MFGA eBulletin - Feb/March 2018
From the Desk of MFGA Executive Director
    The winter months always represent a great networking opportunity for Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association (MFGA). These events are where producers and supporters congregate and gather across the Province, from the bustling crowds of Manitoba Ag Days to the five communities that hosted the week-long Beef and Forage Week to the business conducted at the 2018 MFGA AGM. At these events, we get a chance to say hello and interact with our core audiences from across Manitoba. Often we banter ideas and share visions. 
   One such example occurred at the Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) banquet where I shared a table with MFGA's then-vice-chair-now-chair Darren Chapman, Manitoba Ag's Mike Kagan, and MBP/MFGA director Larry Wegner and wife Rosemary Wegner. The other couple seated at our table were Bill and Isabel Acheson, well-respected producers from the Miami, MB area. At the end of the always-amazing prime rib banquet feast and entertaining speaker program, we said our goodbyes and wished each other well. Bill Acheson offered me some thoughts as we shook hands, "Agriculture needs to get along. We all need to support each other." 
   I agreed with Mr. Acheson at the time and I have thought about his wise words a lot since. MFGA is a solution for many agriculture interests. We are the common ground. The grasses, forages, soils, and water systems we advocate for on behalf of our producers and supporters are mainstays of many healthy, prosperous farms. And, judging by the producer support we have received early in our MFGA 2018 supporter campaign, our collaborative approach and teamwork are gaining momentum. It is indeed motivating for all of us at MFGA. 
   This producer groundswell, if you were to ask me, is the legacy of our retiring chair Dave Koslowsky. Dave's two years at the helm of MFGA were intense, probably more than he ever bargained for. But Dave's priority from Day One was to get MFGA on a strategic path with a plan around partnerships and a higher brand profile and engage an effective governance structure with board recruitment and a sturdy succession plan. Dave worked closely with the MFGA Board and succeeded in that happening and MFGA is well-positioned for the future as a result of Dave's classy leadership. Virden's Darren Chapman picks up the MFGA chair duties from Koslowsky while Ryan Boyd retains the treasurer role on our MFGA executive.  Please read more on the AGM, our MFGA board, including new members below
   Also, we must pass along a sincere and hearty thank you to all who attended our MFGA AGM and in particular, special thanks to our guest speaker the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Agriculture for the Province of Manitoba. We are extremely appreciative of Minister Eichler's support and equally grateful for the time Minister Eichler made available to address our MFGA delegates at our 2018 MFGA AGM. As well, huge thanks are in order to our good friends at Manitoba Beef Producers for your gracious hospitality in allowing us to be part of your MBP AGM.
Muchos Grasses all,
Duncan Morrison,  MFGA Executive Director   
MFGA has successful 2018 AGM
MFGA held a very successful AGM at Brandon's Victoria Inn February 9, 2018 to time with the Manitoba Beef Producers AGM. Nearly 40 MFGA delegates bounced out of bed for pastries and coffee for a 7:00 am start on a chilly February morning that saw Minister Eichler address the crowd by highlighting the importance of forages and grasslands to Manitoba and the important work and role of MFGA.  Among other AGM meeting highlights, MFGA chair Dave Koslowsky recognized the list of MFGA Funders and Supporters and thanked them for their continued support. MFGA will be rolling out their 2018 Corporate Support Campaign in the near future and producer membership renewals are underway. Read on for details including our 2018/19 board member list.
MFGA Aquanty Project wrapping up Phase One
The first phase of the MFGA Aquanty Project will be completed this spring. This HydroGeoSphere modelling project was announced in the fall of 2016 and is led by project proponent MFGA via primary AAFC Agri-Risk funding with secondary Manitoba Agriculture funding. At this stage, the project is better known within Manitoba as MFGA has been more deliberate in promoting the model that looks at the role of forages and grasslands in times of flood or drought in the Assiniboine River Basin. Besides media and trade show profiles and conference presentations, there were three November-December 2017 workshops in Brandon/Winnipeg and one June 2017 tour in Russell, MB co-hosted by the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative and the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association. One more workshop was held in Regina Feb 13, 2018 at the ISM Centre of Excellence. Each workshop saw between 35-45 attendees take part. The next steps will be to engage more stakeholder groups in Saskatchewan and North Dakota which times with the model's phase one completion. MFGA sees MFGA Aquanty model as a critical decision-support tool for water movement and wise land use in the ARB and as the licence holder, MFGA is designing ways to make the model accessible to as many stakeholders as possible. Watch for more exciting news soon around stakeholder access as well as more plans for the drill down of the model in the Birdtail River area. Read the full article here.
February Hay Situation & Price Update
Moving into warmer months, there is little change in the hay situation throughout Manitoba. Forage supplies are being reported as adequate, and some hay marketers report being sold out of hay and/or straw. Even with this colder winter, we aren't seeing an increase in sales or prices. There is a possibility that prices will increase closer to spring as producers get a better handle on forage usage thru the winter, especially if drought conditions delay pasture growth.  Read on...
Understanding PEAQ and NIR
The MFGA Green Gold Program will be underway again in 2018 and it's important to understand the value of Predictive Equation for Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ). The PEAQ method of estimating alfalfa quality is simple, fast, and inexpensive. It involves determining the height of the plant and the stage of growth to estimate Relative Feed Value. MFGA has a supply of PEAQ sticks and/or labels available FREE for 2018/19 MFGA Supporters (S&H extra) and available for purchase by others.
Learn more about PEAQ, including how to order your PEAQ sticks.
Alfalfa as a protein supplement
Producing high-quality hay that eliminates the need for protein and energy supplementation from grain and other concentrates is normally first choice of most forage producers. However Mother Nature doesn't always co-operate. Producers know the importance of protein supplementation with low quality forages or winter grazing. The issue is that protein supplements are often expensive. Before you spend money on a protein supplement be sure that it is really needed and then shop around. Manitoba Agriculture has developed a spreadsheet program that allows you to enter various feeds and compare the cost/lb for protein and/or TDN.  Read on...
You can access the Government of Manitoba  Feed Plan Calculator here.
MASC Forage Establishment Insurance for spring plantings
The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) recognizes how a failed forage crop can put financial or agricultural pressures on a producer. To mitigate the risks of a failed forage crop, MASC offers Forage Establishment Insurance (FEI). Summarized, the forage grower is paid an indemnity of $40 (low coverage) or $80 (high coverage) per acre if an insured forage crop fails to establish.
Select FEI coverage: March 31
Spring plantings in ground: by June 25
FEI Claims: before June 25 of the year following planting
Circle H Farms receives TESA Award
The Environmental Stewardship Award for Manitoba (TESA) was presented at the recent Manitoba Beef Producers AGM to the  Harper family of Circle H Farms near Brandon, including MFGA board member Kristelle Harper, her father Brian, mother Sonja, and brother Thomas.  The Harpers have been farming just outside of Brandon since 1990. Their 500-acre, 80 head purebred cow/calf operation consists of three breeds known and designed for production on grass/forage only - Lincoln Red, North Devon and Shaver Beefblend. The Harpers' cattle program is focused on breeding, developing and marketing forage-only breeding stock to commercial producers.
Read on...
Manitoba launches consultation on agricultural crown lands
The Manitoba government has launched a consultation focused on agricultural Crown lands, to ensure upcoming policy changes reflect the views of the livestock industry while improving fairness and transparency in the system, Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced recently. "This is an important step toward modernizing the agricultural Crown lands leasing policies with the goal of supporting a thriving livestock industry in our province," said Eichler. "I encourage all Manitobans with an interest in this issue to review the consultation document and share their opinions. This will help guide our government's policies and ensure the new tendering process is transparent and accountable." Read the full news release here.
Grass guys developing a forage carbon offset protocol
Forages: News Roundup from the February 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen
Cedric MacLeod considers carbon sequestration through forages and grasslands and the soils they grow in as a long overdue, up-until-now-grossly-underplayed chit that Canada's grass and forage producers can finally throw down and claim proper ownership on. "Our members grow forage, many run livestock and most plant annual crops too," says MacLeod, executive director of the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association (CFGA). "Mostly, our producers choose to farm the way they do and are providing much more to Canada than simply cow bellies full of forages." 
Bale Grazing gives big paybacks, grows more grass for Canada ranch
Saving time and money, while growing more grass - these are the reasons Jonathan Bouw and his brother Stefan say they started bale grazing at Edie Creek Angus a little over five years ago. Located in rural Manitoba just 20 miles east of Winnipeg, the brothers' ranch is a multi-generational purebred Angus seedstock operation. A family affair, their parents and extended families are each involved in the ranch in varying ways. Read the full article.
CFGA's 8th Annual Conference huge success
The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA), in conjunction with the Ontario Forage Council, held its 8th annual conference in Guelph, Ont., Nov. 14 to 16. This year's theme was Next Generation Forage Cropping Systems: Profit Above, Wealth Below to recognize the important role forage and grasslands play in providing both economic and environmental benefits to Canadians from coast to coast. Looking for more information and news about the forage industry? The Canadian Forage and Grassland Association's Winter Newsletter is now available! Read about the CFGA Conference, pollinator award winner, flail conditioning, doing business with China, an update about our very own SFC and much more!
Read the full article and the CFGA Winter newsletter here
Diploma in Agriculture program responds to future opportunities
The U of M School of Agriculture did a redesign of its two-year Diploma, which offers training for those seeking to manage a farm operation or pursue careers in the agricultural and value added sectors, shifting its emphasis from technical training toward a broader education in the scientific principles that underlie modern farm production and agribusiness management practices. Graduates are eligible for professional membership in the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists as Technical Agrologists. The modified program will be launched Fall 2018.  Full details found here. 
2017-18 Excellence Award for agricultural students
Farm Management Canada (FMC) and the Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs (CADAP) are launching the 2017-18 Excellence Award for Agricultural Students, designed to encourage students to improve their critical thinking, communication and leadership skills through a national competition. FMC and CADAP are collecting submissions from agricultural students across Canada and will award three educational scholarships in agriculture. First place: $1,500!  
Deadline to apply: May 6, 2018. Learn more here.

Producer Events & News
"The Real Dirt on Farming" workshop  March 3, 2018 in Brandon, MB
"The Real Dirt on Farming" workshop -  March 16, 2018 in Steinbach, MB
MAAS with support from Manitoba Ag Days is pleased to host this workshop, open to Open Farm Day Host sites, 4-H leaders and members, Ag Societies, Agricultural organizations, and those interested in learning how to tell the agriculture story to others.  Facilitator: Myrna Grahn.  Registration: $10.  Registration deadlines: Brandon is Feb 26; Steinbach is March 9.
Farm First Aid Course  -  March 8 and 15, 2018 in Gladstone, MB
Manitoba Farm Safety Program is proud to be hosting a Farm First Aid 2-day course (16 hours) at the Gladstone Senior Drop In Centre in partnership with Benchland Forage Consortium. Taught by St. John Ambulance, is tailored to address the specific risks associated with farming. Discounted registration fee: $100 ($45 discount due to Benchland subsidy.
CRSB Semi Annual Meeting -  April 10-11, 2018 in Regina, SK
Mark your calendars for Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef's Semi Annual Meeting - details to follow soon.
Mb Sustainable Energy Association Conf & AGM April 11, 2018 in Winnipeg, MB
This years' theme is "The Future of Sustainable Energy in Manitoba" with speakers drawn from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Keystone Ag Producers, University of Winnipeg & Prairie Climate Centre, Manitoba Hydro, MB Agriculture and the University of Minnesota. As increasing energy cost, climate change and carbon taxes impact Manitoba this conference is very timely. 
April 30, 2018 - Last day to register your farm, ag business, ag organization, ag museum for Manitoba Open Farm Day on Sunday September 2018. Register here.
CFGA Annual Conference - Nov 14-15, 2018 in Calgary, AB
Theme: Foundation Forage: Built from the Ground Up, held at the Sheraton Cavalier. Mark the date!
Manitoba Farm Safety Video 
Moving round bales to feed livestock can be an everyday task for many farmers. Learn how to do it safely - WATCH THIS VIDEO

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