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Statistics Canada has been engaging with Agriculture Canada and the provinces and territories to ensure important agricultural data continues to be made available.
 However, the agency said it is also “avoiding the imposition of burden on farmers with respect to direct data collection.”
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Seeding intentions report in limbo

Last week’s March Prospective Plantings report in the United States raised some eyebrows. It is uncertain whether Statistics Canada’s Principal Field Crop Areas report scheduled for release on April 24 will generate the same response. That is because there may not be a report on that date due to COVID-19 related challenges. “No final decision […] Read more

Foreign workers are allowed to travel to Canada and will be assessed at their port of entry. After that, they are required to isolate for 14 days, whether or not they have symptoms. The same rule applies to Canadians returning from any other country.
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Isolation needs complicate foreign labour rules

News of exemptions that allow temporary foreign workers to come to Canada was greeted with relief by agricultural sectors that require the additional labour. However, government restrictions surrounding control of COVID-19 spread are adding complexity and expense to the process. Foreign workers are allowed to travel to Canada and will be assessed at their port […] Read more

Analysts are expecting only a 10 percent increase in durum acres in Western Canada this spring, which is going to make for a tight durum market in 2020-21 because exports have been brisk.  |  File photo

Expected durum jump may not materialize

Growers in the United States plan to reduce acreage by four percent, which is blamed on steep quality discounts

American durum growers are thumbing their noses at millers and pasta manufacturers. Growers told the U.S. Department of Agriculture they were going to cut acres by four percent to 1.29 million acres in 2020. Some people in the trade had been expecting a 50 to 80 percent increase in acres, said Jim Peterson, policy and […] Read more

The near complete shutdown of the restaurant industry has caused demand for key dairy products to decline.  |  File photo

Lower demand forces farmers to dump milk

Dairy farmers across Canada have been dumping raw milk because of market issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dairy Farmers of Canada said in a statement last week that the last thing anyone wants to see is milk being discarded, but the drop in demand for some products, as well as supply chain issues, […] Read more

The native grass quarter was under grazing lease until its sale and was being used for that purpose. | File photo

Sale of native prairie in Alberta causes alarm

Potato grower who bought the government-owned land says deal done by the rules, but groups decry loss of grassland

A quarter of publicly owned native prairie grassland near Taber, Alta., was sold to SLM Spud farms March 31 amid concerns voiced by various groups about the need to preserve such land and despite prior government assertions that it would not sell public land. The quarter, located 29 kilometres east of the town near Sherburne […] Read more

Major players like Bayer and start-up companies are spending billions to identify fungi, bacteria and organic compounds in plants that can control the pests (weeds, insects and diseases) that plague producers of wheat, canola, potatoes, apples and other crops.
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Promise of bio-pesticides: can they replace synthetic chemicals?

Scott Baerson has been trying to solve the same problem for more than two decades. The U.S. Department of Agriculture molecular biologist, who works in Oxford, Mississippi, has been studying a unique bio-chemical that’s associated with sorghum. The roots of sorghum exude a chemical called sorgoleone, a natural herbicide that kills weeds and other vegetation […] Read more

Truckers have been deemed an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning they’re still at work and aren’t required to self-isolate unless they are exhibiting symptoms.  |  File photo

Public urged to take steps to support truckers

Drivers face extraordinary circumstances as they work, including restaurant closures and lack of access to washrooms

The top executive at the Saskatoon Trucking Association has a message for Saskatchewan residents and business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic: be kind to truckers and help them out if you can. Susan Ewart told The Western Producer that truck drivers are facing extraordinary circumstances as they move products throughout the province. Restaurant closures mean […] Read more

The CFIA says it will aggressively move forward with regulatory changes for agricultural inputs, including fertilizers, feed and seed, as well as livestock traceability and food labelling. | File photo

CFIA continues ‘aggressive’ regulatory

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is continuing work on broad regulatory reviews and changes over the next year, according to its 2020-21 plan. In outlining its priorities for the year, the organization states it has an ambitious agenda for plant and animal regulations, “that moves away from the traditional prescriptive regulations of the past towards […] Read more

The federal government has introduced changes to help students looking for summer jobs find employment in agriculture. | File photo

Federal changes could attract more workers to agricultural jobs

The federal government has introduced changes to help students looking for summer jobs find employment in agriculture. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program aimed at businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are delivering essential services. Businesses will have 100 percent of their employees’ salaries covered by the federal […] Read more

Researchers say exploring intermediate stages of tomato domestication has direct implications for crop improvement.  |  File photo

Tomato’s evolution took several turns

Researchers discover more to the vegetable’s development than the previously believed two-step evolutionary process

For decades it was thought that tomatoes became domesticated in a two-step process. This oversimplified view involved the transition of the small, wild blueberry-sized tomato Solanum pimpinellifolium L to an intermediate fruit and then to the fully domesticated, cultivated tomato. But there were missing links. Tomatoes are one of the world’s most consumed, highest valued […] Read more