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Check out what events are going on in the industry and around Alberta at http://www.albertabeef.org/page/events.
Grass Routes News

In this issue

  • One.
  • Two.
  • Three.
  • Four.
  • Changes announced to the Meat Inspection Regulation
  • ABP Grass Routes summer issue is now available
  • Online agriculture marketplace – ‘Farming the Web’ launched
  • BCRC - What makes soil healthy?

Changes announced to the Meat Inspection Regulation

The Government of Alberta announced amendments to the Meat Inspection Regulation this week that provides another option for access to safe, locally produced beef.
 
Alberta beef producers have been asking for increased processing capabilities for several years and this is a positive step forward to address the issue. Providing recommendations to improve the Meat Inspection Regulation has been a significant focus for Alberta Beef Producers as we’ve worked closely with Alberta Agriculture staff to see these changes implemented.
 
The amendments include:

  • Increased licensing options for personal use slaughter. Consumers will be able to buy an animal direct from the farm and have it slaughtered on-site for personal consumption.
  • Provincially licensed processing facilities will be allowed to salvage and sell meat by-products, giving abattoirs the opportunity to expand into new markets.
  • Abattoirs will also be able to video pre-slaughter inspections in an emergency situation, minimizing the wait time if animal welfare is in question

These improvements will have positive impacts to animal welfare when dealing with injured animals on-farm and provide a viable option to not transport compromised animals to processing facility or auction market.
 
Allowing producers to sell or donate meat from animals killed on-farm will also help reduce food waste, while contributing valuable nutrients to consumers. Food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and these changes will help us to further minimize our environmental impact.
 
We would like to thank Minister Dreeshen for giving producers another option to handle an animal welfare emergency on-farm and providing another outlet for consumers to purchase Alberta beef.

ABP Grass Routes summer issue is now available

The summer issue of our Grass Routes newsletter is now available for a deeper look into what has been going on in the industry. You'll find a note from the ABP Chair, a look at ecosystem services programs, information on our new marketing and education resources and so much more. 

The Grass Routes summer issue is available here.

Online agriculture marketplace – ‘Farming the Web’ launched

The long awaited online agricultural marketplace ‘Farming the Web’ was launched earlier today. Since making the announcement at their AGM in March, the members of Alberta Forage Industry Network have been receiving requests as to when this site would be up and running. The day has arrived!
 
Thanks to the generous funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), AFIN was able to curate, design and create a marketplace for farmers to buy and sell their agriculture related products and services. Farming the Web replaces the former Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s ‘Ropin’ the Web - Alberta Agriculture Classifieds’.
 
“As Chair of the AFIN Board may I say that our Board members and I are excited to launch this important website for Albertans. We have worked hard to ensure the website would be easy to use and would be more than just for buying and selling agricultural products and services. It is expected to enhance communication among our farmers. I invite you to take advantage of this free marketplace.” - Surya Acharya, AFIN Chair
 
Important Points to Note:
  • This site is a marketplace for all things agriculture, with 6 different listing categories:
    • Hay, Straw and Other Feeds
      • Salt and Minerals
    • Livestock and Working Animals
    • Land for Rent or Lease
    • Farm Equipment
    • Services and Contracting
  • Other
  • Specifically designed with Albertans in mind, all aspects have been created by people that work directly or indirectly with agriculture.
  • There will be a rating system that can be used by you to connect with the most highly respected sellers.
  • A Chat function is in the works to connect with other farmer’s making your buy and sell experience the highest quality.
  • Ability to work with a ‘real human being’ to help list your items if you are having difficulty or have limited access to internet.
  • It’s free!!
Farmers and Agribusinesses will have the opportunity to purchase ad space on this very highly regarded website to showcase their products and services.
 
For more information, please email albertaforages@gmail.com, call 403-819-1746 and head to www.farmingtheweb.com

BCRC - What makes soil healthy?

Soil health has been defined as “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, maintain the quality of air and water environments, and promote plant, animal, and human health”. The challenge with this poetic definition is that, while it does describe the functional abilities of soil, it does not provide quantifiable values or measurements. There are no metrics to determine what makes soil healthy or to help identify the current soil health status (i.e. is it healthy or does it still need work?).
 
Although most producers can agree that soil health is important, actual measurable values of what makes soil “healthy” will vary from farm to farm. Numerous research projects across the globe are working on gaining a better understanding of soil health and what that means for individual operations but have yet to come up with specific, global parameters other than the definition provided in 1996. This challenge makes sense – consider Canada for instance. Values for pH, salinity, water infiltration, and organic matter vary significantly across the country and what is considered “good” in one area may not be considered valuable in another region. 

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