There’s no doubt 2022 was a record breaker. As the cost of living has risen, food prices and input costs reached all-time highs. As well, the monthly growth rate for input prices is three times higher than that of food. These inputs are critical to food production, and rising prices signal increased fragility within our global food systems.
The Port of Prince Rupert is a remote but critical link in the Canadian crop export chain. Located in Prince Rupert Harbour just south of the Alaska Panhandle on British Columbia’s rugged Pacific coastline, its facilities are strung along a 20-kilometre stretch of Kaien Island, adjacent to the Prince Rupert townsite.
When he and his wife Gabriele immigrated to Kaslo, B.C., from a small Bavarian town in the summer of 1979, Silvio Lettrari craved the sourdough bread he grew up eating. He began baking and selling his own loaves as a summer project in 1991. Locals raved and demand grew, so the couple launched Kaslo Sourdough in 1993 and marketed their bread across the West Kootenays.
Markets, trade and technical services are at the core of Cereals Canada operations. With the onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020, many of the organization’s activities, including international new crop missions, were conducted virtually. This past July, Cereals Canada returned to in-person operations.
Grain and oilseed market analysis should boil down to two questions: How much did farmers produce, and how much was consumed? This leaves a residual, which is the gap between total supply and total demand. The larger the residual (ending stocks) the more pressure on prices and vice versa. A fundamentals-driven analyst would look closely at the magnitude (big/little) and direction (up/down) of ending stocks and be able to discern price direction. Unfortunately, for farmers and consumers, macroeconomics and geopolitical aspects matter and often dominate the determination of prices.
From Aug. 10-12, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) and its members held the 2022 Western Canada Barley Crop Tour, the first time in three years the event has been held in person. Approximately 50 representatives from across the barley value chain gathered in central Saskatchewan. The group included maltsters and brewers, Canadian farmers and grain companies, as well as buyers of Canadian barley and malt from around the world. The tour included several beer industry representatives from Japan, one of Canada’s largest malt markets. Among them were technical and purchasing staff from Asahi and Sapporo Breweries.
As the Canadian Agricultural Partnership sunsets over the next six months, the next round is finalizing its planning, which includes a name change. Starting April 1, 2023, the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) will begin a new five-year work cycle with funds totalling $3.5 billion.
With the help of a $10.8 million grant from the federal government’s Digital Technology Supercluster, a consortium of Canadian companies and one university intends to create the world’s first interactive planning software for both autonomous and precision agriculture applications. The intent is to design a program that tracks and displays vital agronomic and geographic information in a single easy-access platform. Dubbed the Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture (SDPAA), its builders include Lethbridge-based Verge Ag, Terramera, QuantoTech Solutions, i-Open Technologies and Simon Fraser University.
In February, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) approved ABO Wind Canada’s Buffalo Plains Wind Farm proposal, an 83-turbine project scheduled to begin spinning in farm fields near Lomond in the winter of 2023. The Buffalo Plains project is just one of a surging tide of renewable energy investments proposed for southern Alberta that carries clear benefits as well as potential risks for area farmers.