Established by the Government of Alberta in 1973 to help farmers protect their rights in dealings with the booming oil and gas industry of the day, the Farmers’ Advocate Office (FAO) has been greatly expanded from its original mandate. The office later merged with the Property Rights Advocate office and is now known as the Farmers’ and Property Rights Advocate Offices (FPRAO). Its modest team supports farmers and ranchers as they navigate a range of regulatory, environmental and legal issues.
On Rob Baerg’s farm near Rosemary, a rectangular array of used aluminum irrigation pipes is nestled within an L-shaped configuration of six hopper bottom grain bins. GrainsWest visited the farm on a day that was not particularly sunny, but the pipes were surprisingly hot. Laid east to west, this is the energy intake of Baerg’s solar grain dryer.
Cellular agriculture is poised to become a growth industry. The term refers to the engineering of plant or animal cells to create a food product or ingredient. The technology has been used for decades to produce food enzymes and proteins. For example, since the 1990s, 80 per cent of the rennet used in cheese making worldwide is produced by protein fermentation rather than traditionally sourced from calves’ stomachs. Cellular agriculture is also known for its potential to commercially produce animal proteins that closely mimic the meat of farmed animals.
Art Froehlich’s upbringing in the 1950s and ’60s was modest, but his contribution to agriculture has been substantial and far-reaching. His childhood on the family’s mixed farm was full of fun, family and 4-H competitions. These were years spent learning valuable agricultural knowledge that would serve him well later in life. His subsequent study of soil science at the University of Saskatchewan initiated a lifelong agricultural adventure as an entrepreneur and investor. Known for his role as president of AdFarm during its launch in 2000 and the first thought leader in smart agriculture at Olds College, Froehlich now enjoys his role as a mentor and supporter of agricultural development programs across the world. Awarded both the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal in 2022 for his contributions to the industry, the farm kid-turned-philanthropist is a committed champion of agriculture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.