Canada
Innovative research is reshaping what is known about ammonia and related emissions from feedlots. And that new knowledge may help the industry to adjust its management, shape and react to public policy more effectively.
Published in Beef
It was during the peak of the porcine diarrhea epidemic in the winter of 2014-2015 that the need for the Ontario Professional Agri Contractors Association (OPACA) became clear to what would become its group of founding members.
Published in News
November 13, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – New hog barns will be built Manitoba.

After an all-night session at the Manitoba Legislature, Bill 24 has passed its final reading and received royal assent.

The newly passed act amends The Environment Act, removing general prohibitions for the expansion of hog barns and manure storage facilities. Bill 24 also strikes the winter manure application ban from the Environment Act, although winter application would continue to be prohibited for all livestock operations in Manitoba under the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation. READ MORE
Published in State
November 7, 2017 – A new funding program being delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) aims to improve soil health through investments in nutrient application equipment.

With 60 percent cost-share support, up to a maximum of $25,000 per business, this is a significant opportunity for Ontario’s nutrient applicators.

The Manure and Biosolids Management Program – available to all licensed custom applicators in Ontario – seeks to enhance soil health across the province. Adding organic matter to the soil is a key piece of building soil health, particularly when applied using precise and innovative spreading techniques.

“It’s the multiplier effect that is so significant within the Manure and Biosolids Management Program,” said Andrew Graham, executive director of the OSCIA. “Each implemented best management practice can benefit soil health on many farm properties. The potential impacts are exponential.”

The Manure and Biosolids Management Program encourages the use of best management practices (BMPs) that enhance soil health, improve application accuracy to reduce phosphorus loss from the field edge, and protect water quality. Improving soil health is also an important part of the agri-food industry’s work to mitigate climate change. Funding is available to customize spreading equipment to allow in-crop application, or to allow slurry seeding of cover crops. There is also an innovative approaches BMP that allows businesses to invest in up-and-coming technology that is not yet available in Ontario.

“There are new ideas coming forward from around the world for precision manure application and data management,” says Mack Emiry, president of OSCIA. “The innovative approaches BMP encourages businesses to invest in these technologies, raising the bar for nutrient management here in Ontario.”

Funding for the Manure and Biosolids Management Program is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible applicants must have an up-to-date Nutrient Application Technician Licence and/or an up-to-date Prescribed Materials Application Business Licence. Applications can be made immediately. Projects must be complete, and claims submitted by January 15, 2018.

Published in Other
October 18, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Manitoba Pork is encouraging its members to voice their support the provincial government's "Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act" during public hearings planned for next week.

Public hearings into Bill 24, the Manitoba Government's Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act, are scheduled for October 25 and 26 at the Manitoba Legislature and Manitoba Pork is calling on pork producers to take the opportunity to participate and tell their personal stories.

George Matheson, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says key changes of interest to pork producers under the bill include the elimination of the requirements for anaerobic digesters and changes to the farm building code, which will have no impact on safeguards to protect the environment or farm safety.

“The reality is that an anaerobic digester did nothing to lessen the phosphates that would be spread on the farmers fields so an anaerobic digester did not solve that so called problem at all,” he said. “Manure will still only allowed to be spread during warmer weather before frost hits the ground roughly speaking, no spreading between November 10 through to April 10.”

“Hog manure, to reduce odor and runoff, will have to be injected or immediately cultivated in. Farms of over 300 animal units, which would be most, will have to file manure management plans.”

"Manure cannot be spread close to runoff areas, there will have to be buffers,” Matheson says. “Things such as this will still be in place so the environment will not be affected adversely at all.”

He stresses, if the bill is passed, Manitoba pork producers will still be subject to the toughest environmental regulations anywhere.

Matheson encourages anyone interested in presenting to contact Manitoba Pork for information and assistance.

Published in State
October 12, 2017, Deschambault, Que – The Canadian government is prioritizing science and innovation and the competitiveness of the agriculture industry as a whole to create better business opportunities for producers and Canadians.

Funding was announced recently for two projects by the Centre de recherche en sciences animales de Deschambault (CRSAD), including $665,546 aimed at developing sustainable strategies for standardizing the manufacturing and use of recycled bedding in dairy production to improve the sector’s environmental performance without reducing the profitability of businesses, as well as to respond to consumer concerns.

With the funding, the CRSAD will be able to determine the best methods for manufacturing recycled bedding from manure and to make recommendations for the adoption of the best management methods, practices and technologies, with the welfare of animals and workers and the safety of products also taken into account. Dairy producers will be therefore able to reduce their operating costs and reuse or sell the energy produced by the biodigesters, which will provide farms with an additional income stream.

“The investment in research to improve livestock housing conditions in the dairy industry will enable Canadian producers to differentiate themselves, be more competitive, improve their businesses and, especially, enhance their living conditions and those of their livestock,” said Jean-Paul Laforest, president of the CRSAD.
Published in Dairy
July 28, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A spin-off company from the University of British Columbia is promising to make a crap job a good deal easier and cleaner, with a scalable waste-processing system.

Manure management practices on local dairy farms routinely raise a stink from their residential neighbours when the slurry is sprayed on fields, as well as from American farmers who complain of cross-border water pollution resulting from excess nutrient runoff.

Boost Environmental Systems, a new firm, is testing a system that uses microwave heat and hydrogen peroxide to drastically reduce the volume and the composition of manure and sewage solids. The resulting waste is easily digestible with existing systems and the liquid is a rich source of a commercially valuable fertilizer called struvite.

Demonstration-sized units are installed at the UBC Dairy Education Centre in Agassiz and the James Wastewater Treatment Plant in Abbotsford, according to Chief Technology Officer Asha Srinivasan, a post-doctoral fellow at UBC. A third pilot installation is being planned with Metro Vancouver. READ MORE 
Published in Profiles
July 13, 2017, Guelph, Ont. — Applications are now being accepted for the Robert L. Ross Memorial Scholarship, which gives a Canadian farmer the chance to attend the Canadian Total Excellence in Agricultural Management (CTEAM) program.

The program, run by Agri-food Management Excellence (AME), provides farmers the opportunity to learn detailed financial, marketing and human relations management skills, using their own operation as a case study.

Robert (Bob) Ross was instrumental in guiding the CTEAM program, inspiring and encouraging farm management excellence across Canada through his leadership and passion for the agricultural community. Bob fought a courageous battle with cancer, passing in March 2014.

As a tribute to his passion, leadership and legacy, Agri-Food Management Excellence, Farm Management Canada, Family Farms Group and the Ross Family, established the Robert L. Ross Memorial Scholarship program, rewarding one Canadian farmer with the opportunity to participate in the CTEAM program and continue on a path towards excellence, as inspired by Canada's leading experts and a one-of-a-kind support network of peers and colleagues.

One scholarship of $11500 CAN is available to be applied towards tuition and travel. The successful applicant can choose to attend CTEAM starting in December 2017.

Applicants must be more than 21 years of age and possess passion and devotion to excellence in farm business management. See the application for a complete list of requirements.

The deadline for scholarship applications is Sept. 15, 2017.

Applications can be downloaded at www.agrifoodtraining.com.

Criteria:

The Robert L. Ross Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a deserving farmer who emulates and demonstrate Bob's lifework through his or her passion and devotion to excellence in farm business management. The award is intended to encourage existing or relatively new farmers who have increasing or major responsibilities in their operations. This includes either farmers who have overall managerial responsibility for their operations or newly entering farmers who have responsibility for specific portions of farm operations. Applicants should demonstrate a desire for managerial excellence in their current and future responsibilities.

Scholarship applicants must:
Be over 21 years of age

Submit an application demonstrating:
  • A progressive operation and entrepreneurial spirit
  • How the value gained from CTEAM will be used:
    • To contribute to the farm business
    • To contribute to the agricultural industry at large
  • Why taking CTEAM interests you personally
  • Passion for the industry
  • Submit 2 non-family references
  • Provide permission to be interviewed for industry media
  • Provide a testimonial or report on their experience and impact of the Scholarship within 3 months of program completion, crediting the scholarship partners for making the opportunity possible
  • AME Contract Staff, FMC Board and staff, and FFG staff are not eligible to apply.
Application Process:

Applicants must submit a completed application form along with two non-family references.

Deadline for scholarship applications is September 15th, 2017. The application must be received by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by mail to Agri-Food Management Excellence, R.R.1, Donalda, AB, T0B 1H0

If an email is provided, you will be notified acknowledging receipt of your application.

If you have any questions, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call Heather Broughton at (780)781-2840

Winner will be notified prior to September 30th, 2017 and will be publicly announced at the Agricultural Excellence Conference Banquet in Ottawa, Ont., on November 23, 2016.
Published in News
July 12, 2017, Lethbridge, Alta. - Farmers know the importance of keeping the land, water and air healthy to sustain their farms from one generation to the next. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.

Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of
Parliament (Calgary Centre) Kent Hehr today announced a $1.1 million investment with the
University of Lethbridge to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.

This project with the University of Lethbridge is one of 20 new research projects supported by
the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with
universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into
greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.

"Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both
environmentally, economically and helps build public trust. Producers want to operate in a
sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that," said Dr. Erasmus Okine, University of Lethbridge Vice-President (Research). 

The study led by the University of Lethbridge will investigate whether the use of biochar, a feed supplement, in beef cattle diets improves the efficiency of digestion and reduces the amount of methane gas produced.
Published in Business/Policy
June 30, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Agri-food stakeholders from across the value chain are invited to attend the second annual National Environmental Farm Plan (NEFP) Summit in Ottawa, November 1-2, 2017.

As Co-Chair of the NEFP steering committee, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) encourages producers and farm groups to be part of this initiative that seeks to harmonize the many different environmental farm plan programs in Canada.

"Farm organizations recognize that demonstrating producers' commitment to environmental best practices is increasingly important," said Ron Bonnett, CFA President. "CFA is pleased to invest in efforts to create more consistency among the Canada's various environmental farm plans, while ensuring they remain responsive in their own regions."

An Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary, whole-farm, self-assessment tool that helps farmers and ranchers identify and build on environmental strengths, as well as mitigate risks on their operations. A National EFP (NEFP) would not be a replacement program, but rather a harmonization effort across the existing EFP programs nationwide.

Building on an inaugural event held last year, summit attendees will further develop a national standard designed to connect environmentally sustainable practices at the farm level with global food buyers' growing need to source sustainable ingredients.

"The NEFP builds more than 20 years of success of EFPs in the farm and ranch community," said Erin Gowriluk, NEFP Summit Chair and Policy and Government Relations Manager with the Alberta Wheat Commission. "The credibility of the EFP program has already attracted several major buyers. But the national standard will lay the groundwork for consistent sourcing from coast-to-coast while ensuring that the process continues to be driven by producers."

The NEFP program is well into development, led by a steering committee comprised of participants from across the agri-food value chain.

Four sub-committees are working toward developing a national protocol as it relates to data collection, standards and verification, all of which will be supported through comprehensive communications and stakeholder outreach.

Summit attendees will hear from each committee, along with subject matter experts, about the progress to-date - information that will further guide steps toward this national standard.

Learn more and register for the 2017 National EFP Summit by visiting www.nationalefp.ca. The NEFP is always seeking to add to its list of stakeholders involved in shaping this made-in-Canada solution. Interested organizations should contact co-chairs Drew Black or Paul Watson.
Published in Business/Policy
June 29, 2017, Chatham, Ont. – The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative is developing innovative tools, practices and technologies to help farmers and municipalities reduce phosphorus and algal blooms in the southwestern Ontario watershed which feeds into Lake Erie. The project was officially launched at a press conference this week.

"We're determined to improve the quality of water in the Thames, and that means working with everyone from farmers to drainage engineers and conservation authorities to First Nations and universities to come up with practical, cost-effective water management and drainage solutions for both urban and agricultural areas," said Randy Hope, Mayor of Chatham-Kent and the project's co-chair.

Elevated levels of phosphorus in water that runs off agricultural fields and collects in municipal drains can trigger the growth of toxic algal blooms in downstream water bodies. The western basin of Lake Erie has experienced several such incidents in recent years, disrupting the ecosystem, causing the closure of beaches and even, in Toledo, Ohio a ban on city drinking water for two days. Lake St. Clair, which is an indirect pathway to Lake Erie, has also been experiencing problems with near-shore algal blooms.

Among the initiatives aimed at resolving the problem is a commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the U.S. to a 40 per cent reduction in the total phosphorus entering Lake Erie. There is also a commitment among Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to reduce phosphorus by 40 per cent by 2025.

"We're doing research with the goal of creating a suite of tools and practices that farmers can use to address different situations," said Mark Reusser, Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (TBC). He added that the group has gathered research from around the world and is looking into how it could be applied locally.

Project partners are working to fulfill some of the recommendations made in the "Partnering in Phosphorus Control" Draft Action Plan for Lake Erie that the Canadian and Ontario governments released in March. The governments completed a public consultation in May and are expected to have a plan in place next year.

The project's new website is at www.thamesriverprc.com

The project is administered by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. It was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
Published in Profiles
June 20, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – The Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) is seeking nominations for the 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award (ESA).

The ESA recognizes cattle producers whose natural resource stewardship practices contribute to the environment and enhance productivity and profitability. The ABP are asking producers to take this opportunity to share the unique environmental practices employed on their operation and to present the positive story about cattle producers' contribution to the environment.

Nomination forms are available on the ABP website, from the ABP office or from any local delegate. All cattle producers are encouraged to either enter or nominate another producer who is taking strides towards sound environmental production practices.

A team of judges made up of ABP delegates, the 2017 ESA winner and an industry associate will review the submissions and tour the nominated ranching operations. Each applicant will be scored on predetermined criteria unique to the practices they implement in their business.

The winner will receive a commemorative gate sign, a video highlighting their ranching operation and an all-expenses paid trip from anywhere in Alberta to the 2017 ABP Annual General Meeting in Calgary, where the award will be presented at a formal banquet. The competition is open to all cattle producers. Deadline for nominations is July 15, 2017, and the winner will be announced December 2017.

Contact the Alberta Beef Producers at 403-451-1183.

Published in Beef
June 16, Winnipeg, Man. - The Manitoba Pork Council has been fighting the same battle for more than a decade.

In 2006, the provincial government issued a moratorium on hog barn construction, saying it was necessary because hog manure was polluting Lake Winnipeg. That message has stuck with the public, despite strict regulations around manure management and hog industry efforts to change the narrative.

The pork council plans to launch another information campaign this summer to try and make its case to urban Manitobans.

George Matheson, council chair and hog producer from Stonewall, said the organization would be buying ad space in Winnipeg. The promotion is needed because anti-livestock groups and journalists are spreading incorrect information about Manitoba's hog producers.

Matheson didn't specify which media but there have been many stories this spring, mostly in Winnipeg, suggesting the hog industry and its manure could endanger Lake Winnipeg. READ MORE
Published in Regulations
Last month Statistics Canada released the results of the 2016 Census of Agriculture. Like many of you, I was eager to read up on the results and discover how our industry has changed in the five years since the last survey was conducted.

Some findings, such as the edging up of the average age of farm operators from 54 in 2011 to 55 in 2016, aren't all that surprising. After all, aging is a fact of life. Other findings, however, gave me pause. For example, Statistics Canada found that even though the average age of farmers has increased, only one in 12 operations have a formal succession plan outlining how the farm will be transferred to the next generation.

In other words, the vast majority of Canada's farm operators have not taken steps to safeguard the businesses they've worked long and hard to build.

Experts in the field agree there are many reasons farmers shy away from succession planning, including fear: fear of change, of creating conflict within the family, of losing one's identity as a farmer, and of confronting the fact that not even the healthiest among us live forever. Then there's the time required to craft a plan and implement it when there are still animals to feed, seeds to plant and suppliers and customers to work with, plus all the other tasks that contribute to a farm's long-term success. Perhaps one of the most significant barriers, though, is the daunting scope of work the term "succession planning" entails.

Though we can't do that work for you, the editorial teams behind Agrobiomass, Canadian Poultry, Fruit & Vegetable, Manure Manager, Potatoes in Canada and Top Crop Manager have partnered to help ease the way with our first annual Succession Planning Week.

From June 12 to 16, we'll be delivering a daily e-newsletter straight to your inbox, packed with information and resources to help you with succession planning in your operation. Each e-newsletter will offer practical advice and suggestions you can use, whether you're an experienced farm owner wondering if your succession plan needs some tweaking or an aspiring successor wondering how to start the succession conversation.

But that's not the only conversation we want to kick-start. Share your succession planning tips and success stories on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #AgSuccessionWeek. The best of the best will be published on our website (FamilyFarmSuccession.ca) and included in Friday's e-newsletter.

We hope Succession Planning Week offers valuable information to help you keep your operation growing, now and for generations to come.

Published in Business/Policy
June 8, 2016, Calgary, Alta. - Livestock Water Recycling is one of seven Calgary based technology companies who will receive over $2.5 million in federal government support to help bring their technology to the global marketplace.

The LWR System is a disruptive technology that is used by dairy and hog producers to recover nutrients and recycle water from livestock manure.

There are many benefits to managing manure in this way; these include cleaner sand for bedding, increased crop yields due to strategic nutrient application, and a much easier path to expansion should a producer so choose.

This funding will be used to further develop a new module for RO cleaning that will reduce consumable costs and increase flow capacity. Not only will this advance manure treatment, but could potentially have applications across a variety of industries beyond livestock production.

David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, made the funding announcement last week on the Minister's behalf during a visit to Innovate Calgary.

The funding supports western-based companies that develop cutting-edge technology, create jobs, and spur the economy. The Government's Innovation Agenda aims to make Canada a global centre for innovation – one that drives economic growth by creating better jobs, opportunities, and living standards for all Canadians.
Published in Companies
May 19, 2017, Manitoba - An agricultural watchdog group says it has concerns over how Manitoba's pig-producing industry is regulated by the provincial government.

And while the province says it wants to grow the industry, Hog Watch Manitoba said it has several issues with a recent proposal to make changes to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation (LMMMR). READ MORE
Published in News
About 12 years ago, prompted by water quality concerns, the government of Manitoba, Canada, slapped a “temporary” ban on new swine barns. A few years later, that “temporary” ban became a moratorium on new barn construction in 35 municipalities throughout the province.
Published in State
May 5, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – An effort to automate the cleaning and disinfection of swine transport vehicles is about to move into the next phase.

A team of engineers and scientists, working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, is preparing to move into phase three of an initiative to adapt hydrovac technology to speed up and reduce the cost of washing and disinfecting swine transport trailers.

Dr. Terry Fonstad, a professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, explains swine transportation has been identified as the primary risk for transferring disease-causing pathogens.

Prairie Swine Centre is involved in doing a trailer inventory.

They went out and looked at all the trailers that are being used and then looked into both animal welfare and cleanability aspects of those trailers," Dr. Fonstad says. "PAMI is developing with us a cleaning system based on a concept of using vacuum and pressure washers."

"VIDO is working on the side of pathogen destruction and giving us the engineering parameters that we need to destroy pathogens and verification of that."

"Then, on the engineering side at the University, we're looking at measuring those parameters in the trailers to verify that we're meeting the conditions that'll destroy the pathogens," he says. "I think this is a bit unique for research in that it's industry led, industry driven."

"One thing that we did made sure that we put in is an advisory team that's everywhere from producers to veterinarians to people that actually wash the trucks and we get together every six months and have them actually guide the research," Dr. Fonstad adds. "I think that's been part of the success, is having that advisory team that's made up of that diverse group of people."

Dr Fonstad says a less labour-intensive prototype hydrovac system, which requires less water that cleans the trailers to a level that facilitates effective disinfection and pathogen deactivation using heat has been developed.

He says the next step is to automate or semi-automate the system.
Published in Equipment
May 5, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – On May 2, 2017, Manitoba's Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) confirmed positive test results for PEDv from a sow operation in southeast Manitoba.

The CVO has activated Manitoba Agriculture's Emergency Operation Centre to assist the affected producer and conduct a full disease investigation. Control measures were implemented immediately, and a plan has been developed for restricted site access, barn cleanup and animal care. Producers within a 5-km radius of the infected site have been alerted, and are monitoring their herds and collecting samples for testing. All swine veterinarians with producer clients in the region have been notified of the site's location so that those producers are aware of the disease potential.

Sharing of the site location information was made possible by the affected producer voluntarily providing permission to his herd veterinarian to share the information at his discretion with Manitoba Pork and other swine veterinarians through signing this Sharing of Information Waiver. Providing this permission through the waiver allows the CVO and Manitoba Pork to assist the producer in a more comprehensive and timely manner, while concurrently protecting the broader pork industry. Manitoba Pork urges all producers to sign the waiver with their veterinarian – and encourages all veterinarians to ask their clients to sign it and keep it on file – ahead of a disease outbreak.

With a new case of PED in Manitoba, producers should take this opportunity to review and further strengthen their biosecurity practices, paying particular attention to the following:
  • Ensure that the trailers you allow on your farm have been thoroughly washed, disinfected and dried.
  • Exercise extreme vigilance with trailers coming back from assembly yards (known hotbeds for all swine diseases) and other major collection points.
  • Ensure that people coming onto your site follow strict biosecurity guidelines, with only essential service people being allowed into the yard and preferably parking outside of it if possible.
  • For trailers returning from the U.S., request that a second wash and a complete dry be done in Canada at a trusted facility.
All producers are encouraged to work with their veterinarian to review their biosecurity plans and ensure that their herds have the best practical protection from PEDv and other diseases.
Published in News
May 3, 2017 - The AgSTAR Program will be hosting, Part two of the Innovative Business Models for Anaerobic Digestion webinar series.

The Webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 from 2:00 - 3:30 PM Eastern Time.

Industry leaders from Noblehurst Farms Inc., EnviTec Biogas, and DVO, Inc. will review innovative business models for anaerobic digestion (AD) projects and discuss the hub-and-spoke model of hauling manure from several farms to a centralized digester, how to establish successful business arrangements with food waste producers, sustainable production of renewable energy and coproducts using AD and how AD project risks and benefits can be shared among multiple parties.

The webinar will include a question-and-answer session and participants will be encouraged to ask questions. Participation in the webinar is free. To register, visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5557285092277361154
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
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