FIRST & FORage MOST                            October 2011

Volume 2  


Promoting Canada's forage & grassland

Canadian Forage & Grassland Association    

Association Canadienne pour les Plantes Fourragères

In This Issue
Planning Mission to China
Low Level Presence Consultations
Forage Task Team
CFGA Director Profile
Consultez les chroniques du...Conseil québécois des plantes fourragères (CQPF)...sur le site Web de ...
Producer & Users Committee
New Site - Grasslands of the World
Silver Sponsor Wallenstein Feed & Supply Welcomes CFGA
Promoting CFGA at World Dairy Expo
Passing of Dr. Therrien
CFGA Seeks Fundraising Coordinator
Brent McCannell - New Manitoba Forage Council E.D.
Featured Article
CFGA Logo - no words

Conference & AGM

13th & 14th

Radisson Hotel,
Saskatoon, SK

Our theme this year is:
Forage & Grasslands - the key to a competitive livestock industry and a healthy environment."

To that end we have recruited speakers and panelists that can address the many challenges and opportunities that exist regarding export constraints, research, production and profitability. We also hope to identify research needs, the value of forages in biodiversity and the environment and ways to maximize profitability using forages in the beef and dairy sector.


  Consultez les chroniques  

du  Conseil québécois des plantes fourragères (CQPF)

sur le site Web de la CFGA 


  View our Quebec Forage Council

Fact Sheets on the CFGA website  

Dairy Farmers of Canada
CCA logo

Wallenstein Sponsors CFGA 

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Gold Sponsors  

Macdon Logo 

Our Silver Sponsors


Nutritional Feed AdditivesWallenstein Logo
Ducks Unlimited Canada Logo

Friends of CFGA

Steffen Systems

Become a CFGA Sponsor

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Gold   -  $5,000 

Silver  -  $2,500

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Overseas Exporters $1500

U.S. Exporters $250

Patrons/Friends $250


CFGA Planning Mission to China 

Chinese flag  

Preparations are coming together for a number of participants to travel to China and meet with interested buyers and representatives of China's forage sector in 2012. According to Ed Shaw, CFGA member and owner of IQ Forage this will be an event similar to the trip exporters, members, producers and government took to the Middle East last year. It will be an opportunity for CFGA representatives to better understand the potential for forage exports to China.   


Ed was one of the particpants at World Dairy Expo this fall. "It was really worth it," he says, "it was a long way to go, over 6100 klicks back and forth, but we were able to make a lot of contacts including some from China."    



Low Level Presence Consultations Meetings Coming 

Timothy plant 

The CFGA will have representatives attending a number of meetings being held in various locations across Canada with regard to the low-level presence of genetically modified material.

Organized by the Government of Canada these consultations will focus on proposed policy approaches to manage low-level presence (LLP). This is an opportunity for representatives of the forage and grassland sector to pose direct questions about the proposed policy approaches to Government officials, and to provide initial comments. If you have questions which you would like put forward or comments please email them to us. The CFGA does not have a position regarding the low-level presence of genetically modified material and sees these meetings as an opportunity to bring information back to members. 


Federal Forage Task Team to

Investigate Forage Insurance  


Doug Wray and Henry Nelson are representing the CFGA on this Committee. The federal government has challenged the Forage Task team to increase producer uptake of forage crop insurance (a feed security program) to reduce the implementation of ad hoc programs through AgriRecovery for disaster relief.  


Forage insurance has been around for a long time according to Henry Nelson, former General Manager of Manitoba Crop Insurance and Representative of the Manitoba Sheep Association. "In the 80's in Manitoba, the insurance was viewed as a feed security program which it really is," says Henry. "But it's hard to figure out what will work, individual insurance costs more and forages are unique (not an annual crop) and area based is cheaper but doesn't necessarily represent the individual producer's yield accurately."


"The ideal is letting producers have a choice," continued Henry. "A better communication program where Crop Insurance could meet producers 1 on 1 would work to let farmers know what's available to them."


The prairies have the lowest uptake of forage insurance. PEI and Quebec are the highest. They use a weather based model to assist in the determination of yield, and government, industry and producers know all about it. Farmers are contacted directly by the insurance providers. 


Several of the challenges the committee faces are: understanding the options for insurance programs (individual and area based protection programs across Canada), how to develop a confidence level with farmers about the programs and how to develop good communication between the insurance providers and producers. 


The Task team has engaged the services of a consultant to summarize what is available and focus the discussion to arrive at a solution. The report is due in the next year.


The team is composed of cattle producers, representatives of the federal and provincial governments, crop insurance organizations, CCA, CFGA, Canadian Federation of Agriculture as well as sheep and dairy producers.


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CFGA Director Profile  

Meet Ray Robertson, Representative from  

the Ontario Forage Council

Ray Robertson 

Ray grew up on a mixed farm in Grey County and after graduating from Business College, he worked for the Ontario Ministry of Revenue. Always having a real passion for agriculture, he returned to the farm, and pursued his goal to be a successful dairy farmer. Unfortunately back problems resulted in a modification of his farm activity. Ray exited the dairy business but continued to operate a cow/calf operation and was actively involved with numerous farm organizations and was elected to senior leadership positions on local, national and international organizations and co-operatives.


Ray's interest in agriculture has never faded, and in fact it has increased over time. Being credited with knowing every farmer in Grey County and beyond, Ray casually admits, he can visualize most of the farms. When the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture closed all the county agriculture offices across Ontario in May 2000, Ray had the vision and foresight to open an Agricultural Services Centre in Grey County. With overwhelming support from agricultural organizations and the County of Grey, the office was opened and continues to be an excellent service and growing source of leadership and support for not only the local agricultural community, but across Ontario and beyond. As Ray admits, "It has really exceeded my expectations. We also have an excellent staff at the Ag Centre, who always go beyond the normal call of duty, to assist the farmers and Agri-business sector."  


Over the past fifteen years or so, Ray has participated in a number of International assignments. "It gives one a much greater appreciation for what we have in Canada, after having experienced the life style and culture in some of the Asian and Middle Eastern Countries. It has also been most rewarding to see how our small contribution of technology and agricultural extension work has made such a significant improvement in the daily lives of many people."


Both as a farmer and manager of the Ontario Forage Council, Ray has always had a keen interest in forages, and certainly recognizes their value to the farmer, not only as feed source, but also their value in a good crop rotation. Forages account for the single largest crop grown across Canada.


The regional forage councils across Canada have been an essential voice for the industry, but it had become obvious of the need for an active national organization to adequately represent the forage sector and provide cohesive leadership and coordination across the country.


Ray has always been a strong advocate for a national association for the forage sector and has been an active participant in helping to develop the CFGA, and currently serves as Vice-Chair and Communications Committee Chair.


Quebec flag

  Consultez les chroniques du 

 Conseil québécois des plantes fourragères (CQPF)

sur le site Web de la CFGA 


  View our Quebec Forage Council

chronicles on the CFGA website  


4 New articles have been posted. 


CFGA Producers and Users Committee


The main function of the CFGA Producers and Users Committee is to consider issues and provide direction regarding domestic forage and grassland production and use and to ensure that needs and issues within this sector of the forage and grassland industry are identified and addressed. Members of this Committee met recently and agreed that at their next meeting each member will indicate what they think are the key issues and opportunities within the forage and grassland area. Each Committee member will talk about the "challenges on the landscape and how we can remain competitive."  


Committee Members:


Doug Wray, Alberta Forage Industry Network

Leam Craig, Saskatchewan Forage Council

David Wiens, Dairy Farmers of Canada

David Fulton, Manitoba Forage Producers & Beef Producers

Lyndon Mansell, Alberta Forage Industry Network

Sam Luckhardt, Ontario Forage Producers

Garth Healey, BC Forage Producers

Ray Armbruster Canadian Cattlemen's Assoc.

Wayne Digby, CFGA 

** New members will be added to ensure representation from various areas 


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Grasslands of World
New Website -
Grasslands of the World


This new site is an initiative of the Grassland and Pasture Crops Group of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) based in Rome. This Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile provides basic information about the pasture and forage resources of 100 countries around the world including a newly developed profile on Canada. Duane McCartney of Alberta, compiled Canada's forage and grassland information for the site.



Each profile provides a broad overview of relevant information on the country, as well as topographical, climatic and agro-ecological information with focus on livestock production systems and the pasture /forage resource and information concerning key institutions and personnel and their current research interests and selected references. Each profile has a custodian responsible for updating.


Country Pasture Profiles

Canada's Profile
For  up to date extension publications and research summaries  on the Canadian forage and beef industry go to:
All of these sites provide up to date information that will be useful to university and college students, extension personnel and forage and beef producers.

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WallensteinWallenstein Logo
Silver Sponsor
Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd.


Wallenstein Feed and Supply Ltd. (WFS) is an independently owned, Ontario feed manufacturer headquartered in Wallenstein, ON with a second location in Monkton, ON. WFS' goal has always been to help the customer succeed, so in 2009 they purchased Great Lakes Nutrition (on-farm premix) and Nuhn Bio-Tech (forage preservatives and applicators). 


Make Serious Hay!


Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd. is a proud sponsor of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association; we look forward to your continued growth and prosperity.




CFGA promotes the Forage & Grassland Industry 

at World Dairy ExpoWorld Dairy Expo


 "There appears to be keen interest in our hay and hay products," according to Ray Robertson, one of our CFGA representatives down at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin last week. "We had importers from all over the world -Middle East, China, the U.S., Cambodia, Beirut, Taiwan, Mexico, Jordan, Argentina, Chile, Bangladesh, Lebanon and even Portugal!" The importers stopped by the booth and completed an "indication of interest form" which will be circulated to our members so they can be aware of the interest and hopefully supply some of their needs. "We also had 62 producers from the U.S. complete the form. They came from New York, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and several other States." Hay and forage products from across Canada was included in the display, and certainly generated considerable interest.


Some areas of the U.S. has been experiencing severe drought this year and producers are really feeling the pinch. "We heard this a lot," says Ray, "especially in the Texas and neighbouring states." Pasture land is poor and the loss of forage acres to corn for ethanol in the NW region is really having an impact. "Dairy farmers are already paying about $100 more per ton for hay and they're worried about where they'll get their hay come January."    

CFGA representatives at World Dairy Expo included Ray from the Ontario Forage Council along with Don Rowntree from Brampton, Ontario. Ed Shaw, International Quality Forage in Alberta, Alec Beaulieu, Haybec Inc. in Quebec, and several Manitoba Forage Marketers also rounded out the team and helped showcase our Canadian products.

This year's World Dairy Expo attracted 68,006 attendees from 90 countries coming to see 2,587 dairy cattle and visit a record 810 exhibiting companies.


World Dairy Expo


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TherrienCFGA Saddened by the Passing of Dr. Mario Therrien


Canada lost a premier barley breeder and fine man in the recent death of Dr. Mario Therrien of Brandon, MB. Dr. Therrien's work in developing forage barley varieties was well recognized as a way of lowering cost of production through higher quality feeds and by so doing enhancing the competitiveness of the beef sector.




CFGA seeks Fundraising Coordinator


With the continued growth in activity of the CFGA and with a desire to proactively move ahead, the Board of Directors recently approved a proposed Business Plan and the recruitment of a "Fundraising Coordinator".   The CFGA is looking for someone who has a passion for forages and would enjoy working in fundraising coordination. This is a part time position with an honorarium attached to it. If you are interested or have suggestions for someone who might be interested please contact Wayne Digby, Executive Director, CFGA. p: (204) 726-9393. 



Brent McCannell - New Manitoba Forage Council Executive Director

Brent McCannell

Congratulations and welcome to Brent McCannell who had just become the new Executive Director of the Manitoba Forage Council. Brent is taking over from Wayne Digby who has stepped down from the MFC to devote more time to the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association.  


The Manitoba Forage Council now has a new address and phone number:

Manitoba Forage Council,  

303-141 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, R3M 3X3

Phone 204-475-2241, Fax 204-475-2296 email:


Join the MFC mailing list.