You are on page 1of 16

alberta

ORGANIC

SPRING 2016

ISSUE 01

VOLUME 07

ORGANIC PRODUCERS IN CANADA: 2014


1200

1000

The latest data shows that in 2014,


a total of 3780 organic producers
were operating in Canada. This is
a 5% increase since 2012. While
Canada reported 3590 organic
producers in 2012, this number
dropped in 2013 to 3513.

800
600
400
200

British Columbia experienced the


largest growth in organic producers,
increasing by 10% since 2012.

DEBBIE MILLER

The numbers of producers, crops,


and acres across the countr y are in!
Thanks to the Canada Organic Trade
Association (COTA), who gathers this
data with the help of the cer tification
bodies. These char ts include data
gathered by COTA in 2014 are from
COTA and will give you a good birds

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

eye view of what is happening across


the country. Here in Alber ta, our team
is working with COTA to focus in more
specifically on the Prairie-wide statistics.
We will have much more detail on those
numbers in our Summer issue, but those
who attended the April Prairie Organic
Grain Industry Monthly Teleconference
call were treated to a preview when
Tia Loftsgard, COTA Executive Director,
shared some preliminary findings.

There is no doubt that the Prairies


are extremely impor tant. In Canada
we provide 89% of all organic wheat
and oats and 99% of the organic protein
crops, making us one of the top world
protein producers. We are also the third
largest producers of organic pulses in
the world and home to 59% of all the
Canadian organic acres. Want more?
Stay tuned for the Summer 2016 issue
arriving around the end of July!

SPRING 2016 | ISSUE 01 | VOLUME 07

Mission: To represent and support Albertas


entire organic industry.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS REPORT

Vision: A strong, sustainable and united


organic community in Alberta.

Editor/Submissions & Advertising


Editor: Debbie Miller
306-642-0216
editor@organicalberta.org
Copy Editor
Brenda Frick
306-260-0663
organic@usask.ca
Graphic Designer & Publisher
Curio Studio
780-451-2261
www.curiostudio.ca

Executive Director
Becky Lipton:
587-521-2400 | becky.lipton@organicalberta.org
Board Members
Representatives elected by region:
(N) North (S) South (C) Central
(M) Member at Large
President: Ward Middleton (C):
780-939-7549 | midmore@xplornet.ca
Vice President: Tim Hoven (S):
403-302-2748 | timhoven@gmail.com
Treasurer: Heather Kerschbaumer (N):
780-835-4508 | gaseeds@kerbagroup.com
Secretary: Trevor Aleman (S):
403-308-4003 | trevor@busybeasmarketgarden.com
Lawrence Ashmead (M):
403-971-9682 | lawrence.ashmead@
freshdirectproduce.com
Janice Shelton (N):
780-623-7664 | tjshelton@mcsnet.ca
Danny Turner (M)
780-469-1900 | danny@theorganicbox.ca
Dawn Boileau (C)
780-218-2430 | sunrise-gardens@hotmail.com
Abbie Stein-MacLean (M)
780-984-3068 | asteinmaclean@gmail.com
Charles Newell (AB rep at federal level)
780-809-2247 | newellsfarm@gmail.com

Summer 2016 deadline is Friday, June 10th.


Please send comments, suggestions, ads, and/or
articles to editor@organicalberta.org

recommendations to government. Organic Alberta


will strive to be at the table, and ensure the organic
sector has a voice.

ORGANIC ALBERTA A LITTLE


BIT ON HOW WE FUNCTION
BECKY LIPTON,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR : ORGANIC ALBERTA

ORGANICS UNDER THE NEW BUDGET


Our provincial government recently tabled a new
budget, and with it came some significant changes to
agriculture. Most notably the dissolving of the Alberta
Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Alberta Grains
Council, Alberta Farm Safety Advisory Council, Next
General Advisory Council, Agriculture Operations
Practice Act Policy Advisory Group and Agriculture
Development Committee.
One of the greatest impacts on our sector is the
disbanding of ALMA. Many organic businesses
accessed funding through ALMA over the years,
and ALMA has funded Organic Albertas organic
livestock and consumer marketing programs for
the past 3 years. The Ministry has said that it will
continue to fund programs, services and grants
for the livestock sectors through their department.
Organic Alberta will keep the sector abreast of
any opportunities as they are announced.
Another new development is the creation of the
Agriculture advisory panel. Its purpose is to provide
a mechanism for industry to share ideas and provide

Organic Alberta has programs in a number of


areas including working with young farmers, livestock
and grain producers, and programs that support
transitioning farmers and the promotion of organic
products. We also put on many events throughout
the year from our field days to our conference.
If you ever have any questions about our programs
or activities, please contact us at 587-521-2400/
info@organicalberta.org.
Organic Albertas board provides overarching
governance for the organization, which means they
set the direction and priorities. They then delegate
achieving those priorities to me, the Executive
Director. Reporting to the board occurs 10 times
a year at board meetings, where the board assesses
whether and how well we are reaching our goals.
Many of our programs are funded by external
granting agencies, which have a thorough reporting
and auditing process. We therefore have strong
internal as well as external checks and balances
for our program and financial management.
The board will be going through a thorough
strategic planning process over the coming year.
If you have ideas on priorities and directions,
please reach out to your regional representative
via info@organicalberta.org/ 587-521-2400.

ORGANIC ALBERTA SUPPORTERS


Big thank you to the following people who sent in donations and/or became Friends of Organic
over the last few months. It is your contributions that keep us going!
David Bannow, Poplar Bluff Organics, Little Red Hen Mill Farm, Gerrit Brouwer, Chickadee Farm Herbs
Ltd., Dawn Boileau, Herman & Maria Friesen, Andrew Mans, Natures Organic Grist, Marnie Freeleus, David
Klassen, Peter & Levke Eggers, Laurel Wood, Norbert Kratchmer, Howard Krekoski, Dan Rollingson, Dale
Doram, Judy Zastre, Rick Kohut, George Friesen, Tyler Goertzen, Myra Marshall, Stuart Wheeler, Sergius
Mankow, Abbie Stein-MacLean, Lyle Statham, Teresa Van den Hazel, Nolan Wohlgemuth, Art and Kathy Baker,
Carol & Ed Szymanek, Stuart Meston, Carolyn Martha Bondy, Laurel Wood, Terence Prockiw, AnnaMarie
& Jack Feenstra, Brandon Nagy, Peter & Anna Bueckert, Dale Neudorf, Bradley Griffin, Daniel & Agatha
Driedger, Franz Zakarias, Hemp Oil Canada, Chris Simeniuk, Hemp Genetics International, Susan and Tim
Penstone, Homegrown Foods, Wetaskiwin Co-op Assoc, New Century Produce, Paul Tiege, Peavey Mart
and Blush Lane.
Are we missing your name? If you havent sent in your donation yet, please do it soon! We depend on you!

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

rganic
roducers
ssociation
Certification
with TCO Cert

Thank you to The Organic Box and chef Brad Smoliak for providing our recipe
this month! They have a great partnership, developing recipes featuring Alberta
Organic ingredients that are available seasonally each month and then sharing
them with us via https://blog.theorganicbox.ca/. Do you have a great recipe,

preferably that features something you grow on your own farm? We would love to
include it in an upcoming issue. Send your recipes to Debbie.miller@organicalberta.
org, or #1, 10329 61st Ave NW, Edmonton, AB, T6H 1K9. Thank you!

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

OCIA International - Canada


OCIAThe Root of Organic Integrity
Leading the Way in Organic
Certification for Over 25 Years
Contact us today regarding discounts
for new members!

Marg Laberge, Member Services T: 780-851-9482


Email: mlaberge@ocia.org www.ocia.org

Simply Fish
SOIL AMENDMENT

APPR
FOR O OVED
PROD RGANIC
UCTI
ON

sales@simplyfish.ca

simplyfish.ca

ORGANIC GRAIN INDUSTRY


MONTHLY TELECONFERENCE
Growing the Organic Community through Exchange
Second Wednesday of
Every Month
9:00 AM to 10:30 AM MDT.

Dial-In Number: 1-866-613-5223


Access Code: 9817492

The goal of the calls is to build community and grow capacity through
exchange and learning. The who's who in the prairie organic sector
will be on this call. Don't miss it!

Seeking

timely & efficient


organic certification?
Minimize and Simplify Your Paperwork
Connections to Local and Global Markets:
Canadian Organic Regime

Highlight Cross-Provincial Updates


Hear what has been happening with everyone: updates, learnings shared
by everyone on the call.

JAS Organic Equivalency


USDA NOP Equivalency
EU Organic Equivalency
Bio Suisse Verification

9:009:15 AM

9:259:35 AM

Welcome and Introductions


Guest presenter
(topic relevant to Prairie organic grain sector)
Questions for the presenter

9:3510:15 AM

Cross-Provincial Updates

10:1510:30 AM

POGI Update and closing

9:159:25 AM

More than 15 Years of Experience in Delivering


a CFIA Quality Assurance Program

Contact us:
Toll-free: (800) 516-3300
Phone: (613) 236-6451
www.csi-ics.com

About CSI
The Centre for Systems Integration, a division of
the Canadian Seed Institute, is a proven service
provider of quality assurance programs in the
agriculture sector.

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

ORGANIC MARKET NOTES


SCOTT SHIELS, GRAIN MILLERS CANADA CORP

Organic markets have been strong for the past couple of years and that
is not showing any signs of change in the 2016-17 crop year. Demand for
organic oat finished product has shown double digit percentage growth
year after year, and that is being reflected in record high forward pricing
for growers going into the new year. We are contracting for $7/bushel
for winter 2017 organic oats, butdue to the increase in oat acres this
year, that space is filling up fast.

ORGANIC MARKET
OPPORTUNITIES
CLASSIFIED ADS
Diversify with Albertas upcoming frost tolerant specialty crop!
Grow Quinoa! Organic Total production contracts available
for 2016. Premium returns, guaranteed markets and delivery.
www.quinoa.com 306.933.9525
Grower's International is buying all kinds of wheat, durum,
barley, oats, flax, spelt, peas, mustard and lentils. Call one of
our buyers today! Mark Gimby: 306-652-4529, Braden Neuls:
204-918-5822, Lorne Lix: 204-924-7050.
F.W. Cobs is buying HRSW and feed grains, including Barley,
Peas, Rye, Screenings, and more. We buy FOB the farm,
delivered to Loreburn, SK or loaded rail. Call 888-531-4888
ext 7 or 8.
Are you looking for a consistent supply of Organic Soybean
meal? Shafer Commodities can assist you with all of your
organic needs, we are also buying HRS, durum, flax, barley
& peas 403-328-5066.
Wanted: finished certified organic cattle and feeder cattle.
For Sale: Certified organic alfalfa seed, feeder hogs, and milking
cows. Also Freezer pork, lamb and beef. Contact Peter Lundgard
at Nature's Way Farm 780-338-2934
Trade and Export Canada is buying all grades of organic grains.
Call 1-306-433-4700.
Looking for certified Organic, Yellow peas(Grande)70 bus,
Green peas(Stryker)90 bus, and Large or Medium Green lentils
50 bus. Call or text David at New Life Organic Foods
1-306-393-9115

Other commodities such as flax, wheat, and barley are also showing
large gains in demand, and are sustaining prices at very profitable levels.
New crop flax contracts are at $35/bushel, soft white wheat has been
in the $17-$18 range, and milling barley has been around $10/bushel.
Special crops such as lentils, mustards and peas are also showing gains
in demand, which also corresponds to a growth in acreage. These crops
can be a little more challenging to grow and market organically, but with
pricing at todays levels, they definitely are proving to be a very profitable
option on the farm.
Always check with more than one buyer when marketing your organic
crops, as different buyers are selling into different markets and can have
significantly differing prices. Always read your contracts, as you may be
agreeing to something that you did not discuss with your buyer. Finally,
it is very important to ensure that your buyer is licensed and bonded
by the CGC to protect you from issues that can arise such as nonpayment, or undue discounts.

MARKET PRICES
The following prices are compliments of OrganicBiz.ca. They gather
and post monthly price information at organicbiz.ca/category/markets/.
Big thank you to Laura Telford from Manitoba for all her time and energy
in collecting past price data for us!

SPRING 2016 | ISSUE 01 | VOLUME 07

LEARNING, SHARING AND HAVING FUN AT AN ORGANIC FIELD DAY

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

LETS GET TOGETHER!

DIAL-AN-ORGANIC EXPERT

2016 FIELD DAYS

Were listening! Farmers across the prairies now have access to


an expert (at no charge) to discuss any organic production questions,
including those about transition.Take advantage of the knowledge,
experience and expertise of our agronomic experts. All questions are
welcomed; leave a message and you will be answered within 36 hours.

The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative, in partnership with Organic


Alberta, will be hosting field days across Alberta this summer (July
and August). Do you have a best management practice or unique
situation that would provide a learning opportunity for other farmers?

Call 1-800-245-8341 to access experts or contact via email


at info@pivotandgrow.com.
YOUR OTHER ONE-STOP SHOP
www.pivotandgrow.com
Are you an organic producer, either experienced or in transition?
Do you sometimes wish you had more resources to help?
Visit the www.pivotandgrow.com resources tab to see:
Transition resources check out the Organic Transition Starter Kit
Production resources crop rotations, soil fertility, weeds,
cover crops, green manures, intercropping, grain quality
Marketing info grain buyers and business-to-business directory
Grain prices
Books for purchase
Information on Coming Events
Crop Insurance find out about the new program in Alberta
Cant find what youre looking for? Let us knowwell add it
to the site. Contact Melisa.Zapisocky@prairieorganicgrain.org.

We would love to hear from you as a potential field-day host.


We are looking at featuring the topics of weeds, fertility, crop rotations
and green manures. Contact Iris.Vaisman@prairieorganicgrain.org
to showcase your organic farm.
ONLINE COFFEE SHOP
Want to meet up with other organic farmers but dont have the
time to get together? We have a solution. Join prairie organic farmers
online as they discuss real production topics: crop rotations, seeding,
weed control, etc.
Heres how it works. Go to www.organicfarmtalk.ca. Create a log-in
ID and start asking your questions. No question is too basic! If you are
an experienced organic farmer, this is a way you can help others by
answering questions.
Special thank you to Cody Straza and Allison Squires for creating
an online community for all of us!

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

We clean cereals,
oilseeds, and
pulse crops.
Contact Glen Hartel at 403-578-3810
or coroseed@xplornet.com

Need a location to drop off your


products to your customers?
We want to work with you!

Locations available in
Wetaskiwin, Brooks, Stettler
Contact:
780.604.2634
slava@e-equities.ca
enduranceequities.ca

ANNOUNCING THE WINNER


OF PAID CERTIFICATION FOR A YEAR
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete
our Producer Information Survey last spring! We did a
random draw of all the respondents and are happy to
introduce Daniel and Marilyn Wiebe from Buffalo Prairie,
AB as our lucky winners! We will pay their certification
costs for a year!
Daniel and Marilyn have been farming organically since
2008 and harvested their first certified organic crop in
2011. Their regular rotation includes wheat, oats and red
clover. Although they did farm conventionally for 3 years,
Daniel always enjoyed learning the old practices from
his father. Converting to organic production has not only
been rewarding, it has enabled a healthier lifestyle for
the Wiebes and their 4 young children. Congratulations
Daniel and Marilyn.

SPRING 2016 | ISSUE 01 | VOLUME 07

PHOTO CREDIT: IRIS VAISMAN


BLADE ROLLER IN ACTION ON A
PEA AND OAT GREEN MANURE MIX

HOW DO GREEN MANURES BENEFIT MY FARM AND


WHAT CAN I DO TO GET THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT?

IRIS VAISMAN

Green manures are a crucial part of a successful


organic crop rotation. When managed well,
they increase soil fertility, soil health, biodiversity,
provide erosion protection, and decrease weed
populations. Sometimes called plough downs,
or the more general name of cover crop, green
manures are planted and not harvested for seed,
but instead incorporated back into the soil.
When green manures are growing throughout
the season, they are capturing carbon from the
atmosphere. Some of the carbon is incorporated

into the plant material that we see above the


ground, while some goes below the ground
into the roots and is released as root exudates
into the soil. These exudates feed soil biodiversity,
contribute to soil organic matter, and improve
soil structure. It is very important to include
legumes in your green manures, because they
fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Legumes
in green manures are in fact a major source
of nitrogen in organic cropping systems. Like
carbon, the nitrogen is incorporated into the
plant, and also released through root exudates,
again creating a rich soil environment. When the
green manure is terminated (this can be done
by tilling, mowing, rolling, or grazing, but more on
that later), the green manure starts decomposing.
As it decomposes, it releases all the nutrients
that are in the plant, both above the ground and
in the roots. These nutrients that are released
feed soil organisms and are also bound up by the
soil (for future crops to use). The decomposing
plants therefore increase the amount of carbon
and nitrogen in the system. More carbon means

more soil organic matter, means more soil


biodiversity, means better soil structure, means
better soil health.
In order to get the most benefit from your
green manure, you want to create as much
plant material as you can, so that you have
optimum nitrogen and carbon, as well as good
weed competition and soil cover. How can you
do that? Well, this question needs to be first
answered with a few questions. For example,
where are you farming and what are the legumes
that grow best in your region? What are your
moisture limitations? Where in your rotation
are you growing your green manure, and do you
want to grow an annual, biennial, or a perennial?
To help with these decisions, check out: Legume
Green Manuring Government of Alberta
(http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/
deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex133) and Cover crops and
green manures in organic production OACC
(http://www.dal.ca/faculty/agriculture/oacc/enhome/resources/crop-rotation/cover-crop-greenmanure.html).
continued on page 9

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

Green Manure contined from page 8

After narrowing down your legume species,


you can setup your green manure for success
by choosing the right seeding rate (which will
depend on your green manure species choice)
and by always inoculating your legumes. Proper
inoculation increases the amount of nitrogen that
will be fixed. Always consider growing more than
one species in your green manure. For example,
growing peas together with oats gives the peas
something to grow on. Also, consider your weed
control. One strategy is to seed early to get
ahead of the weeds, while another is to wait
for a flush of weeds, till, and then seed the green
manure. Farmers use both strategies, and must
balance their timing. In some cases they want
to get the green manure into the ground as soon
as possible for maximum biomass, or in the case
of warm season crops they may try to plant
a little later for high biomass, while, also taking
the opportunity for weed control.

How you choose to terminate your green


manure can vary, and depends on equipment
availability and conditions on the farm. There
is no hard and fast rule about how to terminate,
as each option has its pros and cons. Incorporating your green manure with tillage allows the
plant material to be mixed into the soil, which
promotes even decomposition and a large N
contribution to the following years crop, while
leaving some residue on surface. Tillage also
allows for weed control, especially of difficult
perennials such as Canada thistle. However,
some farmers are looking to reduce tillage or
move away from it entirely. This is where you
can consider mowing, blade rolling, or grazing.
Mowing helps break up residue, and the mulch
that remains provides soil coverage, and if thick
enough, can suppress weeds. Keep in mind,
when the plant material is not incorporated,
there is slower green manure decomposition
and N release, with a potential nitrogen loss to
the atmosphere. Blade rolling uses less fuel and
also leaves a rich mulch on the surface of the soil.

And if you have access to animals, grazing


is an excellent way to utilize green manures
as well as cycle available nutrients. Once again,
there is no hard and fast rule about termination,
and combining various methods might be the
best option for your farm. If using warm season
plants, seeded later, winter can terminate for you.
Stalks can be grazed, or left for snow trapping,
and they can be incorporated in the spring.
Green manures can be managed in diverse
ways that best compliment your farm. Taking
the time to pay attention to your green manures
will pay off in crop yield, crop quality, and soil
health. At the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative,
we would like to hear how farmers are managing
their green manures. Whats working? What are
your challenges? You can email iris.vaisman@
prairieorganicgrain.org or call 587-521-2400
if you would like to share. And keep an eye
out for more green manure management
information on pivotandgrow.org.

PROPER STOCKMANSHIP SCHOOL WITH


TINA WILLIAMS & RICHARD MCCONNEL
stress overall, cattle are easier to handle.
Additional benefits include improved
disease resistance, better weight gain
and carcass performance.

MELISA ZAPISOCKY

For Tina Williams of Hand n Hand Livestock


Solutions, good stockmanship is not about
having tame animals you can pet or trick
into the corral with grain or just not yelling.
It means having the tools to keep your
livestock in the proper mental state as they
go through the entire production process.
Proponents say lower stress and improved
quality of life, for both farmer and their
livestock are achieved through the use of
proper stockmanship techniques. By reducing

Organic Alberta is pleased to be


the recipient of Growing Forward
2s Livestock Delivery Agent
Program. This funding will allow
us to host two, 2-day Stockmanship
Schools in Alberta, with Hand n
Hand Livestock Solutions; one on
June 13/14 at the Red Deer County
Office and one on June 16/17
in Cochrane. The cost is $60 for
members of Organic Alberta and/
or our partner Forage Associations,
or $80 for non-members.

Participants attending a Hand n Hand


Livestock school will learn how proper
stockmanship can make your livestock
handling experiences easier and more
enjoyable. The sessions will be taught in
a class room setting (no hands on) and
will include information on pressure and
release; how we communicate with our
livestock; instincts of humans and livestock;
predator/prey relationship; positioning and
movement; training the herd; at the gate
and working in the corral; sorting, weaning,
receiving and loading; and our attitude.
Richard McConnel and Tina Williams
are a well experienced team in animal
handling, and they present stockmanship
schools across Canada and the United
States. Visit organicalberta.org/events
for more information, or contact Melisa
at 587-521-2400 or melisa.zapisocky@
organicalberta.org

SPRING 2016 | ISSUE 01 | VOLUME 07

ORGANIC
DANA PENRICE ACCEPTING PEAVEY
MARTS CONTRIBUTION TO BUILDING
THE YOUNG AGRARIAN PROGRAM

YOUNG AGRARIANS

GROWING THE NEXT GENERATION OF


ECOLOGICAL FARMERS IN ALBERTA
DANA PENRICE

Organic Alberta is delighted to be the new home for Young


Agrarians programming in Alberta. With the receipt of Peavey Marts
Agricultural Community Grant, funding has been established for a
coordinator to support programming over the next two years.
In British Columbia, Young Agrarians has been a successful initiative
that supports beginning and new farmers. Its foundation has been
on creating a supportive, mutual learning community that supports
members in navigating the opportunities and challenges as they
start farming, such as land access, capital access and training.
Young Agrarians is part of an ecology of individuals, organizations,
resources and socio-cultural drivers that influence the developmental path of beginning and new farmers. New farmers face a plethora
of challenges and opportunities and farmer-to-farmer knowledge
sharing and training is crucial.
One of the major goals is to break through the sense of isolation
that many farmers feel. Farm tours, potlucks, mixers and workshops
will be organized across the province for young and elder agrarians
to gather and build a community of support. Through this work,
well gather a greater understanding of what the needs are on the
ground in Alberta; and we will build strategies and programming
around these needs.

Grain Millers, Inc. is privately held


family company that has been a
leader in Organic milling for over
25 years. Our business is built on
strong partnerships with our
farmers. We offer competitive,
farm gate pricing, agronomy and
sustainability advice and strong
markets for your grains.

OATS
FLAX
BARLEY
MUSTARD
WHEAT

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

11

OVER 80 PEOPLE PARTICIPATED


IN ORGANIC AGRONOMIST TRAINING
IN LACOMBE AND MOOSE JAW PUT ON
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSITY
OF MANITOBA AND THE PRAIRIE
ORGANIC GRAIN INITIATIVE.

ITS ALL ABOUT


SUCCESS!
A mentorship program offers a structured
environment where a more experienced
farmer can guide a new organic farmer
to understand organic farming practices.
Ultimately we want new entrants to succeed
to strengthen and stabilize the organic grain
sector on the prairies.
We are looking for both mentors and
mentees as we develop our mentorship
program for 2016.
Are you an experienced organic farmer?
If so, consider paying it forward to a new
organic farmer by sharing your knowledge.
Your contribution will help to build the
confidence of a mentee and will develop
their skill in organic production.
For new farmers, you can receive that valuable
advice and benefit from greater knowledge
and experience. Your mentor may guide you
through a production problem, guide you to
resources and contacts, and provide you with
tips on weeds, fertility, etc.
There will be a small registration fee. To
get connected, contact Melisa.Zapisocky@
prairieorganicgrain.org.

NEED AN
ON-SITE ORGANIC
AGRONOMIST?
Wishing you had help with planning your
rotation? Need tips to handle weed pressure?
Help is available!
Agronomists are there to help you look for
ways to increase your soil productivity. They
also work to improve the quality of seed and
help you solve organic cropping challenges.
The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative recently
hosted Organic Agronomist Training in
Alber ta and Saskatchewan, and is planning
more for Manitoba this summer. Organic
agronomists are now available to assist on
a fee-for-service basis. If you are interested,
get connected by contacting Iris.Vaisman@
prairieorganicgrain.org.

IRIS VAISMAN OF THE PRAIRIE


ORGANIC GRAIN INITIATIVE
PRESENTING AT A RECENT
TRAINING WORKSHOP

SPRING 2016 | ISSUE 01 | VOLUME 07

OATS

COATED GRAINS
& CLUSTERS

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

13

Optimize Your Organic Production


D

Liquid Fertilizers

Foliar Products

Granular Fertilizers

Soil Amendments

BioFert is a leading manufacturer of organic fertilizers.


Our innovative, superior products undergo a stringent
quality control process. We carry a full line of ECOCERT
approved organic fertilizers and have a knowledgeable
team of Professional Agrologists.
Organic Division of TerraLink

1.866.BIOFERT
www.biofert.ca
Biofert Organic Alberta Spring 2016.indd 1

BioFert

Manufacturing Inc.

Made in Canada

2/23/2016 12:39:49 PM

SPRING 2016 | ISSUE 01 | VOLUME 07

Prairie Heritage Seeds

Proud supporter of organic agriculture.


Wishing all organic growers a productive 2016 crop year.
Currently contracting Kamut and other grains.
WWW.PHSORGANICS.COM | 1.306.869.2926

WWW.ORGANICALBERTA.ORG

15

ORGANIC GRAIN, CATTLE PRODUCTION


CAN MAKE GOOD PARTNERS
availability. Solid waste is phosphorus rich,
and again biologically available. And of course,
with appropriate management, cattle will spread
these fer tilizers where they are needed.

can turn that loss to profit. Livestock can


make it more cost effective to cut weed
patches as well.
4.

In addition, cattle greatly increase the options


for economic weed management. Cattle eat
weeds, which can be highly nutritious. They also
eat weedy crops and that changes the dynamics
of weed management, making it more effective.
BRENDA FRICK

Reprinted from Western Producer


March 31, 2016.

Basically, I see five ways that cattle can


be introduced into the grain farm:
1.

Manure can be brought onto an organic


farm, if the farm does not produce its own.
Not all forms are acceptable. For instance
sewage sludge and products from caged
animals or those permanently kept in the
dark are prohibited. There are rules for
application, so that it does not contaminate crops or water systems. In general,
it should be applied on biologically active
land (not too cold, not too dry), no less
than 90 days from the harvest of an above
ground food crop.

Grain and livestock production go well together.


It works both ways: introducing organic grain
production onto the ranch can provide a valuable market stream. Integration of cattle into
grain farming can improve sustainability.
For a livestock producer considering pasture
renovation, or re-seeding of hay land, organic
grain production can be a valuable interlude
between hay fields. Demand for organic
grain is high, as are organic prices. Hay land
is generally not treated with chemical inputs,
so it usually transitions quickly.

2.

After a few years of organic grain production, the field can be reseeded to hay, if that is
desirable. Organic production can be rotated
through the hay fields, as they need rejuvenation. Alternately, including cattle on a grain farm
increases the range of weed management options, and improves nutrient cycling.
One of the primary benefits of cattle is that
they provide top-notch fer tilizer. Urine is an
ideal form of nitrogen, with excellent biological

GREEN MANURE INCORPORATION.

Grain producers consider green manure


as a necessary input cost. Allowing cattle
to graze the green manure can change it
from a cost to an income stream. Most of
the nutrients of the green manure will pass
through the cow, and are then applied in
a form that is highly plant available. If
animal density is high enough, what is not
eaten will be trampled into a weed-suppressing, soil-moisture-retaining mulch.

Two points are key during the transition.


First, terminate the hay with tillage, not chemistry. Second, have the field inspected in the year
in which the hay is plowed down.
Land must be under organic oversight
for a full 12 months before the first harvest
of organic products. This means it is necessary
to contact a cer tifier, develop an organic plan,
and have an inspection before harvest time
in the plow-down year. This way, the field
can qualify for cer tified organic production
in its first grain year.

MANURE APPLICATION.

3.

INCLUSION OF FORAGES AND FEED.

Perennial forages are excellent for building


organic matter, and feeding soil biology.
Livestock increase the chances that a farm
will produce forages. Options for annual
forages go far beyond those for annual
grains, because seed production is not
necessary. Warm-season crops can be
seeded well into mid summer, so even
late emerging weeds can be controlled
first. When fields are extremely weedy,
it can be useful to cut them before the
weeds set seeds. This is usually done at
a loss for the producer, but again, livestock

STUBBLE GRAZING.

Cattle grazing after harvest can clean up


grain that was blown through the combine
and may reappear as volunteers next year.
Cattle can clean up weeds as well, especially winter annuals and perennials.
5.

BALE GRAZING.

If nutrients such as phosphorus, are low on


an organic farm, bringing in bales is one way
to bring in nutrients. By grazing those bales
in low nutrient regions, especially knolls,
nutrients can be returned in a more biologically effective way than with mined minerals.
Often grain producers dont feel they have the
skills, resources or interest for cattle production,
however, the price of moveable electric fencing
may be low relative to the nutrient and weed
benefits in the field. Some innovative grain producers have par tnered with neighbouring cattle
producers in a way that benefits both.
Finding a balance of plant and animal production increases the diversity of management
options, and can improve both ecological
and economical sustainability.

CLASSIFIED
ADS
Need help with your Growing
Forward 2 grant applications?
Contact AG Consulting! We have
10+ years of experience successfully
writing and obtaining grants for
our clients. For more info,
call 403-620-4209 or visit
www.angelagreterconsulting.com

#1, 10329-61 AVE NW


EDMONTON, AB
T6H 1K9

FIRST NAME LAST NAME


COMPANY NAME
ADDRESS
CITY, PROVINCE
POSTAL CODE

Organic Grain Marketing


Feed Grains
Food Grade
Oilseeds
Pulses
Screenings

Contact:
Jake, Kelly, Tom or Glen@ 306-931-4576
sales@sunrisefoods.ca
Sunrise Foods International Inc. - Saskatoon, SK
Licensed and Bonded by the Canadian Grain Commission