ASBG president Gary Tokariuk said April 1 that the two-year agreement will see 28,000 acres of sugar beets planted in southern Alberta this year and next. | File photo

Sugar beet growers finalize contract

Alberta sugar beet growers have finalized a new contract with Lantic (Rogers) Sugar. ASBG president Gary Tokariuk said April 1 that the two-year agreement will see 28,000 acres of sugar beets planted in southern Alberta this year and next and there will be differences in how payment to growers is calculated. “We got more security […] Read more

Lethbridge and District Exhibition board chair Bev Lanz, left, chief operating officer Mike Warkentin and Alberta premier Jason Kenney participate in the March 31 sod-turning ceremony for the $70.5 million Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre, scheduled for completion in about 20 months. | Barb Glen photo

Lethbridge Ex starts expansion

A ceremonial sod turning March 31 marked the construction start of a Lethbridge and District Exhibition project 18 years in the making. The $70.5 million project involves building a 268,000 sq. foot building dubbed the Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre. It is expected to create about 400 construction jobs in the short term and 50 […] Read more

High winter bee losses and pandemic-related import challenges that prevent some beekeepers from obtaining new queens have revived interest in producing queens domestically. | University of Lethbridge photo

Alberta research project focuses on improving queen bee health

Shelley Hoover of the University of Lethbridge receives a grant 
to examine ways to re-queen hives and store locally produced queens

The queen bee is crucial to honeybee hive production, health and pollination activity. A funding grant of $496,513 from Alberta’s Results Driven Agricultural Research (RDAR) will allow bee researcher Shelley Hoover to undertake a four-year project on queen bees and their colonies. Hoover is a biological sciences researcher at the University of Lethbridge. Her project […] Read more


Rural politicians point to ‘nimble’ municipalities being able to ‘pivot’ to do what is needed for survival and mitigation. | Screencap via Twitter/@FCM_online

Ability to make decisions rapidly called rural strength

Rural politicians point to ‘nimble’ municipalities being able to ‘pivot’ to do what is needed for survival and mitigation

Necessity is the mother of invention, and rural Canada knows about both necessity and invention, a group of rural panelists agree. It has to be agile and innovative to get things done. “Rural municipalities have this great advantage and that is that we’re nimble,” said David Mitchell, mayor of Bridgewater, N.S. “We tend to be […] Read more

The award recognizes those who take an active role in communicating livestock issues and the farm animal care message in a factual and honest manner. | Screencap via chatsworthfarm.ca

Farm gets communications award

Chatsworth Farm of Vermilion, Alta., has won the communications award from the Alberta Farm Animal Care council. The award recognizes those who take an active role in communicating livestock issues and the farm animal care message in a factual and honest manner. “Chatsworth Farm has risen to the challenge of using digital media to promote […] Read more


Feeding capacity in finishing feedlots has grown for six consecutive years and is now at its highest point since 2011. | File photo

Feedlot growth overtakes herd size

Western Canada has become a net importer of feeder cattle as domestic production falls short of what feedlots need

Feedlot capacity continues to grow in Alberta and Saskatchewan at the same time as the domestic cattle herd continues to shrink. Yet the markets have not been kind of late to feedlots. Many have been in a money-losing situation for nearly three years and suffered even further because of the pandemic, when they had to […] Read more

Eighty percent of the bees honey producers expected this year from New Zealand won’t arrive due to Air Canada changes. | File photo

Flight cancellations threaten bee supplies

Eighty percent of the bees honey producers expected this year from New Zealand won’t arrive due to Air Canada changes

Changes to airline flight schedules have jeopardized Canadian honey production and pollination services. Commercial beekeepers and hobbyists have pre-ordered 50 pallets of bees from New Zealand, enough to supply about 30,000 hives, but Air Canada flight alterations and cancellations could mean only seven or eight pallets arrive in time for use this year. Instead of […] Read more

As of Western Producer deadline on March 29, RCMP confirmed one residence was destroyed and several other homesteads were affected. Details were sketchy as farmers regrouped and investigations began. | Twitter/@ClaresholmTown photo

Wildfires sweep across southern Alberta

One residence was destroyed and several other homesteads affected after fires burned more than 15,000 acres of land

Things to be thankful for in southern Alberta on March 29: snow, emergency services, good neighbours, no loss of life. Those were on Josh Fankhauser’s list after grass fires burned more than 15,000 acres of land in the Claresholm, Fort Macleod, Stavely and Blood Reserve regions of the province. Whipped by winds in the 100 […] Read more


Rescue personnel work to extract one of their members entrapped in a grain bin during a simulation exercise. | Barb Glen photo

Grain rescue – photo essay

Photo essay | The fire department in Magrath, Alta., recently held a training event to teach volunteer firefighters from southern Alberta how to perform grain entrapment rescues. The March 20 session used wheat for the simulation, in part because it is not as itchy as barley. Smaller material such as canola can be even more constrictive on a person who accidentally becomes entrapped in a bin, but regardless of material, entrapment can be fatal. Among other things, firefighters learned how to handle a small auger that extracts grain from around a person trapped in a bin. They ran through the protocol before undertaking a rescue involving actual grain and extraction made possible by a mobile unit dedicated to the purpose. The training unit allows rescue personnel to learn and practice grain extraction using a realistic scenario. | Barb Glen photos

The fire department in Magrath, Alta., recently held a training event to teach volunteer firefighters from southern Alberta how to perform grain entrapment rescues. The March 20 session used wheat for the simulation, in part because it is not as itchy as barley. Smaller material such as canola can be even more constrictive on a […] Read more

The WTO ruled in 2015 that COOL violated world trade rules because it imposed a disproportionate burden of record-keeping and source verification. | File photo

Canadian cattle producers on alert as U.S. talks COOL

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is working with allies in every cattle-producing state in the United States to prevent a new version of mandatory country-of-origin labelling from affecting trade. In a media briefing following the CCA’s annual meeting, executive vice-president Dennis Laycraft said the idea of reviving COOL has been raised by U.S. President Joe Biden’s […] Read more