MFGA eBulletin - April 2019
From the Desk of MFGA Executive Director
   Well, we didn't get pranked. And, no, we didn't prank anyone either. But there was no denying the big grins on our collective MFGA faces April 1, 2019.
   The day kicked off with the public launch of our newly-revamped website at MFGA.net. This much-needed upgrade was made possible by the organizational support and funding provided by Manitoba Agriculture, the great web design work by WriteOn Design and Graphiti Graphics, and a majority of visually-stunning photos provided by D2 Photography. We are very proud of our new site. Please, go check it out. 
   Building off our feel-good web vibe, a small group of our MFGA team met with the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Agriculture, and the Hon. Rochelle Squires, Minister of Sustainable Development about MFGA and our work. It was a very great day for MFGA to have these dialogues and enormous thanks are due to both ministers and their respective senior staff leaders for making time for us. When it comes to grasslands and the great values they provide for all of us, it all starts with talks and dialogues. Certainly, we agree great things are ahead of all of us. 
   Stepping off the April 1, 2019 successes, hearty congrats are in order for the Province of Manitoba's announcement of the Conservation Trust this week. MFGA stood proudly among the groups at the announcement as the program was unveiled. MFGA's partnership on the Kirkella Community Pasture was prominently featured at the announcement and is detailed below. MFGA would especially like to also acknowledge the work of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) for their leadership and diligence in bringing the Conservation Trust from concept to reality. Congratulations to MHHC'sTim Sopuck and crew. 
   On the MFGA home org front, MFGA Green Gold kicked off Year 24 this month. MFGA's resident hay expert John McGregor is masterfully guiding the program once again, ensuring that producers that utilize the program can maximize the timing of their first cut of alfalfa. Program details are below. Thank you, John, for your continued great work on this important producer-focused program. 
   And finally, our MFGA website revamp brought us a better connection to the way the world does business. In this case, MFGA is now able to offer PayPal for all our supporters to help our cause. If you haven't renewed your 2019 support yet, please check out our new website's supporter page and send a few forage and grassland-targeted dollars our way. We need your support to be the best we can be.  
   Muchos grasses all! 
   Duncan Morrison,  MFGA Executive Director   
A great day at the Lege!  
MFGA recently enjoyed a great day at the Manitoba Legislative Building with productive and awesome meetings with Agriculture Minister Hon. Ralph Eichler and Sustainable Development Minister Hon. Rochelle Squires and their respective department leads. The meetings focused on many aspects of MFGA's work including the MFGA Aquanty Project, the importance of Manitoba's grasslands and the Province's Protein Strategy.

Photo (l to r): Darren Chapman, MFGA Board Chair; Hon. Rochelle Squires, Minister of Sustainable Development; Hon. Ralph Eichler, Agriculture Minister; Lawrence Knockaert, MFGA Board Member; Duncan Morrison, MFGA Executive Director
MFGA and Wallace-Wodworth receive Conservation Trust funds for Kirkella Community Pasture
Partners of the Kirkella Community Pasture Association's Grassland Habitat Enhancement Project received great news from the Province of Manitoba's new Conservation Trust after their project received $100,000 for a two-year pasture improvement project on the community-owned pasture.  MFGA, the Rural Municipality of Wallace-Woodworth, and the pasture's patrons committee have formed a partnership to deliver the project. Wallace-Woodworth and the patron committee will lead the on-field pasture improvements and actions, MFGA will lead the project administration, reports and communications. MFGA was on-hand at the Province's announcement April 15, 2019.

Conservation Trust announcement - photo (l to r): Tim Sopuck, MHHC CEO; 
Darren Chapman, MFGA Board Chair; Stephen Carlyle, MHHC Program Development Manager

Conservation Trust announcement - photo (l to r): Darren Chapman, 
MFGA Board Chair; Hon. Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba; Duncan Morrison, MFGA Executive Director
You can't tell by looking but you CAN tell with Green Gold
MFGA Green Gold Program  (Optimum Alfalfa Harvest Date or "Hay Day")  is launching Year 24 of predicting "Hay Day" - the best cut date when harvested pure alfalfa stands are at optimum quality 150 Relative Feed Value (RFV). The potential boost to producer productivity is why MFGA continues to deliver this long-standing program, especially with the dairy hay market being so competitive. Read our recent news release.
SIGN-UP for Green Gold Reports: As this year's alfalfa crop is maturing, MFGA Green Gold collects twice-weekly samples from three regions of Manitoba and sends them to Central Testing Laboratory to pinpoint the best day for your first alfalfa cut. MFGA will share twice-weekly reports, with updates posted on the MFGA website.
WANTED: Hay Fields for Green Gold Testing: MFGA 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.  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. 
If interested please email John McGregor, MFGA Green Gold Program Coordinator.

Alfalfa needs simple, proper management
photo: MFGA Board Member Ryan Boyd and daughter Piper
Excerpted from article Posted on April 3, 2019 by Beef Research3: MFGA's Ryan Boyd, South Glanton Farms of Forrest, MB, considers several things as he turns cattle into pastures that contain anywhere from 30 to 80 per cent alfalfa on his southern Manitoba farm, but two of the most important lessons he applies are: don't turn cattle into alfalfa when they are hungry, and make sure the grass is dry, no rain or heavy dew. Boyd says he has grazed cattle on mid to high percentage alfalfa pastures for several years. It involved a learning curve, but with proper management he says he can turn cow-calf pairs and long yearlings onto alfalfa and grass blend pastures with little concern about bloat.  Read the full BCRC article.
Forage and Spring
The return of warmer weather brings renewed growth in fields and signals things we should think about for a productive forage year. Hay fields and pastures need management considerations to remain productive throughout the growing season. Waiting until pastures have adequate growth and checking hay fields to monitor winterkill are two key considerations for maintaining and maximizing your forage production for the coming year(s).   Read on...
Young Farmer Rebate Increases on MASC Direct Loans 
MFGA congratulates the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) for increasing the maximum eligible Young Farmer Rebate (YFR) amount. As part of the Bridging Generations Initiative, the YFR helps young and beginning farmers (under the age of 40) by providing an interest reduction on their MASC loan(s). In addition, MASC offers the Young Farmer Crop Plan Credit, a one-time credit of $300 towards AgriInsurance premiums. For further details:
Full article:   https://www.masc.mb.ca/masc.nsf/masc_news.html  
Visit:  https://www.masc.mb.ca/masc.nsf/index.html?OpenPage or stop by one of our local offices.
CAPI Report: The Benefits of Cattle for Carbon Storage and Biodiversity in the Canadian Prairie
Over 40 per cent of the earth's terrestrial surface is used for grazing livestock, this includes the Canadian Prairie. In addition to providing forage for animal production, these ecosystems provide a variety of other ecosystem goods and services (EG&S) critical to human welfare. While overgrazing has broadly been recognized as detrimental to EG&S, in North America the condition of rangelands has steadily been improving and fewer rangeland are overgrazed. It is imperative that the EG&S provided by rangeland ecosystems are valued and the role of grazing in regulating them understood in order to maintain or improve their benefits for people.
U of MB Dean Op-Ed: Agricultural innovation key to sector growth
University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Dean Martin Scanlon wrote an opinion piece entitled "Agricultural innovation key to sector growth" for The Hills Times (March 20) - Read the piece.
Open Farm Day Host Site deadline April 30!
Help celebrate 10 years of MAAS's Open Farm Day in Manitoba by opening your farm to visitors during Open Farm Day, September 15, 2019. The deadline to register is Tuesday, April 30, 2019. More info here. 
Producer Events & News  
Manitoba Hay & Silage Day - June 20, 2019,  MBFI Learning CentreBrandon, MB
Details to follow.
Regenerative Farming/Ranching July 16-18, 2019, MBFI Learning CentreBrandon, MB
Offered by the Soil Health Academy. Tuition: $1,275 USD Contact: M. Thiele, 204-365-6334 mthiele@mymts.net about scholarships and discounts for full time University students.
MFGA/CFGA Field Day - July 25, 2019, MBFI Learning Centre, Brandon, MB
Details to follow.
MBFI DAY! - Aug 10, 2019, MBFI Learning CentreBrandon, MB 
Featuring AAFC researcher Jillian Bainard. Learn more about cover crops and other MBFI research around livestock production. Contact mary.jane.orr@mbfi.ca for more info.
MAAS Open Farm Day - Sep 15, 2019, various farm sites across Manitoba
Mark your calendar now for this popular event. Applications accepted for host sites until April 30, 2019.
CFGA Annual Conference - Week of Nov 11-13, 2019 in Fredericton, New Brunswick
Mark your calendar for the week of November 11, 2019!
MFGA AGM & Regenerative Ag Workshop - Week of Nov 18, 2019 in Brandon, MB Details to be announced soon!
Western Canada Soil Health & Grazing - 
Dec 10-12, 2019,  Edmonton, AB
Save the Date! More details to follow.
The  MFGA Annual Supporter Campaign is underway and
continues to draw support from the best of the best in the agriculture
and conservation communities...join these leaders and renew/sign up
your organization's support for MFGA in 2019...
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