Bountiful crops make 2013 a year for the history books

I think Alberta’s producers would disagree with the adage that 13 is an unlucky number as 2013 has been a record-breaker

Verlyn Olson,

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

I think Alberta’s producers would disagree with the adage that 13 is an unlucky number as 2013 has been a record-breaker for many commodities grown in our province.

Statistics Canada recently released the final crop production estimates and this year is truly a banner year. Total production of principal field crops is up more than 26 per cent from last year and total production of principal field crops is almost 27 million tonnes.

Those crops would fill approximately 300,000 rail cars, making a train that is long enough to stretch from Edmonton to Acapulco, Mexico.

Statistics Canada’s third quarter data was also recently released and it shows that from January to September of this year the total farm cash receipts in Alberta was a record $9.1 billion. That’s up 2.1 per cent from the same time period in 2012. We are leading the nation and this is great news for all.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the lingo, farm cash receipts is the term for the cash income producers receive from the sale of agricultural commodities as well as direct program payments to support the agriculture sector.

We all know how fickle Mother Nature can be and last year many producers were dealing with hail-damaged crops and dashed hopes. The 2012 growing season was a record-breaker with more than 11,000 claims totaling $460 million. This year, Mother Nature was a kinder, gentler soul to our producers.

For Albertans, terrific crops are more than just a picture-taking moment. Once the fields are plucked and the bounty is in the bin, it might be easy to forget how powerful the industry actually is. Many tend to forget that Alberta is not just energy, it’s also agriculture.

For producers, months of work is finally financially rewarded. That cash in hand is often spent in the smaller centers helping rural business owners survive and thrive. Some of those dollars end up in urban malls, restaurants, car dealerships and stores. Either way it’s a win-win for the Alberta economy which hums along with few hiccups thanks to its residents.

To ensure our economy continues to hum along, I am working diligently with my provincial and federal counterparts to ensure that the United States’ mandatory Country of Origin Labeling regulation is repealed. It is unnecessary and expensive for our producers and those costs will ultimately trickle down to consumers.

For those of us who like to eat, and I know there are a few of us around, a great yield ensures that we can continue to indulge in many of the foods we love, and sell them to markets both near and far.

We have much to be thankful for as we head into this busy Christmas season. I wish you all a wonderful holiday and all the best for a safe, healthy and wealthy 2014.

If you have any questions or comments about this column or agriculture and rural development, I would like to hear from you. Please contact my office at (780) 427-2137 or follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/verlynolsonmla) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/VerlynOlsonMLA)

 

Just Posted

Ponoka runners complete gruelling 100 mile Sinister 7 ultra

One team hit second place, another 95th, while a solo runner landed in the 24th spot

Woman jumps in front of semi on Highway 2

Potentially tragic event averted on QEII with help of Ponoka ITU members

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake elects its new MLA

The by-election was held in the riding on July 12

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Horse euthanized after fracturing leg in chuckwagon races at Calgary Stampede

B.C. animal rights group says that 60 horses have died in the event since 1986

Angry giant baby Trump balloon makes him feel ‘unwelcome’ in London

Trump told The Sun newspaper that he felt unwelcome in London because of protests, including a giant balloon that was being flown over Parliament on Friday.

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

Trump and Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit.

In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Asked the queen’s view on Brexit, Trump said: “She said it’s a very complex problem.”

Exotic corpse flower begins to emit its putrid scent at Vancouver conservatory

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Most Read