SPOTLIGHT – Regional ASB conference held in Guy

by Mac Olsen

The Guy community hall was filled to capacity on Nov. 5, as 100 delegates converged for the regional Agricultural Services Board meeting.
“People took away a lot of information,” says Normand Boulet, agricultural fieldman for the M.D. of Smoky River No. 130 and organizer of the event.
Delegates came from all over the Peace Country for the event. One of the major highlights was Eric Stromgren’s presentation about the importance of the honeybee to agriculture. He is an apiculture instructor for Grande Prairie Regional College in Fairview and has been a commercial beekeeper in B.C. and Alberta.
Heather Kershbaumer, the president of Forage Seed Canada, made a presentation about genetically modified alfalfa.
Audrey Gall, a director for the Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association in Falher, gave an update about what her organization has been doing.
Doug Macaulay, the acting ASB program supervisor, and Gayah Sieusahai, a pest regulatory officer, PSB, discussed the ASB program and agricultural acts update.
Spotlight will attempt to do stories with these presenters in future editions.
Boulet gave a presentation about the M.D. of Smoky River’s shelter belt program.
Delegates also dealt with four resolutions. One resolution calls for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to reinstate the 2014 Agricultural Opportunity Fund which was allocated for the Agricultural Research and Forage Associations. According to the resolution, sponsored by the M.D. of Greenview, a $2.5 million increase in funding was suddenly revoked in January 2015.
A second resolution, sponsored by the County of Northern Lights, regards compensation for coyote depredation. It calls for the Minister of Environment and Parks to add coyotes to the compensation list as a predator under the Alberta Wildlife Regulation, “paying the same level of compensation for depredation that is paid for livestock death and injury from wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, cougars and eagles.”
Northern Sunrise County sponsored a resolution pertaining to the Hay and Pasture Insurance Program. It calls for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to update the Hay and Pasture Insurance Program, “to accurately cover the impact of the market fluctuation on hay production for livestock producers based on hay commodities.”
The resolution also says amendments need to include removing the 50 per cent cap on the Variable Price Benefit (VPB), assisted to cover the cost of feed supplements due to poor quality, as well as trucking costs due to insufficient quantity of feed.
Also as part of the resolution, it calls for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Agriculture Financial Services Corporation to give authority to adjusters to modify the amount when the adjuster is of the opinion that the livestock producer is facing additional expenditures that are directly linked to poor hay and pasture yields.
The other resolution sponsored by Northern Sunrise County pertains to weather stations. It calls for increasing the number of weather stations in a geographically consistent manner in areas, to ensure accuracy of weather data used by the AFSC and other departments.
It also calls on Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and the AFSC, to give authority to adjusters to modify the data when the adjuster “is of the opinion that the claimant is in a microclimate that is different from the closest weather station for the crop insurance and farm income disaster claims purposes, until all additional weather stations are operational.”
The resolutions will be sent to the Provincial ASB Committee Secretary, and then to the provincial ASB conference at the end of January 2016 for voting.

One-hundred people from around the Peace Country attended the regional ASB conference in Guy on Nov. 5.
One-hundred people from around the Peace Country attended the regional ASB conference in Guy on Nov. 5.

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