Business/Policy
Collaboration, communication and co-ordination are front and centre as Canadian Pacific prepares to deliver best-in-class service in the 2017-18 crop year.
Published in Imports/Exports
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) have sent a joint letter to Canadian, American and Mexican government officials, reiterating their calls that re-negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.
Published in Business & Policy
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) recently held an AgriWorkforce Roundtable to discuss challenges and possible solutions to address the critical agricultural labour shortage in Canada.
Published in Business Management
Nominations are now open for Farm Management Canada’s (FMC) 2017 Wilson Loree Award, honouring individuals and groups who have made an extraordinary contribution to developing and promoting positive change in agricultural business management practices and expertise in Canada.
Published in Corporate News
In a tree-nestled First Nation community on Vancouver Island, forestry and farming used to be the major industries that kept the economy humming and put food on families' tables.
Published in Corporate News
At the annual Federal/Provincial Agriculture Minister’s talks (FPT) in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada’s agriculture ministers reached an agreement on a new five-year investment for the agri-food industry with the recent announcement of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP). The program officially begins on April 1, 2018 and involves a $3 billion investment to strengthen the agri-food sector in Canada.

A key component of the new partnership – that picks up where the last agricultural policy framework Growing Forward 2 wraps up – is a continuation of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs. It is great news for Ontario agriculture that there was consensus among provincial ag ministers on the need for a comprehensive review of the suite of BRM programs. For several months OFA, along with industry partners, have advocated for a review and we’re very pleased to see that this is going to happen as part of the CAP announcement. We commend Minister Leal for his hard work to gain support and agreement with his provincial colleagues to make this happen.

While the review of BRM programming is applauded, another part of the CAP announcement is not good news for farmers. OFA shares the disappointment of other groups, including the Grain Farmers of Ontario, at the unilateral decision by Lawrence MacAuley, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food that a cutback will be made to the annual contribution limit of the AgriInvest program – a key component of the BRM programs. Announcing this change prior to doing the BRM review serves to be counter-productive to the previous announcement. Farming today can be a very unpredictable occupation. As such, farmers need an effective support system that can serve the needs of Canadian farmers’ ability to manage risk, beyond disaster relief funding. We await more details on how much this dollar-matching investment program will be impacted and will be working with Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and industry partners to remind the federal government that collaborative decisions, not unilateral ones, will serve the best interest of the industry as a whole.

OFA will continue to work closely with Minister Leal and staff, along with industry partners, to ensure the needs of our members are heard and met through the BRM review.

More details on the new Canadian Agricultural Partnership are posted at ofa.on.ca.
Published in Corporate News
The Canadian Grain Commission has announced the following grain grading changes for the 2017 to 2018 crop year in Western Canada taking effect August 1, 2017:
  • Adding an ergot tolerance of 0.05% in all grades of fababeans and chickpeas
  • Changing the tolerance for grasshopper and army worm damage from eight per cent to six per cent in No. 3 Canada Western Red Spring, No. 3 Canada Western Hard White Spring and No. 3 Canada Northern Hard Red wheat
The Canadian Grain Commission has posted an up-to-date Official Grain Grading Guide. The updated guide comes into effect August 1, 2017.
Published in Corporate News
The agriculture and agri-food sector is a key growth industry in Canada, contributing over $100 billion annually to the economy and employing 2.3 million Canadians.

Ministers of Agriculture reached agreement today on the key elements of a new federal, provincial, territorial (FPT) agricultural policy framework during the Annual Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture held in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, from July 19-21.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment, will come into effect on April 1, 2018. It will strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity. In addition, producers will continue to have access to a robust suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership will focus on six priority areas:
  • Science, Research, and Innovation – Helping industry adopt practices to improve resiliency and productivity through research and innovation in key areas.
  • Markets and Trade – Opening new markets and helping farmers and food processors improve their competitiveness through skills development, improved export capacity, underpinned by a strong and efficient regulatory system.
  • Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change – Building sector capacity to mitigate agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment and adapt to climate change by enhancing sustainable growth, while increasing production.
  • Value-added Agriculture and Agri-food Processing – Supporting the continued growth of the value-added agriculture and agri-food processing sector.
  • Public Trust – Building a firm foundation for public trust in the sector through improved assurance systems in food safety and plant and animal health, stronger traceability and effective regulations.
  • Risk Management – Enabling proactive and effective risk management, mitigation and adaptation to facilitate a resilient sector by working to ensure programs are comprehensive, responsive and accessible.

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, BRM programs will continue to help producers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage. Governments responded to industry concerns regarding eligible coverage under AgriStability, ensuring a more equitable level of support for all producers. Highlights of upcoming BRM changes are available at Canadian Agricultural Partnership - Business Risk Management Programs.

Governments further committed to engaging in a review that explores options to improve BRM programming. The review will recognize the important role played by all programs (AgriStability, AgriInvest, AgriInsurance) in the risk management plans of producers given the diversity of the sector. The review will also directly involve producers and have an early focus on market risk, including as it relates to AgriStability addressing concerns regarding timeliness, simplicity and predictability. Ministers will be presented with options in July 2018 for consideration based on early findings of the review.

The agreement reached by ministers today sets the stage for FPT governments to conclude bilateral agreements by April 1, 2018. It is a priority for ministers to implement a seamless transition from the current policy framework to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Extensive consultations with industry and Canadians informed the development of the new agreement, which builds on the success of previous FPT agricultural frameworks. Governments will continue to work closely with the sector as Canadian Agricultural Partnership programs are developed and implemented, to reflect the diverse needs across Canada, including the North.

This year’s Annual Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture focused on important initiatives touching the agriculture and agri-food sector including the status of trade negotiations and market access initiatives in key export markets. To this effect, FPT Ministers reiterated their support for supply management. Ministers agreed to the approach for optimizing the Pan-Canadian Regulatory Framework and endorsed the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada. Indigenous agriculture in Canada and the development of a Food Policy for Canada were also addressed. A summary of items discussed at the meeting is available at Summary of items from the 2017 Annual Meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture. The next annual FPT Ministers' meeting will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in July 2018.
Published in Corporate News
Industry leaders met with federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) agriculture ministers to discuss Canada’s next agriculture policy framework, creating a national food policy and North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture's annual industry-government FPT roundtable in St. John’s on July 19.
Published in Business & Policy
The Canadian Grain Commission is reducing user fees for official grain inspection and official grain weighing services and eliminating two supplementary fees for overtime related to official grain inspection services.
Published in Business & Policy
Canada’s Competition Bureau has reached an agreement with DuPont and Dow regarding the proposed merger of the two companies.
Published in Corporate News
Farm Management Canada (FMC) and the Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs (CADAP) have announced the selection of the winners of the 2016-2017 Excellence Award for Ag Students Competition. 

FMC and CADAP collected submissions from agricultural students across Canada and selected three winners who will receive scholarships towards furthering their education in agriculture. 

The award is designed to help students develop their communication skills by having the opportunity to voice their opinion on a on a subject related to farm management.

Students were asked to submit a multimedia presentation, a video, a Twitter chat, a blog or a Wiki, responding to the following question:

Certain segments of the general public question the way food is produced, and have misgivings about the use of new technology. What concrete steps would you, as a future member of the agricultural industry, propose to bridge the information and awareness gap?

This year's winners are:

Shanthanu Krishna Kumar
University of Guelph, Ont.

Jasmin Bautz
University of Saskatchewan, Sask.

William Lacasse
Institut de Technologie Agroalimentaire, campus de La Pocatière, Que.

Visit fmc-gac.com for more details on the winners and their competition entries.
Published in Corporate News
Choosing a successor is no easy task. While various family members may have ideas about who’s entitled to inherit the farm, the current owners may have very different ideas about who has the skills to keep the farm going in the long run. 

Throw blended families and in-laws into the mix and the question of succession may not have any clear-cut answers. And, in some instances, the best successor may come from outside the family. How does one decide? | READ MORE

Published in Corporate News
The federal government is encouraging Canadians to share their input to help shape A Food Policy for Canada – a move it calls an "important step in tackling the opportunities and challenges of Canada’s food system."
Published in Corporate News
Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, was in Calgary last week to discuss challenges and opportunities for the agriculture sector.
Published in Corporate News
Last year (2016) marks the 22nd Census of Agriculture since Confederation. Here are some key takeaways from Statistics Canada.

Since 2011, there are fewer farms, but the farms are larger. While total farm area is down, areas dedicated to cropland rose to 93.4 million acres in 2016. The average sits at 820 acres in 2016.

Canola remains the biggest crop; accounts for more than one-fifth of cropland

One-third of Canadian agricultural production was exported in 2013.

Number of farm operators has declined, while average age continued to rise.

Despite the increase in average age, only 1 in 12 operators reported having a formal succession plan.

Proportion of operators under 35 years of age edged up for the first time since 1991.

Ag operations in Canada employed 280,315 people in 2015.

77,970 women are listed as farm operators, accounting for 28.7 per cent of the industry.

One in eight farms sold food directly to consumers.

Total value of farm machinery and equipment owned and leased by agricultural operations increased 15.4 per cent to $53.9 billion.

Ontario has the highest percentage of farms using renewable energy at 10.4 per cent

Farm profits unchanged since 2010.

You can read the full report here.
Published in Corporate News
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.
Published in Imports/Exports
FMC Corporation and DuPont has announced the signing of a definitive agreement for FMC to acquire the portion of DuPont’s Crop Protection business it must divest to comply with the European Commission ruling related to its merger with The Dow Chemical Company. Additionally, DuPont will acquire FMC Health and Nutrition and receive $1.2 billion in cash. FMC will acquire DuPont’s global chewing pest insecticide portfolio, its global cereal broadleaf herbicides, and a substantial portion of DuPont’s global crop protection R&D capabilities. In 2017, FMC expects this acquired business will generate approximately $1.5 billion in revenue and $475 million of EBITDA.

     After closing of the acquisition, FMC Agricultural Solutions will become the fifth largest crop protection chemical company in the world by revenue, with estimated annual revenue of approximately $3.8 billion.

     The acquired portion of DuPont’s crop protection business includes an industry-leading selective insecticide portfolio consisting of Rynaxypyr, Cyazypyr and Indoxacarb. The first two products have full patent protection over their respective active ingredients.

     The acquired portfolio also includes DuPont’s global cereal broadleaf herbicides, consisting of nine active ingredients and multiple formulated products, including DuPont’s proprietary PrecisionPac technology.

     The acquisition will bring DuPont’s discovery and development organization, including its Delaware crop protection research headquarters, 14 regional development labs and related regulatory capabilities. This organization includes a pipeline of 15 synthetic active ingredients currently in development, covering insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, and an extensive library of 1.8 million synthetic compounds. The majority of DuPont’s crop protection research workforce will transfer to FMC as part of this transaction.
Published in Corporate News
Though this week’s federal budget put a spotlight on agri-food as one of Canada’s “key-growth industries,” meat packers, mushroom growers and others in the business say they need better access to foreign labour to grow. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Manitoba's forages, grasslands and cover crops and the healthy soils they grow in is a sure thing for any made in Manitoba carbon plan according to Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA). The MFGA fast-tracked the organization's carbon position and a suite of seven key recommendations out to leaders and decision-makers this week.  

MFGA's timing bodes well given last week's call by Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox for input into a Manitoba Climate and Green Plan for Manitobans to have their say on the carbon pricing plan being imposed by the federal government. The key takeaway point of the MFGA position is the MFGA's advocacy for the plants above the soil and the microbial activity below, looping forages, grasslands, cover crops and annual crops as positives on the carbon front. 

The MFGA recommends that the following needs should be addressed with regards to understanding and promoting carbon sequestration in grasslands, forages, cover crops and annual crops and the soils they grow in: 

1. As a producer-led group, MFGA should be involved in all policy and partnership discussions around carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services provided by well-managed forage and grasslands, cover crops and annual crop production. 

2. Soil carbon benchmarking and monitoring should be done across the Manitoba agricultural lands and the potential benefits of increased soil carbon on a landscape scale should be modelled. 

3. Research and testing for Manitoba producers needs to be conducted within Manitoba to quantify the amount of carbon sequestered across a variety of landscapes using forage and grasslands as well as cover crops and perennial stages in crop rotation. 

4. Reward or compensation should be provided for producers who are able to retain or restore forages and grasslands and/or manage their soils to store and sequester carbon via incentive programs such as Alternative Land Use Services. This also applies to any other ecosystem services (water retention, flood prevention, biodiversity, etc.) that forages, grasslands and soils provide to society from Manitoba's agricultural lands. 

5. The MFGA Aquanty Project Model for the Assiniboine River Basin should be used to run simulations for demonstrating the role that organic carbon stored under forages and grasslands plays in flood and drought mitigation. The MFGA Aquanty Project is on schedule for completion March 2018.

6. Rotational grazing, cover crops and zero-till farming practices for soil health should continue to be supported and promoted by government and industry. 

7. An emphasis needs to be placed, in policy and public communications, on the positive linkages of livestock production, well-managed grasslands and sustainably-managed crop lands to soil health, carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services. 
Published in Corporate News
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