Author (#31): May 2011 Archives
If you’ve ever been interested in how beef is produced and crops are grown along the Mississippi region of the southern United States, the Foothills Forage Association in Alberta is organizing a 10-day all inclusive tour in late November through Mississippi and Louisiana.
This is a 10-day, nine-night escorted agricultural tour that leaves Calgary November 30 and returns the evening of December 9. Cost is $3,832 per person for double occupancy, (or you can share a room). Space is limited to a maximum of 32 people and you need to book by early June.
It looks like a great tour packed with farm visits and other agricultural highlights. And you also get a chance to visit Baton Rouge and New Orleans; experience a Cajun swamp and plantation tour, and wrap up with an authentic dinner and jazz cruise on a Mississippi river boat.
While the first day of the tour involves travel to Jackson, Mississippi, participants hit the ground running the second day with a visit to a grass feed, steer grazing operation, followed by a tour of a row crop and cattle operation.
The tour also includes stops at Mississippi State University, College of Agriculture, other farm tours near Jackson, Mississippi, Louisiana State University AgCenter and the Central Livestock Research Centre. You’ll also attend a livestock auction in Amite, Louisiana, and visit a 1,000 head Angus operation at Wiggin, Louisianna. The final tour day is a Cajun swamp and plantation tour followed by dinner and cruise on a riverboat.
The price includes airfare from and to Calgary, hotels, bus, nine breakfasts, two dinners and cruise, and tours of Jackson, Baton Route and New Orleans. The only thing that is extra is about $150 in airport taxes. And the primary requirement for taking the tour – you need a passport.
For more information on the tour or to register contact Laura Gibney with the Foothills Forage Association at 403-652-4900 or Jo Palanuik, who is co-ordinating the tour at 1 (888) 485 6589 or email Joanne@downunder-travel.com
Man, people didn’t wait for the body of the Liberal Party of Canada to cool Monday night (May 2) before I began seeing the odd Twitter message (Tweet) wondering when the new Conservative majority government will move in to revamp the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) .
One farmer near Picture Butte, Alberta said he was so excited by the prospect of a majority Conservative government able to act on its own to revoke the CWB monopoly on wheat and barley marketing, he began to tear up as he watched the reports of the Conservative rise and Liberal fall filter in during the 2011 election coverage.
It is hard to believe it has been 18 years since the last majority Conservative government took steps to change
the CWB mandate. It was August 1, 1993 when then Agriculture Minister Charlie Mayer (pictured at right) introduced the Continental Barley Market. That marketing window was closed 40 days later by a federal court ruling September 10, which said the minister didn’t have the authority to make the change. And then when the Liberals were elected in November of that year, well, that was the end of that Conservative notion.
Although that freedom to market grain was short lived, the issue hasn’t waned a bit in the minds of many producers who have championed marketing choice for years. In fact in some cases, I am seeing the next generation taking up the cause of CWB marketing reform.
While the CWB has introduced a number of marketing options over the years to give producers more flexibility in marketing wheat and barley through the board, for the purists all those programs simply fell short of the very straight forward, basic appeal of “give us the freedom to market our own crops, as we see fit, to whom ever and where ever we want.”
I don’t think there is any doubt now that some Canadian Wheat Board reform will be implemented by the new Federal minister of agriculture – whether that be the incumbent Gerry Ritz, or a new face in that portfolio. The big question is really when and what form the legislative change will take.
One of my social networks colleagues suggested it would happen within 18 months, while I was even gutsier and predicted it could happen by this fall. Maybe once hockey is over someone could organize an End-of-the-CWB-Monopoly Pool to bet on the date of legislative change. This could be one “Pool” that many wheat and barley growers would be really pleased to invest in.
Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at email@example.com