Ag Notes

Bacteria tester receives CFIA grant

Precision Biomonitoring has received a grant from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency through the Innovative Solutions Canada Program to develop a testing device aimed at improving detection of food-borne bacteria.

Project BISTRO is focused on developing a rapid point-of-need solution to detect harmful pathogenic bacteria, including listeria and salmonella, particularly in leafy greens and produce, with greater sensitivity than current testing technology.

The portable, low-cost platform uses on-site sample preparation tools with an integrated enrichment step to extract nucleic acids from contaminated sample types.

Project BISTRO is an adaptation of Precision Biomonitoring’s TripleLock platform, which was approved by Health Canada to support rapid testing needs in response to COVID-19.

The device should provide food producers, farming and agriculture operations, distribution centres and large-scale grocers assurances that their produce and other food is safe.

Ag Canada forms agroclimate network

Agriculture Canada has created the Agroclimate Impact Reporter, an online tool that allows producers to submit reports on how weather and climate conditions affect their farm operations.

This helps Ag Canada and the agriculture sector to better understand the local and regional effects of agroclimate conditions and identify emerging risks.

It takes about five minutes a month to report on the impacts of weather.

The deadline is at month’s end, after which data will be analyzed and maps will be created and posted.

B.C. steps up mussels monitoring

As part of British Columbia’s Invasive Mussel Defence Program, inspectors with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service will check boats for aquatic invasive species until October.

“Clean, drain and dry” are preventive steps that all boaters should practise when moving between lakes and rivers.

Invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels are a major threat to the province’s ecosystems and infrastructure.

The program has three main components: watercraft inspections, lake monitoring, and public outreach and education.

Last year, nearly 30,000 inspections found 16 mussel-fouled boats coming from Ontario, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Manitoba.

Anyone transporting a watercraft (sailboats, motorboats, car toppers, kayaks, canoes and paddle boats) in B.C. is required to stop at an open inspection station.

Failing to stop can result in a $345 fine.

People can report sightings of invasive mussels anywhere in B.C. by calling 877-952-7277 and report any invasive species sightings using the report invasives B.C. smartphone app at www.gov.bc.ca/invasive-species.

Cargill donates to STARS

Cargill has given $400,000 to help renew STARS’ aging helicopter fleet.

The grant will be used by the not-for-profit air ambulance organization to help buy nine new, medically equipped Airbus H145 helicopters at a cost of $13 million each.

The new aircraft will help STARS deliver critical care to patients across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and parts of British Columbia for the next 30 or more years.

STARS has been flying missions in the new H145 aircraft from two of its bases since mid-2019 as a result of government, community and corporate support.

The capital campaign hopes to see the remainder of the new fleet delivered by 2022.

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