Growth is the best word to describe 2013 for Alberta Barley and barley producers not only in the wildrose province, but across the country.
Alberta Barley’s Chairman, Matt Sawyer, says the biggest event of the year was receiving the $8-million Agri-Innovation grant from the Federal Government, which will be used to develop 27 research cluster projects. “This will increase profitability for producers,” says Sawyer.
This would not be the only grant the commission would receive, they would also receive a $314,000 grant from the Feds to promote food grade barley.
This year also saw Alberta Barley join forces with the Alberta Wheat Commission, the two now share the same roof and staff.
The creation of the Barley Council of Canada was also tops on Sawyer’s list of highlights for the year. “The council will unite barley farmers, researchers, and industry stake-holders across the country to promote the growth and profitability of the barley industry,” said Sawyer, adding that the board is represented by a 50-50 per-cent split between farmers and industry.
Alberta Barley also under went a rebranding, which included the launching of two websites. GoBarley.com and AlbertaBarley.com. The Chairman believes the two are great tools for producers and consumers alike. “We encourage our producers to look at them, there’s how to videos and nutritional aspects for recipes, as well as where you need to go for agronomy information.
In the Field
The farmer from Acme, Alberta says while it was a tough year for him, it was a much different story for many other producers spread out across the province.
Matt Sawyer says his farm and several around him were affected by flooding and colder weather early, which meant lower yields. He says he heard from a couple of farmers from pockets of the province that were like him, however looking at the massive haul for producers across the prairies he said the good definitely outweighed the bad on the whole. He said the conditions in July, August and September were great for growing. “A long open Fall was very beneficial to producers.”
Sawyer says some producers were able to take advantage of some good barley prices early on, however the price has dropped taking some of the shine off of the grain. “Prices have certainly dropped which is concerning to some of our producers space is also getting tight so if you haven’t locked in your delivery windows that’s something producers really should be doing.”
To cap it all off, Alberta Barley ventured to Japan where they signed two agreements and furthered several relationships that will help producers in the years to come.
More on Alberta Barley’s trip to Japan and the deals they signed in December coming up next week.