— Ranchers in Saskatchewan are receiving a helping from the provincial and federal governments in the form of $7.2 million dollars to help producers take over 60 community pastures which are being transferred from the feds to the province starting next year. The money doled out by the program will pay up to 75 per cent of the costs of helping cattle producers set up business plans to take over the land. However, the group Protect the Prairie is not biting. It says this is nothing more than a bribe and does nothing to buy and manage the millions of acres of community pastureland the province wants to unload. The Agriculture Union, PSAC, is the sponsor behind the campaign. Spokesman Milton Dyck says the huge price tag for that land is just not affordable for most producers.
– Alberta’s livestock producers are going to soon have a leg up, thanks to a new initiative from the Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) Information Leadership Initiative. The program is designed to keep producers up to date on the bottom line in farm animal care. This includes information on the latest thinking, ideas, developments, best practices, trends and issues, to support the role of producers as front-line managers and decision makers. AFAC is working with Calgary-based communications company Meristem to design and deliver the project components. The initiative is sponsored by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).
Among the highlights of the initiative are:
– NewStream Farm Animal Care – A cutting edge digital news source capturing latest developments, progress and ideas in farm animal care. Includes short items as well as links to longer feature articles that showcase innovative thinking, case studies, best practices and success opportunities.
– VeriCare Special Reports – Specially designed to provide technically competent, expert-driven coverage of important issues in farm animal care.
– CareScape Initiative – Using social media to support awareness of farm animal care progress and issues.
– Livestock Care Conference knowledge transfer – A customized effort to deliver information from this leading conference on farm animal care, which is hosted annually by AFAC and features top speakers from both within Canada and internationally.
— The winner of Monsanto’s Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities have been announced. 58 winners were picked from 160 applications stretching from Northeast B.C. to Quebec. In total, the Monsanto Fund will direct $145,000 to charitable and not-for-profit groups who are making a difference in the lives of rural residents. For a complete list click here.
— The Federal Government continued to hand out money as part of its Growing Forward 2 program late last week. Pumping out money for vintners, potatoes and blueberries. Wine producers will receive $160,00 to support the Canadian Vintners Association’s ongoing international market development and trade efforts to increase the awareness of the value, quality, and diversity of Canadian wines. Potato farmers will receive $36,000 to help the Prince Edward Island Potato Board to work with Canadian potato breeders to select newly registered varieties of seed potatoes that have commercial potential in export markets. The wild blueberry industry, the largest producer and exporter in the world, is getting some jam from Ottawa in the form of $700,000 for the Canadian division of the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA Canada) to develop and enhance international markets for wild blueberries.
— The Alberta Utilities Commission has given the thumbs up to ATCO Electric’s bid to build the EATL project. The 500-kilovolt direct-current transmission line would run 500 km from the Gibbons area northeast of Edmonton to near Brooks. In its ruling the commission says it made ATCO re-route the line because of concerns raised by landowners. It’s estimated to cost $1.6 billion dollars.
— And on a funny note, a Swedish farmer decided his tractor didn’t have quite the horse power he wanted, so he decided to put a volvo super charged turbo engine in it. The result? Have a look for yourself by clicking here.