2000 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions

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 Table of contents
Resolution 1:Unacceptable Responses to 1999 ASB Resolutions #3, 4 and 5
Resolution 2:Restricted and Noxious Weed Prevention on Reclamation Sites
Resolution 3:Seed Ingredients Label
Resolution 4:Ensuring Purity of Wildflower Mixes
Resolution 5:Invasive Species
Resolution 6:Fusarium (Graminearum) Awareness and Monitoring Program
Resolution 7:Protein Testing of Cereal Grains
Resolution 8:Factual Information on the Agricultural Applications of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's)
Resolution 9:Licensing of Water Wells
Resolution 10:Unauthorized Drainage
Resolution 11:Allocation of Public Land Dispositions
Resolution 12:Protecting the Agricultural Land Base
Resolution 13:Funding for the Breton Plots
Resolution 14:Control of Richardson Ground Squirrels (Gophers)
Resolution 15:Farm Income Crisis
Resolution 16:Privatization of Vegetation Management on Secondary Highways
EM-1-00Emergent Resolution: Elimination of Pasture Insurance
EM-2-00Emergent Resolution: Dealer Purity

Resolution #1

Unacceptable responses to 1999 asb resolutions #3, 4 and 5
Be it resolved - That the Provincial Resolution Committee meet with the Standing Policy Committee on Agriculture (and The Minister of Environment) to discuss the unacceptable responses to 1999's Resolutions #3, 4 and 5.

Resolution #2

Restricted and noxious weed prevention on reclamation sites
Be it resolved - The Minister of Environment ensure that all reclamation criteria and guidelines under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, reflect that all soil and soil amendments are free of restricted and noxious weeds to reduce the risk of creating noxious and restricted weed infestations.

Response - Alberta Environment. The Alberta Government is aware of the growing weed problem in Alberta and the increasing concern regarding weeds on reclamation sites. Weed management plans should be part of the lease arrangements between landowners and industry. These plans should address weed control issues through all stages of the industrial activity including post reclamation. At this time there does not appear to be any technology available to weed test the enormous volumes of topsoil or other amendments used for reclamation. Without such a test it is not possible to introduce reclamation criteria or guidelines requiring that "all soil and soil amendments are free of restricted and noxious weeds."

On Green Area (forested) public land, AENV staff have been working co-operatively with the local Agricultural Fieldmen in developing and delivering an educational weed awareness program aimed at industrial and commercial users. AENV staff also initiated an aggressive weed management program, in most areas, that applies to vacant and occupied lands directly held by the Department, to ensure compliance with weed control requirements.

Although the time frame for regulatory change may not meet your specific requirements, your assistance would be most beneficial in spreading the word on the purchaser's right to request seed analysis. As more seed purchasers request seed analysis, the objective of your resolution is partially met.

The Alberta Government will continue to work with industry, landowners and municipalities to address weed management issues in a timely and proactive manner.

As this issue pertains to the forestry sector, I would encourage you to share this resolution with Natural Resources Canada for their consideration.

Resolution #3

Seed ingredients label
Be it resolved - That the Provincial and Federal Governments take action to legislate the attachment of an ingredients list label to all graded seed.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Labeling of Seed falls under the jurisdiction of the Canada Seeds Act. The present regulations allow for the issuance of a seed testing certificate or for the labeling of impurities on a tag. Most retailers choose the option of making available, upon request, the seed testing certificate.
Seed testing certificates must be provided, when requested, within 30 days. Failure to do so is in contravention of the Seeds Act and subject to enforcement. All seed sold must be graded prior to sale so Seed Testing Certificates should be able to be e-mailed and/or faxed in a timely fashion.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency are currently undertaking a Seed Standards Review. It would be very timely to ensure that they are in receipt of the resolution. As well any support letter you have from other sources so be forwarded as well. There is still time to provide input into this review.

Canadian Seed Growers' Association. We have received this same resolution in the past and in November of 1997 the National Board of the Canadian Seed Grower's Association passed a motion of support.
That motion was forwarded to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and incorporated as the current review of seed standards. This is an ongoing process in which the CSGA is very much involved. We will therefore continue to pursue this subject in that forum.

Canadian Seed Institute. The Canadian Seed Institute does not have the regulatory authority to enact the suggested recommendation.

This authority rests with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency under the Canada Seeds Act & Regulations. If the national seed industry wished to voluntarily require the mandatory labeling of all ingredients, the Canadian Seed Institute would assist the industry in achieving its goal.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The Seed Section of the CFIA launched a review of seed standards in 1997 and, after a delay in 1998 due to other priorities, Round 2 of the Seed Standards Review (SSR2) was completed in late 1999. The initial purpose of the review was to identify changes for which there was general agreement and to move forward with them. A third round of consultations, intended to resolve some of the more difficult and challenging concerns that face the seed industry, has been proposed. This round will continue at the same time as proposed amendments to the Seed Regulations resulting from SSR2 move through the regulatory management process this year and next.

This resolution proposes a fundamental change for seed labelling requirements under federal Seeds Regulations. Such changes can only be implemented after extensive consultation with the provinces, the seed trade, seed growers, producers, and other interested stakeholders. The CFIA proposes to include your specific suggestion as part of Round 3 of the Seed Standards Review.

Resolution #4

Ensuring purity of wildflower mixes
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development meet with representatives of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to initiate changes to appropriate regulations (or legislation) to ensure that no wildflower mixes can be brought into Alberta for wholesale or retail sale if they contain noxious, restricted or prohibited noxious weed seeds.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. The weed seed content of wildflower seed mixes is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) under the Canada Seeds Act. Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) has worked with CFIA and the industry to prevent the sale of wildflower mixes containing noxious and restricted weeds in Alberta. AAFRD will continue its effort in this regard and will work with CFIA to initiate changes under the Canada Seeds Act to restrict the sale of wildflower mixes that contain noxious and restricted weeds.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The specific labelling requirements for wildflower mixes are the result of an amendment to the Seeds Regulations that came into effect in May 1996. Previously, the regulations only required that no seed could be sold with prohibited noxious weed seeds present. The product in question at that time was being marketed for the small home garden plot, not for use on recreational or grazing land.

Prohibited noxious weed seeds are still not permitted in wildflower mixtures under any circumstances. However, seeds of species commonly understood to be weeds are allowed. If sold under a Canada Ground Cover Mixture grade name, the seed must be labelled with any provincial noxious or restricted weeds and if sold as a wildflower mixture, all ingredients must appear on the label.

The previously noted Round 3 of the Seed Standards Review will include the content of your resolution, both from a review of the prohibited primary and secondary noxious weed seeds and from the perspective of kinds/types allowed in wildflower mixes.

Resolution #5

Invasive species
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada take immediate steps on behalf of Alberta and Canada to establish a North American Centre for Biological Invasions, as proposed at the North American Weed Management Conference in August, 1999 in Lethbridge.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. The prevention of invasive, non-native species, both plant and animal, is essential to protect Alberta's biological diversity. The establishment of a North American Centre for biological invasions is a major undertaking that will require participation from multi-stakeholder agencies both nationally and internationally. Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development is prepared to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the North American Weed Management Association and other agencies to establish such a centre to prevent the invasion of non-native species.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency. At its annual meeting in October 1999, the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) initiated the creation of a Seed Panel. NAPPO is a tri-county regional plant protection organization (Mexico, the United States and Canada) with a mission to protect plant resources from the entry, establishment, and spread of regulated plant pests, while facilitating intra- and inter-regional trade.

The first meeting of the NAPPO Seed Panel was held March 1 - 2, 2000 and included discussion of the United States Executive Order on Invasive Species. Canadian participants on the Seed Panel are Dr. W.C. (Bill) Leask, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Seed Trade Association and Mr. Stan Kirkland, National Manager of the CFIA Seed Section. Ongoing activities of these Seed Panel participants will include consultation with provincial government officials.

In addition, the National Plant Protection Advisory Council (NPPAC) is meeting in Toronto on March 13, 2000. I understand that Mr. Walter Yarish, Plant Industry Division, and Mr. Clive Schaupmeyer, Crop Diversification Centre-South, both of your Department, have been invited and that the issue of invasive species will be included in the discussions.

Resolution #6

Fusarium (graminearum) awareness and monitoring
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development implement a comprehensive awareness and monitoring program to prevent the spread of Fusarium (Graminearum).

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Fusarium Head Blight (F. graminearum) is a declared pest under the Agricultural Pest Act. Since 1998 Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development has a Fusarium Head Blight Response Plan to address the risks and potential impacts of this disease. The Response Plan has a proposed list of action plans to safeguard Alberta's grain industry. The Response Plan was developed collaboratively with industry and others.

The Alberta Fusarium Committee is made up of plant pathologists and other staff from Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, an agricultural Fieldman and industry representatives.

There is an awareness program developed and ongoing in Alberta. The program includes a fact sheet called "Fusarium head blight of barley and wheat." This is available from seed cleaning plants, industry newsletters, AAFRD district offices, ASB offices and from Alberta Agriculture's web site. A color poster on Fusarium Head Blight outlining impact, symptoms and management was developed and distributed to crop specialists, agricultural fieldmen and the seed cleaning plants.

A Fusarium Head Blight seminar was organized in Leduc in March 1999 for industry and extension to increase industry awareness. Many newsletter articles, radio interviews and presentations have been given over the last few months to increase awareness to industry and extension staff and producers. A 1999 survey was conducted in Alberta in July and August to monitor the incidence of the disease. To date, incidences of confirmed Fusarium Head Blight Alberta, are minimal. Monitoring is continuing.

A Prairie Fusarium Task Force made up of researchers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta has initiated a major research program to work on many different aspects of the disease and to incorporate disease resistance in the wheat and barley breeding programs.

Resolution #7

Protein testing of cereal grains
Be it resolved - That the Canadian Grain Commission, while conducting their audit on grades and dockage, include a standardized audit on protein tests to ensure that all producers are getting correct protein grades on their cereal grains.

Response - Canadian Grain Commission. The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) currently offers protein testing to producers and elevator managers on a voluntary basis. Unfortunately, under the Canada Grain Act, protein is not identified as a "grading factor" and, as such, is not included within the provisions for "subject to inspector's grade and dockage". Therefore, including protein under the mandatory arbitration provisions is not a simple change to facilitate.

The CGC supports the inclusion of protein as part of the "subject to inspector's grade and dockage" provisions and has demonstrated its commitment through our Program Review report. Implementation of all the recommendations in the report is not yet complete but is expected to move forward in the near future. At that time, changes will be undertaken to incorporate this important factor in the producer-grain company arbitration program.

The CGC does not conduct audits on grades and dockage at country elevators. I hope the explanation above makes it clear why we are therefore unable to audit protein tests as you suggest in your resolution.

If you require more information on this issue, please feel free to contact the CGC through our toll-free line (1-800-853-6705) and I will be pleased to talk to you about it.

Resolution #8

Factual information on the agricultural applications of genetically modified organisms (gmo's)
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada actively disseminate factual science-based information to the public concerning the economic, environmental, social and health implications of the agricultural use of GMO's.

Response - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. AAFC has been implementing a communications approach that is responsive to public and media questions. AAFC's communications focus has been as facilitator in a larger discussion about biotechnology. It also includes taking part in events planned by third parties such as stakeholder conferences and annual meetings to get messages out as to our use of biotechnology as a research and development tool and as to the government's role in the area of R&D and safety assessment.

Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are seen by the public and the media as knowledgeable and trustworthy sources of information on the application of biotechnology to agricultural research. As interest in the technology has grown, AAFC researchers have responded to dozens, possibly hundreds, of inquiries from broadcast and print media at the local and national level and have been fundamental in increasing the public's understanding of the subject. In addition, the department has played a facilitating role, leading journalists and others to further spokespeople and information at universities, industry and consumer associations, and other government organizations.

Regarding the active dissemination of information about GMOs, the majority of that activity is carried out by the regulatory agencies (Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency), as it is the mandate of these two organizations to protect the safety and health of humans and the environment.

AAFC is an ex-officio representative on the board of directors of the Food Biotechnology Communications Network (FBCN), a multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to providing the food distribution sector and public with balanced information about food biotechnology. AAFC has provided funding support to this organization through the AFT2000 program to help them carry out their information mandate.

In keeping with the need to stay current with respect to consumers' information needs, AAFC is also working with the Consumers' Association of Canada to carry out a series of focus group discussions with Canadians to get their views on current biotechnology communications tools, and determine where there are gaps and how the tools could be made better.

Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. I would like to precede this response with a quote from Honourable Ty Lund which appeared in the Alberta Hansard, Tuesday, March 7, 2000:

    "One of the things that we're trying to be very careful and cautious about - with this discussion of GMOs we don't want to be seen as discarding it or promoting it. We want to try to get the facts out and leave it at that."

In principle, the intent of the resolution (to actively disseminate factual science-based information to the public concerning the agricultural use of GMOs) is an intent that should raise no concerns, and one which should be supported. Indeed, Minister Lund's quote would support the intent to disseminate facts. However, as the above quote from Minister Lund also suggests, if this resolution is adopted, the information and the dissemination method must be selected in a way which ensures the integrity of our position of neutrality. There is also the question of whether such information should be primary information, i.e., produced by AAFRD, or secondary, i.e., obtained by AAFRD from existing sources and disseminated further. Much information already exists on the internet on web pages maintained by Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and BIOTECanada, etc. Concerns have been raise over whether it is AAFRD's role to disseminate such information to the public, or whether such a role should be in the domain of Alberta Innovation and Science. It has been suggested that it may be more appropriate for AAFRD to engage only in disseminating such information to the agricultural community, and only on issues relating to environmental- and sustainable agriculture-related facts. Furthermore, concern from other Ministries would very likely be raised if AAFRD began to generate and disseminate information on the social- and health-based implications of the use of GMOs. Social and health issues are not normally considered areas of expertise or responsibility for the Department of Agriculture.

It is essential for both AAFRD's Ag Biotech Steering Committee and the Interdepartmental Committee on Biotechnology to review this resolution, and consider the appropriate course of action. Therefore, I have forwarded both the resolution and this response to Walter Yarish who sits on both committees. A decision based on this resolution will have clear implications for AAFRD's position on modern biotechnology, which is at an early stage of development.

Resolution #9

Licensing of water wells
Be it resolved - That Alberta Environment revise the requirements for licensing of water wells for agricultural production to reduce the economic impact of the licensing process on producers.

Response - Alberta Environment. Where a groundwater well is intended to be the source of water supply for use in an agricultural operation, or for any other purpose, information is required to assess the impact of the diversion of water on the water supply source (aquifer) and on water users in the area. For groundwater projects, that information is best obtained through a groundwater exploration program and subsequent analysis of that information by a hydrogeological consultant.

Alberta Environment views the information from the hydrogeological analysis as an important and critical step in making decisions on the long-term use of groundwater within a given area. The department continually reviews the licensing process to ensure that costs to applicants can be minimized to the furthest extent possible. A review is currently being undertaken to assess the information requirements that are associated with typical agriculture operations, and may identify areas where efficiencies can be gained in data gathering and analysis associated with an intended groundwater supply well. Any efficiency that can be identified and implemented could result in a further minimizing of costs associated with the licensing of the water well.

Resolution #10

Unauthorized drainage
Be it resolved - That Alberta Environment take steps to ensure execution of their statutory obligations in a timely manner, and to ensure that the Water Act is complied with so unauthorized drainage activities do not continue to cause economic damage and create problems for Alberta residents.

Response - Alberta Environment. Alberta Environment enforcement actions are performed under some 26 pieces of legislation, including the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Public Lands Act, and the Water Act. The department's active, firm and fair enforcement program supports a timely and effective response to violations of the legislation we administer.

Specific to violations under the Water Act, we have taken steps to make the public aware of the implications and obligations under this piece of legislation. We have also taken action in providing the appropriate training and education to those within our department responsible for enforcement actions under the Water Act.

The creation of our Conservation Officer series within Alberta Environment increases the effectiveness of our enforcement ability. Approximately 225 Conservation Officers are involved in enforcing the Water Act, as part of their overall responsibilities of natural resources management and protection, problem wildlife management, enforcement and public safety.

Resolution #11

Allocation of public land dispositions
Be it resolved - That lessees that fail to meet the terms and conditions of their existing public land dispositions shall be denied any additional public land dispositions. The unjustified failure to meet the conditions of their existing leases shall also result in confiscation after a one-year period if violation of lease conditions continue.

Response - Alberta Environment. This resolution primarily focuses on the White Area. All agricultural land disposition holders are expected to comply with the provisions of their disposition agreement. If they do not, the disposition holder is subject to enforcement action including cancellation of the disposition. If the municipalities are aware of any disposition holder that does not appear to meet the terms of the disposition agreement, they should bring it to the attention of the local public land agrologist, in the White Area or the local forest office, if the land is located in the Green Area.

Resolution #12

Protecting the agricultural land base
Be it resolved - That the Provincial and Federal Governments do not provide incentives to forestry companies which encourages the loss of agriculturally suitable lands.

Response - Alberta Environment. Currently the sale of land in Alberta is based on sale agreements between two willing parties that include the price and other terms. The prices paid depend on a number of factors, including the productive capacity of the land, the future economic returns and other values the purchaser sees the land may yield. The Government provides no incentives to forestry or any other company to purchase agricultural land.
There are constraints placed on the purchase of land by foreign interests and any purchases that fall under this category must be approved pursuant to the Foreign Ownership of Land Act and Regulations before the land can be registered.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. A mechanism for obtaining carbon credits is not yet in place, therefore it is premature to speculate on a future outcome of gaining or purchasing credits for afforested lands. A system for creating a market place for carbon trading is still in the development stage and continues to be debated internationally.

Resolution #13

Funding for the breton plots
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development allocate funding to the Breton Plots Endowment Fund to ensure their continued viability.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development has for some time provided considerable provincial support for the Breton Plots.

As a part of cooperative effort with the University of Alberta, AAFRD (Agronomy Unit) has taken over responsibility for conducting three major long-term trials at the plots to ensure these trials are carried on. These trials compare nitrogen and phosphorus cycling under minimum and conventional tillage systems. Several of these trials are now twenty plus years old and are providing otherwise unavailable information on carbon sequestering and greenhouse gas emissions in Gary Luvisolic soils. Over the years they have also provided valuable information on phosphorus and nitrogen management, improvement of soil tilth and a variety of other important crop production issues. The information from these trials has found it's way into numerous graduate student thesis, scientific publications and most importantly extension material for farmers. During the 1999/2000 winter extension season, information derived from research at Breton plots was integrated into presentations given at approximately 40 meetings to over 2000 people.

At the 70th anniversary of the Breton Plots held this past July, the Agronomy Unit of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development was recognized for their contribution towards maintaining the Breton Plots. This has in past included the secondment of a full-time technical staff person to the Faculty of Agriculture to help with maintenance of off-campus research facilities including the Breton Plots. As this person has recently retired, AAFRD is currently renegotiating this position with the faculty. Other department staff have spent considerable time and resources assisting university staff with the routine maintenance of the Breton site including the classical plots.

Quite modestly estimated AAFRD's contribution towards keeping the Breton Plots viable has been close to a quarter million dollars over the past five years. We (the Agronomy Unit) are committed to the Breton Plots for as long as they continue to provide quality information to Alberta farmers. However, the connection between the Agronomy Unit and the Breton plots is based on personal relationships between several researchers who have a close connection with both the plots and the University professors associated with the plots. Should the direction or leadership of the Unit change, continued support may be questioned.

Breton Endowment Fund. The goal of the endowment fund is to reach $1.2 M. At this moment the fund is near $600,000 with a portion left to be matched. The cost to operate Breton is $60,000 per year. The investment earnings from this fund pays for approximately one third of Breton operating costs.

A one time donation on the provision that it is matchable, achieve multiple purposes:
  • increase the amount of investment earnings available to fund Breton
  • offer incentive to others, knowing their donation dollar would be matchable

Breton Endowment contributors
Private citizens
Alberta Cattle Commission
M.D. of Brazeau
M.D. of Bonnyville
Rocky Mountain Ag Society

Resolution #14

Control of richardson ground squirrels (gophers)
Be it resolved - That the Provincial Government use reasonable resources to persuade the Federal Government to again allow the use of 2% strychnine liquid for the control of Richardson Ground Squirrels.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. For decades, farmers managed Richardson's ground squirrel damage with various preparations of strychnine poison. However, that changed when mandatory federal pesticide registration came into effect in the mid 1980's. Pesticide manufacturers were required to produce efficacy data on their products and due to its high cost, many rodent bait manufacturers opted out and chose not to register their products.

Based on similar US products, federal authorities established benchmark levels of various active ingredients for burrowing rodent control including strychnine, cholecalciferol, zinc phosphide and anti-coagulants. Consequently, 2% and 5% strychnine liquid concentrate was registered for Richardson's ground squirrel and the northern pocket gopher respectively. Both products were manufactured and sold directly at the retail level as non restricted products. Later both were re- classified as commercial products requiring identification, land location and declaration of use or behind-counter storage.

Unfortunately, many rodent strychnine products were used for illegal, off-label purposes and many non targets such as pet dogs and cats, coyotes, birds and other wildlife were intentionally killed by these baits. Federal authorities were forced to take remedial action which resulted in replacing concentrate baits with pre mix or ready to use (RTU) strychnine baits.

Although RTU baits contain the same level of active ingredient (strychnine) as the concentrate baits, there has been an ongoing problem of acceptable bait performance. Bait manufacturers, stymied by fluctuating grain costs and availability, while at the same time, concerned about bait performance undertook efforts to remedy the situation. However, problems continued to persist.

Alberta Agriculture firmly believes the fluctuating performance of RTU is not due to sub lethal levels of active ingredient as most landholders contend, but rather to the selection, type and quality of the bait substrate. To demonstrate, the department conducted an extensive three year bait selection study to ascertain the most palatable bait substrate. Results were remarkable and when a few field trials with strychnine mixed with the new bait showed promise the department elected for extensive trials to explore the performance of canary seed-strychnine baits.

Presently, the Department is awaiting approval from PMRA to conduct large scale, field trials of the new bait. We are hopeful the results in these trials will convince both bait manufacturers and federal authorities of a superior bait which we feel will significantly improve ground squirrel damage control.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada shares the concerns of farmers and ranchers regarding the need to have access to effective tools to control gophers. If you require further information to that conveyed below, I would urge you to contact Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency which, as you are aware, has responsibility for the regulation of pest control products.

In 1992, the manufacturer of the liquid strychnine product chose to not renew its registration as a result of complaints lodged with provincial governments about its misuse resulting in the death of pets and wildlife. The manufacturer chose instead to market a premixed bait with a 2% and 5% strychnine content. It's my understanding that this bait, if properly set, has proven in tests to be effective. The 2% and 5% levels of strychnine in the premixed bait is the same measure of strychnine that was prescribed in the liquid form to control the Richardson ground squirrel.

Health Canada - Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Our understanding is that Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) is actively trying to arrive at a solution to the difficulties experienced by users of these products without going back to the strychnine liquid which resulted in non-target poisonings. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency is doing whatever is possible to cooperate with AAFRD to support that effort.

Resolution #15

Farm income crisis
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development urge our Federal and Provincial Governments to:
1. Acknowledge the crisis facing agriculture and rural communities throughout Canada.
2. Provide immediate short term financial assistance which realistically reflects the costs of transportation, fertilizer, pesticides, equipment, employee wages, land taxes and debt servicing.
3. In conjunction with all players, design a long term policy for a sustainable agriculture environment which increases market access for value added products.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. The Government of Alberta is very much aware of the income difficulties being faced by some farmers.

The Government responded in October, 1999 by strengthening it's loan programs and by making changes to the Alberta Farm Income Disaster Program (FIDP) so that more farmers could be eligible for subsidy payments. This program does respond to changes that occur in the cost of inputs such as fertilizer. Such changes alter expenses and the gross and net income of farmers and if income reduction occurs, program payments can be made if farmers are eligible. In this way short term assistance is provided.

Market access depends on trade agreements, the reduction to constraints on trade and increasing the number of marketing alternatives available for farmers. The Government of Alberta has been a long time supporter of free trade, of multi-lateral trade agreements and of farmers having choice as to whom they can sell their production. It is through these means that a sustainable and viable industry can exist.

The government has also convened an Agricultural Summit so that a long term strategy can be developed in conjunction with industry.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Incomes from farm businesses are subject to much uncertainty. For this reason, the federal and provincial governments have an extensive safety net package in place to help farmers deal with income variability. The federal government contributes $600 million to this effort each year, and provincial governments contribute an additional $400 million. This provides farmers with an ongoing $1 billion annually.
These monies are used to help finance a three-part approach of assistance to agriculture: crop insurance, the Net Income Stabilization Account (NISA), and companion programs that are developed with each province to meet specific priorities.

However, many producers have been facing an economic problem brought on by various factors that go beyond the cyclical nature of markets. This raised questions about possible gaps in the existing farm safety net and led to the establishment of the Agricultural Income Disaster Assistance (AIDA) program. In December 1998, the federal government committed an additional $900 million over two years for the AIDA program. Under the 60:40 cost-sharing principle, the provincial contributions bring an additional $600 million. AIDA is intended to help individuals who, through circumstances beyond their control, are suffering severe short- term farm income losses.

On November 4, 1999, the Government of Canada agreed to make a further $170 million available to cover negative margins under AIDA across the country. For 1999, producers will be able to choose a reference period on which to base their payments, either the previous three years, or three of the previous five years not counting the high- and low-income years. Another change will ensure that family and non-family labour are treated the same in calculating eligibility for 1999.

On January 13, 2000, the federal government announced it is injecting up to an additional $1 billion over two years to help farmers manage market and production risks. The reinvestment in farm income safety nets will bring the Government of Canada's contribution up to $2.2 billion for the next two years. As part of the new government disaster assistance package, interest-free cash advances of up to $20,000 per eligible farm will be made available this spring to help farmers pay spring-seeding costs. As well, because Canadian farmers want better access to their individual NISA accounts, the federal government will propose changes to ensure easier access to their NISA balances. I am enclosing a copy of the press release for your consideration.

On February 24, 2000 an additional one-time assistance of $400 million ($240 million federal and $160 million provincial) was announced to help grain and oilseed producers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan adjust to higher transportation costs as they face continuing low farm incomes. Individuals' payments will be equal to a percentage of the first $125,000 of farmers' average eligible net sales. Provinces are targeting to have the payments paid to producers as rapidly as possible before spring seeding. I am also enclosing a copy of the press release for your consideration.

In regard to the effectiveness of AIDA, the program has been of benefit to thousands of farmers in the Prairie region and to many others across the country. For information, enclosed are statistics on AIDA program payments for the four western provinces.

The federal and provincial governments are in the midst of a safety net review. As part of that review, industry is being consulted to assess current as well as prosed programs with respect to their effectiveness and any required modifications. A number of considerations, including trade issues and funding allocation, will be addressed during this process. At the same time, producers are encouraged to use private risk-management tools to protect against adverse price movement in the marketplace.

The federal government will continue to work with the industry and the provincial governments to improve the effectiveness of the safety net package.

Resolution #16

Privatization of vegetation management on secondary highways
Be it resolved - The Province of Alberta allow interested municipalities to contract the weed control and vegetation management on all provincial highways.

Response - Alberta Infrastructure. The issue of weed control along highways is continually under review by department staff to ensure that appropriate and timely methods are being utilized to provide an effective control program. A very important part of this program is the involvement of the agricultural fieldmen who have valuable experience and knowledge in this area.

The department initiated a process to involve the fieldmen more directly this past season by allowing them to order the work directly from our maintenance contractors or undertake weed control using their own forces in urgent situations. The process has been very successful on a provincial basis and has shown its potential for improving the weed control efforts.

As you are aware, the department will be assuming financial responsibility for all secondary highways effective April 1, 2000. The exact mechanism on how this transition will occur is presently being worked out through a joint committee made up of department officials and representatives from the municipalities. This committee is still reviewing all aspects related to construction and maintenance work. It is anticipated that the present procedure used on the primary system will be applied once Alberta Infrastructure assumes responsibility for the secondary system. Local municipalities will be allowed to subcontract this work from the maintenance contractor.

Em-1-00: Emergent Resolution

Elimination of pasture insurance
Be it resolved - That Alberta Agricultural Financial Services Corporation reinstate the pasture portion of the Forage Insurance Program while conducting a full review of the program with stakeholder input, in order to establish further improvements or changes in the future.

Response - Agriculture Financial Services Corporation. Producer dissatisfaction with the pasture portion of the Forage Insurance Program led to its termination for the year 2000. The hay insurance program remains unchanged and producers were able to purchase insurance for hay.

We received significant input from our customers in 1998 through public meetings and written submissions. Producers felt that the nine township area average used to determine settlements did not adequately reflect the losses that were incurred on individual farms. Additionally, there was no consensus reached with customers regarding what program design features could be implemented to realistically maintain the program. Customer feedback suggested that it was better to cancel the program than to continue it in its existing form.

The deadline for the purchase of pasture insurance is passed. Reinstating the program at this time would enable clients to purchase insurance on the basis of pre-existing weather conditions and could lead to increased risk and claims, consequently, an increase in the cost of the program to taxpayers. The program is currently in a significant deficit position.

A complete review of Alberta's crop insurance programs is being undertaken this year and stakeholders will be given an opportunity to provide input.

Em-2-00: Emergent Resolution

Dealer purity
Be it resolved - That the Alberta Government take immediate action to prohibit Dealer purification.

Response - Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. The government has taken the step of requesting the mainline distributors impose a moratorium on changes to existing contracts until this matter can be fully reviewed. The Competition Bureau of Industry Canada is currently reviewing this issue.

The Alberta Farm Implement Board, at its February 15, 2000 meeting, discussed the issue of dealer purity. As a result on this discussion the following motion has been forwarded to Minister Ty Lund:
    The Farm Implement Board recommends the passing of a bill similar and with the same intent as Saskatchewan's Agricultural Equipment Dealerships Act.

The mattter is being discussed and information has been provided to the Minister regarding the legislation in Saskatchewan.

As Secretary to the Farm Implement Board, Farmer's Advocate Dean Lien is available to discuss this issue with ASB members.

We appreciate the support your members have given the farm implement industry in addressing this concern at your conference.

This information is provided by:
Pam Retzloff, Program Assistant
Agricultural Service Board Program
Room 201, 7000 - 113 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T6H 5T6
Phone: 780-427-4213 Fax: 780-422-7755

Other Documents in the Series

  2010 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2009 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2008 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2007 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2006 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2005 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2004 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2003 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2002 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2001 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
2000 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions - Current Document
1999 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
1998 Agricultural Service Board Resolutions
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Pam Retzloff.
This information published to the web on March 11, 2005.
Last Reviewed/Revised on July 27, 2007.