Weed control challenges have grown steadily worse since the first glyphosate-resistant weeds were discovered in 2001. According to a 2016 Stratus Ag Research study, resistant and tough weeds currently infest more than 100 million acres of North American farmland. For additional weed control solutions, the Enlist weed control system was developed.

Italy is proposing that pasta packaging show where the wheat was grown and milled.

Canadian exporters and farmers fear the move would depress prices in Canada, the biggest global durum exporter, as it would require Italian pasta makers to segregate supplies by country. Italy’s move comes as a Canada-Europe free trade deal moves to final stages of approval. | READ MORE



Leaders from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) strengthened their Canada-U.S. connections and underscored the benefits of NAFTA last week during meetings with American Farm Bureau representatives in several states. The five-day tour included visits to California, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin.

“What we've learned from these discussions is that U.S. farmers depend on NAFTA as much as Canadian farmers do. No one wants to jeopardize the agreement for fear of losing the significant benefits accrued by all parties including well established markets for agriculture and agri-food products,” says CFA President Ron Bonnett.

Bonnett said that the Wisconsin Farmers Union also supports NAFTA and were in agreement that the diafiltered milk issue was a scapegoat for the larger problem, which is the current worldwide glut of milk on the market.

"The key take-away from our U.S. meetings is that we now have a good chance to resolve some of the ongoing barriers to trade that stand apart from tariff rules. Farm groups in Canada and U.S. have long called for harmonized regulations," said Bonnett.

The CFA will continue to work with its members and government officials to seek and implement actions that will modernize North American trade, leading to greater value for all NAFTA partners.
The Earth’s capacity to feed its growing population is limited – and unevenly distributed. An increase in cultivated land and the use of more efficient production technology are partly buffering the problem, but in many areas increasing food imports solves it. For the first time, researchers at Aalto University have been able to show a broad connection between resource scarcity, population pressure, and food imports, in a study published in Earth’s Future.

“Although this has been a topic of global discussion for a long time, previous research has not been able to demonstrate a clear connection between resource scarcity and food imports. We performed a global analysis focusing on regions where water availability restricts production, and examined them from 1961 until 2009, evaluating the extent to which the growing population pressure was met by increasing food imports,” explains postdoctoral researcher Miina Porkka.

The researchers’ work combined modelled data with FAO statistics and also took into consideration increases in production efficiency resulting from technological development. The analysis showed that in 75% of resource scarce regions, food imports began to rise as the region’s own production became insufficient.

Even less wealthy regions relied on the import strategy – but not always successfully. According to the research, the food security of about 1.4 billion people has become dependent on imports and an additional 460 million people live in areas where increased imports are not enough to compensate for the lack of local production.

Opportunities to sustainably improve food production

The big issue, says co-author Dr Joseph Guillaume, is that people may not even be aware that they have chosen dependency on imports over further investment in local production or curbing demand.

“It seems obvious to look elsewhere when local production is not sufficient, and our analysis clearly shows that is what happens. Perhaps that is the right choice, but it should not be taken for granted.”

The international food system is sensitive and price and production shocks can spread widely and undermine food security – especially in poorer countries that are dependent on imports. As a result, further investments in raising production capacity could be a viable alternative. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa and India, there are opportunities to sustainably improve food production by, for example, more efficient use of nutrients and better irrigation systems. Miina Porkka emphasises that the solutions will ultimately require more than just increasing food production.

“Keeping food demand in check is the key issue. Controlling population growth plays an essential role in this work, but it would also be important to enhance production chains by reducing food waste and meat consumption. Since one quarter of all the food produced in the world is wasted, reducing this would be really significant on a global level.”
While making the rounds at industry events this winter, I noticed one topic was sure to draw a crowd every time. It seems producers, suppliers and other industry stakeholders are eager to soak up whatever information they can on international markets and trade – and with good reason.
Premier Brad Wall is travelling to Washington D.C. next week to raise awareness of the importance of Canada-U.S. trade and the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“With a new administration in place in Washington, it is vital that we highlight the value of free trade and the risks associated with protectionism.  Saskatchewan is a trade dependent province.  We need to do everything we can to ensure our exporters have access to our most important market,” says Wall in a press release.

The visit will last from April 3 to April 6, where Wall will meet with Senators, members of the House of Representatives, and senior administration officials.

On April 5 Wall will deliver a keynote address at the Heritage Foundation, where he will also participate in a round table discussion on trade, energy and economic policy.

The United States is Saskatchewan’s largest customer, accounting for about half of the province’s total exports, shipments valued at $12.9 billion in 2016.  Last year, the value of Saskatchewan’s exports to just two states – Minnesota and Illinois – surpassed what the province exported to China.  Meanwhile, the U.S. was the source of 83 per cent of Saskatchewan imports in 2016.

Last year, the U.S. had a trade surplus with Canada, the only trade surplus it posted among its five largest customers.

In addition to promoting the importance of trade, Wall will tell the Saskatchewan story, emphasizing the province’s role as one of the world’s top producers of energy, food and fertilizer and its status as a research leader in energy, carbon capture and storage and biosciences.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) has released a report that outlines the potential for expanding trade in China: a market that accounted for $5.6 billion in Canadian agri-food and agri-food exports last year. China is Canada’s second-largest two-way trading partner (after the U.S.) and is projected to be the world’s largest agri-food importer by 2021.

The report, entitled “Chasing China - Expanding Canada’s Agri-Food Exports to China,” describes the growing opportunity in the country for Canada’s agri-food exports. Currently, agri-food exports to China are already significant – China demands one third of Canada’s canola exports and represents an important market for soybeans, pulses, wheat, barley, beef and pork.

Despite the large and growing demand for Canadian agri-food products in China, the report points out that Canadian exporters continue to face serious barriers that are hampering growth. For example, tariffs and non-tariff barriers reduce the range of products that can be exported and raise uncertainty for exporting businesses.

While overcoming the barriers will be tough for many agri-food commodities and value-added food products Chinese production can’t keep up with demand and there are opportunities to improve trade.

Tariff elimination and tariff quota expansion for wheat, barley, pulses, soybean, canola as well as sugar and sugar-containing products would provide opportunity for the Canadian industry. In some cases, Canada faces a significant trade imbalance with China, particularly in value-added prepared foods and is at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries like Australia who have signed free trade agreements.

The full report can be found here.
The European Union has voted to ratify the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) while asking the Canadian government to address important outstanding issues.

“Getting the CETA through the European Parliament is a tremendous step forward the farm and food sector that is growing through exports – it’s good news for trade and speaks to the Canadian government’s efforts so far,” said Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA). “But we need to make sure that the agreement delivers on its promises. Non-tariff barriers will prevent a large part of the agri-food sector from using the agreement if they are not resolved.”

The agreement holds huge potential for growth and has been supported by CAFTA since negotiations began eight years ago. It will eliminate EU tariffs on 94 per cent of Canada’s agri- food products, and could drive additional exports of up to $1.5 billion, including $600 million in beef, $400 million in pork, $100 million in grains and oilseeds, $100 million in sugar-containing products and a further $300 million in processed foods, fruits and vegetables.

Sticking points remain, related to EU treatment of crop input products, such as biotechnology, which need to be addressed before the agreement comes into force.

In addition, CAFTA wants the government to commit to a strong advocacy strategy and a comprehensive implementation plan for agriculture and agri-food exporters that will deliver real access for Canadian companies once the trade doors are opened.
On Oct. 30, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union (EU) and Canada.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) is applauding the Government of Canada for signing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has submitted recommendations to a consultation on a Canadian Transportation Agency review, urging federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to commit to meeting with western farm leaders to hear their concerns about grain transportation.
Saskatchewan hemp growers and processors have been working to meet the exporting demand for the multi-use crop as the market expands in Europe and Asia. CBC News reports. | READ MORE

Mar. 21, 2016 - Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' (OYF) program is once again offering two $1000 scholarships to Canadian agriculture students. Applications for the 2016 awards will be accepted until June 30, 2016.

The OYF Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one individual entering post-secondary education from high school, and one individual who has already completed at least one year of post-secondary study. Applicants must be pursuing a diploma or degree in agriculture.

The late Martin Streef, OYF alumnus, established this scholarship program to help future generations of Canadians pursue their passion for agriculture. Streef was the 1996 winner of both Ontario's and Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers and president of Streef Produce Ltd, a family-run fresh fruit and vegetable business in Woodstock, Ont.

For more information and to apply, visit Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program scholarship page on their website.

Mar. 7, 2016 - Canola is a uniquely Canadian success story. It's the number one revenue generating crop in Canada, contributing $19.3 billion to the Canadian economy each year and resulting in almost one-quarter of a million jobs.

Acres have grown as demand from China, the United States, Mexico and Japan have increased. Together, these four countries make up the bulk of the 90 percent of our canola crop which is exported.

Keeping the door open on the export markets that sustain the Canadian canola industry and propel its growth is no small task.

The Canola Council of Canada works with the entire canola value chain – including regulators in our key export markets – to protect Canada's reputation as the premier supplier of high-quality canola.

While technology has helped Canadian canola growers produce a sustainable crop and ever-increasing yields, it is a double-edged sword when products that are registered for use in Canada have not yet been fully accepted by the regulatory bodies in our key export markets. This is the case with quinclorac, an active ingredient that is very effective for cleaver control but does not yet have import tolerances or maximum residue limits (MRLs) established in China and other canola export markets.

Considering that China imports one-third of the canola we produce in Western Canada, this is cause for concern.
In fact, these export issues prompted the Canola Council of Canada to recommend that growers do not use quinclorac in 2016.

"Global markets are critical to the success of the canola industry," said Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada. "The entire value chain needs to work together to prevent export risk and maintain Canada's reputation as a high-quality canola supplier."

The Canola Council noted in its January advisory that there is a shared responsibility among everyone in the canola industry – from life science companies to growers, elevators, processors and exporters – to work together to ensure Canadian canola markets aren't put at risk by jumping the gun on use of products that haven't yet met food and safety requirements in major export destinations.

The Canola Council of Canada advisory summed it up, "Data from the 2015 growing season confirmed that quinclorac leaves residues that can be detected by today's testing equipment – not just in the canola seed, but also in the processed oil and meal. Therefore, the value chain believes there is a significant risk to Chinese exports if quinclorac is used on canola."

The Canola Council utilizes its 'Keep it Clean' campaign and website to help educate canola growers, processors and others involved in the industry about the issue.

"The bottom line is 'Registered for use in Canada' does not mean 'okay to use'," said Christine Headon, regulatory product manager at BASF Canada, who is intimately familiar with the quinclorac issue.

Regulatory status in export destination key
Headon noted that BASF is working to establish MRLs for quinclorac in all of the major canola export markets, regardless of the formulation. She said a lot of progress has been made but anticipates it may be 2018 before the risk of rejected shipments and damage to Canadian canola's reputation can be fully averted.

Chris Vander Kant, the BASF marketing manager for Facet L, BASF's herbicide with the active ingredient quinclorac, amplified the point. "BASF makes significant investments of time and resources to ensure substantial research and development in all products. But more than that, BASF works to be responsible stewards of the industry and the approval process for Facet L is a prime example."

Vander Kant elaborated, "While we know Facet L is a needed technology for canola growers in Western Canada, we also know that we need to work with the Canola Council, exporters and growers to ensure we can bring this new technology for canola forward without jeopardizing the marketability of Canada's canola success story on the world stage. As a result, BASF will continue to invest in the establishment of the necessary MRLs prior to launch."

BASF and the Canola Council aren't alone in sounding the alarm bells. Members of the Western Grain Elevator Association have amended their Declaration of Eligibility for Delivery Form, asking growers to identify use of quinclorac.

"It's a very serious issue," said the Canola Council's Miller. "Our export customers test shipments regularly to make sure their standards are met and the tests are becoming more and more precise." She warned, "If a shipment is turned back because of an unacceptable residue, it can mean millions and millions of dollars, not only to the exporting company, but to farm revenue."

That's why the Canola Council stresses the importance of working with the value chain to prevent market access issues. "And that's why establishing import tolerances in necessary Canadian export markets prior to launching a new product is imperative to BASF," said Vander Kant.

View more.


CALGARY, Nov. 5, 2015 /CNW/ - Alberta and Saskatchewan will have lower exports this year due to depressed oil prices but will rebound in 2016 through a partial price recovery and volume gains, according to a new global export forecast released by Export Development Canada (EDC). Manitoba will also see declines in its energy exports in 2015, but gains in other important sectors will offset that and give it a modest increase in overall exports. All three provinces will enjoy export growth in 2016.

According to the Global Export Forecast Fall 2015, Alberta's overall exports will slump 23 per cent in 2015, due to a 30 per cent drop in exports of energy, which accounts for more than three-quarters of the province's exports. Saskatchewan, which relies on energy for about 40 per cent of its exports, will also see a significant decline – 43 per cent – in that sector, but strong growth in exports of fertilizers and agri-food will greatly moderate the effects on its overall export performance. Manitoba's energy exports will be down 24 per cent this year, but as energy is a much smaller share of exports than in the other two provinces, the effect on its overall exports is much less.

"There's no question that low oil prices are having a major impact on exports from Western Canada, especially Alberta," said Peter Hall, Chief Economist at EDC. "But Saskatchewan and Manitoba are showing how provinces with a more diversified range of exports can soften the blow caused by declines in one sector."

EDC says Saskatchewan's agri-food exports, which roughly equal the value of its energy exports, are set to rise 10 per cent in 2015, while fertilizer exports will increase by 38 per cent. In Manitoba, the greatest positive contribution to its exports will come from shipments of pharmaceutical products, along with gains from manufacturers such as New Flyer Industries which is providing coach buses to several U.S. state governments. Alberta's non-energy exports are also seeing a slight increase – 1 per cent – in 2015 and will post a further 4 per cent gain in 2016.

"Manitoba and Saskatchewan are also more diversified than Alberta in the markets they sell into," said Hall. "While the United States accounts for more than 90 per cent of Alberta's exports, it's only about two-thirds of the market for the other two."

A rebound in energy exports in all three provinces next year will also help them raise their overall exports. Alberta will see a 20 per cent increase in energy exports and a 15 per cent increase in overall exports; Manitoba's energy exports will climb 15 per cent and overall exports by 6 per cent; and Saskatchewan will enjoy a 13 per cent increase in energy exports and a 5 per cent jump in overall exports.

EDC is Canada's leading provider of small business financing and insurance for companies with sales or business outside of Canada. Some of its services include the Export Guarantee Program to help exporters access more financing, Foreign Exchange Facility Guarantee to help exporters manage foreign exchange risk, and Political Risk Insurance that can cover up to 90 per cent of losses from political risks in foreign markets.

EDC's economics team includes some of Canada's leading trade experts, who share their knowledge freely with Canadian companies looking to grow their international sales and help them manage the associated market risks. Its semi-annual Global Economic Forecast addresses the latest global export conditions, including providing perspectives on leading economic trends and export strategies to help Canadian companies of all sizes maximize their export growth. The forecast also analyzes a range of risks for which exporters should be prepared.

Visit the Global Export Forecast: Fall 2015 page for the full report.



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