2013 Resolutions

Information is taken from the 2013 Report Card on the Resolutions

Resolution 1-13: Weed Control in Provincial Waterways

Resolution 2-13: Inclusion of all Invasive Hawkweed Species as Prohibited Noxious under the Alberta Weed Control Act and Regulation

Resolution 3-13: Reporting Rats

Resolution 4-13 Wild Boar Eradication Initiative

Resolution 5-13: Agricultural Pests Act/Invasive Species Act

Resolution 6-13: Composition of Soil Conservation Act Appeal Committee

DEFEATED Resolution 7-13: Pesticide Container Collection Program

Resolution 8-13: Timeliness of Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) on Farm Hail Investigations

DEFEATED Resolution 9-13: Comprehensive Coverage for Wildlife Damage to Honey and Leafcutter Bee Structures

Resolution 10-13: Continuation of the Prairie Shelterbelt Program

Resolution 11-13: Short Term Solid Manure Storage

Resolution 12-13: Agri-Environment Service Branch Staffing

DEFEATED Resolution 13-13: Modernization of Seed Cleaning Plants

Resolution 1-13: Weed Control in Provincial Waterways

WHEREAS: Municipalities are absorbing most of the cost of weed control along and within provincial waterways;

WHEREAS: Provincial support and funding is minimal, a fraction of the real cost;

WHEREAS: Weed control options are limited within the bed and shore of waterbodies, and are usually labor intensive and expensive;

WHEREAS: The Province has ownership of the bed and shore of waterbodies, but doesn’t appear to have sufficient programming or funding in place to properly manage regulated weeds;

WHEREAS: Some weed control options require approvals from Alberta Environment and/or Department of Fisheries and Oceans; and

WHEREAS: Weed seeds and reproductive parts can travel great distances along waterways;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development review their current weed control programming and funding for bed and shore of waterbodies, to ensure the effectiveness of the program, as well as implementing a monitoring and assessment program to ensure that weed populations are dealt with proactively.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Areas of weed infestations often occur across public and private lands. To most effectively deal with weed infestations, our department works co-operatively with adjacent land owners.

Annually, the department budgets about $150,000 for partnerships with municipalities throughout the province to proactively deal with weeds on public land, including the bed and shores of provincial waterways. In 2012 -13, our department spent almost $165,000 on 28 agreements with 18 municipal districts and counties.

Throughout the province, our department’s agrologists collaborate with the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen to identify areas of concern, align our priorities with those of the local municipalities, and determine the best mechanism for weed control. Environment and Sustainable Resource Development encourages municipalities to continue working with our local area staff to identify and control weeds through mutually beneficial partnership agreements.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Since crown land is administered by Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) and the WCA does not include waterways, this issue should be dealt with by ESRD.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments

The ASB Provincial Committee felt that a grade of “Unsatisfactory” was more appropriate for this response. The Committee felt that the response “does not address the resolution as presented”. The Committee has the authority to determine the final grade assigned to a resolution response.

ASBs’ comments indicated that ESRD did not address the resolution with their response. The response did not indicate whether they were going to undertake a review of their current program for funding levels and assessment or if a new program for monitoring and assessment was being considered to ensure weed populations along bed and shore of waterbodies was being considered.

ASBs indicated that the current program was not proactive, insufficiently funded and that ESRD was not taking responsibility for weeds along the bed and shore of waterbodies. They felt that ESRD was too reliant on municipalities to do the control work and cover the actual cost of doing control work.

ASBs would like to encourage ESRD to review their current program and budget. They would like to see budget allocated for a proactive monitoring and assessment program and for an increase in the budget available to do control work along the bed and shore of waterbodies. ESRD needs to ensure that they are meeting their legislated responsibilities under the Weed Control Act for the bed and shore of waterbodies.

Resolution 2-13: Inclusion of all Invasive Hawkweed Species as Prohibited Noxious under the Alberta Weed Control Act and Regulation

WHEREAS: Currently, three Hawkweed species are included within the Weed Control Act as Prohibited Noxious;

WHEREAS: There are several other non-native invasive species of Hawkweed that are currently present in Alberta or neighboring jurisdictions;

WHEREAS: The Alberta Weed Regulatory Advisory Committee (AWRAC) currently has a pending recommendation regarding adding these threatening Hawkweed species to the regulation;

WHEREAS: Addressing new and emerging weed issues quickly is proven to be the most effective way to minimize overall control costs and best protect agriculture and the environment;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development immediately revise the Alberta Weed Control Act Regulation to include all non-native Hawkweed species, as recommended by the Alberta Weed Regulatory Advisory Committee.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

ARD has a process in place for the addition of species to the regulated weed lists that is based on a scientific basis. Let the AWRAC committee make the recommendation to the Minister to add other hawkweeds to the existing regulation list. After the recommendation is submitted, the Minister will decide on updating the list of regulated species.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The ASB Provincial Committee felt that a grade of “Accept in Principle” was more appropriate for this response as there is still work that needs to be done to follow this resolution.

ASBs felt that the process for adding these species to the Weed Control Act (WCA) should be allowed to be completed. They recommended that the Provincial Committee write a letter to the Alberta Weed Regulatory Advisory Committee (AWRAC) to make them aware of the ASBs’ support to add these species.

The ASBs also requested that AWRAC carefully consider the addition of these species. ASBs felt that control options and the impact on agricultural production should be considered as part of the scientific process AWRAC uses to make recommendations to the Minister for addition of new species to the WCA.

Resolution 3-13: Reporting Rats

WHEREAS: Remaining rat free for the past 50 years is a great triumph for the province and is one of the most successful programs developed under the Agricultural Pests Act;

WHEREAS: Rat control is a provincial priority;

WHEREAS: Rat control needs to be a priority for everyone involved in pest management;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development make it a requirement, under the Agricultural Pests Act, that individuals and especially commercial pest control companies, finding a Norway Rat, be required by law to report the presence of the pest, alive or dead, to provincial Pest Inspectors.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development immediately take steps to inform pest control companies and the public that notification of the presence of rats, dead or alive, is required by law.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

The Agricultural Pests Act is the only Act that deals with pests such as the Norway rat. This act was originally scheduled to be heard in the Legislature in 2014 but has been delayed until 2016. The review of this Act has been assigned to the Pest Management Branch of Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD). This review has included consultation with various stakeholders including the Agricultural Service Boards.
The contents of this resolution will be provided to the Pest Management Branch for consideration during the review process.

The Inspection and Investigation Branch of Regulatory Services Division, and in particular the Rat and Pest Specialist Phil Merrill, has been proactive in the operation of the Rat Control Program.

A generic response plan for municipalities outside the rat control zone has been developed after an infestation in Medicine Hat was discovered and eradicated last fall. This plan will be distributed to all Agricultural Fieldmen and Pest Control Officers in the Province as well as all urban municipalities as a draft guide for their use and implementation. Contained in this response plan is the protocol that all confirmed rat sightings and confirmed rat infestations are to be reported to ARD’s Rat and Pest Specialist.

This reporting would be completed by the Pest Control Officer or the commercial pest control company involved. Compliance of this new reporting protocol will be monitored by the Rat and Pest Specialist.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

ASBs strongly encourage ARD to review the Agricultural Pests Act sooner than 2016. There is fear that an outbreak could easily happen again before the Act is reviewed and reporting is made mandatory. ASBs accept the “Province of Alberta Rat Control Plan” as a practical and reasonable interim solution to encourage voluntary reporting of rats, dead or alive, by individuals and pest control companies. ASBs encourage ARD to continue supporting the Provincial Rat and Pest Specialist in ensuring that all rats are voluntarily reported until the “Rat Control Plan” can be incorporated into legislation.
A copy of the “Province of Alberta Rat Control Plan” is included in the Appendix.

Resolution 4-13 Wild Boar Eradication Initiative

WHEREAS: The population of Wild Boar on the loose as a pest in Alberta continues to grow in spite of random hunting and bounties. Random hunting may eliminate a few from a herd but educates the remainder, forcing them to go nocturnal;

WHEREAS: Feral hogs can rapidly increase their population. Sows can have up to 10 offspring per litter, and are able to have two litters per year. Each piglet reaches sexual maturity at 6 months of age. They have virtually no natural predators;

WHEREAS: Time is being lost in the 4 year development of regulations and a discussion paper;

WHEREAS: Considered a problem since 2002 (with an estimated population of 200) and since becoming a Pest in 2008 little has been done to prevent further escape and or release of the hogs (see attachment #1);

WHEREAS: Only 483 pair of ears has been turned in since the bounty was started in 2007, 674 pair including County programs since 2003 (See background);

WHEREAS: It is possible for 20 pair to multiply to 200 pair in a year or less. We are not keeping up with a social hunting program!;

WHEREAS: The ROI (return on investment) at this early intervention date is 1:100. Statistics prove that eliminating a pest before it becomes wide spread and established is the most cost effective;

WHEREAS: The potential is to have a situation similar to the US with 2- 6,000,000 hogs in 44 states that cost $800,000,000 per yr. on property and crop damage (see new #s attachment #3);

WHEREAS: Damage in the US has taken the form of 27,000 auto accidents, predation of sheep, cattle, goats, chickens, the destruction of crops, gardens, and carrying disease, up- setting natural environmental balances, water quality and riparian areas;

WHEREAS: The Provincial Government hired a Professional Pest Control company to rid the Province of rats in the 1950’s. The Alberta Rat Program is proof that pests can be controlled. (Other than the N and S poles Alberta is, “the only place in the world,” that is rat free). Alberta now has a chance to be wild boar free;

WHEREAS: Other provinces and states have recognized the problem and potential losses and are taking action (see attachment #2);

WHEREAS: Live trapping or (pen hunting) has proven to be an effective method of eliminating sizeable herds in Red Deer and in counties to the north;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development fast track and initiate a “Provincial Strategy to eradicate Wild Boar as a Pest in Alberta”, followed by a 100% guaranteed escapeless penning regulations and enforcement program to address Wild boar in captivity.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Agriculture and Rural Development recognizes that the wild boar pest problem continues to increase and Regulatory Services Division (RSD) has been focused on dealing with the issue in two stages. The first stage will be to look at the need for a regulation to stop the escape of farmed boars. The second stage will be to enhance or develop a program to eradicate the wild boar.

In November 2011, a RSD working group started the review process. In June 2012, a consultation paper was prepared with the concept that it should be sent to all stakeholders. The consultation paper focused primarily on the identification and containment issues for farmed wild boar. Since then, a new approach for the consultation process was developed.

On February 11, 2013 an action plan was implemented by RSD focusing on known problem areas throughout the province.

RSD staff has been assigned the task of contacting and interviewing Agricultural Fieldmen, all known Wild Boar producers, affected landowners/neighbors, and municipalities respectively. The purpose of these interviews and visits will be to determine the extent of the wild boar problem with the goal of solving this issue in the Province of Alberta. Those assigned to interview Agricultural Fieldmen will also have the responsibility of determining if any other known Wild Boar Producers exist within their respective counties for the purpose of interviewing those individuals as well. Various survey questions have been prepared for these visits including seeking suggestions on confinement and eradication.

All of the information gathered will be tabulated, reviewed, and then recommendations will be provided to the Minister by April 5, 2013.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

The ASB Provincial Committee feels that there has been progress made towards development of a strategy to contain and eradicate wild boars in Alberta. The Committee was involved in a conference call on July 23 to discuss a provincial Wild Boar Strategy that would meet the needs of the industry and the public. The province indicated to the Committee that the Wild Boar Strategy would include components leading to an eradication strategy. The components of the Strategy would start with containment standards and a policy statement for wild boar production in Alberta to ensure that the number of wild boar escaping was limited. Regulatory Assurance Division moved forward with developing containment standards over the summer by interviewing current wild boar producers and consulting with agricultural fieldmen on minimum fencing standards in August 2013.

ASBs stress that this is a time sensitive issue and eradication of wild boar at large needs to be a priority. The detrimental impact of this species throughout the world is well documented and ASBs feel that these pests need to be eradicated quickly to protect Alberta’s agricultural production and environment.

Update from Animal Health and Laboratories Division December 10, 2013

I can advise that the proposed minimum containment standards that were developed from authority of the Agricultural Pests Act is progressing through the government policy development process. It is anticipated that in the new year our Branch will be in a position to begin implementing the containment initiative. This will involve proactive education with wild boar producers regarding the new minimum standards, working with them to meet these standards through on farm inspections by Branch inspectors in 2014 and starting the process of developing agreements with MDs and Counties regarding the wild boar containment initiative and defined responsibilities. Once the containment strategy is implemented, work with start on a provincial eradication program for at large wild boar.

Resolution 5-13: Agricultural Pests Act/Invasive Species Act

WHEREAS: The Agricultural Pests Act was scheduled to be read in the Legislature in the Fall of 2014. Agricultural Service Boards across the province were made aware of this and had started contributing comments to improve the Act. In the summer of 2012, after an election and a new Agriculture Minister was appointed, the Agricultural Pests Act was withdrawn from the queue as it was decided that there were other Acts of higher priority to be reviewed and read in the Legislature for 2014, delaying it to 2016;

WHEREAS: In the Province of Alberta there is only one Act that deals with invasive pests (agricultural or not) and that is the Agricultural Pests Act. There are some non-agricultural pests on the Act and a myriad of other invasive species that are not listed that are threatening the environment, water, and recreation in this province. Currently there is no way of enforcing control on these invasive species other than adding them to the Agricultural Pests Act;

WHEREAS: The Alberta Government needs to be proactive to keep new threats out of the Province and look at establishing legislation that addresses control/eradication of these imminent invaders. Although there is an Interdepartmental Invasive Alien Species Working Group (IIASWG, composed of representatives of the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Transportation, and Tourism, Parks and Recreation,) that is tasked to deal with this problem, there has been little progress made over the past few years;

WHEREAS: It is unclear who, if anyone, is responsible for controlling new non-agricultural invasive pests, thus highlighting the need for a new act and regulation to address these invasive species, and to identify the appropriate Ministries to handle them;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Government of Alberta reconsider the priority of the review of the Agricultural Pests Act and schedule it for reading in the Legislature in the fall of 2014.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Government of Alberta fast track the IIASWG to identify recommendations to create an Invasive Species Act, to be proactive and address alien invasive species that pose a significant environmental, recreational and social risk and cost to all of Alberta.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

The Government of Alberta is aware of the concerns, risks, and potential impact of invasive species on the environment and economy. Better monitoring and reporting will enable earlier and more focused response to invasive species occurrences. Environment and Sustainable Resource Development as well as other outside agencies are developing further programs and tools for invasive species monitoring and reporting.

The Interdepartmental Invasive Alien Species Working Group co-ordinates activities to address threats and risks to agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. This group has representatives from four provincial government departments and may be an appropriate venue to review the benefits and costs of developing a stand-alone Invasive Species Act.

The Crown Managers Partnership is another venue to address policy gaps and opportunities from an inter-jurisdictional perspective. The partnership has designated multi-jurisdictional teams to develop monitoring programs. Key areas of focus for these teams include policy, legislation, and planning related to invasive species in Western Canada.

Team membership currently includes the Crown Managers Partnership; Environment and Sustainable Resource Development; Tourism, Parks and Recreation; Agriculture and Rural Development; Parks Canada – Waterton National Park; and irrigation districts. A transboundary directors group, drawn from various provincial departments and Waterton Lakes National Park, is providing direction and endorsing support for the initiative.

In Alberta, monitoring programs for Eurasian Water Milfoil, zebra mussels, and quagga mussels are being developed as pilot programs in southern Alberta for 2013. We are also ensuring that the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan addresses aquatic invasive species, and are considered as the Oldman Watershed Council and the Milk River Watershed Alliance develop integrated watershed management plans.

The Government of Alberta is also co-ordinating with other western provinces to provide input into the development of federal legislation on aquatic invasive species.
If you have any further questions, please contact Mr. Brooks Horne, the current co-chair representing Environment and Sustainable Resource Development on the Interdepartmental Invasive Alien Species Working Group. Mr. Horne can be reached at 780-422-0143 or at brooks.horne@gov.ab.ca.

Alberta Transportation

Alberta Transportation continues to have a representative as a member of the Interdepartmental Invasive Alien Species Working Group (IIASWG) and supports the development of an Agricultural Pests Act to address all pests, including terrestrial, aquatic and semi-aquatic invasive species.

Although Alberta Transportation is interested in matters related to this act, the responsibility for its introduction lies with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation

Thank you for your letter of February 11, 2013 regarding the Agricultural Service Boards Resolution #5, the review of the Agricultural Pests Act. Department staff are in the process of reviewing the resolution in relation to the business of our department.
Agriculture and Rural Development is the lead agency for this legislation. Tourism, Parks and Recreation will be providing our feedback to Deputy Minister John Knapp when our review has been completed, for a coordinated Government of Alberta response.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention, as well as providing the opportunity to review and provide feedback.

Alberta Municipal Affairs

Thank you for your letter outlining concerns relating to invasive species and the Agricultural Pests Act (APA).

Municipal pest control issues are under the jurisdiction of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD).

I understand that you have also shared this information with Mr. John Knapp, Deputy Minister of AARD. I encourage you to continue working with AARD to address your concerns.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

ARD will work with other Ministries in developing an IAS for the spring of 2016 scheduled reading.

Grade: Unsatisfactory

Comments

ASBs requested that the Government of Alberta reconsider the priority for the review of the Agricultural Pests Act and that the Interdepartmental Invasive Alien Species Working Group (IIASWG) be tasked with developing recommendations for creating a new Invasive Species Act. The responses received do not address this resolution.

ASBs indicated that the current Agricultural Pests Act does not accurately reflect the current agricultural pest situation in the province or address the threat of invasive species to Alberta. They would like to see this Act reviewed more quickly than 2016 to address this concern and for the various government departments involved in land management to work together to create an Invasive Species Act that would assign specific responsibilities to each department for monitoring for invasive species and controlling pest species. ASBs feel that there is a significant risk of an invasive species entering into Alberta and becoming established and for current pest populations to continue to increase because the current Agricultural Pests Act needs changes to it to make it more effective and relevant.

Resolution 6-13: Composition of Soil Conservation Appeal Committee

WHEREAS: Section 14(a,b,c) of the Soil Conservation Act legislates that an appeal committee for Municipal Districts, Improvement Districts and Special Areas shall consist of the Board (if there exists an Agricultural Service Board);

WHEREAS: Section 14(d) of the Soil Conservation Act legislates that an appeal committee for all other municipalities shall consist of the Council, or at least 3 members of the Council (regardless of the existence of an Agricultural Service Board);

WHEREAS: Section 14(5) of the Agricultural Pests Act legislates that the local authority shall appoint a committee (at Council discretion, and regardless of the existence of an Agricultural Service Board) to hear and determine appeals;

WHEREAS: Part 4, Section 19(1) of the Weed Control Act legislates that the local authority shall establish an independent appeal panel to determine appeals;

WHEREAS: Legislative reviews for Soil Conservation Act and Agricultural Pests Act have been delayed; planned alignment of similar sections of these enabling legislations (related and/or applicable to the Agricultural Service Board Act) has not occurred.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development review the current legislations and standardize the criteria for appeal committee composition, to ensure enabling legislations are aligned with the Weed Control Act, which legislates an independent appointed panel to determine appeals (regardless of whether there exists an Agricultural Service Board).

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Agriculture and Rural Development would like to assure the Agricultural Service Board membership that when the Soil Conservation Act is next opened for review it is our intention to engage the Agricultural Service Board Provincial Committee in the legislative review process.

The Soil Conservation Act is not currently under nor currently scheduled for legislative review.

Agriculture and Rural Development will retain these legislative suggestions for a future review of the Act.

By working in partnership we believe we can ensure the Act is effectively meeting the needs of and is aligned with other Acts administered by the Alberta Agricultural Service Boards, as well as achieving the soil conservation goals needed to protect this priceless resource.

Grade: Accept in Principle

Comments

ASBs appreciate that this legislative suggestion will be considered when the Soil Conservation Act is reviewed. They look forward to working with ARD on a review of the Act when it occurs and hope that the Act is reviewed in the near future.

The ASB Provincial Committee will continue to follow this resolution and encourage the Minister to put it on the legislative review schedule quickly.

Resolution 7-13: Pesticide Container Collection Program

DEFEATED AT THE 2013 PROVINCIAL ASB CONFERENCE

WHEREAS: Since 1989, Alberta’s municipalities have been involved with the collection of empty pesticide containers and have done so with only one time funding from Alberta Environment to establish permanent collection sites within their municipalities;

WHEREAS: Municipal governments in cooperation with transfer station and landfill operators manage the day to day maintenance and supervision of the sites and cover the costs associated with the transfer of containers from temporary depots to permanent sites without any funding from Alberta Environment;

WHEREAS: CleanFARMS oversees the removal of the containers sites by hiring contractors to process the containers and funds this program through a levy collected from its pesticide manufacturer members on each container (less than 23 litre) sold into the market place;

WHEREAS: Collection programs are poised to become increasingly expensive and labor intensive with the likely addition of bale & silage wrap, Ag-film, twine and grain bag collection programs,

WHEREAS: Alberta is only one of two provinces in Canada that utilize municipalities to deliver the pesticide collection program within their province while the remaining provinces place this responsibility and cost on agricultural retail facilities who market and sell pesticide products.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST That Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development develop, with CleanFARMS, an empty pesticide container program that places the responsibility of collecting pesticide containers in Alberta with the Agricultural Retail/Dealer and removes the financial responsibility from the municipalities.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that should Alberta Environment and/or CleanFARMS prefer the municipalities continue to co-operate in the Pesticide Container Collection program, that all costs to the municipalities associated with the program be recovered from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and/or CleanFARMS.

Resolution 8-13
Timeliness of Agricultural Financial Services Corp. (AFSC) on farm hail investigations

WHEREAS: Hail claims for Alberta are expected to be “close to double the amount AFSC experiences in an average year”;

WHEREAS: Timely hail adjustment for agricultural producers are a necessity to ensure operational activities like harvest are not delayed excessively;

WHEREAS: Agricultural producers are in more and more cases farming land at great distances, and to leave areas of the field for adjusters to complete their investigation requires the movement of large amounts and pieces of equipment when revisiting fields to complete harvest which is expensive and an inefficient use of time, especially when time at harvest is so valuable;

WHEREAS: Areas of the harvested field left for investigation may not be representative of the hail damage received, potentially costing the producer or AFSC significantly;

WHEREAS: Producers are reporting that hail investigations have been left in excess of 30 days after hail storms have passed;

WHEREAS: AFSC is in the business of providing hail insurance to producers, and as such needs to be prepared with qualified staff to provide investigations in a timely manner;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that AFSC undertake to have adequate and qualified staff in place, on retention if needed, to ensure hail investigations take place with minimal delay to harvest operations.

Status: Provincial

Response

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

Thank you for your letter and the attached resolution, we appreciate the opportunity to respond to the issue identified in the resolution.

The resolution states:
“That AFSC undertake to have adequate and qualified staff in place, on retention if needed, to ensure hail investigations take place with minimal delay to harvest operations”

AFSC recognizes the effect delayed hail inspections have on clients waiting for an adjuster, especially during harvest. 2012 was an extraordinary year for hail claims with over 11,000 claims which is more than double the historical average. After reviewing 2012, our adjusting management team is initiating some changes to processes and staffing designed to reduce wait times for our clients while maintaining the integrity of our loss assessments. These changes will also result in fewer clients having to leave strips for the adjuster. The changes include: Finalizing claims with light damage caused by early storms vs. deferring these claims. This results in only one farm visit as compared to two visits for these claims For claims that need to be deferred to arrive at a fair loss assessment the work required on the initial inspection is being reduced to save time For fields with severe (over 90%) hail damage the number of counts required will be reduced, this will also save time Continued reduction in paperwork through improvements in the IT and GPS systems that support adjusting Hiring summer students with an agricultural background to assist adjusters during hail season from May until September.

We expect that the combined effect of these initiatives will significantly reduce the amount of time clients will have to wait for an adjuster and consequently the number of clients who will have to leave strips because of harvest.

In addition to the changes listed above we are looking at various communication channels to ensure clients waiting for an adjuster know what their options are and when to expect the adjuster to visit their farm.

Your resolution suggests that AFSC keep some adjusters on retainer to help when claim volumes are high. Hiring summer students to assist adjusters partly addresses this. We have looked keeping qualified adjusters on retainer but decided against this approach for the following reasons: Cost, keeping adjusters on retainer who are not required except during high claim years is expensive Adjusting requires skills and knowledge that must be kept current; it is difficult to maintain a group of adjusters who are trained and ready to step in when claims are high We are able to hire qualified people into adjusting partly because we can guarantee a minimum amount of work. Attracting applicants into a retainer role would be very difficult in Alberta’s labor market.

Again, thank you for your letter. At AFSC we are constantly looking for ways to improve our processes and gain efficiencies while maintaining the integrity of our programs. While the initiatives listed above are different from the solutions suggested in your resolution, I believe they will achieve the results both our organizations are looking for.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

ASBs are pleased with the response from AFSC and look forward to seeing the changes implemented.

Resolution 9-13: Comprehensive Coverage for Wildlife Damage to Honey and Leafcutter Bee Structures

DEFEATED AT THE 2013 PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE

WHEREAS: AFSC currently does not offer comprehensive coverage for wildlife damage to Honey and Leafcutter bee structures;

WHEREAS: Other Provinces in western Canada offer this coverage;

WHEREAS: The average Leafcutter Bee Structure holds approximately 60,000 bees. Structures cost $300 – $350/ structure. Structures cover an average of 3 acres. There is an average of 15 to 25 nesting blocks per structure. At a 100% loss, replacement cost on a quarter sections is usually $15,000-$25,000;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that AFSC offer regular comprehensive coverage to all bee structures, to help offset costs as a result of wildlife damage, and that Alberta producers receive the same coverage that other provinces offer.

Resolution 10-13: Continuation of the Prairie Shelterbelt Program

WHEREAS The Government of Canada has announced it will cancel the Prairie Shelterbelt Program in 2013, a program which has successfully operated since 1901;

WHEREAS The Prairie Shelterbelt Program is an excellent example of a cost-sharing approach, where all who benefit contribute. Canadians contribute by providing the trees. The landowners contribute by providing the land, the labour and equipment needed to prepare the land, plant the trees, and maintain them over time;

WHEREAS The Prairie Shelterbelt Program is an excellent example of a cost-sharing approach, where all who benefit contribute. Canadians contribute by providing the trees. The landowners contribute by providing the land, the labour and equipment needed to prepare the land, plant the trees, and maintain them over time;

WHEREAS The Prairie Shelterbelt Program has always been of great value to the agricultural community, contributing to snow trapping, the reduction of soil movement due to wind, enhancing the environment, providing wildlife habitat and beautifying the appearance of the prairie landscape;

WHEREAS The Government of Canada website states: ‘Shelterbelts on the Canadian prairies are a form of “afforestation”, a term used in the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases as one acceptable practice of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (ie. a carbon “sink”)’;

WHEREAS Municipalities are very involved at the grass root level and support the continuation of the Prairie Shelterbelt Program;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Government of Canada continues the Prairie Shelterbelt Program to the benefit of all Canadians.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the Provincial Government of Alberta extensively lobby the Federal Government to reinstate this important program that serves the needs of their rural constituents in such a meaningful way.

Status: Provincial

Response

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Thank you for your letter regarding the conclusion of the Prairie Shelterbelt Program. I appreciate being made aware of your concerns and the related resolution from the January 2013 Agricultural Service Board conference.

As you mention, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has a long record of working successfully with the agricultural sector and rural landowners to produce and distribute trees in Western Canada to reduce erosion in support of the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture and the stewardship of the land. That said, the cropping systems used in Canada have undergone significant improvements that have contributed to the resilience and the long-term sustainability of the agricultural sector. Consequently, the growing and distribution of tree seedlings is no longer an appropriate role for the federal government, although there remain a number of environmental, economic and communal benefits to including trees into the agricultural landscape.

The Department is working with other non-government entities to ensure that a new private business model for tree distribution is developed to serve western Canadian producers. Furthermore, there is a vibrant and growing nursery industry on the Prairies that has expressed interest in filling certain niches once occupied by the free tree distribution of the Prairie Shelterbelt Program.

As you have described, trees provide ongoing value to the agricultural landscape. AAFC, through its new Science and Technology Branch, will continue to support agroforestry efforts in Canada with respect to the profitability, productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems.

I appreciate your acknowledgement of the value of the Prairie Shelterbelt Program, and I hope this information clearly indicates that AAFC is continuing to address the future of agroforestry on the Prairies.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Agriculture and Rural Development has been in discussion with the Federal Government regarding the Prairie Shelterbelt Program and will continue our dialogue in the future. Through these discussions we have been made aware that a few private operators are investigating the opportunity to purchase the property and running the centre as a for-profit business.

Agriculture and Rural Development continues to develop the details of the Growing Forward 2 Programs, including the On-Farm Stewardship Program. Through this program producers will have opportunities to recover a high percent of their costs associated with riparian restoration which will include tree establishment in those areas

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

ASBs feel that the decision to discontinue the Prairie Shelterbelt Program has been made and that it will not be reversed.

ASBs feel that the process to transition it to a private operator has been poorly communicated and badly handled. ASBs would like to continue to assist their producers in planting and maintaining shelterbelts and request that the Province provide information about tree nurseries that would be able to fill the gap left by the closure of the Prairie Shelterbelt Program.

Resolution 11-13: Short Term Solid Manure Storage

WHEREAS: Weather conditions and other mitigating factors make offsite short term solid manure storage a necessary component of confined feeding operations;

WHEREAS: Short term solid manure storage guidelines are addressed in the Agriculture Operations Practices Act Regulations;

WHEREAS: AOPA Standards Administration Regulation states short term solid manure storage sites may be placed within 150 meters of residences but no mention is made of setbacks from roads or public places of gathering i.e. churches, active cemeteries, parks;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development bring forward to the AOPA Policy Advisory Group the review of short term solid manure storage as it pertains to setback distances from residences as it does not include places of public gathering or roadways.

Status: Provincial

Response

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

As a member of the Policy Advisory Group, the AAMDC is encouraged to bring forward issues that fall under the AOPA to that group for discussion.

Although the Policy Advisory Group discussion often identifies areas of concern with the legislation, the Policy Advisory Group is not the venue for making legislative changes. However, Agriculture and Rural Development does document and take suggestions for legislative changes on an ongoing basis.

The concerns regarding gaps related to “Short Term Solid Manure Storage” have now been documented for future AOPA review.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

ASBs commented that this resolution should be sent to AAMDC with a request for them to bring it forward to the Policy Advisory Group.

Resolution 12-13: Agri-Environment Services Branch Staffing

WHEREAS: Agri-Environment Services Branch staff have provided Agricultural Service Boards and the farming community with expert information and help in many areas of Agriculture in conjunction with the Environment;

WHEREAS: Agri-Environment Services Branch staff have become well respected in their communities and this reflects well on government participation and indicates their interest in Agriculture;

WHEREAS: The Agri-Environment Services Branch has provided grass roots programs that have been an asset to the farming community in good sound direction with actual results on the ground;

WHEREAS: Although some programs outlive their usefulness, other new programs become necessary as our environment changes;

WHEREAS: It has become obvious that it is the government’s intent to reduce staff in rural offices and have shut down 7 offices across western Canada where they are needed;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the federal government reconsider their direction and re-open and re-staff offices in rural communities to an appropriate number of staff that will allow programs to be carried out efficiently before their connection to the community is lost.

Status: Provincial

Response

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Thank you for your letter regarding the resolution from the delegates at the Agricultural Service Board Provincial Conference in January 2013 on programs at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). I appreciate being made aware of your thoughts on this matter. Furthermore, I thank you for noting the valuable service that staff from the Agri-Environment Services Branch has provided to farming communities in Alberta.

AAFC strives to be a leader in designing and implementing responsive programs and services that contribute to a profitable and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector. The Department is thus currently evolving the way it delivers programs and services to clients in order to enhance efficiencies and increase stakeholder satisfaction. Through partnerships with provinces and third parties, AAFC is enhancing and improving the delivery of programs and services. This allows the Department to put staff and knowledge in those places where they can make the most difference for the sector.

Furthermore, AAFC has created the new Science and Technology Branch, formed by combining the Agri-Environment Services Branch and the Research Branch. This network of scientists extends across the country and is working together to address issues in many different locations.

As the agriculture sector evolves, so do the programs that AAFC researchers work within to support the economic sustainability of the sector. The Department is committed to managing its own expenditures effectively and efficiently and to providing service excellence throughout all of its centres and sites across Canada, as it supports a vibrant agriculture, agri-food, and agri-products sector.

I would also like to mention that with the three new federal Growing Forward 2 programs (AgriInnovation, AgriMarketing and AgriCompetitiveness) coming into effect on April 1, 2013, opportunities will soon be available for industry-led projects where organizations such as the Agricultural Service Board can work in conjunction with department staff and industry partners on specific projects of relevance. To view the regularly updated information on Growing Forward 2, you may wish to consult AAFC’s website at http://www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2.

Again thank you for writing. I trust that this information is of assistance to you.

Grade: Accept the Response

Comments

ASBs feel that the decision has been made and will not be reversed.

ASBs caution that this decision will have a negative impact. The connection that currently exists between the federal government and rural communities will be lost, much like the disconnect that occurred when Alberta Agriculture restructured and removed the District Agriculturists and Home Economists from the rural municipalities.

Resolution 13-13: Modernization of Seed Cleaning Plants

DEFEATED AT THE 2013 PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE

WHEREAS: Presently most Seed Cleaning Plants are in need of improvements to meet the current needs of today’s grain producers;

WHEREAS: When producers received a reasonable price for their grain, relative to their expenses, Seed Cleaning Plants charged fees that adequately covered operational and maintenance expenses;

WHEREAS: Over the past several years the narrowing of profit margins for producers, and Seed Cleaning Plants holding their fees low to retain a slim profit margin for the producer, it has created a situation where most Plants are near obsolete with an inability to ever afford to modernize;

WHEREAS: Most local municipalities have identified this dilemma for the Plants and have provided just enough funding to keep the Plants surviving, but not to fully modernize;

WHEREAS: The prolonged lack of financial support at the Provincial and Federal government level is leading to a gradual demise of existing Seed Cleaning Plants;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ALBERTA’S AGRICULTURAL SERVICE BOARDS REQUEST that the provincial and federal governments provide financial assistance to Seed Cleaning Plant co-operatives to modernize their facilities to meet the current local needs of grain producers.