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THE INFLUENCER

Founded by Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission, Team Alberta Crops was formed to elevate the influence of Alberta’s farmers in key agricultural policy areas. Focused on four priorities—improved market access, reduced regulatory hurdles, increased global competitiveness and continued sustainability—Team Alberta Crops advocates on behalf of Alberta farmers.

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KNOW YOUR PAST

In her words, Shelly McElroy is attracted to a good Alberta story like a magpie after a shiny object. As the curator of the Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana, her focus is lesser-known stories from Alberta’s agricultural history. This past March through September, McElroy was given the position of historian-in-residence at the Calgary Public Library, and Heritage Calgary, a charitable organization whose mandate is to “identify, preserve and promote” all things to do with the city’s heritage. Splitting time with her regular job, she dived into the Glenbow Library and Archive Western Research Centre at the University of Calgary, the Calgary Public Library Collection and resources held by Heritage Calgary to uncover farm tales of yesteryear.

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THE HENRY FORD OF FENCEPOSTS

Like his hero Henry Ford, Vermilion-area farmer, entrepreneur and self-taught mechanical engineer Danny Farkash aspires to reinvent existing machines and make them better. This past spring, GrainsWest visited the sprawling farmyard where he operates the thriving ironworks division of Noralta Farms and works on numerous side projects such as a portable sawmill operation and biodiesel factory.

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REMOTE POSSIBILITIES

Raised on a farm in Peace Country, Vincent Pawluski has always loved to tinker. As a kid, he hot-rodded a Fischer Price boat with a small motor and propellor. Later, as part of an elementary school science fair project, he and his friends created a remote-controlled drill stem like those used in the oil and gas industry.

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YOUTH SPEAK UP FOR AG

The goal of AYSA is to encourage this passion and develop communication, leadership and networking skills in youth. Given a choice between seven pressing agricultural issues, these future farm ambassadors had clearly done their research and impressed the judges with their insights.

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SPLASHY SCIENCE

Of all the variables in agriculture, from prices and pests to supplies and sun, water is perhaps the most difficult to manage. Most Alberta farmers may prefer to forget the 2021 season, which illustrated just how damaging a lack of it can be. In southern Alberta, drought can be mitigated by irrigation, and local scientists are at work to improve the practice.

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GOODBYE TO A COLLEAGUE AND MENTOR

It is with heavy hearts that GrainsWest and Alberta Barley say goodbye to former director and founding GrainsWesteditorial advisory board member Bryan Adam. In the early morning of March 2, Bryan passed at his home in Stony Plain. He was 69 years of age.

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A WORLD OF NEW IDEAS

Amanda Hardman believes the amount of plastic packaging used in the produce aisles of her local grocery store is unsustainable. As a solution, the second-year sustainable agriculture student at the University of Alberta developed a prototype clamshell package made of sugarcane fibre and intended to transport lettuce. Initially a 4-H Canada Science Fair project, it earned her a spot at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit 2021. “People are looking for packaging options other than plastics as it has either been banned in some places or discouraged in others,” said Hardman.

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THE VOICE

In September, as the economic fallout from the 2021 drought continued to hit home on Alberta farms, Pine Lake cattle farmer Kelly Smith-Fraser stepped into the role of Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) board chair. It has not been an easy time to lead the group: insurance needs are high across the ag sector and AFSC has been tasked with administering the $340 million joint federal–provincial AgriRecovery program through the Canada-Alberta Livestock Feed Assistance Initiative.

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THE GRAIN KING OF THE PEACE COUNTRY

In a 1914 Maclean’s story entitled “The Third Chapter of Western Growth,” W.D. Albright, reported a stream of newcomers arrived in the Peace Country with the railroad, which had reached Grande Prairie. Wheat and barley yielded very well, he claimed, but production in the region was hampered by a lack of machinery.

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