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COVID TRANSMISSIONS

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, farmers are feeling a mix of anxiety and uncertainty just as urban Albertans are. However, there is an emerging confidence that the ag supply chain will hold up.

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A HARD ROW

Familiar to most farmers, that blue seed tag indicates a grower has produced the high-quality product that will be used to produce the year’s crop. Seed growers are the foundation of Canada’s agri-food industry, helping to maintain the robust selection of crop varieties farmers rely on to grow the best crops possible.

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KEEP ON TRUCKIN’

While statistics are limited, some industry insiders estimate about 50 per cent of farmers haul their own grain, while the other 50 per cent rely fully or partly on commercial trucking services, popularly referred to as custom grain haulers.

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ESSENTIAL CALCULATIONS

Weather patterns over the last decade have been reliably unreliable at best. And while insurance does provide some reprieve when fall crops remain in the field until spring, farmers are contemplating management decisions they hope will diminish the risk.

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WELLSITES THE FOCAL POINT OF FRUSTRATION

In January of this year, the Rural Municipalities of Alberta revealed energy companies owe a total of $173 million in unpaid municipal property taxes on wellsites. This added to the growing frustration of rural landowners over rental payment problems. Some have received requests from oil and gas companies to cut payments, while others have had compensation reduced by up to 50 per cent or halted completely without notice.

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HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN

BY IAN DOIG • PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA PRESS A senior scholar at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business, Paul D. Earl is the author of The Rise and Fall of United Grain Growers: Cooperatives, Market Regulation, and Free Enterprise. His extensive industry experience includes having worked for United Grain Growers […]

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FLOW OF IRRIGATION MONEY TO BE MAINTAINED

Alberta’s irrigation districts will continue to receive rehabilitation funding through 2022, albeit less than the historical average. In 2020, the 13 districts will share $14 million of Irrigation Rehabilitation Program (IRP) cash, a drop of about $6 million from the previous year. Next year, the districts will be allotted $10 million followed by $12 million in both 2021 and 2022.

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MAKING DO WITH LESS

As part of its 2020/21 budget, the Alberta government announced a budget cut of $5.3 million to the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC). However, the Crown corporation’s chief financial and innovation officer said farmers and agribusiness owners who rely on AFSC for loans, crop insurance and disaster assistance shouldn’t panic. The organization’s staff plan to sharpen their pencils to cut administration costs, rather than customer service.

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