SOU TH OF D RU M H EL L ER , H E SIT S I N H I S WAR M D I N I NG RO OM O N A S TO RM Y SUM M E R AF TE R NOON W I T H H I S FAM I LY AROUND H I M , T ELLI NG M E ABOUT T H E L I FE H E B U I LT O N T H I S L AN D H E H A S TE N D E D W I TH C AR E . B Y R O B I N G A L E Y Olav Pallesen arrived in Alberta in the middle of a cold winter. His family now jokes that, when spring finally came, Olav said, “The snow melted and the grass was green and the girls looked prettier.” Prettier indeed. After farming with his uncle for a few years, Olav met Rita and was smitten. She was too. Rita was an only child, so there was room for the couple on her parents’ farm. After getting a start with his uncle and then her parents, Olav and Rita bought their own three quarters in 1959 for $40 an acre. Ten years later they bought a half section, which became their home. On Mother’s Day in 1970, they were out for lunch when they got a call from a neighbour saying, “Better get home, your house is on fire.” It’s an experience etched in the family’s memory forever. “We went to school the next day in our suits because that’s all we had left,” Barry recalls. Rita and Olav managed a smaller, more diversified operation in the early years. They grew crops on 1,300 acres, kept 30 cows, had up to 400 laying hens and milked for dairy. They had frying chickens and hogs for slaughter. “We didn’t have a pocketful of money by any means... that was how we ate,” Olav explains.
Their income was also diversified. They separated milk and sold the cream, and took their eggs to sell in town – 35 cents a dozen. “If you came to the farm for them, you could have three-dozen for a dollar, but not if you bought them in town,” Olav recalls. Rita and Olav had four children in five years: Daryl, Barry, Connie and Joan. Only Barry came back to farm, after going to Olds College. Today three generations of Pallesens work this land. They seed 4,000 acres of wheat and canola and keep a herd of roughly 150 cattle “just to amuse ourselves,” Barry says. Barry and his wife Pauline have a homestead three miles south of Olav and Rita. They raised two daughters there. Kirsten and Jenny. Jenny, a teacher, is married to a farmer south of Fort Macleod. Kirsten went to Olds College like her father and mother. She studied Animal Health, and divides her time between on-farm and off-farm work. “I hope I can farm,” she says, looking out at the land Olav has worked since the 60s. At 86, he is still very involved. “I was shoveling grain this morning,” he says.
Meet the Pallesens (from left): Kirsten, Olav, Rita, Barry and Pauline 38 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
“...technology is one difference between the three generations here. Olav doesn’t have a computer. Barry uses a cellphone. Kirsten keeps hers locked on the pulse of social media around farming and food.” When asked how farming is different today than in those early years, Olav refers to the soil-saving benefits of direct seeding and continuous cropping. “We used to summerfallow. It took me a while to become convinced, but the way we do it now is far superior. We almost never disturb the soil,” he says. “There used to be black snow in the ditches all the time. Now nothing moves.” The combine cab also changed farming, Olav says. I thought he was referring to technological innovation. “Well that’s important,” he agrees. “But it’s keeping the weather out – that made a real difference.” When the Pallesens first farmed, there was no protection from dirt. They had no running water. “We carried water to fill the galvanized tub. The cleanest kid went in first, and you used the same water for everyone,” Rita recalls.
When asked how they were able to be successful in farming, Rita says, “Well we wouldn’t have had a hope if we didn’t have my dad.” “Same with us,” Barry says. We’re all silent for a moment, looking at Olav, who started this whole thing. “Well if you had the money to go farming, why would you bother?” Barry adds. “We work for the next generation. That’s why we do it…Somebody has to work the land.” “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” Olav grins, referring to the weather. One way or another, farmers check it every 15 minutes, they all agree. The family is encouraged by the fact that a younger generation is coming back to farm. “They have a great passion for it. They love the land,” Barry says.
Still, technology is one difference between the three generations here. Olav doesn’t have a computer. Barry uses a cellphone. Kirsten keeps hers locked on the pulse of social media around farming and food.
I ask the family how they think farming will change in the future. “It depends what happens in the world with GMOs now. The Europeans are very much against it, and that could change a lot,” Olav says.
The farm has become less diversified over the years, but what about the food they eat? “I don’t know if it’s that different,” Olav says. Rita was cutting beans this morning to freeze. They have 100 hills of potatoes to dig. But vegetable gardens are less common in their area now. Same as in the city.
“We’re feeding however many billion people, and we’re told we need to feed a few more,” Barry says.
Even out here, the grocery store in Drumheller is just 20 minutes away. Is the food different? “The food we grow is fresh. It tastes way better,” Olav says.
“It’s a lot of work, there are a lot of bugs and a lot of dirt. But I hope it keeps going,” Olav says. Looking toward Kirsten, he adds,“It looks like it will.” For more informaion visit: Agricultureforlife.ca
“But we can’t grow the variety we can buy,” says Barry. The Pallesens used to raise their own meat, eggs and dairy. They don’t anymore. But Barry and Pauline still raise their own beef, and trade it for eggs.
Agriculture for life
@4AgForLife Reprinted with permission from the Agriculture for Life 2016 Harvest Magazine.
G R O W N R I G H T. H E R E .
B EYOND B EE F; WINTER’S TURKEYS A FLAVOURFUL FAVOURITE IN THE CALGARY STAMPEDE KITCHENS
DEDICATED TO USING LOCAL PRODUCTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE, THE CALGARY STAMPEDE CULINARY TEAM IS PASSIONATE ABOUT BUILDING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH PRODUCERS THROUGH ITS GROWN RIGHT. HERE. PROGRAM. B Y K R I S T I N A B A R N E S “Working with locally raised products is a chef’s dream,” says Calgary Stampede executive chef Derek Dale. “We’re able to live that dream nearly every day.” The innovative Grown Right. Here. program was created back in 2008 with a focus on showcasing products grown or raised in Alberta. While many visitors come to come to Calgary expecting to see beef on the menu, there are many more equally flavourful options. “The Stampede is world renowned for the Alberta beef we serve to our guests,” says Dale. “But we also have very strong relationships with other producers, including our local poultry producer Winter’s Turkeys.” Located 30 kilometres east of Calgary in Dalemead, Alberta, the Winter’s farm has been raising turkey for four generations. Since 1977 husband and wife team, Darrel Winter and Corrine Dahm have been at the helm, raising free range, certified organic and heirloom turkeys. As a major supplier for the Calgary Stampede kitchens, they provide approximately 8,000 pounds (3,600 kgs) of turkey per year. 40 I N T E R N A T I O N A L A G R I C U L T U R E A N D A G R I - F O O D C O M M I T T E E
“It’s a relationship with many benefits,” says Dale. “We can ensure we are working together to reduce our carbon footprint and practice sustainability, while also being able to serve Stampede guests the best tasting free range and organically grown turkey in Alberta.” And when it comes down to the cooking, Dale believes the hard work and care the Winter’s farm and other local suppliers put into their products makes it easy for his team. “The quality of the products is so superior, salt and pepper is all you really need to add!” For more information visit: Wintersturkeys.ca
Kristina Barnes is the Communications Manager for Western Events and Agriculture at the Calgary Stampede. @Barnes_in_Barns
THE INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD COMMITTEE WOULD LIKE TO RECOGNIZE OUR CORPORATE SPONSORS. THEIR CONTINUED AND GENEROUS SUPPORT ALLOWS US TO PROMOTE AND CELEBRATE THE AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY.
2W Livestock Equipment Ltd. Agriculture Financial Services Corp.
Canadian Cattlemenâ€™s Association Cargill
Alberta Barley Commission
Alberta Beef Producers
Alberta Canola Producers Commission
CL Ranches Ltd.
Alberta Cattle Feeders Association Alberta Wheat Commission BIXSco Inc. Bunge Canada Canada Beef Inc.
EnerSmart Building Systems Inc. Feedlot Health Management Services
Lantz Farms Ltd. Lilydale MLT Aikins LLP Potato Growers of Alberta Show Champions Inc. Smart & Biggar Syngenta Canada Inc. T&E Ventures Inc.
Truman Insurance Agency
Hotel Arts Group
Jackson Agri-Business Ltd.
Jones Hereford Ranches (1996) Inc.
NOT WITHOUT CANADIAN FARMERS.
Like you, we know there’s no better beef than Canadian beef. Which is why last year we proudly sourced over 60 million pounds of it from Western Canada. Because without Canadian farmers, our burgers just wouldn’t be the same. OurFoodYourQuestions.ca