Korova Feeders Adding Innovative Sustainability Technology

“We believe in growing high quality food right here in Alberta in the most sustainable way possible,” says Kendra Donnelly of Korova Feeders in Acme. Korova is developing a new productive system that will serve as a model for other feedlots in Alberta. The innovative system involves the integration of Rolled Compacted Concrete (RCC) for pen floor surfacing and an onsite pioneering bio-digestor technology to upgrade manure as a feedstock to produce biomethane. This project is anticipated to achieve emission reductions from avoided organic waste decomposition and the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) from waste to displace fossil natural gas. “The change in RNG pricing and the introduction of Clean Fuel Standards (and other policy by provincial and federal governments) is another main reason for why we think bio-digester may work in feedlot sector,” adds Donnelly.

Emissions Reduction Alberta sees the same potential and value in the project as Korova does and recently awarded them $5 million towards the $20,400,000 project. A GHG reduction of 0.73 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e)/head/yr is expected, totalling approximately 25,000 tCO2e for around 34,000 cattle at the feedlot.

Korova Feeders has already implemented RCC technology on their feedlot, so the manure will be more usable to the biodigester than manure from a standard feedlot. RCC was developed in the 1960s, but its application in the feedlot world is still relatively new. The benefits for cattle health, feedlot efficiencies and environmental performance are all being studied, but feedlots using the product have already observed:

– Reduced pen dust, which improves air quality, as well as water quality in the dugouts near the pens

– Reduced loss of clay every time a pen is cleaned. This means less pen maintenance, and also reduces the emissions created by trucks hauling away manure mixed with clay and

– Less mud in pens gives cattle more room to roam and promotes foot health.

“Sustainability is our ultimate motivation across our family businesses; we continue to be innovative to find opportunities for circular systems like the new production system where we can utilize our waste (manure and other organics) for fuel production, heat utilization, nutrient management, water recycle all while producing high quality beef, fruits, and vegetables,” says Donnelly. “It’s a dream, but we are seeing it come to life across the world with innovative technologies being paired with multiple types of production systems.”

 

Learn about the benefits of roller compacted concrete from ACFA member KCL Cattle here

 

 

Alberta producers welcome the consensus on AgriStability proposal, long-term BRM solutions remain needed

Following the March 25th Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) meeting, 11 of Alberta’s producer organizations are pleased the Ministers of Agriculture have come to a consensus on part of the proposed changes to AgriStability, which includes the removal of the reference margin limit, retroactive to 2020, and extending the program enrollment deadline to June 30, 2021. The producer organizations thank Minister Dreeshen, alongside provincial and territorial counterparts, for coming to an agreement on the proposal.

The federal government proposed changes to AgriStability on November 27, 2020, which included the removal of the reference margin limit and increasing the compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent, adding $170 million dollars to the AgriStability program nationally. Today’s announcement includes $95 million of interim improvements to AgriStability that will benefit Canadian farmers and ranchers over the next two years leading up to the renewal of the next policy framework in 2023.

While this news is welcomed, Alberta’s producer organizations understand a decision to increase the compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent was not agreed and remains open for discussion. This portion of the federal offer includes an additional $75 million per year of support for Canadian producers. We continue to encourage the provincial and territorial Ministers to consider accepting this part of the proposal, bringing additional support to Canadian farmers and ranchers.

Alberta’s producer organizations appreciate the provincial and federal governments coming to a consensus and extending this year’s AgriStability enrollment deadline from April 30 to June 30. Today’s decision gives farmers and ranchers an enhanced AgriStability program that will inevitably increase enrollment and increase payouts to producers in the short-term.

This press release is written collaboratively by a number of Alberta’s agriculture producer and commodity groups including Alberta Barley, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Beekeepers, Alberta Canola, Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, Alberta Federation of Agriculture, Alberta Pork, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, Potato Growers of Alberta and Alberta Wheat Commission. These 11 groups represent a cross-section of Alberta’s diverse agriculture industry.

Alberta producer organizations encourage the Government of Alberta to accept the current AgriStability proposal

Following a statement by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau and the Honourable Jim Carr on the federal government’s proposed improvements to AgriStability, 11 of Alberta’s agriculture commodity and producer groups are requesting the Government of Alberta to accept the proposed changes.

Alberta’s producer groups agree the changes will provide immediate improvements to the program for producers’ benefit. While they recognize the proposal is not a long-term solution, these improvements offer interim changes while working towards long-term enhancements to the suite of business risk management (BRM) programs.

Alberta’s producer groups express urgency on the matter as the April 30, AgriStability enrollment deadline nears. Accepting the current proposal would offer Alberta’s producers meaningful changes that will serve as a bridge to the next policy framework in 2023.

On November 27, 2020, the federal government proposed changes to the AgriStability program by removal of the reference margin limit and increasing the compensation rate from 70 per cent to 80 per cent, adding $170 million dollars to the AgriStability program nationally.

Alberta’s producer groups have supported the proposed changes in the short-term while expressing the need for long-term enhancements to BRM programs for Canadian agriculture producers. Alberta producers are looking for clarity and collaboration between the provincial and federal governments to heighten the effectiveness of the current BRM tools available to them.

This press release is written collaboratively by a number of Alberta’s agriculture producer and commodity groups including Alberta Barley, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Beekeepers, Alberta Canola, Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, Alberta Federation of Agriculture, Alberta Pork, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, Potato Growers of Alberta and Alberta Wheat Commission. These 11 groups represent a cross-section of Alberta’s diverse agriculture industry.

 

Cattle Feeders’ Donate To Food Bank in Lieu of Government Events

Recently, ACFA sent the following message to MLAs, outlining our donation to the food bank on their behalf:

 

Deal MLAs and Election Officials,

2020 saw some changes in how we, as farmers and agricultural organizations, were able to interact with you, our local government. Despite the lack of in-person events and meetings, we still  accomplished many positive things on behalf of both our members and your constituents.

Usually, we would gather at a dinner, at meetings, or on our farms to celebrate those accomplishments, and discuss further visions and goals for our dynamic Alberta beef industry. This year, however, we had to forego these celebrations, but we still wanted to show our appreciation and give back.

Please click the thumbnail above to view this short video on how we have made a donation to provide Alberta families with Alberta beef on your behalf.

We look forward to continuing to work with you, growing our agricultural industry and community into the future,

 

Greg Schmidt

Chair

Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association

 

Janice Tranberg

President and CEO

Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association

2020 Annual Report

2020 was different for everyone, to say the least.  Our annual report is a look at how we managed both the changing world, and the day to day business of working for our membership.

Read the complete report here or by clicking an image

 

 

 

An Inside Look at How NCFA Works For You in Ottawa (Even In a Pandemic)

The National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) serves as a unified voice for Canada’s fed cattle producers. NCFA is governed by an eight member Board that includes seven directors appointed by our provincial member organizations (including Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association), plus another director representing the Canadian Cattlemens’ Association (CCA).

NCFA maintains an effective and ongoing presence in Ottawa through a highly dedicated team of consultants who lend their expertise and advice on our various political, regulatory, and trade issues. One of these consultants, Cathy Jo Noble, offered us an inside look at how they work for you in Ottawa, and how 2020 was a little bit different:

NCFA has organized federal lobby days in Ottawa since 2013. The goal of the lobby day/week is to increase the profile of NCFA amongst political decision makers and raise NCFA priority issues for their members.

The lobby days have (usually!) entailed of the NCFA Staff, NCFA Directors and Provincial Staff conducting a ‘blitz’ of in-person meetings on Parliament Hill with MPs, Senators and political staffers. Previous lobby days included a MP breakfast in the Parliamentary restaurant followed by a day of meetings. During these days, teams were formed (combinations of producer directors and staff) and these teams would deliver consistent key messages to the political decision makers on NCFA priorities.

This year because of the pandemic (meaning MPs/Senators/Staffers were not in Ottawa and travel restrictions were in place for Directors/Staff) we held a virtual lobby week. Over the course of a week (October 20-26) – NCFA teams met virtually with political decision makers to present NCFA priorities. Over 25 meetings took place that week, which built upon over 15 virtual meeting NCFA staff had held over the summer and fall.

Targeted decision makers were the ‘home’ MP of NCFA Directors, Ministerial staff, Parliamentary Secretaries, Opposition Critics, Senators and Parliamentary Committee members. Ensuring a balance of COVID urgent topics were balanced with ongoing issues, the key priority issues raised were: BRM Reform, Labour, Infrastructure, and Trade.

Follow up told us that the decision makers appreciated:

1) speaking to cattle feeders directly (not just staff)

2) the detail and clarity of the briefing note

3) the clear and limited number (focused) asks

4) hearing directly about experience of cattle feeders throughout the pandemic

Even though we had to get creative this year, we were able to effectively connect Canada’s cattle feeders to those responsible for the policies that govern our industry.

Let’s see what 2021 brings!

Cattle Feeders Launch Strategic Action Plan to Benefit Members

ACFA recently undertook a strategic action planning session to ensure we continue to deliver more value to our members every day. Learn more about how we plan to do that here.

Strategic Action Plan Video from Alberta Cattle Feeders on Vimeo.

 

On November 30th, the Trudeau government delivered its 2020 fiscal update, entitled ‘Supporting
Canadians and Fighting COVID-19′, to Canadians. While the fall fiscal update has traditionally been simply
an economic snapshot of the country’s fiscal state, this year’s update (237 pages) resembled that of a
‘mini-budget’.

Our National Cattle Feeders’ Association have summarized this fiscal update, highlighting the areas of importance to agriculture, although they are slight.

Government of Canada Federal Fiscal Briefing – December 1

A note from Alberta Health Services to Alberta’s cattle feeders

A note from Alberta Health Services to Alberta’s cattle feeders

 

Since the beginning of November, we have seen an increasing trend of feedlot operations with COVID-19 across the South Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS). This includes cases within support industries such as feed supply and trucking. This aligns with increasing illness in all of Alberta, impacting nearly every sector. To date, in the South Zone, five feedlot operators have had confirmed clusters (more than one case) of COVID-19 illness on their farm.

 

Why does this matter to you?

  • COVID-19 can affect any demographic, any age and any sector, despite all best efforts
  • While illness may be mild for many, for some, it can be very serious
  • Increasing community spread can lead to more outbreaks in vulnerable settings such as care facilities, where risk of serious complications and death are higher
  • Increasing spread may jeopardize the health system, affecting staff and services
  • Illness on feedlots in workers can have a significant impact on operations, which can impact business continuity and animal welfare

 

Key areas to focus on:

 

  • Staff Rooms – this is where individuals tend to let their guards down. It is important to have measures in place at all times in the workplace. People share snacks (common trays, condiments) and have prolonged visits in close proximity in these spaces. We have seen many instances where a team of staff who share the break room unknowingly spread to colleagues, just by having lunch or coffee. People with COVID-19 are infectious (able to spread the virus), 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. With the holiday season upon us, it is common to have oranges, trays of treats, pot lucks and other activities that bring people together. It is important to remember to keep your distance from your colleagues, they are not considered your cohort. They are like the rank steer that does not want to be caught to be treated. Try to schedule or take breaks at different times, wipe down surfaces after each use and reduce any shared items as much as possible.

 

  • Vehicle Sharing – Another common source of spread is when you carpool with a colleague, head to town for supplies or travel on the feedlot in a truck/tractor for more than 15 minutes. This is where those additional measures like masking or face coverings are an asset. You should be masked when in close proximity (within 6 feet) with a colleague for more than 15 minutes, cumulative in a day.

 

  • Treating cattle, handling or moving animals in tight spaces (chutes, alleys, barns) – The virus can spread without masking protection of both workers (nose and mouth) in this situation. Outdoors is generally a lower risk activity, but those closer proximity interactions, where there may be more exertion (breathing heavy) is when aerosols can go farther.

 

These are situations where AHS Public Health South Zone have seen transmission within feedlot operations. As feedlots are important to our agriculture industry and economy, prevention and best management before a case occurs is easier than contact tracing, isolation and quarantine after. We know that no producer wants to spread illness to their most important asset, their staff.

 

Feedlot operators need to be documenting (and making available when requested) the policies and procedures you have implemented on site. Local health services will require this information when conducting contact tracing and other COVID-19 related inquiries. AHS needs this information to ensure anyone potentially exposed receives the correct guidance.

 

At minimum, operators should be able to provide: Names, addresses, phone numbers, date of last shift, roles and positions of staff, workers and visitors who were potentially exposed to an infectious case while they were at that location

 

Each feedlot also needs to be prepared to respond to symptomatic workers or confirmed cases of COVID 19. It is necessary that feedlots have detailed protocols and procedures as well as a comprehensive written Rapid Response Plan to assist AHS in their worksite investigation.

 

Vital documentation:

 

  • Date of reported illness
  • Date of last shift
  • Role and Duties
  • Potential close contacts
  • Crucial roles and contingency plans
    • Ex: If regular staff cannot feed animals, who completes the job and how
  • Employee health and safety measures
    • Masks/face coverings where distance cannot be maintained, sanitization, shift work, distancing policies, etc. Hand hygiene
  • HR Policies
    • Employee symptom reporting and isolation plan
    • Sick leave policy
  • Visitor protocols

 

Specific information and detailed planning for each of these points and more can be found in our comprehensive COVID 19 Feedlot Protocols and Guide.

 

There are also several good resources within this document like this Feedlot Emergency Planning tool, HR Guidelines, and much more.

 

For more information, please contact your ACFA

Cattle Feeders’ Represent Agriculture on Economic Recovery Council

Between your elected volunteer Board of Directors and our staff, the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association represents its members with seats on many significant boards, committees, and panels.

A recent example of this is Board member Kendra Donnelly’s appointment to the Premier’s Economic Recovery Council. The Economic Recovery Council was appointed to provide insight and expert advice on how to protect jobs during the economic crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent collapse in energy prices. The council will also focus on strategies for long term recovery from the crisis, including efforts to accelerate diversification of the Alberta economy. (Full details and list of council members here)

“Being appointed to this committee has given me the opportunity to advocate for agriculture directly with the Premier, working to ensure everyone at the table sees the value agriculture brings to the entire economy,” says Donnelly, owner and partner at Korova Feeders Ltd.

Working on the panel alongside notable Albertans like Clive Beddoe – former chair and principal founder, WestJet, and Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper – Canada’s 22nd prime minister, Donnelly says she works to represent all of agriculture as well as agri-food, value-add, and our entire supply chain within the industry.

Similarly, ACFA’s President and CEO Janice Tranberg sits on the Business Council of Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry panel, which is an advisory council created to tackle issues and provide advice up through the Premier’s Economic Recovery Council that Kendra sits on.

“The business leaders on the Business Council of Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry panel understand the value of agriculture and its important role in building Alberta’s economic recovery. It is our role to make sure these opportunities are realised and implemented by our provincial government,” emphasises Tranberg. “Having a direct line to the premier’s roundtable with Kendra sitting at the table has been, and will continue to be immensely important for delivering our message.”

The Ag and Forestry Panel recently created a strategic action plan outlining how agriculture can lead in Alberta’s economic recovery. “The Council’s primary focus is to build a program for long term support, financing, and infrastructure,” Donnelly explains. “I put a lot of effort into demonstrating the value of ag in carbon offsetting and on other environmental issues as well.”

Read the comprehensive strategic action plan here

As always, we encourage you to reach out to ACFA; we are working for you when we are represented on boards such as this and we welcome your input and feedback.

Reach us:

cattlefeeders.ca

403.250.2509

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Twitter @cattlefeedersAB