CFIA says more samples needed to ensure control

Stefanie Czub calls research in the United States on testing live animals for BSE interesting. But the Canadian Food Inspection Agency researcher also reminds producers that the current tests aren’t broken. “The problem we have right now with the surveillance is we need to get more animals into the labs for testing,” said Czub. International […] Read more

Pulse processor suggests focus on niche markets

It’s a familiar refrain: a growing global middle class will provide a potential boon to Canadian agriculture and industry.  And Murad Al-Katib, CEO of AGT Food and Ingredients, a major buyer and processor of pulse crops, expects Western Canada to be in the game as major agricultural exporters and food companies look to capitalize on […] Read more

Provinces are on alert for bird flu but so far there hasn’t been a return to roadblocks as seen in the 2004 British Columbia flu outbreak. |  File photo

Canadian industry on guard as avian flu spreads in U.S.

With avian influenza in two bordering jurisdictions, Manitoba turkey producers are on high alert. “We are very concerned because the outbreaks are just south of the Manitoba border, the bulk of them in Minnesota,” said Bill Uruski, chair of the Manitoba Turkey Producers. “We’ve tried to alert producers and so far everybody seems to be […] Read more

Canada can’t afford to reject trade deal: commissioner

Canada can’t afford to reject trade deal: commissioner

A foreign diplomat with a distaste for Canada’s supply managed dairy sector is optimistic Canada will be at the table if, and when, a 12-country free trade deal is completed. It’s a subject that has stirred debate as Canada participates in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a large trade pact that could provide greater access […] Read more

Participants in an avian influenza course from the U.S. Department of Agriculture practice swabbing wild ducks for diagnostic sampling.  |  USDA/ photo

Device uses blood test to confirm bird virus

The nanobiosensor is designed to speed results so outbreaks can be quickly contained

An innovation at the University of Guelph could help the poultry industry react more quickly to costly avian influenzas. Suresh Neethirajan is still testing his nanobiosensor, but he said the portable device can quickly determine what type of virus is present, which significantly reduces the lag that occurs as producers and officials wait for laboratory […] Read more

Migrating birds focus of avian flu tracking

New testing technique collects bird feces from wetland sediment to check for virus presence and determine strain

The spread of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus has researchers taking a closer look at migratory birds.  The wild animals, which aren’t affected by the flu, are believed to be a vector for the virus, which can quickly wipe out commercial poultry flocks.  The H5N2 virus identified in British Columbia’s Frasier Valley in December […] Read more

Federal payments show decline

Federal program payments to Canadian farmers are continuing to decline, according to a new report from Agriculture Canada.  The report, which was released last week, crunches numbers through 2013 and cites strong commodity prices as a contributing factor in the falling numbers.  The document, An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System, is issued […] Read more

Efforts to find an effective blood test for bovine tuberculosis in wild Wood bison in northeastern Alberta had been put on hold.  |  File photo

Community pulls support for bison research project

Adam Hering travelled to the Alberta-Northwest Territories border to help an at-risk herd of wild bison known to carry bovine tuberculosis. Hering, a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, had hoped to develop a more effective diagnostic test for the disease but last week was dismantling his research project after local community groups withdrew […] Read more

University of Saskatchewan professor tries to explain economic benefits of technology on food production, safety and trade. | Dan Yates photo

Researcher examines obstacles to ag innovation

University of Saskatchewan professor tries to explain economic benefits of technology on food production, safety and trade

Stuart Smyth wears a few hats: university professor, researcher and, most recently, blogger. Smyth has launched a website,, in which he tackles hot button issues in the agriculture sector. Think genetically modified flax, rising chemical use on prairie farms and new crop trait approvals. A recent post about A & W’s “better beef” campaign, […] Read more