Today’s solar panels may not look a whole lot different than this one— located in a pasture on the Usher Ranch in east-central Alberta—did 20 years ago. However, the technology for pumping water with solar energy has improved, becoming more efficient and more cost effective.
For western Canadian grain producers, the 2016/17 growing season saw environmental conditions that were nearly perfect—perfect for a dramatic increase in Fusarium graminearum in their wheat crops, that is. As a result, the year revealed several potential drawbacks to Canada’s current wheat grading system.
Lewis Baarda was n’t sure exactly what he wanted to do for a career, but he knew he wanted to work outside. Combined with a fascination with maps and a knack for numbers, Baarda soon found his way into studying geographical information systems (GIS) at the University of Lethbridge. After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there, he moved on to a position with Farming Smarter in southern Alberta.
Last fall ’s harvest was brutal for the majority of Prairie farmers. Many growers have crop still unharvested and fieldwork left undone, yet are facing saturated, frozen ground in their fields. Hopefully, the spring will be early and dry, which might allow for some catching up and timely seeding. But, of course, that’s not a guarantee, and a late and wet spring would only make the situation worse.
As dean of a faculty that has more than 2,000 students (at a university with a population of 39,000-plus) I see the decisions that students are constantly faced with when it comes to their careers. And at a personal level, I have two teenagers who are choosing their first steps on the pathway to post-secondary education and career possibilities. It is a noisy, exciting, confusing environment that they, and all students, face.
A recent Canadian Senate report found that, one year after arriving in Canada, half of eligible Syrian refugees remain out of work. While there are many reasons why refugees would experience difficulties joining the Canadian workforce, two projects are looking at ways to help match refugees and other newcomers with employment in the severely understaffed agriculture industry.
Farm organizations, buyers and governments from across Canada came together in Ottawa at the beginning of November last year to discuss one thing: the formation of a National Environmental Farm Plan (NEFP). According to Erin Gowriluk, government relations and policy manager for the Alberta Wheat Commission and chair of November’s summit, there is strong support for the concept of a national program—94 per cent of surveyed participants see value in a national environmental farm plan program now and into the future—and its development is already underway.