December 2015

Organic prices

Below are the highest organic grain prices (spot market prices unless otherwise indicated) gathered recently by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Sources include farmers and buyers who have shared recent sales prices and theUSDA National Organic Grain & Feedstuffs Report. Prices do not include transportation unless otherwise indicated. Conventional prices come from a mix of sources. USDA prices are in US dollars; the rest of the prices are Canadian.

For vegetable prices, check outCyber-Help for Organic Farmerslists wholesale prices for organic fruit (fresh and frozen) and vegetables (Vancouver).

All organic crops are close to double the price of their conventional counterparts. The price of organic flax is on the rise, as is that for organic mustard. Statistics Canada data indicate that a considerably smaller mustard crop was harvested in Canada in 2015. It seems that organic mustard is also in short supply, high demand, or both. Organic wheat prices are stable.

Soybeans - feed$21.74/bu (USDA)
Soybeans - food$28.85/bu del to e. ON
Oats - milling$7/bu fob farm, $7.50/bu fob farm (Jan-Mar 2017); conv. $2.85
Flax - brown$38-$40/bu fob farm (old crop), $34/bu fob farm (2016 contract); conv. $11/bu
Flax - yellow$35/bu fob farm (old crop)
Corn - feed$10.51/bu (USDA); conv. $4.27/bu ($US)
Wheat - food$19-21.50/bu (MB); conv. $6.10/bu
Wheat - feed$12.25/bu del to e ON; conv. $5.89/bu
Peas - feed$17.60/bu del to e. ON; conv. $6.53/bu
Barley - feed$9.25/bu del to e. ON; conv. $4.16/bu
Mustard seed - yellow$1.00/lb. (fob farm); conv. $0.53/lb.

Organic Premium this Month(based on highest organic and conventional prices)

Oats - milling246%
Mustard - yellow189%
Flax - brown364%
Corn - feed246%
Wheat - feed208%
Peas - feed270%
Barley - feed222%


Market opportunities

Mumm's Sprouting Seedsis seekingorganic black oilseed sunflowers. ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 306 747-2935 (800 263-4490)

Grain Millersis looking fororganic oatsat $7/bu fob farm,organic brown flax($38/bu fob farm old crop; and $34/bu 2016 contract),organic yellow flaxat $35/bu (old crop, fob farm),organic yellow mustardat $1.00/lb. (fob farm). ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for oats,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for flax, andThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for the specialty grains.


Build your trade networks

Connect with new buyers through the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative.


BioFach, which takes place February 10-13, 2016 in Nuremburg, Germany, is the world’s largest organic trade show and a key place to do business. If you are at all interested in the European market, this is the place for you.

There are 3 ways to join the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative in Biofach:

1. Join us at our booth. For only $1000 you can attend under the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative Banner. You will have access to the tradeshow, pavilion meeting room, wifi, etc. Our booth is strategically located to allow you to talk to buyers, distribute your business cards and promote your products. You must be a first-time BioFach Exhibitor to be eligible. Pop up banners and samples are not allowed. 50% of your flight and per diem costs will be reimbursed.
2. Send your business card and marketing materials for us to display. For $500 we will do our best to make sure buyers find out about your products.
3. Have your own booth. If you are going to BioFach and have not received other funding, we can reimburse 50% of your booth, flight and per diem costs.

MOSES Organic Farming Conference

Key grain buyers from across North America will be in La Crosse, Wisconsin on February 25-27, 2016 for the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. Do you want to be there to do business? For just $200 the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative can provide funding to cover 50% of your travel, registration and per diem costs.

Natural Products Expo West and Engredea in Anaheim

Natural Products Expo West and Engredea 2016 is in Annaheim, California March 9-13, 2016. An explosion of food companies and buyers from across North America, it is a key place to do business and learn about the organic food industry trends and innovations. In exchange for $300 we can provide funding to cover 50% of your travel, registration and per diem costs.

To apply:
Limited spots are available for each opportunity. Your company must be selling grains, grain based food ingredients or products to be eligible. If you are interested in attending, please contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 587-521-2400. Deadline for BioFach is January 4, 2016, MOSES and Natural Products Expo West/Engredea is January 20, 2016.

Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm

There are also opportunities to meet with organic buyers right here in Manitoba. Organic and transitioning produces will have a chance to participate in business to business meetings with grain buyers, food distributors, retailers and food services. POGI will be bringing some U.S. organic grain buyers. B2B sessions are free for producers and small scale food processors. Targeted products include: grains, oilseeds, pulses, vegetables, fruits, value-added organic products. You do not have to register for the conference in order to participate in the B2B meetings. Organic and transitioning producers from AB, SK and MB are encouraged to participate.

If interested in connecting with buyers in Manitoba, simply send an email toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.indicating the old or 2016 field crops/vegetables/value-added products that you want to market.


Solutions that work for organic crop production

This one-day training organized by theOrganic Food Council of Manitobaincludes mini-tradeshow, farmer panel, presentations on the cost of production, weed control and building soil fertility. The workshop is targeted to new organic producers and for producers considering whether organic production makes sense for their operation, but all growers will benefit.

Date: January 21 2016
Time: 8:30 am - 4:40 pm
Location: Curling Club Viewing Lounge, Keystone Ag Centre, 1175 18th Street, Brandon
Cost: free
Lunch: $20

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view 204 434-6018, or by January 11 to register.


Register for Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm

Join Manitoba's organic sector for two days of in-depth training at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg February 18th and 19th. This event is targeted to new and existing organic livestock, vegetable and grain producers.

Keynote addressesby Martin Entz of the University of Manitoba, Kathleen Delate from Iowa State University, Tom Frantzen from Iowa and Caroline Halde from Laval University.

Breakout sessionson organic livestock, crop and vegetable production

Unwind and meet old and new friends at theThursday evening networking sessionat Canad Inns.

Attend theManitoba Organic AllianceAnnual General Meeting and find out what your organic association has been up to.

Stay atCanadInns Destination CentreFort Gary 1824 Pembina Highway. Mention "Prairie Organics" and receive a special conference rate of $116 per night for a King Suite and $106 per night for a standard room (2 Queen beds).

A two-day conference pass is $125. This includes lunch and snacks for two days. Student and one-day passes are also available. Note that most of the sessions on vegetable production are on February 18th.

For those of you who cannot make it in person, the sessions in Richardson Auditorium will be streamed live viawebcast. You will be able to ask questions on-line and watch from the comfort of your own home. You will need a high speed internet connection.

Sponsorship, exhibitor and B2B opportunities are still available. ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.if you're interested.

Clickhereto visit the conference website.

Conference partners included Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative and the University of Manitoba


Volunteers needed

Do you want to receive a full pass + parking for Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm?

Volunteers will get access to the latest science and production information on organic, participate in organic sector networking events and contribute to two great days of organic learning and fun.

Volunteer tasks include:
* distributing parking passes
* staffing the registration booth
* acting as time keeper for talks
* distributing microphones and I-clickers in the sessions
* managing B2B sessions

EmailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view volunteer or call 204 871-6600


Interested in trying organic bean production?

The University of Manitoba Natural Systems Agriculture lab is looking for farmers who are interested in exploring organic soybean or edible bean production to participate in a farm planning project. The project is open to current organic farmers as well as those who are interested in transitioning to organic.

The project involves working together (farmers and researchers) to develop and implement strategies and individual farm plans that create opportunities to grow organic soybeans or edible beans. This project does not involve any field plots or sampling. Rather, the goal is connect the knowledge of farmers and researchers to create successful crop rotation plans.

Why soybeans and edible beans?
* Soybeans can be a good fit in an organic rotation due to their N fixing capabilities and excellent price premiums.
* Edible beans are also a lucrative organic crop and respond well to good farm management practices.

What do you get out of the project?
* A crop rotation plan that you can apply on your own farm or modify to your needs, based on your current operation and goals for the future.
* A “kitchen table” (or phone) meeting with a university researcher to discuss and modify potential farm plans.
* A group meeting and ongoing connections with farmers participating in the project, including both new and experienced organic farmers. Project participants in 2015 rated these connections the most valuable aspect of the project!
* Support from university researchers as you start implementing your plan.
* What does the project require from you?
* Your time – we will need to collect some information from you on your current farming operation, including crops, rotations, equipment, etc. We will also meet individually (in person or by phone) this winter to discuss potential farm plans and will hold a one-day group meeting with all participants in March.
* Your willingness to try something new!

If you are interested or want more information, contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view or 204-474-6236.


MAFRD releases new cost of production tool

According to MAFRD, organic field crops will be even more profitable to grow in 2016.

Don't go into the next crop season without knowing how much it will cost you to grow each field crop. Use the MAFRD cost of production calculator as a business tool - enter your own costs, yields and expected market prices to customize the calculator for your operation.

Excel spreadsheets are available for both conventional and organic production, allowing those who are considering organic production to compare costs and profitability in the two systems.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tool, in the organic spreadsheets, a 4 year crop rotation is assumed, with fertility costs for the green manure (1 in 4 yrs) and manure (1 in 10 yrs) applications averaged over the 3 cropping years.

Clickhereto start calculating your cost of production.


New organic standards published

After two years of work, the 2015 Canadian Organic Standards have been published. This revised standard will guide the production and preparation of organic food in Canada until 2020. Certified operators have a full year to come into compliance with the new standards

Organic Principles and Management Standard

Permitted Substances List


Organic news bytes

The new way into farming

After 10 years on the farm, these top graduates have succeeded by transitioning their family farms from conventional to holistic

Clickherefor the story

Green capitalism: How multinationals use climate change to impose an industrial agricultural model

Governments are keeping an eye on the agricultural sector's greenhouse gas emissions. A new concept is emerging: "climate-smart agriculture," with the objective of producing more, better. In the arena of climate negotiations, multinational corporations are getting set to promote "smart fertilizers" and plants genetically modified for heat tolerance. While industrial agriculture is about to win the battle with organic agriculture, researchers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are trying to overturn the deal.

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How the U.S. can grow organic production

The Organic Trade Association, the largest organic industry trade and lobbying organization, anticipates that in the next 15 years, organic sales in the U.S. will approach $90 billion annually with organic food accounting for 10% of all food consumed in the country. In addition, the most commonly consumed categories — produce, dairy and meat — will grow even more, to 20%. In order to meet this goal, the acreage dedicated to organic will need to triple.

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BC launches participatory vegetable seed breeding project

The BC Seed Trials Project is a collaboration between the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, the University of British Columbia, and Farm Folk City Folk. Over the next three years and beyond, this collaborative group will conduct extensive participatory vegetable variety trials with BC farmers, using working farms as research sites.

Clickherefor more information

Is there a benefit to GMO-free milk?

Consumers have plenty of options in the dairy aisle, whether it is whole milk, one percent, buttermilk, organic, lactose-free, soy, almond or coconut.

However, a Manitoba dairy farmer says Canadians need one more alternative: non-genetically modified milk.

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Camelina benefits bees

Camelina's flowering period can provide honey bees and other insects with a critical, early-spring source of nectar and pollen that's usually unavailable then, report researchers with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

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Editorial: GHG-reduction policy not a bad deal

The chart in last week’s Winnipeg Free Press article on the Manitoba government’s new policy to reduce greenhouse gas neatly illustrated some of the interesting but complex implications for agriculture.

It listed Manitoba’s top GHG-producing facilities, and No. 1 by a wide margin is the Koch nitrogen fertilizer plant at Brandon. The No. 2 emitter is Winnipeg’s Brady Road landfill and No. 3 is the Husky ethanol plant at Minnedosa, which is interesting given that one of the ostensible reasons for using ethanol from crops is to reduce greenhouse gas.

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January 20 2016 2016 Organic Agriculture Research SymposiumAsilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA

Clickherefor details

February 4-6 2016 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference, Organic Seed AllianceThe Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is offering scholarships for Canadian farmers to attend this conference in Corvallis, WA. Clickherefor details

January 21 2016 Solutions that work for organic field crop productionThis session is targeted to producers considering or in transition to organic field crop production. See details above

February 10-13 2016 BiofachSee details above and visit thewebsite

February 18 12:15 pm 2016 MOA AGMPlan to attend the Manitoba Organic Alliance Annual General Meeting at Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm Conference at the University of Manitoba. All organic producers in the province are automatically members of MOA. Come and find out what's going on with your organic association

February 18-19 2016 Prairie Organics: Think Whole FarmSee details above

Clickherefor more information and to register

March 9-13 2016 Natural Products Expo West & EngrediaSee details above and

March 11-12 Direct Farm Marketing Conference Canad Inns, Portage la PrairieSpeakers include Elspeth McLean-Wile from Wile's Lake Farm Market and Bakery, Hans Steinman from God's Acres, Fran and Dan DeRuyck from DeRuyck's Top of the Hill Farm and many others. Clickherefor complete details and to register.