2016 Resolutions

Information taken from the 2016 Report Card on the Resolutions

1-16: Proactive Vegetation Management on Alberta Provincial Highways

2-16: Reinstate Provincial Funding for the Canada and Alberta Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program

3-16: Agricultural Plastics Recycling

4-16: Agricultural Opportunity Fund for Agricultural Research and Forage Associations

5-16: Climate Stations

6-16: Compensation for Coyote Depredation

7-16: Hay Insurance Program

8-16: Species at Risk Act (SARA)

E1-16: Bill 6: Enhanced Protection of Farm and Ranch Workers

Resolution 1-16: Proactive Vegetation Management on Alberta Provincial Highways

WHEREAS: The Government of Alberta’s strategy to realize savings over the next 3 years by reducing the summer maintenance budget by $27.8 million in 2015 alone is showing signs that the right-of -ways of Alberta’s highways cannot be sustained at that level;

WHEREAS: Invasive plants cause significant changes to ecosystems that result in economic harm to our agricultural and recreational sectors. Highway corridors facilitate the spread not just locally, but internationally as well that impacts our neighbor’s;

WHEREAS: Provincially, reductions were made that specifically state only 1 shoulder cut per year, no full width mowing, on all highways as well as no scheduled weed spraying, only reactive spot spraying after receiving a weed notice from a municipality;

WHEREAS: The most cost-effective strategy against invasive species is preventing them from establishing rather than relying on a municipality to hopefully identify an infestation and react by issuing a notice. Allowing other undesirable plants growing increases the risk to human health (poisonous plants) and public safety as well by reduced visibility along the shoulders of the road when wildlife are crossing or grazing;

WHEREAS: Alberta Transportation in the past had the option of signing Service Agreements with each municipality to do invasive plant control, but that option is no longer available in some districts due to some of the highway maintenance contracts;

WHEREAS: With 31,000 kilometers of highway in the province the land base in which it is responsible for weed control within its right-of-way’s is regulated by the Weed Control Act which requires attention and sufficient funds to be able to abide by its own legislation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST the Government of Alberta restores funding levels to Alberta Transportation for summer maintenance programs for vegetation management (weed control and mowing).

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Alberta Transportation gives the option in all districts of the province to enter into Service Agreements with municipalities for weed control as the prime contractor, but if highway maintenance contracts do not allow for that then the Government of Alberta reopen those contracts to allow municipalities to become prime contractors.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

  • Agriculture and Forestry staff have discussed this issue with staff in Alberta Transportation, and Transportation is currently aware of their responsibilities under the Weed Control Act and Agricultural Pests Act. As the owner/occupant of the right of ways along provincial highways, the Crown is bound by these Acts.
  • Municipalities have full authority to give notices in order to ensure compliance with the Acts, even if issued to the Crown. Transportation was advised that reactive measures (such as requiring a weed notice every time weed control work was necessary) would be more expensive and time consuming for both the municipalities and Transportation.
  • Transportation has informed our staff that no information was provided to contractors that requested they cut their vegetation management program as part of the budget reduction. It appears this was a decision that the contractors are making on their own, possibly as a way to cut back costs. Transportation staff have indicated they may be able to free up additional funding for contractors to use for their vegetation management programs.
  • Transportation was referred to the Pest Surveillance Branch if they required any additional help with the legislation

Alberta Transportation

Maintaining safety on our province’s highways is a top priority and I appreciate the committee’s concerns about the adverse impact of reduced chemical vegetation control along the provincial network. Alberta Transportation is committed to working with cross-ministry officials, municipalities, the Agricultural Service Board and the field personnel to control the spread of noxious weeds.

The decision to reduce mowing and weed spraying along provincial highways for summer 2016 was not made lightly. We evaluated and considered all possible risks, including the spread of noxious and prohibited weeds, blocking sight lines at intersections and curves, the risk of wildlife collisions, and wildfires. Scheduled mowing is limited to a single shoulder cut, and vegetation control is restricted to spraying or hand picking individual patches of noxious weeds, as required by the Weed Control Act. Funding for spot spraying of weeds was not affected; however, funding for scheduled area spraying was eliminated.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments:
This response was graded as “Unsatisfactory” as it did not address the “Further Therefore Be It Resolved” presented in this resolution. The Committee felt that the responses to this resolution were contradictory and is seeking further clarification from Transportation about instructions given to contractors and funding for vegetation management along provincial highways, in addition to seeking a full response to the resolution. The Committee has requested a meeting with Transportation to discuss this resolution and to reinforce to Transportation the effectiveness and cost efficiencies that could be achieved with a pro-active vegetation management program.

Resolution 2-16: Reinstate Provincial Funding for the Canada and Alberta Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program

WHEREAS: Since 2007, Canada has been recognized by the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) as a controlled BSE risk country;

WHEREAS: Canada may be at risk of losing its status as a controlled BSE risk country due to tested numbers not meeting the 30,000 animal annual requirement set by OIE;

WHEREAS: If Canada does not meet these requirements, we may fall into the negligible BSE risk category where OIE and trading partners may close borders to Canadian cattle. International perception on the change in risk status may negatively impact our sound beef export market;

WHEREAS: By reinstating Provincial funding, it will encourage more producers to participate in the BSE program realizing our target;

WHEREAS: On September 15, 2011 the province decided to discontinue the $150 incentive given to producers to allow sampling their animals and for maintaining control of the carcass pending test results;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture & Forestry reinstate the $150.00 incentive given to producers for participating in the BSE program.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

  • Agriculture and Forestry shares this concern regarding the progressive decline in BSE samples submitted to the Canada/Alberta BSE Surveillance Program (CABSESP), and any possible international repercussions.
  • We have explored a number of options to improve the BSE surveillance numbers in the province.
  • As of 2012, the Department called for a broader and more inclusive approach on BSE surveillance by creating a Western Canadian BSE Surveillance group, which later became part of the national CanSurvBSE.
    • The objective of this group is to gather different stakeholders, such as cattle industry representatives, veterinary organizations, and provincial and federal governments, in order to propose solutions to improve BSE surveillance in Canada
    • Based on the feedback we received from stakeholders, changes have been made to the CABSESP’S terms and conditions during the past four years in an effort to eliminate restrictions in eligibility criteria to allow more animals to be tested.
  • There have also been extensive education and awareness campaigns to highlight these changes and the importance of surveillance. Most recently, we contracted several private veterinarians to work with us in promoting the program and the importance of producer participation to preserve our markets
  • Going forward, the Ministry is continuing to examine options to improve BSE surveillance numbers
  • We cannot overstate the importance of a collaborative approach and producer identification and submission of eligible samples. This program is a joint program between industry and government that helps to ensure maintenance and expansion of market access and ultimately, the profitability of the industry.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments:

This response was graded as Unsatisfactory because it did not answer the resolution as written. The Committee is concerned that we may lose our status as a controlled risk country for BSE due to the lack of testing and discussed several options with the Minister to address this problem. Some of the options discussed included requesting the OIE to lower the minimum number of animals tested, to base the number of animals tested on a percentage of the current cow herd and to assist packing plants with developing separate lines to allow them to test animals at slaughter. The Minister acknowledged that the cattle market had changed since the initial discovery of BSE in Alberta but indicated there was no additional funding to put towards BSE testing. He said he would bring forward the option of decreasing the number of animals required for testing to the appropriate agencies.

The Committee feels that decreasing the number of animals required for testing is a viable option because the number of animals in Canada has significantly decreased since it reached its’ peak in 2005. In 2005, there were approximately 6.7 million cattle in Alberta. The most recent information from Statistics Canada’s July 1, 2016 estimate shows 5.37 million cattle for Alberta, which is an approximately 20% decrease in the overall cow herd numbers for Alberta since 2005.

This data represents bulls, milk cows, dairy heifers, beef cows, beef heifers, slaughter heifers, calves and steers. More detailed information is included in the Appendix.

Resolution 3-16: Agricultural Plastics Recycling

WHEREAS: 56% of farms in Alberta use one or more types of agricultural plastics (baler twine, net wrap, silage plastic, grain bags, bale bags/tubes);

WHEREAS: The disposal and/or recycling of agricultural plastics is not consistent across the province;

WHEREAS: Agricultural plastics are either burned on farm or sent to the landfill;

WHEREAS: Agricultural plastics users are concerned with how they deal with agricultural plastics and feel it is important to be able to recycle agricultural plastics;

WHEREAS: The Government of Saskatchewan, in partnership with a number of stakeholders, has been running a successful pilot program for managing the recycling of agricultural plastics;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Ministry of Environment and Parks and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry research, develop, and implement an agricultural plastics recycling program modelled after the pilot program in the Province of Saskatchewan.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

  • Agriculture and Forestry is aware of the agricultural plastics recycling pilot program in Saskatchewan.
    • The Saskatchewan Agricultural Stewardship Council, which is made up of representatives from the agricultural industry and formed under the CleanFARMS umbrella, has been tasked to develop and implement a permanent agricultural plastics program for the province. This organization, as well as Simply Agriculture Solutions, is working with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment to develop waste management regulations and implementation of an overall program plan
    • CleanFARMS presented a draft regulation to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment in July 2013. This regulation is still with the Minister, and no real progress on a regulation has been made
  • Agriculture and Forestry was working with Environment and Parks to scope and develop options to address the issue in Alberta, beginning with the development of an education program (including a fact sheet) around the harmful effects of burning. However, based on further feedback from producers and other Alberta stakeholders, it was concluded that an education piece alone was not going to solve the issue
  • AF contributed to a waste characterization study that was completed by CleanFARMS. The results of the study suggest that agricultural plastic waste is less than one per cent of the total annual waste being sent to landfills in Alberta
  • In the interim, we continue to gather information about agricultural plastics, including a study on markets for agricultural plastics.
  • Agriculture and Forestry staff have been asked by the Alberta Recycling Management Authority to sit on a committee to develop policy options for agricultural plastic recycling. The first meeting was on December 10, 2015 and consists of members from Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, Alberta Recycling Management Authority, CleanFARMS and Recycling Council of Alberta.

Alberta Environment and Parks

Environment and Parks recognizes that the management of waste agricultural plastics continues to be an important issue to Alberta stakeholders. We encourage all agricultural producers and stakeholders using agricultural plastics to responsibly manage the material at end-of-life, including recycling where facilities exist.

My department is focused on a number of priority waste issues at this time, including regulatory amendments and further consultation for existing programs. We also recognize that we need further information about what a regulated option for managing agricultural material at end-of life in Alberta would look like, including determining stakeholders, the best policy tool for managing a program, the costs of a program and who would pay.

Staff understands that the work in Saskatchewan is a pilot program and the
development of regulations in that province are ongoing; we will continue to monitor the progress of this work. However, at this time, our department is not considering a regulated program based on the Saskatchewan model.

We invite agricultural producers and stakeholders to share any information with department staff regarding the management of agricultural waste material at end-of-life to help inform future policy on the issue.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments:

The Committee discussed this resolution with the Minister in conjunction with resolution 12-15. The Committee is frustrated that there has been little progress made since 2006 when the first resolutions were brought forward through ASBs and AAMDC. The Committee continues to work with the Agricultural Plastics Committee that is comprised of members from AF, Environment and Parks, AAMDC and other organizations to push for solutions for recycling of agricultural plastics.

The Committee has included the most recent study conducted by AF on this issue in the Appendix. The 2015 Market-Based Solutions for Used Agricultural Plastics study surveyed municipalities to try to understand the current practices used for disposal of agricultural plastics with the goal of using the survey results to make progress towards solutions for recycling of agricultural plastics.

Resolution 4-16: Agricultural Opportunity Fund for Agricultural Research and Forage Associations

WHEREAS: The continuing staffing decline in both provincial and federal government employees has resulted in the Agricultural Research and Forage Associations becoming the primary source of unbiased information for agricultural producers throughout the Province;

WHEREAS: Many Research and Forage Associations lack adequate staff to assist with important government initiatives such as pest monitoring without jeopardizing research integrity;

WHEREAS: Many of the Agricultural Research and Forage Associations are unable to enact long term research and demonstration programs or develop a capital asset replacement strategy at the current levels of funding provided by the Province;

WHEREAS: Many Research and Forage Associations expend a large portion of staff resources seeking funding vs performing program operations;

WHEREAS: In March 2014, Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson announced that the Agricultural Opportunity Fund grant amount had been increased by $2.5 million and Research and Forage Associations could proceed with program expansion;

WHEREAS: In January 2015 the $2.5 million increase in funding was suddenly revoked.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Forestry reinstate the 2014 Agricultural Opportunity Fund increase that was allocated for the Agricultural Research and Forage Associations.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

  • The Agricultural Opportunity Fund (AOF) is proud to support eight Applied Research Associations (ARAs) and four Forage Associations (FAs) throughout the Province of Alberta. These organizations, including the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta, are located throughout the province, and virtually all producers in Alberta can access any one of these organizations
  • Since 2002, support for this program from Agriculture and Forestry has been consistent and reliable at $1.95 million ($1.5 million from AOF and an additional $450,000 from our Environmental Stewardship Division)
  • We have also provided several one-time grants to assist these organizations to support their manpower capacity, capital requirements, and extension programming since 2002. Total support has amounted to an additional $5 million
  • Agriculture and Forestry is unable to reinstate the 2014 funding levels for the AOF.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments:
The Committee felt that the response answered the question posed in the resolution but still feels that there is a need for increased funding to support ARAs and FAs. The Committee discussed this resolution with the Minister and tried to impress on him the impact these organization have on their local communities and the need for increased funding. The Minister replied that increasing funding is not a current financial reality but they were working to maintain the current levels of funding.

Resolution 5-16: Climate Stations

WHEREAS: Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) crop insurance and farm income disaster assistance is based on the data collected from the nearest approved weather station;

WHEREAS: The locations of the weather stations that Agro Climatic Information Service (ACIS) collects data from are not consistently located geographically or reflecting microclimate areas;

WHEREAS: Producers are dealing with microclimates that AFSC insurance programs do not have accurate information on;

WHEREAS: Producers are situated too far from a weather station for the data to be precise when dealing with AFSC crop insurance and farm income disaster assistance;

WHEREAS: The adjusters doing the investigation are not left with the final say on the relevancy of the data of the nearest weather station.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Forestry increase the amount of weather stations in a geographically consistent manner in the agricultural areas to ensure accuracy of weather data used by Agriculture Financial Services Corporation and other departments.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Agriculture Financial Services Corporation give authority to the adjusters to modify the data when the adjuster is of the opinion that the claimant is in a microclimate that is different from the closest weather station for the crop insurance and farm income disaster assistance claim purposes.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

  • Since 2007, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) and Agriculture and Forestry have installed over 120 new weather stations throughout the agricultural areas. This is a historic accomplishment, as no other government agency in the country has ever installed as many new all season, meteorological stations that meet national standards. Alberta’s meteorological network is the most dense, complete and sophisticated in Canada. Data is all available publicly through our website and is used for a wide variety of purposes
  • We recognize that there are several areas that still need a local weather stations. We will continue to add to the network as resources are available
  • AFSC has four area-based insurance programs that utilize the meteorological data provided by the Engineering and Climate Services Branch of Agriculture and Forestry. The programs include:
    • Pasture: Moisture Deficiency Insurance (MDI) Program provides coverage on pasture. Losses are paid when accumulated precipitation at a selected weather station(s) in a given year falls below the normal expected precipitation for that weather station according to a payment schedule determined by AFSC.
    • Hay: Moisture Deficiency Endorsement (MDE) provides additional top-up coverage to clients insuring hay. Losses are paid when accumulated precipitation at a selected weather station(s) in a given year falls below the normal expected precipitation for that weather station according to a payment schedule determined by AFSC.
    • Silage Greenfeed: Lack of Moisture (LOM) Insurance Program provides coverage on annually seeded crops that are intended for livestock feed and not grain production. Losses are paid when accumulated precipitation at a selected weather station(s) in a given year falls below the normal expected precipitation for that weather station according to a payment schedule determined by AFSC.
    • Corn Heat Units (CHU): Insurance is an area based program which proves protection against a lack of heat on irrigated corn. There are 13 weather stations in the irrigation district that clients are allowed to purchase CHU insurance on.
  • There are approximately 394 weather stations in the province from which Agriculture and Forestry collects meteorological information during the growing season
  • In 2016, for the MDI, MDE and LOM programs, AFSC uses date from an insurable network of 245 stations. AFSC’s goal when the programs were introduced in the early 2000s was to have all insurable land no more than 20 km from an insurable weather stations
  • The breakdown of the number of stations by owner is as follows:
OperatorNumber of StationsInsured Stations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 65
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry 169167
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development 534
Environment and Parks 9229
Environment Canada 5131
Fire Observer Network 77
NAV Canada 162
  • In program literature, AFSC clearly states that the four area-based insurance programs may not reflect the actual production, and conditions on insured fields may not reflect conditions at the selected weather stations. Thus, clients know when they sign up that the payments will be based on the independent third party weather information from the insurable weather stations, and will not be based on assessments from the AFSC’s inspectors. As such, it is impractical to have the inspector provide an opinion, as they are not involved in the final calculation
  • Many provincial and federally-run meteorological stations report hourly, and some specified un-insured stations could be used for insurance; however, these are typically in higher elevations, or areas that do not reflect local agricultural areas. In addition, some stations are not year-round measuring stations, and are therefore not ideal for insurance purposes.
  • Across the province there are approximately 150 other “manned” stations that report daily or twice daily information. Some of this data is difficult for quality control, and is often not timely. As such, they are not considered as viable candidates for insurance purposes.

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

Thank you for forwarding a copy of the ASB Resolution #5 – Climate Stations. As the resolution points out, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) utilizes meteorological information from weather stations to provide insurance coverage on.

The resolution contains two separate issues.

I) INCREASE THE NUMBER OF WEATHER STATIONS
Currently there are four area based programs that use this data. The programs include:
Pasture – Moisture Deficiency Insurance (MDI) Program provides coverage on pasture. Losses are paid when accumulated precipitation at a selected weather station(s) in a given year falls below the normal expected precipitation for that weather station according to a payment schedule determined by AFSC.

Hay – Moisture Deficiency Endorsement (MDE) provides additional top-up coverage to clients insuring hay. Losses are paid when accumulated precipitation at a selected weather station(s) in a given year falls below the normal expected precipitation for that weather station according to a payment schedule determined by AFSC.

Silage Greenfeed – Lack of Moisture (LOM) Insurance Program provides coverage on annually seeded crops that are intended for livestock feed and not grain production. Losses are paid when accumulated precipitation at a selected weather station(s) in a given year falls below the normal expected precipitation for that weather station according to a payment schedule determined by AFSC.

Corn Heat Units (CHU) Insurance is an area based program which proves protection against a lack of heat on irrigated corn. There are 13 weather stations in the irrigation district that clients are allowed to purchase CHU insurance on.

AFSC does not own or operate any of the weather stations. We rely on the existing networks in the province of Alberta. Alberta Agriculture and Foresty (AF) collect meteorological information from over 390 weather stations from 6 different providers. The locations and owners of the weather stations have been provided in Appendix 1.

AFSC has developed a long-term partnership with AF to continually expand the insurable network to use all the suitable stations. As a result of this partnership, the number of insured stations has increased from 53 stations when the MDI program was piloted in 2002 to the 245 insurable stations that are available in 2016. The breakdown of the number of insurable stations by owner is summarized in the following table:

OwnerInsured Stations
Agriculture and Forestry (Ag) 167
Environment and Parks 33
Environment Canada 31
Agriculture Forestry (Fire) 7
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada5
NAV Canada 2

AFSC will continue to monitor our partner’s networks and will add suitable stations as new stations are installed and/or upgraded. For example, AF has installed 4 new weather stations in the northern Peace and has plans for an additional 5 stations to be installed in the area in the next two years. As these stations come on-line they will be included in the network.

II) USE ADJUSTERS OPINIONS TO MODIFY DATA
In the annual program literature for the area based programs it is clearly spelled out to clients that the program payments may not reflect the actual production and conditions on insured fields. So clients know when they purchase the insurance the payments will be based on the independent third party weather information from the insurable weather stations and will not be based on assessments from the AFSC’s inspectors.

This reduces the program administrative costs and also has the added benefit of offering a program that is based on third party data that is not subject to manipulation by AFSC or by the clients. Involving the inspectors in the process will add a level of subjectivity to the process which could add to additional questions as to how payments are arrived at. The administrative costs would also increase disproportionally to the relative benefit that would be seen. Therefore it is impractical to have the inspector provide an opinion because they are not involved.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments:

The Committee recognizes that there are still data collection gaps, especially in the northern areas of the province, that impact the payment producers receive. The Committee requested the Minister to provide more detailed information regarding the number of new stations and where the new stations were installed.


Resolution 6-16
COMPENSATION FOR COYOTE DEPREDATION


WHEREAS: Coyotes are currently regulated under the Alberta Agricultural Pest Act and Alberta is the only province in Canada to not include coyotes as part of the predatory compensation program;


WHEREAS: Wildlife predator compensation is paid for livestock depredation by wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, cougars and eagles;


WHEREAS: Coyotes also cause considerable damage to livestock resulting in 65% of Alberta’s beef producers having an economic impact from coyote damage;


WHEREAS: Adding coyotes to the Alberta Wildlife Regulation would allow producers to claim compensation for livestock depredation caused by this species.


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST
That Minister of Environment and Parks add coyotes to the compensation list as a predator under the Alberta Wildlife Regulation paying the same level of compensation for depredation that is paid for livestock death and injury from wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, cougars and eagles.


Status: Provincial


Response


Alberta Environment and Parks


The designation of coyotes under the Agricultural Pest Act, in conjunction with liberal harvest regulations outlined in the Wildlife Act, provide many tools to agricultural producers in addressing coyote problems they may face.


The Wildlife Predator Compensation Program strives to balance the loss of livestock with funding from hunting licence fees. Because coyotes are not an important big game species, the addition of coyotes as an eligible species for compensation would not be an appropriate use of hunting licence fees.


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Environment and Parks acknowledges the financial cost to agricultural producers due to coyote predation on their property. However, there are currently no plans to consider compensation changes at this time.


Provincial ASB Committee Grade: Accept in Principle


Provincial ASB Committee Comments:
The Committee felt that the response from Environment and Parks addressed the resolution as written but that there is still more work that needs to be done to resolve this issue. The Committee understands that there would be a significant stress on the current program without additional new funding and that new funding is not a current financial reality for the province, but coyotes continue to be a problem in certain areas of the province and there is a need for compensation to producers for livestock losses due to coyote predation. The Committee will continue to work with Environment and Parks through some of the working groups they sit on to ensure that this issue remains a high priority to address.


Resolution 7-16
HAY INSURANCE PROGRAM
DEFEATED AT THE 2016 PROVINCIAL ASB CONFERENCE
WHEREAS: Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) crop insurance and farm income disaster assistance is based on the annual yields by crop type;
WHEREAS: Currently, there is no adjustment for hay quality;
WHEREAS: Moisture Deficiency Insurance (MDI) is an area-based program which provides coverage on pasture using precipitation information from weather stations and spring soil moisture estimates to reflect moisture conditions across the province;
WHEREAS: Feed barley is used as the proxy crop for hay to determine the Variable Price Benefit (VPB) trigger;
WHEREAS: The Fall Market Price of feed barley reported for the Edmonton Region must increase by at least 10 per cent above the production insurance spring price for barley, for the VPB to trigger;
WHEREAS: The indemnities are paid using the increased price up to a maximum increase of 50 per cent, and producers are absorbing additional costs over 50%;
WHEREAS: Producers are left absorbing the cost of feed supplements when it comes to poor hay and pasture quality as well as the trucking cost when it comes to purchasing hay during the droughts and other agricultural disasters.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST
That Alberta Agriculture and Forestry update the Hay and Pasture Insurance Program to accurately cover the impact of the market fluctuation on hay production for livestock producers based on hay commodities. Amendments need to include removing the 50% price cap on the VPB, assistance to cover the cost of feed supplements due to poor quality as well as trucking costs due to insufficient quantity of feed.
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FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST
That Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Agriculture Financial Services Corporation give authority to the adjusters to modify the amount when the adjuster is of the opinion that the livestock producer is facing additional expenditures that are directly linked to poor hay and pasture yields.


Resolution 8-16
SPECIES AT RISK ACT (SARA)
WHEREAS: The federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the designated independent committee for habitat protection legislation will have long lasting negative economic impact on agriculture, industry, rural development, and land use in Alberta and is of great concern to rural municipalities and elected officials;
WHEREAS: Agriculture, industry, species at risk and rural development can co-exist;
WHEREAS: Rural municipalities are firm supporters of the goals of the Species at Risk Act;
WHEREAS: All municipalities, industry and agricultural producers are affected by the above, leading to a shift in the social and economic balance between urban and municipalities in the Province.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST
AAAF, Agricultural Service Board Provincial Committee and AAMDC facilitate a round table discussion with representation from the Federal Environment Minister, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and the Minister of Environment and Parks to rebuild the current Species at Risk Act to improve it in a way that seeks a balanced and cooperative approach (economic, environmental, and social) to species protection that focuses on ecosystem protection; limiting impact on agriculture, industry, rural development, and land use in Alberta.
Status: Provincial
Response
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
 If a round-table discussion were recommended by the Government of Canada, as suggested in the Resolution, department staff would be willing to participate
 We agree with the Agricultural Service Board Provincial Committee that agriculture and species-at-risk can co-exist on the landscape. The Department
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also agrees that protection of biodiversity, species-at-risk and species-at-risk habitat are extremely significant.
Alberta Environment and Parks
Environment and Parks agrees with Agricultural Service Board that agriculture, industry, and rural development can co-exist with species at risk, if effective stewardship and conservation measures are implemented.
Continuing collaboration with landowners, lessees, municipalities, industry, other stakeholders and the federal government is essential to achieving recovery of species at risk in Alberta, and providing certainty to affected stakeholders.
My department believes challenges related to species at risk conservation can be best addressed through provincial regulatory and policy approaches, federal policy development and improved inter-jurisdictional cooperation and stewardship.
From time to time, legislation is amended. If invited. Environment and Parks would be pleased to provide its input to any federal process for the development of legislative amendments to the Species at Risk Act.
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Thank you for your letter of February 10, 2016, and enclosure, requesting my response to Resolution No. 8: Species at Risk Act (SARA), which was passed by delegates at the Provincial Agricultural Service Board Conference in January.
I share the view that SARA should be implemented in a manner that seeks a balanced and co-operative approach to species conservation and recovery. As species are listed, recovery strategies and management plans are developed, and as critical habitat is identified for endangered and threatened species, consultation with landowners and others that might be directly affected is undertaken to the extent possible.
I encourage the Agricultural Service Board Provincial Committee to fully explore the Species at Risk Public Registry at http://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca. This website is designed to help Canadians better understand Canada’s approach to protecting and recovering species at risk, learn about what is being done to help them, and get involved in decision making and recovery activities.
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There are many examples where landowners and agricultural producers are contributing to the protection and recovery of species at risk in this country. For example, the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk has, for many years, supported voluntary stewardship of organizations and individuals in Canada to take meaningful actions for the protection and recovery of species at risk, including those found in agricultural landscapes.
Provincial ASB Committee Grade: Accept in Principle
Provincial ASB Committee Comments:
The Committee is currently working towards initiating a round table discussion with AAMDC, AAAF, AF, Environment and Parks and Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Committee is planning to meet with AAMDC and AAAF this fall to discuss this resolution and determine a course of action to address this resolution.


Emergent Resolution E1-16
BILL 6: ENHANCED PROTECTION OF FARM AND RANCH WORKERS
WHEREAS: Safety is a top priority in the farming and ranching industry;
WHEREAS: There is no consultation on Bill 6 prior to it being announced;
WHEREAS: Some agricultural operations currently offer better insurance than WCB, but have been told that they are not allowed to use that insurance as an alternative;
WHEREAS: There was overwhelming opposition to Bill 6 from the agricultural community;
WHEREAS: The government forced Bill 6 through the legislature in spite of opposition from those that were most affected by the Bill;
WHEREAS: Future consultation is scheduled to start in May, which is the busiest time of year for most farmers and ranchers and their employees;
WHEREAS: The Bill creates an unfair situation where some agricultural operations are subject to the legislation while others are not;
WHEREAS: Local ASB’s represent the grass roots agricultural community in all 70 rural municipalities in the province;
WHEREAS: The government was not able to offer any clear explanation on how Bill 6 would impact the agricultural community; economy and cultural mosaic;
WHEREAS: Bill 6 will have a negative impact on the “grow local food movement”;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST
That, since the Government of Alberta has refused to rescind Bill 6: Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers in spite of overwhelming opposition. It is imperative that local Agricultural Service Boards, the Alberta Association of Municipal District and Counties, the Provincial Agricultural Service Board Committee, the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen, and any and all commissions, boards, associations, and producer or grower groups related to agriculture should be directly involved in any and
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all consultations regarding the writing of regulations surrounding any and all legislation amended by Bill 6 Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers.
Status: Provincial
Response
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
 The next phase of farm and ranch consultation with the agriculture sector begins this spring. This process will include establishing working groups of stakeholders and experts that will make recommendations on how employment standards, occupational health and safety, and labour relations requirements should be applied
 These technical working groups will provide an opportunity for a broad and diverse range of voices from the farming and ranching sector to ensure their way of life is preserved, while at the same time ensuring paid workers come home safely at the end of each day
 Producers who are members of agricultural organizations and groups can also provide their input and feedback through their organization
 Nominations to become a member of these working groups closed on February 26, 2016
 Once we are ready to select members from the nominations received, we plan to get started right away. We plan to have the initial working group meetings in March before taking a break during the busy spring season to allow farmers and ranchers time to get their work done. The working group meetings will resume in June-July 2016.
 For more information on farm and ranch legislation and for the latest updates, visit http://www.farmandranch.alberta.ca
Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour
No response was received from Minister Gray at Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.
Provincial ASB Committee Grade: Accept in Principle
Provincial ASB Committee Comments
The Committee decided to not seek a response from Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour as the members of the working groups had already been decided on. Corey Beck, Peace Representative, was selected to sit on one of the six technical working
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groups to represent ASBs. The Committee was disappointed that a member from the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen (AAAF) was not selected to participate and discussed this with the Minister on September 6th, 2016. The Committee requested that ASBs and AAAF members be consulted on the Code after it is re-written and circulated for review.
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