IssuesFall 2012At The Root

At The Root

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People News

Kok Retires as Secretary of UPGC

Ray Keenan, chairman of the United Potato Growers of Canada, recently presented Edzo Kok with a certificate of appreciation for his years of service as secretary of the organization. Kok, of Taber, Alta., joined the Potato Growers of Alberta as its executive director four years ago, bringing with him over 30 years of experience to the potato industry. Kok has had a diverse background working for McCain Foods, with his last posting being in New Zealand.

Product News

FMC Expands Agricultural Product Line

Canadian growers now have additional options when it comes to their weed and insect management programs. FMC of Canada Agricultural Products Group has made new solutions available to growers, providing them with additional modes of action to combat resistance throughout the Prairie provinces. FMC products in Canada now include Aim herbicide, Beleaf insecticide, Command herbicide, Pounce herbicide, Ranman fungicide and Rovral fungicide. Available through FMC’s partners across the country, these products are designed to protect pulse crops, sunflowers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucurbits, carrots, cereals, soybeans and more.

JetHarvest Solutions now Offering Bio-Save in Canada

Jet Harvest Solutions, a Florida-based company dedicated to the development and use of agriculture biological products, is now marketing the bacterial biofungicide Bio-Save in Canada. Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has approved Bio-Save for use on potatoes in storage.  Bio-Save is a freeze-dried (lyophilized), wettable powder fungicide used for the prevention of post-harvest decay in potatoes. The active ingredient is a bacterium called Pseudomonas syringae that naturally occurs on the surface of many agricultural plants. Bio-Save effectively limits decay caused by fusarium dry rot in cold and controlled atmosphere storage environments.

Monsanto Offers Royalty-Free Access to Biotechnology

Monsanto Company will provide a royalty-free research license to the academic community and other non-profit research institutions to a newly-issued U.S. patent related to the Agrobacterium transformation method. The announcement has the potential to further advance research and development of new technologies in row crops such as soybeans, cotton and canola, as well as specialty crops such as potatoes, alfalfa, tomatoes and sugar beets. “We hope that access to one of the leading agricultural biotechnologies can further both the enablement and development of key agriculture solutions for farmers and consumers alike,” said Robb Fraley, chief technology officer for Monsanto and one of the leading scientists behind this discovery.

Pro Health Adds Kwik Lok Trackers to Potato Packaging

Pro-Health is bringing traceability to the forefront of the company’s vision. Starting this month, customers will see new data matrix codes on the Kwik Lok closures for Pro-Health Russets―innovation that offers unique insight into each product’s story. By scanning the Kwik Lok’s data matrix code with a smartphone, customers are taken to a landing page on Pro-Health.com that shows the exact field their potatoes were grown in. Each page includes the field’s specific location, latitude and longitude, and information about the farm.

Business News

Growing Forward Agreement Reached for Canadian Agriculture

The federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture have reached an agreement on the content of the Growing Forward 2 policy framework for the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sector. The new five-year agreement includes investments in strategic initiatives of over $3 billion for innovation, competitiveness and market development, including a 50 per cent increase in governments’ cost-shared initiatives. The governments also agreed to continue to deliver a complete and effective suite of Business Risk Management programs to ensure farmers are protected against severe market volatility and disasters. Modifications to AgriStability and AgriInvest programs will ensure that Canadian producers continue to have access to a strong and effective suite of BRM programs. AgriInsurance, AgriRecovery and the Advanced Payment Program will continue to help farmers manage production risks and provide cash flow assistance. The next annual federal, provincial and territorial ministers’ meeting will be held in Halifax in July 2013.

Cavendish Farms now Fuelled by Cleaner-Burning Natural Gas

Cavendish Farms has officially opened its natural gas receiving station located at the company’s New Annan site. The successful implementation of this leading-edge natural gas system generates thermal energy which fuels the company’s potato processing plants and eliminates the use of 22 million litres of heavy fuel oil annually. “Cavendish Farms is making huge strides in the area of sustainability, and our move into the compressed natural gas arena supports our continued efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of our operations in Prince Edward Island,” says Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms. “Our fuel mix in New Annan is now 70 per cent natural gas and 30 per cent biogas, with heavy oil now only used as a back-up fuel source. Combined with our investment in our biogas facility, we’ve now achieved a net reduction of 50 per cent in our greenhouse gas emissions.”

CFIA Streamlines Registration for Safe Fertilizers and Supplements

Effective immediately, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will streamline the registration process for fertilizers and supplements. In an effort to focus its resources on verifying the safety of fertilizers and supplements, the CFIA will no longer be regulating product efficacy as of 2013. The streamlined registration process is an interim measure that will remain in place until the agency amends the Fertilizers Regulations to eliminate efficacy requirements. Under the streamlined registration process, foreign trial data or scientific literature will be accepted as evidence of efficacy.

Hartland Old Dutch Chips Plant Expands Workforce

The New Brunswick government is investing $115,000 to help create 29 jobs at the Old Dutch Foods Ltd. Plant in Hartland. At the plant, Premier David Alward recently announced this workforce expansion investment and launched New Brunswick’s value-added food strategy. “Investing in workforce expansion and the value-added food sector are key pieces of this government’s plan to rebuild New Brunswick’s economy and create jobs,” said Alward. “This funding builds on Rebuilding New Brunswick: Growing Together—An Economic Development Action Plan for New Brunswick, which outlines our commitment to work with innovative value-added food companies such as Old Dutch Foods Ltd. to create long-term, sustainable, full-time employment.”

Simplot Plans to Build New Headquarters in Idaho

The J.R. Simplot Company is planning to begin construction of a new corporate headquarters in Boise, Idaho, in late 2013 or early 2014. Company officials anticipate the building will likely be 10 stories high and measure roughly 300,000 square feet. The new headquarters, which should be ready for occupancy two years after construction begins, will be designed to better meet the company’s needs for a modern, collaborative work environment, according to Simplot president and CEO Bill Whitacre.