Ag Notes

Farm labour development funded

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $350,000 in labour market research and resources to help expand the agricultural workforce.

The project will assess labour needs, then develop programs and training opportunities to prepare the workforce for a career in agriculture while filling that labour gap.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the governments are providing funding to the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council to develop a common set of labour data for Ontario’s agri-food sector to use and assist the industry to prepare its own labour action plans.

The Ontario agriculture sector supports 97,800 jobs in primary agriculture including 28,800 temporary foreign workers, and more than 101,000 jobs in food and beverage processing in 2018.

Many agriculture and agri-food employers consider labour shortages as their top issue.

New ag dean

Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn is the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Bedard-Haughn will begin a five-year term on Aug. 15.

She is currently the associate dean of research and graduate studies at the college, and former department head and graduate chair in soil science.

She specializes in soil science research, focusing on two main areas: management of wetland soils and predictive soil mapping.

Her research program has been supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, the Global Institute for Water Security, Environment Canada and several industry groups.

She has also been active in experiential training, teaching field courses on soil and landscape classification at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Bedard-Haughn will replace Mary Buhr, who has served as dean since 2009.

Canola and beetles

Kevin Floate, a research scientist at Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge, is looking for farmers who noticed large numbers of ground beetles while combining their overwintered canola.

The beetles are black and six to nine millimetres in length.

They are are beneficial insects and farmers should not spray them.

The outbreak is similar to 2010 when unusually cool summer temperatures along with the late harvest in 2009 likely left an abundance of canola seed on the soil.

That food supply allowed a larger than normal number of adults to survive and emerge in the spring of 2010. The beetles then moved into surrounding fields in search of food.

Floate is looking for a few dozen beetles per location to determine species composition. He wants to see a cropping history of the field going back at least two years, the scope of the affected acres and an estimate of beetles numbers, such as high-resolution photos or a guestimate of the number in a square metre. E-mail kevin.floate@canada.ca for more information.

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