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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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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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WELL SPENT

With the explosion of craft brewing comes a food waste problem. Spent grain accounts for about 85 per cent of brewing byproduct. Big breweries generate thousands of tonnes daily that is sold or given away as animal feed. Craft breweries, especially those in urban areas, don’t produce enough to make its distribution as feed financially viable. They have little choice, but to dispose of it as compost.

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SERIOUS SUPPORT FOR GRAIN SCIENCE

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) have been awarded major funding in support of cutting-edge crop research geared to ultimately improve characteristics such as yield and disease resistance in wheat. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and National Research Council Canada scientists as well as collaborators in Canada and the United States will also work on the project.

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A HOT-TICKET WINTER AG EVENT

The annual Prairie Cereals Summit centres around the Alberta Barley AGM while presenting speakers and panel discussions of interest to farmers and ag industry professionals working within the wheat and barley value chains.

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SCIENTIFIC ASSESSMENT

Esther Salvano assumed directorship of the Canadian Grain Commission’s Grain Research Laboratory in July of 2019, bringing with her an affinity for the strong science-based programs and policies the agency maintains.

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