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While North American farmers are in the process of wrapping up a fourth-straight bumper harvest, according to the BMO 2016 North American Agriculture Report, foreign exchange developments have yielded very different experiences for producers in Canada and the United States.

"In the United States, the lofty greenback, which has gained 20 per cent on a trade-weighted basis since the start of 2014, has been yet another bearish factor for crop prices and revenue," said Aaron Goertzen, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Canadian producers, in contrast, have benefitted from a drop in the loonie, which is down 17 per cent against the U.S. dollar since the start of 2014 and has provided a like-sized lift to crop prices north of the border."

Mr. Goertzen added that as a result of the weaker loonie, domestic crop prices in Canada are 18 per cent below all-time highs – compared to nearly 30 per cent in the United States – and have risen five per cent from their recent low in mid-2014. The lower loonie has been a particularly fortunate development given the country's mediocre crop yields over the past few years.

Canadian Outlook
In Canada, composite crop yields, which consist of corn, soybeans, wheat and canola, picked up modestly on last year's subpar result. However, they remained on-trend overall as a near-record crop of canola on the prairies was offset by a decrease in corn and soybean yields in Ontario.

"Canadian producers have undoubtedly been supported by the weaker loonie," said Adam Vervoort, Head of Agriculture Banking, BMO Financial Group. "This means now, with extra capital available, is an ideal time to invest in technology, which is driving the current string of bumper crops we've seen on a North American scale."

He added, "Those producers who have adopted modern agricultural practices, particularly in the corn space, have grown trend crop yields substantially. There's still room for autonomous, satellite-informed equipment to be refined and used, as the innovation trend shows no sign of slowing down."

Producers in Canada's Western regions, namely Alberta and Saskatchewan, have experienced a more difficult season impacted by weather challenges since October that have delayed their harvest timeline. However, the prairies remain on track for a near-record crop of canola.

Mr. Vervoort affirmed that producers in the West could have potentially seen stronger results weather permitting, but have managed to still sustain a decent crop turnaround. "The harvest conditions have not been ideal, but we continue to work with farmers negatively impacted by adverse weather."

While Canadian producers benefitted from a timely fall in the loonie that lifted crop prices north of the border, it also raised the cost of internationally-priced inputs like energy and fertilizer. Most producers face a wide variety of Canadian dollar-dominated expenses though, so margins have ultimately benefitted on balance.

From mid-2014 to early this year, the weaker Canadian dollar also caused food prices to inflate four per cent yearly. Consumers have been somewhat relieved as a result of the partial bounce-back of the dollar in the latter half of the year and a decrease in livestock prices.
Analysts say wet weather is behind the movement of some grains into feed markets in Canada, according to FeedNavigator.com. | READ MORE
The U.S. will capture a higher share of the global wheat market this season as poor weather that’s hurt French and Canadian crops helps the second-largest exporter step up shipments from a 44-year low last season, according to Bloomberg.com. | READ MORE

As of July 31, Statistics Canada reports that the country's total stock levels for wheat, canola and lentils are down from the same date a year earlier. Meanwhile, barley and oat stocks increased compared with July 31, 2015.

Wheat

Total stocks of wheat fell 26.8% from July 31, 2015, to 5.2 million tonnes as of July 31, 2016. This decline was the result of a 29.2 per cent drop in commercial stocks to 3.0 million tonnes and a 23.1 per cent decrease in stocks held on farms to 2.2 million tonnes. Alberta reported the largest decline of on-farm stocks, down 44.4 per cent to 495 000 tonnes. Saskatchewan also reported a decrease, down 14.7 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes.

Canola

At the national level, canola stocks fell 20.7 per cent to 2.0 million tonnes as of July 31, as a result of decreases in both on-farm stocks and commercial stocks. Meanwhile, canola crushing was at record levels for the crop year ending July 31, 2016. On-farm stocks, which are concentrated in Western Canada, declined 25.9 per cent compared with July 31, 2015, to 915 000 tonnes. Commercial stocks were 15.8 per cent lower compared with the same date in 2015 at 1.1 million tonnes.

Barley

Total barley stocks grew 18.6 per cent to 1.4 million tonnes as of July 31. Stocks held on farm, which accounted for nearly 90 per cent of total stocks, rose 23.3 per cent to 1.3 million tonnes. Meanwhile, commercial stocks fell 9.9 per cent to 155 000 tonnes.

Oats

As of July 31, total stocks of oats were up 38.2 per cent compared with July 31, 2015, to 930 000 tonnes. Increases in both on-farm (+30.5 per cent) and commercial (+59.5 per cent) stock levels led to an overall rise.

Lentils

Overall stocks of lentils fell 80.0 per cent from July 31, 2015, to 73 000 tonnes as of July 31, 2016. Commercial stocks were down 11.6 per cent to 38 000 tonnes. Meanwhile, stocks held on farms fell 89.1 per cent to 35 000 tonnes. These were the lowest on-farm and commercial stock levels since July 2010.

August 31, 2016 - Canada and China have been embroiled in a dispute about the acceptable level of "dockage" - or foreign material such as weeds and other crops - in Canada's canola exports to China.

Now, the previously held deadline of Thursday Sept. 1 for Canada to cut the level of foreign material in its deliveries by more than half, has been extended, according to an announcment by Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

"We're happy to reassure Canadian farmers that (at) the Sept. 1 deadline we will be able to continue with the current regime of canola and we (will) work together very closely towards a long-term solution in the coming days and weeks ahead," Trudeau says. | READ MORE.
August 29, 2016 - Noting that on Sept. 1, China will be imposing unfair and commercially unreasonable restrictions on the imports of canola, Manitoba's agriculture minister, Ralph Eichler, has written to federal minister of international trade, Chrystia Freeland, supporting the federal government’s efforts in resolving the restrictions China intends to place on canola imports.

“I have sent a letter to the minister to encourage and support the federal government in their negotiations with China on removing their intended dockage requirements for canola,” says Eichler.  “Our concerns are for the commercial viability of increasing restrictions on our canola exports to China.  We support the efforts of the federal minister to work with the Chinese government to address their concerns regarding blackleg in canola and avoid restrictive trade barriers.  This is a key international market for the industry and we hope that this can be resolved in a timely manner.  There is a lot at stake for producers in Manitoba and it needs to be emphasized to our international trade partners that policy decisions need to be made based on science.”

Manitoba produced 2.86 million tonnes of canola in 2015, generating $1.1 billion dollars of farm cash receipts.  Canola amounted to 36 per cent of the total farm cash receipts for crops in Manitoba in 2015.
The registration for the CDC Arras, Flanders and Somme flaxseed varieties will be cancelled effective Aug. 1, 2017. At that time, these varieties will be removed from the variety designation list for flaxseed and will only be eligible for the lowest grade.

Apr. 18, 2016 - The federal government is providing a one-year investment of up to $1.9 million for the Agricultural Youth Green Jobs Initiative to attract youth to green jobs within the agriculture and agri-food sector.

The Agricultural Youth Green Jobs Initiative will help fund internships for post-secondary graduates working in the agriculture industry. These internships would include activities or projects that benefit the environment.

Under the initiative, support is available to fund internships both on the farm, and with organizations engaged in the agriculture and agri-food sector to help attract youth to green jobs.

The Agricultural Youth Green Jobs Initiative falls under the Youth Employment Strategy (YES), a government-wide initiative to help young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the skills, work experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition into the labour market.

More information is available here.

 

Mar. 1, 2016, Ottawa, ON - This March, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA),the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and presenting sponsor Farm Credit Canada (FCC) are encouraging farmers and their families to "Be an AgSafe Family" by "Keeping Kids Safe".

Canadian Agricultural Safety Week (CASW) is an annual public awareness campaign focusing on the importance of safe agriculture. In 2016 organizers want to empower farm families with the information they need to help keep kids safe on the farm while preserving the farming lifestyle. The campaign lasts for a week, but Keeping Kids Safe is important all year long.

"We believe that we can teach the love of agriculture to our children in a safe and healthy way,", says Marcel Hacault, Executive Director of CASA. "This year we are providing tools and safety advice on agsafetyweek.ca that can help make farms a safe place for children to grow up."

"At CFA, we recognize the importance of teaching our next generation of producers about safety measures on the family farm," says CFA President Ron Bonnett. "That is why we are proud to once again be a part of Canadian Agricultural Safety Week in order to highlight the significance of safety as a priority on Canada's farms."

Farm Credit Canada is a long-time supporter of CASW and of many farm safety programs. In 2016, FCC has once again committed to support Safety Days in local communities. Coordinators can apply for up to $1,500 to help offset some costs associated with hosting a safety day. FCC, through the Coordinator Funding, along with the support for CASW, is "Keeping Kids Safe."

"Safety on the farm doesn't just happen; it's a result of hard work by industry associations, government, industry advocates and of course farmers," said Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO. "That's why we're proud to support Canadian Agriculture Safety Week and to partner with CASA. It provides the information and resources producers need to make farms safer for everyone, including children."

As a part of CASW, organizers are working with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services to host launch activities in Vineland Station, Ontario on March 15, 2016. Activities include a morning session on building a farm safety plan, a luncheon featuring farm safety advocates, a half-day of training sessions including a tractor refresher, women in ag and orienting young workers, and a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® for children.

"Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is proud to be part of Canadian Ag Safety Week, and this year's theme really hits home," says Elizabeth Mills, President and CEO of WSPS. "On average, 13 children die on Canadian farms each year. We are looking forward to connecting with farmers, agricultural employers and partners to share the latest practices and tools to Keep Kids Safe and ensure that Ag families enjoy a rich, exciting and safe experience on the farm."

Canadian Agricultural Safety Week takes place every year during the third week of March. For more information about CASW, media kits or Ontario launch activities, please visit agsafetyweek.ca. Media kits include press releases, feature farmer stories, safety advice articles, public service announcements, graphics and more.

CASW 2016 is presented by Farm Credit Canada and brought to you by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture with assistance from the Government of Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial and territorial initiative. In 2016, CASW sponsors include long-time corporate sponsor Farm Credit Canada, Esso and their Esso Branded Resellers, Fertilizer Canada, Dow AgroSciences, WSPS and Princess Auto.

 

Feb. 3, 2016 - Canada's International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in a ceremony in New Zealand today.

After signing the agreement, Freeland told reporters that Canada's participation in the Asia Pacific economy was very important and reassured her counterparts from the other 11 countries that Canada's new government was pro-trade.

READ MORE.

 

 

The Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) and Cereals Canada has published a wheat and durum market analysis that urges Canada to look outside traditional markets to grow its cereals export industry.

The study, conducted by market research firm LMC International, claims that Canadian wheat is known for its consistency, high quality and cleanliness around the world, and this brand differentiates it from competitors’ products in long-standing markets like North America and Japan. However, more needs to be done in coming years if we wish to keep pace with competitors like the United States and Australia in key growth markets, says Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada.

“If we’re going to pursue growth, then we are going to have to look outside of those traditional markets for Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat and amber durum and carry that differentiation and branding into other markets, such as West Africa,” Dahl says.

West African nations, as well as important South American markets, will be high on Team Canada’s priority list for trade missions this fall and winter. Team Canada refers to a collaborative effort between Cereals Canada, Cigi, the Canadian Grain Commission, industry representatives, and Canadian wheat and durum growers, which sends representatives of each of these groups on trade missions around the world. Team Canada’s first trade mission, in 2014-2015, helped promote the Canadian wheat and durum industry to 20 countries.

This fall and winter, Team Canada will hit the road, meeting with customers, government officials and agencies in the United States, Korea, Japan, and West African nations Ghana and Ivory Coast, as well as countries in North Africa, the Mideast and South America.

Dahl says there’s potential to expand Canada’s market for prairie spring wheat in South America, because this class meets particular demands of the South American market. And in West Africa, there is strong potential to emphasize the different uses for CWRS as an enhancer of wheat purchased from other countries.

According to JoAnne Buth, chief executive officer at Cigi, West and sub-Saharan Africa is a very interesting market for Team Canada. Once French or English colonial nations, there is a market in these countries for high-quality baked breads rather than traditional flatbreads. “Just before I came on with Cigi, the staff did an investigative mission to Africa to look at where wheat was going, and Nigeria has some of the largest mills in the world,” Buth says. “My colleagues saw some of the opportunities and thought this was where there was going to be great growth and demand.”

Canada needs to get moving to meet that demand. According to Buth, the United States and Black Sea nations are Canada’s chief competitors in West Africa. Though Canada’s wheat is of higher consistency and quality than wheat from the United States, it is sometimes used as the strong component in blends with Black Sea wheat.

In Southeast Asia, Australia is our chief competitor for white wheats; in recent years, Australia’s production of white wheats has significantly improved.

Market support
Team Canada’s missions are not just about grabbing market share. An important aspect of Team Canada’s trade missions is market support, Buth says. Prior to Team Canada’s trade missions each year, Cigi runs a full analysis on samples from all of its wheat grades, so Team Canada can present up-to-date data on the current crop’s qualities.

“The tests look at protein content and quality and gluten strength. The samples are milled, flour is tested and we produce end products like bread, pasta and noodles,” Buth says. “Then we’re able to provide customers with the technical information that they’ll need, from the water absorption to the volume and size of the loaf, as well as loaf colour and pasta colour.”

As part of that market support, the Canadian producers on each trip take an active role in discussing their on-farm practices and answering questions on wheat quality and cleanliness.

“Growers are a very important part of the team that goes. When a grower stands up to talk about their operation, there is silence in the room,” Buth says. “Buyers, millers and users are always fascinated by where the product comes from, and there’s enormous value in hearing from the producer.”

But beyond customers listening to Canadians representing our wheat and durum, Dahl says it’s critical that Canada listens to the needs of end-users if our markets are to expand. “As an industry, we have to pay attention to what the customer wants. Everybody in the value chain needs to be happy, which is another way of saying profitable,” he says. “That includes the companies developing new varieties, that includes the farmers growing them. If customers don’t like them we’re not going to have anywhere to sell them.”

Buth says that post-Canadian Wheat Board, there was concern about what would happen to the Canadian brand. “The report made clear there is a Canadian brand. And our growers are the start of all this, producing high-quality wheat.”

And, Buth adds, growers will play a crucial role in Canada’s continued market expansion abroad. “If we’re going to develop new markets and classes, we have to pay attention to how competitive we’re going to be, and we want grower participation in those conversations.”  

 

Nov. 24, 2015 - Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015 are hog farmers Mike and Amy Cronin of Bluevale, Ont., and dairy farmers Patrick and Cherylynn Bos of Ponoka, Alta. These two farm families were chosen from six regional farm couples across Canada at Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) annual national event held last week in Edmonton, Alta.

Strength and ingenuity in the face of adversity and a penchant for taking the right risks to advance their operations appeared as a common thread for the Bos and Cronin families, who are the newest additions to the family of OYF ambassadors for Canadian agriculture.

"Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers provides a wonderful platform to recognize and celebrate Canada's agricultural entrepreneurs and leaders," says Bev Yee, Alberta Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Cronins both grew up on Ontario dairy farms, and when it came time to start their own operations, saw opportunity in the hog industry. Though they entered during a severe downturn in 1998, the Cronins have expanded their operation from their first 1,800 farrow-to-wean operation to the 17,000 sows they run today between several farms in Canada and the U.S.

The Boses have built a milk cow and goat farm business where they operate a herd of 1,400 dairy goats. Following the closure of the goat milk and cheese processing facility they were selling to in 2004, the Boses decided to see the challenge as an opportunity and built their own facility. Today, Rock Ridge Dairy is a successful cow and goat milk and cheese processing facility selling to major grocery chains across Western Canada.

"Every year, our organization recognizes and welcomes more innovation and more passion with farm families who are helping shape the dynamic future of Canada's agri-food sector," says OYF President Luanne Lynn. "The Cronin and Bos families both exhibit the values of OYF and the agriculture industry in their unique and successful farm businesses. We are thrilled to welcome them to join 35 years of OYF winners."

Mike and Amy Cronin share their win with their six children, all of whom have a keen interest and involvement in their hog operations. With risk management at the centre of their business plan, the Cronins have managed to expand their operation in size and advance to meet new supply chain needs. In 2014, they built the first crate-free farrowing system in North America after researching the newest technology from around the world. Their barn includes a thumb print entry system, electronic sow feeders and video cameras.

"Every one of us has worked hard and dedicated our whole lives to family, farming and our communities," Amy Cronin said of her fellow OYF honourees at the awards ceremony on Friday.

The Bos family, including their four children, shares a passion for farming and sharing their story with their customers, hosting more than 600 guests on their farm yearly for tours. Their new goat milking rotary system, expected to be up and running in the next several weeks, will be one of the most technologically advanced systems of its kind in North America. Passionate about giving back to their communities, the Boses currently donate 2.5 cents for every litre of milk they sell to the Calgary Food Bank as part of their Children's Milk Program.

"It's very humbling to be chosen to represent this year's honourees," said Cherylynn Bos. "We wouldn't be here without the support of our families."

Patrick and Cherylynn Bos from Alberta and Mike and Amy Cronin from Ontario were chosen from the six 2015 regional finalists – including the following honourees from the other four regions: David and Sara Simmons (Atlantic region), Christian Bilodeau and Annie Sirois (Quebec region), Mark and Cori Pawluk (Manitoba region), and Jeff and Ebony Prosko (Saskatchewan region).

Celebrating 35 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

 

 

Oct. 27, 2015 - Genesys, a resource for plant genetic resources data, has been improved and updated to help people develop climate-smart crop varieties needed to overcome future environmental challenges. Scientists will benefit from improved access to data on more than 2.8 million plant samples from genebank collections from all over the world.

Genesys users can search the global holdings of 446 institutes around the world. Genesys includes three of the world's largest networks: the EC/PGR, the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, and the CGIAR genebanks, which together hold the most important crop diversity collections in the world.

Genesys brings genebanks together, making passport and characterization data available by using - and reinforcing - established standards for data exchange in the genebank community. Data providers can easily sort and display the information they hold, compare their collection with those held in other genebanks. This allows them to avoid duplication and focus their resources and efforts in filling gaps in their collections.

Genesys also lets breeders know which genebanks hold the seed varieties that might have the traits they need to develop the crops that will feed the world in the future. 

New features include video tutorials, as well as the recently launched newsletter and @GenesysPGR Twitter account. 

Oct. 7, 2015, Ontario – The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) has launched a new request for proposals (RFP) under the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI).

The purpose of this RFP is to solicit submissions to administer education and outreach projects that address the GLASI objectives of soil health, water quality and/or pollinator health, notes a press release from OSCIA. Projects must have an agricultural focus and be intended for an agricultural audience.

Suitable projects include, but are not limited to: public information meetings, the formation of producer clubs, demonstration projects, social science analysis, pilot projects and the development of educational resources.

This RFP is intended for interested parties located within the GLASI Target Area (Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds and the Lake Huron southeast shores watershed) who are connected with agriculture and stewardship. Project submissions can include activities extending up to winter 2018.

Submissions will be accepted until 12 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2015. Please click here for more information or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

August 4, 2015 - The Ontario Soil and Crop Association has launched a new Request for Proposals under the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI).

The purpose of this RFP is to solicit submissions to administer and assess the effectiveness of soil health and water quality improvement projects through edge-of-field analysis on agricultural landscapes.

This RFP is intended for interested parties located within the GLASI Target Area (Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds and the Lake Huron southeast shores watershed) who are connected with agriculture and stewardship. Project submissions can include activities extending up to winter 2018.

The successful Applicants’ teams will demonstrate expertise in the delivery of stewardship programs to agricultural producers, in achieving a high level of producer engagement in such programs and in measuring and interpreting the effectiveness of agricultural stewardship.

RFP Submissions will be accepted until noon August 28, 2015.

An information session will be held on August 5th 2015 to address additional questions related to this RFP.  Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like more information about the session.

More detail can be accessed at this link: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/docs/glasi_priority_subwatershed_project_rfp.pdf

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