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Agriculture

Red Deer area sees most rain in 50 years

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From the Province of Alberta

Agricultural Moisture Situation Update July 6, 2022

Synopsis

Since the last report issued on June 29, 2022, precipitation has been highly variable across the province. A large area that includes Edmonton and Red Deer received well over 40 mm. Across the Southern Region most lands received over 20 mm. Throughout much of the Peace Region conditions have remained on the dry side with many locales receiving less than 5 mm. Similarly across the Special Areas, conditions have remained dry with several stations recording less than 5 mm. (Map 1)

Map 1

Precipitation since June 1 2022

June rains brought an abrupt and welcome end to the drought conditions experienced throughout most of 2021.

Most of the province’s growing areas have now received well over 75 mm since June 1st, with a large swath of land west of Red Deer reporting well over 200 mm (Map 2). For most lands, from the Yellowhead Highway down to the US border, weather this wet (over this time frame) is seen less than once in 6-12 years, with some lands in the once in 50-year category (Map 3).

Map 2

Map 3

2022 Precipitation Comparison to Normal Averages

In sharp contrast, conditions are beginning to dry out across much of the Peace Region, following a relatively wet start to the growing season (Map 4), which had many fearing the wet conditions would persist.

Map 4

Since June 1st, many lands across the Peace Region have received between 40 and 60 mm (Map 2). This is enough to sustain growth, but rain will be needed soon in some areas to ensure that moisture does not become a limiting factor to plant growth. Similarly, parts of the Special Areas are also in need of moisture, with 75 mm falling since June 1 on very dry soils. While rainfall has been adequate and meaningful in this area, soil moisture reserves are low and plants will be very reliant on continued rain in the days ahead.

90 and 15-day temperature trends

So far this year has been characterized as having consistently below average temperatures, with most agricultural areas experiencing temperatures this cool on average, at least less than 1 in 6 years (Map 5). During May, cool weather helped to reduce moisture stress on young plants in the face of very dry conditions lingering from 2021;

however, ample moisture has now fallen across most areas and warm weather will be needed in the weeks ahead to achieve optimal growth and speed maturity ahead of fall frosts. Unfortunately, in the wake of the much needed rains, the cool trend has continued over the past two weeks (Map 6).

Perspective

There is still lots of time ahead of fall frosts to have weather related problems for this year’s crop; however, for the most part, moisture is currently adequate throughout the provinces growing areas and is now trending towards excessive through large parts of west central Alberta. Despite moderately dry conditions in the Peace Region and through parts of the Special Areas, 2022 has been a good year for growing crops, so far. In fact, the last crop report issued on June 27th, has ranked 2022 near the 5 and 10-year averages for this time of year, rating 75.2% of Alberta’s crops as “good” to “excellent”.

As July and August unfold, warm weather and near normal rainfall will help ensure that crop growth remains on track.. With adequate moisture in the ground in many areas, most crops are now able to withstand some short duration dry spells.

Agriculture

The China – Russia “Grain Entente” – what is at stake for Canada and its allies?

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From the Macdonald Laurier Institute

By Serghey Sukhankin

Moscow – with China’s help, approval, and likely, guidance – intends to challenge the West by changing the rules of trade in foods critical to global buyers.

Throughout its entire history the Soviet Union faced one existential peril that was never solved until its collapse in 1991 – the prospect of food shortage and mass starvation. Its cumbersome, utterly ineffective, and artificially subsidized agricultural sector was a living testament to the erroneous nature of a planned command-administrative economic model.

The situation with food and staples became so dire that starting from 1963 the Soviet Bloc (the USSR, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia) started importing wheat from the United States, Canada, and Australia. This practice continued until the demise of the Soviet Empire. Everything changed after the collapse of the USSR and introduction of market-oriented reforms in Russia in the 1990s, along with the growth of commodity prices and Russia’s inclusion in the global economic architecture.

By 2000, Russia had already doubled the amount of grain it produced, making it one of the world’s top producers of this strategic commodity. By the late 2010s to early 2020s, Russia emerged as a one of the world’s largest exporters of grain and agricultural products.

However, Russia quickly realized that commodities – especially food along with hydrocarbons – could become a very useful tool of coercion in geopolitical confrontations with its rivals. This became abundantly clear after the outbreak of Russia’s full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine in 2022, when both Russia’s top-tier politicians (such as Deputy Chairman of the Security Council and former President Dmitry Medvedev) and chief propagandists (such as Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT) claimed “hunger” to be Russia’s natural ally, and threaten to cut supplies of food staples to “unfriendly countries.”

At the same time, Russia tried to spark a confrontation between Ukraine and Poland, Hungary, Slovakia over commodities and staples supplies. Ironically, rather than hurting the West, Russia’s actions had a worse impact on so-called “friendly countries” – especially those in the Global South, where access to inexpensive and available foodstuffs is a matter of life and death.

Russia’s strategy of intimidation was also ineffective due to its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Its so-called “special military operation” was supposed to be quick and decisive. Two years later, the war has imposed massive pressure on the Russian budget, requiring a constant cash flow that mainly comes from exporting raw materials and commodities.

Forced to evolve its strategy, Russia seems to be abandoning its plan of threatening to starve its adversaries. Instead, Moscow – with China’s help, approval, and likely, guidance – intends to challenge the West by changing the rules of trade in foods critical to global buyers. This strategy is being implemented via pursuit of two interrelated initiatives: formation of a “Grain Entente” between Beijing and Moscow, and the use of the BRICS trading bloc (consisting of nine nations led by founding countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) as a critical vehicle of change.

The first major step in this direction was made in October 2023, when the Russian Food Export Trade LLC company and China Chengtong International Limited concluded the “grain deal of the century” – the largest contract of this type ever signed between the two countries – according to which the Russian side pledges to deliver 70 million tons of various types of grain (produced in the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East) over the next twelve years for US$26.5 billion. As a result, already in the first quarter of 2024, Russia broke a historical record by supplying China with large volumes of oats (.7 times more than the previous year) and buckwheat (3.3 more than the previous year) receiving a staggering US$127 million. Yet, mounting grain sales is only the tip of the iceberg. The most critical development is China’s gradual overtaking of Russia’s logistical infrastructure, which could pave the way for China’s growing control over Eurasian logistics and trade routes.

In September 2023, officials from Russia and China met at the 8th Eastern Economic Summit in Vladivostok, where officials from Russia and China agreed to create a logistical hub – the “Grain Terminal Nizhneleninskoye–Tongjiang” in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. The goal is to create the Russia’s first “land-based grain fleet.” Consisting of 22,000 containers transporting grain, it will be capable of moving up to 600,000 tons of grain with a maximum storage capacity of up to 8 million per year. The strategic significance of this move is clear. On one hand, it allows Russia to “safeguard” itself against sanctions pressure, which will likely make Russia’s behaviour in Europe (and elsewhere) even more aggressive and unpredictable. On the other hand, China – which will acquire de facto control over Russia’s grain – will see Beijing become the world’s largest grain hub, giving it enormous power to influence and set global food prices.

Russia’s next major move was to push for the creation of a BRICS grain exchange. Fully supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the proposed grain exchange would bring together some of the world’s biggest grain buyers and exporters, cumulatively accounting for more than 42 per cent of global grain production (at nearly 1.2 million ) and 40 per cent of global consumption. International observers and subject experts have already warned that Russia- and China- adverse exporters of grain and agricultural products such as the United States, Canada, and Australia “might face challenges in maintaining their market share and negotiating for favourable trade terms, while facing competition from cheaper Russian .” In effect, this may have “significant implications for global agricultural dynamics, ranging from geopolitical and geoeconomic realignments to increased competition in agricultural trade. For traditional exporters such as Australia and the US, it is a call to reassess their national policies and strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of international trade to maintain competitiveness.”

The emergence of the BRICS grain exchange – which will undoubtedly increase Russia’s (and most likely China’s) geoeconomic role – is only a part of a much bigger strategic challenge. If the BRICS grain exchange is successful, it will have a spillover effect on another critical product – the fertilizers required by both developed and developing nations. Russia already has a competitive advantage in fertilizer production, and post-2022, has tried to use its fertilizers as geopolitical tools pressuring international organizations (such as the United Nations) to lobby for the end of sanctions imposed on Russia after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

– If the Russia-China grain alliance proliferates and BRICS becomes a major player in the global flow of grains and other foodstuffs, it could prompt even greater changes to the established world market. Analysis of Russian-language sources and publications indicates that the next step would be the creation of an alternative to the “West-dominated” financial architecture, and ultimately, the transformation of global trade.

Russia’s plans (undoubtedly supported by China) pose a very serious challenge to Canada, its allies, and other liberal democracies.

They will likely suffer economic losses of grain exports due to the cheapness of Russian grain, and that country’s current occupation of a large part of Ukraine’s most fertile black-earth areas. If unchecked, Russia could assume control of more than 30 percent of global grain supplies.

Currently, the Indo-Pacific region is Canada’s largest export destination, with agriculture and food exports totaling $9.4 billion in 2022. If China gains unfettered access to Russian grain, it could seriously undercut Canada’s trade.

Making matters worse for Canada, its relationship with New Delhi is arguably at an all-time low, making it challenging to pivot sales of its agricultural products toward India or other countries without significant economic losses.

Looking at the bigger picture, there are a host of other potential threats to the global foods market, from the ongoing war in Ukraine to droughts and adverse climate conditions in the US, Argentina, and Australia. Amid growing uncertainty and upheaval, it’s possible that the global foods market will be carved up and dominated by Russia and other undemocratic, aggressive nations. Given Russia’s strategic goal of weakening the European Union, and ultimately causing its disintegration, it will continue to use artificially created food shortages in Africa and the Greater Middle East as a geopolitical weapon against the EU. The Kremlin hopes to replicate the crisis that occurred in 2015, when hundreds of thousands (now, potentially millions) of illegal migrants and asylum seekers poured into the EU – wreaking havoc, fostering intra-EU conflict, and assisting the rise of far-right (and left) populists.

The first step in Russia’s grand strategy is the de facto establishment of the Russo-Chinese “Grain Entente.” The next move will be the creation of a BRICS grain exchange and inclusion of other strategic commodities under the umbrella of BRICS operations. This is clearly a wakeup call for the West. We need to heed it, or else risk more dire, far-reaching consequences.


Dr. Sergey Sukhankin is a Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation (Washington, DC) and a Fellow at the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN). His project discussing the activities of Russian PMCs, “War by Other Means,” informed the United Nations General Assembly report entitled “Use of Mercenaries as a Means of Violating Human Rights and Impeding the Exercise of the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination.”

This article was published with support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Canada.

 

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Agriculture

Farming group accuses Canadian gov’t of trying to blame agriculture for ‘climate change’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Grain Farmers of Ontario chairman Jeff Harrison contends that the government’s goal of reducing emissions is not realistic and that the ‘vilification strategy’ is causing more consternation for farmers.

One of Canada’s largest farming groups has said the Liberal federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is directly going after farmers via a “vilification strategy” under the guise of “climate change” and that a recent Auditor General report proves this to be true.

Grain Farmers of Ontario chairman Jeff Harrison recently said that the Trudeau government’s request to farmers to reduce emissions is not realistic and that it only creates more issues for Canadian farmers.

“Painting this climate picture as the fault of agriculture, it vilifies farmers,” said Harrison, noting it’s a “vilification strategy” to pin the blame on farmers.

“It’s part of the added stress on farmers that they are expected to do the unachievable. They’re expected to solve a problem that they didn’t necessarily create,” he observed.

Harrison’s comments were made after a recent Auditor General report titled “Agriculture and Climate Change Mitigation” picked to pieces the Trudeau government’s voluntary 30 percent emission reduction target by 2030 through curbing fertilizer use for farmers.

The United Nations has declared a war on nitrogen, claiming its use must be slowed as it is “one of the most important pollution issues facing humans.”

However, nitrogen, which is found in fertilizers, makes up about 70 percent of Earth’s air and is essential for plants.

The Auditor General report noted that there is widespread mismanagement along with a lack of transparency from the federal programs. Notably, there was a lack of consultation with stakeholders in the farming industry, as well as farming associations, before the government put in place random fertilizer emission reduction targets.

Harrison noted that such reduction targets are “unachievable targets and unrealistic goals,” adding that such targets “p—– me off, to be honest.”

Farmers worldwide are facing increased pressure from governments and special interest groups linked to globalists organizations such as the World Economic Fourm to reduce fertilizer use. Indeed, as recently observed by Dr. Joseph Mercola with LifeSiteNews, the global push to get rid of farmers “from their land is being driven by NGOs, which are primarily funded by the government, making them government extensions.”

“The real agenda, however, may be traced back to the Club of Rome, a think tank that aligned with neo-malthusianism – the idea that an overly large population would decimate resources – and was intending to implement a global depopulation agenda,” Mercola wrote.

“Once the farmers are pushed out, globalists suggest eating bugs will protect the planet by eliminating the need for livestock, cutting down on agricultural land use and protecting the environment. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization also encourages the consumption of insects and insect-based foods, and the momentum to get farmers off their land is continuing to gain steam.”

Trudeau’s government is trying to force net-zero regulations on all Canadian provinces, notably on electricity generation, as early as 2035. The provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are adamantly opposed to Trudeau’s 2035 goals.

The Trudeau government’s current environmental goals, which are in lockstep with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, include phasing out coal-fired power plants, reducing fertilizer usage, and curbing natural gas use over the coming decades.

Pressure on farmers from Feds comes at same time they are dealing with higher suicide rates 

When it comes to Canada’s farmers, they have already been under pressure with increased costs of fuel, not to mention all basic goods and items needed to run a farm, thanks to high inflation due in part to federal overspending.

More concerningly, increased pressures on farmers to curtail fertilizer use, and thus be faced with lower yields, come at the same time that recent studies show suicidal thoughts among farmers at extremely elevated levels.

The 2022 study from Ontario’s University of Guelph found nearly one-third of farmers have “had thoughts of suicide in the last 12 months.” The numbers are more than two times above the general population of Canada.

According to the study, about three-quarters of participating farmers experience “moderate to high-stress and half experience anxiety or depression.”

Adding to their stress, on April 1, Canada’s carbon tax, which was introduced by the government of Trudeau in 2019, increased from $65 to $85 per tonne despite seven of 10 provincial premiers objecting to the increase, and 70% of Canadians saying they are against it.

Trudeau has remained adamant that he will not pause the hikes.

He has pitched his carbon tax as the best way to reduce so-called carbon emissions. However, the tax has added extra financial burdens on households despite hundreds of dollars of rebates per family.

To reach Trudeau’s goal of net zero by 2050, the carbon tax would have to balloon to $350 per tonne.

The reduction and eventual elimination of the use of so-called “fossil fuels” and a transition to unreliable “green” energy has been pushed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) – the globalist group behind the socialist “Great Reset” agenda in which Trudeau and some of his cabinet are involved.

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