The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) released the results of its consultation on the Responsible Grain voluntary code of practice this month. The majority of participants do not support the draft as it is currently written. However, most provided constructive feedback the code development committee will use to improve and simplify the document.
A large Alberta distiller, Canada’s national spirits industry association and the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions are concerned a generous provincial distillation subsidy will prove a double-edged sword. In its current form, they say, it may eliminate the incentive for small distillers to use Alberta grain, flood the market with cheap out-of-province alcohol and harm the entire spirits value chain.
A three-year Team Alberta study on grain conditioning has just produced its second-year results. The research project will assess the efficiency of various grain drying systems used by a selection of Alberta farmers. Initially inspired by the potential impact of federal carbon taxation, it will also analyze how various methods and fuel types can diminish the bite it takes from the farm bottom line.
Naturally, pest-infested grain will be discounted, but there are less obvious reasons creepy crawlers affect the marketing of your grain worldwide. Farmers and grain companies strive to deliver grain that has zero or very little insect content. However, much of Canada’s grain is exported and bugs, actual or imagined, worm their way into market access issues.
Edible insects are not to everyone’s taste. It turns out, however, a surprising number of people purchase powdered crickets as a protein supplement. Claudio La Rocca and his partner Silvia Ronzani operate Camola Sustainable Foods in Edmonton, a business that produces the food ingredient as well as cricket-powder enhanced foodstuffs.
Two acres of James Molnar’s 800-acre family farm near Barnwell cause him continuous headaches. Just a short distance from his house, these troublesome acres contain an old oil well site. Its lingering traces of asphalt and oil prevent Molnar from planting the lot with high-value Taber corn or the tomatoes, pumpkins and other market vegetables he farms. Doing so would violate the exacting standards of the grocery stores he supplies.
Like the ale versus lager taste debate, the decision to grow malt or feed barley has strong proponents on both sides. As barley farmers ponder their crop options for the coming year, the choice has been complicated by an unusual development: “intent to grow” contracts for malting barley priced below that of feed barley. This erosion of the price premium for malting barley may have implications for maltsters and farmers.
Proposed changes to the provincial tax assessment rate have been shelved after municipalities and other stakeholders voiced concerns about revenue loss and the impact on budgets and services. The planned overhaul to the provincial assessment model could have potentially resulted in an increased financial burden for farmers who are both landowners and business operators.