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7.8 BILLION PANDEMIC RESPONSES

One of the non-COVID-19 challenges we faced on our farm this spring is dealing with flax straw—a tenacious material that needs to be removed from the field before seeding. We had dropped it in windrows behind the combine last fall but it blew all over the field in a windstorm before the baler arrived. We finally accumulated it into bunches suitable for burning this spring, but then we faced dry conditions, strong winds and a county fire restriction that prevented us from burning.

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STAY IN YOUR TRUCK

Like the spring run-off, customers have started to trickle through my yard. I wish the snow and the seed were moving faster, but there tends to be a pretty strong correlation between how early the fields bare off and how early my bins empty.

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SAFETY FIRST

Like most farmers, Jody Wacowich’s parents made efforts to be safe at their Redwater cow-calf operation. But when she was growing up on the family farm in the ’80s and ’90s, the safety culture of the day didn’t go above and beyond. She saw her share of preventable accidents and understood the difficulty in convincing those set in their ways that there was room for improvement.

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CONVERSING WITH CONSUMERS

Consumers still question whether or not to eat wheat. Some are increasingly more confused and even scared about the consumption of wheat. The gluten-free trend continues to subside, but low-carb diets are undergoing a resurgence.

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WAITING GAME

Canada’s agriculture sector waited with bated breath for the outcome of the federal–provincial–territorial agriculture ministers meeting held this past December in Ottawa. The highly anticipated meeting was announced in July when the ministers made a collective commitment to examine potential improvements to the business risk management (BRM) suite of programs before the end of the calendar year.

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IMPRESSIVE RESEARCH

With early snowfalls having impacted harvests in recent years, the time couldn’t be better for Dean Spaner’s wheat breeding program to hit its stride. A University of Alberta professor and plant breeder, Spaner focuses on bringing high-yielding but early-maturing wheat varieties to market. It’s a natural fit for the northernmost wheat breeding program on the continent.

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A MESSAGING WIN FOR AGRICULTURE

Our industry has embraced every tool available in communicating our messages to those outside the agri-food sector. Social media channels such as Twitter give farmers a direct line to global consumers. One remarkable messaging success saw the United Nations declare 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Canada was a leader in advocating for this.

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