Information is taken from the 2009 Report Card on the Resolutions
DEFEATED Resolution 6-09: Provincial Government – Immediate Assistance for Drought Areas
WITHDRAWN 9-09: 2009 Emergency Registration of 2% Strychnine
Resolution 1-09: Farmer Pesticide Certification Course
WHEREAS in the past the farmer certification program was offered on a voluntary program basis by Alberta Agriculture staff (DA’s, Specialists), Community Colleges and more recently by some Rural Municipal staff (Agricultural Fieldman) to farmers who were interested in obtaining this certification;
WHEREAS the intent of the proposed changes by Alberta Environment, is to have all pesticide products that are federally classified as “Restricted” require mandatory certification for the user to be sold to and only used by certified applicators in Alberta;
WHEREAS the mandatory certification initiative that is being proposed by Alberta Environment does not take into account that, and many Rural Municipalities have chosen not to have their staff act as instructors or do not have the expertise, staff equivalent or the required time to dedicate to this potentially intensive training initiative;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Environment and Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development staff have the resources in place to facilitate and instruct the Farmer Pesticide Certification program in a timely and efficient manner in rural Municipalities that do not offer this type of training and to supplement the training opportunities in the remaining municipalities if required or requested.
Alberta Environment (AE)
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is responsible for determining whether a pesticide product must be applied only by a certified applicator. Certification requirements may also be established by product manufacturers who want to ensure that anyone using their product has demonstrated knowledge regarding safe and effective use.
Only a few pesticide products (currently only grain fumigants) have mandatory certification requirements.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has recently updated its farmer certification course to meet the national standard. The course is available free of charge on Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s website or by calling the Ag Info Centre to obtain written training materials. This provides ready access to training materials in situations where farmers need certification quickly to purchase and use pesticides that have a certification requirement on the label.
Classroom training is not required for certification. Trainers who hold a Pesticide Applicator Trainer Certificate have been identified to teach the Farmer Pesticide Course to accommodate farmers who may wish to complete course materials in a classroom setting. Grain fumigant manufacturers typically provide training specific to their products at classroom training sessions on request.
Many Agricultural Fieldmen hold valid Trainer Certificates. Training for Agricultural Fieldmen to become trainers and additional training to assist trainers in regards to the
Pests of Stored Grain or Exterior Rodent Management have been offered at the Agricultural Fieldman In-Service Training. Ongoing training can be arranged upon demand.
Pesticide applicator certification provides a mechanism for the federal government to register high risk pesticides that may not otherwise be available due to human health or environmental concerns. The Environmental Farm Plan process strongly encourages farmers to obtain pesticide certification as a pesticide risk mitigation activity.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD)
If used incorrectly, pesticides have the potential to cause serious harm to people and the environment. It is therefore essential that farmers use pesticides in the most professional manner, to insure that unintended adverse effects are kept to a minimum. The Farmer Pesticide Certification Course (FPCC) will assist farmers in achieving this.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) recently completed the technical update to the FPCC. ARD sought the assistance of Alberta Environment (AE) to review course material to ensure it met the National Standard. The course consists of seven core modules and two endorsements. The core modules along with the appropriate endorsement are needed (by AE) for purchasing restricted pesticides (eg: phostoxin).
ARD consulted with a committee of Agricultural Fieldmen, an ASB Provincial Committee representative and AE while revising the content and developing the delivery for this course. The committee will continue to meet regularly to review the course content and delivery and make recommendations for improvements to ARD and AE.
To facilitate the delivery of this course to all farmers in the province, ARD decided to offer the course in two different formats.
As an on-line self-study course, farmers can download modules and endorsements from ARD’s “Ropin’ the Web” website and complete the course on their own time. Once they complete the course, they can contact their nearest participating ASB office to write the exam. If a farmer has questions while doing the self-study, they can call (toll-free anywhere in Alberta) or e-mail the AgInfo Centre for assistance.
Where there is enough interest to hold a course and a certified trainer is available to teach the course, the FPCC can be taken in a classroom type setting with the exam administered at the end of the course.
After successful completion of the exam, a certificate is issued that is valid for five years.
With these two training options for the FPCC, all farmers across the province (even in remote areas) now have the opportunity to take this course.
Grade: ARD was Accept in Principle; Environment was Unsatisfactory
The Committee’s concerns remain. As outbreaks of pest problems are cyclical, some producers will be reactionary and only look for accreditation when pests are present or when required.
Alberta Environment has the mandate for pesticide certification. Both AE and ARD have the staff and resources to facilitate & instruct the FPC, assisting municipalities especially where the Ag. Fieldman is not a Certified Trainer or does not have the time to offer classroom instruction. Municipalities feel that once again they are having work downloaded to them and worry that mandatory certification could force some producers to find alternate control measures that may have more serious repercussions to the environment, land, human health, etc.
The Committee discussed this at their meeting with the Minister. ARD will look into the feasibility of running a pilot program in the Peace as well as research those eligible to teach the course (ARD, AE). The Committee will monitor the on-line course introduced this year as well as any additional workload that is manifested by this initiative.
Resolution 2-09: Operation Clean Farm Obsolete/Unwanted Pesticide Collection
WHEREAS unwanted, obsolete pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides still exist on many Alberta farms;
WHEREAS producers are now storing these old pesticide products on their farm sites not only creating environmental concerns of products leaking into the environment but also health concerns for the producers, their families and hired employees that are exposed to these old products;
WHEREAS the Pest Control Products Act section 6 (1) states “No person shall manufacture, possess, store, transport, import, distribute or use a pest control product that is not registered under this Act, except as otherwise authorized under subsection 21(5) or 41 (1), any of sections 53 to 59 or the regulations.”;
WHEREAS the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act in Division 2 deals with Pesticide Prohibitions resale, use and disposal of pesticides and is therefore the responsibility of Alberta Environment and not municipal governments;
WHEREAS information on waste disposal brokers are not readily available to farmers and costs of these brokers may deter some farmers from proper disposal of these unwanted and/or obsolete chemicals;
WHEREAS the listing of Alberta Facilities with an Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act Approval to Manage Hazardous Waste/Hazardous Recyclables does not specify which of these facilities will take liquid pesticides from farmers;
WHEREAS facilities with Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act approval that are willing to accept old pesticides are decreasing annually;
WHEREAS Operation Clean Farm conducted in 2002 – 2004 was a very effective means of collecting obsolete and unwanted pesticides winning a 2003 Premier’s Award of Excellence;
WHEREAS the brokerage system existing at this time is less effective than the Operation Clean Farm;
WHEREAS the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan recommends safe disposal of unwanted and obsolete herbicides;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Environment, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provide personnel and funding in cooperation with Crop Life Canada to implement an Operation Clean Farm program by 2011 to collect unwanted, obsolete pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides for the province of Alberta.
The last Operation Clean Farm program (2002-2004) was funded 50% by CropLife Canada and 50% through Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development program. The total cost of the three-year program was approximately $700,000.
Approximately $250,000 in government funding has been estimated for a second Operation Clear Farm program ($500,000 total program cost). Government funding would be obtained through existing funding allocated for agri-environmental stewardship programs.
Alberta farmers are under increasing pressure to address a variety of agri-environmental issues (manure management, water conservation, energy conservation, soil conservation, riparian management, wetland protection, etc.) There are no cost-recovery opportunities for most agri-environmental stewardship programs.
CropLife Canada currently funds Alberta’s pesticide container collection program through full cost recovery – there is no government funding provided for container collection, transportation or processing.
The annual cost of pesticide container collection in Alberta ($500,000 – $1,000,000) varies with the number of containers collected, the price of plastic, the price of fuel and other factors. An obsolete pesticide collection program every five years would add only 5 – 10% to CropLife’s current waste management costs for the province.
CropLife Canada is being approached to determine the feasibility of operating an ongoing Operation Clear Farm Program on a cost-recovery basis.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
This resolution targets the orderly collection and disposal of obsolete or unwanted pesticide products and containers, and builds on a similar, successful program delivered in 2002-04.
Continued work in this area would be consistent with our objectives under the Growing Forward Policy Framework agreed to on July 11, 2008, in that this initiative would demonstrate positive action in reducing the impact of agriculture on water quality and in doing so meets society’s expectations of an environmentally responsible agriculture industry.
Under the Growing Forward Policy Framework, provinces are provided with the flexibility to target federal funding to priorities that support the three main Growing Forward policy objectives.
Negotiations are currently underway towards finalizing a Growing Forward bilateral agreement with the Province of Alberta. Once in place, the Province may use federal Growing Forward dollars to support agri-environmental risk management initiatives and on-farm best management practices.
Although the intent of this initiative is consistent with Growing Forward priorities, it should be noted that any program element involving cost-share funding would need to follow the principles outlined in the impending bilateral agreement.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
CropLife Canada runs Obsolete Pesticide Collection Campaigns across Canada in partnership with agri-retailers, farm associations and both federal and provincial governments. The last Operation CleanFarm ran in Alberta between 2002 and 2004 and helped remove 184,000 kgs of pesticides from Alberta farms.
CropLife Canada is currently in the process of surveying Agricultural Service Boards throughout the province to determine the need for an Obsolete Pesticide Collection program for Alberta. A province wide collection program had been tentatively scheduled for Alberta for 2009 but has now been pushed back to 2010. CropLife Canada is waiting for the results from the survey and will need to secure government funding before proceeding with a second Operation ClearFarm for Alberta.
Grade: Accept in Principle
The cooperative effort by government and non-government organizations provided producers with the opportunity to remove obsolete and unwanted pesticides at no cost. Not unlike the Household Hazardous Waste Program, producers should have the same options available for disposal of old crop protection products. These products present a potential hazard as containers age, and possible leakage occurs.
The Provincial Committee awaits the results of the CropLife Survey. In addition to managing the return of empty pesticide containers, Municipalities are also becoming increasingly concerned with environmental issues (ie contamination, leaching and water issues). Proper rinsing, removing of paper and whether to place lids on these containers is also under discussions at the municipal level.
The Committee will work with the Provincial Government to see if Growing Forward or any other initiative could support an Obsolete Pesticide Collection Campaign.
Resolution 3-09: Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development: Agricultural Service Board Funding Program
WHEREAS The A.S.B. Act, Weed Control Act, Agricultural Pests Act and Soil Conservation Act are all Provincial legislation which require the local authority to take action to protect the agricultural productivity of the province of Alberta, to the benefit of all Albertans;
WHEREAS The protection of Alberta’s Agricultural production falls to the Agricultural Service Board in a rural municipality, and it has never been more important due to food shortage concerns, and Biofuel needs;
WHEREAS Since the last A.S.B. Grant Program review in 2005, Pests have been added to the Pests Act including Clubroot and Wild Boar, a new Weed Control Act and Agricultural Service Board Act are pending approval – all of which increase the responsibilities and time commitments of A.S.B.’s and Municipal Agriculture staff;
WHEREAS The rural municipalities of Alberta are constantly striving to fulfill their legislated responsibilities using more environmentally sustainable methods, including using Integrated Pest Management on roadside weed control efforts which are often more expensive, but are preferred by the Municipal residents, and are being demanded by all Albertans;
WHEREAS Costs to operate programs increase every year, but the funds available from Alberta Agriculture do not;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development review the current Agricultural Service Board Grant Program, increasing funds available and including an annual Cost of Operations increase to help offset the effect of inflation on the costs of program operations.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development greatly values our partnership with municipalities and recognizes the contribution of Agricultural Service Boards in Alberta over the past 64 years.
The most recent review of the Agricultural Service Board Grant Program was undertaken in 2004 with changes implemented in 2005. At that time, some of the key recommendations were:
- To increase funding to $10.5 million each budget year
- Cost share of 60% government – 40% ASB for core activities
- Cost share of 40% government – 60% ASB for variable activities
- Increase the base grant to $60,000
- Review the ASB Grant Program in 5 years
- Level of funding to be reviewed along with the ASB Grant Program
These recommendations have been implemented and a review of the ASB Grant Program and level of funding is scheduled to start in 2009-2010. The program review will revisit eligible program expenses and level of funding. Data has been collected since the previous program review to provide information to determine if funding levels should be increased and if additional programs should be eligible under the ASB Grant Program.
Alberta has consistently ranked as the province with one of the highest cost of living indexes, which translates to increased costs for municipalities.
Expenses to monitor, enforce, educate and take action under the ASB Act continue to increase. Special requests made by ARD also continue to increase which require additional staff time and efforts in addition to office, vehicle and training expenses.
The Committee understands that the next review is to occur in the 2010 year with any changes to be effective with the 2011 grant year. Municipality’s state, that although expectations and expenses increase, funding is stagnant.
The Committee reviewed this resolution with the Minister. The Committee appreciates the intent to review the program but would like to ensure that when the program is reviewed this proposal be given consideration.
Resolution 4-09: Clubroot Financial Assistance Program
WHEREAS Clubroot was declared a Pest under the Agricultural Pest Act, Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation in 2007;
WHEREAS Clubroot poses a threat to neighbouring fields forcing a landowner to follow complicated management practices to control the pest;
WHEREAS The Municipalities are responsible for conducting appropriate surveys to locate this pest;
WHEREAS These surveys do require a great deal of time which requires the hiring of extra staff;
WHEREAS Tests to confirm the samples as Clubroot are costly;
WHEREAS Many Municipalities are expected to carry out many other programs under limited financial resources;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development allocate additional funding separate from the current A.S.B. Grant to cover 100% of the costs incurred due to sampling and extra staffing as required to carry out surveys to locate Clubroot infestations.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) recognizes the threat that this disease represents to the canola industry in Alberta. At the present time, costs for surveying of clubroot by municipalities can be partially recovered through the Agricultural Service Board Grant Program. This program is scheduled to be reviewed in 2010 and if available, additional resources could be allocated to assist with surveying and the cost of testing at that time.
Although clubroot was originally detected in the Edmonton area, it has now spread to many other parts of the province. Municipalities aren’t confident that they can eradicate, so are focusing their efforts on testing and education, which is very laborious as canola is on of the most profitable crops to grow right now.
Inspections and testing for clubroot can add significant costs to a Municipality’s already financially burdened ASB budget. Fieldmen duties are becoming stretched as they have other responsibilities under the ASB Act. Because of this, some municipalities are choosing not to, or to inspect less fields for clubroot. Although clubroot surveillance is an eligible program expense, many Municipalities are currently over the budget cap set by ARD, and thus will not be eligible for more grant dollars if they hire additional staff.
Under the current grant “rules”, sampling expenses incurred by municipalities are not eligible. ARD, at the meeting with the Minister, agreed to discuss this issue with Pest Management Branch.
The committee understands that eligible items for the grant program will be reviewed in 2009-10 as past of the grant review process. In the interim, the committee requests that ARD re-consider special funding for clubroot programs so that municipalities can not only control but also educate producers and oil companies on this Pest.
Resolution 5-09: AESA/ASB Grant Program Integration
WHEREAS the uncertainty over long term commitment for funding of previous AESA effectiveness;
WHEREAS Municipalities recognize the importance of providing extension related activities that promote environmentally sustainable agricultural practices;
WHEREAS Agricultural Service Boards have continually and successfully provided extension programs to Agricultural Producers through the utilization of Agricultural Service Board Grant Funding;
WHEREAS the AESA programs have evolved to become a regular program with most Agricultural Service Boards fulfilling the role of the former Regional AESA Committees;
WHEREAS there is a desire by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to partner more effectively with ASBs;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to integrate the AESA program and funding into the Agricultural Service Board Grant Program.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
The Provincial AESA Council and Regional AESA Committees were not reappointed to guide the AESA program after August 2007. The AESA program has been in transition for the last two calendar years (2008 and 2009).
The AESA program provides $2.3 M, 75% to Agricultural Service Boards (ASBs) and 25% to agricultural organizations (AOs), including Cows and Fish. The AESA funding has been allocated for 2009 and the grant recipient programs are working towards environmental extension activities around Government of Alberta (GOA) priorities within the Alberta Water for Life and Climate Change Strategies, and Growing Forward. The AESA funding is not expected to increase into the future.
The majority of funding supports local manpower through community-based Rural Extension Staff (RES) who work directly with farmers and ranchers to support environmentally-responsible production systems.
There are issues with the current AESA delivery, including high extension staff turnover (wage issues, program uncertainty, etc.), other ASB priorities (outside of AESA or other Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) priorities), and not enough funding to go around to current groups.
The desired outcome for the AESA program is to provide local technical support to facilitate the agricultural industry into actions that enhances environmental stewardship and enable the industry to build competitive capacity.
Environmental Stewardship Division (ESD) is developing a framework for environmental programming that recognizes the complexities of the various players and addresses future extension needs through making available technical expertise to achieve the outcomes of Growing Forward and other GOA initiatives (Landuse Framework, Water for Life, Climate Change Strategy). This framework includes options for delivering and administering an effective long-term AESA program.
The response does not address the resolution. Although this resolution had much debate at the Provincial Conference, municipalities passed the motion to request that ARD combine the two programs – with a total budget of $12.8m (ie $10.5 and $2.3m).
ASB’s have, for over 60 years, partnered successfully with ARD to develop and deliver effective programs to their rate payers. With the uncertainty of the AESA program, ASBs could offer some stability to the program to facilitate the adoption of beneficial management practices as they already have the staff, and the staff are familiar with the municipality.
The Provincial Extension Committee met with ARD in the summer of 2009 with proposed ideas for AESA. The survey that each municipality completed in November was a result of these discussions as the Committee felt it important that all municipalities be consulted. The Provincial Committee appreciates being consulted on this very important issue.
Resolution 7-09: Timeliness of Variety Yield Data
WHEREAS Farmers rely on unbiased and impartial variety yield data when making variety choices and seeding decisions;
WHEREAS New crop varieties are continually being developed and introduced but lack local data to support yield claims;
WHEREAS Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) collects crop variety and yield information from approximately 14,000 insured producers across the province in the fall. Yield data information is posted on the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website the following year; however, it is posted too late for farmers to use the most recent information for seeding decisions;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Agriculture Financial Services Corporation and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development be encouraged to speed up the processing of yield data and make it available to farmers in a more timely manner.
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
The Agricultural Service Board (ASB) is referring to data published in the Alberta Management Insights (AMI) report, available online at ARD’s Ropin’ the Web website, consisting of gross reported yields by insured producers. Producers are able to access seeding summaries, top yielding crop varieties, and variety comparisons for their various risk areas in Alberta.
Yields are based on Harvested Production Reports (HPR) and claim data. The HPR submission deadline is 15 days after harvest, but not later than November 15th each year. Collected information from approximately 12,000 producers requires time for verification and processing, and to ensure the majority of data is received and included. It is important to note that most producers do not submit their HPRs until the November 15 deadline. This makes it difficult to make AMI available at an earlier date. After the data is summarized and input, it is sent to the Information Management division of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development for uploading. Production reported or measured is used to establish area normal yields and individual coverage.
For the 2007 production year, data was forwarded to ARD on January 25, 2008. For the 2008 production year, data was forwarded to ARD on February 11, 2009.
While there may be some producer benefit in having this information earlier, any changes to data availability would require an earlier HPR submission deadline.
Presently, AFSC requires most of January to make the data available.
Grade: Accept in Principle
The Committee stresses that producers need access to timely yield information and are satisfied by the response provided by AFSC.
Resolution 8-09: West Nile Virus Mosquito Surveillance Program
WHEREAS West Nile Virus was first discovered in Alberta in July 2003. During the summer of 2003 the virus was found in mosquitoes, birds, horses and humans in the province. Since then there have been 646 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in humans. 320 cases occurred in 2007 and 1 confirmed case in 2008;
WHEREAS the incidence of West Nile Virus in humans appears to occur predominately in rural Alberta and has a significant impact on the health of residents in Agricultural Communities;
WHEREAS mosquitoes are the primary vector for transmission of the virus to humans and since 2003 Alberta Health and Wellness has implemented the West Nile Virus Mosquito Surveillance Program to sample mosquito populations and test for the virus;
WHEREAS the West Nile Virus Mosquito Surveillance Program has been a valuable tool for monitoring the presence of the Virus and determining risk of human exposure;
WHEREAS the low incidence of West Nile Virus in 2008 may lead to the assumption that the Virus is no longer a threat to the health of residents in Alberta;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Health and Wellness continue to operate the West Nile Virus Mosquito Surveillance Program for as long as West Nile Virus is active in North America.
Alberta Health and Wellness
The representatives from the Interdepartmental Working Committee on West Nile virus (Alberta Health and Wellness, Alberta Environment, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development) have met to discuss the program components for the 2009 West Nile virus season. Currently the response plan, including mosquito surveillance, is under review; therefore, we are not able to respond to the resolution at this time. We will be pleased to provide a response later this spring. I appreciate the suggestions that have been made and will provide this resolution to the Interdepartmental Working Committee for their information.
The Committee was originally informed that this program was under review. The concern was that the program, which they considered effective and relatively inexpensive, would be cancelled without further discussions.
The Committee now understands that the program has been cancelled effective with the 2009 year. Health and Wellness stated that the program has been in operation for the past six years and the data gathered gives them the information necessary to assist them in future monitoring for West Nile in host mosquito populations.
Although this initiative is under Alberta Health and Wellness, the Committee hopes that the ARD representative who sits on the interdepartmental working committee works to restore this program. The Committee also requested that Minister Groeneveld convey this message to the Minister of Health and Wellness.
Resolution 10-09: Permanent Registration for Liquid Strychnine
WHEREAS 2% liquid strychnine was available to farmers and ranchers in 2008 through Agricultural Service Boards, with no complaints or reported issues of misuse;
WHEREAS problems arising from Richardson Ground Squirrels are a constant issue for agricultural producers;
WHEREAS liquid strychnine continues to be the most efficient and preferred method of controlling Richardson Ground Squirrels;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that 2% liquid strychnine be made available to bonafide farmers and ranchers, only through Agricultural Service Boards, on a permanent basis for the control of Richardson Ground Squirrels.
Pest Management Regulatory Agency
PMRA published a Re-evaluation Note in 2007 (REV 2007-03) stating that the use of strychnine to control ground squirrels (ie Richardson’s, Columbia, Franklin, and thirteen-lined) is a concern from an environmental perspective. Other uses were maintained.
As you know, Health Canada, Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) funded a research program in 2007 to compare the efficacy of strychnine products with other registered alternatives. The results of this research showed that strychnine is less effective than other alternatives. A copy of this research is attached for your consideration.
The PMRA considers the emergency registration of 2% liquid strychnine concentrate (2% LSC) for the control of severe infestations of Richardson’s ground squirrels to be a viable option in the interim since it provides more flexibility to growers in terms of cost effectiveness and timely availability of bait while research is being conducted into alternatives to strychnine. Consequently, the emergency registration of 2% LSC was granted for the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta as an additional tool for farmers dealing with Richardson’s ground squirrel infestations.
However, the environmental concerns remain. The 2007 research report as well as the preliminary analysis of the 2008 research report indicate that the sustainability of ground squirrel control does not lay in a full registration of 2% liquid strychnine products and show promising results toward sustainable pest management of ground squirrels in the Canadian prairies.
In this context please be assured that every effort will be made to ensure that new alternative technologies requiring registration developed through this research program will be made available to growers in the shortest time possible.
The Committee has discussed this issue with the Minister and Ministry staff many times over the past few years. Municipalities are concerned that Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is not taking the need to control this agricultural pest seriously. Despite demonstrating that with the help of ASBs, Liquid Strychnine can be put into the hands of producers safely and used successfully, PMRA seems intent on registering the product on a year-to-year basis, making it difficult for producers and ASBs to plan proactively.
Although, PMRA allowed emergency registration again in Alberta for 2009, municipalities are concerned that the 3-year maximum on emergency registration will expire after the 2010 year. Municipalities fear that this product will be removed and farmers will have limited control options. Until there is a product that matches the effectiveness of 2% Liquid Strychnine producers need continued access to this product; to ensure that they are able to keep the ground squirrel populations under control.
The Committee understands that PMRA has environmental concerns with strychnine and is currently assessing alternative technologies. They are eager to see the results of the 2008 research that they understand paints a bright future for 2% strychnine.
The Committee re-iterated to the Minister that “by permanently registering 2% liquid strychnine for the control of Richardson Ground Squirrels, and making Agricultural Service Boards the sole source of producers accessing the product, strychnine could once again be a tool available to farmers and ranchers, effectively, reliably and most important of all, safely.”
ARD committed to getting the most recent research to the ASBs and to work with Saskatchewan in order to develop a long-term plan to move forward.
Resolution 11-09: Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy Plan
WHEREAS Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has prepared the Alberta Livestock & Meat Strategy 2008-2013 Implementation Plan, without public consultation;
WHEREAS The Minister of Agriculture has appointed a Chair and Board members to the Alberta Livestock & Meat Agency (ALMA) who will be accountable only to the Minister;
WHEREAS Many details of the Alberta Livestock & Meat Strategy have yet to be worked out, compliance with some components of the plan became mandatory January 2009 and producers are unclear about the benefits, costs, penalties, procedures and consequences of most of the protocols that are required under this Strategy;
WHEREAS Alberta Livestock & Meat Agency Board meetings are not open to the public nor available to public scrutiny, the lack of transparency and accountability to Alberta producers about issues that dictate the future of their livelihood and direction of the cattle industry, creates a source of distrust and a feeling that the Agency is designed to ultimately drive them out of their industry;
WHEREAS The Alberta Livestock & Meat Strategy is focused on mandatory traceability, the premium that could be received by some producers participating in market driven programs, may be lost;
WHEREAS The Alberta Livestock & Meat Strategy is not a National Program and includes mandatory requirements that are not necessary for disease control. A properly designed national traceability program would provide a suitable method of livestock tracking for disease control;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Minister of Agriculture review the Alberta Livestock & Meat Agency responsibilities and ensure that the Board members are a democratic representation of the Livestock Industry and all Board members are accountable to the Minister and the Industries they represent.
FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development complete all components of the Alberta Livestock & Meat Strategy so that producers are clear about the benefits, costs, penalties, procedures and consequences of the protocols that are required under this strategy.
FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Minister of Agriculture ensures that the Alberta Livestock & Meat Agency decisions are open to public scrutiny and the Agency be transparent and accountable to Alberta Producers.
FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Minister of Agriculture ensures that market driven programs for livestock information remain an option to the Alberta Livestock Producer.
FURTHER THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Minister of Agriculture remove all mandatory requirements from this strategy which are not essential components of a Nation Wide disease control program and work with the Federal and Provincial Ministers of Agriculture to develop a national traceability strategy to be used in livestock tracking for disease control.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
The ALMS has been ratified by Honourable Ed Stelmach, Premier, and all of Government Caucus. It is comprised of many initiatives to help Alberta’s livestock industry achieve fundamental change and become more profitable by enhancing industry’s ability to manage risk and take advantage of new opportunities. Agriculture and Rural Development has been and will continue to engage industry stakeholders, as we determine how best to implement the elements of the ALMS and the Animal Health Act.
The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) was created as part of the ALMS. ALMA’s role is to align and redirect government funds, resources and programs to revitalize the livestock sector and to act as a catalyst to help enhance industry competitiveness and profitability.
On February 9, 2009, it was announced that ALMA had formed five advisory committees to provide input on issues facing industry, support the implementation of the ALMS, and provide a forum for industry representatives to share information, while working within a positive and cooperative atmosphere. The five committees include: Cattle Producer Advisory Committee, Beef Processor Advisory Committee, Pork Value Chain Advisory Committee, Diversified Livestock Advisory Committee and Innovation and Further Value-Added Advisory Committee. It is critical that industry remain the driver of the strategic advancement of the ALMS.
ASBs act in an advisory capacity to municipal councils and provide input on policy development affecting their local municipalities. ARD values the input of all ASBs while policy is being developed by government in close consultation with industry. However, the ALMS is beyond the policy development phase. This strategy was endorsed by the GOA as a necessary component of Alberta Farm Recovery Program II.
I appreciate the support of ASBs as we re-establish our extension relationship.
Grade: Accept in Principle
The Committee briefly discussed this initiative with the Minister. ARD committed to provide the Committee with a list of committees and members of ALMA advisory committees. The Minister feels grass root producers were adequately represented (as listed).
February 4, 2009
ALMA Advisory Committee Members
Cattle Producer Advisory Committee
Bill Newton, Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund
Bill Feenstra, Alberta Milk
Clay Gellhaus, Alberta Veterinarian Medical Association
Dave Plett, Producer at large
Gary Smith, Alta Exports International
Herb Groenenboom, Alberta Cattle Feeders Association
Jennifer Stewart-Smith, Producer at large
Leighton Kolk, Producer at large
Reg Schmidt, Feeders Association of Alberta
Rick Burton, Alberta Beef Producers
Russel Pickett, Western Stock Growers Association
Beef Processor Advisory Committee
Brian Nilsson, Nilsson Bros Inc.
Geoff Smolkin, West Coast Reduction Ltd
Ray Price, Sunterra Meats
Scott Entz, Cargill
Pork Value Chain Advisory Committee
Ben Woolley, Alberta Pork
Bryan Perkins, Producer at large
Dan Majeau, Sturgeon Valley Pork
Don Brookbank, Olymel
Glenn Van Dijken, Western Hog Exchange
Herb Holoboff, Alberta Pork
Jurgen Preugschas, Producer at large
Mark Wipf, Alberta Pork
Ray Price, Sunterra (Trochu)
Trevor Sears, Maple Leaf
Diversified Livestock Advisory Committee
Doug Milligan, Producer at large
Florence Henning, Alberta Sheep and Wool Commission
Glenda Elkow, Alberta Elk Commission
Len Shandruk, Diversifed Livestock Fund of Alberta
Miles Kliner, Sunterra (Innisfail)
Myrna Coombs, Goat Breeders Association
Tom Olson, Bison Producers of Alberta
Innovation and Further Value-Added Advisory Committee
Bruce Smith, VAMP
Christoph Weder, Prairie Heritage Beef
Darryl Doell, Alberta Turkey Producers
Dave Kasko, XL Foods Grinding
Ed Rodenburg, Lilydale
Hans Kabat, Sun Valley Foods
James Ducs, Mountain Top Foods
Jean Beliveau, Premium Brands
Jeff Clark, Kitchen Partners
Karsten Nossack, Nossack Fine Meats
Kirsten Kotelko, Spring Creek Ranch
Peter Muhlenfeld, Champion Pet Food
Scott Weins, Alberta Chicken Producers
Tony Spiteri, New Food Classics
Derek Hill, Cargill
The Provincial ASB Committee wants ASBs to note that Minister Groeneveld is very passionate regarding ALMS, ALMA, Traceability and Premise Identification. Although the Minister highly regards the work of ASBs throughout the province and welcomes our request for policy and program changes, he strongly feels that ASBs may have acted outside their provincial mandate. ASBs may want to re-evaluate resolutions of this nature to not jeopardize the relationship between ASBs and the Ministry.
Resolution 12-09: Bovine Trichomoniasis Regulation
WHEREAS bovine Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease of cattle caused by parasitic protozoan and can cause embryonic death and abortion in cows;
WHEREAS bovine Trichomoniasis is an economic nightmare for any rancher that has had cattle exposed to the disease;
WHEREAS there is no known treatment for the disease;
WHEREAS the states of Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota & Idaho already have Trichomoniasis testing requirements;
WHEREAS bulls generally remain persistently infected and are the main reservoir for the parasite, which affects all cattle but is more commonly found in beef herds;
WHEREAS a vaccine for Trichomoniasis may help cows and heifers clear the infection and improve conception rates, but it does not prevent infection;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and/or Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada investigate a Bovine Trichomoniasis regulation.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Trichomoniasis, an annually reportable disease in Canada, is considered a production-limiting disease. The prevalence of the Trichomoniasis fetus protozoa, which infects the reproductive tract of cattle, is unknown in Canada’s cattle population. Unless the Canadian cattle population is extensively tested, it is not possible to determine both the number of infected animals that may be present and the cost of entering into a control or eradication program.
The presence of this disease does not impede trade access. Even for those U.S. states that enforce regulations against Trichomoniasis, cattle producers can still export by testing their animals or selling young virgin bulls. Since these regulations are at the state level, the CFIA, as a federal agency, is not involved in the certification process for this disease.
No vaccines are available for prevention, but owners who wish to minimize the impact of this disease on their breeding herds should use artificial insemination and virgin bulls to aid in control. Non-virgin bulls should be tested before being introduced to the breeding herd and positive animals rejected for breeding purposes. All bulls entering Canadian artificial insemination units are tested and any positive animals are excluded from donating semen. This practice has virtually eliminated the disease from Canada’s dairy cattle population.
As noted above, the absence of information on prevalence of the disease prevents the CFIA from considering a control program for Trichomoniasis, and because it is a production-limiting disease, the CFIA is not considering implementation of a surveillance program at this time. Provincial government agencies, with the necessary legislative authority, could implement regulatory programs for this disease. I note that this resolution has also been shared with officials of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development for their consideration.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Bovine Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease transmitted at breeding by an infected bull. There is no treatment that cures a carrier bull. Some two or three year old bulls may eliminate the infection spontaneously, but most mature bulls are infected for life and are a source of infection. Affected cows suffer from poor conception or abortion in later gestation. Given sexual rest, infected females will clear the infection spontaneously, but often lose a breeding season.
During development of the new Animal Health Act (AHA) and the new Reportable and Notifiable Diseases regulation (RAND) that came into force on January 1, 2009, the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian (OCPV) consulted with a number of stakeholders. Bovine Trichomoniasis was seriously considered as a disease to include on the list of reportable diseases because of the serious economic implications for affected cattle herds. As well, the new AHA has a provision that allows the Minister to establish a disease control program specifically targeting community pastures and stakeholders were consulted regarding establishing a mandatory Bovine Trichomoniasis control program for communal grazing situations. Representatives of Alberta Beef Producers strenuously argued against such a mandatory control program.
Bovine Trichomoniasis is listed as a notifiable disease in RAND, which means its detection, or the suspicion of its existence, in cattle must be immediately reported to the OCPV. Because it is only notifiable, the OCPV cannot initiate a control response in the event of its detection. Had it been put on the list of reportable diseases in RAND, the occurrence of Bovine Trichomoniasis would have demanded a control response. If there is sufficient support within the Alberta beef industry to move Bovine Trichomoniasis from the notifiable disease list to the reportable disease list, Agriculture and Rural Development would consider amending RAND to reflect this desire.
Alberta’s Chief Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Gerald Hauer, would consider developing and implementing a Bovine Trichomoniasis control program for all community pastures, if not all communcal grazing situations in Alberta, if there is sufficient interest within the Alberta cattle industry to support such a program. The Food Safety Division has the diagnostic capability and expertise to detect Tritrichomonas foetus, the causative agent of Bovine Trichomoniasis, but would have to obtain the resources to support such a control program.
Grade: Accept the Response
The Committee did not have the time to discuss this resolution with the Minister although they did want to explain that ranchers, especially in the south, have experienced production losses due to bovine trichomonoasis. They would like a program similar to the Montana State program as currently community pastures are following different protocols on this issue.
The committee understands that ARD did consult with industry and determined that there was no support for implementing either a mandatory control program or for elevating this disease from a notifable to a reportable disease.
Alberta’s Chief Provincial Vet would consider developing a Bovine Trichomoniasis control program for all community pastures and communal grazing situations if Alberta cattle industry would support such a program.
Resolution 13-09: Wild Boar Confinement
WHEREAS Wild Boar is now declared a pest where it is at large in Alberta as per Section 2(2) of the Agricultural Pests Act, Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation;
WHEREAS Section 6 of the Agricultural Pests Act states that a local authority shall take active measures to prevent establishment of, or to control or destroy pests;
WHEREAS Local authorities are increasingly called upon to control/destroy wild boars found at large as a declared pest, having escaped from wild boar farms;
WHEREAS There are no specific fencing criteria for wild boar farm enclosures similar to what guides the fence construction for raising of elk and deer;
WHEREAS Keeping wild boars from escaping their confines is a proactive approach that does not unnecessarily tax the resources of ASB staff;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development implement a permit system for the raising of wild boars similar to that of raising elk and deer that stipulates fencing requirements to prevent escapes and allow for a more proactive approach to the control of wild boars at large.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Wild Boar at large were declared a pest pursuant to the Agricultural Pests Act on May 31, 2008. When this occurred, Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD), in a joint effort between ARD and Agricultural Service Boards, implemented an initiative to encourage land owners experiencing Wild Boar infestations to eradicate them and receive a $50 per head bounty for their efforts. This pilot initiative will expire on December 31, 2009.
Once this initiative expires, we will thoroughly review the successes and failures of the pilot and prepare a briefing to the Minister. The briefing will include recommendations of possible solutions to deal with this problem in the future.
The Agricultural Service Boards resolution of implementing a permit system and fencing requirements on wild boar producers will be considered during the review.
As discussed with the Minister, this recently declared Pest under the Agricultural Pest Act has created an increased workload for some municipalities. The Committee discussed the Ministry’s encouragement for diversified livestock and the “now” need for proper confinement, regulations, permits and fencing stipulations. Municipalities think this would proactively deal with the current situation and hopefully prevent further escapes.
The Committee also thanked the Ministry for the Wild Boar at Large Pilot Program. Although it is a reactive program, it is a means to control some of the wild boars that have escaped or been released. The Committee is grateful the Minister has extended the program, and eagerly awaits the review that will look at solutions to deal with preventing this problem in the future.
The Committee recently met with staff from Regulatory Services Division and advised that they were in the process of preparing a request for the Minister to approve a regulation for the containment of wild boar. The Committee looks forward to being involved in the stakeholder consultation and hopes the Resolution passed at the 2009 Conference aids in acquiring Minister approval for this regulation.
Resolution E1-09: Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Extension Model
WHEREAS Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) has expressed a desire to reconnect with Alberta’s agricultural producers and Agricultural Service Boards (ASBs);
WHEREAS ARD staff initiated 2-way communication by requesting input from ASBs via surveys and presentations which included open discussions at all five 2008 ASB Regional Conferences;
WHEREAS ARD have prepared a Proposed Extension Model which they feel will meet their goal of renewed connection with Alberta’s agricultural producers and ASBs;
WHEREAS The Provincial ASB Committee has met with ARD staff, discussed the proposal together and together have come to the consensus that this model can meet the needs of ARD as well as the majority of the requests put forward by ASBs;
WHEREAS ARD has presented the proposed Extension Model to Alberta’s ASBs at this Provincial ASB Conference and they seek the approval of ASBs to move forward with the proposed Extension Model;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS AGREE that the department of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development proceed with the implementation of the proposed Extension Model as presented with the following guiding principles:
- The model allow for flexibility for ASBs to utilize the key contacts in a manner that best aligns ASBs with their producers needs, by allowing relationships to develop individually to suit the needs of each Municipality.
- That the current structure utilizing the ASB Supervisor and staff remains equal or is enhanced by the extension model.
- ARD hold quarterly meetings with the Provincial ASB Committee to monitor the progress of the extension model.
- The locations of the ARD offices be reviewed to ensure ASBs have the best possible access to key contacts.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development recognizes our partnership with Agricultural Service Boards and the great synergy that can be created by working together. ARD greatly appreciates the support that ASBs have expressed for the Extension Model that has been presented.
ARD is looking forward to working more closely with the ASBs to develop this model so that it suits the needs of the ASBs. There will be quarterly meetings with the Provincial ASB Committee to monitor the implementation of this model and ensure that it remains flexible.
Grade: Accept the Response
The Committee thanked the Minister and his staff for the phenomenal effort made to reconnect with Alberta’s producers via the Key Contact Initiative. The Committee also commended John Knapp, Jason Krips and Jo Ann Hall for involving all the municipalities as well as the Provincial ASB Committee and the AAAF in the development stages and their continued effort to meet with this group.
The Committee is grateful to have been involved and to have seen our recommendations turned into action on this initiative.
Resolution E2-09: Clubroot Resistant Canola Varieties
WHEREAS Pioneer Hi-Bred Seed announced on November 6th, 2008 in a Western Producer New Release, that they will be the first seed company to have a clubroot resistant canola variety available for pathotype 3, P2;
WHEREAS since this announcement, other seed companies have also suggested that they are developing clubroot resistant canola varieties that will be available in one to two years;
WHEREAS there are nine different strains (pathotypes) of clubroot known to be in existence and in Alberta four of those nine pathotypes are known to exist. It is proven that the predominant strain in Alberta is pathotype 3 but it is uncertain to what level the others are present;
WHEREAS the announcement of these resistant varieties has provided a sense of optimism but it is unknown to the public what the genetic makeup of these varieties are so there is some uncertainty as to how effective they will be on all pathotypes in Alberta;
WHEREAS if producers exercise tight rotations and grow a pathotype 3 resistant variety on infected land, the other pathotypes that may be present will be able to propagate and spread, resulting in infection by pathotypes that the variety has no resistance to;
WHEREAS it is proven that resistances will breakdown or genes will modify and other strains of the disease will appear if producers continue to exercise tight rotations;
WHEREAS resistance to clubroot does not mean fully immune to the disease. Although the signs and symptoms may not be present, the plant may still be a host and propagate new spores increasing the severity of the disease;
WHEREAS producers from across the province need to be made aware of all the facts about clubroot resistant canola varieties; as their success as a management tool, along with their inherent limitations, will have an effect on the entire agricultural industry as well as the policies of municipalities attempting to enforce the Agricultural Pests Act;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development undertake a provincial awareness campaign that provides accurate information to Alberta canola growers regarding the facts and concerns with the clubroot resistant varieties.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Since the detection of clubroot in canola in 2003, ARD staff have made considerable effort to increase awareness of this disease in the agriculture and oil/gas sectors. Thanks to numerous presentations at producer and industry meetings, articles in local newspapers, in agriculture publications, media interviews, and on ARD’s Call of the Land, the level of awareness of the dangers of clubroot in canola is high amongst producers.
The Alberta Clubroot Management Committee (CMC) is meeting on April 6, 2009 and “the introduction of clubroot resistant varieties” is at the top of their agenda. The CMC recognizes the potential danger in producers relying too much on the new resistant varieties and quickly forgetting about the importance and numerous benefits of a good rotation. They also realize that growing a resistant variety will not prevent the spread of clubroot spores in soil on equipment. The CMC will discuss this issue and make recommendations to ARD on the best ways to handle this issue. ARD is committed to keeping the level of awareness high on this issue so canola growers have the information they need to make informed risk management decisions.
Although the Committee expressed their appreciation for this new variety, they also expressed concern that farmers will forego best management practices when using clubroot resistant canola.
The Committee encouraged the Ministry to keep awareness and education high on the issue of clubroot as well as clubroot resistant varieties. They stated that although municipalities are educating producers, that the majority of the responsibility to ensure farmers are educated and follow proper rotations should be borne by the Ministry.
The Minister agreed that the both municipalities and the Ministry should continue educating producers.