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COVID TRANSMISSIONS

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, farmers are feeling a mix of anxiety and uncertainty just as urban Albertans are. However, there is an emerging confidence that the ag supply chain will hold up.

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WELLSITES THE FOCAL POINT OF FRUSTRATION

In January of this year, the Rural Municipalities of Alberta revealed energy companies owe a total of $173 million in unpaid municipal property taxes on wellsites. This added to the growing frustration of rural landowners over rental payment problems. Some have received requests from oil and gas companies to cut payments, while others have had compensation reduced by up to 50 per cent or halted completely without notice.

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HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN

BY IAN DOIG • PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA PRESS A senior scholar at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business, Paul D. Earl is the author of The Rise and Fall of United Grain Growers: Cooperatives, Market Regulation, and Free Enterprise. His extensive industry experience includes having worked for United Grain Growers […]

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LESS IS MORE

Non-alcoholic beer is often associated with weak flavour, or worse, no flavour. But that’s changing. More and more, consumers are reaching for low- or no-alcohol beers when they’re cutting calories or avoiding alcohol. A growing variety of options and flavour profiles is now available to beer lovers.

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RESTAURANT RADAR

There’s much discussion in agriculture about connecting with consumers. Cravings change and so do ideas about what food to eat and why. Restaurants and foodservice businesses are quick to react. Chefs and restaurant operators provide a useful barometer of the ebb and flow of consumer demand.

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COPING WITH THE HARVEST FROM HELL

Widely dubbed the harvest from hell, the difficult 2019/20 crop year has complicated the lives of Alberta farmers. While hard times weigh heavily, they have produced a growing awareness of mental health issues within agriculture. Producer groups advocate for awareness as farmers and rural communities have opened up, actively embracing the once largely taboo subject. Where individuals were expected to cope on their own with issues such as anxiety and depression, this is no longer so.

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TACTICAL TIPS

The tight farm financial picture that has evolved over the last three crop years has many farmers adjusting capital, operational and agronomic practices. The aim is to push up the profit margin while cutting costs. GrainsWest spoke with three agricultural advisors about such dollar-saving tactics.

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PROACTIVE PROTECTION

With the Alberta rural crime rate being 42 per cent higher than in urban centres in 2017, farm residents have become more interested in beefing up security. Some are using technology to deter crime on their properties.

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SKILLS FOR A NEW FARMING ERA

The agriculture industry faces pivotal challenges, and a new report from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) suggests action is needed. Farmer 4.0: How the coming skills revolution can transform agriculture, details the precarious situation Canadian agriculture finds itself in as it faces a labour shortage, shrinking profits and its slice of global export markets diminishes.

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