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Agriculture

Extreme Weather Patterns Causing State of Agricultural Emergency in Canada

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We welcome guest writers to all of our Todayville platforms. Here’s a submission from Emily Folk.  Emily is passionate about agricultural sustainability and more of her work can be found on her site, Conservation Folks.

Extreme Weather Patterns Causing State of Agricultural Emergency in Canada

Climate change is spurring intense droughts and floods around the world, leading to crop failures. While corporations and consumers look for ways to reverse the impact of global warming, farmers are dealing with the consequences now.

Canada has high hopes for impending weather shifts. As temperatures rise, the country could gain access to more fertile land. Yet, it’s also dealing with new challenges, including droughts and constant rain.

A Lack of Moisture

Twelve counties in Manitoba declared a state of agricultural emergency due to a severe drought, leaving farmers unable to produce enough feed for cattle. While some are paying to transport hay, others are opting to sell.

Dianne Riding, VP of the Manitoba Beef Producers, says her farm produces around 1,800 bales of hay in a typical season. Last year, they had 500 — this season, only 250. With her reserves depleted, she says she won’t have enough to feed her 130 cows.

Some farmers are transitioning to regenerative agricultural practices in an attempt to prevent livestock from decimating plant life. Other countries, such as China, have already used this method to restore 3.7 million acres of land and increase grain production by 60%.

Canada’s ability to navigate climate change will hinge on its management of water resources. Its prairies, which make up 80% of farmland, were hit by the infamous Dust Bowl in the 1930s. According to researchers, it’s a problem that could repeat itself as temperatures rise.

Federal organizations are establishing green initiatives to simplify environmental shifts. Many corporations are also transitioning to eco-friendly practices, both due to environmental concern and buyer demand. Globally, 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from a sustainable company.

A Downpour of Rain

In other parts of the country, excess moisture is an issue. Lac Ste. Anne County in north-central Alberta has declared a state of agricultural emergency due to persistent showers and early snowfall. Between mid-June and the end of July, the county received 406 millimeters of rain.

One significant issue is livestock feed. With wet fields, farmers have difficulty accessing their crops. When they do, the hay often isn’t dry enough to safely and correctly bail it.

Stacey Berry, the county’s assistant manager of agricultural services, reports some fields are seeing upwards of 80% crop death. The goal of the state of emergency is to make it easier for farmers to file insurance claims for losses.

Nearby Leduc County, 30 kilometers south of Edmonton, also declared a local state of agricultural disaster. Similar to in Lac Ste. Anne, the poor weather affected the quality and quantity of yields.

An Eventual Warming

The federal government recently released a warning that droughts, floods and violent storms will increase in frequency. As a result of climate change, experts predict most regions of Canada will warm during the next 60 years. As the country is high-latitude, warming will be more pronounced than the global average.

As the droughts increase, crop yields will decline. Warmer summers could boost the number of heat-wave-related deaths, especially in poultry operations. Plus, diminished weight gain in cattle could lead to reduced milk and dairy production.

In addition to extreme weather events and decreased yield, climate change will also affect disease and pests. Higher levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) will lead to greater weed growth and the prevalence of pests and pathogens. The range, frequency and severity of insect and disease infections may rise drastically.

An Opportunity to Expand

In Canada, rising temperatures could be a beneficial opportunity for farmers, opening up millions of once frozen acres. The amount of arable land in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan alone could increase up to 40% by 2040.

Most regions will likely become warmer, with longer pest-free seasons and increased evaporation. The higher temperatures require less feed for livestock, benefiting production and survival rates. It could also benefit soil health by enhancing carbon sequestration and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Farmers hope to capitalize on the warmer conditions by exporting food to regions hit by crop failure. The world agricultural production will need to increase by 50% by 2050 to keep up with population growth.

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I’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation.

 

 

 

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Ag meets Food

Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing

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food photo with title

Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing

Green certifications have become increasingly important in the food industry, as consumers look for confirmation that their food is being produced and processed in an environmentally friendly manner. In Canada, there has been a recent movement of concerned consumers looking for more transparency within the food industry. Organizations like Food Secure Canada advocate for a better food system that improves the connection between health, sustainability and agriculture.

In February 2020, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food stated that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture would invest in a new sustainability initiative. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the largest farm organization in Canada, representing over 200,000 farms. The organization has played a critical role in advancing environmental sustainability practices within the food industry.

The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI) will work with farmers, manufacturers, food processors and retailers to improve transparency in the Canadian food system. The initiative will promote sustainability through an integrated process that depends on data and collaboration to transform the food industry and improve relations with consumers.

The Canadian Food System

Canada is one of the top five exporters of food in the world. The Canadian agriculture and agri-food system generates over $100 billion in sales annually and employs over 2 million people. The agricultural food system is a significant player in Canada’s economic wealth and stability. However, like other large agricultural exporters — such as the United States — Canada has faced recent scrutiny over their production practices. Many large-scale and industrialized agriculture productions are harmful to the environment and detrimental to human health.

With such a large proportion of Canadian food exported, many domestic consumers distrust the public policies that lack transparency over the industry’s environmental impact and unsafe production practices. With the creation of the Candian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative, the federal government hopes to facilitate improved sustainability throughout the food industry.

The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative

The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative includes a federal investment of $560,000. These funds will go toward the creation of an online forum that advances the analytic capabilities of producers and farmers. By creating a new network around sustainability, the project hopes to track the progress of sustainable practices in the Canadian food industry.

The initiative will also help producers and processors work together to certify products with sustainability labels that consumers are looking for. The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative will rely on data analytics and real-time analysis of food production and processing to find solutions to unsustainable issues. From a consumer standpoint, it will increase trust in the use of food labels and regulate claims regarding the quality of various products.

Sustainability in the Agri-Food Industry

Canada’s agricultural system relies on the production of corn, potatoes, soybeans and commodity grains like wheat. Western parts of Canada have a higher production of beef, while the Eastern side focuses more on poultry. Unlike other top food exporters, Canada has been steadily growing the organic aspect of their production processes at a rate of 20% per year.

However, the percentage of land utilized for organic farming is meager — around 1.8 percent in 2017. Despite this, organic products still valued around $5.4 billion in both domestic and exported goods.

With such an economic reliance on the agricultural industry, the farm community, consumers and other concerned citizens are working together to ensure they manage Canadian soil more responsibly. According to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, solutions like climate change research, bioeconomic strategy and the continuation of research and innovation within the industry will be key to future success.

Improving the Future of Canadian Agriculture

With this new initiative in place, agriculturists can have more confidence in growing organic products. Consumers, too, will be able to put their trust in the food industry, knowing the food they’re purchasing was grown sustainably.

https://www.todayville.com/what-the-usmca-might-mean-for-agriculture-and-biotechnology/

 

’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation.  You can read more of my work by clicking this link:   Conservation Folks.

 

 

 

 

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Agriculture

Red Deer based Peavey Industries buys Ace hardware, Ace Country & Garden, and Ace Building Centre from Rona

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From Peavey Industries LP

Peavey Industries LP acquires the main license of Ace brand in Canada.

Peavey Industries LP, Canada’s largest farm and ranch retailer is proud to announce the acquisition of Ace Canada and is very pleased to welcome the “helpful hardware” chain to our retail family.

The Ace Canada brand consists of a total 107 stores under Ace Hardware, Ace Country & Garden or Ace Building Centre banners. These stores will all continue to operate under their existing banners and as such, customers can expect to see minimal changes to the high standard of service and products they have come to expect.

Ace International is working closely with Peavey Industries to ensure the least amount of disruption to the Ace dealer network throughout this transition. Jay Heubner, Ace International President and GM, had this to say in response to the Peavey Industries purchase:
“This is an exciting new chapter for Ace International and the Canadian Ace Hardware retailers. We are thrilled to team up with Peavey Industries, an organization that shares our values and has a strong commitment to service and community. We’re confident Peavey Industries will provide the independent Ace retailers the best service and support to help them succeed and ensure the continued growth of the Ace Hardware brand in Canada.” – Jay Heubner

Supporting three retail brands with a total of 92 stores across five provinces, Peavey Industries LP’s corporate head office is located in Red Deer, Alberta with a regional office in London, Ontario. Both locations house large-scale distribution centres executing west and east fulfillment. Proudly 100% Canadian and employee owned, Peavey Industries retail outlets have been serving their loyal customers since 1967.

As a former corporate culture award recipient, Peavey Industries views the responsibility, consideration and respect afforded to both our staff and customers as our highest priority. We are dedicated to serving our rural customers and communities across Canada and, in line with our national growth strategy, this acquisition helps us to expand our network.

Peavey Industries understands Canadian communities; we look forward to building on our strong community relationships and service to our loyal customers.

President and CEO, Doug Anderson feels Ace Canada’s aspirations parallel ours:
“Ace Canada is a natural extension to Peavey Industries for a number of reasons: we relate strongly to their dedication to ‘local and loyal’, we appreciate their commitment to providing value to customers and we mirror their devotion to excellence in customer service. Also, it is a great opportunity for us to serve new markets with the addition of this great brand.” – Doug Anderson

 

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april, 2020

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