Summer meetings underway; AFA advocating for Alberta’s farmers

AFA’s Board and Executive have just finished the AFA summer board meeting in Blackfalds, Alberta. It was a chance for our farmer executive to gather together and review progress on AFA’s 2015 priorities and brainstorm about events and opportunities coming up.

As a general farm organization, AFA attends several national and international meetings to give us a fresh perspective from around the world. We then use these insights in advocating for Alberta’s producers, ranchers and agribusinesses.

Here is a look at the summer meeting schedule of one of AFA’s executives, 2nd Vice President Humphrey Banack.

World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) General Assembly 2015

Banack is integrally involved with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) where he has served as their 1st Vice President since February 2011. As a CFA representative, Banack will attend the WFO’s General Assembly on June 24-27 in Milan, Italy.

This year, the WFO assembly will discuss women in agriculture and social licence, two topics of interest in Canada as well. Social licence will be a point of discussion at the upcoming CFA roundtable (see section below); Banack also points to a recent announcement from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council on new research that examines and addresses barriers to advancement for women in the agricultural industry.

Banack explains that the WFO meetings are a way of connecting with farmers around the world, and says there is always something to learn from these encounters. The event hosts farmers from over 70 countries.

“Travelling to other places and talking with international farmers lets you see that we may speak a different language, but we are all dealing with many of the same things,” Banack says. “Then, when we come back, we can bring this perspective to the work we do for Alberta producers.”

Canadian Federation of Agriculture Board of Directors meeting

AFA President Lynn Jacobson and Humphrey Banack will both attend this upcoming national meeting to be held July 13-15 in Prince Edward Island.

This is a chance for general farm organizations – like AFA and those from other provinces – to gather and discuss issues of importance to Canadian agriculture. On the agenda this year are regional updates, climate change and a roundtable discussion on social licence. Federal and provincial agriculture ministers also attend to be part of these discussions.

This year’s CFA meeting will be a first for Hon. Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s new Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. AFA President Lynn Jacobson will be seated next to the Minister during the roundtable discussion. Jacobson and Banack will have the opportunity of discussing Alberta’s agricultural issues as well as giving the Minister a national perspective.

“We’ll be introducing Mr. Carlier to others from the national team,” notes Banack. “We look forward to this important event when agriculture organizations come together in one room to discuss the issues that will move Canadian agriculture forward.”

Odour Management Guide

Banack is co-chair of the Odour Management Team of Alberta’s Clean Air Strategic Alliance working on creating a best practices guide for assessing and managing odour in Alberta. The guide is due for release in September 2015.

Agriculture is just one of the industries where odour can cause issues with neighbours. The team is looking at ways of assessing, mitigating and managing odour complaints from a wide range of sources – from backyard fire pits to municipal landfills.

“Odour drift is something agriculture producers have to manage, whether it’s a smell from the products we use on our crops or the odour from livestock,” Banack says. “This guide will give those who take the calls a tool to effectively deal with odour complaints.”

These are just some of the activities AFA is working on for Alberta’s agricultural producers and businesses. To find out more, visit our website or YouTube channel.

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