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SPECIAL UPDATE NO. 5
As part of our ongoing efforts to keep you apprised of the farm-related impacts of the COVID-19 crisis please see our overview of the latest developments that have been identified by the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions’ Team and partners.
 
Amid the crisis, our commissions have been focused on the following priorities as identified by farmers:
  • Continuity of supply chains to ensure the availability of necessary crop inputs throughout the growing season.
  • Ensuring that outstanding crop insurance claims on unharvested acres are processed prior to spring seeding allowing farmers to cash flow this year’s crop.
  • Fluidity of grain transport to ensure export capacity, farm revenue streams and storage availability post-harvest. 
     
Recognizing that this situation is changing by the moment, we encourage you to contact our team with any issues, concerns or questions.



For more information about these issues, please contact:

Shannon Sereda, Policy and Government Relations Manager
ssereda@albertawheatbarley.com
587-899-5299
 
Geoff Backman, Business Development & Markets Manager
gbackman@albertawheatbarley.com
587-438-2977
 


For media interviews, please contact:

Victoria Decker, Communications Manager
vdecker@albertawheatbarley.com
403-813-6956

EMERGING ISSUES

Here are some of the emerging issues that have been brought to our attention. Please reach out if YOU are having concerns in these areas.
  • Measures to employ family members.
  • Shortage of PPE
  • Childcare issues
  • Input shortages
  • Crop insurance issues
  • MELT Class 1 drivers, Testing, Training

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

  • AFSC releases further information regarding Enhanced On-Farm Inspection Procedures related to keeping producers safe during COVID-19 as well as information concerning unharvested acres and what producers need to know.
  • Cereals Canada outlines why they believe customers, both within Canada and abroad, can be confident in the reliability of the Canadian grain supply chain.
  • Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen provides updates on the plan to minimize disruptions at Beef Plants and changes to the Board of AFSC.
  • Farmers lend their perspectives to the on-farm impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

    More information on each point is contained in the sections below.

AFSC ON UNHARVESTED ACRES: WHAT FARMERS NEED TO KNOW AS SPRING APPROACHES

  • AFSC has provided further information to help provide guidance to farmers as the spring seeding approaches. You can read the Q & A here.
  • Information on Enhanced On-Farm Inspection Procedures during COVID-19 can be found here.
  • Alberta Wheat and Barley, as part of Team Alberta, continue to meet with AFSC and Alberta Agricultural and Forestry officials on a regular basis to keep them apprised of farmers concerns as we head into seeding of the 2020 crop.
READ MORE

THE CANADIAN GRAIN INDUSTRY IS WELL-POSITIONED TO HELP MEET THE WORLD'S DEMAND FOR A SECURE FOOD SUPPLY

  • Cereals Canada’s Cam Dahl, assures customers that the Canadian supply chain is well positioned to remain operational during the pandemic. This priority and our commitment to meeting our customers’ needs are not going to change.
  • Sufficient protocols have been put into place by links along the supply chain will also help ensure ongoing operations and minimize disruptions should infections occur.
  • Our supply chain is highly efficient and resilient, which is especially important and valuable during this time of crisis.
READ MORE

MINISTER DREESHEN ON MINIMIZING IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON MEAT PROCESSING PLANTS AND OVERHAUL OF AFSC BOARD 

  • The Alberta and federal governments, with the input and assistance of industry and worker representatives have developed a plan to respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in food processing plants.
  • The protocol is designed to limit the impact on the food supply chain and protect workers from cases of COVID-19.
  • AFSC board appointments aim to improve responsiveness to farmers who are still dealing with the aftermath of the 2019 harvest.
READ MORE
Image courtesy of Sarah Hoffman for GrainsWest Magazine

GRAINSWEST INITIATES 'FARM DIARY' SERIES TO OFFER FARMER PERSPECTIVES ON OPERATING THEIR BUSINESS DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

  • The GrainsWest multi-part series will explore unique perspectives and adaptations farmers are making in their operations in response to COVID-19 protocols.
  • The first instalment features the article: Stay In Your Truck – by Sarah Hoffman with some bizarre occurrences.
  • Read new instalments each week in GrainsWest online, or in our weekly COVID-19 updates.
READ MORE

WHEAT AND BARLEY PRICES REMAIN STABLE WITHIN WEEK TO WEEK FLUCTUATIONS

  • Futures prices for wheat fell this week on lack of concerns.
  • USDA crop report shows near-normal planting of 2020 crop.
  • Feed barley prices remain stable.
READ MORE

STRONG GRAIN TRANSPORTATION CONTINUES TO CLOSE THE GAP IN DELIVERY BACKLOGS

  • Rail deliveries continue to operate above averages with fulfillment in Alberta at 83% for CN and 98% for CP.
  • Vessel line-ups down to near-normal levels at west coast ports.
  • Grain continues to steadily move from farms to country elevators, at above average rates.
READ MORE

MELT CLASS 1 DRIVERS - ONLINE REBOOKING OF SUSPENDED TESTS COMMENCED ON APRIL 17, 2020

  • For the last four weeks commercial and passenger road testing in Alberta has been suspended.
  • Protocols were put into place to allow for emergency testing to take place, with priority for essential service industries.
  • Albertans who had a road test scheduled will be able to rebook online as of April 17, 2020 for a test on April 20, 2020 or later.
READ MORE

RESEARCH MOVING FORWARD WITH ADDED HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

  • Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley funding partners as well as research providers have established COVID-19 contingency plans. Several institutions have the flexibility to continue field work, with added precautions while the scope of work may be limited.
  • Larger institutions are still discussing their go-forward plans internally and will communicate those plans to us once confirmed.
  • The University of Alberta, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry including the Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) are planning to move forward with field work, with safety protocols in place.
READ MORE

UPDATES TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COVID-19 RELIEF PROGRAMS

  • Temporary Foreign Workers continue to arrive in Canada, $50 million in funding announced by the Minister of Agriculture.
  • Changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) announced that reduce eligibility payroll minimum from $50K to $20K.
  • Changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy have also occurred, and will be available to those who see a 15% drop in their revenue in March 2020, and 30% for the following months.
READ MORE

AGSAFE ALBERTA TAKES TRAINING ONLINE HOSTING LIVE WEBINARS TO REPLACE IN-PERSON WORKSHOPS

  • The first in the series will take place on April 21, 2020 for employers: Recruitment, Orientation & Training.
  • The following webinar will talk about emergency planning, including planning for pandemics.
  • Questions related to COVID-19 management will be welcome. All webinars available through the AgSafe learning portal.
READ MORE
With a mission to drive profitability for Alberta’s wheat and barley farmers, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions operate with an integrated management team.
 
Our amalgamated staff results in administrative cost savings that allows the commissions to further advance innovative research, market access, farm policy and government relations. In this new era of collaboration, the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions serve as leaders in the Canadian agriculture industry.
 
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Copyright © 2020 Alberta Wheat Commission & Alberta Barley, All rights reserved.


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