Agriculture Canada Discusses Seed Royalty Proposals In Saskatoon

Several hundred farmers turned out in Saskatoon yesterday to learn more about Agriculture Canada’s seed royalty proposals that would change the way crop research and variety development is funded.

Seed companies are concerned that Canada is falling behind our major competitors, while some farmers are worried about losing the option to re-use their seed without paying a royalty.

 Agriculture Canada’s Carla St Croix says they are looking at two proposals, one that is a variation of an endpoint royalty model.

“One is a variation of an endpoint royalty model. So it’s really a royalty payable on harvested material, so in this case grain, that’s collected where grain is sold or delivered in Canada. The second model is one enabled by a contract, again it’s a royalty collection model. It would be a mechanism that would allow for contracts where producers would agree to a certain set of conditions on their farm-saved seed use.”

Clint Riglin from Elrose was one of the farmers in attendance during the Ag Canada information session.

“I haven’t made up my mind but I do think that we have to pay for research in this business.  So it has to be done somehow, I’m not sure that either one of these

alternatives is the right way. So I hope they take their time and do some more consultation before they make any decisions.”

SaskWheat chairwoman Laura Reiter says they have some concerns with the proposals.

“We’re supportive of farmer’s rights to use farm-saved seed and we’re concerned with what these changes might mean. The other thing we’re quite concerned about is the fact that most producers don’t know this is going on. There has to be a full discussion with producers before making any changes like this because this is going to make a huge impact on a farm.”

Provincial Agriculture Minister David Marit was in Saskatoon for the session.

 “This was way too soon to try and come up with anything conclusive.  What I’m going to ask is all the different boards and commissions to take it back to their respective boards and to their stakeholders. I’m hoping that later on in the Spring, maybe March or April, I’ll ask all the groups to come together and if we can come forward with a recommendation from the Province of Saskatchewan that’s really what I’m hoping for."

The Western Canadian Cereal Commissions have written a letter to the Federal Agriculture Minister saying the likelihood of an industry-wide agreement on either proposal is low and are asking for more consultations and the option of including other ideas.

Carla St. Croix with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says a decision on the two options has not been made. She says more formal face to face sessions are planned for March, as well as online consultations.

Ag Outlook 2019-2020 Market Forecast

It was a full house at the Sky Centre for the Innovation Credit Union - Stark and Marsh Ag Outlook Conference yesterday.

Neil Townsend, FarmLink’s Senior Market Analyst, told farmers that he’s a little bearish going into 2019-20 crop year noting that farmers may be yielding their way to success.

“Some of the yields on the wheat look promising even at $7 a bushel for #1 CWRS 13.5% which is down 50 cents from our price expectation this year. So, I think that pencils out nicely. I think the pulses when you get back towards the 19 cent lentils or the 20 cent lentils, I think that looks like it could be a fairly favourable return."

He says durum is a little more mixed, noting there will be long periods of time where $6.75 a bushel isn’t available.

Farmers will need to be conscious of your cash flow needs and your ability to be patient, to wait for the market to come to you. With canola if we see yields pop by two to three bushels then we could have a surplus of canola and it could struggle with pricing.

Townsend says farmers still looking to market old crop should be watching the market daily and look at actively marketing into opportunities; while for the new crop they should look at securing margins and watch for hedging opportunities.

New Crop Clusters Announced

Canada’s crop sector got a major boost this week.

The federal government will contribute up to 39.3 million dollars over five years, with another $28.4 million coming from industry for a total investment of $67.7 million dollars.

The four new crop research clusters include wheat, barley, soybean, and a diverse field crop cluster. The Diverse Field Crop Cluster includes flax, camelina, canaryseed, sunflower, hemp, quinoa, and mustard.

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay was in Saskatoon to announce key funding for four new crop science clusters.

"It's vitally important for the industry, as has been stated to make sure we produce more, develop seeds that can produce more, use less fertilizer and produce better crops. So, that's what we're going to do.  We're going to export $75 Billion dollars worth of Agriculture and Agri-food products, it takes research and investment to do that."

Industry Honors During CropSphere

Some key awards handed out this week during the CropSphere Event in Saskatoon.

Sask Canola held their Annual General Meeting and presented Zenneth Faye with the 2019 Canola Influencer Award.

He has been farming for 41 years in the Foam Lake area and has been involved in a number of farm organizations over the years including Sask Canola.

He was also very involved in the area of renewable fuels, including Milligan Bio-Tech at Foam Lake.

The Saskatchewan Pulse Growers also recognizing one of their own. 

Dr. Adrian Johnston received the Pulse Promoter Award during the Sask Pulse AGM.

 His 35 year career included research in the areas of conservation tillage and crop diversification.

Bayer Commends Health Canada On Glyphosate Review

Last week, Health Canada backed up its 2017 decision that glyphosate does not pose a risk to human health or the environment when used as directed.

"We're very pleased with the announcement and fully supportive of Health Canada taking the additional step to take a look at their re-evaluation," said Trish Jordan, Public and Industry Affairs Director with Bayer Crop Science. "I think it sends a really, really strong message on the safety of glyphosate."

Health Canada said that no further action would be taken, despite a number of objections to the 2017 re-evaluation decision.

Below is the full statement from Bayer:

Bayer commends Health Canada for its thorough review of glyphosate and its commitment to following science-based regulatory processes when assessing the safety of pesticides in Canada. We have an unwavering commitment to sound science, transparency and to producing valuable tools that will help farmers continue to feed a growing population in a sustainable manner.

We are fully supportive of Health Canada taking the additional step to have its 2017 re-evaluation decision reviewed by an additional team of 20 independent scientists. As has been the conclusion of hundreds of regulatory and scientific authorities around the globe, this additional review reaffirmed that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe when used as directed and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.

Glyphosate-based products have been used safely and successfully for over four decades worldwide and are a valuable tool to help farmers deliver crops to markets and practice sustainable farming by reducing soil tillage, soil erosion and carbon emissions. As Health Canada reaffirmed in its statement, “No pesticide regulatory authority in the world currently considers glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans at the levels at which humans are currently exposed.”

In completing its re-evaluation of glyphosate in 2017, Health Canada worked collaboratively with the U.S. EPA to examine a wide range of environmental and health-related data and information, including hundreds of peer-reviewed, published scientific studies. The exhaustive review, which looked at any potential health effects from exposure, among other factors, took seven years to complete and reached the same conclusion as independent regulatory authorities in more than 160 countries, which have approved glyphosate-based herbicides as safe for use.

FCC Watching Five Key Economic Trends In 2019

FCC chief agricultural economist J.P. Gervais is sharing five key economic trends in agriculture to watch in 2019.

“Agriculture is an exciting and dynamic industry driven by passion and possibilities,” Gervais says. “While the following five trends are on FCC’s radar, there are many other trends helping to shape this year’s outlooks for various sectors within Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry. We encourage those in the industry to follow the trends that are most helpful in protecting and improving their business’s bottom line.”

Net Cash Income Plateauing

Price volatility, higher input costs and weather-related challenges in many parts of the country over the past year took a toll on Canadian net cash income in 2018. Final calculations will likely show it decreased, and it’s forecast to plateau in 2019.

Overall, the long-term outlook for Canadian agriculture remains positive, since consumer demand for food at home and abroad is still robust and Canadian agriculture and agri-food sectors have shown resilience in the face of adversity, according to Gervais.

“We are likely to see some fast-changing circumstances, including those that are both beneficial or potentially negative to Canadian agriculture,” Gervais says. “However, I am confident that Canadian producers, manufacturers and agri-food operators can quickly adjust to this dynamic operating environment.”

Ripples In The Flow Of Trade

Canada already has some well-established trade agreements in key markets, including the Canada-European Trade Agreement, The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the yet-to-be-ratified Canada-United States-Mexico trade agreement, also referred to as the new North American Free Trade Agreement.

However, geopolitical tensions resulting in tariffs and other trade barriers will likely continue to disrupt traditional trade relationships and could possibly open new markets at the same time, according to Gervais.

“While the markets generally don’t react well to trade uncertainty, it also opens the door to opportunities for new trade relationships,” he says. “Disruptions can pave the way for new trade flows, which could be positive. But global trade tensions also have the potential to slow growth in the world economy. They can upset the status quo, and potentially impact the demand for Canadian ag commodities and food, and that’s never comfortable.”

Despite the volatility of the international trade environment, Canadian agriculture is well-positioned for export growth in 2019 and beyond, Gervais says.

Global Supply and Demand Fundamentals Shifting

Different trends in agriculture are building world supplies of agricultural commodities, but large productivity gains bear special mention. Global production growth in recent years has helped replenish stocks and better equip the markets to absorb potential weather-related supply shocks.

With world demand for food still robust, higher production has been needed to meet the pace of increase. This is having lasting repercussions on prices and revenues for Canadian farmers in a range of sectors, and this trend is expected to continue in 2019.

“Producers who want to see what’s coming should actively monitor global weather patterns, and production updates as the South American crop year wraps up,” Gervais says. “And keep an eye on China and the U.S. China’s large influence on global agricultural markets and the U.S. supply of commodities will have important impacts on 2019 prices.”

Tighter Profit Margins Mean Taking Calculated Risks

It is difficult to anticipate with much precision the domestic supply of various commodities in 2019. With little chance of real growth in commodity prices this year and possibly higher farm input costs, Canadian farmers will need to properly evaluate the outlook for profitability along with the associated risks. Risk management will become an even more significant component of success.

“Canadian producers need to find ways of reducing costs while increasing productivity from their existing operations, whether that means increasing the yield per acre or getting more butterfat from a litre of milk,” Gervais says.

“Adding value to our agricultural products is another avenue to grow farm revenues, as consumers continue to look for healthy and convenient food products,” he says. “Investments in innovation and technology will go a long way in ensuring Canadian agriculture remains competitive.”

Welcome To The Golden Age Of Protein

“Canadian producers of both animal and plant-based protein stand to gain buyers both at home and abroad as markets around the world are embracing a wide variety of protein products,” Gervais says. “This trend will continue in 2019 and beyond, as plant and animal proteins serve different segments of the global market.”

2018 was tough on those involved in protein production, even as consumption continues to grow.

“A lot happened last year to impact producers’ bottom lines,” Gervais says. “If there’s a silver lining to the cloud of uncertainty that hung over the sector last year, it’s that this coming year may be the start of something bigger and better.”

World Weather Inc's Drew Lerner Gives Prairie Outlook

World Weather Inc's Senior Agriculture Meteorologist Drew Lerner is giving his weather outlook for the next couple of months.

"Kind of status quo for the next two months," he said. "February and January both will end up being pretty much as it has been. We'll have a drier bias across a big part of the southern sections of Alberta, big part of Saskatchewan and probably some areas in Manitoba. Manitoba will probably do a little bit better, and western Alberta will do a lot better than anybody, but they don't want to do a lot better. They want a little drier weather and I don't think that's coming right away."

Lerner talked about what to expect in terms of temperatures.

"The temperatures will stay warmer bias in the west, most definitely. There will be a couple shots of cold air coming up, but in general it will be a very warm winter bias. Just like we've been seeing up to this point. In the east we'll have bigger shots of cold, they might be a little bit more long lasting but they are not going to be throwing the mean for the entire winter below normal."

He notes many areas on the Prairies are currently short on soil moisture.

"For the most part we still have a lot of moisture deficit leftover from the past 2 years. Even though there's some surface moisture out there from recent precipitation or that which occurred in the autumn and some snow that's melted recently, down below we are hurting in many ways. In the northern and western parts of Alberta, it's way too wet and they do need to see a drier bias, and we're hoping that maybe this El Niño bias we have this year will help them out a little bit. In Manitoba, it's a little bit more of a mixed bag. It's fairly wet in the north, there's some pockets in the south that are doing better but there's still moisture deficits left over from the past two years."

Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame Announces 2019 Inductees

The Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame will welcome six new inductees this year.

Board Chair Reed Andrew says Saskatchewan has an outstanding agriculture sector and this year’s inductees are indicative of the wealth of leadership and knowledge in primary agriculture, irrigation, animal health, value-added processing, agricultural research and public trust within the industry.

The 2019 inductees include Chantelle Donahue of Biggar, Clarence Hookenson of Kisbey, Roger Pederson of Outlook, Arnold Petracek of Esterhazy, as well as Dan Prefontaine and Neil Shantz from Saskatoon.

The inductees are to be honoured at a formal ceremony in Saskatoon on April 27th.

Since 1972, over 200 individuals have been inducted into Saskatchewan’s Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon.

Full biographies for this year’s inductees are available here.

CWA Next Gen Agriculture Mentorship Program Deadline Jan 15

Canadian Western Agribition “Next Gen Agriculture” program is expected to attract a lot of interest.

It’s the first year for the 18 month mentorship program that involves all aspects of the agriculture sector from crop production, livestock, value-added processing, and entrepreneurship.

CEO Chris Lane says they will be selecting eight applicants for the 18-month agriculture mentorship program.

“It’s open to young people in Saskatchewan between the ages of 18 and 39. This mentorship is really designed to be extensive and build broad-based skills for people in the industry. So they can go back to their hometown, communities, and their industries and help lead, sit on boards and help advocate. So it really is an exciting opportunity and we’re looking forward to kicking it off.”

He notes the program includes all aspects of the agriculture sector:

“Whether you’re in grains or oilseeds, livestock production or even interested in agriculture as a way to get into entrepreneurship or you’re on the value-added product side. We certainly have programs for that as well as part of this Next Gen Agriculture Mentorship experience. Really the amount of expertise that we have and that we’re able to connect with mentees is going to be pretty spectacular.”

The deadline to apply for the “Next Gen Agriculture” mentorship program is January 15; applications are available here.

Stock Growers Concerned Over Cattle Rustling

The issue of cattle rustling has producers thinking about prevention.

Leader RCMP are investigating a case where 21 calves were taken from a property in the Prelate area back in November.

General Manager of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Chad MacPherson says on average there are about 30 to 40 cases of theft or missing cattle per year in the Province.

“The number has been pretty consistent for the last few years but the size of some of the cases is increasing due to different changes in technology with people using quads and portable corrals.”

He says it’s a frustrating situation for producers noting they try a number of measures to prevent loss.

“With farming operations getting bigger and less people being in rural areas just watching out for suspicious activity and reporting any suspicious activity to the RCMP. Of course, brand your cattle that’s kind of the return address for them. When people are doing custom grazing do your due diligence go and check on the cattle occasionally and make sure the fences are maintained.”

In the cattle rustling case at Prelate, the calves which are valued at about $30,000 were tagged and branded with the letters “HE” on the right rib. 

If anyone has any information on the case they should contact the RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

More Ag News

Agriculture Canada Discusses Seed Royalty Proposals In Saskatoon

Several hundred farmers turned out in Saskatoon yesterday to learn more about Agriculture Canada’s seed royalty proposals that would change the way crop research and variety development is funded.…

Ag Outlook 2019-2020 Market Forecast

It was a full house at the Sky Centre for the Innovation Credit Union - Stark and Marsh Ag Outlook Conference yesterday. Neil Townsend, FarmLink’s Senior Market Analyst, told farmers that he’s a…

New Crop Clusters Announced

Canada’s crop sector got a major boost this week. The federal government will contribute up to 39.3 million dollars over five years, with another $28.4 million coming from industry for a total…

Industry Honors During CropSphere

Some key awards handed out this week during the CropSphere Event in Saskatoon. Sask Canola held their Annual General Meeting and presented Zenneth Faye with the 2019 Canola Influencer Award. He has…

Bayer Commends Health Canada On Glyphosate Review

Last week, Health Canada backed up its 2017 decision that glyphosate does not pose a risk to human health or the environment when used as directed. "We're very pleased with the announcement and fully…

FCC Watching Five Key Economic Trends In 2019

FCC chief agricultural economist J.P. Gervais is sharing five key economic trends in agriculture to watch in 2019. “Agriculture is an exciting and dynamic industry driven by passion and…

World Weather Inc's Drew Lerner Gives Prairie Outlook

World Weather Inc's Senior Agriculture Meteorologist Drew Lerner is giving his weather outlook for the next couple of months. "Kind of status quo for the next two months," he said. "February and…

Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame Announces 2019 Inductees

The Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame will welcome six new inductees this year. Board Chair Reed Andrew says Saskatchewan has an outstanding agriculture sector and this year’s inductees are…

CWA Next Gen Agriculture Mentorship Program Deadline Jan 15

Canadian Western Agribition “Next Gen Agriculture” program is expected to attract a lot of interest. It’s the first year for the 18 month mentorship program that involves all aspects of the…

Stock Growers Concerned Over Cattle Rustling

The issue of cattle rustling has producers thinking about prevention. Leader RCMP are investigating a case where 21 calves were taken from a property in the Prelate area back in November. General…

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