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Customer outreach after a challenging season

Todd Hames | Alberta Wheat Commission chair

As another harvest season wraps up, our focus shifts from in-the-field solutions to grain quality and marketing – not only at the farm level, but internationally as well. Through our Cereals Canada membership, the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) participates in an annual outreach initiative that promotes Canadian wheat to our international customers. Known as the new crop missions, this initiative not only gives us the opportunity to showcase Canadian wheat’s value proposition to new markets, but also fosters relationships with existing international customers.

Traditionally, the new crop missions have had Canadian farmers, alongside technical experts from Cereals Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission and the Canadian International Grains Institute, travel abroad to promote

our superior product and sustainable farming practices. New crop mission representatives help international buyers better understand how Canadian farmers select seed, plant it and harvest it, all while leveraging Canada’s natural resources of clean air, water and land.

Due to the drought conditions that spanned the Prairies this past growing season, we anticipate our international customers to have concerns around crop inventory and our ability to meet their demand. This year’s new crop

missions will be critical to maintain our brand as Canadian wheat is known as a superior product with quality milling and nutritional properties. Continual dialogue and communication with our customers during the good and bad years is integral to our long-term success as a reliable supplier. New crop missions also create a forum for our customers to voice concerns directly to the value-chain which helps in resolving potential trade barriers. Farmers can learn more about

the new crop missions through Cereals Canada and the 2021 online rendition this fall by visiting canadiancereals.ca.

As I reflect on the drought that impacted many producers this past growing season, it is apparent now more than ever how critical effective business risk management (BRM) tools are for Canadian producers. How do we manage risk when we continue to have tough growing seasons and how do farmers protect ourselves against failure? While tools such as crop insurance and AgriStability are available, AWC will continue to advocate for improvements and effective BRM tools for farmers. You can read more on this in the Policy Tracker column on page 8.

Lastly, as we head in to the busy meeting season, I encourage Alberta farmers to engage with the commissions by attending a regional meeting near you in November. This year’s regional meetings will feature annual commission updates, along with further dialogue on the amalgamation consultation process. Find the regional meeting closest to you by visiting the events page at albertawheatbarley.com.