2005 Resolutions

Only resolutions that were approved at the 2005 Provincial ASB Conference are presented here. The Therefore Be It Resolved and Response are presented here.

DEFEATED Resolution 1-05: Excessive Price Penalties for Overweight Beef Carcasses

Resolution 2-05: Supplementary Tariff Rate Quotas

DEFEATED Resolution 3-05: Private Testing for BSE

Resolution 4-05: Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for Pastures

Resolution 5-05: Farm Holdings Consolidation Program

Resolution 6-05: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control

Resolution 7-05: Release of Information on the Location of Agricultural Pests in Alberta

Resolution 8-05: Agricultural Service Board Members

Resolution 9-05: Agenda of First Provincial Service Board Conference After Municipal Elections

Resolution 10-05: Crop Insurance Premiums Adjustment Formula

Resolution 11-05: Crop Insurance Risk Area Management

Resolution 12-05: Allow Use of Registered Agricultural Herbicides – Municipal Rights of Ways

DEFEATED Resolution 13-05: Herbicide Availability for Noxious Weeds Control for Acreage Owners

Resolution 14-05: Noxious Weed Control Along Railway Right of Ways

Resolution E1-05: Proposed Amendments to Plant Breeders Rights Act

Resolution E2-05: AFSC Delcare Crops Left in Fields Unharvestable

Resolution 2-05: Supplementary Tariff Rate Quotas

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta’s Agricultural Service Boards request the Government of Canada discontinue the issuance of beef supplementary tariff rate quotas (TRQ’s).

Response

INTERNATIONAL TRADE CANADA

In the years prior to the discovery of BSE in Canada, it was common for the government to authorize supplemental duty-free beef imports beyond the WTO commitment of 76,409 tonnes. However, in July 2003 the government announced that beef and veal supplemental applications would normally be denied, with the objective of increasing opportunities for Canadian suppliers.

The July 2003 announcement was clear that, pending consultations with all sectors of the cattle and beef industry, the policy would be revisited when the U.S. market re-opened to Canadian beef and veal products. Shortly thereafter, we resumed exports of significant quantities of Canadian boneless beef from young animals and veal to the U.S., as well as to Mexico and some other markets. In light of this welcome development, the government made good on its commitment to develop a new supplemental import policy in consultation with industry. Those consultations produced a new policy in April 2004. Under the new policy, supplemental imports are authorized only if the specific product requested, or a reasonable substitute, is not available at a competitive price from any Canadian supplier. This policy supports our domestic industry by ensuring that Canadian suppliers have the first opportunity to serve the Canadian market. When competitively priced Canadian beef or veal products are not available to processors, the policy provides for access to imports.

We can confirm that activity under the current policy since April 2004 has indicated that Canadian cattlemen and packers are indeed competitive. In the vast majority of cases to date, we have been able to direct applicants for supplemental imports toward Canadian suppliers. As a result, the TRQ was only 65% filled in 2004 and only one supplemental import authorization for roughly 500 kg of beef has been issued since July 2003. Anyone importing non-NAFTA beef without a TRQ or supplemental authorization has had to pay the 26.5% tariff.

Furthermore, on September 10, 2004, the government announced a strategy to reposition Canada’s livestock industry involving a federal government investment of up to $488 million. The strategy includes continuing efforts to reopen the U.S. border, taking steps to increase cattle slaughter capacity in Canada, introducing measures to sustain the cattle industry until such capacity is established, and expanding access to export markets for both livestock and beef products. On March 10, 2005, the government announced a $50 million contribution to the Canadian Cattlemen Associations’ Legacy Fund to help launch an aggressive marketing campaign to reclaim and expand markets for Canadian beef. In addition, on March 29, 2005, the government announced the Farm Income Payment Program. This program will provide some $306 million in payments for cattle and qualified other ruminant producers in order to alleviate liquidity pressures.

We can assure you that the government will continue to make every effort to cause the American border to re-open for live ruminants and that we are also increasing our efforts to reposition the Canadian industry so that it can thrive while border access remains restricted.

AGRICULTURE & AGRI-FOOD CANADA

With regard to Resolution #2 and the importation of beef into Canada, it is vitally important to emphasize that Canada is the beneficiary of a rules-based international trading system. We cannot expect to fully reopen the U.S. border or regain access to any other market by unilaterally closing our own borders to all beef imports.

To clarify, access for beef imports into Canada is controlled by the government via animal health and food safety regulations administered by the CFIA, as well as through tariff and quota mechanisms. Furthermore, market and economic conditions, over which the government has little control, have a great deal to do with cattle and beef trade.

Pursuant to Canada’s animal health and food safety requirements, there are very few countries that are eligible to export beef to Canada. The only beef exporting countries not facing any restrictions of this nature are Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay. Beef imports from the U.S. had been unrestricted for health and safety reasons until a case of BSE was discovered in Washington state in December 2003. Since that time, restrictions have been imposed on the types of beef products that may be imported into Canada. Our rules on imports of beef from the U.S. mirror those currently applied to our exports to that country.

If a country is eligible to export beef to Canada, there are basically four tariff/quota scenarios which could be applicable:

  1. Beef that originates in countries with which we have a free trade agreement can enter Canada duty free and in unlimited quantities. Factoring in the health and safety restrictions, this scenario currently applies only to the U.S.
  2. As part of our World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, Canada has an obligation to provide access to 76,409 tonnes of beef duty-free from WTO members. Factoring in the health and safety restrictions, this scenario currently applies only to Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay.
  3. In the years prior to the discovery of BSE in Canada, it was common for the government to authorize supplemental duty-free beef imports beyond the WTO commitment of 76,409 tonnes. In each of 2001 and 2002, Canadian processors imported over 60,000 tonnes of beef and veal under supplemental permits. However, in July 2003 the government announced that beef and veal supplemental applications would normally be denied, with the objective of increasing opportunities for Canadian suppliers. Since the announcement in July 2003, only one permit was issued for the importation of 0.46 tonnes of beef.
  4. All other imports are subject to a 26.5% tariff rate and there is no limit on the amount of beef that can enter this way once health and safety conditions are met.

Ultimately, the flow of beef products that Canada and the U.S. both allow to be traded is determined by market factors, not borders. Because of the current large supplies of beef in Canada and high cattle prices in the U.S., our imports of beef (by volume) from the U.S. in 2004 were down nearly 74% from the already reduced levels of 2003. Similarly, total Canadian beef imports (by volume) were down over 60% in 2004 as compared to 2003. However, market demand for Canadian beef in the U.S. remains strong in that we have exported almost 15 times as much beef to the U.S. as we imported in 2004.

Resolution 4-05: Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for Pastures

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Alberta’s Agricultural Service Boards request Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (Fish and Wildlife Division) include damage from ungulates to stockpiled forage and swath grazing fields to the Waterfowl and Wildlife Damage Compensation Program that the departments now offer.

AGRICULTURE FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION

As a result of a comprehensive review in the late 1990’s, a number of significant changes were made to the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (WDCP) in 2000. The review committee, which included representatives from the Alberta Cattle Commission and farmers and ranchers, recognized that stockpiled forage and swath grazing are management techniques that are growing in popularity. However, they noted the intent of the WDCP is to compensate producers for wildlife damage where reasonable steps have been taken to minimize the potential damage to feed supplies by waterfowl and wildlife.

When forage is stockpiled or crops are cut for the purpose of swath grazing, generally it is not possible for the producer to take preventative steps to limit wildlife damage. For this reason, damage to stockpiled forage or crops that are swath grazed is not currently eligible for compensation under the WDCP. Further, wildlife damage to grazing land and native pastures is not eligible because there is no way to ascertain whether wildlife or cattle caused the damage.

AFSC has proposed a feature under the WDCP to cover the cost of cleaning wildlife excreta from crops. It has also been proposed that the WDCP be amended to cover market value losses on wildlife excreta contaminated crop, based on quality factors and adjusting polices and procedures determined by AFSC. Once the appropriate regulatory amendments are made, these changes will be introduced.

AFSC will continue its efforts to establish changes to the WDCP that balance responsible stewardship by the producer with fair compensation for wildlife losses.

ALBERTA SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, FISH & WILDLIFE

The Agriculture Financial Services Corporation administers the compensation component of the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program. Currently, the program does not allow for compensation for ungulate damage to grazing land, native pasture or to swath grazing operations. Given the evolution of farm management practices in Alberta (including the advent of swath grazing) and the losses to crops, pasture and feed stores by wildlife, Sustainable Resource Development feels that a review of the existing compensation program should be conducted with the aim of delivering a program that is equitable to all producers.

Sustainable Resource Development is responsible for preventing and mitigating ungulate damage by providing producers with deterrent, intercept feed, temporary fencing and, in chronic cases, permanent fencing materials. While these techniques may protect stored feed or stacked hay, they are less effective for preventing damage to pastures or to crops that are used for swath grazing. Making compensation available to those producers who are affected by ungulate damage in these situations would be a reasonable approach towards a solution.

Sustainable Resource Development has responded to high ungulate numbers in some areas of the province by instituting liberal hunting seasons and increased bag limits. This, in concert with the establishment of a new compensation program will benefit Alberta Producers and enhance tolerance for wildlife.

Resolution 5-05: Farm Holdings Consolidation Program

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST the Provincial Government cancel the Farm Holdings Consolidation Program.

ALBERTA SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

The Farm Holdings Consolidation Program, announced in July 2004, is a minor change to the Alberta government sale policy for public land that allows grazing/farm development leaseholders to match the highest bid in the public sale of up to one section (640 acres) of their leased land, but only if the land is approved for sale.

Leaseholders have always had the choice to request a sale of their leased land or to continue leasing. As always, they are not required to make any/of their leased land available for sale. The only change associated with the program involved the sale process.

Once land is privately owned, landowners have the flexibility to develop or use it in the most appropriate way for their operations, subject to local development controls. Regulation of land use remains under the control of the local municipality.

The department has not received a high number of applications under the program to date, as it appears most leaseholders are choosing to stay with their existing lease agreements. The government typically has sold less than 10,000 acres annually in recent years and Sustainable Resource Development does not expect that to increase significantly under this program.

There have been some concerns raised by agricultural, environmental and hunting groups and some municipalities about the potential impact of the program on sales of public land. As a result, Sustainable Resource Development is reviewing the program and will consider the Agricultural Service Board’s concerns and other stakeholders comments in determining future directions for the program.

Resolution 6-05: Richardson Ground Squirrel Control

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Alberta Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development support the emergency use registration of 2% Liquid Strychnine concentrate for resale as a fresh mixed ready to use product for control of Richardson Ground Squirrels, while full registration is pursued;

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta’s Agricultural Service Boards request Alberta Agriculture, Food, & Rural Development to urge PMRA to approve emergency use registration of 2% Liquid Strychnine concentrate for resale as a fresh mixed ready to use product for control of Richardson Ground Squirrels, while data is being compiled and research for alternate control measures are being pursued.

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta’s Agricultural Service Boards request Nu-Gro (and/or other manufacturers) compile the necessary data to obtain full registration of 2% Liquid Strychnine concentrate for Ground Squirrel control.

Response

ALBERTA AGRICULTURE FOOD AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development recognizes the benefits and positive outcomes that the strychnine emergency registration provided farmers in controlling Richardson’s ground squirrels. The Department continues to support safe, proper and appropriate use of fresh mix strychnine bait to control ground squirrels where and when necessary.

As you know, the Department supported all three-year emergency registrations of liquid strychnine concentrate by applying for the special authority on behalf of Alberta’s municipalities. Further, the Department also administered the re-sale of over 25,000 litres of the concentrate in over 40 municipalities.

As you are also probably aware, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada has determined emergency registrations are limited to a maximum of three years. Consequently, the Department is unable to support any subsequent emergency registrations at this time.

The association should directly contact pesticide manufacturers to pursue full registration of the strychnine concentrate product with the PMRA. While the Department acknowledges the potential benefit of strychnine to control ground squirrels, we believe the interests of your association are best served if you pursue this approach independently.

PEST MANAGEMENT REGULATORY AGENCY

Resolution No. 6 raises concerns regarding the situation where strychnine bait being prepared in Ontario is shipped to Alberta for distribution to farmers. Presumably this references Wilson Richardson’s Ground Squirrel Strychnine Bait, manufactured by Nu-Gro IP Inc. of Brandford, Ontario and registered in January 2004. In May 2004, another fresh Ready-To-Use (RTU) bait was registered (ie. Fairview Gopher Cop R.T.U.W.), which is manufactured by Maxim Chemical International Ltd. of Regina, Saskatchewan. If there is interest in the Fairview Gopher Cop product, it is suggested that the manufacturer be contacted directly.

These recently registered “fresh” RTU strychnine bait products provide a means by which users can access moist strychnine bait comparable in freshness to bait which could be made by users (using the liquid 2% strychnine concentrate products). These products are considered to be “fresh” because they must be kept refrigerated immediately after manufacture and during shipping, and are to be used, as stated on the label, within a week from the date of manufacture for optimal results. For this reason, each product container is required to indicate the date of manufacture. Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) has recently indicated to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) that farmers using the “fresh” strychnine RTU bait in 2004 were, in general, satisfied with the overall performance of the product when applied immediately after delivery.

Resolution No. 6 also enquired whether the distribution of liquid 2% strychnine concentrate for use in formulating fresh 0.4% strychnine bait for the control of Richardson’s ground squirrel could be reconsidered. As you know, liquid strychnine has a very high acute toxicity. It has been, and continues to be implicated in unintentional poisonings (most recently involving dogs in Saskatchewan in 2004). It is for this reason that liquid 2% strychnine concentrate, which was available before 1993 for users to “dilute” the concentrate by mixing it with grain to formulate their own bait for ground squirrel control, was subject to regulatory action in 1993 and taken off the market by Agriculture Canada after consultation with the western provinces. Since 1993, the use of this active ingredient for ground squirrel control has been limited to RTU bait formulations, with the exception of emergency registrations, and is considered to be the prudent approach in light of the serious effects of this extremely toxic substance if accidentally ingested or misused.

Since 2003, the PMRA, in conjunction with provincial officials from Alberta and Saskatchewan and other stakeholders, has been facilitating the development of a pest management strategy for Richardson’s ground squirrel. The team lead for this strategy is AAFRD, and stakeholders participating in this venture include representatives from government (all levels), non-government organizations, academia, and industry. Part of the objective of this program is to promote the use of alternatives to strychnine, including non-chemical methods of control and the use of registered pest control products containing active ingredients other than strychnine.

In addition, strychnine is currently under re-evaluation by the PMRA. Under PMRA’s re-evaluation process, all pesticide products registered before December 31, 1994, in Canada, including strychnine, are subject to review on the basis of updated data and information to determine whether, and under what conditions, their continued registration is acceptable. The outcome of the re-evaluation assessment for all uses of strychnine and the proposed regulatory decisions will be published by the PMRA in the near future in the form of a Proposed Acceptability for Continuing Registration document (to be posted on the PMRA’s website at http://www.hc.sc.gc.ca/pmra-arla). Once published, the submission of comments on this document from interested parties is encouraged, and will be evaluated through the PMRA’s consultation process.

NU-GRO CORPORATION

While Nu-Gro Canada Corporation has no objection to the pursuit by the Agricultural Service Boards and Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) of an emergency registration for 2% Liquid Strychnine Concentrate (LSC) for the 2005 season, and is willing to support this request to the best of our ability, there are several issues pertaining to this request for both an emergency and a permanent registration to be considered.

Regarding the request for a permanent registration for 2% LSC, you may be aware that the active ingredient strychnine is currently under re-evaluation by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). Historically, PMRA does not permit submissions for new product registrations with an active ingredient that is under review. Therefore, until this has been completed and a Re-evaluation Decision Document published we will not know to what extent products containing strychnine may or may not be affected.

In our previous discussions with PMRA about the possibility of a permanent registration for 2% LSC, we were advised of the need for updated data packages as well as studies specific to environmental fate and mitigation issues related to the handling of this product. We would need to have a better understanding of the potential costs in relation to these requirements before agreeing to pursue this further.

Should Nu-Gro decide to undertake the required studies, etc. we would do so only with assurance from PMRA that this data would be protected for the exclusive support of products registered to Nu-Gro.

With regard to performance of our fresh ready to use product, it is our understanding that there were some logistics concerns last year related to shipping product from Ontario to Alberta. However, we understand that the performance of this product compared favorably to both our dry ready to use product as well as the mixed oat product prepared from 2% LSC during the emergency registration periods of 2001-2003. As follow up to the first year of production of the fresh bait, we wish to advise that we are continuing to evaluate the potential for increasing the pre-sale/pre-use shelf life of the fresh read to use bait through extended freezer storage. Our preliminary tests indicate that this will significantly extend the pre-sale period while maintaining the pre-use integrity of this product.

As indicated above, Nu-Gro has no objection to the request for an emergency registration. Should PMRA grant this request for the 2005 season, the ability of Nu-Gro to provide product in a timely manner will be contingent on availability of strychnine for this purpose and sufficient lead time to prepare and process the necessary submission as well as preparation of packaging and manufacturing of product.

Resolution 7-05: Release of Information on the Location of Agricultural Pests in Alberta

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST the Agricultural Pests Act and Nuisance Control Regulation be amended so that when a pest is located by Provincial and Federal Government personnel, they are required to immediately inform the Municipality of the presence and location of the pest.

Response

ALBERTA AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

At the present time, the Agricultural Pests Act including the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation is in the process of being reviewed. Your request to amend the Act to allow a municipality to be immediately informed of the presence and location of a pest, when it is located by provincial or federal personnel, will be added to the list of proposed changes to the Act. Your proposal along with other proposed changes will be circulated to interested stakeholders for discussion and if province wide support is found for the change, the Act may be amended.

Resolution 8-05: Agricultural Service Board Members

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Alberta Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development review the Agricultural Service Board Act and legislate that at least 50% of the members on an Agricultural Service Board must be primary producers.

Response

ALBERTA AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Historically the Agricultural Service Board Act specified the constitution of a board based on whether the board supported a county, municipality, improvement district or special area. Since the revision of the Agricultural Service Board Act in 1997, the legislation has become more enabling, allowing council to determine the structure of the board and its membership. The council is to determine the chair, the number of members, the voting status and the term of office of the members of the board. However, legislation still requires that the membership of a board must include persons who are familiar with agricultural concerns and issues and who are qualified to develop policies consistent with the Agricultural Service Board Act. This criterion promotes membership with agricultural awareness, which is important, as members of the Agricultural Service Board (ASB) are actively involved in identifying agricultural needs and selecting priorities for their region. The board members must also be capable of acting on behalf of the Council as legislation also indicates that a board has, and must, exercise on behalf of a council, all the duties and powers that are conferred on it by the council, under this or any other enactment, with respect to agricultural matters.

Today, board structure and membership varies across Alberta. The criteria to be appointed as a member of the ASB can be met by both councilors and members-at-large. Therefore, boards may be made up entirely of councilors, which then are merely an extension of Municipal Council, or they may be a blended board consisting of a number of councilors and a number of members-at-large. In addition, current legislation allows Council to develop policies that represent their philosophy and aids them in achieving their municipal mandate. Therefore, individual Councils currently have the authority to set policy directing that “at least 50% of the members on an ASB must be primary producers.”

Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development is responsible for a wide range of programs and regulations that assist the agriculture and food industry. In fulfilling AAFRD’s commitment to the Regulatory Review Secretariat, AAFRD developed a Regulatory Reform Workplan for scheduling the review of all applicable regulations. The Agricultural Service Board Act is scheduled for review in 2008. We will be sure to include your recommendation as part of the discussion with stakeholders and invite you to participate in this process.

Resolution 9-05: Agenda of First Provincial Service Board Conference After Municipal Elections

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST the first Provincial Agricultural Service Board Conference following Municipal Elections provide adequate presentation time giving instruction on the Agricultural Service Board’s role, and Agricultural Service Board Member’s duties, responsibilities, liabilities, and conduct.

Response

ASSOCIATION OF ALBERTA AGRICULTURAL FIELDMEN

The Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen (AAAF) appreciates the formal request by Agricultural Service Board (ASB) Members, initiated by the County of Stettler, to mandate orientation sessions defining the roles, responsibilities, potential liabilities, and expected conduct of ASBs and ASB Members at the first Provincial ASB Conference following municipal elections. While this has been common practice by hosting AAAF regions historically, often in the form of select-a-sessions for new ASB members, it was not mandated in our Association’s Policy Handbook section regarding the provincial conference, and in fact was missed in the most recent conference following municipal elections.

We agree that such orientation sessions are critical to bringing newly elected or appointed ASB members, as well as their more experienced counterparts, to a common level of understanding. To this end, the AAAF Executive have initiated the process of adding a clause to our Association’s Policy Handbook, specifically directing future conference hosting AAAF regions to make preparations to the above effect at all future ASB Conferences following municipal elections.

Resolution 10-05: Crop Insurance Premiums Adjustment Formula

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Agriculture Financial Services Corporation to remove the 25 year average factor and replace it with the actual years of participation each producer has in crop insurance.

Response

AGRICULTURE FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION

The current premium surcharge/discount system, with its 25 year period, treats young farmers with limited crop insurance experience the same way it treats experienced farmers with an identical amount of crop insurance experience.

There are three main reasons that a long period, like 25 years, is used in the premium adjustment formula:

  • Using a long period reduces the importance of the growing conditions when the producer first enters the crop insurance program. If a shorter period like five years were used, a farmer could have a substantial surcharge if he started participating in crop insurance during a period of adverse growing conditions when he entered the program. As an example, if the producer in Resolution #10 had losses that were three times total premiums during his five year crop insurance experience – because of the poor growing conditions during that period – using a five year period to calculate the premium surcharge would result in a premium adjustment factor of 2.20 (120% surcharge) instead of the 1.24 (24% surcharge) using the 25-year period.
  • Calculating an insured’s premium adjustment on the basis of experience over a short period may simply not be a good reflection of that client’s experience over the longer term. Effectively, use of a short period may result in a system that is “too quick to judge” what a producer’s performance is likely to be over the longer term. Since long-term participation is desired, a long-term period is preferable for calculating premium adjustments.
  • Using a longer period to calculate a participant’s premium adjustment results in a gradual adjustment. Producer consultations have indicated that producers place a high value on stability in premium rates. Using a longer period in the denominator reduces the year-to-year change (volatility) that can occur in a producer’s premium adjustment and, therefore, the producer’s premium bill.

Nonetheless, AFSC has, through its input advisory meetings, been asked by producers to review the current premium surcharge/discount methodology. This review will be conducted in conjunction with a review of the risk area boundaries (see Resolution #11).

Resolution 11-05: Crop Insurance Risk Area Management

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Agriculture Financial Services Corporation implement a change from the existing Risk Areas to an individual 25 Township Risk Area.

Response

AGRICULTURE FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION

Current crop insurance risk areas were developed using a number of factors including soil zones, environmental conditions and crop insurance yield patterns. While alternative areas could be used to set coverage and premium, challenges are inherent in each approach.

For example, how would one calculate coverage or premium rates for a 25-township block (or any other township block size) for producers along the Alberta-Saskatchewan, Alberta-Montana or Alberta-BC borders? Further, any change to the area used to calculate coverage and premium rates would result in some producers benefiting from the change and some producers being negatively impacted by the change. The number of producers benefiting from this type of change would roughly match the number of producers being negatively impacted.

Notwithstanding the above challenges, AFSC has, through its input advisory meetings, been asked by producers to review the current yield coverage and premium rating system. The method proposed in Resolution #11 will be considered in that review. Given the potential implications of a change in “risk area” boundaries in terms of establishing coverage and premium rates, the merits and shortcomings of any change must be weighed and the extent of the impact on program participants carefully considered before changing the current system.

Resolution 12-05: Allow Use of Registered Agricultural Herbicides – Municipal Rights of Ways

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Provincial Government lobbies the Federal Government to revise the regulations to allow use of all herbicides registered for Agricultural use to be used on Municipal rights of ways.

Response

ALBERTA ENVIRONMENT

Alberta Environment will carry the Resolution forward as a briefing to the Federal / Provincial / Territorial Committee on Pest and Pesticide Management at their next meeting in October 2005.

Resolution 14-05: Noxious Weed Control Along Railway Right of Ways

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Alberta Agriculture, Food, & Rural Development to correspond with railways (CPR, CNR) to ensure weed control takes place by encouraging access onto railroad right-of-ways for inspection, and that railways will apply registered herbicides where necessary to the entire right-of-way with efficiency.

Response

ALBERTA AGRICULTURE, FOOD, AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

As the registered owner of lands, railways are subject to the same requirements as any other landowner. Under the Weed Control Act, municipal inspectors have the right to enter onto the land at any reasonable hour for the purpose of performing their duties.

If served with a notice to control restricted or noxious weeds, subject to any right of appeal given by the Act, the landowner is required to carry out the actions required under the notice. If the landowner fails to control the restricted or noxious weeds as outlined in the notice, the inspector or a person designated by the inspector may carry out, by any means that is consistent with good agricultural practice, the action that is required to be carried out under the notice.

Resolution E1-05: Proposed Amendments to Plant Breeders Rights Act

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST the “Farmers Privilege” be defined as “cleaning, conditioning and saving seed from a protected variety for use on their own farm” and be entrenched in the new Plant Breeders Rights Act as a right not simply a privilege;

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST Alberta’s Agricultural Service Boards are strongly opposed to patenting of higher life forms (i.e. plants and animals).

Response

CANADIAN FOOD INSPECTION AGENCY

Consultation on these amendments formally ended on March 8, 2005. Your position on “Farmers’ Privilege” has been noted, and your comments have been forwarded to CFIA officials who are now involved in the process of reviewing and summarizing the responses from the consultation. Once all the comments form the submissions have been summarized, CFIA officials will share them with the Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) Advisory Committee, with a view to formulating guidance to the Minister on the advisability of moving forward with amendments to the PBR Act at this time and, if so, in what form.

AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADA

With respect to Emergent Resolution #1 on Proposed Amendments to Plant Breeders Rights Act, this Act is administered by the Plant Breeders’ Rights Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Given that the letter sent to me was also sent to my colleague, Mr. Richard Fadden, President, CFIA, I will leave it to Mr. Fadden to respond directly to the issues raised in Emergent Resolution #1.

JUSTICE CANADA

Waiting for response

Resolution E2-05: Agricultural Financial Service Corporation (AFSC) Delcare the Crop Left Out in the Fields as Unharvestable and All the Light Weight and Sprouted Crops in the Bins as Unmarketable

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) immediately declares the crop left out in the fields as unharvestable and all the light weight and sprouted crops in the bins as unmarketable;

FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST the Farmers be 100% paid out by AFSC as soon as possible

Response

AGRICULTURE FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION

AFSC adjusters have toured the affected areas and observed that the freeze, thaw, rain and wind cycles that occurred throughout the winter have resulted in the deterioration of many crops. In response, AFSC will provide additional compensation to insured producers with snowed under crops by:

  • reducing the estimated yield on snowed under crops by 50 percent after adjustments for quality; and
  • increasing the supplementary advance to 100 percent of the estimated post-harvest loss, less any basic advance and wildlife claim.

At any time, if producers want to put their crop to another use (ie. pasture, plow down or burn), they can notify AFSC and an adjuster will determine the yield and grade of the crop at that time.

Lightweight and sprouted crops in the bin have already been discounted by way of established grade factors. Producers who subsequently sell their grain for a lower grade can request an adjustment to their crop insurance claim.

Recognizing the impact of the Canadian grain industry’s zero tolerance policy for excreta-contaminated crops, AFSC has proposed a feature under the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (WDCP) to cover the cost of cleaning wildlife excreta from crops. It has also been proposed that the WDCP be amended to cover market value losses on wildlife excreta contaminated crop, based on quality factors and adjusting policies and procedures determined by AFSC. Once the appropriate regulatory amendments are made, these changes will be introduced.