FIRST & FORage MOST                           November 2012


Promoting Canada's forage & grassland

Canadian Forage & Grassland Association    

Association Canadienne pour les Plantes Fourragères

In This Issue
Executive Director Report
CFGA Conference Coming
RRA Coexistence Workshop
Buyers & Sellers Beware
CFGA at World Dairy Expo
Report from Chair - Doug Wray
CFGA Committee Reports
Director Profile - Bill Letondre
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Wayne's Fodder   

Wayne Digby  

     As we wind down another year and look forward to our third CFGA AGM and Conference there are a number of points that I would like to touch on:


Thank-you Janice

     A great big thank-you to Janice Bruynooghe who has been our CFGA Board member from Saskatchewan since we formed the CFGA.  Janice has now moved on from her position with the Saskatchewan Forage Council. Janice, your support and willingness to take on even the most difficult of tasks, has been appreciated very much. I am going to miss your common sense approach to even the most difficult of tasks.


Thank-you Michel

     Yes, another one from Saskatchewan. Michel Tremblay, who has been a tremendous help to the CFGA, is moving on from his position as Provincial Forage Specialist with Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Michel we are really going to miss your forage and grassland input. As well how are we going to replace your "unique" sense of humor?


Building Partnerships   

     As the CFGA continues to expand on its role as a national voice for the forage and grassland sector the need to build partnerships becomes increasingly evident.The forage and grassland sector is very broad based and so is the potential for partner opportunities. We are very pleased to have Peg Strankman working with us as we look at ways to build these partnerships. Peg will be joining us at the AGM and Conference in Toronto, so make sure you share your ideas with Peg in this area.


CFGA AGM and Conference 2012

     As we gear up for our AGM and Conference, along with a tour this year, it looks like we have an excellent event shaping up. The program this year focuses on innovation in forage and grasslands and we think it will be of interest to a broad cross section of the industry. Sometimes we get questions from people who are not producers whether they are welcome at the Conference. The CFGA represents the overall forage and grasslands industry including production, research, technology transfer, industry, environment and many other related areas. Everyone's input is welcome as we work together to strengthen the CFGA and forage and grasslands.


Wayne Digby, CFGA Executive Director 


Conference CFGA Conference & Tour
December 10 - 12th,

Toronto Ontario 

    There's still time to sign up! Join your colleagues and learn about Innovation in the Forage & Grassland Industry. We've got a host of excellent speakers on our roster. Read more about the conference.



A Step in the Right Direction -

Roundup Ready Alfalfa (RRA) Coexistence Workshop


     The Canadian Seed Trade Association held a Coexistence Planning Workshop for Alfalfa Hay Production in Eastern Canada. Jack Kyle, CFGA  was able to both participate and present on behalf of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association.

    RRA is currently being marketed in the USA and Forage Genetics International is seriously considering the market opportunities for Roundup Ready Alfalfa in Canada. The workshop, held on Oct 25, was structured to increase the understanding of the three different alfalfa hay production systems (organic, conventional and GM) and the producer needs and concerns for their customers and markets in each system.  

    The workshop began with presentations on the background of the alfalfa industry; the status of GM alfalfa in North America; the science of alfalfa; and the perspectives of value chain stakeholders on coexistence. Breakout sessions followed, addressing issues and concerns to help ensure successful coexistence of the three production systems.

     Jack felt the workshop was an extremely valuable planning tool for an industry coexistence strategy. "Although there was not consensus amongst the participants, excellent discussions took place and the workshop facilitators were provided with a great deal of information to process," says Jack.

      The facilitators will report back to the Canadian Seed Trade Association with their suggestions for a coexistence strategy.



The Hay Market - Buyers & Sellers Beware  


      Beware Our Canadian hay marketers are continuing to see a surge in demand for their products and unfortunately, some less than successful outcomes.  This increase in demand combined with a shortage of forage products due to drought conditions appears to be bringing out some less than ethical operators.  We have been advised of several situations whereby large deposits had been paid, but the hay was not delivered, and a couple of situations where the delivered hay was not of the quality that was agreed upon.  We urge buyers and sellers to take steps to ensure that the buying and selling of their quality forage products is done in a fair and equitable manner benefiting both parties. 

    If you are considering purchasing or selling hay there are a number of factors that you should take into consideration including:

  • Have you purchased from or sold hay to this person before?  If not, are you able to obtain at least two independent references for the company/individual to ensure that you are dealing with someone who is reputable?  Remember the old adage "If it appears to be too good to be true - It Probably Is!
  • Has the hay been analyzed and is the analysis information available? Is the hay free of mould and do you know the moisture content? Do you have some way to visually inspect the hay?
  • Are you purchasing from a member of the CFGA who has agreed to the Code of Ethics of the CFGA? Here is the list of our members. 

     The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association actively promotes and encourages the highest level of integrity within the forage and grassland industry. If you have concerns regarding the purchasing or selling of Canadian hay products please contact us through our CFGA website

   In the event that you have a fraud complaint and wish to report fraud regarding the purchasing or selling of forage products there are two avenues to pursue:


 Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 


(this is an arms length organization to the RCMP (police) and is operated by the Government of Canada.  Please visit the website to report fraud or to contact the Centre directly)


RCMP Commercial Fraud Unit (Calgary)   

Contact:  Corporal Sue Brazeau,   phone: 403 699 2790 

 (This is the Commercial Fraud Unit for the southern Alberta area however they have indicated that if a complaint does not fall in their jurisdiction they will refer people to the appropriate Unit.)



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Janice Bruynooghe


     Janice Bruynooghe Congratulations to Janice Bruynooghe Former Executive Director of Saskatchewan Forage Council who is now focusing on her consultancy business Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting. One of her new tasks is the coordination of the Saskatchewan Forage Network, a project led by a group of forage industry stakeholders aiming to bring some collaboration and cooperation to forage-related activities in the province. "It's an exciting project and I'm really pleased to have the opportunity to work on it." Janice also expresses, although the Network is a SK project, our goal is to link and make partnerships with stakeholders across the country. There are so few of us (researchers particularly) - we really need to collaborate and build partnerships. Janice will be consulting with the Forage Council representatives at the CFGA conference this December.

    Janice spent the past 11 ½ years with the Saskatchewan Forage Council and as a result developed a very robust, successful and well respected organization. Janice was very involved in the development of the CFGA and in bringing the Saskatchewan Forage Council on board. She played a key role in a number of CFGA initiatives and her contribution on the Board will be missed. Best of luck, Janice.

Michel Tremblay


    Michel_Tremblay Congratulations to Michel Tremblay as he assumes his new role of Landscape Management Specialist with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.

      Tremblay has been actively involved in the forage industry for many years, with the Saskatchewan Forage Council coordinating their research programs and then as Provincial Forage Specialist for the Saskatchewan Government. Michel served as Ex officio for the Saskatchewan Forage Council for 20+ years. "His insight and his mentorship have been invaluable," says Janice Bruynooghe, former Executive Director, Saskatchewan Forage Council. 'I wish you the best!'

     'Tremblay has also played a key role in the evolution of the CFGA and he will be missed,' says Wayne Digby, CFGA Executive Director. 'Thank you Michel!'



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World Dairy Expo CFGA Promotes our Industry at World Dairy Expo   


 World Dairy Expo held Oct 2 - Oct 6, 2012 in Madison, Wisconsin was once again a huge event with approximately 65,000 people attending. Originally the Manitoba Forage Council had a booth at WDE; now the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association has a display booth at this event promoting Canadian forage products.
     This year CFGA Representatives reported very good traffic at the booth from potential US importers as well as Overseas importers. While hundreds of people interested in Canadian hay stopped at the booth and received information, approximately 65 interested importers filled out the CFGA Import Information Form. These Information Forms have been compiled on two spreadsheets which have been sent to all of the CFGA US and Overseas Exporting members.
     A big thank-you to the CFGA representatives who attended and assisted with the booth. CFGA Exporting Members helping this year included: Chris Kletke, Darren Chapman, Ed Shaw, Ray Robertson, Don Rowntree, Terry Nuhn, Mike Faulkner, Alexandre Beaulieu, Marc Lavoie and Nick and Gail Teleglow.   

(Left to right) Lt. Col Md. Shahid Ullah, Chief Operating Officer, PRAN Dairy Ltd, Bangladesh; Ray Robertson (Executive Director, Ontario Forage Council) & Babu Kaji Panta, Executive Director, National Dairy Development Board, Nepal.
Ed Shaw, IQ Forage, and an importer from China.
(L to R): Mike Faulkner, Rockwood, Ontario, Chris Kletke, Darren Chapman, Manitoba Forage Marketers


Report from CFGA Chair - Doug Wray

    Doug Wray This past summer I attended the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) 'Environment Committee' meeting in Calgary. The CFGA was invited to provide input on projects geared to the environment. A proposal has been put forth by Ducks Unlimited for the revival of a grazing mentor program. This potential project is in the discussion stage.  

     The CFGA's Forage Task Team has moved forward with its proposal for an improved forage insurance program for producers and is  now awaiting a response from the federal government. Quality, affordable insurance programs for producers would increase uptake and hopefully eliminate the need for ad hoc government programs in times of crisis. 

     A workshop was also held in Calgary in March to establish National Beef Research Priorities. This has been led by the Beef Cattle Research Committee BCRC  (a division of CCA). Priorities were successfully set (including for forage and grasslands) and the BCRC is now in the process of trying to address these priorities and build research capacity (i.e. have researchers, laboratories, land in place) to make it happen. "We are particularly interested in the forage side in Canada as the limited number of existing researchers are nearing retirement in the next 5 years, we want to have a plan for replacements." 




CFGA Logo-white text CFGA Committee Reports 

Our committees have been hard at work! Here's what we have been working on over the past 6 months.   


CFGA Producer and Users Committee

  •       Richardson Ground Squirrel and Pocket Gopher - this is a priority issue costing forage and grassland producers millions in lost revenue and added expenses, particularly in western Canada.The Producer and Users Committee has considered a major proposal on the research and control of these pests. Over the next few months the CFGA will be contacting other industry stakeholders to obtain input and build support for a longer term plan to develop a Richardson's Ground Squirrel and Pocket Gopher Strategy and Plan of Action Committee.

 CFGA Research and Extension Committee

The CFGA Research and Extension is providing input on the following topics:

  • Co-existence Strategy for RR Alfalfa - CFGA will be working with the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) and others on a Steering Committee to examine opportunities for a Co-existence Strategy for RR Alfalfa.
  • Emergency registrations for discontinued legume inoculants - concern has been expressed that Novozymes and Becker Underwood are no longer producing inoculants for niche market legumes (birds foot trefoil, red clover, alsike clover, sweet clover, etc). The forage seed growers are also concerned about this issue. There are US products available but these products require Canadian registration before being made commercially available. The Research and Extension Committee is gathering information in order to develop plans for addressing this situation.
  • Forage and Grassland Research Strategy - recognized as a continuing priority and plans are to utilize the upcoming CFGA AGM and Conference to obtain input.

 CFGA Forage Export and Domestic Market Development Committee

  •       World Dairy Expo - Oct 2 - Oct 6, 2012. Seven CFGA members attended and staffed the display booth. CFGA representatives reported good traffic at the booth from both potential US importers as well as Overseas importers. Contact sheet information has been compiled on two spreadsheets and passed on to our CFGA US and Overseas Exporting members.  
  •       US Forage Market Assessment - Fact Finding Mission to Texas  - this Mission is in the planning stages. A number of CFGA US and Overseas Forage Export members have expressed interest and support for this Mission. The AAFC Trade Commissioner in Dallas is working with Southwest Texas Cattle Association to assist in hosting the Mission in Texas.
  •       Wayne Digby attended meetings in Ottawa with a number of Trade Commissioners from countries that CFGA is working with to advance the forage export sector. 
  •       The Committee continues to monitor and provide input on such items as: transportation issues; mandatory shipping regulations; cash advance programs for alfalfa and timothy and Korea Free Trade negotiations. 


Meet CFGA Director Bill Letondre
PICKSEED Canada Inc. 


     Bill Letondre We welcome Bill to our Board! Bill has been volunteering as Chair for the Producer and User Committee and also helping us out with our conference planning.
     Bill has spent the past 35 years in the agriculture industry, as manager of Forage & Turf Seed Production of Alberta Wheat Pool and for the past 5 years with PICKSEED as forage, turf and reclamation seed specialist in Saskatoon. Bill also owned his own reclamation company
specializing in the arctic and resource sector. Bill and his wife also operate a small mixed farm north of Saskatoon and Bill clearly (note the picture) spends his downtime at Riders games! Go Riders Go! - well next year I guess Bill!

CFGA Welcomes


Leanne Thompson, SK Forage Council (SFC)


     Leanne Thompson & family Leanne grew up in grain-growing country south of Regina and attended the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan. "My interests quickly developed in animal science and grassland management," she says. Currently, Leanne and her husband ranch south of Ceylon, Saskatchewan, where they manage 4000 acres of native and tame forages and run approximately 300 cow/calf pairs and also grass yearlings during the summer.

      Leanne has worked on various SFC projects since 2008 including the Grazing Mentorship Program, developing and distributing several communication initiatives, the Forage Industry Analysis project (which looked at the economic and environmental impact of the forage industry in SK), Forage Price Surveys, and has contributed to a report on the export potential for forages through the port of Churchill and a review of the Organic Forage Industry.

      "I'm very excited about this new venture as I'm passionate about the importance of the forage industry in SK and Canada. I look forward to working with stakeholders in SK and nationally on common initiatives to make this industry stronger." Leanne Thompson will be joining the CFGA as the SFC Rep on the CFGA Board of Directors effective January 1, 2013.  


Peg Strankman - Manager Partner Programs

      'We are pleased to announce Peg Strankman as our Manager of Partner Programs,' says Wayne Digby.
      In this part time position, Peg looks forward to providing overall leadership and coordination "by bringing partners on board that share CFGA's appreciation of the importance of grasses and forages to agriculture and to Canada's significant wildlife heritage."
      Peg has an educational background in environmental biology and communications with many years of experience in environmental policy, strategic planning and issues management in Canadian agriculture.

Cathy Sharp - CCA Representative on CFGA Board   


     Welcome to our Board of Directors Cathy! Cathy is a 3rd generation cow-calf producer in Central Alberta and is also a delegate on the Alberta Beef Producer Organization and represents the Alberta Beef Producers on the Canadian Cattleman's Association. She also sits on various committees such as the CCA's Environment, Value Chain and Foreign Trade committees and still finds time to be active in her community with the local hall board, and figure skating club!



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