From Farm Credit Canada
Producers have more than weather on their minds, FCC survey shows
Regina, Saskatchewan, November 12, 2019 – Canadian producers are thinking well beyond weather conditions, commodity prices and yields when it comes to weighing their risks, according to a recent Farm Credit Canada (FCC) survey.
While production-related risks – such as weather, pests and disease – are still very much top of mind in every sector of Canadian agriculture, producers are also keenly aware of risks related to marketing, financial and human resources (matters involving employees, partners and family).
“Modern farming involves so much more than making decisions around production,” said Craig Klemmer, FCC’s principal agricultural economist. “It means keeping tabs on markets; ensuring your business can withstand sudden changes in commodity prices or economic conditions; and managing human resources while maintaining a safe work environment.”
The survey, conducted from July 11-15, showed a majority of farm operators reported a high level of concern for marketing (67 per cent of respondents), production (60 per cent) and financial (53 per cent) risks. Human resources and legal risks were less of a concern at 31 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.
Looking at risk through the lens of individual sectors, marketing risks were most prominent among beef and grains/oilseed sector producers at 74 per cent, followed by the fruit/vegetable/greenhouse sector at 58 per cent and the supply managed sectors of dairy and poultry at 55 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively. Price and market access were among the top concerns.
Financial risk ranked highest among dairy, hog, cattle and other livestock producers, in the mid-50-per-cent range, and was slightly lower for the grains/oilseed and fruit/vegetable/greenhouse sectors. Financial risk was significantly less of a concern for poultry producers at 36 per cent.
Ensuring there is sufficient working capital was the most prominent financial concern across all sectors, followed by unfavourable changes in interest rates and meeting debt payment obligations. Almost 65 per cent of the respondents identified insufficient working capital as a risk to their operation. Out of this group, about 45 per cent indicated relying on off-farm income to mitigate this financial risk.
Transitioning farm operations to the next generation was identified as a concern for 44 per cent of respondents, with about half of those respondents indicating they have a succession plan. Transition concerns were the most prominent among grains/oilseeds and dairy producers, while workplace safety was a common concern among all sectors.
The survey also explored a variety of production-related risks. Concerns about the weather were most prominent in grains/oilseeds and beef sectors, while concerns related to pests and disease were mostly on the minds of poultry producers.
“The good news is most producers are in a solid financial position to withstand short-term impacts on their business,” Klemmer said. “We encourage producers to have a risk management plan that pulls together mitigation strategies, as well as identifies key risks and available solutions to manage these risks before they emerge.”
The survey involved 1,363 producers considered key decision makers for their operations. Based on the sample size, the survey has a margin of error plus/minus 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
By sharing agriculture survey results, FCC provides solid insights and expertise to help those in the business of agriculture achieve their goals. For more information and insights on Canadian agriculture, visit the FCC Ag Economics blog post at fcc.ca/AgEconomics. To learn more about the FCC Vision Panel, visit www.fccvision.ca.
FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture lender, with a healthy loan portfolio of more than $36 billion. Our employees are dedicated to the future of Canadian agriculture and its role in feeding an ever-growing world. We provide flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge specifically designed for the agriculture and agri-food industry. As a self-sustaining Crown corporation, our profits are reinvested back into the agriculture and food industry we serve and the communities where our customers and employees live and work while providing an appropriate return to our shareholder. Visit fcc.ca or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and on Twitter @FCCagriculture.
Alberta needs to fill agriculture jobs, amid a Covid- 19 created foreign worker shortage
Albertans out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, have a new resource to find a work in the province’s essential agriculture businesses and companies that make-up the food supply chain.
“There are great job opportunities on Alberta farms and ranches.” Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry announced at the Alberta Legislature as the government launched a new web-based support page called, Agriculture Job Connector. Dreeshen added, “this new website will help Albertans find an exciting new job in this essential service.”
Alberta is not the only jurisdiction in Canada and around the world that is having problems filling farm and food supply chain jobs.
In the United Kingdom, due to temporary farm worker restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers have been scrambling to find workers so the crops can get planted and to stop crops from rutting on the trees or in the fields. Britons, usually make up only one percent of the temporary farm workforce. Citizens have responded to calls for a “new land army” to help fill the farm and food chain jobs. Up to 70,000 workers are needed. People looking for work have flocked to websites, searches for terms including “fruit picker” or “farm worker” surged by 338% and 107% respectively, with applications up 83% in the last month.
Family farms and companies throughout Alberta’s food supply chain rely on the “federal temporary foreign workers (TFW) program” to hire seasonal and full-time jobs that Albertans do not historical fill. Although the federal government recently announced loosing some of the TFW rules, the industry is nervous about a worker shortfall. The coronavirus’ on-going world-wide travel restrictions, along with a mandatory 14-day quarantine, once a foreign worker arrives, has raised serious concerns about a possible pending foreign worker shortage.
During this pandemic, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is working to reinforce that the, ‘agriculture and agri-food industry has never been more critical to the health and safety of Albertans and to our economy.’ Dreeshen added, “Thank-you to all who continue to work that keep our food supply safe.”
Alberta’s Agriculture Job Connector has opportunities for both skilled and non-skilled workers. Some posted job openings are for one person, others need up to as many as 50 new hires. Job openings in Alberta can be found through these links, Alberta Alis, AgCareers.com, Career in Foods, Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association and Grasslands Recruitment Specialists. A sampling of some of the openings in Alberta, with the offer salaries can be found through the links below.
Some of the jobs open in Alberta from the links above;
- Farm Foreman/Woman in Hussar, $26.75 to $28.00 an hour
- Worm Picker in Stony Plain, $15.50 an hour *(Update, Job filled April 11th)
- Packer Vegetables Farm in Medicine Hat, $15.20 an hour (30-vacancies)
Grain Services Coordinator in Fort Saskatchewan, salary not posted
- Supervisor, Food Services in Wabasca-Desmarais, 15.50 an hour (2-vacancies)
- Vegetable Farm Worker in Wildwood, $15.00 an hour (6-vacancies)
- Farm Labourer in Acme, $15.00 to 22.00 an hour
- Branch Manager Crop Input Retailer, in Fairview
- Swine Herdsperson in Mayerthorpe, $16.00 to $17.50 an hour (2-vacancies)
- Dairy Herdsperson in Isidore, $20.00 an hour(4-vacancies)
- Video of day in the life at a beef cattle operation. Kolk Farms Ltd., in Iron Springs
- Beef Cattle Herdsperson in Picture Butte, $21.75 an hour (4-vacancies)
- Labourer Beef Processing in Calgary, $15.00 to $17.50 an hour
- Cattle Farm Worker in St. Michael, $18.00 to $20.00 an hour
- Apiary Technician (Bee Keeper) in Morinville, $15.00 to $24.00 an hour (3-vacancies)
- Certified Crop Advisor in Brooks, salary not posted
- Dairy Sales Rep in Edmonton, salary not posted
- Cheese Maker in Ponoka, $23.00 to $24.00 an hour
- Farm Machinery Operator in Olds, $20.00 to $25.00 an hour (2-vacancies)
- Mushroom Harvesting Labourer in Crossfield, $15,00 an hour (28-vacancies)
- General Poultry Farm Worker in Ferintosh, $20.00 an hour (5-vacancies)
- Poultry Farm Foreman/Woman in Millet, $21.65 an hour
- Poultry Farm Worker in Ponoka, $15.00 to $17.00 an hour (6-vacancies)
- Greenhouse Worker in Redcliff, $15.20 an hour (3-vacancies)
- Food Processing Labourer Pork in Lethbridge, $15.40 to $22.75 an hour (5-vancanies)
- Pork Production Technician in Falher, $15.90 an hour (8-vacancies)
- Food Processing Labourer Beef in High River, 19.55 to $23.50 an hour (50-vacancies)
Click here to read more on Todayville Edmonton.
Saskatchewan to Invest $11 Million in Funding for Ag Crops
By Emily Folk
Saskatchewan to Invest $11 Million in Funding for Ag Crops
CropSphere is an annual conference, held seven years running in Saskatchewan, designed to inform and empower the Canadian agricultural industry on the latest developments, partnerships and technologies.
One of the most important news items out of the conference tends to be the announcement by the Saskatchewan government of its latest investments in the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF). This tradition continued on January 14, 2020, when Agriculture Minister David Marit announced a slate of crop-focused research initiatives to further empower the ADF as well as farmers and industrial growers across the country.
$11 Million for 47 New Ag Research Projects
The Agriculture Development Fund is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP). CAP is a federal-provincial funding system that’s on track to spend $388 million over five years on strategic agricultural research across Saskatchewan. Agriculture Minister Marit said of the ADF’s efforts, “We know these investments pay off. In fact, for every dollar we invest in research, there is a nine-to-one return on our investment.”
One of ADF’s goals is to increase the production of Saskatchewan crops to 45 million tons by 2030, and the value of those crops to $10 billion by the same year.
The $11 million in ADF funding comes from federal and provincial governments. Plus, additional money — to the tune of $8.7 million — comes from partners such as Western Grains Research Foundation, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission, Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission, Genome Canada and many others.
These 47 new agricultural technology and methodology projects cover a wide range of opportunities and concerns. Each one supports the overarching mission of raising the value of crops produced in Saskatchewan and beyond and improving the yield of Canada’s primary agricultural products, including wheat, corn, soybeans, barley and oats.
The announced projects include research in the following areas:
- Mitigation techniques for herbicide-resistant crop plants.
- New methods for detecting and controlling clubroot and other diseases.
- New technologies to efficiently separate starch proteins from different types of flour.
- Ways to improve the diversity and stability of wheat crops to ensure they won’t fall victim to disease.
- Methods for screening lentil and pea variants for resistance to root rot, fusarium avenaceum and other fungi.
- Visual analytics tools to reduce labor costs, improve the effectiveness of crop inspections and spot problems.
Receiving funding for ADF projects involves competing with other researchers. Interested parties must demonstrate how their product or methodology solves an existing pain point or addresses the larger goal of boosting crop outputs.
No avenue of scientific research is off the table as long as it demonstrates merit. The material sciences regularly turn out new products for dealing with crop spoilage, pests and other factors that cause harvested crops to spoil before their time. Other projects focus on demystifying the genome of key cash crops and creating new variants that can shrug off environmental stresses.
A Call to Arms to Feed the World Sustainably
Sustainability is one of the major undercurrents any time the ADF announces a new round of agricultural research funding. Data indicates there will be 3 billion more people to feed in 2050 than in 2010. Experts also predict a 56% food gap between the calories produced by agriculture in 2010 versus the calories required to feed the population by 2050.
Research like this reveals that business-as-usual isn’t sufficient. Agricultural experts cannot meet needs without ongoing research into crop yields and resistance, soil health, efficient ways to use water and fertilizers and new crop variants that resist extreme weather.
As Agriculture Minister Marit indicated, the ROI from funding these scientific efforts is high. However, putting a price on feeding the world’s hungry is more complicated.
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. You can read more of my work by clicking this link: Conservation Folks.
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