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Building A Unified Voice for Agriculture: Agriculture Updates, Supports, and News: February 2023

Building A Unified Voice for Agriculture: Agriculture Updates, Supports, and News: February 2023

Agriculture Updates since January 30

Key Priorities 

NEW Rural Development Network FarmEd Toolkit 
We were pleased to hear from Nichole Neubauer about this new Toolkit. The Agriculture Discovery Centre participated as a pilot school and Nichole was able to contribute to the creation of the Toolkit – well done Nichole! Check out the new Toolkit here: 

LAST DAY to submit applications for Canola 4R Advantage
The deadline to submit applications for the current application intake is February 17, 2023. The current intake covers eligible costs paid between February 7, 2022 and March 31, 2023 for BMPs implemented in the 2022 or 2023 planting season. 
Learn more

AgriStability Options for Poultry Farmers
In response to the avian influenza outbreak in 2022, the governments of Canada and Alberta have agreed to allow Alberta's poultry producers to participate in the 2022 AgriStability program year, through late participation. Any producers not currently signed up for AgriStability can reach out to AFSC to enroll by February 28, 2023.
Read Agriculture Minister Horner's statement | Learn more

2023 Environmental Stewardship Award nominations open
Presented annually, the Environmental Stewardship Award goes to the beef producer who best exemplifies environmentally sustainable cattle production. Alberta cattle producers nominate the best of their peers for this award, which has become one of the most prestigious in the industry. A panel of representatives from conservation and agriculture assess the candidates, examining the stewardship goals and activities of the nominees including land management, water quality, wildlife, animal welfare and leadership activities in the community related to stewardship. The nomination deadline is February 28. Learn more and nominate someone today

A 10-Year Plan for Departmental Agri-Science
With the goal of building strong, resilient agriculture and agri-food systems, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has released a renewed strategy that will guide the department's science and research activities over the next decade. The Strategic Plan for Science is a response to pressing global challenges faced by the agricultural sector and better positions the department in contributing to a profitable, competitive, and innovative sector. AAFC will focus its research program to target increasingly complex hurdles, including the climate crisis, new threats to agriculture, and rapid advances in technology. Read the announcement or the Strategic Plan for Science.

Government of Canada is looking for input on the Next Agricultural Policy Framework
The Next Policy Framework (NPF) is a five-year (2023–2028) investment by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments to strengthen and grow Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. It will replace the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), which ends March 31, 2023. Learn More and Participate in the Conversation

Funding Updates 

1. FarmCash Opens Spring Application to Western Canadian Producers
Starting February 1, 2023, agricultural producers across Western Canada can apply for a FarmCash advance of up to $1 million and receive the first $250,000 interest-free to improve their long-term profitability. Due to rising costs of farm inputs and interest rates, last June, Agriculture Canada increased the interest-free portion from $100,000 to $250,000 for the 2022-2023 program years to support Canadian agricultural producers.

2. Round 2 of On-Farm Climate Action Fund (OFCAF)
OFCAF provides financial support to producers to accelerate their adoption and implementation of on-farm Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) to lower Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, and support production efficiency, sustainability and resiliency on their farm operations. To assist producers with their adoption of new BMPs, the program will offer producers resources to support BMP implementation and provide BMP design recommendations. 2023 OCAF funding opened on February 13, 2023.

3. Alberta Broadband Fund
As part of the Alberta Broadband Strategy, the Alberta Government has committed $36 million to the Alberta Broadband Fund (ABF) to help ensure every rural, remote, and Indigenous household in the province can access high-speed internet. The ABF is open to eligible applicants, including Canadian corporations, municipalities, Indigenous entities, and partnerships of those groups. It supports projects that extend or enhance household access to high-speed internet services in areas with speeds less than federal targets of 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. Funding for these projects is currently available until March 31, 2027.

4. Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program
The Canadian Agricultural Loans Act (CALA) Program is a loan guarantee program designed to increase the availability of loans to farmers and agricultural co-operatives. Farmers can use these loans to establish, improve, and develop farms, while agricultural co-operatives may also access loans to process, distribute, or market the products of farming.

5. Tax relief for Prairie livestock producers facing the impacts of extreme weather
The Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows livestock producers who are forced to sell a significant amount of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding to defer a portion of their income from sales until the following tax year. The income may be at least partially offset by the cost of reacquiring breeding animals, thereby reducing the potential tax burden associated with the original sale.

6. AFSC has lending options for cattle producers 
AFSC made some interim changes to their loan processes to ensure Alberta’s cattle producers have access to the capital they need to maintain their herds and operations. These changes include quick processing of loans up to $200,000, interest-only payments for up to 24 months, up to 60 month loan amortization, and flexible collateral considerations.

7. Alberta Innovates Agri-Food and Bioindustrial Innovation Program
The Agri-Food and Bioindustrial Innovation Program (ABIF) supports projects that develop and advance technologies that increase productivity, enhance competitiveness, boost the value of agriculture and forestry commodities, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Strategic focus areas include: data and digital solutions; autonomous systems; agricultural biotechnology; food processing innovation; biofibre utilization; value-added biomass; and green construction. The program is open to small and medium-sized enterprises, industry organizations, research and development organizations, post-secondary institutions and government research laboratories. 

8. Agricultural Clean Technology Program
The new Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program aims to create an enabling environment for the development and adoption of clean technology that will help drive the changes required to achieve a low-carbon economy and promote sustainable growth in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector. The ACT Program offers support under 2 streams, a Research and Innovation Stream and an Adoption Stream.

9. Advance Payments Program: The Advance Payments Program is a federal loan guarantee program which provides agricultural producers with easy access to low-interest cash advances. On June 23, 2022, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced a temporary increase to the interest-free limit for advances under the Advance Payments Program (APP). The change will make the purchase of important inputs such as fuel, fertilizer and seed more affordable for producers.

10. THRIVE Academy: The THRIVE Academy is 12-week agri-food tech pre-accelerator program for idea stage entrepreneurs, early-stage startups and researchers looking to commercialize their innovations. The immersive program will help you de-risk and validate your idea while preparing you to raise capital alongside building your go to market strategy.

Labour Resources

  1. Agriculture Job Connector: 
  2. Chamber Agriculture Labour survey
  3. Riipen Rural Rootsa collaborative program in partnership with Alberta-based Rural Development Network, Portage College, Mount Royal University, Medicine Hat College, and MacEwan University. The focus of this new program is to connect rural businesses and non-profits across Canada with post-secondary learners to advance their labour market and workforce skills through short-term virtual WIL projects. Read more
  4.  Olds College is excited to announce the approval of a new Bachelor of Digital Agriculture Degree. Offered through the College’s Werklund School of Agriculture Technology, the first intake of students in the Digital Ag degree will be on campus for fall 2023. See the press release here.
  5.  Canada Alberta Jobs Grant The Canada-Alberta Job Grant is a training program where an employer applies on behalf of their present or future employees for eligible training costs. Employers decide who gets training and what type of training may be needed for their employees. Learn more

Additional Government & Industry News and Information

  • Trouble resolving farm debt? The Farm Debt Mediation Service offers financial counselling and mediation services to farmers. Find out if you are eligible for our free and confidential service and get the support you need to get your debt repayment back on track. Learn more about the program and apply here

  • Tools for veterinarians: are you part of a veterinary team? The Beef Cattle Research Council has curated a list of tools and resources to help veterinarians and RVTs, and their clients, optimize health and welfare for beef cattle. See the tools.

  • AgriProfit$ supports the Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network: AgriProfit$ is a cost of production benchmarking program operated by Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation. ML Manglai, senior livestock economist with Agriculture and Irrigation, says this unique program has been offered for over 40 years and provides industry performance measures, which can assist in identifying opportunities for improvement. Read the article.

  • Own farmland? How to set the best rental price and agreement: It’s likely that most, if not all, farmers will rent some amount of land during their farming career. And while the road from A to Z with a farmland rental agreement is never the same, there are still some bedrock principles and considerations all farmers should understand, both when setting the rental price and with agreement details.Read more

  • Tips for Staying on the Right Side of Social Media and Creating Ambassadors: Join keynote speaker Ted Flitton for this 90-minute webinar that will focus on preparing food and beverage companies to navigate the changing and often volatile landscape of social media and crises.  The practical webinar format will demonstrate how companies can prepare for reputational issues and problems and create an issues response plan, including content to respond to customer inquiries, social media comments and crisis response. Register here.

  • Communication: The Crucial but often Missing Ingredient in a Successful Relationship with Partners Along the Supply Chain: Join keynote speaker Ted Flitton for this 90 minute webinar that will demonstrate how food and beverage companies can communicate to build relationships with supply chain partners to persuade and demonstrate key information about their company and adapt information on websites and social media, as well as with employee communication. Register here.

  • New lending feature added to AFSC Connect: Lending clients can now access their annual and year-to-date statements of loan at their convenience in AFSC Connect. With this new feature, clients will be able to instantly view their information, including when their next payment is due, as well as other important loan details. Read more here.

  • Midge Tolerant Wheat Grower Survey: The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition is inviting wheat producers to participate in the Midge Tolerant Wheat Survey. Data collected will be used to manage the Midge Tolerant Wheat Stewardship Program.  Participate in the survey; Find out more about the Midge Tolerant Wheat Stewardship Program

  • Open Farm Days 2023 training for host farms starts in March: Open Farm Days is back in full gear for the 2023 event, including training sessions for host farms. Training sessions are free and are open for anyone who is interested or any farms or organizations interested in participating in an Open Farm Days event. Topics range from booking your farm event and site management to exploring emerging social media trends and navigating Open Farm Days resources. Training sessions run until July 2023. Learn more and register for any or all of the training

  • Agricultural moisture situation update: The Agricultural Moisture Situation Update is developed by the drought modelling team and published frequently as appropriate during the growing season and less frequently during winter months. See the report here.

  • 2022 Cattle Market Review: Despite challenges in 2022, cattle markets improved, with prices at their highest since 2014-2015. Review the complete report.

  • Growing Farm Safety Webinar Series: Register for any of the upcoming webinars focused on finding and dealing with important safety concerns for your farm or ranch. AgSafe Alberta is bringing in 5 experts to discuss topics relevant for your safety. Find more information or register here

  • Consumer attitudes towards innovative agricultural technologies: the Government of Canada has released their survey and focus group results related to attitudes and perceptions toward emerging agricultural technologies and their applications in the sector. See more information.
  • Grasshoppers - Surveys and Maps: Findings from the 2022 annual grasshopper survey and 2023 forecast information based on adult grasshopper counts conducted in August 2022 by the Agricultural Fileldmen. View the findings
  • 2023 Blue Book is now available to order. The Blue Book is a longstanding and trusted resource for Alberta farmers and agronomists, providing current pesticide application information. Find more information here.
  • New web tool makes it easier to find permits, licenses & approval information: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is making it easier for individuals and businesses to find information on permits, licenses and approvals through a new web tool - the Permissions Finder. This tool helps businesses and individuals find the information they need when conducting import, export, or conduct domestic activity with food, plants or animals in Canada. Find the tool at
  • Weekly Livestock Market Review: see the current and historic livestock market reviews here.
  • Weekly Crop Market Review: see the current and historic crop market reviews here.

Other Events

Alberta Farmers' Market Association 2023 Together Again Conference

Join us for a conference designed for farmers’ market organizers, growers, farmers, small-scale food processors, artisans, and agricultural and community leaders. Network, acquire new industry contacts, gain new skills, and come away inspired to strengthen Alberta’s local food sector. Included in this year’s conference is lunch, a banquet, and an award ceremony. Find more information or register for the conference

AgEx 2022

All the sessions and panel recordings from AgEx 2022 are now on the Farm Management Canada YouTube page to explore and watch. Watch recordings from Day 1 | Watch recordings from Day 2

Alberta Beef Producers Meetings

ABP has announced their 2023 Producer Meetings. Join ABP delegates, staff, and fellow beef producers for a chance to connect over coffee. Register for the producer meetings here

BCRC 2022/2023 Webinar Series 

This year’s Beef Cattle Research Council webinar series will cover a range of topics all focused on practical, science-based information for Canadian beef producers. Topics include the Canadian Cow-Calf Cost of Production Network, opportunities and limitations in nutrition and feed management and record keeping. See webinar descriptions and register.

Your Path to Farm Transition Event Series

Join Farm Credit Canada (FCC) for a 9-part virtual event series on farm transition running from July 12, 2022 to March 14, 2023. Hosted by FCC business advisors and guest experts, each month will feature a new topic, highlighting a different step in the transition process. Register for all events in the series or register for individual events.

Other Resources

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