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Major U.S. firms support Canada in meat battle


Written By: Eric Anderson, Dec 10, 2015
10 Dec 2015
ALEXANDER PANETTA THE CANADIAN PRESS

U.S. firms support Canada in meat battle

WASHINGTON Canada is getting the backing of considerable American corporate muscle at a determining moment in an ongoing trade struggle with the United States Congress.
About 250 U.S. companies and trade associations have sent a letter to every member of the U.S. Senate, urging them to heed Canadian and Mexican concerns over meat-labelling rules.
This comes after the World Trade Organization sided with Canada and Mexico in the dispute, opening the door to the imminent imposition of tariffs on American goods including meat, wine, and frozen orange juice.
The letter warns that the U.S. will face US$1 billion in tariffs on a wide range of products unless the chamber does away with a requirement that meat on American grocery shelves be labelled by its country of origin.
It’s signed by some of the country’s best-known companies, including Coca-Cola, Kraft and General Mills, as well as trade associations representing everything from livestock-producers to vineyards.
“There’s a lot of powerful U.S. paddlers joining Canada in this canoe to get repeal of COOL (country-of-origin labelling),” Gary Doer, Canada’s U.S. ambassador, said of the letter.
After a years-long dispute, the issue could be decided by the holidays.
Proponents of meat-labelling call it a fair system for letting consumers know where their food comes from. Opponents say it does nothing for food safety — for which there are already inspections.
They argue that it’s just disguised protectionism — a system that forces importers to spend extra money to separate foreign and domestic livestock, drives up the cost of imports and makes them less competitive.
The World Trade Organization has sided against the U.S., allowing penalties on American products.
Now the letter-signers want the Senate to adopt a bill passed in the House of Representatives that does away with the requirement that meat sold in the U.S. be labelled by country of origin.
 
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Posted in Livestock | Tagged with cool Saskatchewab Alberta Canada | More articles by Eric Anderson

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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Posted in Farm related news | Tagged with Alberta farm safety policy | More articles by Eric Anderson

Alberta crops - yield index improved to 87% of the 5 year yield average


Written By: Eric Anderson, Oct 09, 2015
Alberta Crop Conditions as of October 6, 2015

Producers were able to make good use of a few days of good harvest weather this past week before being shut down again by cool, wet conditions on the weekend. Over 72% of the province has now been harvested, up 15 percentage points from last week. A further 17% of crops in the province are in the swath with 11% remaining standing. In 2014, 82% of harvest in the province had been completed. Most areas received between 15 – 50 mm of rain this past week end with light snow reported along the foothills. Hard frosts were reported on several days which should be beneficial in killing off green growth and enhancing dry down.

Reported yields for all crops continue to improve in all regions. The provincial yield index improved to 87% of the 5 year yield average, up 3.5 index points from 2 weeks ago. Yields remain below long term averages but better than originally anticipated reflecting the good soil moisture conditions early in the season and the willingness of producers in all regions to use good soil moisture conservation production practices. Crop quality has declined due to the slowness of the harvest progress though generally is in line with the longer term 5 and 10 year averages. 76% of the spring wheat is grading #1 or #2 CWRS with 8% grading Canada Feed. Long term 10 year averages are 71% grading #1 & #2 with 9% grading Canada Feed. 82% of canola is expected to grade 1 Canada versus the 10 year average of 79%.

The crop condition ratings of the 2015/16 fall seeded crops are: 8% Poor; 27% Fair; 49% Good; 16% Excellent.

Provincial soil moisture ratings continue to improve as a result of the continuing precipitation. Surface moisture is rated 60% good or excellent while sub soil moisture is rated at 51% good or excellent.



Regional Assessments:
The 2015 Alberta Crop Report Series provides summaries for the following five regions:

Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)
  • Harvest is virtually completed with the exception of some late harvested crops such as sugar beets, grain corn, flax.
  • The regional 5 year yield index sits at 82.0%, the lowest of all regions and 5 index points below the provincial average.
  • Spring wheat yields at 84% of their 5 year average, durum at 78%, barley at 87%, canola at 79%.
  • 55% of surface soil moisture and 48% of sub soil moisture rated good or excellent.
  • Approximately 75% of fall seeded crops are grown in this region. Crop conditions are rated 8% Poor; 24% Fair; 48% Good; 20% Excellent.
Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen)
  • Harvest progress advanced by more than 20 percentage points this past week to 61% complete & 20% swathed.
  • The regional 5 year yield index sits at 90.8%, up more than 1 index point from last report.
  • Spring wheat yields at 90% of their 5 year average, durum at 74%, barley at 92%, canola at 93%.
  • 66% of surface soil moisture and 72% of sub soil moisture rated good or excellent.
Region Three: North East (Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose, Provost)
  • Harvest progress advanced by 14 percentage points for the week to 58% complete & 32% swathed.
  • The regional 5 year yield index showed another big increase this week and sits at 85.7%, up 4.5 index points.
  • Spring wheat yields at 86% of their 5 year average, barley at 78%, canola at 89%.
  • 70% of surface soil moisture and 57% of sub soil moisture rated good or excellent.
Region Four: North West (Barrhead, Edmonton, Leduc, Drayton Valley, Athabasca)
  • Harvest progress advanced 11 percentage points for the week to 52% complete & 31% swathed.
  • The regional 5 year average yield index increased more than 6 index points to 86.0% this week due to significant yield improvements for all crops, but specifically barley and canola.
  • Spring wheat yields at 88% of their 5 year average, barley at 80%, canola at 87%.
  • 33% of surface soil moisture and 14% of sub soil moisture rated good or excellent.
Region Five: Peace River (Fairview, Falher, Grande Prairie, Valleyview)
  • Harvest progress is second highest of the regions with 85% complete, up 17 percentage points for the week. 8% swathed.
  • The regional 5 year yield index rose almost 3 index points to 94.4% based upon yield improvements to all crops but particularly a 1 bushel/acre increase to canola since last reported.
  • Spring wheat yields at 85% of their 5 year average, barley at 97%, canola at 100%.
  • 44% of surface soil moisture and 38% of sub soil moisture rated good or excellent.


 
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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with Alberta crop report yield estimates | More articles by Eric Anderson

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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Posted in Farm related news | Tagged with Trans Pacific Partnership TPP Alberta trade Saskatchewan Manitoba | More articles by Eric Anderson

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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Posted in Farm related news | Tagged with Trans Pacific Partnership TPP Alberta trade | More articles by Eric Anderson

Crop conditions continue improving


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 06, 2015

Things continue to improve!  More dark blue (higher than normal vegetation), and the brown (much lower than normal) has almost been entirely squeezed out of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

 

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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with crop conditions prairie crops crop reports cwb saskatchewan manitoba alberta | More articles by Eric Anderson

June grain prices - SK Lentils up 53%


Written By: Eric Anderson, Aug 06, 2015

Statistics Canada released the June grain prices today.

In Manitoba, Canola and Wheat prices were up slightly from last June, with Dry peas down slightly.

In Saskatchewan, Lentil prices were up 53% from last June, with all of the other crops up slightly.

 

In Alberta, Canola and Durum were up dramatically, with the remainder up slightly.

 

When all months are considered on the long-term trend, all three provinces have resumed an upward trend on all crops.

 

 

Source:  http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/150806/dq150806a-eng.htm?cmp=mstatcan

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Posted in Commodity prices | Tagged with wheat canola durum lentils prices Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba | More articles by Eric Anderson

Alberta crop report - yield estimates starting to develop


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 31, 2015

Alberta Crop Conditions as of July 28, 2015


The continuation of moderate temperatures combined with wide spread shower activity throughout the province have placed crops are under less stress and crop condition ratings have stabilized at 30% rated good or excellent (See Table #1). The precipitation received this week has provided modest improvements to soil moisture ratings. Surface moisture ratings increased 2 points to 32% rated good or excellent and sub soil ratings improved 4 percentage points to 29% rated good or excellent. Most crops have completed their reproductive stage with only a small amount of late seeded crop remaining. Precipitation from this point onward will have minimal effect on yield potential but would continue to be very beneficial in kernel filling and seed test weight which would affect grade and ultimately price to the producer.


The first yield estimates of the season (See Table #2) have been published. These estimates are provided based upon extremely limited information at this time and will be updated bi-weekly. Current provincial estimates are approximately 25 – 30% below the average of the past 5 years though it should be noted that 2 of those years (2013 & 2014) produced the highest average yields ever reported for the province.
Hay and pastures continue to green up with the moisture and growth has restarted. First cut dryland haying is 90% complete with poor yields and so-so quality as only 65% of the crop is rated as good or excellent. 2nd cut irrigated haying is 20% completed with average yields and very good quality. Hay/pasture ratings have improved slightly this week to 44% poor (-4), 38% fair (no change), 18% good (+4), 1% excellent (no change).

 

Full report at http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd15453

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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with Alberta crop report yield estimates | More articles by Eric Anderson

Alberta crop report - surface moisture up 10%


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 24, 2015

The Government of Alberta is reporting that

Over the past week most of the province received upwards of 20 mm of rain, which helped dry areas and somewhat alleviated moisture stress on cereals and oilseeds crops. Localized areas around Calgary, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Valleyview/High Prairie and Smoky Lake received over 50 mm of precipitation. Scattered hail storms were reported in a few areas with some crop damage. Areas missed by the recent rains included northern and western parts of the Peace Region and the south east area of the South Region, where both locations received less than 10 mm of rain.

Due to the recent rainfall, surface soil moisture ratings across the province improved by 10 per cent this week to 30 per cent good to excellent. However, soil moisture conditions remain extremely low through many areas, especially north of Edmonton and through much of northern and eastern Peace Region. Sub-surface soil moisture conditions are on par with last week, rated as 28 per cent poor, 47 per cent fair, 23 per cent good and two per cent excellent (see Table 1). Significant rain would still be welcome to help crops fill as well as improve hay and pasture conditions, especially in the areas with low soil moisture reserves.

Provincially, crop growing conditions did not changed significantly from last week and are rated as 27 per cent poor, 43 per cent fair, 29 per cent good and one per cent excellent. Spring wheat is rated as 26 per cent poor, 41 per cent fair, 32 per cent good and one per cent excellent, and canola is at 33 per cent poor, 42 per cent fair, 24 per cent good and one per cent excellent (see Table 2). Some producers are cutting crops for greenfeed in anticipation of low winter feed supplies.

Tame hay and pasture continue to show the full effects of the dry spring and summer conditions, although the recent rain helped turn pasture green in some regions. Provincially, hay and pasture conditions are reported as 48 per cent poor, 38 per cent fair and 14 per cent good. Grasshoppers remain an issue in many areas across the province, with the most damage being reported in the Peace Region.

Full report at http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd15443

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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with Alberta crop report | More articles by Eric Anderson

CWB tour reports durum doing better in South East Alberta


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jul 22, 2015

Durum, the wheat used to make pasta, has fared better against dry conditions than other major crops in a pocket of southeastern Alberta, crop tour scouts noted on Wednesday.

Durum is typically planted in drier soils than spring wheat, but fields still looked surprisingly decent, given some of the driest conditions in decades on the Prairies.

Yields looked to fall slightly below average in the area, said Justin Daniels, director of commodity risk management at CWB Market Research Services.

“We haven’t seen a disaster yet in durum,” he said in drizzly conditions.

The tour organized by CWB Market Research is travelling through Thursday on three routes across the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Durum stood tall and carried large heads of kernels in most fields.

Quality of durum in Canada — the biggest exporter – may be more important than the crop’s size, given lower grades last year, said Courtney Boryski, a trader at U.S. commodity company Gavilon.

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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with durum wheat crop report Alberta CWB | More articles by Eric Anderson

Rain, Rain Go Away


Written By: Mark Flaman, Jul 02, 2013

Well, we've had about as much rain as a person needs for the rest of the year. It seems like it's been raining across the province non-stop for the last two weeks of June. We've seen an exceptional amount of flooding this year across western Canada, mainly in High River & Calgary Alberta, but the immense rain stretched and blanketed over Saskatchewan for almost the whole of the last two weeks of the month. In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, most farmers are at least a couple of weeks behind due to the late thaw of the snow, but as it happened, the thaw occurred too fast and now we're left with all this water.

It's one thing when you see it on the news, but recently I've been seeing it a lot first hand in Saskatoon as well as the RM of Corman Park, where out Saskatoon store is located. There are farmers with children that have to get off the bus and throw on their rubber boots just to get down the lane way. There are also acreage owners here that have to leave a vehicle at the end of the driveway, and come back and forth to the house with an ATV.  There have been evacuees flooding in from northern Saskatchewan, from places such as Cumberland House who are staying at soccer & events centers around this city. These folks will thankfully be able to return home on July 3rd.

But yet, nothing compares to the damage being done in Alberta. There have been fatalities due to the flooding, and there are going to be millions in damages by the time this is all said and done. The Calgary Zoo had to relocate most of their animals, and had a few scares with losing some to the flood. The Saddle dome and Stampede grounds are under water, and several neighborhoods had to evacuate and relocate to drier ground. As our nation's fourth largest city is crippled by these floods, we stand by them as they can use all the support we have to offer.

 The weather forecast shows that this is about it for the rain we're about to receive, and brighter days are ahead. We had a great Canada Day July long weekend, and we're going to be hovering around the 25 degree mark for the next two weeks with the exception of a little rain this weekend.

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Posted in Local News | Tagged with rain flood flooding saskatchewan flaman alberta calgary high river news | More articles by Mark Flaman

Gearing up for another winter in Western Canada


Written By: Flaman Grain Cleaning, Grain Cleaning SalesDec 14, 2011

Another winter is among us! Combines are put away, fall work is done (we hope), and the cows are coming home. Here at Flaman we are looking forward to another grain cleaning season. I am really looking forward to getting on the road to see as many people as possible that are cleaning, or are thinking about cleaning their own grain. After an above average harvest in most areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta there is one thing on most people’s mind, Ergot. There was a number of ergot issues ranging from North Battleford all the way to Edmonton and as far south as Medicine Hat. This means busy times for Colour Sorters in Saskatchewan and Alberta. At Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling we are offering free colour sorter demos where you can bring in your own sample and watch the Satake Colour Sorter do its’ magic! The Western Canadian Crop Production Show is back in Saskatoon from January 9th – 12th, 2012. I will be making my way down the Yellowhead to Edmonton on January 11th – 13th, 2012 for the Alberta Seed Cleaning convention taking place at the Westin Hotel. This is a first time show for myself and I am very excited to see the people behind the Co-op Seed Cleaning Plants of Alberta. Christmas is coming fast so make sure to get that Christmas shopping done and have a very safe and happy holiday season!

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling Colour Sorter Ergot Winter Saskatchewan Winder Alberta | More articles by Flaman Grain Cleaning

New website, new dealers for summer 2011


Written By: Barrett Prokopie, Rental Division ManagerJul 05, 2011

This spring has been a very different one for many producers in the prairies, from near disastrous flooding in the southern parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, to drought in northern Alberta and B.C. It seems that nothing is predictable in the agricultural sector anymore (if it ever was).

One thing is certain for all producers, in all provinces: we need all the help we can get. That is why Flaman Rentals has once again expanded our network of dealers, as well as the large line of products carried.
 
In Saskatchewan we’d like to welcome our newest dealers: B & A Petroleum, having enjoyed great success in their Maple Creek location, has now expanded into Assiniboia. In Blaine Lake you can now go to Blair Industrial and see Blair for all your rental needs and last but not least…. Andres Inc is now our newest dealer in Windthorst.
 
In Alberta we’re happy to announce these dealers to serve you better: visit Brian Headon of Headon Rentals in the Lloydminster and surrounding trading area, Dunvegan Fab and Welding in the Fairview area and Whitetail Ventures in the High Level and La Crete areas.
 
And what better way to mark this expansion then to introduce our new Flaman Rentals website. Please take some time to navigate the site and see what we have to offer. We think you’ll find it very user-friendly and informative. And check out the Flaman Rental dealer closest to you!
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Posted in Division News | Tagged with rentals new website dealers ag equipment trailers Saskatchewan Alberta | More articles by Barrett Prokopie