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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.
  • FIVE.
  • COVID-19 update
  • Transforming agriculture research in Alberta
  • Cost of Production Network
  • The cost benefit of using vaccines in beef cattle
  • Register for the Feeding Growth webinars

COVID-19 update

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is hosting conference calls to update stakeholders on the status of federal government actions, which the Canadian Cattlemen's Association will share moving forward.

On critical infrastructure: Provinces and territories have deemed food as an essential service and AAFC continues to work with provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure consistency across the country. Food is a critical sector and provinces have put out guidance, consistently recognizing food sector. Public Safety Canada is developing federal guidance, and once this is developed, we will share with our stakeholders. Note: this is not a directive but guidance between jurisdictions and to help with consistency across the country.

On efforts by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA): CFIA is ensuring critical functions continue around food safety and food supply continues to be maintained. They are currently maintaining delivery of these services, and monitoring capacity as numbers continue to fluctuate. For more information, please click here.

On the International Food Supply Chain: AAFC continues to monitor the International food supply chain, with the US front being their current focus. Canada and its trading partners have committed to support each other in the flow of goods and are sharing information on how to facilitate import/export of our agri-food products.

For up to date COVID-19 related information from AAFC, please click here.

Financial support: Provincial and federal governments have announced a number of programs available to assist Canadians impacted by COVID-19 with financial support. Alberta Beef Producers has compiled a document outlining all programs applicable to producers in Alberta. You can review it here

The CCA has been in close contact with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and made a number of recommendations to provide support for producers to keep their operations financially sustainable and ensure the health and welfare of producers, their cattle, and the Canadian cattle Industry as we navigate through this global crisis.

These include meaningful enhancements to existing programs such as AgriStability and cattle price insurance. CCA has also requested government to investigate measures like Agri-Recovery as a vehicle to provide support to producers in a timely matter.

Click here to see the full recommendations CCA submitted to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food on business risk management.

Alberta public gatherings limitations: The following is information for beef producers from the province of Alberta in regard to limitations on public gatherings and implications for their operations and sales. Any business or organization not following the public health order will be subject to a fine. Courts have the power to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.
 
What is the public gathering limit in Alberta?
The limit on public gatherings in Alberta is 15. This was last updated on March 27, 2020, however as the situation with COVID-19 is fluid please confirm with https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-information.aspx
 
Is agriculture determined an essential service in Alberta?
Yes. The full list of essential services for Alberta can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/essential-services.aspx
 
Are farming operations subject to the limit on gatherings for employees within the workplace?
No. There is no limit on the number of employees at an essential service workplace. Workplaces should however implement best practices to stop the spread of COVID-19, further information can be found on the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s COVID-19 page here, or on the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council website here.
 
Available COVID-19 resources: Industry stakeholders have been working in close collaboration to build practical resources designed to help producers and industry navigate the changing landscape of COVID-19. The following resources are also available on the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association website, along with additional information regarding best practices, trade and financial supports.

  • Branding/Processing Time Information and Tips during COVID-19 here
  • Questions and Answers: Cattle Trade Across the US-Canada Border here
  • Measures Taken by the Canadian Meat Industry to Protect Against COVID-19 here
  • Recommendations on hosting and attending cattle sales during COVID-19 here

Transforming agriculture research in Alberta

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen has announced the creation of Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), a non-profit, arm’s-length agriculture research organization.

Early this year, government consulted with farmers, industry and key partners in the agricultural sector. From that engagement, there was a consensus that farmers, in collaboration with others involved in research, are best positioned to determine agricultural research priorities.

RDAR’s structure takes the best parts of previous research models, such as Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF), as it ensures research reflects the priorities of farmers and ranchers. It is imperative that agriculture research in Alberta achieves outcomes that can be applied in the field and on the ranch.

A regionally reflective advisory board will assist the interim board with important projects to ensure value, profitability and areas of focus.

“We will make sure farmers direct research priorities. RDAR will ensure Alberta’s agriculture industry has more financial flexibility and autonomy to fund longer-term projects. Governments shouldn’t force ideology on research priorities – research priorities should be determined by industry. Research can be a massive springboard for economic growth and, with the right focus, RDAR can achieve that for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers.”
Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

An interim board and CEO has been put in place to establish RDAR. Research funding will begin flowing by September 2020 and achieve full operational capacity by March 2021. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, $2 million in grant funding will be provided this year to support initial operations, which will allow RDAR to begin focusing on priority research right away.

“We know a new system needs to be established with the voices of producers strongly considered and driving research initiatives while working in a collaborative environment with scientists and others. This new model will ensure predictable, long-term funding. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to make that a reality."
Dr. David Chalack, interim board chair, Results Driven Agriculture Research

Quick facts

  • Interim board members:
    • Dr. Gerald Hauer, interim CEO
    • Clinton Dobson, interim research director
    • Dr. David Chalack, chair
    • Brian Otto
    • Tom Steve
    • Kelly Smith-Fraser
    • Nichole Neubauer
    • Dr. Stanford Blade
    • Matt Sawyer
    • Melissa Downing
    • Vance Yaremko
  • In January, Agriculture and Forestry conducted 17 farmer-led research engagement sessions across Alberta
    • 650 people attended in-person sessions
    • 1,422 people completed an online survey
  • In Budget 2020, government maintained agriculture research funding at $37 million.
  • Post-secondary institutions will be provided funds to carry out priority agricultural research projects.
More information available at Results Driven Agriculture Research

Cost of Production Network

Canfax Research Services (CRS) is proud to present the Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network (CDN COP Network) funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and delivered with our provincial partners. The CDN COP Network will consists of hosting 26 producer focus groups (consisting of five to six producers in each) across Canada in 2020-21 in different eco-regions using various production systems.

The objective is to develop baseline cost of production statistics in a way that minimizes the response burden on producers. Annual indexing means that producer data is collected every five years.

Scenarios will be developed of what future farms could look like utilizing the 5% Rule approach of evaluating where incremental improvements could be made around productivity, input costs and output prices. This would be mindful of the fact that different farms have different limitations to land, labour and capital.

Continue reading here.

The cost benefit of using vaccines in beef cattle

Vaccination is a proven tool for disease prevention. Vaccination recommendations vary by region and by farm as the environment, production, and management practices can increase or decrease the amount of risk cattle are exposed to. Disease exposure occurs in numerous places including community pastures, fence line contact with neighbouring cattle, auction markets, and breeding cattle, such as bulls, purchased from other herds. However, vaccinating breeding females for reproductive disease and calves for respiratory disease are recommended practices across Canada. A vaccination program should be developed in consultation with a veterinarian who can determine which ones are necessary for your area.

Continue reading here.

Register for the Feeding Growth webinars

Registration for Feeding Growth 2020: Enhancing Your Open Farm Days Experience webinars on March 31, 2020 and April 6, 2020 is now open.

Each webinar is open to farms, communities and anyone interested in developing agri-tourism. The Open Farm Days team will explore local marketing, media and culinary for a full day of exploration and discussion around creating exceptional experiences for your visitors.

The morning portion of each webinar focuses on what’s involved when adding culinary events to your farm - from small samplings to long table events. Participants will also get first-hand advice from experts in the “ask a chef” session.

The afternoon portion will shift to marketing strategies and insights on social media and digital marketing, as well as learning best practices for event marketing.  

The eighth annual Open Farm Days takes place August 15 and 16 across the province. These webinars replace the in-person workshops that were originally to take place on these dates.

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