Sunday, October 14

Fairs of all sizes contribute to the tourism economy


(Originally published in TOURISM)

Fairs and exhibitions across the country are not only contributing to featuring local communities’ sense of pride and identity; they are also nurturing the tourism economy.

When we think of summer fairs, the first ones that come to mind are the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto, the 10-day Stampede in Calgary, the Capital Ex in Edmonton and the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) in Vancouver. These fairs "are proving to be meccas to small business,” notes the Business Edge’s Monte Stewart in a recent article: “The self-billed Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, which generated $49.37 million in revenues for its non‑profit board last year, often involves major corporate partners, especially oil and gas firms. This year's Canadian National Exhibition is expected to attract about 1.45 million visitors for its 18‑day run.”

But even small fairs are big business. TOURISM talked to Glen Duck, executive director of the Saskatchewan Association of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions (SAASE). “The fairs that are run in small communities are traditionally an integral part of these communities,” he says. “Most of the fairs have been running for at least 100 years.”

He mentions as an example one of the newest of his member agricultural societies, the Carlton Trail Ag Society which holds the Bruno Cherry Festival each year. “The community of Bruno, which has a population of about 500, attracts 2,500 people to the cherry festival annually. The fairs create gathering places; they bring a lot of visitors.”

Some communities will host a rodeo and other different types of events. SAASE, which has 62 member organizations across Saskatchewan, conducted an economic impact study a few years ago to evaluate the benefits stemming from all the province’s fairs. It found there are 101 million dollars spent at fair events annually, and 192 million in spending at events organized at all the other facilities the agricultural societies run over the course of the year.

There is also a significant impact in terms of jobs, according to Duck: “The fair industry within Saskatchewan involves 400 full‑time/part‑time positions and 800 seasonal/casual workers. “But of real importance is the over 200,000 hours of volunteer time that is donated by members in the communities, who help put on the fair and the event. That is a tremendous economic impact in itself,” he points out.

“When people come to fairs, they eat in local restaurants, stay in local hotels, buy fuel and groceries locally. They are camping in the community; there are cattle and livestock sales, and people are sending money in the communities around those events.”

When we consider these economic impacts, if fairs didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them.

American holiday trend an opportunity for Canada?

(Originally published in TOURISM)

In a recent article published on Travelmole.com, David Wilkening asked if the traditional once-a-year two-week vacation (which used to be the American standard) wasn’t gradually being replaced by three- and four-day getaways.

Citing a recent study by Orbitz (the online travel company), Wilkening highlights an increase in numbers of Americans taking a week or less of holiday time. At the same time, one‑third of respondents said they took five or fewer days of vacation in the past year. “One in four of those surveyed said they felt their bosses did not encourage them to take vacations, and one in three said they stayed connected with their office via phone or computer while on holiday,” Wilkening noted.

"Our sense is that people are busier than ever with their lives, their family activities and their kids," said Jeanenne Diefendorf of Orbitz. "So they find it difficult to take an extended vacation and easier to balance if they're only gone a couple of days."

According to Ernst Flach, the CTC's US leisure marketing manager, this is consistent with what previous studies have shown, and it may bring new opportunities for Canada: "Canada has an advantage when compared to other international destinations because of our proximity to the US and our accessibility in general to Americans. They can get here more quickly to make the most of the shorter holiday breaks they take."

"Furthermore, Flach continues, "we know that Americans who come here really enjoy themselves, so there is opportunity to get them to come again, try different experiences, and tell their friends. All this is true to our high‑yield strategy."

A 2005 survey a survey of 2,000 workers conducted for Expedia.com found US workers would fail to take advantage of roughly 421 million vacation days allotted to them that year; it found approximately one‑third of American workers said they didn’t use all their vacation days. “Compared to European and Canadian workers," the survey found, "US employees use the fewest vacation days each year (12 on average) and are most likely to work more than 40 hours each week."

Ski campaign in Australia yields huge increase in bookings

(Originally published in TOURISM)

The collaborative approach spearheaded by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) in the Australian ski market is heading towards what could be described as its greatest finish ever, according to early indications. This is the kind of news every marketer likes to hear; Donna Brinkhaus, managing director at CTC‑Australia, believes the campaign’s structure involving wholesalers, Canadian ski resorts, airlines and partners has made all the difference in the world, leading to strong advance bookings: “By having everybody go with one cohesive message to the consumer in an integrated approach, we have been able to achieve a sustained presence in newspapers, online, on TV and on billboards as part as a comprehensive deployment of tactics acting in synchronicity.

Brinkhaus explains that Western Canadian ski resort operators know Australia is of great benefit to them, as Australia is the second largest overseas market delivering skiers to their resorts (UK‑based skiers are #1). “Eight Western Canadian ski resorts came on board this year, along with three top Australian ski wholesalers and the provinces of BC and Alberta. Together with the CTC money we were able to generate a $450,000 dollar campaign.”

This made it possible for Brinkhaus’ team to acquire presence in major newspapers for six weeks in three key cities that deliver visitors to Canada (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne). “We delivered a complete campaign with the operators getting behind it with additional individual initiatives such as direct mail campaigns, flyers and retail components. Every single medium you can think of is being used during this campaign and the ski operators are telling us their business is up phenomenally.”

With early bookings, there are signs for a very strong upcoming season, Brinkhaus continues. “There are a couple of reasons for this. Our campaign has been effective in the market. Also, Air Canada has a brand new non‑stop service between Sydney and Vancouver starting December 14, and that is a big factor; it is huge news here that for the very first time consumers can fly non stop between Sydney and Vancouver. As well, the dollar is playing a large part (the Australian dollar is strong right now with about a 10‑cent difference between our dollars).”

Brinkhaus says this smart approach, combined with knowing how to reach the consumer, what to tell them, and the ability to keep Canada visible in front of consumers for a period of about three months, "makes us incredibly successful in the market. Competition is very stiff with Japan and Colorado right now. They are 'eating our lunch' and they have been for a while. This campaign is new and exciting; it tends to grab the eye of the consumer!” Brinkhaus believes that good news from the Australian ski market will keep coming as a result of this latest effort, for some time yet.

Visit www.ski.canada.travel/au for more on how the CTC is luring Australian skiers to Canada.

UK market registers more last-minute bookings than usual

(Originally published in TOURISM)

More clients from the UK are calling Canadian operators at the last minute for trips in August, and a quick survey by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) of UK-based operators selling Canada is confirming there much activity in that market, according to CTC-UK’s managing director Maggie Davison.

“I think the summer is really shaping up very well," says Davison. "We are actually showing a lot of last minute bookings in the period four to six weeks prior to departure. I believe much of it has to do with the UK weather, which has been absolutely atrocious so far this summer; we have had nothing but rain. The newspapers are splattered here with people booking at last minute and going away to get some sunshine and a change of scenery. We are certainly reaping our share of the benefit from that.”

Davison says customers are waiting until closer to their departure date before booking. “Now, even with long haul customers, we are seeing bookings four to six weeks out, which is quite strange for long haul destinations because people tend to book further out,” she notes.

In an informal survey of operators, the CTC‑UK noticed a definite increase in bookings year over year, with a trend showing Western Canada doing very well, Davison says. “Everyone seems to be on the Rockies. We talked to the airlines; Air Canada and other airlines are reporting record loads, certainly on scheduled flights, and our charter airlines are doing well. We have plenty of lift going to Canada this year. The price is right. We are tracking about 4% up year over year (2006 to 2007) so far. 'Buoyant' is how I would describe the market at the moment.”

Davison is confirming that the message is getting out: “People are starting to see Canada under a new light. It would be nice to see how the age groupings are evolving (and whether we are attracting more of that younger customer segment). We will find out over time. One thing is certain: when we talk to people now, we don’t always get the same responses we used to,” she says. "The perception that Canada is cold and meant for people 55 and over is no longer the norm," she notes. “The younger people have started to talk about Canada as a place to go. It is coming up on the popularity list. That is where we want to be.”

Live chat enhances customer’s web experience

(Originally published in TOURISM)

A tool developed by a Calgary firm takes tourism industry websites to a new level of on-line customer interaction. The Live Chat System created by Strategic Direct Marketing Group (SDMG) allows visitors to websites like those of Tourism Saskatchewan and Coast Hotels & Resorts to “ring a doorbell” and instantly get in touch with an agent.

Explains managing partner Scott Martin: “When visitors arrive at the web site, they have the option to click on a button that might say “click here for live chat” and a chat window opens up. An agent comes online, introduces him/her self and asks how they can be of assistance. A live chat application allows agents to express some of the more experiential aspects of products and destinations that are harder to convey otherwise. Someone looking at a hotel package may seek additional information; through Live Chat, an agent can dynamically show them that page. This becomes then ‘guided selling’”.

The agents can actually see what page visitors are on, says Martin: “They see how many times they have visited, the last conversation they have had at the site with any other agents; and if they can’t find what they are looking for, the agent is able to take control of their browser and take them there. They can push a link or even a PDF file. They can follow you around and see what you are looking at.”

For Coast Hotels and Resorts, the use of Live Chat has helped increase sales in the form of online reservations, and by introducing high margin products that typically require some interaction (better rooms, SPA packages, meeting/event products). It has lowered call center costs over time because one agent can talk to five people or more on the site at the same time. And it give a competitive advantage by providing a “white glove concierge” type service that differentiates the company from its competitors.

Sherry Baumgardner is director of marketing at Coast Hotels & Resorts: “It is really closing the customer service gap because if you are calling someone on the phone you can ask any question you want, but when you are going online you are really limited to whatever happens to be there. That creates a gap. The Live Chat’s co‑browse feature ensures the agent is on the same page as the customer," she says. "It is adding that presence and is actually helping close more sales. It is giving the customers the reassurances they need to make the booking. If they have any lingering questions, this solves it for them and gives them that personal contact.”

Research seems to confirm the effectiveness of this type of program:

* 62% of customers seeking help online prefer a live chat program (highest of all support channels) according to Modalis Research.
* 57% of customers say the speed of a retailer’s response affects their decision to make purchases, according to Jupiter Media Matrix.
* There is a 22% increase in revenue, 18% increase in retention, and a 20% increase in satisfaction on sites that use CRM/Chat, according to the Aberdeen Group
* Customers are 22% more likely to make a purchase and there is a 6% increase in order‑value by customers who use chat, according to Land’s End.

Some chat systems are already available free of charge to web developers through Open Source channels, recognizes Martin: “These systems will be perfect for the small operators who exist throughout Canada. The difference between those and ours is the technology we use – the way we set it up for the call centres – so it is more “call centre managed” with an administrative console that manages multiple agents. And we pay close attention to strategic deployment in terms of how the customer information acquired is used. It is that much richer," he says. "And in chat, everything is pre‑scripted. Agents are able to take the prepared answers and bring them over to the chat window; 80% of the dialogue used is already prepared.”

Given the current human resource challenges in the tourism industry, anything that can help staff become more familiar with the product is likely to bring some welcome relief.

Changing consumer habits warrant better-targeted marketing

(Originally published in TOURISM)

Le Québec maritime was founded in 1997 by five tourism associations seeking to promote their regions to markets outside Quebec. Christian Ouellet, a research officer with the organization, says he noticed an important consumer shift since 2002 in how consumers find out about products:

“Consumers are less and less likely to access tourism products through travel agents and are becoming more autonomous when planning their trip. This is mainly because of the increasing role played by the internet.” Ouellet refers to a 2005 study conducted among visitors to the region which found that two‑thirds of those surveyed had made use of the internet to plan their trip.

“The internet is becoming a very important planning tool," he points out. "This means it is also becoming an important marketing tool, which compels Québec Maritime to change its practices. More and more, we use the web to lure consumers; for instance, this year we worked in partnership with Tourisme Québec and the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SEPAC) to stream 20‑second short videos introducing the Québec maritime experience on outdoor activity and weather websites. The intent was to get the web users’ attention and to lead them to our marketing campaign sites where products and tourism offerings were featured in greater detail.”

Depending on their profile, surfers were directed to different web channels. ‘Contemplative’ visitors were directed to one channel. Those surfers targeted as ‘outdoor enthusiasts’ were directed to another. This approach,” Ouellet says, “fosters a market segmentation which allows us to get to know our clients better. It is also harmonized with our exit survey reaching 1,500 tourists from outside Quebec (English Canada, the United States and Europe).”

With this intelligence in hand, Ouellet goes on, “we are able to flesh out a general portrait of our visitors. It allows us to not only establish our visitors’ point of origin, but to target regions, cities, neighbourhoods and streets. With the help of available statistics (like those of Statistics Canada), we can get to know the profile of people who live there, what their specific family income is, whether or not they have children, are part of the workforce, or are retired. All of these factors influence the way we commercialize our product.”

By gaining greater knowledge of visitors’ profile, it becomes easier to speak with them in terms they can relate to. Ouellet says his team has witnessed a growth in marketing tactic performance as a result. It also yielded valuable intelligence, like an observed increased concern for the environment: “We need to offer a quality experiences that respect the client as well as the environment.”

The other emerging aspect which matters is authenticity, Ouellet finds. “Along with beautiful landscapes, considerations around nature, local hospitality and culture also matter.” More specifically, he highlights consumers’ curiosity around what is commonly referred to as “free” culture (as opposed to museum or artisans shop visits).

The memorability of the travel experience often stems from people finding themselves suddenly on shared, yet unfamiliar ground, thereby creating opportunities for exchange. That is often the essence of the journey, and it is the element we all too often tend to put aside.

CITM Plus: a CTC‑driven value‑added opportunity in the Chinese market

(Originally published in TOURISM)

Continuing its strategy of increasing Canada awareness in China, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has invited Canadian operators with an interest in this emerging market to take part in a value-added opportunity that is bundled with participation at CITM 2007 (China International Travel Mart 2007) scheduled to take place in Kunming from November 1-4.

“Without approved destination status (ADS), we have limited opportunities to promote Canada in China,” says Derek Galpin, the CTC’s managing director in China. “We continue to promote Canada through extensive agent training, FAM tours for trade and media every month, and we also have a significant presence at the major trade shows," he continues. "We try to complement trade shows with more targeted business‑to‑business events such as Showcase Canada to provide opportunities for our partners to build strong personal and business relationships with the travel trade.”

CITM alternates between Shanghai and Kunming, Galpin explains. “After the show in Kunming this November we have added a week of business‑to‑business meetings in Shanghai and Beijing, where participating partners can meet with new travel agencies. These agencies are based in large affluent cities in Southern and Northern China which have a strong interest in selling Canada, and this fits with our tactical initiatives for 2007 and beyond to expand and develop new market centres.”

Galpin notes that his office has invested considerable energy on Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou over the last two years, and it is now time look at other big cities and regions in cooperation with key Canadian partners.

CITM Plus takes the delegation to Shanghai on November 4. On November 5, the CTC and DMOs will conduct a full day of training for 100 operational staff from Shanghai agents, while other partners will be free to do sales calls in Shanghai. In the evening, there will be a reception with teambuilding activity for new agents and Canadian partners. On November 6, the CTC events will feature pre‑scheduled appointments with the new Chinese agents from Nanjing, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Fuzhou and Chongqing and a farewell evening dinner. “The evening events are designed to reinforce friendship and strengthen relationships in a social as well as a business environment, and this is essential when doing business in China,” says Galpin.

On November 7, the schedule is repeated when the delegation travels to Beijing, and November 8 will feature a full training day for operational staff from agencies in Beijing. This will be followed the same evening by a reception and team building activities for new agents from the Northern cities of Qingdao, Jinan, Xi’An, Changchun, Zhengzhou, Harbin, Shenyang and Dalian. These agents will then attend the business‑to‑business session with Canadian partners on November 9, followed by a farewell dinner.

Galpin is confident that those Canadian partners and DMOs who take part in these marketing activities will reap substantial benefits from their investment, because perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, Chinese culture invests immense value in relationship‑building. And as we all know, there is no industry that values relationships more than tourism.

More Asian women are travelling

(Originally published in TOURISM)

The CanWest News Service reports Asian women are travelling more than ever before, citing a recent survey which found – out of every 10 Asian Pacific travellers – four are women. That figure used to be one in ten in the mid-1970s.

The news agency notes that in the past 12 months, 54% of Chinese women surveyed had undertaken an international trip for personal reasons, compared to 47% of men, according to the MasterCard survey, Women Travellers of Asia Pacific.

The most active female travellers originate from wealthier places like Tokyo, Singapore, Taiwan, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul, and tend to have higher education levels and higher disposable incomes. Don Birch, president of Abacus International, an Asia‑Pacific travel service firm based in Singapore, is quoted as saying these women are represented across demographic segments: “From the young to businesswomen to energetic grandmothers, they're travelling more often – and further – solo, in pairs with their female companions or as members of women‑only interest groups," he said.

KANATA 2007 introduces new era in CTC’s Japanese market efforts

(Originally published in TOURISM)

It will come as no surprise that the number of Japanese visitors to Canada and some of other long-haul destinations is no longer what it used to be – Japan numbers have been declining since 1996. As a result, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has decided to adopt an aggressive approach to reach deep into the travel preferences of Japanese consumers. The approach is based on harnessing the concerted efforts of the CTC’s partners in Canada and Japan, according to acting marketing manager of the Asia/Pacific marketing team in Vancouver Kyoko Manabe.

“To revitalize the Japanese market, we have grouped together with our Vancouver‑based team," says Simon Pitt, Managing Director of the CTC office in Japan. "We have come up with an energetic strategy and KANATA 2007 will be a very important event to demonstrate Canada’s new approach and partnerships." KANATA is an annual event organized by the CTC, where Canadian companies meet with Japanese professionals from travel industries in order to promote their products. Since its launch in 1990, KANATA has grown and gained a stable reputation among travel professionals. In 2007, it will be held from October 15 to 19 in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, and will feature the new brand Canada.

Says Pitt: “KANATA 2007 will feature enhanced experiential products from Canada which reflect a modified approach. We will expand our target market segments by shifting from conventional demographics and adopting more of an interest‑based segmentation rooted, for instance, in a grouping identified as ‘local flavour seekers.’ These are people who want to come to Canada and experience it as Canadians do.”

They may want to stay at a local family’s home, or take cooking classes for example. Pitt admits these consumers may not constitute a huge volume in the general sense, “but it is substantial in terms of influencing knowledge about Canada in Japan,” he points out.

To support those efforts from a communications perspective, the Kanata Media Event will plant seeds on the media side, through proposed story ideas in five regions where new experiential products will generate a longing for media representatives to travel to Canada.

“KANATA will feature tea blending by BC’s Salt Spring Tea Company, ranch‑style Alberta beef and Canadian beer, Niagara wines and Quebec cuisine, PEI quilt displays and berry water testing, as well as performances by Ontario First Nations artists,” Pitt says.

One hundred key Japanese media representatives are expected to attend the event at the trendy Honey’s Garden in Roppongi (Tokyo), where a Canada House will be “erected” for the occasion. “This spot is a hot destination known for luring sophisticated socialites,” notes Pitt. “It is located in an area named the ‘Art Triangle’ because of the number of contemporary museums nearby.”

A gift package has already been mailed with Canada Day greetings and tips to 100 qualified media representatives and received overwhelming responses. KANATA Media Event guests will receive a passport as part of their invitation letter, which will be stamped as they come in. The garden space will be lit up with candles and colourful projections featuring CTC graphics. A special press kit will be issued for the occasion.

Kyoko Manabe stresses that the concerted efforts around KANATA 2007 (including those of the Canadian partners) bode well for the future of the Japanese market. She invites Canadian sellers to join all the partners, to shed new light on Canada’s tourism offering in Japan.

Visit www.kanata2007.com to find out more.

Canada‑Japan Conference held in Niagara Falls

(Originally published in TOURISM)

The 11th edition of the Canada-Japan Tourism Conference (CJTC) was held at the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel in Niagara Falls from September 5 to 7, 2007. According to Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) chair Charles Lapointe, the conference played a crucial role in fostering business ties with trading partners who currently account for 14% of Canada’s tourism revenue from the region.

“Events like this keep Canada on the minds of Japanese decision makers,” said Lapointe. “Increasing our market share in Japan is going to require that we work harder and more closely than ever before with our Japanese partners at all levels.”

Ontario and Niagara Falls submitted a very comprehensive proposal to lure the event, according to CTC representatives, who also noted the support of partners like the Niagara region, Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls Tourism and the Niagara Parks Commission.

Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership president and CEO Robin Garrett was thrilled to have Ontario host this year’s conference: "Japan is the #1 Asia‑Pacific market for Ontario. If you put that into perspective over all markets, it is second only to the UK. So it is a very, very important market for us.”

Themed Ahead of the Curve, this industry gathering was "an unparalleled opportunity to bring together leaders from both the Canadian and Japanese tourism industries," noted Lapointe. Since 1993, the event has strengthened tourism trade relations, sparked the innovation of new products, lowered trade barriers and provided an important forum for discussion and knowledge sharing.

British Airport Authority and WorldPoints team up with CTC

(Originally published in TOURISM)

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has entered into a partnership with the British Airport Authority (BAA) in a two stage campaign offering holiday prizes and retail vouchers to some 100,000 active members of the BAA WorldPoints premier retail loyalty scheme. The aim is to inspire members to visit Canada.

A competition to win a trip to Quebec with Frontier Holidays, Fairmont Hotels and BAA Heathrow is currently featured in the BAA e‑newsletter “eEmporium”. This holiday prize is also featured on www.baa.com/worldpoints, which typically receives 120,000 hits per month.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to promote Canada as a holiday destination and capture the data of members of the BAA World points scheme,” states Sarita Atkins, promotions and incentives manager at the CTC's UK office. “These typically cash‑rich, time‑poor, affluent executives fly seven times a year from BAA airports. This promotion gives us a chance to reach them and inspire them to visit Canada.”

In the autumn the campaign enters its second phase with a booking offer to Canada with Frontier Holidays. If BAA WorldPoints members book a holiday or opt into the holiday prize competition, they will receive a voucher applicable to any of the retailers at London Heathrow Airport. This offer is all the more attractive when one considers that BAA WorldPoints members spend 75% more on airport shopping and services than non‑members, collectively spending around $45 million a year. Their average spend per visit is over $125, with an average transaction value of $95.

Accommodation industry profits to reach new heights – Conference Board

(Originally published in TOURISM)

Strong travel spending by Canadians and healthy price increases will enable Canada’s hoteliers to post their second consecutive year of record profits in 2007, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s Industrial Outlook: Canada’s Accommodation Industry – Summer 2007.

“After three years of improvement, accommodation profits are expected to rise slightly to $982 million in 2007,” said Michael Burt, senior economist. “However, with labour shortages and the resulting increases in wage costs limiting profits, the industry can expect weaker profits next year."

The study suggests an ongoing decline in foreign spending on accommodation is also limiting the profit outlook. "Although visitors from countries other than US rose in 2006, the declining number of US visitors caused real foreign spending on accommodations to fall. This trend is expected to continue,” the Board’s outlook notes, “due to the surging Canadian dollar and the ongoing implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).”

However in the longer term, it is predicted that strong growth in domestic travel spending will continue to support the industry. "Once the WHTI is fully implemented, foreign spending will also start to recover,” the report adds, noting also that the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 are expected to provide a boost to the industry’s performance.”

A new generation of Japanese travellers go it alone

(Originally published in TOURISM)

Younger Japanese consumers are embracing the freedom and experiences that come with independent travel, according to a new Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) study looking at how to restore Canada's performance in the Japanese Travel Market.

Japanese travel interests are broadening, which provides Canada with new selling opportunities. Unfortunately, Canada's share of these travellers is falling, despite the fact the Japanese are travelling outside their country in record numbers. "There's a whole new generation of Japanese travellers out there who want to get in on the action," says Neil McInnis, executive director of research for the CTC. "Instead of just seeing the sights from behind the window glass of a tour bus, they want to experience the Canadian outdoors and lifestyles for themselves."

The new consumer and trade research also maps out the critical factors that have to be addressed in order to spark growth in this market. Based heavily on research and feedback from the overseas travel trade, the CTC is currently drawing plans to put Canada back on Japan's radar. The CTC will maintain its strong group tour focus but will be adding a new younger market segment called "local flavour seekers" who want to experience first‑hand the way local people live.

"The CTC is cutting a new path in Japan that's going to expose these consumers to a whole new range of products, and provide tour wholesalers with increased service and more powerful selling tools," says Andrew Clark, vice‑president of sales for the CTC, who is overseeing the rejuvenation of the Japan market.

Small‑ to medium‑sized tourism businesses will find the study extremely useful in understanding the new generation of Japanese travellers and the experiences that are in demand regardless of how old they are.

The new study is available at www.canada.travel/research.

Entrepreneurship Program Teaches the Business of Farming

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

For producers who spend a lot of time working at their businesses rather than on their businesses, the University of Saskatchewan is offering a program that will help them to learn how to switch hats.

The Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program (AEP) is a week-long, intensive school open to producers of all kinds who want to learn about farm management, including how to successfully manage change, capital and risk. The 2008 session will mark the 10th anniversary of the program.

Program Co-ordinator Pat Englund says the initiative addresses a wide variety of agribusiness issues and questions, including content suggested by producers.

"The content is largely based on business planning, financial planning, marketing, finance and accounting, and different farm management issues," Englund said. "There's an Aboriginal dimension, too, as well as an agribusiness simulation where participants break into groups and make decisions based on a devised situation."

This year's program will also include sessions on two very popular topics - personal financial planning and farm succession planning.

With the AEP, you never know who your classmates might be. Englund says a diverse collection of participants make up the program each year.

"It really appeals to a wide variety of people - first and foremost, producers. We've had them from all three Prairie provinces," she noted. "Last year, we saw some people from the Canadian Wheat Board, Ducks Unlimited and Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, as well as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. We also saw people from credit unions and banks, as well as agribusiness consultants, lenders, entrepreneurs, economic development professionals, venture capitalists and manufacturers."

The AEP features four instructors from the professorial staff at the University of Saskatchewan. Two professors from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and two from the Edwards School of Business will each teach portions of the program.

The 2008 AEP session has room for approximately 40 participants. It runs from January 20 to 26 in Saskatoon. More information will soon be posted on the program's website at http://agribusiness.usask.ca/.

Tuition for the program is $1,250 for producers and $1,500 for non-producers. However, producers interested in attending can apply for sponsorship funding through a program offered by the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan (ACS), formally the Saskatchewan Council for Community Development.

"There's an application form on our website, at http://www.agcouncil.ca/," said Bev Magill, a project officer with ACS. "We like to pick a variety of folks with different experiences, coming from different backgrounds, producing different crops, or maybe they're doing something different on their farm altogether."

The ACS sponsorship is $1,000 and can be used toward tuition, travel, accommodations or any other expenses that producers taking the AEP may incur.

If you are interested in applying for sponsorship, Magill says completed applications must reach her office by January 14, 2008. Those who are already receiving funding from the Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS) to take the program will not be eligible for ACS sponsorship.

For more information, contact:
Pat Englund, Program Co-ordinator
Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
Phone: (306) 665-1678

Bev Magill, Project Officer
Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan
Phone: (306) 975-8928
E-mail: magillb@agcouncil.ca
Website: http://www.agcouncil.ca/

Future Looks Bright, According To Bioventure Challenge

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

"The young people are our future." It's an often stated, but undisputable, axiom - and it's why a new initiative administered by the Industry Liaison Office (ILO) at the University of Saskatchewan has proven to be so heartening for the province.

The winners of the first-ever BioVenture Business Plan Challenge are Rachel and Chris Buhler, a brother and sister team from Osler, just north of Saskatoon. Their company, Floating Gardens Ltd., will now receive a $50,000 award to help make their business proposal a reality.

"The Buhlers are trying to take advantage of a very interesting synergy between fish farming and hydroponic growing of vegetables," stated Doug Gill, Managing Director of the ILO. "They've done a lot of work to identify what the markets are and what the challenges are. I think that the team is a very worthy winner."

The BioVenture Challenge is a joint initiative of the U of S ILO and Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food to help promote, develop and accelerate the bio-economy within Saskatchewan. It encourages young people to use their talents to build companies in Saskatchewan and, ultimately, to stay in Saskatchewan. It's a strategy to enhance the province's economic base, but also to help demonstrate that young people don't have to leave the province to find good business opportunities.

Gill says this year's field proved the tremendous amount of entrepreneurial talent we have in Saskatchewan.

"All five of the finalists displayed the ability to be creative and innovative with regards to their business proposals. The entrepreneurs involved in writing these proposals showed a great deal of energy and enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn and develop an extensive network of contacts and support systems," he noted.

"I think this challenge is very encouraging for the future of the province."

By all measures, Gill says the first BioVenture Challenge was a resounding success. "We received a really great response. There were probably in the order of 10 applicants for this award, and that, in itself, shows that there is an audience out there," he noted.

"There are young entrepreneurs who are interested in pursuing their business dreams in Saskatchewan.

The quality of the five finalists demonstrates that. I think they are all winners in this initiative,

especially when you look at the training, knowledge and experience that they received in preparing their business plans, writing their proposals and making their presentations to the judging panel. It was a great learning experience for them."

The BioVenture Challenge was funded under the Strategic Research Program agreement between SAF and the U of S. Given the level of enthusiasm for the inaugural BioVenture Challenge, Gill is optimistic that the competition will continue in the future.

More information can also be found on the ILO website at www.usask.ca/research/ilo.

For more information, contact:
Doug Gill, Managing Director
Industry Liaison Office, University of Saskatchewan
Phone: (306) 966-7335
E-mail: doug.gill@usask.ca

Factors to Consider When Marketing Cattle

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Ancient “Wonder Berry” Taking Root in Saskatchewan

An ancient and exotic cure-all plant is being rediscovered across North America, and the Saskatchewan company Northern Vigor Berries is at the heart of its resurgence.

Seabuckthorn bushes, which some Saskatchewan producers have been using as shelterbelt plants for years, also yield bark, leaves and fruit that are packed full of things that are good for us: omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 are found in the seeds, and the fruit is rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, B1, B2 and Niacinamide.

Betty Forbes, President and CEO of Northern Vigor Berries, grows and markets seabuckthorn bushes and their products. She says the plant has some legendary admirers.

"Ghengis Khan is said to have fed seabuckthorn to troops and horses prior to battle to keep them healthy, in battle and afterwards," said Forbes. "It's been traditionally used in many forms throughout China for centuries."

Forbes, herself, is still getting acquainted with the myriad of uses for seabuckthorn bushes and berries.

"Medicinally, it has uses as a soothing oil for cuts or burns," she said. "It's one of the fruits that has a perfect one-to-one ratio between omega-3 and omega-6. Of all the fruits, it has the highest content of Vitamin E. It is very high in Vitamin C. In fact, there's a company out of Finland that's marketing capsules just on the Vitamin C alone."

Forbes noted that the berries, leaves and even the tree bark have been studied for a wide range of potential health benefits. She says it's impossible to narrow its benefits down to just one or two specific uses.

"It's really hard to say ‘this is what it's good for,' because the list is pages and pages long."

Forbes' father and brother have a 15-acre seabuckthorn orchard, which she estimates is probably the largest in Canada at present. She stepped into the business full-time when no one else expressed a desire to market the relatively unknown plant.

"One of the problems they (her family) experienced was when promised markets for the berries fell through, so I stepped up and said we need to do something for ourselves rather than to wait for

somebody else to do it for us," she stated. "Although we get a lot of consultative help, we needed to take the reins, move forward, and develop some products in addition to just the berry line."

On top of the health benefits, seabuckthorn actually makes a pretty tasty pie, juice, or even a liqueur.

"Its taste is between an orange and a lemon," Forbes said. "It's not everybody's flavour choice, but mixed in with various other things, it's awesome. The Chinese used it as their sports drink during the Seoul Olympics."

As far as markets go, Forbes says Canada is now in the process of learning where seabuckthorn is needed, at home and around the world. Currently, foreign markets like Japan, Russia and China are the strongest, but she believes interest is growing in Canada and the United States.

According to Forbes, Saskatchewan has a distinct advantage when it comes to growing seabuckthorn bushes. The plant is very winter- and drought-tolerant, and it grows well in high pH soil. It even tolerates saline soil.

"Our climate is perfect for seabuckthorn. We've got a very good growing climate and soil. It doesn't do as well in clay soil, but in most of the countryside, it does wonderfully."

For those interested in learning more about seabuckthorn bushes and products, Forbes recommends typing "seabuckthorn" into your Internet search engine and enjoy the reading.

For more information, contact:
Betty Forbes, President and CEO
Northern Vigor Berries Inc.
Phone: (306) 955-2319
E-mail: northernvigorberries@shaw.ca
Website: http://www.northernvigorberries.com/

Keep Your Canola Cool This Fall

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

A decent harvest and record production will see a lot of canola in the bin this year. However, the Canola Council of Canada is advising growers to make sure they condition their canola to storage-safe temperature and moisture levels this fall, or their hard work could all be for naught.

Canola Council agronomy specialist David Vanthuyne says the variable weather conditions during the harvest season should make growers very cautious as they store their canola.

Vanthuyne explains that conditioning involves moving air through the grain mass to prevent any spoilage that may result from moisture migration and seed respiration. He stresses that canola harvested at much above eight- to nine-per-cent moisture must be conditioned, especially if grain temperature is above 25 degrees Celsius.

"Aeration and/or ‘turning' the canola can be an effective way to avoid spoilage," Vanthuyne said. The objective is to cool the seed to below 15 degrees Celsius, and to lower its moisture content to eight per cent moisture - but "if moisture levels are above 10 to 12 per cent, growers need to consider heated air drying," he added.

Growers must regularly monitor their bins for heating or mould growth. Because farmers are using bigger and bigger bins, more heat can be generated and trapped in the bin.

Recent cooler temperatures may give growers a little more time to condition canola, but growers must not assume they are home free, "even if the stored canola is already down below 15 degrees Celsius," Vanthuyne noted. Pockets of damp seed or green dockage can still create hot spots that can quickly spoil a bin.

Even dry canola can still be at risk if it has a high temperature, especially if parts of the bin contain green material which can potentially start the spoiling process.

As a result, Vanthuyne says it is important for producers with stored canola to keep a close eye on their bins even after the seed has been conditioned. Freshly harvested canola can maintain a high respiration rate for up to six weeks before becoming dormant. Over time, the seed may become mouldy or heat-damaged, and, in severe cases, it can ignite.

So, even though the crush of harvest may be nearing the home stretch, producers with crop in the bin are

reminded to keep their eyes open for any sign of trouble in there. "Monitoring is a best practice, just like keeping malathion far away from stored canola," Vanthuyne stated.

More information and advice on the safe storage of canola can be found on the following web pages:

* http://www.canola-council.org/safestorage.aspx
* http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/crop1301
* http://www.canola-council.org/MalathionAug11.html

For more information, contact:
David Vanthuyne, Agronomist
Canadian Canola Council
Phone: (306) 946-3588

Monday, October 1

Canada Day in London a success despite security threat

(article publié initialement dans TOURISME)

It was the sort of circumstance that brings out the best in Londoners. A car bomb is located near Trafalgar Square, and all of a sudden, the organizers of Canada Day in London on the early morning of June 29 are asking themselves if it wouldn’t be wiser to cancel the celebrations, recalls managing director of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) office in theUK, Maggie Davison.

“We weren’t sure whether Canada Day was going forward or not, but decided we weren’t going to let mere terrorists put the day off," remembers Davison. "The emergency services were amazing; police activity was cranked up and we were a 'go'.”

With the unforeseen four hour delay on the setup, the CTC and all its collaborators got to work. “They had shut off all the electricity in the Square at four o'clock in the morning. We had planned an overnight build, and there was no light or power to finish the staging and rigging, but we pushed to get ready for noon.

“It was an amazing day. Even if many people stayed away from central London because of the bomb scare, the Greater London Authority estimated the attendance was better than last year. I would estimate that about 40,000 people attended the event. Everybody was very watchful. Going ahead was a huge decision to have to make: ‘There is a bomb on the corner – do you really continue with the celebration?’”

It was evidently the right decision to make and it certainly gave participating Brits, wanderers and international visitors who happened to be on Trafalgar Square that day a taste of everything Canadian, notes Davison: “We had everything from bison burgers to our own beer. We had a shinny hockey tournament featuring a team whose members hail from a Dene Nation which claims to have played the first game of hockey in Canada’s history, and we had an amazing concert in the evening. The Square was absolutely rocking with all new and emerging talent from Canada, like the Sam Roberts Band.”

Davison feels Canada Day in London succeeded in putting a younger image on Canada for UK citizens to discover. “One that is more progressive, more innovative, fun and exciting,” she says. “We received great media coverage, considering that the news of the day was the terrorist threat.”

Not only was Canada’s honour as an event host safe in the end – it could also be said that Canada helped keep heads cool on what might have been a very tumultuous day, had events unfolded otherwise. Canada Day in London turned out to be a more significant statement of “hip”, it seems, just by embracing the wildly unexpected.

Saskatchewan Summit fosters industry-wide collaboration

(Originally published in TOURISM)

About 400 tourism industry stakeholders met September 24 and 25, 2007, in Regina for the first-ever Saskatchewan Summit on Tourism, organized by Tourism Saskatchewan at the request of Provincial Premier Lorne Calvert. Calvert and Tourism Saskatchewan president and CEO Lynda Haverstock were co-hosts of the event, with Senator Larry Campbell, a former Mayor of Vancouver, serving as master of ceremonies. The keynote address was delivered by Saskatchewan-born Pamela Wallin, senior advisor on Canada-US relations to the president of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in New York.

Haverstock feels the initiative was long overdue. "The number one reason for this summit was to bring people together in a way that would lead to the tourism industry being perceived as significant in Saskatchewan, not just by the players who are well aware of its significance, but also by government officials, industry leaders and stakeholders in the room. We want the public to know how meaningful our contribution is to the overall economy of the province."

Brad Lawrence, general manager of Government House, a Regina heritage attraction, certainly felt the summit hit the mark: "Anytime you can get the operators and the decision-makers in the same room, it is a huge benefit."

Private sector tourism operators like Janis Cousyn, owner and operator of Calories Bakery and Restaurant and Souleio Foods Incorporated in Saskatoon, was equally satisfied. "It was very worthwhile. It brought enough people together to have an influence through creating awareness of tourism as an industry which creates jobs and has a value-added impact on our province."

"That recognition has been lacking in the past," notes Cousyn. "This summit has helped create some credibility for us as a tourism industry and it might bring some positive change and some additional funding for our industry so we can start to move forward."

Larry Hiles, president and CEO of the Regina Regional Economic Development Authority, believes the opportunity for dialogue far outweighs any differences people may have: "It is really important to start speaking with a unified voice about who we are, what we want to be and then to develop a plan to get there."

Jim Kilkenny, general manager of the Delta Regina, looks forward to some measurable achievements stemming from this tourism summit, and he hopes these will occur within a very short period of time. "Many of the topics and issues raised here are not insurmountable," he says. "Saskatchewan is leading the nation in economic growth, and we can expect that to continue."

Kilkenny acknowledges his province is faced with issues just like the rest of the country, such as coming to terms with labour shortages and the strength of the Canadian dollar. "But the economic engine of the country is slowly moving west," emphasizes Kilkenny, "and now, perhaps, we are starting to see what some of the other parts of the country have enjoyed - in some cases for many years."

Enrolment on the rise for U of S College of Agriculture

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan is reporting higher first-year enrolment heading into the new school year.

The college has enrolled 134 first-year students, who have already begun attending classes this semester, compared to the 105 first-year students enrolled last year.

This semester marks the first full year for the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, formerly known as the College of Agriculture.

Graham Scoles, interim dean of the department, believes that several factors have contributed to the rise.

"I would like to think the higher first-year enrolment is due in part to the college's new name," he stated. "However, the greater explanation may be that the college has also been participating in active recruitment initiatives in recent years."

Scoles says the college decided to change its name to reflect how it has evolved and expanded over the course of time. "To many people, the word ‘agriculture' denotes only the production side of the equation. Over its many years, this college has diversified to include new levels of expertise and new faculty members," he noted.

"So we had considerable discussions in terms of what name might better represent what we are and what we expect to become. ‘Agriculture and Bioresources' was the one that struck us."

Up to this point, the school has been a single-degree college, offering only a bachelor's degree in science and agriculture. However, with its new name comes a new degree program that is already underway this semester - the Bachelor of Agribusiness.

Scoles says that several other new programs are also in the works. The college intends to introduce a bachelor's degree in renewable resource management next year, and the plans don't end there.

"We are trying to diversify our offerings, and we expect that, by adding new programs, we will attract students to the college who would have otherwise not been attracted before," Scoles stated. "So we're working on others, but are interested in seeing the impact of these new programs first. We don't want to over-extend ourselves."

The college's ambitious recruitment is also believed to have had a positive impact on the increasing student numbers.

"Active recruitment activities are something the college had never tried before. They simply relied on students to come to the college on their own," Scoles said.

"Now, the college has a community liaison officer who is responsible for visiting various high schools and tradeshows to talk about the new vision for the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. We believe these activities have made the positive impact on our first-year enrolment numbers."

The new vision Scoles refers to includes a modern emphasis on the bioresource value chain.

"The bioresource value chain begins with the environment in which we produce the plants and animals that we use in agriculture systems," he explained. "The other end of the chain, in terms of adding value to those products, is to drive economic activity and to essentially bring wealth to the province, its producers and its entrepreneurs."

Potential students can find out more about the college and its registration requirements at http://www.ag.usask.ca/, and by watching for the college's presence at various tradeshows around the province.

For more information, contact:
Graham Scoles, Interim Dean, College of Agriculture and Bioresources
University of Saskatchewan
Phone: (306) 966-4050
E-mail: graham.scoles@usask.ca

A new opportunity to dispose of old pesticides

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The chance has come again for agricultural producers to properly dispose of their obsolete pesticides free of charge through the Saskatchewan Obsolete Pesticide Collection Campaign, which will be underway across the province from October 23 to 25.

"The Obsolete Pesticide Collection Campaign gives farmers the opportunity to safely dispose of de-registered, outdated, unwanted or otherwise obsolete agricultural pesticides during a three-day province-wide blitz," said Wayne Gosselin, an Environmental Policy Specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF).

Pesticide products that will be accepted under the campaign include agricultural herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides.

It is also important to note the products that will not be accepted through the initiative: empty pesticide containers, spray tank rinsate, adjuvants, treated seed, home/garden pesticides, paints, thinners, waste oils or any other household hazardous waste.

Products destined for disposal will be accepted at designated ag-retail collection locations throughout Saskatchewan. "There will be 46 collection sites set up around the province, with the idea being that most agricultural areas of the province will be within 50 kilometres or so of a drop-off site," Gosselin said.

Producers can find the nearest collection depot by phoning their agricultural retailer or the SAF Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377, or by visiting the campaign website at www.agr.gov.sk.ca/pesticidecollection and checking out the associated map.

The collected pesticides will be safely packaged before being transported to a special waste treatment facility approved by Saskatchewan Environment for disposal in an environmentally responsible manner.

Disposal is free for agricultural and commercial-based operations. This includes farmers from all sectors of the industry. It also includes landscape companies, private forestry nurseries, golf courses, turf operations and commercial exterminators.

CropLife Canada is the industry umbrella group that represents the manufacturers and distributors of crop protection products. Under its mandate of "working responsibly to protect people and the environment," the organization is cost-sharing the initiative with the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan (formerly the Saskatchewan Council for Community Development Inc.), which is contributing through the federal Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Saskatchewan (ACAAFS) program.

"We are pleased to be part of a program that provides farmers with a safe, effective and cost-free way to properly dispose of unwanted products," CropLife Canada Manager of Stewardship Development Russel Hurst said.

"This program is a great example of how government, grower organizations and industry can work co-operatively towards a better environment."

The campaign is a one-time opportunity with no legal implications or cost to producers. Those dropping off products are not required to identify themselves. All pesticides will be accepted, including those without valid Canadian Pest Control Act numbers. For safety reasons, however, all containers must be labelled.

"Please make sure containers are leak-free and a pesticide name is written on every container," Hurst said. "If you no longer know what the pesticide is, label the container ‘pesticide unknown.'"

More information on the Saskatchewan Obsolete Pesticide Collection Campaign, including a list of collection locations and details on how to safely transport your pesticides, can be obtained from your farm supply dealer, by calling 1-416-622-9771, or by visiting http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/pesticidecollection.

For more information, contact:
Wayne Gosselin, Environmental Policy Specialist
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 787-6586

Deal with weeds in the fall for a fresher spring

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

If Mother Nature has been good to you and your crops are largely in the bin, October is a good month to think about fall weed control.

Clark Brenzil, provincial specialist in weed control with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF), says there should still be some time for control measures before the snow flies.

"The challenge that arises with producers harvesting larger acreages in fall is that, unless the weather co-operates, they may not get done until very close to freeze-up," he stated. "At that point, it may be too late for some perennial weeds. But this year we saw many crops come off in mid-summer, which may present some opportunities for fall weed control."

Brenzil says that, for some weeds like Canada thistle, which are fairly hearty in the face of cold weather, there may still be good opportunities if the plants are in good condition and there haven't been many hard frosts yet. "We should still have some reasonably warm temperatures, and there's still a chance for herbicide to be absorbed by the plant and moved to the roots and developing buds underground. But for other perennial weeds, like dandelion, herbicide applications generally need to occur before October to be successful."

According to Brenzil, much of a producer's approach to fall weed control depends on the types of weeds being targeted. "If you're looking at a perennial that is more sensitive to frost, control needs to take place earlier in the fall, either with a pre-harvest herbicide application, or after harvest before there has been too much frost damage," he said.

"For winter annual weeds, later is better since they only begin to germinate in mid-September, and control needs to take place as late in the fall as possible to control them effectively."

The advantages of fall weed control are obvious when spring comes and your fields are already well prepared for the season. "Research is showing that the earlier perennial and winter annual weeds are controlled, the greater the yield benefit to the following crop," Brenzil said.

"If the weeds are left there until just before seeding, they use moisture and nutrient resources that could otherwise be used by the crop in that critical early development stage. If you can't get it done this fall, plan to control winter annuals and dandelion as soon as possible next spring."

Brenzil says that post-harvest perennial weed control may be an option for many producers this year on fields where harvest took place earlier in the summer. "Perennial weeds that were cut off during harvest will have had the four to six weeks they need for adequate top re-growth in order to provide a good target for the herbicide spray."

According to Brenzil, a common mistake producers should avoid is trying to use the same herbicide rate they would with a pre-harvest treatment.

"Because the mature standing weeds were cut off with the crop, the leaf surface area of the weed that is able to intercept herbicide droplets has been reduced significantly," Brenzil stated. "Since there are a lower number of droplets for each plant, the concentration of herbicide in the spray solution must be increased by increasing the application rate in order to get the same amount of active ingredient into each plant. The rate needs to be right the first time because the first effect of glyphosate is to stop nutrient (and herbicide) movement in the plant, making additional herbicide applications ineffective."

Brenzil estimates there are at least 12 glyphosate formulations available now from six different manufacturers, plus glyphosate mixes with other herbicides. No matter which brand you choose, though, there are important things to remember when spraying the chemical.

"Glyphosate-based herbicides can be negatively affected by cold conditions. The ideal time to spray is when several days are expected to be bright and sunny, with temperatures in the 15 to 20 degree (Celsius) range and overnight lows no less than five degrees (Celsius). If glyphosate is sprayed under cool, cloudy conditions, there is a high risk of it getting trapped in the leaves and being unable to translocate to the roots," he noted.

"Die-back of perennial plants treated with glyphosate in the fall is not necessarily a good predictor of control come next spring. If glyphosate is sprayed on a day when sugars are being rapidly moved to the roots, the plant may not show signs of death this fall, but will not emerge next spring either, and that is the goal of the exercise."

Because of the cooler temperatures in mid- to late October, glyphosate may not be the most appropriate herbicide for winter annual control in late fall, and should be saved for next spring. Winter annual weeds such as stinkweed, flixweed, whitlow-grass, pygmyweed and shepherd's purse can be effectively controlled just before freeze-up using a light rate of 2,4-D (0.2 to 0.28 millilitres per acre of 600 grams-per-litre formulation).

Other problem winter annual weeds, like narrow-leaved hawk's-beard, should be left alone until being treated with glyphosate early in the spring. Not only is 2,4-D ineffective on hawk's-beard, but it injures the plant enough that it makes the glyphosate applied the next spring ineffective, as well.

More information and advice on fall weed control can be found on the SAF website at http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/, or by calling the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

For more information, contact:
Clark Brenzil, Provincial Specialist, Weed Control
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 787-4673
E-mail: cbrenzil@agr.gov.sk.ca

Fall planning for spring forage seeding

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Producers know that farming is a matter of not only focusing on what needs to be done today, but also of planning ahead for the future.

In light of this, Todd Jorgenson with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF) says there are a number of factors producers looking at seeding perennial forage stands next spring can consider this fall, prior to purchasing seed or making final decisions.

"They should identify what forage species are best adapted to their soil type, moisture conditions and overall climate. They should factor in how the forage stand will be utilized, be it for grazing or hay, and the type of animals that will feed on it. And they need to consider how the stand will fit into their overall range or forage management plan," Jorgenson said.

Different forage species are adapted to different growing conditions. Jorgenson says these adaptations are well documented, and should be reviewed prior to purchasing seed.

"Some species, such as timothy, are poorly adapted to dry conditions and prefer poorly drained, highly fertile soils," he noted. "Others, such as crested wheatgrass, are poorly adapted to flooding and will do well under lower fertility. Meadow bromegrass, on the other hand, is a species more broadly adapted to moderate flooding and drought, and with a moderate to high fertility requirement."

It is not uncommon for forage seed mixtures to contain all three of the species (timothy, crested wheatgrass and meadow bromegrass) or more, as well as one or more legumes. However, if these forage mixtures are for grazing, livestock given the opportunity will select their preferred species and under-graze the others.

"If your field is variable, containing larger areas of different soil types, it is better to divide up these areas and seed to a best adapted single- or two-species mix," Jorgenson said. "Fields that are highly variable with many small acreages of different soils may not be practical to divide, and seeding a diverse forage mix would be a good choice in these conditions."

According to Jorgenson, care should still be taken in selecting a mix that will be adapted to a producer's local conditions. "Planning done over the fall and winter months, prior to seeding, can prevent purchasing poorly adapted forage species or mixtures, and result in a more productive, long-lived stand," he stated.

This includes having a clear idea of how the producer intends to graze the new forage stand. Complex pasture mixtures may not only contain poorly adapted, short-lived species, but they are also difficult to manage.

Different species have different growth patterns and rates of regrowth. Jorgenson says the best way to manage for these growth and regrowth characteristics is to seed them alone or with an adapted legume. "This will eliminate livestock selective grazing, and also enable producers to monitor grass growth in paddocks much more easily to take advantage of the growth cycle of the forage," he stated.

"Planning now for spring seeding is time well spent."

More information and advice on planning for spring forage seeding can be found on the SAF website at http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/, or by calling the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377. SAF forage development specialists are also available through the SAF regional offices to help develop or review seed mixtures and grazing management plans, as well as to help with Environmental Farm Planning (EFP).

For more information, contact:
Todd Jorgenson, Forage Development Specialist, Ecological Services
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 786-5859
E-mail: tjorgenson@agr.gov.sk.ca

Connection with producers behind new flax website

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

A completely revamped website for the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission is just part of efforts to improve services for producers. The commission's executive director, Linda Braun, says they are already receiving positive feedback on the changes.

"The previous version was very time-consuming for farmers to access, so we decided to revamp the site to make it much easier for them," Braun said. "Our website is a great way to get information to farmers relatively quickly."

According to the commission, there are over 15,000 flax producers in Saskatchewan, and the province produces four times more flax than its nearest provincial rival in Canada. The commission invests in research, communication, and market facilitation with the objective of further developing the industry.

"A producer recently told me that Saskatchewan is the heart and soul of flax production in this country," Braun said.

Prominent on the new website is information on the Flax Development Commission's Agri-Environmental Group Plan.

"Complete plant utilization is important," Braun noted. "Flax is a great crop for the bio-economy. We're looking at both the seed and the straw, animal and human markets, and industrial fibre markets."

One of the important developments on which the commission is working with producers is to find markets for the fibre from Saskatchewan flax straw.

"Flax producers have always been good stewards of the land and have taken a leadership role, but sometimes with the amount of fibre there was no alternative but to burn," Braun said. "So we've been talking about chopping and spreading, and sharing information on stripper-header technology. We've also been working on developing the fibre industry from the field through to the consumer."

Braun says the development of new markets for flax fibre is bringing many players to the table.

"We've been working on the national scene with organizations like Flax Canada 2015, the National Bio-Fibres Advisory Board, and the new network of about 100 people within the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program," she noted.

Early in 2008 the commission will be putting together two important events for flax producers. The first will be Flax Day on January 7, during the Crop Production Week. The program will include "everything from what the breeders are doing to what the market is going to look like," Braun stated.

In addition, the commission is organizing a two-day workshop in February on the topic of effective flax straw management. "We'll be bringing in farmers and researchers to discuss all the alternatives and the development of new beneficial management practices for flax straw," she said.

Braun advised producers to watch the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission website, at http://www.saskflax.com/, for more details on these events, as well as on the upcoming board election.

For more information, contact:
Linda Braun, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
Phone: (306) 664-1901
E-mail: saskflax@saskflax.com

Beekeepers association continues to buzz

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

The Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association (SBA) has been around for 85 years, but this energetic organization does not intended to slow down anytime soon. In fact, it is buzzing with continued progress and the opportunity to further its research.

Recently, the SBA was given a $366,729 grant under the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food in Saskatchewan (ACAAFS) program to continue its important work for another three years. The grant is targeted at the organization's ongoing project breed productive, gentle honeybee lines with improved tolerance to mites and brood diseases.

The SBA's continued research will help to establish breeding methods to develop bees with genetic resistance to parasitic mites, eliminating or reducing the need for chemicals. This practice protects the environment from harmful organophosphates, the consumer from food safety or quality concerns, and the beekeeper from bee colony losses.

"This research is essential, due to the fact that two mites, the tracheal mite and the varroa mite, have made their way to Canada, and have become devastating over the last 10 years," said John Gruszka, Provincial Apiculturist for Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food. "These mites have caused the honey production industry in Western Canada to re-think and change how it operates."

Gruszka says that, beginning in the early 1940s, Western Canadian beekeeping developed as what is known as a package bee industry. "We used to be able to purchase two pounds of bees and a new queen from the southern states. They would be trucked up here in April, installed in the colonies, and produce a honey crop. Then the bees would be destroyed and the same process would be repeated the following year," he stated.

"Since the advent of these mites and the concerns over how devastating they are going to be, along with rapid increase in the price of the honey, there has been a movement to learn how to keep bees in our climate. It was re-thinking an old technology and applying new methodology."

The SBA was at the forefront of this movement. When the tracheal mite first gained prominence, the organization applied for and received money from Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food's Agriculture Development Fund to test how much of an impact it would have on the industry.

When the varroa mite appeared, the industry approached government to change the regulations on importing honeybees into Canada. This resulted in a certification program that permitted only mite-free honeybees to be imported into the country.

"The SBA has been working on breeding a honeybee stock that is suitable to our climate and that minimizes winter losses, which allows the bees to come through the winter in much stronger colonies, enhancing honey production. They are now showing almost complete resistance to the honeybee tracheal mite and some resistance to the varroa mite," Gruszka said.

"The SBA has been instrumental in getting research done in order to tackle the concerns and threats to the honey production industry, and in working towards a long-term solution that will alleviate some of our current dependence on chemical applications to keep these mites under control."

The SBA has more recently established the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission to administer a producer-based development fund.

The commission collects approximately $38,000 per year from Saskatchewan beekeepers, which is used for the genetic breeding program, as well as for advertising and promotion on the provincial and national scale.

There are roughly 140 commercial beekeeping producers in Saskatchewan (and another 1,000 hobby beekeepers) who provide around 1,000 summer jobs bringing in the honey crop during the extracting season. On a per-colony basis, Saskatchewan is one of the largest honey producers in the world, with a 10-year average of about 200 pounds per colony.

"Saskatchewan produces between 20 and 25 million pounds of honey per year, most of which is exported to other parts of Canada, the United States and the world," said Gruszka.

For more information, contact:
John Gruszka, Provincial Apiculturist
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food
Phone: (306) 953-2790

How many bushes per bedroom

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

A Saskatchewan company is now offering the first ever Saskatchewan-built grain burning stove for sale to the public and dealers.

Delmer and Janet Hering operate Prairie Fire Grain Energy Inc. from their farm home near Bruno. They have been involved with grain-burning heating systems since 1993, and Delmer says their experience drove the need for this new product.

"We were selling an Ontario-made stove for 14 years, and decided that we could make some improvements on it," Hering stated. "Also, they couldn't keep up with the demand, so we decided it was time to make them here in Saskatchewan."

The Herings teamed up with Mifab Manufacturing of North Battleford, a company primarily known for making and distributing plumbing hardware, to manufacture the new stove, known as the "Prairie Fire Model PFG-060."

Hering says it's the first stove designed to burn grain.

"Most of the stoves are either converted wood pellet stoves or burn corn," he stated. "This is the first certified grain burner. We can also burn bin-run grain, whereas the other one had to have clean grain."

Prairie Fire used the opportunity of starting from the ground up to add improvements to the design, such as a bigger glass door, better air flow and a heavier burning pot. It was also built so that it could be certified for use in mobile homes.

Prairie Fire rates the new grain-burning stove as being capable of heating approximately 2,000 square feet, burning about one bushel of grain per day. According to Hering, the stove pays for itself in energy cost savings.

"It's about four times cheaper than using natural gas, and seven to eight times cheaper than propane, diesel or electric heat," he said. "If you're heating with propane, diesel or electricity, [the Prairie Fire] will pay for itself in probably two years. Compared with natural gas, it might be three to four years."

The grain-burning stove has an operating life expectancy of about 20 years.

While the new stove is designed to burn wheat and rye, Hering says it doesn't need to be fed number one grade.

"The trick is to use poor quality grain," he noted. "If you can find something that's been downgraded, like wheat with fusarium, or grain that's partly heated or mouldy, it will all work."

The stove is designed to be a do-it-yourself installation for most users. It can be situated in any open area, and is vented directly through an outside wall, eliminating the need for an additional chimney. Heat output is controlled by a timed release system that feeds the grain into the firebox from a hopper, and circulated by a variable-speed fan.

"They hold a bushel," Hering stated. "You pour it into the hopper, fill it up, light it, and away you go."

Hering says the primary market for their grain-burning stove is the farm, but they are also selling to owners of cottages and acreages, as well as to a few town-dwellers. Prairie Fire Grain Energy also sells two different sizes of grain-burning boiler systems, which operate outside the home or shop, heating water which is then piped into the buildings to provide heat.

Potential buyers or those interested in becoming dealers can contact the Herings via their website at http://www.grainburningstoves.ca/, or give them a call at (306) 369-2825.

For more information, contact:
Delmer Hering, Owner
Prairie Fire Grain Energy Inc.
Phone: (306) 369-2825
E-mail: prairiefire@sasktel.net
Website: http://www.grainburningstoves.ca/

New beginnings for Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Many new beginnings are on the horizon for a well-known agriculture and rural development organization - starting with a new name.

The Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan (ACS) is the new title of the former Saskatchewan Council for Community Development, or SCCD.

"During our comprehensive strategic planning process this past February, the board felt that we have evolved into an organization with more of an agricultural focus, and they thought that a name change was very critical in terms of being looked at as an agricultural organization," said ACS Executive Director Laurie Dmytryshyn.

"Our new name, therefore, reflects the primary activities of our organization and our membership base."

The majority of ACS members are provincial agricultural, agri-food and community development organizations.

"Membership is constantly growing. We currently have 39 members, a number that has doubled over the past year," Dmytryshyn said. In order to become a member, an interested party must be a provincial organization in the agriculture, agri-food or community development sectors.

During its strategic planning process, the board also developed a new vision and mission for the organization, along with some strategies to guide ACS into the future.

"The ACS vision and mission is to provide leadership and programming to advance the agriculture and agri-food sectors, contributing to a healthy Saskatchewan community," Dmytryshyn stated.

ACS will expand the programming it already delivers to advance Saskatchewan's agriculture and agri-food industry. Through programs like the federally funded Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Saskatchewan (ACAAFS) program, ACS has been able to fund projects that will advance the industry within Saskatchewan, providing many new and innovative opportunities in both domestic and global markets for the province's primary and value-added products. The next application deadline for ACAAFS funding requests of more than $10,000 is November 16, 2007.

The Biofuels Opportunities for Producers Initiative (BOPI) is another federally funded program that has been very successful. Eleven projects from across Saskatchewan have received funding to develop business plans and feasibility studies for ethanol and biodiesel production facilities with significant producer involvement. To date, ACS has committed over $11.57 million in funding to 170 projects through BOPI and the ACAAFS program.

ACS is also continuing to deliver two well-received initiatives, the Saskatchewan Agri-Food Value Chain Initiative and the Centre for Agribusiness Training and Education (CATE). The Value Chain Initiative will continue with workshops across Saskatchewan this fall, showing producers, processors and marketers how they can forge alliances that will allow them to benefit from each other and to better respond to market demands. The CATE program will continue to provide a link to educational institutions, workshops and courses for those seeking education and training opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business fields. The CATE website can be accessed at www.agtraining.ca.

ACS has also recently elected a new chair, Murray Purcell, who represents the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) at ACS.

"Murray brings his extensive producer expertise to the organization, and we're confident his leadership skills will provide us with the momentum we need to build a strong, proactive and effective industry council in Saskatchewan," Dmytryshyn said.

Purcell takes over from Garth Patterson of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, who decided to step down from the chair position. "As chair, Garth's input, leadership and guidance were invaluable during this past transition year. We are pleased that he will be staying on as a director for ACS," Dmytryshyn added.

For more information, contact:
Laurie Dmytryshyn, Executive Director
Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan
Phone: (306) 975-6849

Protecting cattle against nitrate poisoning

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

There are all sorts of potential dangers from which cattle producers need to protect their herds. The hardest to defend against are those threats which can't be seen, like nitrate poisoning.

All plants contain some nitrate, but excessively high amounts are likely to occur in forage grown under stress conditions such as drought, frost, hail, low temperatures, herbicide applications or diseases.

Saskatchewan can experience all of these circumstances over the course of a regular growing season. Therefore, it's important for producers to be aware of the symptoms, preventative measures and treatments for nitrate poisoning in cattle.

The Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan (FACS) has devoted one of its many "Cattle FACS" fact sheets to the subject to give producers more knowledge in this area.

"The information we provide through these fact sheets has been developed by committees of cattle care experts with specific knowledge in each of the topic areas covered," said FACS Executive Director Adele Buettner. "Our organization offered to co-ordinate the effort, produce the material and make it as widely available to producers as possible."

The fact sheet explains that, when growing conditions are favourable, plants take up nitrogen largely in the form of nitrate. The nitrate is rapidly converted to ammonia, which is incorporated into plant protein. Unfavourable growing conditions can interfere with nitrate use and cause it to accumulate in the plant. If the stress is removed and the plants recover, excess nitrate stored in the plant is usually metabolized over several days.

Under normal conditions, cattle convert the nitrate in the forage they eat to nitrite, which is then converted to ammonia and used by rumen microbes to make protein. Feed experts suggest that problems arise when nitrate converts to nitrite faster than nitrite converts to ammonia. When this occurs, nitrite accumulates and is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it binds with haemoglobin, thus reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.

"In worst-case scenarios, animals can die by suffocation," Buettner said.

The amount of nitrate in plant tissue can be affected by other factors, such as the stage of growth. Nitrate concentrations in forage are usually higher in young plants and decrease as the plant matures. However, plants grown in soil with excessive nitrates, or those grown under stress might still have a higher content at maturity.

The parts of the plant closest to the ground also have the highest nitrate levels. Leaves contain fewer nitrates than stalks, and the seed (grain) and flower usually contain little or no nitrate.

Similarly, since nitrates in the soil are the source of nitrate in plants, a positive relationship exists between the two. However, the effect of nitrogen fertilization appears to be less significant in causing high nitrate content in forages than most other factors.

"Animal nutritionists say that some common cattle feed like alfalfa, vetch, trefoil, peas and clover generally do not accumulate nitrates," Buettner said. "However, they recommend that producers feed test their legumes to be sure they are not storing excess nitrates in the plant material."

According to the fact sheet, producers can still safely use feed that has higher-than-normal nitrate levels, provided they carefully manage their rations. Forage with high nitrate content can be diluted with grain or other forage low in nitrates. Feeding grain in combination with high-nitrate forage can help reduce the effect of the nitrate content because the energy from the grain helps complete the conversion of nitrate into bacterial protein in the rumen.

Frequent consumption of small amounts of high-nitrate feed can likewise increase the total amount of nitrate that can be tolerated by livestock, since it helps cattle to adjust to high-nitrate feeds. "Experts advise to feed long-stemmed forages, such as oats or barley hay, that contain high amounts of nitrate in limited amounts several times daily rather than feeding large amounts once or twice daily," Buettner said.

Under the right conditions, pastures can also accumulate nitrates. Risk can be reduced by providing supplemental feed that contains little or no nitrate, and grazing suspected pastures for limited periods each day for the first week to help cattle adapt. If possible, producers should not graze a suspected pasture until one week after a killing frost.

Should a producer's efforts to prevent nitrate poisoning fail, the fact sheet also offers some treatment instructions. "When the condition is first suspected, call a veterinarian immediately to confirm the tentative diagnosis and administer treatment," Buettner stated. "Handle the affected cattle as little and as quietly as possible to minimize their oxygen needs. Finally, remove the contaminated feed and replace it with a high-energy alternative, such as barley."

The Cattle FACS fact sheet on nitrate poisoning can be obtained from the organization's website at http://www.facs.sk.ca/ or by calling (306) 249-3227.

For more information, contact:
Adele Buettner, Executive Director
Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan Inc.
Phone: (306) 249-3227
E-mail: facs@sasktel.net

Expansion takes biodiesel producer to the next level

Source: Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

With a $2.5 million expansion nearing completion, Milligan Bio-Tech is taking another giant step in its remarkable growth.

The Foam Lake company is currently the only processor in North America making biodiesel from 100 per cent canola oil.

"Biodiesel can be made from any animal fat or vegetable oil, including rendered grease, yellow grease and waste restaurant grease, or traditional oilseed crops like canola, flax and sunflower," said Milligan Bio-Tech Executive Manager Zenneth Faye. "We use canola as our feedstock, and have developed exclusive processing technology to produce a very high quality biodiesel."

Faye says processors traditionally use a solvent extraction process that is very expensive for small-scale operations to implement. Working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Milligan Bio-Tech developed technology for extracting oil out of oilseeds based on a "cold crushing" method.

"What this does is enable the efficient extraction of oil from oilseeds, particularly canola, which our company uses to produce biodiesel and other related co-products like diesel fuel conditioner, penetrating oil and road dust suppressant," he stated.

Milligan Bio-Tech currently uses canola that is not suitable for food use, such as crop that may have been contaminated, distressed, heat-damaged, frozen or improperly stored. "It gives Saskatchewan producers another opportunity for a product that can't fit into the food market," Faye noted.

On top of the environmental advantage typically found with biofuels, the company's biodiesel has also demonstrated proven performance benefits. It has a higher oxygen content than regular diesel fuel, resulting in it burning cleaner and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Studies, such as the Saskatoon BioBus Project, have also shown it to increase lubricity, reduce engine wear and improve fuel economy in diesel motors.

Buyers seem to agree on the product's high quality. Faye says the company's sales have nearly doubled every year since production began in 2001. Milligan Bio-Tech's expansion is aimed at increasing production to meet this growing demand, as well as enhancing the scope of the current operation.

While the Foam Lake facility houses its cold crushing technology, the oil extracted through the process is presently transported to the Bio Processing Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, where it is refined into biodiesel, and where the technology the company developed with AAFC is studied and fine-tuned.

The company now believes this technology has been perfected to the point that it is ready to bring it home.

"With this expansion, we're bringing that technology back to our location," Faye said. "We've just put up a stand-alone building to produce biodiesel here in Foam Lake rather than transporting the extracted oil to Saskatoon and bringing back the fuel."

The expansion will also include a quality control lab and new research and development facilities.

Once the construction is complete, Milligan Bio-Tech will have an overall production capacity of 15 million litres per year. The company's workforce will also grow by an estimated nine jobs, bringing the total employed at the plant to around 25.

As a company committed to Saskatchewan, Faye says working to revitalize the rural economy is important to Milligan Bio-Tech. "For a community like Foam Lake that has about 1,350 people, an extra 25 jobs is a substantial boost to the economy," he noted. "There are also a lot of businesses in the area that benefit from serving our needs on an ongoing basis, from meals and trucking to welding, plumbing and so forth."

Faye says Milligan Bio-Tech owes much of its success to Saskatchewan producers, who have always stood faithfully by the company. "We're very grateful for the support we've received from producers in this province. They've given us nothing but encouragement throughout these many years of developing a technology and trying to get our feet on the ground as a small company venturing into business markets and commercialization," he stated.

"It's their support that has really enabled us to get to this stage."

For more information, contact:
Zenneth Faye, Executive Manager
Milligan Bio-Tech
Phone: (306) 272-6284

With a $2.5 million expansion nearing completion, Milligan Bio-Tech is taking another giant step in its remarkable growth.

The Foam Lake company is currently the only processor in North America making biodiesel from 100 per cent canola oil.

"Biodiesel can be made from any animal fat or vegetable oil, including rendered grease, yellow grease and waste restaurant grease, or traditional oilseed crops like canola, flax and sunflower," said Milligan Bio-Tech Executive Manager Zenneth Faye. "We use canola as our feedstock, and have developed exclusive processing technology to produce a very high quality biodiesel."

Faye says processors traditionally use a solvent extraction process that is very expensive for small-scale operations to implement. Working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Milligan Bio-Tech developed technology for extracting oil out of oilseeds based on a "cold crushing" method.

"What this does is enable the efficient extraction of oil from oilseeds, particularly canola, which our company uses to produce biodiesel and other related co-products like diesel fuel conditioner, penetrating oil and road dust suppressant," he stated.

Milligan Bio-Tech currently uses canola that is not suitable for food use, such as crop that may have been contaminated, distressed, heat-damaged, frozen or improperly stored. "It gives Saskatchewan producers another opportunity for a product that can't fit into the food market," Faye noted.

On top of the environmental advantage typically found with biofuels, the company's biodiesel has also demonstrated proven performance benefits. It has a higher oxygen content than regular diesel fuel, resulting in it burning cleaner and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Studies, such as the Saskatoon BioBus Project, have also shown it to increase lubricity, reduce engine wear and improve fuel economy in diesel motors.

Buyers seem to agree on the product's high quality. Faye says the company's sales have nearly doubled every year since production began in 2001. Milligan Bio-Tech's expansion is aimed at increasing production to meet this growing demand, as well as enhancing the scope of the current operation.

While the Foam Lake facility houses its cold crushing technology, the oil extracted through the process is presently transported to the Bio Processing Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, where it is refined into biodiesel, and where the technology the company developed with AAFC is studied and fine-tuned.

The company now believes this technology has been perfected to the point that it is ready to bring it home.

"With this expansion, we're bringing that technology back to our location," Faye said. "We've just put up a stand-alone building to produce biodiesel here in Foam Lake rather than transporting the extracted oil to Saskatoon and bringing back the fuel."

The expansion will also include a quality control lab and new research and development facilities.

Once the construction is complete, Milligan Bio-Tech will have an overall production capacity of 15 million litres per year. The company's workforce will also grow by an estimated nine jobs, bringing the total employed at the plant to around 25.

As a company committed to Saskatchewan, Faye says working to revitalize the rural economy is important to Milligan Bio-Tech. "For a community like Foam Lake that has about 1,350 people, an extra 25 jobs is a substantial boost to the economy," he noted. "There are also a lot of businesses in the area that benefit from serving our needs on an ongoing basis, from meals and trucking to welding, plumbing and so forth."

Faye says Milligan Bio-Tech owes much of its success to Saskatchewan producers, who have always stood faithfully by the company. "We're very grateful for the support we've received from producers in this province. They've given us nothing but encouragement throughout these many years of developing a technology and trying to get our feet on the ground as a small company venturing into business markets and commercialization," he stated.

"It's their support that has really enabled us to get to this stage."

For more information, contact:
Zenneth Faye, Executive Manager
Milligan Bio-Tech
Phone: (306) 272-6284

With a $2.5 million expansion nearing completion, Milligan Bio-Tech is taking another giant step in its remarkable growth.

The Foam Lake company is currently the only processor in North America making biodiesel from 100 per cent canola oil.

"Biodiesel can be made from any animal fat or vegetable oil, including rendered grease, yellow grease and waste restaurant grease, or traditional oilseed crops like canola, flax and sunflower," said Milligan Bio-Tech Executive Manager Zenneth Faye. "We use canola as our feedstock, and have developed exclusive processing technology to produce a very high quality biodiesel."

Faye says processors traditionally use a solvent extraction process that is very expensive for small-scale operations to implement. Working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Milligan Bio-Tech developed technology for extracting oil out of oilseeds based on a "cold crushing" method.

"What this does is enable the efficient extraction of oil from oilseeds, particularly canola, which our company uses to produce biodiesel and other related co-products like diesel fuel conditioner, penetrating oil and road dust suppressant," he stated.

Milligan Bio-Tech currently uses canola that is not suitable for food use, such as crop that may have been contaminated, distressed, heat-damaged, frozen or improperly stored. "It gives Saskatchewan producers another opportunity for a product that can't fit into the food market," Faye noted.

On top of the environmental advantage typically found with biofuels, the company's biodiesel has also demonstrated proven performance benefits. It has a higher oxygen content than regular diesel fuel, resulting in it burning cleaner and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Studies, such as the Saskatoon BioBus Project, have also shown it to increase lubricity, reduce engine wear and improve fuel economy in diesel motors.

Buyers seem to agree on the product's high quality. Faye says the company's sales have nearly doubled every year since production began in 2001. Milligan Bio-Tech's expansion is aimed at increasing production to meet this growing demand, as well as enhancing the scope of the current operation.

While the Foam Lake facility houses its cold crushing technology, the oil extracted through the process is presently transported to the Bio Processing Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, where it is refined into biodiesel, and where the technology the company developed with AAFC is studied and fine-tuned.

The company now believes this technology has been perfected to the point that it is ready to bring it home.

"With this expansion, we're bringing that technology back to our location," Faye said. "We've just put up a stand-alone building to produce biodiesel here in Foam Lake rather than transporting the extracted oil to Saskatoon and bringing back the fuel."

The expansion will also include a quality control lab and new research and development facilities.

Once the construction is complete, Milligan Bio-Tech will have an overall production capacity of 15 million litres per year. The company's workforce will also grow by an estimated nine jobs, bringing the total employed at the plant to around 25.

As a company committed to Saskatchewan, Faye says working to revitalize the rural economy is important to Milligan Bio-Tech. "For a community like Foam Lake that has about 1,350 people, an extra 25 jobs is a substantial boost to the economy," he noted. "There are also a lot of businesses in the area that benefit from serving our needs on an ongoing basis, from meals and trucking to welding, plumbing and so forth."

Faye says Milligan Bio-Tech owes much of its success to Saskatchewan producers, who have always stood faithfully by the company. "We're very grateful for the support we've received from producers in this province. They've given us nothing but encouragement throughout these many years of developing a technology and trying to get our feet on the ground as a small company venturing into business markets and commercialization," he stated.

"It's their support that has really enabled us to get to this stage."

For more information, contact:
Zenneth Faye, Executive Manager
Milligan Bio-Tech
Phone: (306) 272-6284

With a $2.5 million expansion nearing completion, Milligan Bio-Tech is taking another giant step in its remarkable growth.

The Foam Lake company is currently the only processor in North America making biodiesel from 100 per cent canola oil.

"Biodiesel can be made from any animal fat or vegetable oil, including rendered grease, yellow grease and waste restaurant grease, or traditional oilseed crops like canola, flax and sunflower," said Milligan Bio-Tech Executive Manager Zenneth Faye. "We use canola as our feedstock, and have developed exclusive processing technology to produce a very high quality biodiesel."

Faye says processors traditionally use a solvent extraction process that is very expensive for small-scale operations to implement. Working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Milligan Bio-Tech developed technology for extracting oil out of oilseeds based on a "cold crushing" method.

"What this does is enable the efficient extraction of oil from oilseeds, particularly canola, which our company uses to produce biodiesel and other related co-products like diesel fuel conditioner, penetrating oil and road dust suppressant," he stated.

Milligan Bio-Tech currently uses canola that is not suitable for food use, such as crop that may have been contaminated, distressed, heat-damaged, frozen or improperly stored. "It gives Saskatchewan producers another opportunity for a product that can't fit into the food market," Faye noted.

On top of the environmental advantage typically found with biofuels, the company's biodiesel has also demonstrated proven performance benefits. It has a higher oxygen content than regular diesel fuel, resulting in it burning cleaner and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Studies, such as the Saskatoon BioBus Project, have also shown it to increase lubricity, reduce engine wear and improve fuel economy in diesel motors.

Buyers seem to agree on the product's high quality. Faye says the company's sales have nearly doubled every year since production began in 2001. Milligan Bio-Tech's expansion is aimed at increasing production to meet this growing demand, as well as enhancing the scope of the current operation.

While the Foam Lake facility houses its cold crushing technology, the oil extracted through the process is presently transported to the Bio Processing Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, where it is refined into biodiesel, and where the technology the company developed with AAFC is studied and fine-tuned.

The company now believes this technology has been perfected to the point that it is ready to bring it home.

"With this expansion, we're bringing that technology back to our location," Faye said. "We've just put up a stand-alone building to produce biodiesel here in Foam Lake rather than transporting the extracted oil to Saskatoon and bringing back the fuel."

The expansion will also include a quality control lab and new research and development facilities.

Once the construction is complete, Milligan Bio-Tech will have an overall production capacity of 15 million litres per year. The company's workforce will also grow by an estimated nine jobs, bringing the total employed at the plant to around 25.

As a company committed to Saskatchewan, Faye says working to revitalize the rural economy is important to Milligan Bio-Tech. "For a community like Foam Lake that has about 1,350 people, an extra 25 jobs is a substantial boost to the economy," he noted. "There are also a lot of businesses in the area that benefit from serving our needs on an ongoing basis, from meals and trucking to welding, plumbing and so forth."

Faye says Milligan Bio-Tech owes much of its success to Saskatchewan producers, who have always stood faithfully by the company. "We're very grateful for the support we've received from producers in this province. They've given us nothing but encouragement throughout these many years of developing a technology and trying to get our feet on the ground as a small company venturing into business markets and commercialization," he stated.

"It's their support that has really enabled us to get to this stage."

For more information, contact:
Zenneth Faye, Executive Manager
Milligan Bio-Tech
Phone: (306) 272-6284