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Fall 2017


Canada’s Liberal government is halfway through its first term, and despite early concerns that the caucus may be light on agricultural expertise, its members are receiving positive reviews from leaders in the grain sector for making significant investments in infrastructure and doubling down on supply management.

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A wheat breeder with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dr. Harpinder Randhawa, a research
scientist specializing in spring wheat and triticale breeding, has spent more than 20 years immersed in this complex branch of agricultural science. In his work at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, happy farmers are his aim as he develops varieties with higher yield, improved disease resistance and better qualities for baking, animal feed and industrial uses.

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The Fusarium Head Blight Risk Tool was launched at the start of the 2017 growing season. Developed by the Alberta Wheat Commission in collaboration with the Alberta Climate Information Service, the online resource features a local risk indicator, a provincial risk map and a tab detailing best management practices.

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Over the last two years, loop track grain elevators have been built across Canada. These facilities can load and move grain more efficiently, but they’re just part of the picture. Much of the efficiency gain over two decades has occurred at conventional, straight-track facilities, where improvement may yet occur.

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As sustainability climbs to the top of the federal government’s agricultural policy agenda, farmers may wonder how they ensure their farms are well positioned for the future. “Often, the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word ‘sustainability’ is climate change and the environment,” said Jolene Noble, extension co-ordinator for the Alberta Farm Sustainability Extension (AFSE) working group. “But sustainability is not only an important part of agriculture because of environmental leadership, but also because of succession planning, business readiness and future market access.”

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Stakeholders in the Canadian ag industry are optimistic that a potential free trade agreement (FTA) with China could vastly increase value, predictability and competitive edge in export. With other countries—including Australia, New Zealand and Chile—already securing FTAs with China, the potential for Canada to do so looks promising.

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