GM's Report: Aug–Nov09
August 18 – November 27, 2009
Key Activities of the Staff Group
- Greg Marshall and Nial Kuyek met with Dennis Sherratt on August 18; Dennis Sherratt and Nial Kuyek had a conference call with Bob Bailey of Delta Waterfowl on September 17; and Dennis Sherratt, Greg Marshall, Norm Hall, Doug Faller, and Nial Kuyek met on October 14 to discuss the interest of Delta Waterfowl in a partnership to initiate a multi-year Alternative Land Use Services demonstration project in one Saskatchewan Rural Municipality. This matter was discussed with the Environment and Food Safety Committee on their November 24 conference call. Next steps are meetings with the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment.
- Greg Marshall, Aj Thakker and Nial Kuyek participated in the NDP Leaders’ Golf Tournament at Dakota Dunes on August 27.
Key Activities Specific to the General Manager
- The “Farmers’ Share” activities staged in conjunction with KAP and WRAP on September 2 were very successful in generating media and public interest. Saskatchewan activities included a 10:00 a.m. press conference in the Regina Farmers’ Market and regional radio interviews by Greg Marshall. Jim Smalley devoted his Newsline at Noon on CKRM to interviews with Greg Marshall, Ken Rosaasen, and Sylvain Charlebeois and call-ins on this subject. While Greg and Aj dealt with the media, Sonia, Doug and Nial served “Farmers’ Market Pizza” to Farmers’ Market customers and discussed the “Farmers Share”.
- Greg Marshall, Aj Thakker, Doug Faller, and Nial Kuyek attended the Power Within – Passion for Life event in Regina on September 8 featuring former President Bill Clinton and other high profile speakers. APAS received two free tickets for promoting the event and purchased two tickets.
- Beginning in late August, the delisting of producer car loading sites by CN has required significant staff time in discussion of potential strategies; drafting of letters to CN, the Minister of State for Transport, the Canadian Transportation Agency, and the Standing Committee on Agriculture; a conference call with Greg Keon of CN; and inclusion in the Prairie Farm Leaders meeting and news release. This has also involved discussion of the big ticket items within the transportation file and the recognition that APAS needs to focus on this file and develop strategies for involvement and policy advocacy.
- The telephone system at the APAS office was replaced as the old system was obsolete and expensive to repair. The new system provides improved technology at a lower cost. Aj has been busy setting up mailboxes and other features. Expect additional changes in the new year that will enhance our communications abilities.
- Nial Kuyek and Doug Faller had a luncheon meeting with Wendy Kelly, General Manager of the Dairy Farmers of Saskatchewan, to discuss the APAS/DFS relationship. Wendy indicated that APAS could expect continued support from DFS and confirmed that DFS has confidence in the direction and operations of APAS.
- Through a supplier, APAS was able to purchase 10 tickets to the Ottawa Senators hockey game with the Tampa Bay Lightning on September 21 in the Brandt Center in Regina. This was done for relationship building purposes. APAS guests were Ron Davidson and Blair McCann of the Canadian Wheat Board; Dennis Sherratt; and Ray Wild, President of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation. The 5th pair of tickets was won by the RM of Coalfields #4 in a random draw of APAS member RMs.
- APAS provided $500 in sponsorship for an Agricultural Training Session organized by the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region on September 21 and 22. It was a “train the trainer” workshop with a focus on youth education. Greg Marshall and Nial Kuyek visited the workshop to provide greetings from APAS.
- Greg Marshall and APAS staff met with Ron Davidson and Blair McCann of the Canadian Wheat Board on September 22 to discuss CWB and WTO issues.
- The Summer 2009 APAS Newsletter was produced. As a Special Double Issue, it had feature stories on the Farmers’ Share, our 2009 Summer Mid Term Meeting, the CFA Semi-Annual Meeting, and Sprout Damage, Falling Number, and RVA Technology. Copies are mailed to APAS RM Representatives and APAS member RMs. Copies are emailed to non-member RMs, MPs and MLAs, government officials, and industry stakeholders. The efforts of Aj in developing, editing, and coordinating this high quality publication are recognized and commended.
- APAS staff met with Don Connick and a staff representative of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council on October 6 to receive an overview of the purpose and operations of the CAHRC and to discuss how APAS and the CAHRC can collaborate in the future.
- Nial Kuyek and Doug Faller held a luncheon meeting with Al Syhlonyk, Executive Director, and Jonathan Gruel, Assistant Director, of the Policy Branch of Saskatchewan Agriculture to discuss mutual policy priorities.
- Greg Marshall, Norm Hall, Doug Faller and Nial Kuyek attended a Regina Wascana Liberal luncheon with Michael Ignatieff as guest speaker on October 14.
- The Prairie Farm Leaders’ meeting held in Regina on October 26 and 27 was very successful in terms of business conducted and the media and public interest attracted. Monday afternoon was devoted to a discussion of AgriStability with Meyers Norris Penny as resources. Following a business meeting from 8:00 to 10:30 am on Tuesday, the three Presidents completed numerous media interviews from all three provinces in the late morning and early afternoon. Over the noon hour, the three Presidents were guests on the Jim Smalley Newsline at Noon on CKRM which was devoted to interviews and call-ins with the three Presidents.
- Greg Marshall, Doug Faller, and Nial Kuyek met with NDP Leader of the Opposition and Agriculture Critic Dwain Lingenfelter and his Assistant, Dwayne Yasinowski, on October 28 to discuss the CN delisting of producer car loading sites, harvest, and other current issues.
- Staff participated in the October 29 And November 16 conference calls of the Board of Directors.
- Greg and Edie Marshall, Aj Thakker, David Spencer, and APAS guests, Joe Kleinsasser and Curtis Gulka, represented APAS at the NDP Leaders’ Dinner in Saskatoon on November 5.
- Doug Faller represented APAS at the Round 3 Consultations of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment Regulatory Review 2009 in Regina on November 6. Doug provided the November 24 meeting of the Environment and Food Safety Committee with a report on the meeting and process.
- The “Balancing the Bottom Line” conference held in Saskatoon on November 18 and 19 was a resounding success with over 175 participants and a high quality agenda. The conference was organized and sponsored by APAS, the Farm Leadership Council, and the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. APAS staff and, particularly, Aj Thakker and Nial Kuyek were heavily involved in the planning and organization of the conference including agenda development, recruitment of speakers and sponsors, promotion, media relations, and the Wednesday evening Farmers’ Market event.
- Nial Kuyek and Doug Faller participated in meetings of the Economic, Trade, and Strategic Growth Committee on August 19 and November 18. This Committee and these meetings played a key role in providing Al Scholz with feedback and guidance in the preparation of his report to APAS on Strategies and Recommendations for New Entrant and Intergenerational Transfer Program Needs. Nial and Doug also participated in the November meetings of the Livestock, Environment and Food Safety, and Grains and Oilseeds Committees. Discussion with all Committees included the new Committee and Resolutions Process for the 2009 Winter Mid Term Meeting.
- The new website of APAS continues to be improved and expanded. Aj is to be commended for his diligence and innovation in the website improvements overall and in updating the site on a daily basis. Traffic to the site has increased from approximately 600 hits per day in October of 2008 to approximately 2400 hits per day in October of 2009. Of interest, the most frequent visitors to the site are the federal and provincial Agriculture Ministries.
- Aj continues to edit the EGS Symposium videos. The first five hours have been delivered to the organizing committee for review. APAS has provided its approval; we are still awaiting approval from Ducks and SWF. Aj continues to edit the second day’s presentations and should be ready to deliver the entire series by year end.
- The General Manager wishes to express appreciation to the APAS staff for their efforts, dedication, enthusiasm and teamwork in the achievements reported herein as well as in planning and organization of the 2009 Winter Mid Term Meeting. The addition of Doug Faller as Policy Manager has certainly enhanced our staff team in terms of increased capacity for policy analysis and support.
- The General Manager participated in the CFA Member Organization – General Managers’ Meeting in Prince Edward Island on September 24 and 25. All provinces were represented as well as the Canadian Sugar Beet Producers’ Association and the Dairy Farmers of Canada. Key agenda items included the Funding Challenges Facing Industry Associations, Lobbying Strategies and Tactics, and national issues and approaches in a possible federal election. A session on Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide included a discussion with Hellman’s on their Real Food Campaign. The Roundtable is always a valuable part of the meeting where provincial, regional, or commodity issues are discussed.
- While in PEI, I spent a day on Alternative Land Use Services. The morning was spent with Shawn Hill, ALUS Coordinator for the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Forestry, learning how ALUS developed into a provincial government province wide program in PEI and how the program is being implemented. Mike Nabuurs, General Manager of the PEI Federation of Agriculture, joined us for lunch and the afternoon where we toured ALUS projects and visited a vegetable producer who is involved in the program.
- The General Manager attended Ratepayers’ Meetings in the Rural Municipalities of Wood River, Moose Creek and Garry and did presentations on APAS. Wood River voted 17 to 3 and Moose Creek 28 to 3 in favor of rejoining APAS. The meeting with the RM of Garry will hopefully lead to retention of this RM as a member.
- The General Manager attended meetings with the Councils of the Rural Municipalities of Garry and Star City and did presentations on APAS. Star City will rejoin effective December 1.
- A conference call between the General Managers of APAS, KAP, and WRAP to plan the Prairie Farm Leaders Meeting has led to monthly conference calls between the Managers to enhance communications, coordination and collaboration between the organizations.
- Greg Marshall and I attended the reception and banquet at the Dairy Farmers of Saskatchewan AGM. Our attendance seemed to be appreciated and we received a very positive introduction.
- Greg Marshall and I had a luncheon meeting with Joel Peterson, Head of Industry and Government Relations for Saskatchewan with Ducks Unlimited, to discuss follow-up on the March, 2009 Ecological Goods and Services conference.
- I met with Gavin Conacher, Saskatchewan Deputy Director of the Market and Industry Services Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to discuss domestic marketing of Canadian food products and the potential role for APAS.
- I met with Jerry Engel, President and CEO of the Agriculture Machinery Manufacturers of Canada, to discuss potential sponsorship of “Balancing the Bottom Line” and APAS.
- I have been in email and telephone discussion with Andy Schmitz relative to his availability as a guest speaker for our AGM and the theme for the June, 2010 “Farming for Profit” conference.
- Greg Marshall, Aj and I attended the Taste Test and Fun Auction at the Canadian Bison Association AGM. Doug Faller and I attended a marketing panel and Greg Marshall and I attended the CBA Sale at Canadian Western Agribition.