Purebred Beef Spotlight: June 23, 2022
Sales and shows
- Alberta Beef Producers, the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, and Alberta Pork joined provincial ministers Nate Horner and Jason Copping on June 13 to request an exemption for ground beef and pork from Health Canada’s proposed front-of-package labelling. “Alberta’s government has expressed our concern to our federal counterparts and will continue to stand up for livestock producers in our province,” said Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development, in a statement.
- The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association launched a website called Don’t Label My Beef to campaign against the proposed labelling for ground beef. “Ground beef should be exempt from Health Canada’s proposed front-of-package (FOP) labelling like other nutritious foods, such as single ingredient meat, milk, eggs, vegetables, and fruit,” said Michelle McMullen with the CCA.
- Alberta Beef Producers said earlier this month that with checkoff refunds totalling about $30 million over the last dozen years, it may have no choice but to cut support for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association by as much as $1 million per year. Brad Dubeau, ABP’s general manager, said such a move would be a last resort. “The board of directors and delegates feel we fully need to fund CCA,” he said.
- Alberta Beef Producers board member Jason Hale said recent rain in southern Alberta provides hope. “It’s great to know that it actually can rain in our area, it’s a relief,” he said. “The mood of the ranchers and farmers in my area is greatly improved to see some moisture.” Last month, before the rain, Hale said many Alberta cattle ranchers were concerned about needing to cull their herds as was done after last summer’s drought. The rain has enhanced demand for lighter-weight feeder cattle.
- Reg Schellenberg, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, expanded on the goals for his tenure which “are centred on my passion to leave a vibrant industry for the next generation.” He’s also concerned about animal health and care, enhancing risk management for producers, and accelerating innovation in the industry.
- Alberta Beef Producers said producers should be granted permits allowing them to kill a dangerous grizzly bear without being charged. “There’s a precedent in this in the way we currently deal with problem coyotes. A permit is only issued after a producer confirms livestock kills or property damage,” said general manager Brad Dubeau.
- Ribbon Creek Ranch has won the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Alberta Beef Producers for its efforts including rotational grazing in the summer, fencing off riparian areas, and seeding some cropland back to perennial grass.
- The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has announced 24 semi-finalists for the 2022 Cattlemen’s Young Leaders. The 16 finalists will be announced in August.
- A new carbon soil mapping project, led in part by Cameron Carlyle, an associate professor in the University of Alberta‘s department of agriculture, food and nutritional science, aims to help beef producers trap carbon and fight climate change. The province said beef production accounts for less than 4% of greenhouse gas produced in Alberta, but half the emissions of the agriculture industry, about 20% of which are removed by soil carbon sinks, such as perennial crops used for grazing cattle.
- After years of contradictory research into adaptive multi-paddock grazing (AMP) — an intensive cattle grazing practice intended to emulate the grazing practices of large wild herd animals — University of Alberta researchers have published a study suggesting that AMP is not an “ideal solution” to preserving plant diversity in prairie rangeland.
- Canadian beef producers certified through the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), are now eligible to receive an incentive payment from Farm Credit Canada of up to $2,000.
- Maria Leslie said the Alberta Chicken Producers is optimistic the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus has passed in Alberta, but still urges caution. “I want to encourage people to continue to follow very high standards of biosecurity with any birds that they might have on their farms,” she said.
- Alberta Canola chair Roger Chevaux said this year’s canola crop in Alberta “is by far the most expensive crop we’ve ever grown.” This year canola is selling at $25 per bushel, up from $12 per bushel last year, in part due to the war in Ukraine.
- Alberta Canola general manager Ward Toma is retiring after 20 years with the organization and will be succeeded by Karla Bergstrom.
- Results Driven Agriculture Research and Genome Alberta have announced a total investment of $12.1 million to support 14 genomics projects in the province to “address challenges and opportunities across Alberta agriculture, including livestock (bees, beef, dairy, pork); crops (wheat, canola, potatoes); and soil health.”
- Many Alberta farmers are seeing a gap between the amount of data they collect with smart technology and their capacity to apply data. “The technology has advanced a lot more over the past few years, but we’re still leaving the majority of users behind,” said Olds College instructor Simon Knutson, who sees the lack of integration between tech platforms and the rapid pace of advancement as primary drivers of the gap.
- Genome Canada, which promotes genomic research through six research centres across the country, received a $30-million grant to launch the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Systems initiative, which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of food systems through “strategic investments in climate-smart agriculture and food systems.”
- Alberta Innovates has invested almost $3.2 million through the Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge (SAFDAC) to support 10 projects working on innovation in farming, agriculture, and food production. Major recipients include Mojow Autonomous Solutions Inc. ($500,000), the University of Alberta’s Derek MacKenzie ($497,000), and Wyvern ($380,000).
- The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network launched a campaign to raise $5 million with the aim of attracting more participants to the smart-farm network. “We have invested significant resources to planning this initiative because it’s a necessary step in the nationwide adoption of emerging agricultural technologies,” said CAAIN CEO Kerry Wright.
- UFA Co-operative has announced a three-year strategic engagement with SVG Ventures | THRIVE to support members with access to key innovators in the agriculture industry and a pipeline to regional, national, and global startups.
- SVG Ventures | THRIVE has also signed an agreement with Lethbridge College to pursue opportunities for connectivity with start-ups that require testing and validation or follow-up through applied research projects.
- PIP International opened its $20-million commercial pea processing and testing pilot facility in Lethbridge on May 31, and announced it will start construction on a new $150 million yellow pea protein facility in Lethbridge later this year. Once operational, the facility will create 100 new jobs, process about 126,000 tonnes of yellow peas annually, and support more than $75 million in annual pea contracts for local and regional growers.
- Alberta Milk is collaborating with Montreal-based Spiria to develop a state-of-the-art, enterprise-grade dairy transportation data collection system.
- Phyto Organix is the latest company to announce plans for a pulse processing facility in Alberta. The company’s upcoming $225-million facility in Strathmore is expected to create 60 long-term jobs and produce 9,000 tonnes of protein once operational in 2024. The facility will produce yellow pea protein and plans to source local as part of its net-zero goals, which bodes well for that pea-rich part of Alberta.
- The Alberta government has invested an additional $115,000 into the Alberta Ag Plastic. Recycle It! pilot to keep the grain bag and baler twine recycling program running until August 2023. “The long-term goal of the group is to expand the pilot into a permanent program,” said Al Kemmere, chair of the Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group.
- Project Agriculture is a new government-funded online learning platform with sections for elementary and junior high students. The platform was started by groups representing Alberta’s supply-managed farms and is now being plugged to educators by the province’s four major crop commissions, Alberta Farmer reports.
- The Agriculture Financial Services Corporation has upgraded its lending systems to better serve clients. “AFSC is committed to agriculture, and we have developed applications to support lending across the entire value chain,” said Kevin Chanut, vice president of lending.
- Olds College, which expanded its smart farm operations into Saskatchewan for the 2022 growing season, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
- TrustBIX has announced the release of BIX Origin, a module aimed at furthering it’s initiative to “reward the agri-food and waste industries for their sustainable efforts, and to supply key insights and verifiable data to participating organizations and end consumers.”
- The members of the Fresh Produce Alliance, including the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, have “enthusiastically welcomed” Bill C-280 which would establish a deemed trust mechanism for fresh produce growers and sellers in Canada to ensure payment in the case of a buyer bankruptcy.
Opportunities and invitations
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