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New Laws for Saskatchewan Farmland Ownership Proclaimed


Written By: Eric Anderson, Dec 21, 2015

New Laws for Farmland Ownership Proclaimed


Released on December 21, 2015
Amendments to The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act, clarifying who can and cannot own farmland in Saskatchewan, have been proclaimed and will come into effect on January 4, 2016.

“The people of Saskatchewan provided very clear direction during the consultation process,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said.  “The legislation reflects the views of Saskatchewan residents, provides clarity around farmland ownership and gives the Farm Land Security Board the tools it needs to enforce the rules.”

The amendments include:
  • Making pension plans, administrators of pension fund assets and larger trusts ineligible to buy farmland;
  • Defining “having an interest in farmland” to include any type of interest or benefit (i.e. capital appreciation), either directly or indirectly, that is normally associated with ownership of the land; and
  • When financing a purchase of farmland, all financing must be through a financial institution registered to do business in Canada, or a Canadian citizen.
Non-Canadian citizens can still own up to 10 acres of farmland, and exemptions can still be granted for economic development initiatives.  These rules were in place previously and will not change.

In addition, the Farm Land Security Board (FLSB) will receive new and expanded authority to enforce the legislation, including:
  • At the discretion of the FLSB, any person purchasing farmland must complete a statutory declaration;
  • Placing the onus to prove compliance with the legislation on the person purchasing the land;
  • Increasing fines for being in contravention of the legislation from $10,000 to $50,000 for individuals and from $100,000 to $500,000 for corporations; and
  • Authorizing the FLSB to impose administrative penalties to a maximum of $10,000.
The amendments put into law the regulations announced in April.

The Ministry of Agriculture conducted consultations on farmland ownership from May 20 through to August 10, with more than 3,200 people participating. 

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For more information, contact:

Sarah Hein
Agriculture
Regina
Phone: 306-787-5389
Email: sarah.hein@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-527-9102
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Group looking to buy Port of Churchill Rail Line


Written By: Eric Anderson, Dec 21, 2015
19 Dec 2015
Leader-Post
The Canadian Press
 
First Nations group looking to buy rail line
 
 
 
A troubled rail line and port in northern Manitoba may be sold to a group of First Nations communities in the area.
 
Denver-based OmniTrax says it has accepted a letter of intent from the group over the sale of the Port of Churchill and the Hudson Bay rail line.
 
The company says there’s a 45day period of due diligence before a sale can be completed, and the federal and provincial governments will be asked to support the group buying the assets. OmniTrax took over the rail line and port in 1997.
 
Churchill is Canada’s only deepwater northern port and relies heavily on grain shipments from western farmers.
 
Those grain shipments were less than half the normal 500,000 tonnes this year, which prompted OmniTrax to look for a new owner.
 
Earlier this month, the Manitoba government said it was looking for federal help to ensure the continued operation of the northern line. Manitoba Transportation Minister Steve Ashton met with federal counterpart Marc Garneau in Ottawa.
The line is the only land link to Churchill and three other communities from the south.
 
Omnitrax Canada president Merv Tweed indicated that service could be discontinued if no new buyer were found. He also suggested governments could have the railway operate as a utility, presumably with regulation of rates and some form of subsidy in poor years.
 
Ashton suggested the long-term survival of the port and railway could depend on expanding port storage facilities to handle potash and other goods.
 
The northern rail line, which crosses hundreds of kilometres of bog and permafrost, has been plagued by derailments that have intermittently forced the suspension of both freight and passenger services.
 
OmniTrax had thought of shipping crude oil along the railway, but backed off the plan last year.
 
The proposal was opposed by First Nations groups, environmentalists and the government of Manitoba.
 
 
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Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Releases Fall Conditions Report


Written By: Eric Anderson, Dec 10, 2015
Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Releases Fall Conditions Report
Dec. 10 - 2015
[Full report is here ]
[Note:  As snowfall can dramatically impact runoff, the report is not a runoff forecast but rather an early indication of what areas are more vulnerable to above or below normal runoff.]
 
Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released the 2015 Conditions at Freeze-up Report.  The report summarizes the water supply conditions during the late fall and early winter period.  This report helps provide a better understanding of the conditions on the ground in preparation for spring runoff in 2016.

The majority of the province has normal moisture conditions for this time of year; however, some areas in eastern Saskatchewan still have a higher than normal amount of moisture on the landscape going into winter.

The Pipestone, Qu’Appelle, Assiniboine, Red Deer, Torch, and Carrot River Basins all have above normal moisture conditions for this time of year.  Some stream flows in the Qu’Appelle, Pipestone and Assiniboine Basins were at above normal levels at the end of October.

While spring and early summer precipitation was well below normal across much of the province, above normal late summer and fall precipitation resulted in near normal precipitation accumulations across most of Saskatchewan between April 1 and October 31, 2015.

On October 26, 2015, topsoil moisture conditions were generally described as adequate across the grainbelt with the exception of an area in the northeast and a few pockets in east central areas of the province where conditions are described as surplus.  However, precipitation received during the first three weeks of November has resulted in additional areas with surplus soil moisture conditions.

Long range forecasts for this winter are suggesting below normal precipitation.

Overall, since 2010, the WSA’s groundwater observation well network has shown an overall increase in groundwater levels throughout the province.

The initial Spring Runoff Outlook for 2016 will be issued in early February.   For more information ,visit www.wsask.ca.

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For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914
Email: Patrick.Boyle@wsask.ca
Cell: 306-631-6997
 
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Manitoba winter fertilizing ban back on until April


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 20, 2015

Manitoba winter fertilizing ban back on

Posted Nov. 19th, 2015
Ag Canada

Snow’s arrival throughout Manitoba means no more extensions for the province’s farmers to apply winter fertilizer or manure.
The province said Thursday its second extension, which was to run until the end of the day, has been rescinded, and the winter nutrient application ban is in place effective immediately, given “recent snowfall accumulations.”
The winter nutrient application ban continues until midnight, April 10, 2016 — unless soils can support an earlier date next spring — and applies to all forms of nutrients, including livestock manure and inorganic fertilizer.
The province set up the ban in 2008 to prevent nutrients from being applied when the ground is frozen, to reduce nutrient loading in waterways through field runoff.
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Ethiopia to buy more wheat to avert drought crisis


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 20, 2015
Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:36am EST
Reuters

Ethiopia to buy more wheat to avert drought crisis

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, Nov 18 Ethiopia expects to open a tender to buy additional wheat after purchasing one million tonnes to tackle extreme food shortages due to drought, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Failed rains during the spring and summer have sparked food and water shortages in the Horn of Africa nation, which boasts one of the continent's highest growth rates but depends heavily on rain-fed farming.

The United Nations says 8 million people in the country of 96 million will need food aid but the number could rise to 15 million by early 2016, owing to shortages exacerbated by the effects of the El Nino weather pattern.

"In total, nearly a million metric tonnes have been purchased," government spokesman Getachew Reda told a news conference, adding around $280 million has so far been spent to tackle the crisis.

"A significant part of it is going to be used to address this challenge. An equally significant part will also be meant to address inflationary pressures that could result from some misguided moves in the market," Getachew said.

El Nino, marked by warming sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, causes extremes such as scorching weather in some regions of the globe and heavy rains and flooding in others.

Meteorologists expect El Nino to peak between October and January.

Humanitarian agencies say Ethiopia needs $600 million to cope with the crisis. The United Nations says 350,000 children are expected to require treatment for acute malnutrition in the country by the end of 2015.

"We are going to be okay for the next three or four months, at least from the reserves that we have," Getachew said, adding there had been no loss of life owing to the drought so far.

"We are ready for any eventuality. What that means ... is we will be out in a shopping spree (to buy wheat) once again."

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; editing by Drazen Jorgic and David Evans)

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Alberta Farm Safety Rule Changes Proposed


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 18, 2015
18 Nov 2015
Calgary Herald
JODIE SINNEMA

Farm safety breakthrough

Proposed rules to ensure safe workplaces, protect workers

New sweeping farm safety legislation proposed by Alberta’s NDP government will give farm and ranch workers the same rights and safety protection offered to all other workers in the province.
The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act, tabled in the legislature Tuesday, will require all farms and ranches to follow basic occupational health and safety regulations starting Jan. 1, with specific details to be hammered out at five public town halls across the province in November and December.
Until now, Alberta has been the only province that doesn’t apply such workplace legislation to farms and ranches, leaving provincial investigators unable to enter farm property to investigate serious injuries, deaths or even complaints of unsafe work practices.
The new legislation will mean farmers and ranchers must provide safe work conditions and training to everyone doing any commercial work — not regular farm chores — on their property, including children, unpaid workers, friends and family.
“We want to ensure these devastating incidents do not go uninvestigated so we may better understand and help producers and the industry manage the risks related to farming operations,” said Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson, while visiting a large grain farm near Gibbons. “The people in this industry deserve our utmost gratitude and respect. They also deserve the same basic workplace protections enjoyed by workers in all industries.”
In 2014, 25 people died in farmrelated incidents, up from 16 in 2013 and 10 in 2012. Of the 25 fatalities, 12 were over the age of 65 and two were under 18 years old. For every fatality, there were 25 hospital admissions. Sixty per cent of the fatalities involved machinery.
The proposed bill will require Alberta’s 43,000 farms and ranches to purchase insurance coverage to protect workers if they’re injured on the job, and protect the operation if the farmer is sued. Until now, farmers could opt out, leaving about 60,000 workers without pay or access to health or physiotherapy benefits to get them back on the job.
“The important changes we’re proposing would give farm and ranch workers the duty to see what went wrong and prevent future incidents,” Sigurdson said. “We are proposing these changes because every worker in Alberta has a right to a safe, healthy and fair workplace.”
Under the proposed changes to various bodies of legislation, workers will have the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of being fired. Provincial investigators will be able to enter a farm site to do safety inspections and impose penalties. Workers will be able to join unions and bargain for wages, and they will be paid minimum wage, overtime and vacation pay. Such labour rights and employment standards will be hashed out for spring 2016 with room for some finagling.
“We know that harvest, for instance, does not fit neatly into an eight- hour day. And the calving season does not conform to a statutory holiday,” Sigurdson said. “We also know the farm and ranch industry is not the same as the oil and gas industry or any other industry for that matter. One size does not fit all.”

She said while farmers and ranchers need to follow occupational health and safety regulations starting Jan. 1, they will be given time to learn the rules, train their employees and come up to speed. No additional government money will be made available beyond the current budget.
Mike Kalisvaart, who has a 12,000- acre grain farm near Gibbons and purchases employment insurance for his eight workers, said the new legislation was long overdue. He suspects many farmers are scared of being overregulated and having inspectors on their properties.
“I think there are some compromises we’re going to have to make and accept some uncomfortable new rules, but the end result is that I think workers will have more protection and a safer work environment,” Kalisvaart said.
He said accidents will still happen. Children drown in swimming pools, despite lifeguards on duty, for instance. Legislation also wouldn’t have prevented the three Potts sisters from suffocating in a truckload of grain in central Alberta in early October, although inspectors would be allowed to investigate if Bill 6 is passed.
“It’s not going to prevent all injuries, but it’s going to make safety part of conversations in every farm in Alberta and that can only improve the situation,” Kalisvaart said.
John Bocock, an 81- year- old dairy farmer north of St. Albert, agreed.
“When people’s health is a concern, maybe it should be tough and ( you) put up with the intrusion into your privacy,” said Bocock, whose employee was covered by insurance about 10 years ago when a tractor rode over him. “I guess if the truth hurts, maybe it ought to.”
Grant Hunter, Wildrose’s jobs critic, said the legislation is being rammed in too quickly, without proper consultation. He said differentiated rules need to be made for small family farms versus large commercial operations.
Liberal Leader David Swann backed the legislation without hesitation.
“This is good for rural Alberta,” Swann said. “This is bringing Alberta into the 21st century.”
 
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Wheat and durum exports high, canola down


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 17, 2015
Today's data from Statistics Canada reveals that September 2015; wheat exports were down slightly from 2014, but up over every other previous year; durum exports were the best ever; and canola was down from historical levels.


The long term yearly trends revealed that wheat and durum continued a staircase style climb while canola plunged.
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New agriculture research chair now on the job


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 13, 2015
13 Nov 2015
THE STARPHOENIX

New agriculture research chair now on the job

SASKATOON — The University of Saskatchewan has appointed a former student and adjunct professor as research chair in feed processing technology at the Canadian Feed Research Centre in North Battleford.
Rex Newkirk will collaborate with U of S plant and animal scientists to develop new feed and pet food products and new markets for Saskatchewan crops. The former vice-president of research and innovation at the Canadian International Grains Institute in Winnipeg will contribute to the valueadded segment of the province’s agricultural industry, according to a news release.

“Professor Newkirk is globally renowned in the processing of a wide variety of crop products to provide a myriad of end products,” College of Agriculture and Bioresources dean Mary Buhr said in a statement. “As the research lead for the U of S Canadian Feed Research Centre, he will drive integrating crop characteristics with processing features and nutritional availability in desirable end products.”
Newkirk’s tenure began Nov. 1 and will involve working with the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, the Crop Development Centre, Prairie Swine Centre and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
 
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Pulses campaign may benefit Sask


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 12, 2015
12 Nov 2015
The StarPhoenix
ALEX MACPHERSON

Pulses campaign may benefit Sask

Farmers look to boost market share
 
     A yearlong celebration of pulse crops that began this week could benefit Saskatchewan, which has become the world’s largest lentil producer and a significant contributor to Canada’s $3-billion pulse crop industry.
     International Year of Pulses was launched Tuesday in Rome by the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating world hunger. The global event is intended to raise awareness about pulses’ importance to health, environmental sustainability and global food security. But it may also create new opportunities for Saskatchewan farmers.
     “It is about winning the hearts and minds and stomachs of consumers, not just in the traditional parts of the world that have eaten pulses for many years, but in the whole world,” said Pulse Canada chair Lee Moats, who has been growing pulses at Riceton, near Regina, since 1991.
     “If you look at North America, we grow a lot of pulses, but we don’t consume that many. From a grower’s standpoint, this is about increasing the market opportunity.”
     Saskatchewan was not always a global leader in pulse production. In the first half of the 20th century, the province’s agricultural industry was dominated by cereals such as wheat and barley. By the 1960s, farmers were experimenting with oilseeds and pulses, a family that includes lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans. According to University of Saskatchewan plant scientist Bert Vandenberg, the crops’ benefits were readily apparent.
     “Pulse crops fix nitrogen, and there’s substantial benefits that come with that in crop rotation,” he said. “Plus, you’re breaking disease cycles. It’s basically going back to basic farming principles that have been known for 10,000 years.”
     Because pulses were not controlled by the nowdefunct Canadian Wheat Board, farmers could sell them as a cash crop.
     The upshot is that Saskatchewan pulse production increased dramatically, from about 45,000 acres in the early 1980s to four million acres, or 10 per cent of the province’s arable land, in 2015, Vandenberg said.
     More production conferred yet more benefits on Saskatchewan producers.
     Because Saskatchewan grows half the world’s lentils, production problems at home and shortages abroad both guarantee higher prices, Vandenberg said.
     “It’s a hedge both ways,” he added.
     Moats, who is also a director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, hopes International Year of Pulses will further expand the market for Saskatchewan pulses.
     While farmers in the province are familiar with the protein-rich crops’ benefits, the bulk of their pulses are exported to Turkey, India, Bangladesh and other foreign markets.
     A broad conversation about global food production, one that taps into concerns about health and sustainability, could help the North American market grow, Moats said.
     “We think that International Year will bring attention to these crops, why consumers should be interested in them and how to use them and incorporate them into their diets. International Year gives (us) a platform at a whole new level.”
 
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Optimism greets new Federal ag minister


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 05, 2015
  • 5 Nov 2015
  • The StarPhoenix
  • ALEX MACPHERSON

Optimism greets new ag minister

Policies fit province’s goals

Despite his unfamiliarity with the Saskatchewan agriculture industry, incoming federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay could bring good news for the province’s farmers, according to the president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
“A lot of their ag policies align very closely with a lot of the policies that we were putting out, and their answers were very close to what we wanted to hear,” Norm Hall said, referring to the Liberal party’s agriculture platform. “We’re very encouraged by what the Liberal government was putting out.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed 69-yearold potato farmer and veteran Prince Edward Island MP Lawrence MacAulay as agriculture minister on Wednesday. He replaces Gerry Ritz, the Conservative MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster, who has held the post since 2007.
While the agriculture minister has little impact on day-to-day farm and manufacturing operations, his influence on policy is enormous, Hall said.
“It’s huge. We’re all under some federal act, and there’s all kinds of updates that need to happen to Canadian laws and acts. In some cases they’re slow coming, and we need to convince government there’s a better way to do it.”
Grain transportation and international trade are particularly important for the new government to address because Saskatchewan producers rely on the country’s rail network and trade laws to get their grain into foreign markets, and both are in a state of flux, Hall said.
Canada’s Transportation Act is undergoing a major review, while a pair of major free trade agreements — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership — are being negotiated. Hall expects MacAulay will throw his support behind both issues.

“We’re very hopeful about the future for ag under this government,” he said.
Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister takes a similarly optimistic view. Although he lacks the in-depth knowledge of Saskatchewan agriculture his predecessor possessed, MacAulay is a farmer and a veteran MP, meaning he should have little trouble acclimating to the role, Lyle Stewart said.
“He has quite a record, and a very positive one,” he said. “I’m quite looking forward to meeting him.”
Stewart said he hopes MacAulay will support the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pursue the outgoing Conservative government’s challenge of country of origin labelling at the World Trade Organization.
The Canadian Transportation Act review is also vital to Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry and broader economy, he added.
“We export virtually everything we produce, and the vast majority of it goes west, so rail transportation is critical to our economy. Certainly, having the right rules that motivate the railways to act in a responsible, efficient and highly-motivated fashion is important to us.”
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan (ACS), which distributes federal dollars to industry-led projects, hopes the new government boosts its contributions to Western Canada.
“Funding programs and support for the agriculture sector helps growth, assists with growth, provides opportunities for growth,” ACS executive director Bryan Kosteroski said. “And also provides more opportunities for smaller agriculture companies to grow in Western Canada and in Saskatchewan.”
 
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SK Announces Incentive Program To Sell Agricultural Crown Land


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 05, 2015

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES INCENTIVE PROGRAM TO SELL AGRICULTURAL CROWN LAND


Released on November 4, 2015
Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart today announced a new incentive program to encourage the sale of eligible occupied agricultural Crown land.  The program, which comes into effect immediately, offers purchase incentives on the sale of the land to current lease-holders.

“As a government, our priority is administering land that has a higher public good from an ecological, environmental, heritage or economic perspective,” Stewart said.  "The government still owns a lot of land that does not serve these purposes.  We want to sell eligible agriculture crown land to lessees.”

All agricultural Crown land including cultivated, grazing and hay land that is deemed to have no public and low environmental benefit will be eligible for the program.  The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that approximately 600,000 acres of land will be sold under this program.  From now until March 31, 2016, a 15 per cent discount will be applied to all sales.  The incentive drops to 10 per cent on April 1, 2016 and five per cent on January 1, 2017.

This new incentive program is similar to the Agricultural Crown Land Sale Program that was in place from November 2008 through December of 2014, which sold more than 500,000 acres of Crown land.

If a lessee does not purchase the land, they may continue leasing.  However, rental rates on cultivated lands and previously cultivated lands will increase for the 2016 cropping season by approximately 15 per cent over the formula rate and by 30 per cent over the formula rate for the 2017 cropping year.

"During our recent review of farmland ownership rules, a large majority of producers told us they opposed large institutions owning farmland,” Stewart said.  “The provincial government is probably the largest institutional owner of farmland and owning farmland is not a business the government needs to be in.

“Our first priority for sale is cultivated lands as they are easily identifiable and the least likely to have any ecological or environmental value because they are already broken.  This program allows Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers, individuals who have managed the land for the better part of a century, to purchase this land and realize the benefits of ownership.”

Land that is designated as having high ecological value under The Wildlife Habitat Protection Act (WHPA) is not eligible for sale and discounts will not be applied to land classified as having moderate ecological value.  Lands classified as low are eligible for the incentive program.  Sales associated with public tenders and Treaty Land Entitlement are not eligible for the program.  Any parcel of land that has previously been determined as ineligible for purchase will remain as such.

Lessees interested in purchasing their leased agricultural Crown land can contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 or visit www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/crown-land-sale.

Background:

Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is offering a purchase incentive program to encourage the sale of eligible occupied agricultural Crown land
 All eligible agriculture Crown land is available for the incentive
o Eligible is defined as: all current Crown land, held by a lessee that has no higher public value (i.e. sand and gravel, oil and gas, heritage or environmental concerns) or third-party interests;
o Land that has been designated low ecological value under The Wildlife Habitat Protection Act.
 Phase 1: 15% purchase incentive (Now to March 31, 2016)
 Phase 2: 10% purchase incentive (April 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016)
 Phase 3: 5% purchase incentive (January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017)
 Lessees are not required to purchase their lease land.
 If Lessees decide to not purchase their sale incentive eligible agriculture Crown lease, they should be aware that rental rates will be increasing on cultivated and previously cultivated lands in the 2016 and 2017 cropping seasons,
o 2016 rental rates: formula rate + 15%
o 2017 rental rates: formula rate + 30%
 Note: These increases will not apply to native prairie pasture land (never been broken), former Federal community pasture lands or lands under lease to grazing co-ops.
 Crown land not eligible for incentive:
o Land designated under The Wildlife Habitat Protection Act as having high or moderate ecological value;
o Crown land sold through public tenders;
o Crown land sold through Treaty Land Entitlement;
 For more information: contact Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 or visit agriculture.gov.sk.ca/crown-land-sale
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Just because something raises the risk of cancer doesn't mean it will cause cancer


Written By: Eric Anderson, Nov 02, 2015
Extract from . . . .

Moderation is key when weighing cancer risk of meat 

LESLIE BECK
Special to The Globe and Mail
Last updated Monday, Nov. 02, 2015 3:18PM EST
 
 
 
Last week’s headlines tying some types of meat to colorectal cancer left many people wondering whether they should banish them from their diet altogether.
 
Is it finally time to give up that juicy steak? Should you trade in cold cuts for tuna?
 
To recap, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a subsidiary of the World Health Organization, ruled that processed meat causes colorectal cancer and red meat (e.g., beef, pork, lamb, goat) probably does.
 
The term “processed meat” refers to meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives.
 
Ham, bacon, corned beef, pastrami, salami, bologna, sausages, hot dogs, bratwursts, frankfurters and beef jerky are processed meats.
 
So are turkey (and chicken) sausages, smoked turkey and turkey bacon. However, most studies have looked only at processed red meats.
 
While the IARC’s conclusion means there is an established and scientifically valid association between red and processed meats and the risk of cancer, there’s no need to panic.
 
Just because something raises the risk of cancer doesn’t mean it will cause cancer.
 
Dose matters – how much meat you eat, how often you eat it and for how long you’ve been eating it. And, it’s important to note, other dietary and lifestyle choices will affect the risk, too.
 
You don’t have to stop eating red meat. It is a good source of high-quality protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. That said, if you eat red meat frequently and in large portions, you should cut back.
 
Based on an expert review of 7,000 studies that was published in 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research advises eating no more than 18 ounces (500 grams) of red meat each week. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends a stricter limit of three servings – three ounces each – per week.

 
Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian, is based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto.
 
 
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2016 Government of Saskatchewan Agriculture Scholarship Announced


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 26, 2015

2016 Government of Saskatchewan Agriculture Scholarship Announced


Released on October 23, 2015
Today, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced the 2016 Saskatchewan Agriculture Student Scholarship.

“This year’s scholarship theme, Stewards in Sustainability, is designed to get young people thinking about the relationship between agriculture and the environment,” Stewart said.  “With this scholarship, passionate youth will have the opportunity to pursue careers in the many professions that the industry has to offer.”

Interested students can apply for the scholarship by submitting a creative, three minute video or well-researched 1,000 word essay based on topics surrounding agriculture and sustainability.  These topics include technology’s role in agricultural sustainability, sustainable production practices, youth’s role in sustainability and environmental success stories.

"This scholarship is such a generous and amazing opportunity for students who are starting their agricultural education,” winner of the 2015 Saskatchewan Agriculture Student Scholarship Morgan Heidecker said.  “Simply completing the application myself -- which was in the form of a video -- made me realize how excited I am to pursue my future career in the agriculture industry!  I'd definitely recommend that anyone who's interested in it apply!"

One winning scholarship of $4,000 and three runner-up scholarships of $2,000 will be awarded to students in Grade 12 and recent graduates entering agriculture-related post-secondary studies in 2016
.
The application deadline is March 1, 2016.

For more information on the Saskatchewan Agriculture Student Scholarship and to view last year’s winners, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/business/agriculture-natural-resources-and-industry/agribusiness-farmers-and-ranchers/thinkag/prepare-for-career/scholarships.

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For more information, contact:

Trelle Kolojay
Agriculture
Regina
Phone: 306-787-5155
Email: trelle.kolojay@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-527-0521
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Legislation for Saskatchewan Farmland Ownership to be Introduced


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 20, 2015
Released on October 20, 2015
Today, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.  The legislative amendments will clarify who can own farmland and will provide the Farm Land Security Board (FLSB) with more authority to enforce the Act.

“This summer, we asked the people of Saskatchewan to share their views to help us inform our decision on farmland ownership,” Stewart said.  “They did, and as a result we are making changes that will keep farmland accessible to Saskatchewan’s farmers and ranchers.  I am pleased to announce that we are clarifying the rules around farmland ownership in the province.”

Legislative amendments to The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act will enshrine the regulations introduced in April as law.

Amendments including:
  • Making pension plans, administrators of pension fund assets and trusts not eligible to buy farmland;
  • Defining “having an interest in farmland” to include any type of interest or benefit (i.e. capital appreciation), either directly or indirectly, that is normally associated with ownership of the land; and
  • When financing a purchase of farmland, all financing must be through a financial institution registered to do business in Canada, or a Canadian resident.
In addition, the FLSB will receive new and expanded authority to enforce the legislation, including:
  • At the discretion of the FLSB, any person purchasing farmland must complete a statutory declaration;
  • Placing the onus to prove compliance with the legislation onto the person purchasing the land;
  • Increasing fines for being in contravention of the legislation from $10,000 to $50,000 for individuals and from $100,000 to $500,000 for corporations; and
  • Authorizing the FLSB to impose administrative penalties to a maximum of $10,000.
“Our government understands that to many in the province, farmland is not just an asset,” Stewart said.  “It is a connection to our history and who we are as people.  Farmers and ranchers want the opportunity to own the land they farm.”

Through the consultations, the views of more than 3,200 individuals, businesses and organizations were heard.  Overwhelmingly, the majority voiced support for making pensions and large investment trusts ineligible to purchase farmland, and limiting the ownership of farmland to Canadian residents and 100 per cent Canadian-owned corporations.

The complete results of the consultation are available at www.saskatchewan.ca/farmland.

Following passage of the legislation and regulations, the new rules are expected to come into effect by the new year.

-30-

For more information, contact:

Sarah Hein
Agriculture
Regina
Phone: 306-787-5389
Email: sarah.hein@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-527-9102
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Ottawa vows to crack down on chickens smuggled into Canada from the U.S.


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 19, 2015
  • 17 Oct 2015
  • National Post - (Latest Edition)
  • By Damon van der Linde Financial Post dvanderlinde@nationalpost.com Twitter.com/DamonVDL

fowl or fair

With TPP in place, Ottawa vows to crack down on chickens smuggled into Canada from the U.S.


It seemed like just another unassuming day at the chicken warehouse — until the authorities moved in. They had come for chickens that were passing themselves off as low-grade poultry. It was a lie.
United States Department of Agriculture agents raided the warehouse last year in upper New York State and found the evidence they were looking for: pallets stacked with chicken ready for export to Canada. Chicken that could have eventually found its way to Swiss Chalet rotisseries and supermarket deli counters across the country.
The crime? These chickens weren’t labelled as broiler chickens — the meaty and juicy birds we roast up or fry for the dinner table — they were slapped with stickers calling them something else: spent fowl.
Spent fowl are chickens, too. But they’re tough and scrawny hens. It’s not their fault: They were born to lay eggs or to breed chicks, so their meat — a.k.a. mechanically separated chicken — isn’t much good except as an ingredient in chicken hot dogs and pot pies. That’s why Canada lets it in tariff free.
Now, broiler chickens — that’s the market Canada’s supply-managed poultry producers have locked up, subjecting the tastier fowl to import quotas or tariffs of more than two times the meat’s original value. Or at least they thought they did — until investigators realized that the lock was broken: U.S. broilers were being snuck across the border disguised as spent fowl. And that’s just one of several ways that Canadian poultry producers say a market they were promised a tight grip on is being infiltrated by grey-market foreign fowl.
And it appears to be happening at a remarkable scale: Farmers say the industry is hemorrhaging more than $100 million a year due to importers circumventing the country’s quota system. They do it by intentionally mislabelling chicken as something else and using tactics that range from clever loopholes to outright fraud.
“These types of actions are like tax evasion versus tax avoidance: One’s illegal and one’s a smart business practice,” said trade expert Adam Taylor, director of ENsight Canada, a government relations firm.
Now, with the federal government committing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, announced earlier this month, to permit an increase in chicken imports of 2.1 per cent, it’s also promising to finally crack down on those who keep finding new ways to get around the rules of the supply-management system, which farmers say have been unenforced for years.
“We accept it as a great first step,” says Mike Dungate executive director of the Chicken Farmers of Canada. “This has been a problem for a long time and something needs to be done.”
At the heart of the matter is how the Canadian Border Service Agency classifies what actually counts as “chicken” when it comes to the quota system.
For instance, there’s an import classification that includes value-added products like TV dinners, which might come packaged with veggies and rice along with some chicken. If the package is less than 87 per cent chicken, it qualifies as a general “meat product” and the chicken quota does not apply.
If it’s is more than 87 per cent chicken, the quotas kick in: the current trade rules state that only 7.5 per cent of Canadian domestic consumption can be imported with little to no duty. This year, if the national total of imported chicken exceeds 80.2 million kilograms, any further imports will be slapped with a whopping 238 per cent tariff.
If they’re spotted, that is. Some importers have been able to slip past the punitive tariffs by getting creative. A distributor might take a box of nothing but chicken wings, or chicken breast, and throw in a packet of marinade or sauce heavy enough that it equals 13 per cent of the total weight. That keeps it from facing quotas.
“(Importers) say it’s no longer chicken,” Dungate says. “This is where we would argue the ludicrousness is.”
But the thing is, the sauce would almost always have to be left as a separate item, rather than actually being put on the meat: in that kind of quantity, Dungate says, it would be far too much sauce for consumers to want to eat.
“People don’t want their wings drenched in sauce ... just in order to get it in freely traded,” he said.
As part of the TPP agreement, the federal government has promised to modify the definition of these combined products so that chicken products with added sauce packets are no longer able to avoid the tariffs.
But, apparently that’s only for products with sauce packets. And Dungate says he has already seen importers developing new methods so that the added weight looks like something other than a “packet” — by simply putting the weighty sauce in a different sort of container.
“Now, they put the chicken in a plastic tray and cover it with a film and in another one there is the sauce,” he says. “The know absolutely what they’re doing.”
Taylor says that when it comes to import quotas, businesses will always look for creative ways to slip through. And when they figure out a successful manoeuvre, it takes some time for authorities, and the national industry, to catch on.

“One man’s trade circumvention is another’s clever business practice… that’s often the debate,” he said.
But Dungate says the spent fowl ruse is the most difficult one to detect in protecting against illegal chicken imports. In one instance, he says a Canadian meat distributor received a pallet of broiler chickens from an importer, and noticed that one label had been stuck on top of another.
“It was not quite adhered and they pulled it back and saw it labelled ‘spent fowl’ out of the U.S and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture,” he said. Presumably it had been properly relabelled as more expensive broiler chicken only after it was safely across the border. Unlike the sauce trick, these are the ploys that get exposed strictly by accident.
But it’s happening at such a scale that the Chicken Farmers of Canada say they’ve discovered that there is more spent fowl meat recorded as being brought into Canada than is produced in the entire United States.
In 2012, the amount of spent fowl imported to Canada was equivalent to 101 per cent of U.S. production — that is, all the mechanically separated chicken produced for American consumption and export — and this year that amount has already reached more than 84 per cent.
“That would mean that the Americans would not be eating (any) Chicken McNuggets,” said Pierrette Ringuette, a Senate Liberal who tabled a motion in 2014 to study the trade between the U.S. and Canada under NAFTA.
Dungate also says a lot of what is being brought in as spent fowl is labelled as breast meat — the most valuable cut of a chicken. He says in 2012, 48 per cent of spent fowl imports were breast meat, while this year it’s up to 72 per cent.
He says that looks very suspicious, given that breast meat is not a traditional cut for spent fowl, since the birds have so little meat on them.
“How is it that we could be importing more than they produce? This is why we think there is a huge amount of fraud,” he said.
To put an end to this practice, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs says imported spent-fowl meat will require certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to verify that the product actually is what its label says.
But that requires thorough co-operation from the U.S. side. The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association says a number of spent-fowl producers are willing to help out, but the American group says that all it can say about these supposedly subversive imports is what it has heard from Canadians.
“All we know is that there have been suggestions or accusations this has happened,” said association president Jim Sumner. “We have no idea who is doing it, but we have asked our government to investigate and to make sure this is not happening because it would be fraudulent if it was.”
Dungate claims that these unsavoury imports have already cost Canada 9,000 jobs in the poultry industry, but notes that the objective is to find fixes that are sustainable for enforcing the quotas in the long term.
“We’re not trying to add a level of red tape to our business. If we just try to tackle one specific issue, it’ ll pop up someplace else and it’ ll just keep on moving,” he said. “We’re prepared to ... suck it up until we get a permanent solution.”
The CFC has already invested more than $250,000 in a joint effort with Trent University to develop a DNAtesting device — it works like a hole punch for poultry —that can determine whether meat is spent fowl or broiling chicken. That would allow customs agents to spot imposter chickens at the border.
But Ringuette, the New Brunswick Senator, says she would have liked to see more decisive action on the part of the government to address rules that have existed since NAFTA came into effect in 1994.
“If the current government cannot enforce NAFTA, how can they commit to enforce the TPP and that we will believe them?” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, (chicken farmers) have been extremely patient.”
That may be because investigating a fraudulent chicken can be a lot harder than you’d think — not merely a matter of pointing the finger at the producer named on the label.
When the USDA charged that American spent-fowl exporter for the mislabelled chicken in upstate New York, the company argued that the stickers were also bogus: It hadn’t used those kinds of export labels in years, and the slaughter dates they had written down on them were for a week that the plant had been closed for cleaning. The charges were dropped.
“Clearly somebody had gotten ahold of some old labels, put in a slaughter date, had no idea this plant was closed down and got caught,” said Dungate.
No one el s e was ever charged for that chicken.
 
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Provincial farmland purchase laws compared


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 16, 2015
From:
16 Oct 2015
National Post - (Latest Edition)
By Peter Kuitenbrouwer Financial Post
 
Land lovers
Agribusiness sector sprouts with Canadian farmland boom
 
 
Residential real estate booms in Vancouver and Toronto overshadow another property boom that is underway in Canada: the price of farmland.
 
A hungry planet with a growing population needs food. Canada has lots of space to grow it, and that makes the country’s farmland more and more desirable.
 
Figures from Farm Credit Canada show that the value of farmland rose 14.3 per cent in 2014, and 22.1 per cent in 2013. The boom hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board made waves in 2013 when it bought about 50,000 hectares of Saskatchewan farmland.
 
Anyone wanting to get in on this action should be forewarned: several provinces in Canada have very restrictive rules on trade in farmland, to preserve the land for the next generation of local farmers. Small wonder, then, that the inaugural edition of Chambers Canada ranks lawyers and firms in a new practice area, agribusiness.
 
In 2013 Quebec strengthened its 1979 Loi sur la protection des terres agricoles du Quebec, a law to protect farmland. The new rules require the commission to examine the impact of foreign bids for farmland on the price of farmland and the economy of the region. And the commission can permit a maximum of 1,000 hectares of Quebec farmland a year to fall into foreign hands. Even that is an illusory goal: the commission so far this year has granted applications for only 31.42 hectares.
 
“In a world that needs more food and energy, agriculture has become more of a focus,” says Danielle Drolet, a lawyer in the Quebec City office of McCarthy Tétrault LLP. The firm is ranked Band 2 for agribusiness in Chambers Canada.
 
“The new act is more challenging and it takes a long time,” Drolet adds. The commission this month granted an application she made in December 2013. “I think it’s really important to maintain the opportunities for the next generation but at the same time we should have reasonable access to farmland, if it is for farming.”
 
After the CPPIB land grab, Saskatchewan ordered a review of rules on purchase of farmland by non-residents of Saskatchewan.
 
“Nobody contemplated that they would be buying up the quantity of farmland that they did,” says Jeff Grubb, who works in the Regina office at Miller Thomson LLP. The firm has a Band 1 ranking for agribusiness. “The price of farmland in Saskatchewan was a bargain and people were saying, ‘ We want to get in on that.’
 
“In the last 10 years a number of parcels of land have sold to Chinese and Indians,” adds Grubb, who has represented buyers at the province’s Farmland Security Board. “They will send people who will take up residency.”
 
His advice to farmland shoppers: “Get your Canadian citizenship and away we go.”
 
British Columbia and Ontario have no restrictions on foreign buyers of their farmland. Wendy Baker, in the Vancouver office of Miller Thomson, instead deals with clients who seek to remove farmland from B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve. In May the B.C. government fired Richard Bullock as chair of its Agricultural Land Commission, and replaced him with former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard.
 
“The commission was very interested in maintaining the integrity of the ALR,” Baker says, adding that she does not know yet whether the new management will be more permissive, as Bullock has suggested.
 
Along with farmland, foreigners show increased interest in farm operations. Bruce King, a lawyer at Pitblado LLP in Winnipeg, represented an Asian entity that bought “a significant portion of a significant hog operation” in Manitoba. Chambers ranks Pitblado as Band 3 for agribusiness.
 
In Manitoba, non-residents and foreign entities may own only up to 16 hectares of farmland; King says that on one hand, those rules make sense.
“The rule came in place when people asked, ‘How are the sons and daughters of Manitoba farmers going to be able to own land?’” he says. “But who knows whether that philosophy should exist today? Right now the trend in farms is less family farm. Shouldn’t those people selling and retiring be able to sell at the highest possible price? Perhaps we should let foreigners pay market price, and not just Canadian buyers.”
 
Agribusiness is at the core of what makes Manitoba tick, King says. Grain companies and farm equipment manufacturers represent a great number of jobs.
 
“Manitoba is not boom or bust, it’s just steady as she goes,” he says.
 
Still, agribusiness is big business in every province in Canada. There are mergers and acquisitions, commodities exchanges, foreign investment, financings, and lots of regulation. Which means that there is lots of business for lawyers.
 
“It’s less glamorous than hightech, but people still need advice,” says Karl Delwaide, a lawyer in Montreal at Fasken Martineau LLP who cut his teeth in agricultural law as a Quebec civil servant. Chambers ranks Fasken as Band 2 for agribusiness. “There are a lot of rules. Not very many lawyers in downtown Montreal understand the laws. We represent companies who have difficulties.”
 
The end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly created many unique opportunities for investment on the prairies, notes Scott Exner, a McPherson Leslie & Tyerman lawyer based for years in Regina, and now based in Calgary. The firm is ranked as Band 2 practitioner for agribusiness.
 
Global Grain Group, or G3, coowned by Bunge Ltd, registered in Bermuda, and a Saudi Arabian company, this year paid $250 million for a 50.1 per cent stake in the Canadian Wheat Board.
 
“The Middle East is looking to invest in Canada to own grain handling facilities for grain to ship to the Middle East,” Exner explains.
 
Exner has helped arrange other major deals; he helped Saskatchewan farmers set up West Central Road and Rail to get their grain to market after the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool went public in the 1990s; West Central sold out to AGT Foods this past summer.
 
“The reason they invested was to keep their community alive,” Exner says.
 
In the end, they did more than just that: farmers who had bought West Central shares for $100 each cashed out at $310 to $340 per share.
 
But anyone investing in farmland or farm operations should have a long-term view, Exner says.
 
“In agriculture you’ll never get 80 per cent return in one year, but you’ll get steady returns.”
 
Band 1 Miller Thomson LLP
 
Band 2 Fasken Martineau LLP Fillmore Riley LLP MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP McCarthy Tétrault LLP
 
Band 3 Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP Pitblado LLP Stikeman Elliott LLP
 
 
 
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Wheat Importers Stock Up on Cheap Grain as Dry Weather Looms in Russia


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 15, 2015
Bloomberg, October 13 2015

The wheat market is seeing a flurry of business, signaling buyers may be locking in supplies as concerns develop about Russia’s next crop.

Major importing countries including Egypt, Algeria and Saudi Arabia have all bought wheat in international tenders in the past week, lured by prices that are about 14 percent lower than at the start of the year. While record crops worldwide have meantbargain prices this year for buyers, wheat costs in Chicago, Paris andRussia’s port city of Novorossiysk have all increased from the lows reached in late August or early September.

Russia, set to overtake the U.S. and Canada this season as the world’s biggest wheat exporter, has seen less than 40 percent of the normal amount of rain in the past 30 days across large swathes of its central and western growing regions, World Ag Weather data show, and much of Ukraine is in similar shape. While Black Sea-region farmers are still planting crops for next year’s harvest, and there’s plenty of time for a recovery in moisture, the concern has been enough to bring some buyers to the market.

“We’ve just started to see some risks looming for the 2016 crops,” Benjamin Bodart, a director at CRM Agri-Commodities in Newmarket, England, said by phone on Monday. “We’re not anywhere near a tight supply situation, but probably some major importing countries just took the opportunity to book forward some commodities.”

Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, bought 180,000 metric tons in a tender on Friday, with supplies coming from Russia and Romania. Algeria, the largest buyer from France, purchased at least 675,000 tons, Reuters reported, citing traders in Europe.
Saudi Arabia’s state grains agency bought 740,000 tons of hard wheat, according to a statement on Monday.Wheat prices on the Chicago Board of Trade, the global benchmark, traded at $5.075 a bushel by 7:05 a.m. local time on Tuesday, about 9.5 percent higher than a four-month low reached in early September. Futures on Euronext in Paris, which traded at the lowest in almost a year on Sept. 4, are up almost 9 percent since then, while Russian prices climbed 8.4 percent since late August, according to pricing from the Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies.

Even though prices have rebounded from recent lows, there are still plenty of wheat supplies around to stave off a larger rally, Bodart said. Global wheat stockpiles this season will reach the largest on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Ample supplies will send the world’s food

import bill this year to a five-year low, according to the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization in Rome.In other markets,
corn for December delivery fell 0.4 percent to $3.7925 a bushel in Chicago while soybeans for November delivery increased 0.7 percent to $8.9375 a bushel. Soybean meal for December delivery gained 0.7 percent to $311.50 for 2,000 pounds.
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Asia's hunger for bread and pastries boosts wheat demand


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 15, 2015
Reuters - Oct 15, 2015

Asia is losing some of its appetite for rice in favor of wheat, a trend that is nowhere more pronounced than South Korea where bread and pastries have become a new staple.
From working mothers, who find toast more convenient to prepare for breakfast, to city dwellers flocking to new eateries for baguettes, South Koreans are at the forefront of an Asia-wide trend that has seen wheat demand climb at nearly twice the rate of rice consumption since 2008.
And while Asia is largely self sufficient in rice, demand for bread and noodles from Mumbai to Manila has made Asia the largest and fastest growing market for wheat imports, shipping in more than 40 million tonnes annually for the past five years or 25 percent of world imports.
"I eat bread with coffee almost every morning," said Lee Seung-Hee, a 47-year-old working mother of two, who often gives her children bread as a snack between meals.
"My husband likes to have rice meals, so I try to cook rice for him. But when I'm too busy, I just give him bread."
South Koreans spent an estimated 6.36 trillion won ($5.37 billion) last year on bread, sandwiches, bagels and pastries, according to SPC Group, owner of the Paris Croissant and Paris Baguette chains, which has even opened two stores in the French capital Paris as part of global expansion.
Meanwhile, South Korea's rice consumption hit a record low of 65.1 kg per person last year, while flour consumption was the highest since 2006 at 33.6 kg, according to industry and official data.
"Housewives are increasingly having bread and coffee for brunch late morning instead of rice and kimchi," said Kang Byung-Oh, a business professor at Chung-Ang University, referring to the spicy local side dish.
SPC Group, which runs Asia's biggest bread making plant and has about 5,000 bakeries in South Korea, said the local bread market has grown at an average of 15 percent per year since 2005.
"You can find this trend across Asia, as Asian countries become westernized...Food products from wheat flour are quick, convenient," said Koh Hee-Jong, an agriculture and life science professor at Seoul National University.
NOODLES
Rising wheat consumption has been focused on large cities where an emerging middle class is exposed to a proliferation of convenience foods from pizzas to sandwiches.
In Indonesia, noodle consumption has helped increase wheat demand in the world's second-biggest importer by more than 60 percent since 2005 to nearly 8 million tonnes annually.
Even in India, the world's second-largest wheat grower, consumption is projected to surpass output by more than 5 million tonnes this year, sparking the largest imports in eight years.
Indian wheat demand is especially strong in the Northern Plains where it is grown, but is rising in the south where naan bread and chapattis vie with traditional rice consumption.
Bangladesh is expected to import around 3 million tonnes of wheat a year to help meet 4 million tonnes of local demand.
"We used to take rice three times a day. Now we are taking rice only once a day," said Humayra Ahmed, a bank employee and mother of two children in Dhaka.
China has also seen wheat demand soar and consumed a record 118 million tonnes in 2014.
Along with record pizza sales and noodle consumption, demand for cakes and pastries is also increasing.
"It's a symbol of lifestyle, consumers pair them (cakes and pastries) with coffee and chatting, and hanging out with friends," said Linda Li, senior research analyst at Mintel China.
PRODUCERS
With wheat production relatively low in some countries in Asia - South Korea only produces about 1-2 percent of its consumption - there is little alternative but to import more.
Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, the United States and Europe have been the chief beneficiaries of Asian wheat demand, seeing collective exports swell by over 40 percent since 2005.
But the relentless climb in wheat consumption does place a strain on exporters in places such as Australia to keep up.
"When you look at wheat consumption, it is to a very large degree driven by general increase in consumption as well as swap out of rice and other staples," said Ole Houe, an analyst at brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney. "We need to produce a record crop every year just to meet the demand."
 
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India's drought a bonanza for Canadian pulse growers


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 15, 2015
Winnipeg/Mumbai | Reuters — Prices for Canadian pulses typically ease toward the end of the year but a recent dry spell in distant India, the world’s top producer and consumer, is driving them up.
Back-to-back drought years for the first time in three decades has eroded India’s output of pulses and boosted imports. Global prices of chickpeas, yellow peas and lentils have as a result hit record highs in what is a windfall for farmers in Canada, Australia, Russia, Myanmar and the U.S..
Lee Moats, who farms near Riceton, southeast of Regina, said he was selling red lentils for 50 per cent more than a year ago, and was holding back crops in the hope that prices will climb higher.
“India is a very large pulse importer, and there is a shortfall, and that’s where Canada comes in,” he said.
Canada is the top supplier of pulses to the Asian country, which is expected to import one million tonnes more this year.
Bids to buy Canadian red lentils and yellow peas are far higher than normal for this time of the year, typically a period when prices ease with new supplies, said Chuck Penner, analyst at LeftField Commodity Research in Winnipeg.
Prices should get a further boost with Canada’s 2015 pea output projected, by Statistics Canada, to drop 17 per cent from a year ago to 3.16 million tonnes. Exports from Aug. 1 to Oct. 4 rose five per cent to 906,000 tonnes, data from the Canadian Grain Commission shows.
“Things are going to get even tighter… We are going to have to hit the brakes hard in terms of what we can supply to India,” Penner said.
India’s appetite
Pulses are a key source of protein in India, which has been struggling to increase its output to meet local demand.
Imports could rise to 5.5 million tonnes this year, said Nitin Kalantri, a miller from the state of Maharashtra. This would cost India $4.5 billion, versus the $2.6 billion it spent to import 4.5 million tonnes in the year ended March, he added (all figures US$).
India, which consumes nearly 22 million tonnes of pulses annually, sources yellow peas and lentils mainly from Canada and the U.S., chickpeas from Australia and Russia, and green gram and pigeon peas from Myanmar.
This year, India suffered a poor summer harvest and there are worries the drought will hit winter-sown chickpea after growing regions received as much as 40 per cent less rainfall.
Canadian farmers are likely to plant more pulses next spring, assuming they will provide better returns than grains and canola, said Darren Lemieux, head trader for Simpson Seeds, a special crops processor and exporter at Moose Jaw, Sask.
Rod Nickel and Rajendra Jadhav report for Reuters from Winnipeg and Mumbai respectively.
 
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Former Canada Wheat Board to open shipping terminal in Hamilton and others


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 13, 2015
The Globe and Mail is reporting that:

The former Canadian Wheat Board is expanding its grain network under new owners – and a new name – with the construction of a year-round shipping terminal in Hamilton.

G3 Canada Ltd. said on Tuesday the 50,000-tonne port facility at the western edge of Lake Ontario will load wheat, soybean and corn grown in Southern Ontario onto Great Lakes ships and rail cars destined for G3’s ports in Trois-Rivières and Quebec City and buyers overseas.

Grain “production in Ontario has been growing at a pretty dramatic rate and we’ve been eyeing this [new terminal] as a key component in our eastern origination strategy for some time now,” said Karl Gerrand, chief executive officer of G3.

The terminal will compete with Richardson International Ltd. and Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd., which have terminals at the port, and other well-established agriculture companies in the region.

Mr. Gerrand said G3’s terminal, which will cost more than $50-million and is expected to be ready for the 2017 harvest, will offer rail service using the shortline Southern Ontario Railway to connect with the two major Canadian railways to Quebec so shipments will not halt when the St. Lawrence Seaway closes for the winter.

“We felt it was a real plus to be able to operate year-round,” Mr. Gerrand said in an interview from Winnipeg, where G3 has moved into CWB’s offices.
. . . .

In addition to seven grain elevators in Western Canada and four in Quebec, G3 has a port terminal in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is the early stages of designing and building a grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

Another four grain handling facilities are being built in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Mr. Gerrand said the Hamilton terminal completes the Southern Ontario grain pipeline, and the company will focus on expanding its reach in the Prairies with new inland terminals in Saskatchewan and Alberta that will feed the planned Vancouver terminal, which serves Asian markets.

Mr. Gerrand said the company is not considering a purchase of any Viterra grain assets that Glencore is believed to be trying to sell.
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Provincial response to TPP varies - SK applaudes, AB needs to review, MB nothing


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 08, 2015

The government of Saskatchewan = "applauding today’s announcement " - see https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2015/october/05/tpp-deal

The Government of Alberta = "we need to review in detail" - see http://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=3863239B3C676-ABDC-3083-2BD033C7D3D9951B

The Government of Manitoba = no official release posted - see http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html

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Alberta government "needs to review" TPP


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 08, 2015

Agriculture Minister issues statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier issued the following statement in response to the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade negotiations:

“Alberta is a trade-focused province and we support the responsible growth of trade opportunities for our export sectors. This is a wide-ranging agreement that we need to review in detail before we know what the overall consequences are for Albertans.”

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Government of Saskatchewan Releases Farmland Consultation Results


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 07, 2015

Released on October 7, 2015

Views of More Than 3,200 People Heard Through Consultation Process

Today, the Ministry of Agriculture announced the results of the farmland ownership consultations, held from May until August.

“The purpose of the consultations was to inform government on how best to approach farmland ownership, and the results are clear,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said.  “The vast majority of respondents do not support pension plans or foreign investors purchasing farmland in Saskatchewan.  They do, however, support our government in taking a stronger role in enforcing farmland ownership rules."

Some of the results of the consultations include:

  • Seventy-five per cent of respondents opposed allowing investors such as Canadian pension funds to purchase farmland in Saskatchewan;
  • Eighty-seven per cent of respondents did not support foreign ownership of farmland and 69 per cent did not support foreign financing; and
  • Eighty-five per cent supported giving the Farm Land Security Board (FLSB) a greater role in enforcing compliance of farmland ownership rules.

The vast majority (95 per cent) of the respondents were Saskatchewan residents, and 62 per cent of all respondents were farmers.  The remainder were farmland owners and interested Saskatchewan residents.  Only five per cent of respondents were from outside of Saskatchewan.

“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey,” Stewart said.  “These results will ensure that we make decisions which help guarantee the long-term success and sustainability of our province’s agriculture industry.”

The complete results of the consultation are available at www.saskatchewan.ca/farmland.  Identifying information and offensive language has been removed from the written comments.  A Summary of Results from Public Consultations is also available.  

Next steps will be announced later this fall.

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Above average temps and average precip for next 9-months


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 30, 2015

Environment Canada published their long range forecast maps today.  The below maps reveal higher probability of above average temperatures (yellow and red colors) for each of the next 3-month windows (the three maps), with about average precipitation (represented by the white/no-color regions) in the following three maps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Canadian economy grows again, pointing to stronger second half


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 30, 2015

The Globe and Mail

The Canadian economy posted its second straight month of impressive growth in July, strengthening the case that the country’s economic fortunes have turned a corner following a trying first half of the year.

Statistics Canada reported that Canada’s real gross domestic product grew by 0.3 per cent month-over-month in July, building on the 0.4-per-cent growth posted in June. The two-month upturn marks a sharp reversal from the first five months of the year, when the economy contracted each month, bogged down by the impact of the oil shock and an unusually harsh winter. After a cumulative GDP decline of 0.9 per cent over the first five months of 2015, the economy has now rebounded by nearly 0.8 per cent over the past two months of data.

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Prairie wheat bids rise with U.S. futures


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 29, 2015

CNS Canada –– Cash wheat bids across Western Canada posted solid gains during the week ended Friday, as advances in U.S. futures and improving basis levels provided support.

Average Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat prices were up by C$6-$7 per tonne across the three Prairie provinces, according to price quotes from a cross-section of delivery points. Bids ranged from about $228 per tonne in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, to as high as $242 per tonne in southern Alberta.

Quoted basis levels varied from location to location, but improved by C$2 on average to sit at $40 above the futures when using the grain company methodology of quoting the basis as the difference between U.S. dollar-denominated futures and Canadian dollar cash bids.

When accounting for the currency exchange rates by adjusting the Canadian prices to U.S. dollars, CWRS bids ranged from US$171 to $182 per tonne. That would put the currency adjusted basis levels at about US$12-$23 below the futures.

Looking at it the other way around, if the Minneapolis futures are converted to Canadian dollars, CWRS basis levels across Western Canada range from C$16 to $30 below the futures.

Average Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) bids were up by C$7-$9 per tonne. CPSR prices came in at about $188 per tonne in Manitoba, $199 in Saskatchewan and $210-$213 in Alberta.

Soft white spring (CWSWS) wheat prices were up by C$12 per tonne on average. Prices ranged from $213 to $214 per tonne in Alberta.

Winter (CWRW) wheat prices were up by C$7-$10 per tonne. Prices ranged from about $188 to $195 per tonne, with the best levels in Alberta.

Average durum (CWAD) prices increased by C$5-$9 per tonne. Average bids in southern Saskatchewan, where the bulk of the crop is grown, were up $5 at $321 per tonne.

The December spring wheat contract in Minneapolis, off of which most CWRS contracts in Canada are based, was quoted at US$5.2275 per bushel on Friday, up 11.75 cents from the week prior.

Kansas City hard red winter wheat futures, traded in Chicago, are more closely linked to CPSR in Canada. The December K.C. wheat contract was quoted Friday at US$5.0025 per bushel, up 18 cents from last week.

The December Chicago Board of Trade soft wheat contract settled at US$5.0775 on Friday, 21 cents stronger compared to the week prior.

The Canadian dollar closed at US75.1 cents on Friday, down by about half a cent relative to its U.S. counterpart compared to the previous week.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow CNS Canada at @CNSCanada on Twitter.

Table: The weekly snapshot of average published prices for Sept. 28, 2015. Futures prices (US$ per tonne) vary slightly due to changes while data is collected. Cash bids (C$ per tonne) have currency conversion included in the basis. Source: AGCanada.com.

CWRS Future.  . Basis.  . Net
Manitoba 193.56 34.32 227.87
Sask North Central 194.01 33.84 227.84
Sask South 193.41 34.24 227.65
Alberta South 193.09 49.12 242.21
Alberta Central 193.45 46.81 240.25
Peace 193.56 42.90 236.46
CPSR Future Basis Net
Manitoba 185.55 3.01 188.56
Sask North Central 185.04 13.68 198.72
Sask South 185.62 12.32 197.95
Alberta South 185.79 27.39 213.18
Alberta Central 186.41 26.70 213.11
Peace 187.34 22.55 209.89
CWSWS Future Basis Net
Alberta South 188.77 25.54 214.31
Alberta Central 189.23 25.26 214.49
Peace 188.77 24.47 213.24
CWRW Future Basis Net
Manitoba 185.59 8.16 193.75
Sask North Central 184.40 3.28 187.68
Sask South 185.62 5.98 191.60
Alberta South 185.79 6.74 192.53
Alberta Central 185.96 9.59 195.55
Peace 185.74 7.38 193.12
CWAD     Net
Sask North Central.   .     322.93
Sask South     325.96
Alberta South     329.72
Alberta Central     326.16
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Why China matters to the world


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 15, 2015

China consumes a lot of the world's commodities.  This graphic demonstrates how much of the world's various items China consumes.  After seeing this, it is easy to see why the global markets get scared when China starts to falter.

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Prairie wheat bids climb higher


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 15, 2015

CNS Canada — Cash wheat bids across Western Canada posted solid gains during the week ended Friday, as U.S. futures recovered from their five-year lows and Canadian basis levels showed some improvement.

Average Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat prices were up by C$9 to $13 per tonne across the three Prairie provinces, according to price quotes from a cross-section of delivery points. Bids ranged from about $221 per tonne in southern Saskatchewan, to as high as $233 per tonne in southern Alberta.

Quoted basis levels varied from location to location, but improved by C$5 on average to sit at $36 above the futures when using the grain company methodology of quoting the basis as the difference between U.S. dollar-denominated futures and the Canadian dollar cash bids.

When accounting for the currency exchange rates by adjusting the Canadian prices to U.S. dollars, CWRS bids ranged from US$167 to $176 per tonne. That would put the currency adjusted basis levels at about US$14 to $23 below the futures.

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El Nino to strengthen in winter, gradually weaken in spring


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 11, 2015

Reuters— A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said El Nino conditions would gradually weaken through the Northern Hemisphere spring after peaking in late fall or early winter.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said the likelihood that El Nino conditions would persist through the Northern Hemisphere winter was about 95 per cent, up from a more than 90 per cent chance in last month’s forecast.

There has been a growing consensus among forecasters for a strong El Nino, the warming of Pacific sea-surface temperatures. The World Meteorological Organization said last week that this year’s phenomenon could be the strongest on record and was likely to peak between October and January.

The weather pattern can roil crops and commodities prices. Japan’s weather bureau said earlier on Thursday that there was a strong possibility that El Nino would stretch into the winter.

El Nino conditions would probably contribute to a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season and to above-normal seasons in both the central and Eastern Pacific hurricane basins, the CPC said.

It added that across the contiguous U.S., the effects of El Nino were likely to remain minimal during the early Northern Hemisphere autumn and increase into the late fall and winter.

The CPC said this month that “all models surveyed” predicted that El Nino would last into the Northern Hemisphere spring, up from an 80 per cent chance it estimated last month.

The El Nino phenomenon would mean increased likelihood of rain for parched areas of drought-stricken California later in the fall, although the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington would probably not get much relief.

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PotashCorp reported preparing to make hostile K+S bid


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 09, 2015

Reuters — PotashCorp is prepared to launch a hostile takeover offer for German potash mining rival K+S under certain conditions, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported Tuesday.

Handelsblatt cited financial sources as saying Saskatoon-based PotashCorp had talked to brokerages in Canada about such plans. PotashCorp declined to comment.

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Saskatchewan announces new agriculture drainage regulations


Written By: Eric Anderson, Sep 01, 2015

PROVINCE ANNOUNCES NEW AGRICULTURE DRAINAGE REGULATIONS

 

Released on September 1, 2015

First Phase in the Development of an Agricultural Water Management Strategy

Today, Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency Herb Cox announced new drainage regulations in Saskatchewan. The new regulations are the first phase of an agricultural water management strategy that recognizes the benefits of drainage and the importance of mitigating negative impacts.

“We recognize drainage is an important water management tool for producers and these new regulations will help us streamline the approval process to help producers become compliant while mitigating damage downstream,” Cox said. “These new regulations are part of the development of a risk based agricultural water management strategy that will improve the overall process, including applications and investigating complaints, and will help prevent future issues.”

The key changes in the new regulations are:

  •    ensuring that impacts related to flooding, water quality and habitat loss are addressed as part of the drainage works approval process;
  •    allowing landowner agreements as evidence of land control;
  •    simplifying and streamlining the application approval process;
  •    no longer exempting works constructed before 1981 from requiring an approval; and
  •    enabling the use of “qualified persons” in the design of higher risk drainage works.

These drainage regulations fulfill a commitment made in the 2014 Speech from the Throne. This is the first significant change to drainage regulations in 35 years.

The new drainage regulations were created after extensive online and industry stakeholder consultations. More than 500 public participants and 15 industry and environmental groups provided input into the creation of the new approach to drainage in Saskatchewan.

The new regulations are the first step in a phased-in approach to bring all drainage in the province into compliance over the next 10 years. These changes facilitate the start of the overall approach to the agricultural water management strategy.

The next phase of the agricultural water management strategy will be the development and refining of policies and program delivery which will be used in a series of pilot projects and then expanded to the rest of the province.

The pilot projects are based in the Souris Basin near Stoughton and the Assiniboine Basin near Canora. Local producers, watershed authorities and representatives in those areas have committed to working with the WSA to implement the new agricultural water management strategy and to help bring existing drainage projects into compliance.

The WSA will continue working with stakeholders on this strategy to develop policies on mitigation, application processes and informational materials.

“Drainage is one of the major issues facing rural Saskatchewan so we are pleased that the government is implementing regulations meant to address deficiencies with the current system,” Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities President Ray Orb said. “We have been awaiting this announcement and look forward to working with the government on the implementation of these regulations and further refinement of the agriculture water management strategy as it is phased in over the next few years.”

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WeatherFarm and AccuWeather still tied for lead in weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 28, 2015

With this week's win by Environment Canada, they are inching-up on our tied contest leaders AccuWeather and WeatherFarm.

We have now completed 10 rounds of our weather forecasting contest (the first round did not include WeatherFarm, but the next 9 did). 

Here are the Total points for the last 9 rounds (with Weather Farm) and then all 10 rounds (without Weather Farm).

 

Here are the ranked weekly results - by points that week (forecaster names then week #):

Here are our contest rules:

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Environment Canada wins round 10 of our weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 28, 2015

The resuts from the 10th weather forecasting contest ending August 27th are in - the chart below reveals the current contest results and the formula.

Environment Canada had the best 3-day forecast - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only." 

This week the overnight lows for days 2 and 3 were vastly different than anybody forecasted, resulting in some of our lowest scores ever.

Currently, WeatherFarm and AccuWeather are tied for most wins at 4 each, Environment Canada follows with 2 wins, and Weather Network has yet to register a win.

The forecasts were captured at the same time, the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

Here are the current round's results:

Here are our contest rules:

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'Megatrends' expected to move ag sector in future


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 28, 2015

‘Megatrends’ expected to move ag sector in future

Aug. 28th, 2015 by Phil Franz-Warkentin    

From http://www.agcanada.com/daily/megatrends-expected-to-move-ag-sector-in-future

 

CNS Canada — Health-conscious customers with money to spend will be looking to purchase more food over the next 20 years, while changing technologies and global economic uncertainty will bring their own challenges.

That’s the outlook in a recent report out of Australia, highlighting five megatrends expected to impact the agricultural sector in the coming decades.

Rural Industry Futures: Megatrends impacting Australian agriculture over the coming 20 years was compiled by the country’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), together with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), in an effort to draw out the longer-term trends that could impact rural industries going forward.

While the report focuses on the Australian situation, the opportunities and challenges presented can be expected to have a similar impact on the Canadian agriculture sector.

A “megatrend” is defined in the report as “a trajectory of change that will have profound implications for industry and society.”

Each megatrend is interlinked with the others and has its own supply and demand side implications for the agricultural sector, according to the report.

The five megatrends in the report include:

1. A hungrier world: Global populations are rising while land devoted to agricultural production is shrinking. That will create increased demand for good and fibre from those countries with exportable supplies.

2. A wealthier world: Average annual incomes are also rising as more people are expected to move out of poverty, with diets shifting away from staple subsistence foods to higher-protein options. This creates opportunities for diversification and new markets.

3. Choosy customers: The desire for healthier food options is expected to grow, with expectations on ethical and environmental factors also becoming a larger factor in customer choices.

4. Transformative technologies: Advances in genetics, materials science, and digital technologies will alter how food is grown and how it is transported. In addition to production improvements, increased traceability and advances in food manufacturing are expected.

5. A bumpier ride: Climate change and the increasing globalization of the world economy have the potential to create new and deeper risks for farmers, according to the report.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow CNS Canada at @CNSCanada on Twitter.

 

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WeatherFarm ties AccuWeather for lead in weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 24, 2015

With this week's win by WeatherFarm, they have now tied AccuWeather for the most wins in our weather forecasting contest.

We have now completed 9 rounds of our weather forecasting contest (the first round did not include WeatherFarm, but the next 8 did). 

 

Here are the Total points for the last 8 rounds (with Weather Farm) and then all 9 rounds (without Weather Farm).

 

Here are the ranked weekly results - by points that week (forecaster names then week #):

 

Here are our contest rules:

 

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WeatherFarm wins round 9 of the ongoing weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 24, 2015

The resuts from the 9th weather forecasting contest ending August 23rd are in - the chart below reveals the current contest results and the formula.

WeatherFarm (using their results data, not Environmnet Canada's) had the best 3-day forecast - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only." 

WeatherFarm has now tied AccuWeather for most wins at 4 each, Environment Canada follows with 1 win, and Weather Network has yet to register a win.

The forecasts were captured at the same time, the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

Here are the current round's results:

 

 

Here are our contest rules:

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AccuWeather still leading weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 18, 2015

With this week's win by WeatherFarm, they are closing in on AccuWeather for the most wins in our weather forecasting contest.

We have now completed 8 rounds of our weather forecasting contest (the first round did not include WeatherFarm, but the next 7 did). 

AccuWeather is out in front with 4 weekly-wins so far:

 

 

Here are the Total points for the last 7 rounds (with Weather Farm) and then all 8 rounds (without Weather Farm).

 

 

Here are the ranked weekly results - by points that week (forecaster names then week #):

 

Here are our contest rules:

 

 

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Weather Farm wins round 8 of weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 18, 2015

The resuts from the 8th weather forecasting contest ending August 17th are in - the chart below reveals the current contest results and the formula.

WeatherFarm (using their results data, not Environmnet Canada's) had the best 3-day forecast - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only." 

AccuWeather still leads the contest with the most wins (at 4) and most total points, with WeatherFarm in 2nd with 3 wins, and Environment Canada in 3rd with 1 win (Weather Network has yet to register a win).

Of note, this weeks score by WeatherFarm was the highest recorded to date!

The forecasts were captured at the same time, the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

Here are the current round's results:

Hetre are pur contest rules:

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Canadian wheat, canola, and durum export destinations


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 17, 2015

Statistics Canada released our grain export destinations for June 2015 today.  Below are the total quarterly Canadian exports for three major crops (including June 2015):

 

 

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WeatherFarm closing in on AccuWeather to lead weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 14, 2015

With this week's win by WeatherFarm, they are closing in on AccuWeather for the most wins in our weather forecasting contest.

We have now completed 7 rounds of our weather forecasting contest (the first round did not include WeatherFarm, but the next five did). 

AccuWeather is out in front with 4 weekly-wins so far:

Here are the Total points for the last 6 rounds (with Weather Farm) and then all 7 rounds (without Weather Farm).

Here are the ranked weekly results - by points that week (forecaster names then week #):

Here is our points formula:

 

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WeatherFarm wins round 7 of weather forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 14, 2015

The resuts from the 7th weather forecasting contest ending August 13th are in - the chart below reveals the current contest results and the formula.

WeatherFarm (using their results data, not Environmnet Canada's) had the best 3-day forecast - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only."  AccuWeather still leads the contest with the most wins (at 4) and most total points, with WeatherFarm in 2nd with 2 wins, and Environment Canada in 3rd with 1 win (Weather Network has yet to register a win).

The forecasts were captured at the same time, the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

Here are the current round's results:

 

Here is the contest's points formula:

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El Nino now seen more likely to last into spring


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 14, 2015

Reuters is reporting that  . . .

A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday raised the likelihood that El Nino conditions would last into the Northern Hemisphere’s early spring to 85 per cent, boosting the probability that drought-stricken California could see increased rains.

The Climate Prediction Center, a U.S. National Weather Service agency, last month forecast an 80 per cent chance that conditions would last through early spring. The CPC still says there is a more than 90 per cent chance that El Nino conditions would last through the Northern Hemisphere winter.

The new forecast marginally raises the risk that the El Nino phenomenon, the warming of Pacific sea-surface temperatures, will unleash a period of extreme and potentially damaging weather across the globe.

Past instances have caused heavy rains and floods, hitting grain crops in South America, and scorching weather as far as Asia and East Africa.

But one potential El Nino beneficiary could be California, where record-low rainfall has prompted water usage restrictions and contributed to the spread of devastating wildfires.

“It definitely would increase the likelihood of heavy rains in the winter there, which would certainly improve their situation tremendously,” said Donald Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist with Maryland-based MDA Weather Services.

California could begin to get increased rainfall as early as October and definitely by November or December, Keeney said.

Rainfall will probably not increase in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington, which are also suffering from droughts, although they could experience higher temperatures like much of the northern U.S., Keeney said.

The CPC said the effects of El Nino were likely to remain minimal across the contiguous U.S. for the rest of the summer but would increase into the late fall and winter.

In Western and central Canada, an El Nino event is most often associated with above-normal temperatures and drier conditions during winter.

El Nino would probably contribute to a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season, the CPC said. That would reduce the likelihood of storms disrupting energy operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

However, the agency said El Nino was likely to lead to above-normal hurricane seasons in both the central and Eastern Pacific hurricane basins.

Reporting for Reuters by Luc Cohen in New York. Includes files from AGCanada.com Network staff.

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Drones being used to increase crop yields


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 13, 2015

The Globe and Mail is reporting that . . .

Drones have long been used for military purposes, but Nova Scotia-based start-up Sky Squirrel Technologies Inc. has found a more peaceful use for the technology.

 Sky Squirrel deploys small drones equipped with infrared cameras to cruise the skies over vineyards, sending back images that help growers monitor for moisture level, disease, rot, insect damage and general crop health – all things that contribute to the quality of the grapes and the resulting wine.

 In the past, farmers would have had to walk their fields, taking samples back to send off to the lab. “If you have hundreds of acres, that is just not feasible,” says Richard van der Put, the Swiss-born co-founder and chief technology officer for Sky Squirrel.

 In comparison, the company’s drone technology takes as many as 500 images during a single flight. “Our clients send the images to us via the cloud and we combine them into a map,” says van der Put. “Then we use a specialized image algorithm that allows us to assess crop health.” With the help of GPS positioning on their mobile devices, farmers, “can see where they are currently in the field and correlate that with the analysis” to pinpoint areas of concern, van der Put says.

 The result: One client managed to reduce his water usage by a third. And the system has proven 97 per cent effective at detecting diseases like Flavesence Dorée – which mainly affects European vineyards. It also picks up leafroll – a disease that can devastate vineyards, wiping out 30 to 50 per cent of the crop.

. . ..

 Other companies have focused on technology with a wider application. Manitoba-based Farmers Edge Precision Consulting Inc. got its start in founder Wade Barnes’s basement 10 years ago with a general focus on precision agriculture and agronomics – basically using comprehensive data to boost farmers’ yields and lower their fertilizer usage. The company uses satellite images to identify where to plant, how much fertilizer to use and when and how much to irrigate – allowing farmers to increase yields and lower fertilizer and water usage (hence costs).

 

Full story at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-growth/farmers-use-drones-and-data-to-boost-production/article25943786/

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SK Farmland Ownership survey raps up


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 13, 2015

With public consultations on farmland ownership rules wrapped this week, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart is keeping an open mind about what legislative changes, if any, are needed to the Saskatchewan Farm Security Act.

While admitting “he hadn’t a clue” what kind of changes respondents wanted, Stewart said the government would be “informed” by the results of the survey. “Depending on the results of the survey, we may deem that no change is required. So in that case, there would be no legislation,” Stewart told reporters at the Legislative Building Wednesday.

But Stewart added: “There’s a fairly strong likelihood that we’ll find from the results of the survey that the respondents would like some kind of change. That being the case, we’ll have some legislation prepared to go in the fall session.”

During the three-month consultation period, the government received nearly 3,200 responses to its survey on the issue, with 62 per cent of coming from farmers. Only six per cent of respondents were non-residents.

Stewart conceded there will likely be some disagreement between farmers and business over the issue of farmland ownership by pension funds and other institutional investors.

Full story at Regina Leader Post

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Farmer in Italy testing methane powered New Holland tractor


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 11, 2015

Luca Remmert's farm in Venaria, Reale, Italy is testing the New Holland T6 Methane Tractor technology, which  is being developed with the goal of making farms self-sufficient.

 

Methane would be 30-percent cheaper than diesel. And for farms that produce their own bio-methane, the costs of fuel would drop to nothing. Bio-methane is a type of gas produced by the processing of organic waste — something farms have a lot of.

“When the machinery is ready, I will be among the first customers,” Remmert said recently at the farm, where New Holland was showing off the technology.

The methane-run T6 would hit production in about five years, according to New Holland.

For a farm to get the most savings out of it, it would have to be able to produce bio-methane, which has significant upfront equipment costs. In addition, the drive toward biofuels is being slowed by the sharp drop in the cost of fossil fuel over the last year.

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AccuWeather continues leading our forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 10, 2015

We have now completed six rounds of our weather forecasting challenge (the first round did not include WeatherFarm, but the next 6 did). 

AccuWeather is out in front with 4 weekly-wins so far:

Here are the Total points for the last 5 rounds (with Weather Farm) and then all 6 rounds (without Weather Farm).

 

 

Here are the ranked weekly results - by points that week (forecaster names then week #):

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Who has the best weather forecast - AccuWeather wins again


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 10, 2015

The resuts from the 6th weather forecasting contest ending August 7th are in - the below charts reveal the current contest results and the formula.

AccuWeather had the best 3-day forecast - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only."  AccuWeather leads the contest with the most wins (at 4) and most total points.  Environment Canada and WeatherFarm also have 1-win each.

The forecasts were captured at the same time, the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

Here are the current round's results:

Here are the contest rules:

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Oil prices may drop further - but end in sight


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 05, 2015

Oil dip triggers global trouble spots

Tuesday, 4 Aug 2015 | 4:22 AM CT

Helima Croft, RBC Capital Markets, discusses how cheap crude prices are impacting oil-focused economies and whether prices are headed lower from here.

Video is at:  http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000403240

 

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AccuWeather still leading our forecasting contest


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 04, 2015

We have now completed five rounds of our weather forecasting challenge (the first round did not include WeatherFarm, but the next four did). 

AccuWeather is out in front with 3 weekly-wins so far:

Here are the Total points for the last four rounds (with Weather Farm) and then all five rounds (without Weather Farm).

 

 

Here are the ranked weekly results - by points (forecaster then week #):

 

Here are the contest rules:

 

 

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Who had best weather forecast - Environment Canada this time


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 04, 2015

The resuts from the 5th weather forecasting contest are in - the below charts reveal the current contest results and the formula.

Environment Canada had the best 3-day forecast - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only."  This was Environment Canada's first win - Accu Weather has won three-times and Weather Farm once.

The forecasts were captured at the same time, the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

Here are the current round's results:

 

Here are our contest rules:

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G3 Global closes CWB deal and retires name


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 04, 2015

Commodity News Service Canada – G3 Global Grain Group, a newly established agribusiness joint venture based in Winnipeg, has officially closed its investment in a majority interest in CWB, the former Canadian Wheat Board.

CWB will be combined with the grain assets of Bunge Canada to form a new Canadian agribusiness, G3 Canada Limited, a news release from CWB said on Friday.

“Combining the local market presence and global expertise of CWB and Bunge Canada Grain provides the opportunity to fulfill a promise to Canadian producers – to create a new and competitive alternative for the marketing of their grain,” said Karl Gerrand, G3 CEO in the release.

“The name change to G3 Canada Limited represents another step towards our vision of building a highly efficient coast to coast grain handling enterprise, and I welcome the opportunity to work with the dedicated teams from G3, Bunge Canada and CWB, who have worked so hard to bring these transactions to a successful conclusion.”

CWB’s President and CEO, Ian White, helped lead the organization through the transformational process, and is gratified with the investment outcome.

“CWB is pleased to complete the initiative to commercialize. The capital investment G3 brings, as well as extensive operational experience, is a huge benefit to the sector, and we are pleased that Canadian grain producers will be able to continue to participate in the growth of the new company,” White said.

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SASKATCHEWAN CALLS FOR FULL REPEAL OF COOL


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 30, 2015

Released on July 30, 2015

Today, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart reiterated the importance of the U.S. Senate’s outright repeal of Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) for beef and pork.  

“Frankly, this issue has been dragging on for far too long,” Stewart said.  “The expense and loss for our cattle and hog producers has been significant.  The U.S. has had more than enough time to do the right thing and fully repeal COOL for beef and pork.  If COOL isn’t fully repealed for beef and pork, we will get to the point where retaliation is inevitable.  While the costs for both Canada and the U.S. will be enormous, the U.S. must comply with their trade obligations.” 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) originally ruled in 2012 that COOL was discriminatory to Canadian hog and beef exports.  A final ruling by the WTO in May, 2015 reaffirmed that the U.S. COOL measure is inconsistent with international trade commitments.  

On June 10, 2015 the U.S. House passed a bill that would allow for the outright repeal of COOL for beef and pork while avoiding retaliation.  However, a new Bill calling for voluntary labelling has stalled efforts to get the Bill passed in the Senate. 

“The proposed solution of voluntary labelling as introduced by Senator Stabenow will not solve the problem,” Stewart said.  “This proposal is nothing more than COOL re-worded and will continue to result in discrimination towards Canadian cattle and hogs.  

Saskatchewan will continue to stand alongside the federal government in its efforts to resolve COOL, including the implementation of $3 billion in annual retaliation if necessary. 

“The federal government has been persistent in their efforts to get COOL repealed for beef and pork, and we thank them for their work,” Stewart added. 

Since COOL was introduced in 2008, Canada’s industry has estimated damages to be in the billions due to price declines, lost sales and added costs

 

Full story at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2015/july/30/saskatchewan-calls-for-full-repeal-of-cool

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Used Grain Bag Roller - Government Rebate up to $5000


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 30, 2015

The Government of Saskatchewan has published that . . . .

Plastic Grain Bag Roller BMP

Intent of BMP:

Removing grain from grain bags often occurs during the winter months when snow and ice buildup can make it difficult to remove the bag from the field. Having access to a grain bag roller as the grain is extracted makes consolidation and recycling of the plastic easier and more convenient. The plastic also remains cleaner if immediately rolled which is preferred by the recycling industry. Recycling is an environmentally preferred alternative to burning, burying or taking bags to landfill sites. 

This BMP will assist producers with the purchase of a grain bag roller. The intent of the BMP is to better manage, store and recycle grain bags thereby reducing the environmental risks associated with improper disposal.

Funding Level:

50 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $5,000.

Application Type:

Rebate

Technical Resource:

For more information on this BMP, please contact Financial Programs Branch at 1-877-874-53651-877-874-5365

For information about grain bag recycling programs please contact SimplyAg Solutions Inc. at 1-866-298-71-866-298-7222

Eligibility:

Project Costs:

Eligible Costs:

  • Plastic grain bag stand-alone roller unit.
  • Incorporated roller unit in a grain extractor if it produces a roll acceptable to recycle.
  • Hydraulic components to connect to the tractor hydraulic system if not part of the roller system.

Ineligible Costs:

  • Costs for projects started prior to April 1, 2015. 
  • A trailer to haul the stand-alone roller unit.
  • Equipment for loading or hauling used plastic.
  • Labour including applicant, employee or custom.
  • In-kind labour costs to assemble equipment.
  • Power units not built into the roller unit.
  • Transportation of the roller unit from the dealership to the farm.
  • Used or leased items or equipment. To be eligible, new items or equipment must be purchased from a grain bag dealer or manufacturer.
 

 

Article from http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Plastic-Grain-Bag-Roller-BMP

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29 varieties to be removed CWRS and CPSR classes


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 30, 2015

The list includes formerly popular varieties such as Katepwa, Harvest and Kane

The Canadian Grain Commission has announced that as of August 1, 2017, 29 varieties will no longer be eligible for of Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) and Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheat classes.


The list (below) of 25 CWRS and four CPSR varieties includes formerly popular varieties such as Katepwa, Harvest and Kane as well as Neepawa, which was once the check variety for the CWRS class.

 

The full story is here http://www.agcanada.com/daily/29-varieties-to-be-removed-cwrs-and-cpsr-classes

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Weather forecasting contest results to date - AccuWeather in the lead


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 28, 2015

We have now completed four rounds of our weather forecasting challenge.  The first round did not include WeatherFarm, but the next three did. 

Here are the Totals for the last three rounds (with Weather Farm) and then all four rounds (without Weather Farm).

 

 

The weekly results that led to these totals are:

 

The contests rules and format are:

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Weather forecasting contest results - round 4 - AccuWeather wins again


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 28, 2015

The resuts from the 4th weather forecasting contest are in - the below charts reveal the current contest results and the formula. 

AccuWeather had the best 3-day forecast (again) - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only."

The forecasts were captured at the same time, the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

Here are the current round's results:

 

Here are our contest's rules:

 

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Canada had weak first 4 months but not in a recession


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 28, 2015

Canada isn’t in a recession.  That’s the conclusion of the country’s unofficial arbiter of recessions, the C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council, made up of 12 prominent economists.  After meeting last week, the council determined that “data did not provide evidence that Canada had entered an economic downturn,” according to a statement being released Tuesday by the C.D. Howe Institute, an independent think tank based in Toronto.  The council, made up of current and former bank chief economists as well as academics, said it based its assessment on a review of recent data on gross domestic product, employment and “sectoral activity.”

“The council noted weak GDP data in the first four months of 2015, primarily associated with low oil prices and falling investment in the energy and some other resource sectors,” according to the statement.  At the same time, it highlighted “resilience” in labour markets, including positive job growth and a steady employment rate.

 

The full story is at:

Canada had weak first 4 months but not in a recession, economists say

BARRIE McKENNA

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Jul. 28, 2015 12:00AM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 28, 2015 10:02AM EDT

 

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BMO Bank of Montreal Announces Western Canada Drought Relief Program for Farmers


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 28, 2015

BMO Bank of Montreal Announces Western Canada Drought Relief Program for Farmers

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - July 27, 2015) - BMO Bank of Montreal today announced a financial relief program to assist its commercial customers in Western Canada affected by the significant drought conditions in the region.

"Across Western Canada, in particular Alberta and Saskatchewan, current drought conditions have the potential to negatively impact crop yields," said Steve Murphy, Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "While the impact of the drought will not be fully known until the crop harvest is complete this fall, we want to ensure our farmers in these affected regions have the financial support now to help alleviate any future challenges."

The relief program for farmers impacted by the drought includes:

  • Deferred loan payments.
  • Reduced and/or waived fees on any application seeking increased or new financing accommodation.
  • Reduced and/or waived annual banking fees.

For further information, customers are encouraged to visit a local BMO branch, call 1-877 CALL BMO (225-5266), or visit www.bmo.com. For information on branch locations in your area, please visit the BMO Branch Locator: https://locator.bmo.com/.

About BMO and Agriculture

BMO's roots in the Canadian agricultural sector date back to 1817, when the Bank first began working with farmers to support and expand the agricultural industry, which has become a key driver of Canada's economy. Today, BMO provides customized loan, deposit, cash management and card payment solutions to Canada's agri-business owners.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $633 billion as of April 30, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

Media Contacts:
Matt Duffin, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
matthew.duffin@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia
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SK FARMLAND OWNERSHIP CONSULTATIONS OPEN FOR TWO MORE WEEKS


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 27, 2015

The Government of Saskatchewan released today ......

There are two weeks left to participate in the farmland ownership survey. Consultations run until Monday, August 10. 

As of July 24, 2015, more than 1,700 surveys have been received.  The information collected will help the Government of Saskatchewan determine who should be allowed to own farmland in Saskatchewan. 

“We are pleased with the amount of participation to date,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said.  “That being said, there is still time left to take part, and I encourage everyone interested to have their say.  The more people who participate, the fuller our understanding will be of public opinion regarding farmland ownership in our province. It will help ensure that we make the best decisions for the people of Saskatchewan.”

Once consultations end, survey results and comments will be posted online in the fall of 2015.  Names, addresses and all other identifying information will be removed before results are published.  After the results have been analyzed, decisions will be made regarding next steps. 

The survey can be completed online at www.Saskatchewan.ca/farmland.  Paper copies are available at Ministry of Agriculture Regional Offices and can be requested by calling the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.  An education document accompanies the survey to give participants information regarding the existing legislation surrounding farmland ownership in the province.

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Weather forecasting contest results to date


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 24, 2015

We've compiled the results from the first three week's of the weather forecasting conest.  The winner so far is AccuWeather, followed by

The contest consists of grabbing their forecasts at the same time on one day, for the following three days, for Saskatoon, SK.  We then check the Environment Canada posted results after the three days have passed and calculate the results.  Weather Farm's forecast is actually for a site north west of Saskatoon, so we post their results in comparison to their site's actual weather results and those of Environment Canada's.

For the first round, we did not include WeatherFarm - only AccuWeather, Environment Canada, and Weather Network.  So, we have results below for those included in all 3 rounds, then only the most recent 2 rounds.

 

Here is the formula we used.

 

 

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Round 3 weather forecasting contest results


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 24, 2015

We've tabulated the scores for the third round of the "weather forecasting contest."  The third round was won by the Weather Network, followed by AccuWeather, then Environment Canada, and Weather Farm.

The contest consists of grabbing their forecasts at the same time on one day, for the following three days, for Saskatoon, SK.  We then check the Environment Canada posted results after the three days have passed and calculate the results.  Weather Farm's forecast is actually for a site north west of Saskatoon, so we post their results in comparison to their site's actual weather results and those of Environment Canada's.

Here is the formula we used.

 

We enter their forecasts into the below sheet and do the calculations.  Here are the current results:

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Ag Minister Ritz - look to crop insurance first


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 23, 2015

AgCanada is reporting that . . ..

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says ad hoc programs are not the answer should producers require assistance.

“We don’t need ad hoc (assistance), we’ve got a very comprehensive system of business risk management,” said Gerry Ritz, speaking in Winnipeg last week. “There’s four different pillars in that, and of course crop insurance is first and foremost the first line of defence.”

AgriStability will also be able to assist producers, said Ritz, noting that the five-year incoming averaging period the program relies on is designed to stabilize farm returns in years where production or profit fall due to poor weather or other factors beyond producers’ control.

Ritz noted that crop insurance has also been expanded to include pastureland and forages, both of which have been affected by a lack of rainfall in many areas of Western Canada.

The story goes on to speak about Tax Deferral For Cattle

Ranchers in certain regions will eligible to apply the Livestock Tax Deferral Provision, announced by Minister Ritz on July 23.

To defer income, the breeding herd must have been reduced by at least 15 per cent. If this is the case, 30 per cent of income from net sales can then be deferred. In cases where the herd declines by 30 per cent or more, 90 per cent of income from net sales can be deferred, according to Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

Full story at http://www.agcanada.com/daily/look-to-crop-insurance-first-ritz

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Oil seed crushing - continues on trend lines with June rising


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 23, 2015

Statistics Canada released the June 2015 oil seed crushing data today.

The amounts have level-off over the past few years.

 

However, June-only amounts continue to rise.

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June grain deliveries up, but quarter looks similar


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 23, 2015

Statistics Canada has released the June 2015 grain deliveries data.

Compared to previous Junes, the deliveries were up dramatically for wheat and canola in Saskatchewan, while Alberta and Manitoba were along current trends.

 

Compared to previous 2nd quarter deliveries, deliveries average-out a bit and on Saskatchewan durum wheat saw a dramatic change.

 

And,.if you want to see the historical flow, here it is:

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Grain movement is going well


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 22, 2015

Qurom is reporing that . . . .

Stocks in Store
• Country stocks this week remained at 2.9 MMT utilizing 69% of the system’s working capacity. Space in
elevators is good. Producer deliveries to primary elevators were 0.8 MMT in Week 49.
• Total western port terminal stocks increased to 1.0 MMT this week, utilizing 57% of the working capacity.
 

Railway Car Supply
• Railcar allocation plans were supplied by CN to Week 51 while CP’s allocation has been calculated using
monthly reports to week 17. (see page 3 for details) Shippers report that rail service and order fulfillment
continues to meet demand to Western Ports. Car allocation to Churchill is underway.

Shipments
• Year to date Western Canadian shipments from port terminal elevators at Week 49 are 23% higher than the
same period last year and 29% higher than the 5-year average.

 

Full story at http://www.grainmonitor.ca/Downloads/WeeklyReports/GMPGOCWeek49.pdf

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$8.5M funding to help boost wheat crops


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 22, 2015

 

A U of S crop scientist expects $8.5 million in genomics research funding will help prairie farmers grow better, more efficient wheat crops.

Curtis Pozniak, who grew up near Rama in east-central Saskatchewan, will spend the next four years researching genomic tools to support wheat breeding after winning a national large-scale applied research project competition, Genomics and Feeding the Future.

Pozniak and the National Research Council’s Andrew Sharpe designed one of three U of S-based projects to receive funding from the competition, which is designed to address the increased demand for food caused by climate change and a growing global population.

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Farmers offered a prize for 100-bushel canola


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 22, 2015

Ag Canada is reporting that . . . .

A complete set of John Deere equipment for the first to crack 100 bushels on 50 acres

Producing bigger crops on the same amount of land is the challenge for ensuring world food security. North American canola growers who want to meet that challenge now have an extra incentive — a complete John Deere equipment package if they’re the first to grow 100 bushels per acre on 50 acres of canola.

Canola 100 is the first of a series of Agri-Prize competitions organized by Agri-Trend and sponsored by John Deere and Glacier FarmMedia. The competition is designed to inspire farmers to pursue innovative methods to grow a safe, reliable and environmentally sustainable food supply to better feed the world.

The competition was announced July 21 at the opening day of Ag in Motion in Saskatoon.

“Farmers have hit 80 and even 90 bushels”, explains Agri-Trend CEO, Robert Saik “so we believe the 100 bushels per acre is an attainable stretch that will involve farmers paying attention to every detail. This is why we are excited about partnering with John Deere and Glacier FarmMedia to bring this competition to canola growers.”

The contest is open to any non-irrigated farmer growing spring-seeded canola in the canola belt of Canada and the United States. It’s open to any type of genetics and farming technology. The first farmer to produce a verified average of 100 bushels per acre on 50 acres of contiguously seeded canola will win a prize package of 100 hours each of a John Deere tractor, air seeder, high-clearance sprayer, windrower and combine.

Canola 100 will run for three crops starting in 2016. If the 100-bushel mark has not been reached by 2018, the highest recorded yield will take the prize.

For official rules (to be posted Sept.) and details go to www.agriprize.com

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OIl prices to remain low


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 21, 2015

The Australian is reporting that  . . . .

Crude oil is likely to remain depressed in the year ahead as the major producers show no sign of altering their strategy of maintaining supply ahead of an expected pick up in global demand.

The glut could get worse next year with the resumption of international sales by Iran following last week’s nuclear deal with the West, but the sustainability of any Iranian sales isn’t guaranteed.

Helima Croft, RBC Capital Markets’ global head of commodity strategy, expects West Texas crude to stay in the vicinity of $US50-$US60 a barrel in the absence of significant production cutbacks.

“Until you have Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or Iraq deciding to reduce production, we think WTI is kind of range bound,” says Ms Croft, who has worked at the US Council on Foreign Affairs and the CIA.

“Increasing global demand can provide a floor, but to move comfortably above $US60 a barrel in WTI, we will need to see production come down materially.”

Full story is at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/markets/oil-price-outlook-dim-rbc-capital-markets-helima-croft/story-e6frg916-1227449805205

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Canola exports to South Korea up 171%


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 21, 2015

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that . . .

Seven months after Canada’s first free-trade agreement with an Asian country went into effect, the deal is already boosting the first group of Canadian goods that had their South Korean import tariffs removed, officials said.

Trade officials said figures showing Canada accumulating a trade deficit with South Korea during the first months of the free-trade deal are misleading, since the figures included coal, where the demand has softened.

In a recent interview, Lee Kie Cheon, consul-general for South Korea in Vancouver, said the deal’s benefits for Canadian businesses and the economy can already be seen in a number of sectors. Among the commodities already recording gains: Canadian exports of canola (up 171 per cent in the first six months of this year), frozen pork (up 40 per cent up to May), and B.C. seafood (up 133 per cent from January to April).

The Canada-South Korea free-trade agreement went into effect on Jan. 1.

 

Full story at The Vancouver Sun, JUly 20, 2015, Page A11

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Grain transportation review recommendations


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 20, 2015

Ag Canada is reporting that . . . .

Winnipeg — Ongoing assessment of the grain transportation system and better protection for small shippers are two of the eight recommendations made by the Crop Logistics Working Group (CLWG). They will now be submitted to the Canada Transportation Act Review for consideration.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was in Winnipeg Monday to announce the findings of the group’s final report, which he said “provides recommendations for improving the crop logistics system, including comprehensive input into the review underway.”

Greater transparency in the rail market was another recommendation made by the working group, which was composed of 18 stakeholder groups representing growers, handlers and millers.

“I think the biggest thing,” said Ritz. “Would be the data that railways aren’t sharing with shippers. They measure on what they supply, when it comes to cars, not what the market is actually asking them to deliver. There is a double standard there — they say their commitment is to supplying the cars they’re going to supply, not what’s actually asked of them.”

Full story at http://www.agcanada.com/daily/transportation-review-recommendations

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Record El Nino makes global record-hot year look inevitable


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 20, 2015

Bloomberg is reporting that . . . .

This is a new kind of heat. In more than 135 years of global temperature data, four of the five hottest months on record all happened in 2015: February, March, May, and now June. 

This has been the hottest start to a year by far, according to data released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The record heat is likely to continue as an already strong El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean continues to intensify, ripping more heat into the atmosphere. This monster El Niño may itself be on track to break records.

Results from the world's top monitoring agencies vary slightly. NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency both had June as the hottest month on record. NASA had it as tied with June 1998 for the hottest. All three agencies agree that there has never been a hotter start to the year than the past six months.

See http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-07-20/monster-el-ni-o-makes-record-hot-year-look-inevitable

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2nd weather forecasting contest results


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 20, 2015

The resuts from the 2nd weather forecasting contest are in.  The below charts reveal the most recent set, followed by the previous, and then the contest results formula.  AccuWeather seems to have the best 4-day forecasts - according to the rules we created without consulting a meterologist.  Consider this "for entertainment purposes only."

The forecasts were captured at 9:30 am the day prior to the start of the contest, from the various forecasting groups' websites, for "Saskatoon, SK"

 

 

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Trade 'balancing' act in focus at ag ministers' meeting


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 20, 2015

CNS is reporting that  . . .

With foreign governments urging Canada to open up its protected dairy, poultry and egg markets, the country’s provincial agriculture ministers are unanimously counter-urging in supply management’s defense.

Pressure from trading partners and strong regional support in principle for supply management are nothing new. But Canada’s annual ag ministers’ meeting, held this week in Charlottetown, wrapped ahead of international talks starting later next week on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP, a proposed 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal, includes not only Canada but major dairy and poultry exporting nations such as the U.S. and New Zealand. Negotiators are to meet July 24-27 in Maui, followed by a ministerial meeting July 28-31.

Canada also faces domestic pressure to stay at the TPP negotiating table, from beef, pork and grain producers aiming not just to expand but to preserve their access to TPP markets such as Japan.

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Sask. grain handler cancels share buyback in dry spell


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 17, 2015

CNS is reporting that  . . .

An independent grain terminal in parched northwestern Saskatchewan has called off a planned share repurchase, to conserve cash against a possible drop in its grain handle.

North West Terminal, which operates a grain terminal and ethanol plant just east of Unity, about 90 km southwest of North Battleford, said Thursday it won’t go ahead with the share buyback as announced in February.

The buyback plan had called for NWT to repurchase about $800,000 worth of Class A and Class B NWT shares from shareholders, who are mainly local farmers.

Full story at http://www.agcanada.com/daily/sask-grain-handler-cancels-share-buyback-in-dry-spell

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Meat and dairy to eclipse biofuel in agriculture demand - FAO/OECD


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 16, 2015

Reuters is reporting that  . . .

Changing diets in emerging countries will boost global demand for meat and dairy products in the next 10 years, shifting grain supply towards livestock feed as use of crop-based biofuel is curbed by lower oil prices, the FAO and OECD said.

 

In their annual Agricultural Outlook report released on Wednesday, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development confirmed a broad trend set out last year of moderate food prices due to production gains and less vigorous demand.

They go on to say that . . .

Animal protein consumption would in turn boost use of grains and oilseeds for livestock feed.

 

Animal feed demand would account for 70 percent of growth in world consumption of coarse grains - mainly corn (maize) - in the next 10 years, double its share in the previous decade when it lagged the near 40 percent contribution of biofuels, the report said.

 

Biofuel demand would be capped by lower oil prices, which have made it unprofitable, and ceilings in government blending targets, with the notable exception of Brazil which is supporting further use of ethanol made with sugar cane.

Full story at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/01/agriculture-fao-oecd-idUSL8N0ZH3DF20150701

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Cargill canola crushing plant opens near Camrose AB


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 16, 2015
Alberta’s other oil industry got a boost Wednesday with the official opening of Cargill Limited’s canola crushing plant just outside Camrose.

The plant has the capacity to process 850,000 metric tonnes of canola per year, turning out crude canola oil for food and canola meal for animal feed.

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Past 3-day and 4-day forecasts best given by AccuWeather


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 15, 2015

On July 10th, I downloaded the 4-day forecasts from Environment Canada, Weather Network, and AccuWeather for Saskatoon (see below images).  On July 15 I compared these forecasts against the data posted at http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climateData/dailydata_e.html?StationID=47707 .I created an accuracy formula - listed at the bottom of the results page - and applied this against on the forecasts based on the data. 

AccuWeather came-out on top for both the three day and four day forecasts.  The results follow the forecats below.

 

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Influential hedge fund takes stake in Syngenta


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 15, 2015

Reuters is reporting that . . . .

Hedge fund Paulson + Co. has taken a stake in Syngenta, and could push for the board of directors of the Swiss pesticide maker to accept a takeover offer from U.S. seed company Monsanto, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, made a US$45 billion bid for Syngenta this spring that the Swiss company rejected. The U.S. company is still working on a deal and could decide to increase its bid.

Paulson + Co, headed by billionaire John Paulson, became famous after betting that the U.S. housing bubble would burst. The people familiar with the matter asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

 

Full story at http://www.agcanada.com/daily/influential-hedge-fund-takes-stake-in-syngenta

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U.S. House committee approves block on mandatory GMO labels


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 14, 2015

Reuters is reporting that . . . .

U.S. food companies and other opponents of genetically modified food labeling notched a key victory on Tuesday as the House Agriculture Committee approved a measure banning mandatory labeling as well as local efforts to regulate genetically engineered crops.

The move demonstrates fresh momentum for those seeking to block mandated labeling of foods made with GMO crops, food industry advocates said.

 

"This... legislation will ensure that Americans have accurate, consistent information about their food rather than a 50 state patchwork of labeling laws that will only prove costly and confusing for consumers, farmers and food manufacturers," said Pamela Bailey, CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), said in a statement.

 

The group called on the full House of Representatives to pass the measure, which the panel approved in a voice vote, before the August recess.

 

Groups lobbying for mandatory GMO labeling said they are increasing their efforts to make sure that H.R. 1599, dubbed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, never becomes law.

 

"The real fight will be in the Senate," said Scott Faber, executive director of Just Label It, an advocacy group pushing for mandated labeling. "This is from over."

 

Full story at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/14/usa-gmo-labeling-idUSL2N0ZU1SA20150714

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Farmers play last card in planned CWB class action


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 14, 2015

One claim remaining from an unsuccessful bid at a class action suit by four Prairie farmers, over payouts to producers from the former Canadian Wheat Board, will be the farmers’ basis for a new filing.

The four farmers, whose previous proposed class action was dismissed with costs in April by the Supreme Court of Canada, announced Monday that their lawyers served an amended statement of claim on Friday in Federal Court in Ottawa.

Full story at http://www.agcanada.com/daily/farmers-play-last-card-in-planned-cwb-class-action

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FCC to offer breaks on loans in Sask., Alta.


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 14, 2015

Customers of Farm Credit Canada in parched areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan may be able to get breaks on their outstanding loan payments.

FCC on Monday announced it would work with affected customers on “solutions for their operation(s)” such as deferral of principal payments and/or otherwise amending their loan payment schedules.

The offer applies to farmers in “parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan facing financial hardship as a result of dry conditions.”

The federal farm lender said it would also expand those offers to include customers in other areas “if and when the need arises.”

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Canada and Ukraine Strike Free Trade Deal


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 13, 2015

Canada and Ukraine have concluded a free-trade deal and Stephen Harper will announce the development when Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits Ottawa Tuesday, sources say.

The trade accord represents yet another measure for Ukraine, the ancestral homeland of more than one million Canadians, from the Conservative government which has made aid to the beleaguered Eastern European country a focal point of its foreign policy.

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Experience Alberta agriculture during Open Farm Days


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 13, 2015

The Government of Alberta released today:

Experience Alberta agriculture during Open Farm Days

Albertans looking for a unique tourism experience will have the opportunity to visit farms and ranches during Alberta Open Farms Days, August 22 and 23. 

Open Farm Days is a collaborative, open house event that spans the province and encourages Albertans to taste local foods direct from the producer and participate in a wide range of farming activities.

“Farms and ranches are a critical part of our province and our culture, and they supply many necessities of life. With Open Farm Days, these farms and ranches are able to showcase themselves as a new type of tourist destination. This is a fantastic way for Albertans to experience a side of Alberta they may not have seen up close.”

David Eggen, Minister of Culture and Tourism

“This is a great time of year for a rural adventure at our province’s farms, ranches and wineries. It is great to see those from our province’s urban centres venturing out to the countryside and learning more about the many different aspects of agricultural life.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“Ag for Life is committed to building an understanding and appreciation of agriculture and its role in our lives. Open Farm Days is a perfect way to highlight the diversity and beauty of the farms, ranches and rural communities in Alberta. We are happy to be working with the Government of Alberta again to help provide this wonderful event.”

Luree Williamson, CEO, Agriculture for Life

On Saturday, August 22, top local chefs will team up with producers to create unique and unforgettable farm-to-table culinary events using Alberta farm products. There is a range of costs to participate in culinary events.

On Sunday, August 23, farmers and ranchers are inviting visitors to stop in and experience what life is like in the countryside. More than 70 participating farms and ranches across Alberta will open their gates to the public for a wide variety of agricultural experiences.

Admission to farms is free, but there may be costs for some additional activities.

Edmonton Northlands’ will also participate for the first time, offering a tour of some rural farms as well as a display site for Open Farm Days on August 23 where visitors will learn how to harvest honey from a bee hive or how to use milk to create fresh cheese. The bus tour is free but registration is required.

For more information on the tours, farm activities as well as a full listing of culinary events and participating locations visit albertafarmdays.com.

Last year during Open Farm Days, there were 61 host farms, more than 7,000 farm visits, and over $40,000 in on-farm sales. This year, there will be 17 culinary events and more than 70 host farms that will provide an authentic rural Alberta experience.

The third annual Alberta Open Farms Days is a collaborative project presented by the Government of Alberta, Ag for Life, the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Travel Alberta and participating farms, ranches and agricultural societies

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K+S investors see PotashCorp deal within reach despite rebuff


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 10, 2015

Reuters is reporting that "Shareholders in takeover target K+S say a deal could be done because suitor Potash Corp's main aim is to get control over its German rival's ambitious Canadian project and scale it back."

They go on to explain that

K+S's "Legacy" mine in the prairies in western Canada would be the first built from scratch in the global potash industry in almost 40 years. It would add to an already oversupplied market where demand is suffering from weak emerging market currencies and low crop prices.

 

Potash Corp could more easily ration global supply by controlling K+S, but still commit to leaving its German operations largely intact. The potential threat to K+S's domestic operations were seen as one reason why German regulators might block a deal.

Full story at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/09/ks-ma-potash-shareholders-idUSL8N0ZO3PD20150709

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U.S. forecaster sees El Nino likely into N. Hemisphere spring


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 09, 2015

Reuters is reporting that a U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday warned that much-watched El Nino conditions are likely to last another nine months, potentially roiling global crops and commodities prices.

 

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center projected a more than 90 percent chance that El Nino would continue through this winter and an 80 percent likelihood it would last into the Northern Hemisphere's early spring.

Full story at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/09/weather-elnino-idUSL1N0ZP0T120150709

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FranceAgriMer sees big wheat harvest despite falling crop ratings


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 09, 2015

Reuters is reporting that "France is on course for a big wheat harvest this summer despite a sharp fall in crop ratings during a dry, hot spell in the past month, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Thursday."

"In its first outlook for the 2015 harvest in the European Union's top grain grower, the office forecast French soft wheat production of 37.9 million tonnes, up 1.1 percent from 2014 and in line with a farm ministry estimate this week."

Full story at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/09/france-grains-idUSL8N0ZP2UQ20150709

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NEW RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS TO RECEIVE $2 MILLION IN FEDERAL AND MB PROVINCIAL SUPPORT


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 09, 2015

NEW RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS TO RECEIVE $2 MILLION IN FEDERAL AND MB PROVINCIAL SUPPORT

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing more than $2 million over three years to support 24 research and development projects in Manitoba’s agriculture and agri-food sector,

The funded projects cover a range of agricultural issues including animal and human health, on-farm production technologies and opportunities for value-added industries and include:

  • the effects of late planting on early-maturing soybeans,
  • management strategies to control insecticide-resistant Colorado potato beetles,
  • fusarium head blight resistance in barley,
  • the long-term market effects of feeding and vaccination strategies for beef cattle,
  • genetic markers for flavour selection in pork, and
  • hemp consumption and human health trials.

Full story at http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=35470&posted=2015-07-08

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Saskatchewan's water bodies will continue to meet the needs


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 08, 2015

WATER SECURITY AGENCY RELEASES WATER SUPPLY OUTLOOK

Released on July 8, 2015

From:  https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2015/july/08/wsa-watter-supply

 

Today, the Water Security Agency released a water supply outlook for the province which summarizes stream flows and water supply in reservoirs and as of July 1.

“Saskatchewan is fortunate to have a system of dams and control structures that help provide consistency in water supply in both wet and dry years,” Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency Herb Cox said.  “Despite lower than normal precipitation and run-off, Saskatchewan’s water bodies will continue to meet the needs of our province.”

Reservoirs were full following snowmelt and as a result water supplies will remain sufficient for domestic, irrigation, municipal, and industrial use.  Since April 1, most of Saskatchewan has received little precipitation, with a significant portion of the agricultural area receiving less than half of normal rainfall.  Lake levels are declining as a result.

 Inflow to Lake Diefenbaker is well below normal due to a low snow pack and limited rain in the mountains; Lake Diefenbaker is not expected to rise above its present level.  Flow on the South Saskatchewan River is below normal.  Lake levels in the Qu’Appelle are dropping and the Water Security Agency will begin to operate control structures to keep lake levels within their desired operating range.  Last Mountain Lake is expected to remain above its target range through the summer and the Craven Control Structure will remain open to facilitate the drawdown.

 The Water Security Agency will continue to monitor streamflow, lake levels, and water supply conditions across Saskatchewan and will issue the next Water Supply Outlook this summer.

 Information on current flows and lake levels can be found at www.wsask.ca.

 -30-

 For more information, contact

 Dale Hjertaas

 Water Security Agency

 Regina

 Phone: 306-787-2892306-787-2892

 Email: Dale.Hjertaas@wsask.ca

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Brief explore farmland ownership in Saskatchewan


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 08, 2015

A policy brief by the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy defines the ownership of farmland in Saskatchewan debate as "Saskatchewan residents have to decide whether they want to maximize the investment value of farmland or its social value to bind farmers and communities together" according to a Regina Leader Post article.

They go on to say, that if the 'investment' scenario is chosen that "it will hasten the decline of the family farm as the primary production unit of the agriculture industry in the province."

"The policy brief notes that since the change in farmland ownership rules, which permitted Canadian individuals and 100 per cent Canadian-owned corporations to buy unlimited amounts of Saskatchewan farmland, the amount of farmland owned by investors has increased 16-fold — to 837,000 in 2014 from 52,000 acres in 2002"

 

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