AFA’s Board and Executive is mixing it up this year by asking both AFA members and non-members to join them in Nisku, Alberta for the organization’s annual Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) on January 21 & 22, 2020.
To bring Alberta producers up-to-date on industry developments – like seed royalty proposals, soil carbon, crop and beef sustainability and more – AFA’s Conference & AGM will begin with a first-day emphasis on information sharing and agricultural learning, with official AGM business taking place the second day.
All Alberta producers – whether they are AFA members or not – can attend their choice of one or both days for a fuller understanding of Alberta’s current agriculture policy landscape, key issues AFA is working on, and how individual producers can help shape policy.
“We’re changing the format of our AGM by placing the information sessions on one day and the AGM business on the second day,” says Lynn Jacobson, AFA president. “We want to encourage members and non-members alike to come have a dialogue, discuss the issues that impact us all and be part of the solutions going forward.”
Here are just a few of the speakers that will present on the first day of the AGM:
- Edward Bork, Professor of Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta, will present on soil carbon and the impact of grazing
- Ted Menzies, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops, will present on sustainability in our industry
- Filmmakers Sarah Wray and Ben Wilson wil show their award-winning documentary Guardians of the Grasslands and talk about cracking the code of stroytelling in agriculture
- other topics will include presentations on sustainable beef, a Western Farm Leaders Panel on seed royalties and an update on AFA’s development of a remote sensing platform.
Sneak peek at new AFA-Aquanty remote sensing platform
AFA has partnered with Aquanty, a company that specializes in computer simulation technology, to offer Canadian producers an exciting new online tool. This tool will provide producers with a low-cost option for accessing remote sensing and terrestrial sensor data plus several ground-measured characteristics for their farm in one easy-to-use online platform.
AFA Conference & AGM attendees will be among the first producers to get a detailed look at the current development of this new online tool, the type of information that farmers can access and information on when the tool will be available.
Currently in Canada, there are commercially available, subscription- or fee-based remote sensing and drone-based data products which can add to the wealth of information for producers. Often, however, specialized software and data-management specialists are required to understand and use the raw data. Producers can subscribe to data feeds from agri-tech service providers, often on a per acre basis, and the cost of this can really add up.
While AgSat doesn’t compare to these types of services on a feature-by-feature basis, AgSat does provide an entry level access to the farm data revolution and gives all producers data essentials for farm decision-making. For a modest yearly investment, the new AFA-Aquanty tool will help farm producers make informed decisions on weather, moisture and other characteristics that impact a farm’s bottom line. This lower-cost tool aligns with AFA’s mandate to bring benefits to all producers, regardless of their size and ability to pay for more expensive satellite options.
Updates to seed royalty proposals and survey
An important issue AFA and our partner general farm organizations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been involved in since our last AGM is the federal government’s proposed changes for royalties on farm-saved seed.
“Western Canadian producers that took a survey this fall said they are not happy with either of the federal government’s proposed models,” Jacobson noted. “At the AGM, we’ll share the survey results and discuss how we move forward to make sure producers are consulted in any options that may be put forward.”
For more background on the seed royalty issue, see our news release here.
Have a say in agriculture’s most pressing issues
Jacobson points out that the seed royalty issue, first discussed at the 2019 AFA AGM, is just one example of why it’s important for Alberta producers and AFA members to attend the AGM: to be updated on critical developments in Canadian agriculture and to ensure their voice is heard.
At the 2020 AFA AGM on January 22, members will hear presentations and vote on a variety of resolutions. AFA members can propose a resolution for the AGM by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 13, 2020. Non-members can attend the AGM to listen to the discussions, but producers must be a member to vote on the proposed resolutions.
Membership in AFA costs only $150 per year – or just over $12 a month – and comes with a wide variety of benefits, as outlined on our website.
Producers attending the AFA AGM directly impact policy in agriculture for the year ahead since the resolutions agreed upon at the AGM are shared with policy makers in government and within provincial and national agriculture organizations.
Jacobson says AFA wants to see producers from all sectors at the AGM, whether they grow crops, raise livestock or produce value-added food. He points out that if AFA doesn’t hear from producers, it’s hard to fight for what they want.
“Sometimes, producers don’t attend an AGM because they aren’t sure how they fit into these activities if they’re not that involved,” explains Jacobson. “Whether you’re interested in the speakers and the topic areas, or if you’re interested in being a non-voting observer at our AGM, you are more than welcome to be involved in this meeting to find out more about what we’re focused on today.”
There is a cost to attend the first day of the AGM, which includes a pre-event President’s Reception from 7 pm to 9 pm on January 20, plus breakfast, lunch, dinner and sessions on January 21. Attendance at the January 22 AGM from 8:30 am to noon is free to all. To attend, register here.
“We hope producers take this opportunity to attend the presentations and the AGM, spend a few days with us and see what agriculture policy is all about,” says Jacobson. “We invite all Alberta producers to be part of the change they want to see.”