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Agbee Kpogo saw an opportunity to conduct research on swine nutrition while completing an undergraduate degree in animal science in his native Ghana. Working for a company that dealt mainly with poultry, he realized there was a glaring gap in that region’s research materials on sustainable, large-scale pig farming.

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For the last five years, Canada has averaged third place among the world’s top malting barley and malt exporters. Across the globe, Canadian barley and malt are considered premium products. Naturally, the varietal purity of malting barley is a cornerstone of Canada’s value proposition for domestic and international maltsters and brewers.

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With its bright fluorescent lights and shiny malting gear that trails tubes and cords, the Hogarth floor-malting room has the feel of a hospital operating theatre. In contrast to its clinical appearance, the air is invitingly fragrant with the sweet and earthy aroma of warm, moist malting barley in the germ stage.

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Business practices evolve and shift as new farmers take over from their predecessors. Agrologists were often the sole outside opinion sought by farmers of previous generations, but this is no longer the case. The under-45 crowd is generally much keener to call a consultant for assistance and trust that experts will help them work smarter, rather than harder. This generation may seek expert input in agrology, finance, accounting, business planning, mental health and more.

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For generations, Canadian farmers have been careful stewards of the grasslands, watersheds and cropland their livelihoods depend upon. It is only recently, however, they have begun to receive wider public recognition and financial compensation for the critical environmental benefits their practices deliver.

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The chronic agricultural labour shortage shows no signs of abating. Without a sufficient talent pipeline, even the agricultural retail sector has suffered. Working to alleviate the problem with the assistance of industry partners, Lakeland College has developed an innovative apprenticeship program that will prepare students for agri-sales careers. The institution’s agri-sales and customer relations certificate program is intended to produce sales professionals who possess in-demand skills. 

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In an enclosed handling facility at Nature Energy Månsson, a biogas plant in Brande, Denmark, a massive claw hoisted a mixture of manure and straw. The facility works co-operatively with 50 livestock farmers who supply manure for off-gassing. This carefully contained, excremental mess stands in sharp contrast to the plant’s gleaming exterior.

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It is a valuable livestock feed, food ingredient, beer component and is even used to lower blood pressure, but if barley loses its market, farmers will feel the economic pressure. After Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver in 2019, China banned two major Canadian grain trading companies from exporting canola seed to that country. While the three-year prohibition was lifted in May of 2022, it left the barley sector to question its own trade relationship with China. Could Canada be next? If so, what then?

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“Is it really necessary to spray in all cases?” It’s a question posed by Brent Puchalski, a molecular plant pathologist. Up to 75 per cent of all fungicide application is either off target or worse, has no target, he warned.

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