Future Planning
The Organic Agricutural Complex at Cégep de Victoriaville is seeking Canada’s budding organic farmers. The school, home to a three-year technical program in agricultural study, is preparing an additional 4,400 sq. m in new facilities that include ultra-modern greenhouses, along with an investment in state-of-the-art equipment and an increase in room outdoors for young farmers to do their work.

Until recently, most of the CEGEP’s experimental farming had been done off their property, which limited research possibilities. In 2016, the school invested $550,000 to acquire 55 hectares now dedicated to development, crop breeding and vegetable production.Thanks in part to a $4.28-million grant from the federal government, which was matched by private donations and provincial funding, the complex should fully open its doors in 2018. Once complete, it will be among the largest agricultural campuses in the country. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
A crop related research project will look at how to better manage the production of oats in Saskatchewan.

Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF), located at Melfort, received $80,255 in funding from the province’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) for the three-year study that will start this spring. Western Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission and Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission are also dedicating a combined $110,255 to the project.

Research manager Jessica Pratchler said specifically she will look at not just relying on fungicides for disease control in oats. For the full story, click here
Published in Harvesting
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, on behalf of Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister, Lyle Stewart, recently announced $7.7 million in funding for 30 crop-related research projects through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

In addition, the governments are committing $6.25 million in operating funds to the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan over five years through the Agriculture Development Fund.

This year’s projects are diverse and focus on issues important to Saskatchewan agriculture. Some examples include: research to develop more clubroot resistant canola varieties; improve fusarium head blight resistance in durum wheat; better control of root rot in pea and lentils crops; and increasing the use of faba beans in pet food and fish feed to create another value-added use for a Saskatchewan pulse crop.

The Agriculture Development Fund announcement into the 30 research projects leverages significant additional funding from industry partners, in addition to government funding. More than $3.1 million has been committed from the following partners: the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission and the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission.

“Investing in these innovative, crop-related projects not only provides Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers with the very latest in research and development, but it allows our province to be competitive on the world stage and helps us keep attracting some of the best researchers in the industry. We’re very proud to invest in Agriculture Development Fund year after year as it creates future growth opportunities and results in enhanced knowledge, information and technology for producers and food processors," said Lyle Stewart, Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture in a press release. 
Published in Corporate News
The tariffs India imposed on imports of pulse crops last fall are expected to affect how much land Canadian farmers seed this year.

The Asian country is charging a 50 per cent duty on pea imports and 30 per cent on chickpeas and lentils.

Dan Mazier of Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers points out that India is the biggest importer of Canada’s pulse crops, so the tariffs are bound to have an impact.

Simon Ellis, co-owner of Ellis Seeds in Wawanesa, Man., says sales for seeds have already noticeably dropped and he expects fewer hectares to be planted in the spring. For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in Pulses
Ontario is transferring the operating and research programming of the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station to Lakehead University to help foster innovation and strengthen Ontario's competitive edge by expanding agri-food research in Northwestern Ontario.

Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, made the announcement on behalf of Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Thunder Bay on Dec. 8, 2017.

The partnership with Lakehead University will support the long-term sustainability of the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station and will increase the university's capacity to build new programming and research that will benefit Northwestern Ontario.

The investment builds on the province's efforts to develop a sustainable, co-ordinated plan to expand agriculture in Northern Ontario, such as the Northern Livestock Pilot and field crop and beef research in New Liskeard.

“This investment reaffirms our government’s commitment to expanding agriculture in Northern Ontario. By investing in research and innovation, we are boosting the competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector and ensuring that our farmers in Northwestern Ontario have the tools and resources they need to succeed," Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a press release. 
Published in Corporate News
Canada’s agriculture industry should still be able to meet a Liberal target that calls on the sector to grow its exports to $75 billion by 2025 — despite ongoing uncertainty about this country’s key trading markets, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay says.

The $75 billion export target was included in the Liberals’ 2017 federal budget, which flagged the agriculture sector as one of a handful the government felt could spur future economic growth. Currently, Canadian agriculture exports hover around $55 billion. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
Canola Performance Trial (CPT) results for 2017 are loaded into the online searchable database at canolaperformancetrials.ca. Canola growers can use this valuable online tool to finalize seed decisions for 2018.

CPTs compare leading canola varieties in small-plot and field-scale trials. With the tool, growers can filter results to province, season zone and herbicide-tolerance system. They can also search all varieties or do head-to-head comparisons of two or three varieties. With each search, days to maturity, height, lodging and yield results are provided in easy-to-compare graph format.

“What growers get from this site are independent, third-party data on new and familiar canola varieties – essential information in making variety choices,” says John Guelly, chair of the CPT Governance Committee.

The online tool also provides the option to compare varieties for a number of years. The CPT program has been running since 2011, and all data collected over the past seven years is available. For a compilation of 2011-16 data, the ‘Canola Variety Selection Guide: Featuring CPT Summary Data’ booklet is posted in the Trials Summaries section at canolaperformancetrials.ca.

CPT trials for 2017 also included field-scale comparisons of clubroot-resistant varieties and pod-shatter tolerant varieties in straight-combining trials. These results are available in the 2017 CPT data booklet, and will be added to the online database soon.

“I encourage growers to take some time over the winter to explore the site and read the summary booklets to make full use of all the work involved in generating this data,” says Guelly.

Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association funded the 2017 CPT program, along with contributions from the British Columbia Grain Producers Association. The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) delivers the program on their behalf.
Published in Canola
Canadian National Railway Co. will buy 200 locomotives in the next three years from General Electric Co., to support expected growth and drive efficiencies.

CN, Canada biggest railway operator, is extending a major hiring spree into 2018 as it scrambles to keep pace with demand and fill vacancies, aiming to add at least 2,000 more workers to the 3,500 it hired in 2017.

Montreal-based CN has been doing brisk business in Western Canada, hauling bumper crops and intermodal containers to port, and has seen soaring volume of sand shipped for use in fracking shale rock to produce oil and gas. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
Bees can provide a helping hand to farmers with a new green technology to fight against major fungal diseases such as sunflower head rot and grey mould.
Published in Diseases
A look at some of the new soybean varieties available to growers for the 2018 planting season.
Published in Soybeans
A look at some of the new corn varieties available to growers for the 2018 planting season. 
Published in Corn
A new computer-generated hydrology model of the southern Saskatchewan River basin is giving researchers a better understanding of this unpredictable, and at times deadly, water system.

The model not only takes into account water movement through the river itself, but also how water drains through the surrounding landscape and moves from one point to another on its way to the river. The program can not only account for weather events, prevailing winds, but also evapo-transportation, the affects of prolonged drought and how the different kinds of soil or cropland, down to the bedrock level, create the flow of ground and surface water toward its eventual migration down to the river. For the full story, click here.
Published in Corporate News
Linamar Corp. recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the outstanding equity interests of MacDon and its Group of Companies for an aggregate purchase price of C$1.2 Million, less the assumption of small transaction related expenses, and subject to certain customary adjustments.

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Man., MacDon is a global innovative market leader in the design and manufacturing of specialized agriculture harvesting equipment such as drapers and self-propelled windrowers.

MacDon is an industry-leading manufacturer with a strong customer following and advanced agriculture equipment technologies.

It has developed an indstury-leading reputation for quality, reliability and passion for harvesting technology over its 67 year history as a family owned company. MacDon’s mission is to manufacture reliable machines that make harvesting easier and more productive for its customers in over 40 countries worldwide.

MacDon’s products excel in the toughest real-world conditions, and its pioneering, industry-leading innovations like the FlexDraper® have propelled the company’s strong reputation for providing customers with quality, innovative equipment. Further, MacDon has developed strong relationships with a global dealer network of approximately 1,400 leading dealers and distributors, a major competitive advantage in the industry.

Linamar sees a compelling cultural fit with MacDon given its strong family legacy and looks forward to building on that foundation, which has been a key driver of MacDon’s success. This platform acquisition positions Linamar as a leading global agricultural equipment manufacturer.

MacDon will be combined with Linamar’s existing agriculture harvesting business in Hungary to position both businesses for significant growth. Linamar’s existing harvesting business is highly complementary to MacDon product plan allowing Linamar to offer a full lineup of grain and hay harvesting equipment. Linamar plans to expand its agricultural platform by increasing penetration in both new and underserviced markets globally.

Linamar expects to realize modest synergies from the transaction and create opportunities to utilize existing distribution channels for agricultural products. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share and free cash flow per share even before accounting for these synergies. As it expands, MacDon will benefit from Linamar’s established manufacturing footprint in Asia and Europe along with employing best practices from both Linamar and MacDon.

Linamar has a long track record of executing strategic, accretive acquisitions followed by seamless integration. Its previous acquisitions of Skyjack, Montupet and Seissenschmidt are compelling case studies of Linamar building its global manufacturing platform with broader product lines, additional capabilities in new markets and incremental geographic presence, while continuing to deliver outstanding financial performance and returns to its shareholders.

“The acquisition of MacDon provides a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move our agriculture business into a market leading position while providing meaningful diversification to the end markets we serve. We believe the long-term growth fundamentals for the agriculture industry are very strong given the growing and developing global population, noting the market is in the early stages of cyclical recovery.” said Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar’s CEO, “MacDon is a strong, well-managed company and an innovative market leader in both customer penetration and technology evolution; it will be the centerpiece of our agriculture business, which includes our existing European corn header business, highly complementary to MacDon products. We get diversification, innovation, growth and a solid deal, we couldn’t be happier."

For more information, visit http://www.linamar.com/
Published in Corporate News
Few agricultural technologies capture people’s imaginations as much as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones. Since the first day a UAV looked down on a crop field, farmers have dreamed up a million ways that a bird’s eye view and remote access could improve agricultural operations.
Published in Precision Ag
Matt Dykerman hopes that creating a division of Farm & Food Care in Prince Edward Island will help teach Islanders where their food comes from, including family farms like his.

“Sometimes in the business, farmers like myself can forget to share our stories with the people who are consuming the fruits of our labour,” says Dykerman, owner of Red Soil Organics in Brookfield. “I am hopeful that Farm & Food Care PEI will engage consumers in a meaningful discussion on how food is produced and the hard work that goes into making it grow.”

Farm & Food Care is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners and government working together to provide credible information on food and farming. Prince Edward Island is the third Canadian province to launch the organization, and the provincial government will invest $100,000 in it over the next year. For the full story, click here.

RELATED: Farm & Food Care Ontario unveils updated flagship publication
Published in Consumer Issues
The European Commission recently published an implementing decision that will allow Canadian canola continued access to the EU biodiesel market. The decision affirms the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved when Canadian canola is used to make biodiesel according to a detailed life cycle methodology that reflects the entire canola growing process.

“This decision means continued access to an important market for Canadian canola,” says Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “The Canola Council has worked hard on this over the past two years and this confirmation is very good for the entire value chain.”

The European Commission’s decision details the greenhouse gas emission intensity of Canadian canola production, a requirement for access to the EU biodiesel market. As of January 2018 all EU biodiesel must demonstrate greenhouse gas emission reductions that are greater than 50 per cent compared to fossil diesel, a requirement that must also be met for canola biodiesel in the U.S.

According to the values published by the EU Commission, biodiesel produced from Canadian canola will meet this requirement, resulting in emission reductions of more than 50 per cent versus fossil diesel.

“This decision shows the environmental benefits of using canola for biodiesel,” says Everson. “The EU is far ahead of North America in using renewable fuels which creates a good export opportunity for us.”

To arrive at its decision, the Commission considered a report on the lifecycle emissions of Canadian canola that was submitted by the Government of Canada. It outlined emissions from all stages of canola production including fertilizer, field emissions and fuel used by farm equipment. It calculated how these emissions change based on specific geographical differences such as moisture levels and soil types. Over the last two years this involved close cooperation between the CCC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

“We’re thankful for the efforts of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, including Minister Lawrence MacAulay, in helping to support today’s decision,” says Everson. “The value of canola is determined by export demand, and today’s decision allows us to keep serving the EU market.”

Over the last three years, average annual exports of seed, oil and meal to the EU have totaled approximately $200 million. In 2016, 597,000 tonnes of canola seed and 37,000 tonnes of canola oil were shipped to the EU.
Published in Imports/Exports
The government of Canada is moving forward with the development of a much needed Food Policy for Canada, which will incorporate the social, environmental and economic aspects of the food system into an integrated policy framework. To support the successful implementation of this multifaceted policy, a broad alliance of more than 50 food industry, civil society and farming groups is calling on the federal government to create a National Food Policy Council.

A National Food Policy Council would bring together key stakeholders from across the food system to work collaboratively with the government. It would provide diverse expertise and evidence-based advice on how to progress toward a food system that better promotes a healthier, more equitable, sustainable and prosperous Canada.

A Food Policy for Canada is expected to support Canada's ambitious agri-food economic growth targets while integrating critical food security, health and safety, and environmental sustainability requirements. While the policy will provide a framework for action, much work will remain to further address the challenges and opportunities within our food system, engage stakeholders, and move from policy formulation to implementation. Some of these challenges include four million Canadians living in food insecurity, high levels of diet-related disease, and climate change mitigation and adaptation; while there are significant opportunities to build public trust and advance Canada's international trade objectives.

Recognizing this complexity, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food recommended a series of actions to support the development of A Food Policy for Canada. In its report released on Dec. 11th, the Committee recommended that the government create a permanent advisory council consisting of multiple stakeholders.

"I applaud the federal government's leadership and consultative approach to building a national food policy as the foundation for a more sustainable food system," says Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. "But governments can't do it all - business and civil society must engage and be part of the solution. An inclusive National Food Policy Council is the best way to drive bold action on the strength of evidence and collaboration."

"A national food policy is a long-standing priority for Canadian farmers," says Ron Bonnett, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. "CFA supports a multi-stakeholder governing council as a means of ensuring that farmers have a place at the food policy development table. We see it as an important forum for sharing perspectives and encouraging dialogue. Through joint discussions, we can clarify misperceptions and identify opportunities where farmers can help meet emerging consumer demands."

"The non-profit sector is deeply knowledgeable and engaged in advancing a more equitable and sustainable food system and provides an important voice that has not yet been integrated in food policy making," says Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada. "Bringing more diversity to the table will ensure that social, health and environmental issues are given proper attention as well as bringing innovative community practices to the policy-making table."

"Working with the academic and research community was a necessary part of the process," says Evan Fraser, Director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph and a Canada Research Chair in the Department of Geography. "And through a rigorous research process, we were able to distill best practices from food policy councils from around the world to inform our recommendations to the Canadian Government."

Over 40,000 Canadians responded to the online consultations for A Food Policy for Canada, demonstrating clear interest in the future of our food system. A National Food Policy Council would create a forum in which this conversation can continue and incorporate the diverse voices of all Canadians.

The ad hoc working group was formed in early 2017 with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Food Secure Canada, Maple Leaf Foods and the McConnell Foundation as founding members. This proposal has garnered support from a broad cross-section of businesses, non-profits and sectoral organizations from across Canada in a letter sent to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay last week.

For additional background see the joint letter and The Case for A National Food Policy Council report.

RELATED: Canada's agriculture ministers and farm leaders discuss strategies to grow ag-food sector
Published in Corporate News
Canadian lentil growers now have another tool in the fight against yield-robbing weeds. Focus herbicide has received registration for use in front of lentils for broad spectrum grass and broadleaf weed control, in addition to the current label on spring and winter wheat, corn and soybeans.

"This is a great addition to our Focus label," explains Paul Allen, product manager for FMC Canada. "Lentil growers are eager to have new actives as an option to address their weed concerns. FMC is excited to bring solutions to these growers which will enable them to maximize their lentil yield."

Focus has demonstrated high levels of activity on several species of weeds increasing in presence across the Prairies, including foxtail(s), downy brome and Japanese brome. Focus enhances resistance management with a novel Group 15 mode of action that provides residual activity on a broad spectrum of grassy and broadleaf weeds as well as a Group 14 herbicide that, when tank mixed with glyphosate, speeds up and assists in the burn-off of emerged broadleaf weeds. Focus is available as a liquid formulation offering ease of application and low use rates.

For more information on FMC Canada crop protection products, visit www.FMCcrop.ca.
Published in Pulses
Canadian weather is less predictable than a two-year-old and just as destructive. Nobody appreciates that more than winter wheat growers in Western Canada in 2017. While they typically rely on good moisture conditions in late April, May and early June, they instead faced the first drought in many years over much of the Prairies. Fortunately, those growers and their winter wheat crops were up to the challenge.

“We didn’t necessarily have ideal conditions for winter wheat this year,” says Paul Thoroughgood, regional agrologist or the Prairie region for Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Western Winter Wheat Initiative. “That said, everyone I spoke to harvested average to above average crops and also saw less disease pressure due to low humidity.”

Given the conditions, the winter wheat results for Western Canada, according to Stats Canada – 535,000 acres seeded in fall 2016 (2017 crop) – represented something that farmers don’t often experience: a pleasant surprise. For the full story, click here.

RELATED: Winter wheat and cover crops for improved soil health
Published in Cereals
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is pleased to see that Finance Canada has considered the feedback contributed by CFA and other farm groups with regard to the Tax Fairness proposals, and has proposed changes that have addressed a number of the key concerns identified by Canadian farm businesses.

Since the government announced these proposed rules, CFA has raised continued concerns with potential consequences to intergenerational farm transfers, and is pleased to see that capital gains from qualified farm property would be excluded from Tax on Split Income. CFA is also pleased to see further clarification and definition on the contributions required for both capital and labour, and looks forward to further dialogue with government officials to ensure the diverse contributions of farm family members are adequately accounted for.

"This announcement provides greater clarity on Income Sprinkling and CFA looks forward to continued engagement with Finance Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure application of the rules is streamlined, clearly communicated and applied in a clear, objective fashion for all businesses," says CFA president Ron Bonnett.

"I believe the progress we've seen on this front, since the initial announcement in July, shows that collaboration and communication are critical for effective policy-making. We believe these changes are important for shaping Canada's tax policy to enable the continued success of family farms in Canada, including the next generation of young farmers," added Bonnett.

CFA awaits draft legislation and will fully analyze the proposed changes once a bill is introduced in Parliament. CFA maintains concerns that the implementation timelines are very tight and don't give businesses much time to adapt. Farm leaders look forward to working with Finance Canada to ensure any remaining issues are adequately addressed.

"The Canadian government has set a huge goal of increasing agriculture exports to $75 billion by 2025. We need to ensure we get policies right to meet these ambitious growth targets. By continuing to work together, we can make Canada and Canadian food a true powerhouse in terms of feeding to world's growing population," said Bonnett.

We look forward to continued dialogue with Finance Canada to clarify these issues, and ensure further proposals align with the government's ambitious growth agenda for the sector.
Published in Business Management
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