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The Prairie Habitat Joint Venture Webinar Series

posted May 14, 2020, 4:42 PM by Action for Agriculture   [ updated May 14, 2020, 4:43 PM ]

Please see a list of some upcoming conservation related events this April. All of them are virtual and may provide some welcome social interaction for those of us isolated at home!  


Please recall that if you are aware of any upcoming events or information items that may interest this group, please send me the information and I will do my best to incorporate them into future emails.


Take care,




Prairie Conservation Action Plan’s Native Prairie Webinar Series | 12PM April 2, 2020


Every month, PCAP hosts a Native Prairie Speaker Series Webinar about species at risk or prairie conservation. The next webinar will be Dr. Erin Bayne from the University of Alberta at 12PM on April 2, 2020 (today!) with a presentation entitled How many birds will I kill in my lifetime directly vs indirectly: and what matters more? For more information please see the following link: https://www.pcap-sk.org/upcoming-events/pcap-speaker-series


Enhancing Canada Grasslands Town Hall | 830AM-4PM (MDT) April 7, 2020


If you are interested in grassland conservation, you may be interested in a virtual Town-Hall on enhancing Canada’s grasslands, hosted by Biological Carbon Canada. Please see the following link to the meeting if you would like to attend: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/enhancing-canada-grasslands-town-hall-tickets-98017018541?utm_term=eventurl_text



PHJV Policy Committee Webinar Series | 11AM CDT April 8, 2020


The next presentation in the PHJV’s monthly webinar series is Dr. John Pattison-Williams, PHJV Policy Committee Coordinator, who will be presenting on competing land-use interests for grasslands in Canada and the economics driving this change. This webinar will be hosted on Microsoft Teams and can be accessed using the following information: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting +1 647-749-7011 Canada, Toronto (Toll) Conference ID: 508 679 258#.


Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research (IWWR) Research Roundup | 12PM CDT April 9, 2020


Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Research Roundup webinars highlight the ongoing conservation science research supported by IWWR and its application to conservation programs. This webinar will be comprised of two speaker presentations: Ryan Askren (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL) with a presentation entitled Using satellite transmitters to track migration and winter habitat use of greater white-fronted geese, and Dr. David Messmer (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK), with a presentation entitled The role of climate variability in duck population ecology. This webinar will be hosted on Microsoft Teams and can be accessed using the following information: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting +1 647-749-7011 Canada, Toronto (Toll) Conference ID: 910 779 176#.

Ag-related Research & Presentations

posted May 12, 2020, 5:25 AM by Action for Agriculture

1. Compensation models for grazing leases

This ALI-led research reviews current policy for public lands grazing leases in Alberta, and compares it with approaches used in the Province of Saskatchewan and Municipal District of Taber. It examines the implications of alternative approaches to compensation funds transferred from oil and gas operators to lease holders. 

Click here to learn more about the project. Download the Project Backgrounder or Full Report in the top left corner.

2. Binge-watch videos from past land use conferences

Although we're postponing our 2020 land use conference, there's a goldmine of agriculture-related presentations from our past conferences

You can (re)watch excellent presentations and panel discussions about green belts, BC's Agricultural Land Reserve and balancing urban-rural development, among many other land use topics.

Find the full video library here

3. Learn more about Regenerative Agriculture - aka biological farming, eco-agriculture - from Nicole Masters, one of the world's top soil ecologists and a past ALI presenter. Find out how restoring soil health has helped her clients see incredible results: decreased pests, increase in topsoil and improved animal health. Be inspired by her Regenerative Agriculture Case Studies here.

New Releases

1. The Environmental Law Centre recently released Agricultural Lands Law & Policy in Alberta to explore how to move from conversion to conservation of Alberta’s agricultural lands. In this report, they provide a primer on the laws and policies which apply to Alberta’s agricultural lands and an overview of existing legal tools relevant to conversion and conservation. Access the report here.

2. The Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board just released a March update on their Regional Agricultural Master Plan. Click here to read the Bulletin.

Information above comes from albertalandinstitute.ca

Employee training supports for agri-businesses

posted May 12, 2020, 5:05 AM by Action for Agriculture

In response to COVID-19, the Government of Alberta has created a new Agriculture Training Support Program to help employers in the food supply chain provide necessary training to new Alberta employees.

The program is intended to offset costs for COVID-19 safety and training, including the costs for personal protective equipment and to remove any barriers to get Albertans safely working.

“To all Albertans interested in work, jobs in the agriculture sector are dynamic, employ a range of skillsets and help to support your communities. These investments, provided by both levels of Government, will give Albertans the opportunity to train and transition into these rewarding jobs.”

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

By providing up to $5 million in support to farmers, agri-businesses and food processors, the program helps offset the cost to train new employees safely in new agri-food roles. The program will support training for as many as 2,500 new jobs in Alberta.

“Alberta’s agriculture and food sector rely on thousands of people working every day to help keep food on our tables. As we see record high unemployment in Alberta due to a global economic slowdown and COVID-19, we need to ensure unemployed Albertans have the opportunity for domestic jobs instead of hiring workers from overseas.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

The maximum government contribution under the program is $2,000 per new employee, up to a maximum of $50,000 per employer. Grants will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis until available program funding is fully allocated.

for more, go to https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=71300983A43C2-052C-9669-7A9B903D1A9CFD39

Details behind the Taber native grassland sale

posted May 3, 2020, 6:04 AM by Action for Agriculture

Despite Action for Agriculture's opposition, the Alberta government sold a quarter section of Crown land near Taber to an “anonymous” bidder. 

That’s despite Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon saying in March, “We are not selling any Crown or public land — period”. He also wrote in a Facebook post around the same time that “Albertans will always have access to crown land.”

April Ag Review from Rocky View County

posted May 3, 2020, 5:44 AM by Action for Agriculture

Western Producer reports on AFA opposition to sale of native prairie

posted Apr 3, 2020, 2:15 PM by Action for Agriculture

A quarter section of publicly owned native prairie grassland near Taber, Alta., was sold to a private bidder March 31 despite concerns voiced by various groups about the need to preserve such land and despite prior government assertions that it would not sell public land.

The quarter, located 29 kilometres east of the town near Sherburne Reservoir, appears to have been sold for $460,000 through CLHbid, an on-line agricultural real estate sales service.

Action for Agriculture, a group dedicated to preserving agricultural land, expressed concern about the sale when the land was initially posted.

“Native prairie is a threatened ecosystem in Alberta. Continued loss of those lands decreases drought resiliency, threatens the survival of more than 60 prairie species at risk and releases carbon to the atmosphere,” wrote Action for Agriculture chair Doug Wray in a letter to Premier Jason Kenney and Environment Minister Jason Nixon.

See the full article at:

Creation of Results Driven Agriculture Research

posted Mar 31, 2020, 6:33 PM by Action for Agriculture

Early this year, government consulted with farmers, industry and key partners in the agricultural sector. From that engagement, there was a consensus that farmers, in collaboration with others involved in research, are best positioned to determine agricultural research priorities.

RDAR’s structure takes the best parts of previous research models, such as Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) and Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF), as it ensures research reflects the priorities of farmers and ranchers. It is imperative that agriculture research in Alberta achieves outcomes that can be applied in the field and on the ranch.

A regionally reflective advisory board will assist the interim board with important projects to ensure value, profitability and areas of focus.

“We will make sure farmers direct research priorities. RDAR will ensure Alberta’s agriculture industry has more financial flexibility and autonomy to fund longer-term projects. Governments shouldn’t force ideology on research priorities – research priorities should be determined by industry. Research can be a massive springboard for economic growth and, with the right focus, RDAR can achieve that for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

An interim board and CEO has been put in place to establish RDAR. Research funding will begin flowing by September 2020 and achieve full operational capacity by March 2021. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, $2 million in grant funding will be provided this year to support initial operations, which will allow RDAR to begin focusing on priority research right away.

“We know a new system needs to be established with the voices of producers strongly considered and driving research initiatives while working in a collaborative environment with scientists and others. This new model will ensure predictable, long-term funding. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to make that a reality.”

Dr. David Chalack, interim board chair, Results Driven Agriculture Research

Results Driven Agriculture Research

Opposition to sale of native grassland

posted Mar 28, 2020, 4:54 AM by Action for Agriculture

Honourable Jason Kenney

Premier of Alberta


Honorable Jason Nixon,
Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks

Re: Proposed Sale of Public Land - SE 31-9-13-W4 - Taber, Alberta

Dear Premier Kenney and Minister Nixon;

On behalf of Action for Agriculture (AFA) I am writing to express concern about the proposed sale of the native grass quarter of public land, SE 31-9-13-W4, located near Taber. For 30 years AFA has advocated for policies that maintain agriculture on the landscape. Conserving and improving ecological services are an important component of a resilient agricultural landscape.

Native prairie is a threatened ecosystem in Alberta. Continued loss of those lands decreases drought resiliency, threatens the survival of more than 60 prairie species at risk and releases carbon to the atmosphere.

There is no record of public consultation about the sale. Selling Crown native grassland is contrary to current public opinion.

AFA supports the objectives of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan that came into effect on September 1, 2014. The plan commits to “reducing native grassland conversion” and “promoting efficient use of land to reduce human footprint on the landscape”.

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative, State of Grassland Birds 2016 report, states that remnant habitat is vitally important to the conservation of grassland birds. Virtually all grassland species are in sharp decline. This quarter of native grass is important!

AFA is asking for an explanation of the decision-making process involved and who and how the assessment was made to put this quarter up for sale especially with no easement to protect the native grassland.

AFA respectfully requests that if this quarter is to be sold a conservation easement preventing cultivation be placed on the title.

We look forward to your timely response.

Doug Wray,

Chairman Action for Agriculture
Submitted on behalf of the Board of Directors

Cc Minister Dreeshen, Honourable Grant Taylor

Climate change and outdated water policy, infrastructure threaten Canadian freshwater

posted Mar 28, 2020, 4:49 AM by Action for Agriculture

Canada’s freshwater supply and quality are declining, researchers say in a new paper, blaming outdated policies, inadequate infrastructure and climate change.

Global Water Futures, a research program involving 18 Canadian universities, said Tuesday that Canada is failing to meet sustainable development goals set out by the United Nations. Shortcomings include inadequate access to clean drinking water in First Nations communities, deteriorating water quality in freshwater bodies, and lack of waste water treatment plants across Canada.

“Canada is not a sustainable water society,” said Corinne Schuster-Wallace, co-author of the report and a professor of water-related human health at the University of Saskatchewan. “We have challenges and they are going to get worse if we don’t do something about them.”


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