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Agriculture

How Industry and the Environment came together to make something beautiful for Central Alberta

Ellis Bird Farm

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  • As battle lines draw ever deeper between industry and environmentalists..  there’s a unique and world class example of how both can thrive side by side, right here in Central Alberta.

    40 years ago, Union Carbide.. a huge multinational company was looking for a new home in Central Alberta.  Union Carbide wanted to set up an ethylene glycol plant along the Red Deer River, right smack in the middle of some of the best agricultural land in the country.  It wouldn’t be easy finding farmers willing to sell their beloved land to an industrial giant.

    The last person many would expect to deal with the company was a slight and aging farmer, a bird lover named Charlie Ellis.   Actually, bird lover was an understatement.  In the years after their parents died, Charlie and his sister Winnie stayed on the Ellis farm and cultivated their passion for nature.  Charlie started innocently enough with a few birdhouses, and a strong urge to protect native birds… tree swallows, chickadees, purple martins, flickers, and especially Mountain Bluebirds.  The birds flocked in record numbers to Winnie’s orchards and flower gardens as well as Charlie’s growing number of birdhouses stretching acre after acre.  The birds became permanent residents of the land just like the Ellis’.  Now Charlie was growing older and his concern for the future of his birds was growing stronger.   When an agent of Union Carbide came for a visit.. to everyone’s surprise, Charlie proposed a deal.

    If the company was willing to take care of his birds, if they’d promise to keep up what Charlie had built up… well then Charlie would sell his land to the company.  The company agreed.. and that’s when things truly got complicated.

    The Red Deer River Naturalists caught wind of the deal and they rushed in to make sure the company was dealing honestly with Charlie Ellis and his sister Winnie.  The Naturalists were highly skeptical of industrial giants like Union Carbide.  This might have been a recipe for disastrous meetings which could have killed Charlie’s plan.  But someone proposed they bring in a young man from Red Deer who everyone agreed would treat both sides fairly.   Morris Flewwelling was approached to chair the meetings overseeing negotiations.  Here’s what happened.

    Sponsored by DOW Chemical Canada and Ellis Bird Farm, Todayville is proud to present a series of features on the history of Central Alberta’s incredible prairie oasis and nature preserve… The Ellis Bird Farm.  In this first part we hear from Morris Flewwelling.

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    Agriculture

    WATCH: Unreserved Auction June 15 – Stunning property just west of Rimbey- Open House this Saturday 1-4 pm

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  • The owners have enjoyed The Oneday Ranch for many years, developed it with sweat, passion, expertise, and a whole lot of money! Now they are SELLING IT ALL! Please join them at this Giant UNRESERVED auction Saturday, June 15th.  There will be open houses on Saturday, May 25th and Sunday, June 2nd from 1 to 4 PM.

    Details: Selling the NW 1/4 35-42-5 W5M

    The land is 157 acres of picturesque countryside. It has limitless possibilities – a Guest Ranch, Private Parties, Camps, Hobby Farm, Dude Ranch…or keep it simply for your own use. It sells with Several Fully Furnished Cabins, a Saloon with a Covered Beer Garden, Entertainment Stage, Large Shop with Living Quarters, a Furnished 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home, Quad & Walking Trails, a Horse Barn with a Heated Tack Room, tons of antiques and So Much More!
    This property holds much promise for an entrepreneur or simply for those just wanting a unique and interesting place to call home.
    Oneday Ranch 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 2 3 4 5 6 1
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    A once in a lifetime opportunity to buy an amazing piece of property!
    Here are some key points:
    -10 km of groomed trails through beautiful treed land
    -Set up for horses for trail rides with lots of parking
    and space for trailers and accommodation for riders
    -Abundance of wild life, Moose, Whitetail deer and Elk
    -Work from home
    -Big shop space with two 16’x16′ doors, 40’x40′ Shop/living quarters with in floor heat
    -Big 60’x 56′ building c/w heated tack room
    -20 acres of hay/pasture
    -quarter section has “like-new” fencing
    -There is room and existing roadways for additional RV camp ground
    – No pipelines and no oil leases on this 1/4
    -Very nice insulated cabin at the back of the quarter on a separate 50 acre title with room for campers to enjoy
    -No mud on main yard roads, pathways or parking areas and there is geo-textile matting under all gravel
    -Roof water from all buildings is directed underground to pond
    -Ponoka County Admin are very helpful and fantastic to deal with
    Property sell as 2 separate titles, one property being just over 100 acres and sells with all the buildings, the balance of the land being approximately 50 acres and sells as second parcel. Both titles will be sold as one unit.
    Located 27 km west of Rimbey on Hwy 53 and north 2 miles on Rg Rd 52. Then turn right and it’s the first place on the right.
    Open Houses: May 25, 2019 & June 2nd, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by Appointment.
    Unreserved Auction will be held Saturday, June 15th starting at 10 AM.  Everything must go as the owners are moving overseas.
    Owner’s Phone Number: (403) 598-0095
    Allen B. Olson: (403) 783-0556
    For more information click here
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    Agriculture

    Conservatives urge Liberals to expedite promised relief for canola farmers

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  • OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives said Thursday they’re hearing from frustrated canola producers who are still waiting for financial relief recently promised by the Liberal government.

    Canola producers are expressing concern about funding promised three weeks ago that can’t be accessed, Tory shadow minister for agriculture Luc Berthold said in a letter to Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

    “My colleagues and I have heard from a number of canola producers who have been told by the Canadian Canola Growers Association that the enhancements promised by you three weeks ago are not yet available,” he wrote.

    The time period is “like an eternity” for canola producers under the current circumstances, Berthold added, suggesting the government needs to fix the situation immediately. 

    “Minister, it is irresponsible for you to make an announcement and not be able to follow through in a timely manner,” Berthold wrote. “It is unacceptable that the only concrete measure that your government has taken to help canola producers is stalled.”

    Earlier this month, the federal Liberals promised financial aid to canola farmers in an attempt to lessen the impact of China’s decision to ban their products as an apparent part of a trade dispute.

    The announcement changed a program that advances farmers money against the expected value of their crops, raising loan limits to $1 million from $400,000 and upping an interest-free portion to $500,000 from $100,000.

    In a statement, Bibeau did not specifically respond to the concern about delays in the loan program but she stressed the government is working hard to address the canola issue along with farmers and industry.

    “We know that Canada has the best canola in the world and we are providing support to our farmers to help them manage the impact of current market disruptions,” she said.

    China has rejected Canadian canola seeds in recent months and barred shipments from two of Canada’s biggest exporters in what is considered retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has called for the Liberals to take a more confrontational approach with China, suggesting Canada needs to appoint a new ambassador, launch a complaint about the canola dispute with the World Trade Organization and cut Canadian funding to China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to which the government has committed $256 million over five years.

    International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr has said there is agreement across the sector, including with provincial governments and producers, that Canada should engage China on the basis of its allegation, which is that there are impurities in canola that has been sent by Canada to China. Canadian requests for evidence have produced no meaningful replies, the government says, and inspections in Canada have found no evidence of contamination.

    China imported $2.7 billion worth of Canadian canola seed last year and there are concerns that a prolonged blockage will hurt farmers, the industry and the overall economy.

    —Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

    Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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