MFGA eBulletin - April 2017
From the Desk of MFGA Executive Director
Here it is folks... April 2017.....And, we need no further proof to showcase the fact we've been busier than a bull's tail in fly season around the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) than to look at the calendar and see we are now starting the 4th month of the New Year. Where did the time go? 
  Well, actually, that's the easy part to explain. Busy times pass fast and we have been flat out. And that includes all of us here at and working with MFGA: directors, staff, contractors, researchers and partners. We are all doing as much as we can every single day on behalf of Manitoba's forage and grasslands and with and for our awesome Manitoba producers and supporters among our ranks. And that's the exciting part. We believe in what we are doing and we also believe that our best days are ahead of us. And so do many others. 
  Case in point, our recent MFGA 2017 corporate supporter campaign was an undeniable success. Under the capable and friendly lead of our front line MFGA staff - Denice Girdner and John McGregor - we connected more organizations to our cause than ever before. For those that signed up again for another year or those groups that have freshly joined us, our sincere thanks to every one of you. You will definitely be hearing more gratitude from us as well as good insights on our plans ahead. To all our supporters, please take time to scan the MFGA partner section of this ebulletin or visit our supporter page and give your business or endorsement to all of these groups. We like to say that grass connects all of us. In our MFGA case, grass truly does. When it comes to grasses, we are the like-minded. 
  Now that we're all onboard, let me tell in one paragraph exactly what we've been up to so far in 2017 (if you read it fast, it sounds even busier ☺ ): Board governance, bylaw update/refresh, Annual General meeting, 2017 strategic plan, key ministerial meetings, Next Agricultural Policy Framework consultations, MFGA Aquanty Project, Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives, MFGA carbon position, cover crop proposal, 2017 MFGA Supporter Campaign, trade shows, workshops, 2017 Green Gold Program, and all our daily work that supports our networks, advocates for Manitoba's forages and grasslands and showcases the economic viability of our producers and the vast environmental benefits to society from their farm and ranch operations. 
  Indeed, it is our MFGA pleasure to be connected to you. Happy Times and Mucho Grasses to all,
Duncan Morrison
MFGA helping to shape the Mb Ag Next Policy Framework
MFGA recently met with leaders from Manitoba Agriculture policy team as well as Manitoba Beef Producers and Manitoba Forage Seed Association to discuss the Next Policy Framework.
  "It was a really productive meeting with very good open dialogues among all parties," said Duncan Morrison, MFGA executive director. "Most certainly MFGA is looking at the next policy framework as a tremendous opportunity for Manitoba's forage and grassland producers as well as our organization to showcase our role in and want for healthy and prosperous Manitoba agricultural lands. We look forward to more discussions with the Manitoba Agriculture leaders on the NPF, especially as our MFGA Aquanty project heads into the final year of the model being built for the Assiniboine River Basin and other paramount files such as soil health, business risk management and public trust." 
  GF2 is set to expire March 31, 2018 and will be succeeded by the Next Policy Framework (NPF). Consultation with industry has been a key component in the NPF development process. Manitoba Agriculture has created an online survey so that every member of the agriculture value chain has an opportunity to be heard. Help shape the programs and activities under the next policy framework by responding to this survey, which ends May 15, 2017.
MFGA Releases Carbon Position for Manitoba Agricultural Lands
Made-in-Manitoba solution trumpeted; Manitoba needs a clearer focus on soil health for carbon capture
Winnipeg, Mb - Manitoba's forages, grasslands and cover crops and the healthy soils they grow in are the ace in the hole for any Made-in-Manitoba carbon plan according to Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA). And wanting to get that strong message out there is the exact reason the MFGA fast-tracked the organization's carbon position and a suite of seven key recommendations out to leaders and decision-makers this week. 
Read the full MFGA Media Release.
Learn about the MFGA Aquanty Project:
Managing water resources with advanced simulation
WANTED: Hay Fields for Green Gold Testing
We believe the MFGA Green Gold Program (Optimum Alfalfa Harvest Date or "Hay Day) represents one of MFGA's longest-standing, most successful services to Manitoba forage producers and we want it to be the best program possible. On March 27, 2017, we invited a small group of core stakeholders to sit down with us and chat openly in a structured discussion around MFGA's Green Gold. One clear message was the need for producer recruitment to help make the program stronger. Green Gold  is seeking producers with hay fields that are mostly alfalfa, fairly new, and in good condition for testing through the May/June growing season. 
The Benefits:  You will receive results from those fields twice a week from the beginning of sampling until first cut, providing you with some real time information on how the quality of your alfalfa is declining. 
Eligibility:  You must agree to sample your field twice per week (Monday & Wednesday) and submit the alfalfa portion of the sample to Central Testing via courier. These costs will be covered by MFGA. If interested please contact John McGregor, Green Gold Program Coordinator at  john@mfga.net .
Read the full workshop wrap-up on how we can make Green Gold stronger. 
Hay Situation & Price Update for March/April
During the month of February producers are reporting limited movement of hay within the province and some movement of good quality hay south due in part to the lower Cdn $. Hay supplies continue to be adequate through most of the province. As we move into spring, depending on conditions, there may be some upside on the hay market. Check out our full update including links to potential markets here.
Producers dive into carbon policy at Grazing Club workshop 
Photo credit: Alexis Stockford. Manitoba Grazing Clubs are a Ducks Unlimited Canada funded program, promoted in partnership with the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association.
Increasing carbon sequestration on producer farms was the focus of this Manitoba Grazing Club workshop, led by Blain Hjertaas, a farmer from Redvers, Sask. Blain has been increasing carbon storage on his farm for the past 15 years. He discussed the importance of carbon to soil health and the connection between healthy soils, good food and healthy people. Learn more about the Manitoba Grazing Clubs.
Considering a New Hay Field
With spring ahead, many of you will be considering planting a new hay field this year and pure alfalfa is often the best choice, however, for others it may be better to mix in orchard grass, smooth brome, festulolium, or another grass into the mixture. A grass-alfalfa mixture offers several advantages:
* If you regularly feed more than 5 or 6 pounds of alfalfa per day to stock cows during winter, they probably are getting more than enough protein but may not be getting enough TDN or energy. Mixing grass with alfalfa usually lowers the protein but slightly increases the TDN content of hay, giving your cows a more balanced diet.
* If the hay field is grazed, grass will reduce the risk of bloat.
* Grass can grow where alfalfa is not well-adapted or fill in spots as alfalfa dies out. This is better than having weeds invade bare areas.
* Grass-alfalfa mixtures often dry out more rapidly after cutting than pure alfalfa so you might get more hay made without rain damage. If it does rain, the mixture usually suffers less injury, both in the windrow and in the bale.
* Total tonnage usually is about the same or higher than pure stands, but protein yield may be lower with the mix. Most grass yield will come at first cut, so regrowth will be mostly alfalfa.
Remember though, a mixture may be more difficult to sell because dairies prefer pure alfalfa and grass is more difficult to grind. If you are planning on seeding a new hay field this year, read Tips for Improving Forage Establishment Success for more information.
May 24 Presentation of 2016 Census of Agriculture Results 
May 24, 2017 @ 10:30 AM, Victoria Inn, 1808 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg
The results of the 2016 Census of Agriculture will be released on May 10, 2017. In order to share the data as widely as possible, presentations o f the results will be held across Canada. The 1.5 hour presentation (in English but with French material provided) will include provincial and Canadian highlights of the Census, as well as a demonstration on how to find and access detailed Census data using the Statistics Canada website. RSVP by Friday, April 21, 2017 to  crystel.couture@canada.ca
Open Farm Day Registration Deadline April 28
Agriculture organizations and farms wishing to register for Manitoba Open Farm Day on Sunday September 17th, 2017 may go to www.openfarmday.ca and click on Register Your Farm - Scroll down and click on "register your farm HERE." The deadline for farms to register is April 28, 2017.
Industry Events
Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Environment - Apr 24-26, 2017 in Winnipeg, MB
The theme is "Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Environment" and will foster important discussions among policy makers, industry stakeholders, entrepreneurs and the research community about agriculture's impact on the environment in a changing climate. AIC 2017 will also showcase world-class innovative research taking place across Canada and explore how green growth in the sector can build on a strong scientific, evidence-based foundation. Dr. Steve Frey, MFGA Aquanty Project's lead scientist, will be presenting on the project at the AIC Conference.
HMI Getting Started Online Courses May to June, 2017
Holistic Land Planning May 4 - June 8, 2017  
Cost: $250 - Scholarships are available for those who qualify. 
This U of M Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Seminar is presented by Dr. Jason Gibbs, Department of Entomology. Held 3:30pm - 4:30pm. All welcome. 
SAFE Work Manitoba Drawing Contest   Deadline April 22, 2017 in Winnipeg, MB
SAFE Work Manitoba is holding its annual drawing contest for young Manitobans ages six to 12 and asks them to draw and submit a picture that shows how to find a safer way when faced with one of four common hazards on the farm:  livestock  grain  farm equipment  chemicals.
Bus Trip & Private Tour of Brown's RanchJuly 18-20, 2017 in Bismark, ND
A private 8-hour tour by Gabe or his son Paul that includes meals, 2-night accommodations and transportation. Further details on the link above or contact Gerry Burgess (SSCA Office Manager) by email at info@ssca.ca
8th Annual CFGA Conference  -  November 14-16, 2017 in Guelph, ON
Canada's forage sector is a $5 billion industry. It also provides a significant contribution to carbon sequestration. The overall theme of this year's conference is Next Generation Forage Cropping Systems: Profit Above, Wealth Below in recognition of the profit that can be achieved from high quality forage production, and the wealth that is the carbon legacy from having forages on the landscape. Held at the Delta Guelph Hotel & Conference Centre, Guelph, ON this year - more information here or contact conference@canadianfga.ca
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