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NET-ZERO A BANKABLE OPPORTUNITY

Agriculture produces an estimated 10 per cent of the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emission total, but experts believe it can potentially account for 26 per cent of Canada’s overall reduction target for the federal 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan. Thus, the federal government’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 relies on agriculture as a central component of GHG emissions reduction. Given the traction this and other such frameworks have received across the globe, farmers may be faced with a choice: write the playbook as they like, or risk having rules imposed upon them.

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AGRICULTURE COALITION HELPS UKRAINIAN FARMERS

EarthDaily Analytics is a Vancouver-based data processing and analytics company. With its agricultural subsidiary EarthDaily Agro and Agrilab, a Ukrainian precision farming business, the company launched Support Ukrainian Farmers Coalition (SUFC). The global organization is composed of government, corporate and NGO partners.

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ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES

The net result of combined low carry-in stocks, the severe drought of 2021 and record high prices for feed barley has been a supply crunch that has made it difficult for North American maltsters to source sufficient supplies. The available barley generally has quality challenges that include very high protein content and reduced germination caused by 2021 weather conditions. We now have greater perspective on how the malting and brewing industries are dealing with the challenges associated with the less-than-optimal crop.

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UNWELCOME INSTABILITY

Markets prefer certainty, and COVID-19 injected a substantial amount of uncertainty. The supply chain was disrupted and continues to struggle while governments have poured money into the economy to maintain stability. Inflation has been a byproduct of this supply chain disruption and government largesse. Costs have gone up, wages have escalated and shipping costs increased. Shortages have spurred price hikes and food has not been spared.

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WHAT ABOUT WHEAT?

The newly launched What about Wheat? campaign is intended to promote the nutritional benefits of wheat and the positive practices employed by the farmers who grow it. Partners in the value chain-led initiative include Cereals Canada, the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, Manitoba Crop Alliance, Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Canadian National Millers Association with support from Synthesis Agri-Food Network.

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HAMMER TIME

Farmer Keith Woynorowski built the Hammer Malt facility and the entire malting system from scratch. He processes the farm’s own malting barley within silver, cylindrical dairy tanks repurposed as combination kilns and germination vessels. The malt is transported from one stage of processing to the next through pneumatic tubes and the entire system is computer automated. Far from being cobbled-together in appearance, the rig looks something like a homey space station.

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TUG OF WAR

The two-year anniversary of COVID-19 is upon us and many aspects of life are still out of sorts. One step forward often results in one, or two, steps backwards, depending on what aspect of life is being evaluated. Farming, though, has always been a touch more socially distanced and isolated than the rest of society, but it’s not immune from the pandemic and its many ripple effects, primarily through the interruption of supply chain logistics.

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CONSUMER PAIN VERSUS GROWER GAIN

Canada’s Food Price Report 2022 annually delivers a much-anticipated snapshot of the nation’s consumer grocery bill for the year past with predictions for the coming year. In early January, GrainsWest conducted a wide-ranging discussion on the implications of its latest findings with Sylvain Charlebois, lead author and Dalhousie professor in the faculties of management and agriculture.

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CRINGE-WORTHY BUSINESS IMPEDIMENTS

Canadian agriculture is dependent on trade. The productive capacity of the Prairies is many times that of the domestic market within Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta and market access is a huge issue. Federal and provincial governments as well as various grower and industry groups continuously push for Canada’s fair treatment in global trade. The hardship necessary to secure transparent and reliable offshore market access has been a continual frustration even in the post-World Trade Organization era. A common lament is there is not enough domestic industry and the various levels of government should do more to promote investment to create opportunities. Herein lies the irony that free trade and market access do not exist within Canada.

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NEGATIVE NUMBERS

The drought of 2021 affected crops across the Canadian Prairies and the Great Plains of the U.S. This significantly impacted crop yield and quality in the major barley producing provinces in Western Canada and the states of North Dakota, Idaho and Montana. To add insult to injury, many farms finally received precipitation in the middle of harvest. The hot, dry growing season produced very high protein content while the late moisture triggered significant pre-harvest sprouting.

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