Agri-info Newsletter – April 2016

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Continuous filing an option for 2016 AgriStability program year

Growing Forward 2 curve with the word 'AgriStability' below

AgriStability protects farmers against large declines in farm income resulting from events like low prices, high input costs, or production losses. Participating in the program requires that producers receive an Enrolment Notice, pay a fee and submit an application every year.

Not all farms operate on the calendar year. Farmers and accountants have told us that the delay between their fiscal year-end and the program year-end prevents them from receiving benefits when they need them most. In an effort to make the program more responsive and provide better service, a continuous filing option for farmers who report income on a non-calendar year basis has been made available for the 2016 program year. Continuous filing was introduced first for AgriInvest in 2014.

Farmers in those provinces where the program is delivered by the federal government can now apply for AgriStability benefits as soon as their fiscal year ends. They can use the 2016 AgriStability harmonized form for Corporations/Co-operatives and Special Individuals, available on the federal AgriStability section or by calling 1-866-367-8506.

AgriStability is delivered provincially in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec (in French only), and Prince Edward Island. Use one of the links above to visit your provincial administration to see if the continuous filing option is available in your region.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is committed to developing and delivering client-focused, results-based programs and services. For more information on programs available to you, visit the Programs and Services section.

Volunteer reports help track weather and climate conditions

"We spend a lot of time monitoring and reporting on weather events and climate conditions, however that's only half the story," said Trevor Hadwen, agroclimate specialist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The Agroclimate Impact Reporter (AIR) is an online tool that compiles information on local and regional effects of weather and climate on farmers and farming. Hadwen explained that "knowing the impacts of the weather provides additional information we need to make accurate assessments and recommendations."

"I've kept track of the weather since beginning ranching in 1959, but you have to look at the big picture when you're farming. What AIR is doing is important, putting together regional maps. It's a reminder to me just how much climate impacts us," said Maggie Dulaney, an AIR reporter since 2012.

How Agroclimate Impact Reporter works

Most of the data and information that feed the AIR application are provided by more than 300 volunteer reporters. Each reporter completes a five-minute online survey every month of the growing season, and can enter additional information between surveys. Maps of all the input received are compiled at the end of each month and, within a week, made available online for all to view and use.

What's in it for producers?

AIR lets producers tell AAFC about the weather and its impact on their operations. This information supports program and policy development, particularly financial risk management programs for agricultural producers. For example, information collected from the AIR network in 2011 helped to inform AgriRecovery programs, which provided more than $300 million in direct assistance to producers as a result of flooding and excess moisture in the Prairie region. Information from AIR is also used in the assessment of areas eligible for the Livestock Tax Deferral (LTD) provision, which compensates producers facing feed shortages resulting from drought or excess moisture. In 2015 and 2016, producers in all four western provinces received LTD payments.

AAFC is recruiting new reporters to establish a Canada-wide AIR network. Learn more about becoming an AIR reporter.

Farming forecast shows bright future

Canadian farmers help drive the economy, while producing top-quality, healthy food in a sustainable way. A recent AAFC report projects a strong future for farming.

The 2016 Canadian Agricultural Outlook, released in February, identifies the drivers expected to influence the growth of the sector. The report forecasts farm income in the agricultural sector for 2015 and 2016, and looks at trends that could affect the agriculture sector over the next decade.

Highlights include:

  • 2015 net cash farm income is expected to reach a record $15.0 billion, a 6% increase over 2014. A 9% decline to $13.6 billion is expected in 2016, still 14% higher than the 2010-2014 average.
  • Despite weakening world agricultural commodity markets, the low Canadian dollar has made Canadian agriculture and food products more competitive in export markets, contributing to higher farm cash receipts.
  • 2015 data to date shows average farm operating income of $77,287, 8% higher than 2014.
  • Average net worth per farm is expected to reach $2.7 million in 2016.
  • Canada's 2015 livestock receipts are expected to increase by 2% to 26.2 billion.
  • Crop receipts are expected to have increased 2% to reach $30.7 billion in 2015, and to remain virtually unchanged at $30.6 billion in 2016.

Canadian farmers have a promising future. The Government of Canada is investing in research and innovation and will expand market opportunities to ensure the continued growth of our agricultural sector.

2016 Census of Agriculture benefits farmers


In a few weeks, farmers will receive a letter with instructions on how to complete the Census of Agriculture questionnaire. The questionnaire can be completed by anyone who is responsible for, or knowledgeable about, the day-to-day management decisions of your farming operation.

The Census of Agriculture compiles information and identifies trends on issues, opportunities and challenges affecting the agricultural community. Data collected from the census is used by many decision-makers to ensure they are acting in the interests of farmers, farm communities and agricultural operations.

Regional, provincial and federal governments use census data to help develop agricultural policies and programs related to farm support and trade development and to evaluate the impact of natural disasters (such as floods, droughts and storms) and disease outbreaks on agriculture. This allows for a quick reaction when these situations occur.

Farm organizations use census data to make policy recommendations, prepare communications and outreach materials, and conduct market development.

The Census of Agriculture includes questions on land use, crops, livestock, agricultural labour, machinery and equipment, land management practices and farm finances. The Census is now faster and easier to complete, with fewer questions and a new online system which will take farmers an average of 30% less time to complete. Learn more about the changes for this year.

As required by the Statistics Act, the information you provide will be kept confidential and used only for statistical purposes.

Support your community and complete your Census of Agriculture questionnaire when it arrives! Visit the 2016 Census of Agriculture site for more information.

Canadian agri-food and seafood wins in markets abroad

Canada's agri-food and seafood exports grew by almost 40 per cent over the last five years. That's an incredible achievement! These record figures show global demand for Canada's top-quality agricultural products is continuing to grow.

Some of Canada's recent achievements include:

  • Restoring beef access to South Korea, a market worth $25 million annually for our beef producers.
  • Market access gains for beef and pork to Ukraine, pork to India and livestock genetics to Georgia.
  • Reopening the Mexican border to Canadian fresh poultry meat, including chicken, turkey and duck meat.
  • Repeal of U.S. Country of Origin Labelling after eight years of heavy lifting by Canada's livestock industries in close collaboration with governments and foreign partners.
  • The European Union's (EU) vote in favor of expanding the scope of the Canada-EU Organic Equivalency Arrangement.

Canadian agri-food and seafood exports to the EU will benefit significantly from improved market access once the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement enters into force. Almost 94 percent of EU agricultural tariff lines will become duty-free, and almost 96 percent of EU tariff lines for fish and seafood products will become duty-free, immediately on entry into force.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada can help Canada's exporters

With almost half of Canada's total agricultural production exported, the potential for growth in the sector lies in its ability to expand markets abroad. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency work to expand trade with fast-growing markets such as China and India, while deepening our trade links with traditional partners. By promoting Canada's food and agriculture sector as a reliable and safe supplier of high-quality product around the world, the Government of Canada is ensuring our agriculture industry remains a key driver of the Canadian economy.

AAFC's Market Access Secretariat aligns the efforts of government, industry and the provinces to open and expand international markets for Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. AAFC provides a single access point to federal resources, to reduce global trade barriers and improve Canadian trade opportunities. The Secretariat supports industry's market access and development activities by providing access to Trade Commissioner Services, international trade shows and programs, services and tools to help producers and processors navigate international markets.

To see how our trade commissioners can help get your product into a new market watch the Agri-food Trade Commissioners at Your Service video.

Canada's agriculture and agri-food industry remains a strong international competitor. Here are some of the ways AAFC can help farmers, processors and exporters compete:

Contact a trade commissioner today to get expert advice on accessing international markets.

Cool research helps vineyards weather Canadian winters

Canadian winters can be tough on wine grape vines. A single extreme cold snap can damage vines and reduce crop yields by as much as 50%.

Over the winter, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers in Summerland, British Columbia, collected data to identify best practices for protecting vineyards against extreme cold.

An evolved wine industry

British Columbia's wine industry has grown significantly since the 1980s, when it was fairly small and based on winter-hardy hybrid varieties. From 17 wineries in 1990, the British Columbia industry has expanded to over 250.

In the 1990s, vintners replanted nearly all their vineyards with premium Vitis vinifera varieties, such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay, to take advantage of a growing domestic market and emerging trade opportunities. These vines can tolerate some freezing, but they are severely tested when temperatures approach record lows between November and March.

Cool research

When winter temperatures drop below -20° Celsius, the entire crop is at risk. Vines can be severely damaged or killed outright – a serious financial loss for growers and vintners. Finding ways to make hardier vines that can withstand temperatures even one or two degrees colder will prevent winter damage, reduce crop loss, and the need to replant.

AAFC biologist Carl Bogdanoff and his team have been working with grape growers to protect vines against unusually cold weather. The team monitors temperatures and bud hardiness at locations across the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, in part to determine the effect of vineyard management practices on hardiness. Bud hardiness data is collected every two weeks for 12 grape varieties at 44 sites in the Okanagan valley, and the data is posted to the British Columbia Wine Grape Council web site every two weeks. Vintners and growers can use this information to assess risk of damage before, during and after a period of extreme cold. Each summer, the team's interim results are presented at the British Columbia Wine Grape Council's Enology and Viticulture Conference. Final results of the research will be made available to growers in 2019.

What have researchers found so far?

  • Vines grafted onto rootstocks are hardier than those grown from their own roots.
  • Moist soils protect roots from the cold better than dry soils, and snow cover also helps.
  • Minimum air temperatures within a vineyard can vary by as much as 10° Celsius, especially during calm periods. Knowing where to put wind machines and when to run them can eliminate cold pockets.
  • Ranking varietal hardiness helps growers decide which to plant on colder or warmer sites.

Watch a video about vineyard cold resistance research

Eat Your Pulses

Pulses are a vital source of plant-based proteins for people around the globe and can make a significant contribution to a healthy diet. They are an important Canadian agricultural crop, grown to meet domestic and international demand. In addition, pulses are leguminous plants that have nitrogen-fixing properties which can contribute to increasing soil fertility and have a positive impact on the environment.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is joining other organizations worldwide to celebrate the 2016 International Year of Pulses and raise public awareness about the importance of pulses in our daily lives.

Our scientists are active in pulse research, currently studying the impact of pulse consumption on gut health and how they can be a valuable addition to crop rotations.

Learn more about pulses by watching the video, Eat your pulses

Budget 2016 – Highlights for Producers

Budget 2016 above green, orange and grey lines

Tabled on March 22, 2016, Budget 2016 highlights an Innovation Agenda that supports Canada's innovators, including those in the agri-food sector, to achieve success. An investment of more than $1 billion over four years will be made available to support future developments in clean technology, including in the agriculture sector.

The Budget also provides:

  • $30 million over six years to support research in agricultural genomics.
  • $41.5 million to modernize select AAFC and CFIA research stations and laboratories.
  • Up to $500 million to extend broadband service to help Canadians living in rural and remote communities to seize opportunities from the digital economy and remote government services.

The Budget confirms Canada's commitment to secure international markets for agri-food and seafood producers, through multilateral agreements like the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Government is also committed to increasing trade with emerging markets like India and China.

Budget 2016 recognizes that agriculture is an area of shared responsibility between the federal, provincial and territorial governments and reaffirms the current $3 billion five-year policy framework, Growing Forward 2, to support agricultural and agri-food innovation, competitiveness, and market development.

Read more on Budget 2016.

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