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A CALL FOR PORT GOVERNANCE REFORM

The Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) has called for change to the way Canadian ports are governed. The organization represents grain companies that move 95 per cent of Canadian grain exports. Aimed primarily at the Port of Vancouver, the WGEA claims all ports lack accountability and grain terminals do not have adequate means to dispute their actions.

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PREPARE TO LAUNCH

A group of business development organizations has launched a mentorship program in Alberta to assist innovative agriculture technology and agri-food ventures. The Alberta Yield: Ag and Food Tech Advisory Program is intended to guide tech-based entrepreneurs as they establish their businesses, locate funding and expand.

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MAKE IT WORK

The newly launchedIntegrated Agriculture Technology Centre (IATC) at Lethbridge College uses the school’s applied research expertise to advance innovative ag-tech ideas. Funded by a five-year, $1.75 million Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council grant received in April of 2020, it works with small- and medium-sized agribusinesses to take their products, processes and services to market. With this technology access centre [TAC] grant, the centre helps such entrepreneurs conduct research, test their products and boost productivity. In its first year of operation, the centre assisted 18 companies to secure more than $500,000 worth of external funding, which includes grants and cash from private investors.

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CEREALS CANADA UPS ITS TECH GAME

BY ELAINE SOPIWNYK • PHOTOS COURTESY OF CEREALS CANADA Canadian wheat has an international reputation for high quality, but this alone isn’t always enough to convince international buyers it’s the right product for their needs. Cereals Canada and the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) amalgamated in June 2020. Cigi now provides technical support for the […]

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FARMERS TAKE PART IN RESPONSIBLE GRAIN CONSULTATION

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.

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DISTILLATION TAX BREAK CONTROVERSIAL

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.

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STUDY EXAMINES FUEL EFFICIENCY AND TAX REDUCTION

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. 

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CARBON TAX PUSHBACK

Issued in 2019 as part of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the federal carbon tax directly and unfairly punishes farmers who use propane and natural gas to dry their grain. However, I am hopeful positive change can be made on the issue.

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BUG BARRIERS

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.

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BITTEN BY THE FARMING BUG

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.

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