Blog: What's New at MCA

Meet Manitoba Crop Alliance’s 2023-24 post-secondary bursary recipients

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Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) is proud to support agriculture’s next generation. MCA’s bursary program is designed to assist with the financial needs of students pursuing education in a field that will benefit the agriculture sector.

Six post-secondary students from Manitoba have been awarded with MCA 2023-24 bursaries valued at $2,000 each. The 2023-24 bursary recipients are Emma Harms from Mather, Rhett Grieve from Virden, Ashlyn Whetter from Alexander, Brendan Friesen from Blumenfeld, Nathan Krahn from Rivers, and Cadence Krahn from Carman.

“Year after year, I am impressed with the curiosity and passion for agriculture displayed by our bursary recipients,” says MCA Chair Robert Misko. “These qualities will serve them well as they begin their careers, and I look forward to seeing how their generation moves our industry forward.”

Bursary applicants needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Have completed their first or second year of post-secondary education at the college or university level (diploma or degree) and are enrolled full-time for the 2023-24 school year in an agricultural program within the province of Manitoba.
  • Have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.
  • Have an interest in wheat (spring or winter), corn, barley, flax or sunflower crops, or agriculture in general, as demonstrated in a brief, one-page letter.\
  • Are from a farm that is a member in good standing with MCA
  • Have not previously been awarded an MCA bursary.

An independent selection committee was contracted to evaluate the applicants based on their connection to or interest in agriculture, explanation of why they decided to enrol in an agriculture-related post-secondary program, how they hope to benefit the agriculture industry once they have graduated and are in the workforce, and their academics and writing skills.

This year, the selection committee included Mallorie Lewarne, grow team advisor with Federated Co-operatives Limited; Anne Kirk, cereal crop specialist with Manitoba Agriculture; and Haider Abbas, applied research specialist at Manitoba Agriculture.

Lewarne provides technical agronomy support to local co-ops in Manitoba. She holds a B.Sc. in agriculture and an M.Sc. in plant science from the University of Manitoba and is a member of the Professional Agrologists Institute of Manitoba. Prior to her current role, she worked for MCA as an agronomy extension specialist.

With Manitoba Agriculture, Kirk focuses on cereal crop extension and variety trials. She holds a B.Sc. in agriculture and a master’s in plant science from the University of Manitoba. She is also a Certified Crop Advisor and a member of the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists.

Abbas was born and raised on a family farm and holds a B.Sc. in agricultural engineering and an M.Sc. in biosystems engineering from the University of Manitoba. He is currently based at the Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre in Carberry, MB, where he contributes to advancing agricultural research and innovation.

Thank you to the selection committee for evaluating the bursary applications and congratulations to the 2023-24 bursary recipients!

Meet the MCA 2023-24 bursary recipients

Delegate position available on MCA sunflower committee – apply today!

Sunflower growers:

  • Want to help build a strong future for the Manitoba sunflower industry?
  • Want to contribute your experience and passion for the agriculture industry to a worthy cause?
  • Want to meet likeminded people and have new experiences?

We need you!

Manitoba Crop Alliance is looking to fill one delegate position on its sunflower committee, starting immediately.

Roles & responsibilities of committee delegates

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to apply, candidates must:

  • Be 18 years or age or older
  • Have grown and marketed sunflower in Manitoba
  • Have paid check-off fees to the organization in the previous fiscal year (i.e., have not received a refund)

Apply now

Please note, the deadline for applications is 4:30 p.m. CST on Feb. 23, 2024.

Completed forms can be submitted electronically or by mail/fax.

Email:
pam@mbcropalliance.ca

Mail:
Manitoba Crop Alliance
Box 188
Carman, MB R0G 0J0

Fax:
204-745-6122

For questions, please contact:

Pam de Rocquigny
pam@mbcropalliance.ca
204-750-0217

In the field and abroad: sharing the Canadian wheat story with global customers 

In November 2023, Cereals Canada released the 2023 New Wheat Crop Report and shortly after led four trade and technical missions to 17 countries to showcase the quality of Canadian wheat to customers and buyers.

The annual trade and technical missions visit key global markets for Canadian wheat to share reports on the quality and functionality of the year’s wheat crop and include information on market supply and demand. Experts from the value chain – such as commissioners from the Canadian Grain Commission, exporters and farmers – participate in these missions.

As part of the seminars during these missions, farmer participants were asked to present on key farming practices and highlight the practices they follow to grow wheat while minimizing environmental impacts.

“Each market wants to understand more about Canadian farming practices,” says Dean Dias, CEO at Cereals Canada. “Having farmer representatives speak on behalf of Canadian growers about their farming practices is critical to informing customers about sustainability.”

Grain farmer and MCA crop committee delegate Korey Peters was a farmer representative on the Asia trade and technical mission, visiting customers in Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and China from Nov. 24 to Dec. 9.

“The experience was awesome and very eye opening,” says Peters. In each seminar, Peters used photos and videos to talk about the crop types he grows on his family farm and shared information about how the 2023 growing season went.

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After his presentations, he was often asked questions related to soil fertility, managing wheat diseases and how he looks after the environment.

“Customers were very curious to hear firsthand what we do, how we grow things, and what works and what doesn’t,” he says. “I talked a lot about crop rotation and science-based solutions, and how we work with professionals like certified agronomists, for example, to help us.”

At all the seminars, Peters says customers were engaged and seemed eager to speak directly with a farmer. “They wanted to know about everything I did, but they also wanted to know about the grain and quality,” he says. “They were asking about breadcrumb structure, air pockets and how the bread was going to look.”

He adds the level of scientific detail blew his mind. “I just grow wheat, but it was interesting to hear these types of questions and discussions. It also reinforced to me the importance of having members from the whole value chain at these missions to answer all their questions and to build trust.”

Something that stood out to Peters was the relationships. “These companies want to put a face to the names of the people in the value chain. Some were on a first-name basis, or even exchanging hugs because they’ve met many times before. This showed me how important it is to our customers to have that personal connection.”

For Cereals Canada, the trade and technical missions are a way to build and maintain strong relationships, which is vital to growing the international demand for Canadian wheat. For Peters, it was a great experience, and he says he would go again in a heartbeat.

“It became very clear to me that Canada’s wheat is second to none. Every place we visited agreed that Canadian wheat is phenomenal, which makes me very proud of what we grow.”

For more information about the New Wheat Crop Report or the trade and technical missions, visit cerealscanada.ca.

December Office Closures

The Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) office will be closing early on Dec. 19, 2023 (3 p.m. CST), and will remain closed Dec. 20 for staff training. Normal office hours will resume on Dec. 21.

There will also be office closures during the holiday season. The MCA office will be closed Dec. 25 and Dec. 26, as well as Jan. 1. Regular hours will be in effect Dec. 27-29.

MCA wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

Holiday Business Closure Notice 2023-24

Request for Proposals: Assessment of the Capacity for Crop Research in Manitoba

Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) is leading an initiative to assess the capacity for crop research at public and private institutions in Manitoba.

The objective of this study is to provide information that describes the present and anticipated capacity for crop research in Manitoba. This information will be used to assist MCA in determining potential opportunities for future research investments.

The research, production, and extension services that MCA funds have a clear impact on the farms of our members. MCA funds research to provide data that supports and aids members in making decisions for their operations. Much of this information has come from research performed by public institutions such as government agencies and universities. Manitoba farmers are concerned that public and private agronomic research capacity has not kept pace with the growth of the industry.

To receive consideration, responses to this RFP must be received no later than 4 p.m. CST on Oct. 20, 2023.

VIEW THE FULL REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Sign up now for our 2023 Corn Yield Competition

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Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) is looking for participants for the 2023 Corn Yield Competition!

All entrants must be farmer members of MCA.

Prizes will be awarded as follows at the CropConnect Conference banquet, which will be held on Feb. 14, 2024:

  • 1st Prize – $1,000 and a wall plaque (sponsored by the company with the winning hybrid)
  • 2nd Prize – $500 and a wall plaque
  • 3rd Prize – $300 and a wall plaque
  • 4th and 5th Prize – Receive a wall plaque

HOW TO ENTER

Please review the instructions at the link above and keep them in mind as you are scouting for the very best spot in your field. Even if you don’t have your spot(s) picked out, you can still enter early!

For more information or to enter, please contact:

Morgan Cott
Agronomy Extension Specialist – Special Crops
Manitoba Crop Alliance
204-750-2489
morgan@mbcropalliance.ca

MCA staff move to temporary location during office renovation

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We’ve (temporarily) moved!

Work is now underway to renovate our current office at 38 4th Avenue N.E. in Carman, with completion expected in about five months. The good news is that for the next five months, you won’t have to look far to find us.

For the duration of the renovation, our staff will be operating out of the building directly south of our main office at 40 2nd Street N.E.

Directions from our main office to our temporary office location.
Directions from our main office to our temporary office location.
Our temporary office, located at 40 2nd Street N.E.
Our temporary office, located at 40 2nd Street N.E.

Renovations to our existing office were necessary because the space no longer meets the evolving needs of our organization. The building was built more than 20 years ago to house one of our founding organizations, the Manitoba Corn Growers Association, and no substantial renovations have been made since.

These renovations will create significant benefits for our farmer members and staff, including:

  • Improved office functionality, as the space was originally designed around the needs of multiple organizations.
  • An upgraded boardroom, providing a professional environment for meetings and other formal gatherings of staff, farmer members and industry stakeholders.
  • Greater privacy for our cash advance program clients who visit the office.

If you have questions about the renovation or our temporary office location, please contact us.

Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster 2018-2023

The Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster (ICAC) was designed to put focus on a whole-farm approach, it addresses critical gaps in research for farm management as a whole and does not put focus on one crop type or approach. There are seven research activities within the cluster, MCA participates in all research activities as they all bring valuable information to Manitoba producers. Each activity and a brief description are listed below, for more information, view the Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster Summary 2018-2023.

Co-ordinated monitoring of field crop insect pests in the Prairies Ecosystem

Co-ordination of a crop disease monitoring network for Western Canada

  • Provides funding for the Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network.
  • Funds the activities to continue to provide timely information about crop diseases and highlight effective disease management approaches.

Developing a risk model to mitigate Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in western Canadian cereal production.

  • Provides funds to develop a FHB risk map model that is based on data taken across the Prairies and takes into account over 500 weather stations to produce a user-friendly, online risk-mapping tool.

Management of glyphosate-resistant kochia in western Canadian cropping systems

  • Studied the effect of several different non-chemical ways to manage kochia, including crop rotation, row spacing, seeding rates and harvest timing.

Spray drift management under changing operational requirements

  • Studied how the machinery plays a role in creating spray drift.
  • This included quantifying drift as a function of travel speed, spray quality and boom movement.

Optimizing systems productivity, resilience and sustainability in the major Canadian ecozones

  • With increasing evidence that supports the benefits of diversifying crop rotations to ensure long-term sustainability, this project studied several different crop rotations at eight sites across the Prairies to determine the impact of different rotations on productivity, resilience and sustainability.

Economic and agronomic performance of emerging cropping systems for Western Canada

  • Looks at including soybean and/or corn in crop rotations in Western Canada (regions where this is not a traditional crop included in rotations) and the economic, agronomic and environmental impacts this will have.

We’re Hiring: Agronomy Extension Specialist – Cereal Crops

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We are seeking a permanent, full-time Agronomy Extension Specialist – Cereal Crops to join our dynamic team and serve our farmer members who grow high-quality wheat and barley in the province of Manitoba.

The Agronomy Extension Specialist – Cereal Crops is responsible for the development, co-ordination and extension of wheat (spring and winter) and barley agronomic information and research results to MCA farmer members under the supervision of the chief executive officer.

This role requires a highly motivated individual with a passion for agriculture, strong communication skills and a positive, team-oriented attitude.

Click here to view the full job posting – including duties and responsibilities, desired qualifications and experience, and working conditions of the position.

To apply, please forward a resume and letter of interest by e-mail to pam@mbcropalliance.ca. Application deadline is 4:30 p.m. CDT on June 6, 2023.

First Wheat Retreat connects food influencers to Canadian wheat

First Wheat Retreat connects food influencers to Canadian wheat

Consumers play an important role in agriculture, and finding new ways to reach this audience is important.

With that goal in mind, the first ever “Wheat Retreat” brought about 30 influencers in the food and nutrition world together to explore all things wheat – nutrition, functionality and sustainability. 

The Wheat Retreat was hosted by the Canadian Wheat Nutrition Initiative, aka What About Wheat?, at Cereals Canada’s world-class facilities in Winnipeg on April 27-30, 2023.

Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) supports market development initiatives that provide value to our farmer members, so we sent Mallorie Lewarne, our former agronomy extension specialist – cereal crops, to add some perspective on farming in Manitoba.

The retreat included a tour of Cereals Canada’s technical facilities, a pasta sensory session, a hands-on sourdough workshop, a bannock making session and discussions about wheat farming.

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“Everyone who attended had great questions – including plenty about agriculture. They asked lots about general farming practices, pesticide use, the wheat class system and more,” says Lewarne.

“These influencers are much more public facing than the typical farmer or agronomist. I think this was a great opportunity to connect and provide them with accurate information they can share with the general public.”

Sheila Elder, a delegate on our wheat and barley crop committee, and her husband Jeff attended one day of the retreat and gave a presentation that took attendees through a growing season as a farmer. 

They talked about seeding, scouting, spraying and harvesting, while focusing on technological advances that allow them to be more profitable and sustainable.

“I think there is often a disconnect between the farmer and the consumer,” says Lewarne. “Any opportunity we get to share accurate information about farming practices in Canada is invaluable, and these small opportunities can add up to make a large impact on that disconnect.”

What About Wheat? is a platform for nutrition professionals to find the latest science-based information on wheat to share with their clients and consumers. The information is vetted by a Scientific Advisory Council made up of researchers and registered dietitians.

Member organizations include Cereals Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Alberta Wheat Commission, Manitoba Crop Alliance, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and Canadian National Millers Association.

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