“Both flax and hemp are widely available in Canada, especially in the West,” said Sam-Brew, a recent PhD graduate from the University of British Columbia’s faculty of forestry. “It’s worth considering their viability as alternative raw materials to wood for particleboard production.”
Particleboards are used in products like countertops, shelves and flat-packed furniture. For her PhD, supervised by professor Gregory Smith, Sam-Brew evaluated the characteristics of flax and hemp residues. She determined their physical and mechanical board properties by soaking and breaking hundreds of particleboards to test their strength and durability.
While Sam-Brew found flax and hemp residues were technically better, she hit one snag. The current economics of manufacturing flax and hemp particleboards in Canada are too high for it to flourish as a competitive material.
“The resin, or glue, needed to produce flax and hemp particleboard is a financial barrier,” she said. Resin holds the particles in the board together and flax and hemp products use expensive resin, called pMDI, as the substitute for cheap urea-formaldehyde.
Sam-Brew was able to show in her PhD research that the amount of resin needed for flax and hemp particleboards could be reduced, which would help lower the cost. Substituting lignin, a plant binder, for a portion of the pMDI resin, could also reduce the cost.
According to Sam-Brew, a burgeoning niche market for flax and hemp particleboards exists in Europe. Decades of flax and hemp processing there and the number of companies in business have led to more competitive pricing.
Sam-Brew said the business case for a similar industry in Canada lies in a facility willing to take a chance on the sustainable alternative considering the growing competition for wood residue. Wood residue is wood waste from sawmills and joinery manufacturers, like wood chips, shavings, sawdust and trims, all highly sought after for use by multiple industries, including biofuel, pellet, pulp and paper.
“They’re all fighting over one resource, which can sometimes be in short supply,” said Sam-Brew. “If a company has to travel long distances to collect the wood waste they need to make their products, that costs them money. The particleboard industry could benefit from using non-wood resources if the price is right.”
For now, flax and hemp particleboard production is at a standstill in Canada. But Sam-Brew remains optimistic.
“Flax and hemp particleboards are lighter than wood,” she said. “The downstream impacts of making a lighter product could mean faster production rates and significant energy and transportation savings.”
“The economics don’t look good now, but they could later.”
Currently, trade within Canada represents about one-fifth of Canada's GDP, or $385 billion annually. It also accounts for nearly 40 percent of all provincial and territorial exports.
Overall, the CFTA aims to improve the flow of goods, services and investments across all borders by reducing the jumble of rules and regulations, giving consumers lower prices and more choices of Canadian goods. For example, beer, wine and spirits will have a process in place to enhance trade among the provinces and territories.
The agreement also allows licensed professionals with Canadian credentials to work in different parts of the country. It also enables Canadian companies that operate in regulated professions like engineering and architecture, to compete for opportunities to governments across the country.
Rules in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement will automatically apply to all of the country's economic activity unless something is specifically excluded.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is specifically looking forward to getting more details about the newly announced Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table, a body that will be established to coordinate processes for resolving trade barriers when they are identified by provinces and territories, with input from stakeholders.
In its advocacy work over the last year, CFA noted several areas in which farmers face difficulties in interprovincial trade. Some examples include trucking transportation regulations and differing requirements between federally- and provincially-regulated meat processing plants.
Next year, the CSA will launch the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, which will improve data quality and availability. This constellation of satellites will have a significant advantage over its predecessor, making it possible to monitor Canada's entire landmass on a daily basis.
The exhibition will first be available at Resurgo Place (Moncton, N.B.) until May 21, 2017.
CABEF awards six $2,500 scholarships annually to students enrolling in an agricultural university or college in Canada. Fundraising efforts in conjunction with Best of CAMA (Canadian Agri-Marketing Association) raised $42,642 from live and silent auctions, and the Wall of Wine raffle for 24 bottles of wine. Other donations were made in cash, auction items and donated advertising space to promote the CABEF scholarship application deadline and the announcement of the scholarship recipients.
The 2017 scholarship application deadline is April 30, 2017. Application information is located at cabef.org.
“The research indicates that there may be economic benefits to farmers under specific field conditions”, says Gord Green, President of OSCIA. “Under drought conditions, research has confirmed as high as a 25 per cent increase in corn yield where controlled drainage was used to retain water to better supply the growing crop.”
Research shows the benefits from controlled tile drainage vary depending on the crop, amount of rainfall, and timing of rainfall in relation to the stage of crop growth. Under the new partnership, a new tool will be developed to allow extension staff and farmers to better calculate the crop yield benefits of controlled tile drainage under varying conditions.
“With extremes in weather increasing due to climate change, every competitive edge counts”, says Dr. Michael Sawada, scientist at the University of Ottawa. “Additionally, controlled drainage can reduce the flow of phosphorus and other nutrients to help protect our water resources.”
The collaborative project runs until the winter of 2018.
Funding for the “Controlled Tile Drainage – Calculate Your Benefits” project is provided through Growing Forward 2, AgriRisk Initiatives, which supports the research and development, as well as the implementation and administration of new risk management tools for use in the agriculture sector.
"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.
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.
“It was extremely difficult for the judges to make their decision, but ultimately our winners stood out for their state-of-the art thinking and commitment to the future of Canadian agriculture,” says OYF President Luanne Lynn.
Although the Lovell’s didn’t grow up on a farm, four years ago they purchased River View Orchards (with roots tracing back to 1784), and created a diversified u-pick farm market operation. Although they suffered $100,000 in damage in 2014, they adapted their plans until they were able to begin full production again. Fence and trellis construction services and building attractions brought over 1,400 visitors to their farm.
Drapeau and Neault are third-generation dairy and field crop farmers. When Drapeau was 16, he was performing artificial insemination on cows and developed his management skills by taking over the herd and feeding responsibilities. In the barn, Drapeau and Neault use genomic testing on young animals, motion detectors for reproduction, a smart scale on the mixer-feeder and temperature probes close to calving. In the fields, the farm uses a satellite navigation system for levelling, draining, seeding, fertilizing and spraying. With these technological innovations over the last four years, they have enabled the farm to increase overall yields by five to 10 per cent each year.
For more information on Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer’s program, visit www.oyfcanada.com
Community engagement and communications L.E.A.D. recipient: Joshua Power (NL)
Science and technology L.E.A.D. recipient: Erinn Jones (AB)
Environment and healthy living L.E.A.D. recipient: Eveline Juce (MB)
Sustainable agriculture and food security L.E.A.D. recipient: Jessica Mayes (MB)
L.E.A.D. recipients each benefit from a $20,000 scholarship towards their four-year post-secondary studies. They are also matched with a high-impact mentor who plays a leadership role in their industry and community. This mentorship relationship is an important component of the award program and helps L.E.A.D. recipients as they forge their careers.
Nominations are now open for the title of Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer. The Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) Program is a unique program designed to recognize farmers and farm couples who exemplify excellence in their profession. Any organization or any person can nominate a young farmer or couple for the regional recognition award as long as the nominee meets the following program eligibility requirements:
• must be between the ages of 18 and 39,
• must be farm operators, and
• must derive a minimum of two-thirds of their income from farming.
Each region across the country holds an event where five or six nominees are judged on the following criteria:
• progress in agriculture career
• extent of soil, water and energy conservation practices
• crop and/or livestock production history
• management practices, and
• contribution to the well-being of the community, province and nation.
The Ontario Region OYF will be holding their next annual event in September 2017 in London, in conjunction with Canada's Outdoor Farm Show. The regional winners will represent Ontario at the annual national event where they compete to be named Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers.
Farm Management Canada (FMC) has launched an enhanced version of its former Step Up mentorship program to help bridge the gap between generations of farmers to provide Canada's future farmers with the best chance for success.
Succession planning – also called transition planning, ensures farm business continuity: it is the only process that links one generation to future generations involved in the farm business, and addresses how the vision, goals and dreams of a farm will carry on.
"According to the recent study, Making Dollars and Sense, less than one-third of Canada's farmers have a succession plan, while close to 40 per cent are in the succession stage of their farm business," says Heather Watson, executive director of Farm Management Canada. She goes on to note, "this signals not only a significant risk to the Canadian agricultural sector, but also an immense opportunity to promote and provide the information, tools and resources for farmers to improve their succession planning practices."
The Bridging the Gap: Step Up to Succession program is comprised of a series of succession and Transition planning workshops for farm families coupled with a successor development program, exclusively for young farmers.
FMC will be working with renowned farm family coach Elaine Froese and business management consultant Cedric MacLeod to help lead the program and coach participants throughout their journey.
Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' Program, the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum and 4-H Canada are partnering with FMC for this program.
For more information on the program, please visit Farm Management Canada's website.
Farm Management Canada is seeking to honour individuals or groups with the 2016 Wilson Loree Award. This award was established over fourteen years ago, to honour those that have made an extraordinary contribution to developing and promoting new and positive change in agricultural business management practices and expertise in Canada.
FMC encourages the nomination of individuals or groups that
- have made significant contributions in the area of business management regionally or nationally;
- have demonstrated innovation in areas such as turning research into practical management tools, adapting best practices from other sectors to agriculture, and finding new ways to deliver training, information and resources to farm managers;
- have served as a role model and a mentor to colleagues, partners and clients, inspiring them to achieve their full potential;
- have demonstrated the ability to network and develop partnerships to include others in furthering the shared goals and vision of the agriculture industry.
Visit www.fmc-gac.com for more information on the award and the conference.
Sept. 15, 2016 - Alberta Barley is seeking nominations for its farmer-led board of directors and delegate body. There are 20 positions available, including two directors (regions three and four) and one director-at-large (region one, two, three or six). Seventeen spots are available for delegates with at least one opening in five of the six Alberta Barley electoral regions.
“Volunteering your time as a delegate or director is a great opportunity to become involved in shaping Alberta farm policy,” says Mike Ammeter, outgoing chair. Ammeter, a Sylvan Lake-area farmer, proudly served as region three’s director-at-large from 2010-2016 and spent his final two years as the organization’s chair. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Alberta Barley and I’d say to any farmer in Alberta looking to make a difference in their industry, now is the time.”
Region four director Bernie Klammer will also retire alongside Ammeter from the Alberta Barley board of directors after two successive terms.
Delegates are nominated and elected from the floor at each regional meeting.
All farmers running for a delegate or a director position must have produced barley in the region they are running for election in and paid a service charge on barley either in the current or previous two crop years, according to Section 17 of the Alberta Barley Plan Regulation. A director-at-large position allows a farmer to be eligible by having grown barley in any area of Alberta.
The following delegates are up for re-election. Delegates serve two-year terms with Alberta Barley.
Region 1 – Glenn Logan, Brian Otto and Greg Stamp
Region 2 – Jamie Christie, David Eaton, Doug McBain, Doug Miller, Doug Robertson, Matt Sawyer and Kenton Ziegler
Region 4 – David Korpan, Charlie Leskiw, Brian McGonigal and John Wozniak
Region 5 – Darrel Hennig and Ken Wagner
Region 6 – Ron Heck
There is one director up for re-election with two additional vacancies. Directors and directors-at-large serve three-year terms with Alberta Barley.
Region 1, 2, 3 or 6 – Vacant (director-at-large)
Region 3 – Jason Lenz (director)
Region 4 – Vacant (director)
Click here for the director nomination form.
Click here for the director-at-large nomination form.
A nine-person board of directors governs Alberta Barley with six directors representing individual regions and three directors-at-large representing the province’s interests as a whole. Following the annual general meeting each year, the board of directors elects the executive team, which consists of the chair and vice-chair.
A farmer interested in running to be a director must have 10 signatures from fellow farmers in his or her specific region. For a director-at-large vacancy, a person is allowed to collect 10 signatures from farmers anywhere in Alberta. A director and director-at-large position are three-year terms. Documentation must be submitted in person or as a faxed copy to Alberta Barley at 403-291-0190.
If more than one person is nominated for a vacant position, an election will be held at regional meetings. Votes for regional directors will be tabulated and announced at the regional meetings while votes for the director-at-large will be tabulated and announced at the December 2016 annual general meeting. This year’s annual general meeting takes place at the Banff Springs Hotel, Dec. 8, 2016.
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Atlantic Farm Women's ConferenceFri Apr 28, 2017
Food and Beverage Ontario Annual ConferenceWed May 31, 2017
Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction CeremonySun Jun 11, 2017
Canolapalooza SaskatchewanTue Jun 20, 2017
Canada's Farm Progress ShowWed Jun 21, 2017
Canolapalooza ManitobaThu Jun 22, 2017