CN Rail Invests In Upgrades For Saskatchewan

CN has announced a major investment for 2019 to expand and strengthen the rail network in the province.

Sean Finn, CN’s Executive Vice President says they are investing more than $245 million dollars in rail infrastructure in Saskatchewan.

"That’s up $35 million dollars more than last year. That’s investments within the Province when it comes to track capacity and other investments in the rail line itself; it does not include more locomotives or cars."

He notes the planned expansion includes the construction of about 35 miles of double track near Atwater, Fenwood, Biggar, and Clavet.

"If you have double track you can move your trains more fluidly through the network. We’re also going to upgrade probably 66 miles of rail itself which will be changed out. New railway ties which is normal maintenance but also ensure that we operate the railway safely and we’re also going to redo 21 road crossings in the Province of Saskatchewan this year."

Finn says the goal is to invest in additional capacity and resilience in the corridor from Edmonton to Winnipeg.

"This time of year Thunder Bay is closed so the grain wants to move West to Vancouver. Part of our job is making sure that we don’t just get to Vancouver, but the port is fluid so we can move the grain through and get the cars back to the Prairies as quickly as possible. So, cycle time is important also."

He notes CN’s rail network in Saskatchewan connects agricultural customers across the Prairies to major terminals, port facilities, and global markets.

Trying To Find Help On The Farm Can Be A Challenge

One of the challenges in the Agriculture sector can be trying to find help on the farm or ranch.

Kara Dyer is an Immigration Consultant with Beyond Borders Immigration Consulting at Gull Lake.

She says stats show the employment gaps on the farm are getting worse as we see the growth in farm and ranch operations.

“In 2014, Saskatchewan employed just over 43,000 people in the Agriculture sector total. With that there were over 4500 job vacancies just in the Agriculture sector; which means that was a loss of over $200 million dollars to employers just in this sector alone. “

She notes more and more producers are looking at the option of hiring temporary foreign workers adding that the federal government has worked at improving processing times for applications.

Dyer says there are a number of options federally and provincially depending on what producers are looking for and the skills the foreign worker brings to the operation.

She notes companies like hers can help with the paperwork, red tape, and processing of applications.

“The Federal Government for the LMIA ( Labour Market Impact Assessment ) routes really noticed or picked up on the beginning of this year that employers are going to need the employees for this season. They opened up sending those (applications) to a separate processing center which has allowed for really nice, quick progressing.”

Dyer says anyone looking for help at harvest should consider starting the application process soon.

She notes there are a number of options federally and provincially to help producers depending on what they are looking for and the skills the foreign worker brings to the operation.

Dyer was the guest speaker this month for the Swift Current Chapter of the Canadian Agricultural Farm Advisors.

More Dogs Being Added To Canada's Airports To Help Stop African Swine Fever

On Thursday, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced new funding of up to $31 million to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports to help prevent illegally imported meat products from entering into Canada.

"As Canada's new Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, I am committed to continuing Canada's efforts to prevent the introduction of African swine fever into the country," said Bibeau. "By working collaboratively, producers, the Canadian public at large and the international community can help stop the spread of this deadly disease affecting swine populations and protect Canada's fourth largest agricultural sector."

The funding will allow for the addition of 24 detector dog teams over 5 years, bringing the total number to 39 Food, Plant, and Animal Detector Dog Service (DDS) teams.

Illegally imported meat and meat products from countries affected by African swine fever (ASF) present one of the greatest risks for introducing this animal disease to Canada. Detector dogs are the best available method to intercept meat products, making them the most effective tool in protecting Canada's swine population from ASF as well as other animal diseases.

It was also announced that Canada will host the first international ASF forum in Ottawa from April 30 to May 1, 2019.

Although Canada has never had a case of ASF, the disease continues to spread in parts of Asia and Europe.

ASF poses no risk to human health, but it could disrupt Canada's pork industry, which includes over 100,000 direct and indirect Canadian jobs.

The CFIA is considering implementing measures to prevent infected feed ingredients from ASF-affected countries from entering Canada and is closely monitoring the international situation to ensure the CBSA has the right border controls.

CASA Releases Farmer Health Insurance Availability Report

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) has released a first-of-its-kind report examining health and disability insurance available to Canadian farmers.

The report underscores the availability of health insurance through both provincial farm organizations and from insurance carriers.

“The report was commissioned in order to gain a better understanding of what insurance farmers can access and identify any gaps in that insurance,” says Marcel Hacault, CASA’s Executive Director. “We were surprised to find that insurance plans are readily available to farmers through farm groups and other means.”

Nearly all provincial farm organizations across Canada offer health insurance plans to their members. The report also details the uptake of the provincial farm health insurance plans to be fairly low, from as much as 5% of members, to as low as under 1%. Hacault says these numbers are comparable to other small businesses. Other highlights of the report include:

- Mental health insurance coverage is a significant unmet need.- Disability insurance is needed but is undervalued by farmers.- Disability plans and workers compensation plans may have limitations for farmers. The executive summary is available at www.casa-acsa.ca.

 

New Food Guide More Affordable

Canada's new Food Guide places more focus on plant-based eating and eliminated the four food groups that most Canadians have grown up with.

A new survey done by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph shows that recommendations in the new Guide are more affordable than the previous version.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.

"Essentially, what we found out is that the new Food Guide apparently costs less to follow than the old one by $1.98 a day for a family of four, which is certainly good news."

This is based on a cost comparison of foods and proportions recommended by both the 2007 and 2019 versions of the Guide.

The survey revealed that the Food Guide is the sixth most popular source for healthy eating advice, after family and friends, general research, social media, cookbooks and magazines, and TV programs.

30% of Canadians have viewed or referenced Canada’s Food Guide in the last 12 months.

The majority of Canadians (52.4%) say they face barriers to adopting the new Food Guide. In addition to Canadians’ perception that the new Food Guide means a more expensive plate, about 20% of respondents say the recommendations in the new Guide don’t fit their taste preferences, and almost 20% say the Guide either doesn’t reflect their dietary needs or that preparing the recommended foods would be too time-consuming.

The study was conducted over two days in February 2019. It surveyed 1,071 people across the country, including Québec, in both English and French.

International Trade Minister Talks Canola at SARM

The Chinese Canola issue was a key topic of discussion at this week’s SARM Annual Convention.

International Trade Minister Jim Carr spoke Thursday at the convention about China’s decision to suspend canola shipments from Richardson International.

“China says there are imperfections in this Canola and we have said show us, prove it to us, where’s the evidence. We’re pushing hard at the officials level through the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and through the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa so that if there is a problem we can resolve it quickly. This is not the first time that we have had an issue about Canola with the Chinese, you’ll remember Blackleg. We can work through these issues if they're real … show us the evidence … if they're not real, let’s move on.”

SARM President Ray Orb says he wouldn’t say he’s pleased but under the circumstances, the Federal Government is trying to resolve the issue.

“We think they need to go to China to talk with Chinese officials about this. We think the Federal Agriculture Minister needs to go, Minister Carr himself needs to go, and also Minister Freeland needs to go. Minister Freeland knows the issue because her father was a Canola farmer so she understands the issue. We think this may be the only way this gets resolved.”

It’s not the first time we’ve had an issue with China about Canola, the last impasse was over dockage levels and blackleg back in 2016.

Saskatchewan's Launches New Standardized Training For Class 1 Commercial Drivers

Starting today, Saskatchewan now has new standardized mandatory training requirements for a Class 1 commercial licence to drive semi trucks.

The standards for new drivers include a minimum of 121.5 hours of training and a 12-month safety monitoring program for all new semi drivers while existing Class 1 drivers will be grandfathered in.

The Minister for SGI Joe Hargrave says consultations continue with the agriculture industry on training requirements.

“We did extensive consultation with the commercial truck driving industry and we’ve come up with this program 121 and half hours for them. We’re doing extensive consultation with the agricultural industry; it’s a 13 million dollar industry in Saskatchewan. “

He says they want to make sure they get it right.

“Farmers don’t drive seven days a week with their semi’s their distances are normally far less and the amount of time that they use a semi is far less.  So, we wanted to consult with them and see where their feelings were so that we can come up with the right program for agricultural producers.”

Hargrave cautions drivers who may be hauling livestock or grain outside our borders.

“Our Class 3F which would be what the farmers use will not be recognized in Manitoba or Alberta. So, farmers or anybody traveling outside of Saskatchewan will have to have the full training program.”

Until a decision is made for the ag sector anyone wishing to drive a semi used in farming operations will need an “F” endorsement and will be restricted to operating within Saskatchewan’s borders.

The “F” endorsement will not be required if they already have a Class 1 licence or have taken the mandatory training.

He notes the “F” endorsement will not be required if they already have a Class 1 licence or have taken the mandatory training.

Information on SGI’s new Mandatory Class 1 driver training is available here.         

Federal MP's Address SARM Delegates

 

SARM delegates had a chance to hear from a number of key Liberal Ministers during their Annual Convention this week.

Speaking to the group this week Bernadette Jordan the Minister for Rural Development and International Trade Minister Jim Carr.

The Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale was also in attendance.

Goodale took some heat over the carbon tax and the situation with China.

He says Ottawa is as frustrated as farmers are over China’s decision to stop taking canola imports from Richardson International.

China had initially cited concerns over prohibited pests in shipments from Richardson but have not officially released information to support the claim.

SARM President Ray Orb says this should be a priority for International Trade Minister Jim Carr.

Carr has said that Canada wants to solve the matter but it needs China to provide scientific evidence to back up the claims.

The Federal Government has been pushing for more information from Chinese officials in Beijing and the Canadian Embassy in Ottawa.

Richardson's says after much testing they believe that the pests were not present in the shipments, which was also confirmed by Canadian regulators.

Wheatland Conservation Area Conducts Nitrogen Response Trial In Mustard

Saskatchewan is one of the world’s largest mustard exporters.

With the cost of crop inputs, today farmers and researchers are always looking for ways to boost production.

Bryan Nybo, the Farm Manager with Wheatland Conservation Area says one of their research trials looked at the response to applying various rates of nitrogen fertilizer in Yellow and Brown Mustard.

“Nitrogen is a very important nutrient when it comes to mustard. It’s the most influential input you have when developing yield and quality of mustard; so, to get the proper nutrient on that crop is critical. As nitrogen response curves change so do your recommendations change when you do soil tests.”

The research trial involved applying various rates of Nitrogen 30,50,70,90 and 110 pounds.

Mustard Nitrogen Response 2018 Courtesy of Wheatland

“With the yellow mustards, we found that in the year that we had the real dry year we did see responses. There were gentle responses to nitrogen, just a slow response; they were there but not huge. In the hybrid brown, the newer variety of mustard we saw a really nice steady steep response to nitrogen.”

He notes this was in a dry year, so they anticipate an even greater response in a wet year.

Wheatland’s 2019 trial will compare the nitrogen response of a hybrid brown variety to an open-pollinated centennial brown.

Nybo presented the findings during Cropportunities 2019.

Federal Agriculture Minister Looking Forward to Visiting Saskatchewan

Canada’s new Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau made her first Agricultural tour to Western Canada with stops in BC, Alberta, and Manitoba.

While the trip didn’t involve a stop in Saskatchewan her office responded with a written statement by saying the trip was already on the books for former Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay prior to the cabinet shuffle and Minister Bibeau chose to keep those commitments.

Here is part of that response...

“In her opening week on the job, Minister Bibeau has been focused on the canola trade issue that is concerning Saskatchewan farmers, and she is eager to visit Saskatchewan; a powerhouse of Canadian Agriculture. 

Our government recognizes that agriculture continues to be essential to the way of life and to the economy in Western Canada. That’s why Minister Bibeau has made it a priority to make Western Canada her first destination as Minister.

Minister Bibeau is part of a team which includes many ministers, a number of whom will be traveling in Western Canada this week. Ministers Jim Carr and Bernadette Jordan will both be in Saskatchewan for the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) annual conference and will be able to speak to the canola matter while there.

Minister Bibeau looks forward to visiting Saskatchewan soon to meet with farmers, processors and industry leaders and hear ideas on how to capture growth opportunities for Saskatchewan’s agricultural sector. “

More Ag News

CN Rail Invests In Upgrades For Saskatchewan

CN has announced a major investment for 2019 to expand and strengthen the rail network in the province. Sean Finn, CN’s Executive Vice President says they are investing more than $245 million dollars…

Trying To Find Help On The Farm Can Be A Challenge

One of the challenges in the Agriculture sector can be trying to find help on the farm or ranch. Kara Dyer is an Immigration Consultant with Beyond Borders Immigration Consulting at Gull Lake. She…

More Dogs Being Added To Canada's Airports To Help Stop African Swine Fever

On Thursday, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced new funding of up to $31 million to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports to help prevent…

CASA Releases Farmer Health Insurance Availability Report

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) has released a first-of-its-kind report examining health and disability insurance available to Canadian farmers. The report underscores the…

New Food Guide More Affordable

Canada's new Food Guide places more focus on plant-based eating and eliminated the four food groups that most Canadians have grown up with. A new survey done by Dalhousie University and the…

International Trade Minister Talks Canola at SARM

The Chinese Canola issue was a key topic of discussion at this week’s SARM Annual Convention. International Trade Minister Jim Carr spoke Thursday at the convention about China’s decision to suspend…

Saskatchewan's Launches New Standardized Training For Class 1 Commercial Drivers

Starting today, Saskatchewan now has new standardized mandatory training requirements for a Class 1 commercial licence to drive semi trucks. The standards for new drivers include a minimum of 121.5…

Federal MP's Address SARM Delegates

SARM delegates had a chance to hear from a number of key Liberal Ministers during their Annual Convention this week. Speaking to the group this week Bernadette Jordan the Minister for Rural…

Saskatchewan's Launches New Standardized Training For Class 1 Commercial Drivers

Starting today, Saskatchewan now has new standardized mandatory training requirements for a Class 1 commercial licence to drive semi trucks. The standards for new drivers include a minimum of 121.5…

Federal MP's Address SARM Delegates

SARM delegates had a chance to hear from a number of key Liberal Ministers during their Annual Convention this week. Speaking to the group this week Bernadette Jordan the Minister for Rural…

Wheatland Conservation Area Conducts Nitrogen Response Trial In Mustard

Saskatchewan is one of the world’s largest mustard exporters. With the cost of crop inputs, today farmers and researchers are always looking for ways to boost production. Bryan Nybo, the Farm Manager…

Federal Agriculture Minister Looking Forward to Visiting Saskatchewan

Canada’s new Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau made her first Agricultural tour to Western Canada with stops in BC, Alberta, and Manitoba. While the trip didn’t involve a stop in Saskatchewan…

DiscoverEstevan.com is Estevan's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login