During the four-day event, conference participants have the opportunity to tour some of the region's leading forage production research facilities and farms; participate in the CFGA Forage Management Systems technical workshop; learn the latest in seeding, production, harvest, storage and export opportunities during educational sessions; and network during an industry trade show.
Cedric MacLeod, a New Brunswick beef producer, agrologist and consultant based in Fredericton, is the CFGA's executive director. He explains that forage, the foundation of feeding programs for livestock such as cows, sheep, goats and horses, provides balanced nutrition to support animal productivity and farm profitability. Strengthening farmer knowledge is critical in taking full advantage of the forage opportunity at the farm level.
MacLeod points out that Canadian grasslands, while critical to sustaining the livestock sector, also provide a significant opportunity to address the climate crises.
"Grasslands are increasingly under threat, mostly due to economic pressures and tight margins that producers face. Yet, it's vitally important we protect our grasslands because intact and productive grasslands are naturally designed to capture carbon," MacLeod says. "Used mainly for grazing ruminant livestock, well-managed rangelands and pastures are nature's perfect solution to maximize plant photosynthesis, support deep root development and build healthy soils. That's the recipe for carbon capture. Canada grassland managers are in an enviable position to take advantage of this opportunity."
MacLeod is looking forward to bringing industry experts and farmers to his home province.
"We are excited to bring the CFGA Conference to Atlantic Canada to showcase what we are doing in the region in terms of forage and grasslands as well as to bring a national focus on exciting projects being delivered by the CFGA, such as the Nature Fund and Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Projects," he says.
Here are some details about each day of the conference:
Tuesday technical workshop
The CFGA has hosted the technical workshop in conjunction with its conference for the past four years, bringing together forage practitioners from across the country to exchange ideas and build collaborative relationships. The day-long agenda includes sessions on the key development projects the CFGA is working on, includes updates from across Canada and provides focused time to discuss industry priorities and next-step action items. This year, to more fully engage students working towards a specialization in forage agronomy, or those who simply have an interest in forage industry development, the CFGA has added student poster sessions to the technical workshop agenda to allow for student-researcher interaction and relationship development.
At the same time, some attendees will participate in a special pre-conference tour. The tour departs from the hotel at 8 a.m., travelling first to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Nappan Research Farm in Nova Scotia before returning to New Brunswick where CFGA board member and New Brunswick dairy farmer Dwayne Perry will host a tour and barbecue lunch at his farm, followed by a stop at Wesselius Holstein Farm, one of the region's largest dairy farms.
Trade show, speakers and more
The agenda for Wednesday and Thursday is packed with an industry trade show; a special luncheon to present the CFGA's 2019 Leadership Award Winner, which recognizes leadership in the forage and grassland sector; and a full line-up of presentations by North America's leading experts in forage and grassland production focusing on high performance forage management techniques, soil fertility, planting tips, weed control and methods for harvesting the highest quality forages. Forage experts include Dr. Dan Undersander, forage specialist from the University of Wisconsin; Bill Thomas, certified crop adviser, agronomist and grazing management specialist from BT Agronomy; Sonny Murray, field crop specialist from Perennia and Peter Ballerstedt from Barenbrug USA.
CFGA Nature Fund Project Launch
On Friday, Nov. 15, the CFGA will host the kick-off and planning workshop of its Nature Fund Project, a two-year project that will address the agriculture priority sector identified under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada. This CFGA project builds on an existing tool in Alberta that was supported by the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Land (SARPAL) program in previous years and has shown promise as a cost-effective means of helping producers to become more aware of practices they can undertake, or may already be doing, to help species at risk.
The 10th Annual CFGA Conference will be held Nov. 12 to 15 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Moncton, N.B. For more information, visit
the conference website
About Canadian Forage and Grassland Association
Incorporated in 2010, the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association provides a national voice for all Canadians who produce hay and forage products and for those whose production is dependent upon forage and grassland production.