Award-winning organic farmers dedicated to customers and planet

Agriculture Resources

Resources for Alberta Producers during Dry Conditions

This document provides a central location with information and tools to assist with on-farm business management and production issues during dry conditions and periods of business stress. Contact the Ag Info Center at 310-FARM (3276) or aginfocentre@gov.ab.caif you have questions or require more information. Hyperlinks in this document were last updated on July 15, 2021.

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Gateway Research Organization

A non-profit, farmer led, applied agricultural research association

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AgSafe Alberta

Agsafe Alberta develops and delivers farm safety management tools, resources, and programs for Alberta farmers and ranchers. Led by a supporting membership consisting of 26 crop and livestock producer groups, their goal is to help farming operations establish practical farm safety management systems to enhance a culture of safety, where safety is a fully-integrated part of the farm.

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Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association

The Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association (AOWMA) is the provincial not-for profit organization established to educate, train and certify industry professionals. The association engages its member installers, septage haulers, suppliers, municipalities and provincial government departments to arrive at sound practices that strengthen the industry, and ensure safe and effective septage management for all rural Alberta.

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Soil, Forages and Feed testing laboratories

Services for Agri-Processors and Producers

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Testing Farm drinking water

Online tool to assess quality and suitability of raw water sources for privately owned and operated supplies.

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Farm Machinery cost calculator

This tool allows you to calculate ownership and operating costs of common farm equipment.

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Clean Farms

Recycling solutions for agricultural communities.

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Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council

The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is a national, non-profit organization focused on addressing human resource issues facing agricultural businesses across Canada.

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Alberta Seed Guide

Alberta farmers go-to source of variety and performance information.

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Forage Seed Mixture Calculator

This calculator will calculate a mix and estimate a seed density for drills or broadcast seedings for any grouping of plant species in the list. Some mixtures will not flow through all drills, some species and mixtures may not grow in your area. Do not waste seed. Consult a knowledgable seed or forage specialist for an appropriate species mixture.

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The Beef Cow-Calf Manual

This 4th edition of the Beef Cow-Calf Manual has been revised and expanded from 1989 edition to keep pace with recent information and technological advances. This manual sets out the basic principles of beef management.

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Alberta Forage Manual

The Alberta Forage Manual, 2nd Edition, offers producers comprehensive information on a range of forage topics: adaptation, legumes and grasses, annuals, mixtures, establishment, fertility, pasture management, harvesting and rejuvenation.

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Alberta Plastics Recycling Association (Agricultural Plastics)

APRA, through pro-active initiatives, demonstrates to government and the public, that industry is taking responsibility for finding solutions to plastics waste management issues in Alberta

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Alberta Soil Information Viewer

This free Internet viewer allows the user to view and query soils information in AGRASID (Agricultural Region of Alberta Soil Inventory Database).

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Agriculture Service Board Home Page

Information on the Government of Alberta's Agriculture Service Board

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Cows and Fish: Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society

The Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, also known as "Cows and Fish", is a non-profit society striving to foster a better understanding of how improvements in grazing and other management of riparian areas can enhance landscape health and productivity, for the benefit of landowners, agricultural producers, communities and others who use and value riparian areas.

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Working Well Resources

Information resources for private water well owners in Alberta

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Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited works to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and grasslands to benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people.

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Land Stewardship Center

The Land Stewardship Center focuses their efforts in creating stewards: by improving understanding of healthy ecosystems, supporting grass-roots community stewardship efforts, and encouraging the development of practices and policies that support sustainable resource use.

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Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society (AWES)

AWES is a non-profit organization made up of members from government, industry, and non-profit sectors that share the common goal of encouraging sustainable forest management on private lands.

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Environmental Farm Plan

The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is a voluntary, whole farm, self-assessment tool that helps producers identify their environmental risks and develop plans to mitigate identified risks.

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ALUS “Alternative Land Use Services”

ALUS Canada is a national charitable organization that supports the delivery of the ALUS program across the country. ALUS Canada makes it possible to offset your environmental footprint through agricultural stewardship. ALUS invests in farmers and ranchers who are producing acres of clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services in communities across Canada.

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Working Well Resources

The Working Well program works to ensure safe and secure groundwater supplies for water well users in Alberta.

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Farm Health and Safety Producer Grant Program

The Farm Health and Safety Producer Grant Program offers financial support to eligible employers (must have waged, non-family workers and a WCB account) for eligible costs to improve health and safety in their operations and help them comply with the OH&S Code that takes effect on December 1, 2018.

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Farm Fresh producers

Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association (AFFPA) is dedicated to supporting the production of farm direct market vegetable crops, berry and fruit crops, bedding plants, perennials, herbs, flowers, meats, poultry, eggs, wines, meads, and other specialty items in Alberta.

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With proAction, dairy farmers offer proof to customers that they work to ensure milk quality and safety, and to continually improve animal health and welfare as well as environmental stewardship.

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Verified Beef Production Plus

The Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program enables Registered beef cattle producers to prove to consumers and retailers that they adhere to the highest standards for food safety, animal care and environmental stewardship.

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CanadaGAP is a food safety program for companies that produce, handle and broker fruits and vegetables. The program has received full Canadian Government Recognition, and is designed to help implement and maintain effective food safety procedures within fresh produce operations

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Canadian Agriculture Partnership

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion federal-provincial-territorial investment in the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector set to begin in April 2018 and is the successor of the 2013-18 Growing Forward 2 partnership. In Alberta, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership represents a federal - provincial investment of $406 million in strategic programs and initiatives for the agricultural sector.

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Animal Health Act

This legislation puts in place much of the necessary infrastructure and traceability systems to respond quickly if there are threats of disease outbreaks or other emergencies that could affect animal health, public health, or food safety. Alberta’s Chief Provincial Veterinarian (CPV) has a lead role in animal disease response.

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Farm and Ranch Workplace legislation

The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act came into effect on Jan. 1, 2016 to extend workplace legislation to farms and ranches. The new rules only apply to farm and ranch operations that employ paid workers. They don't apply to owners or their family members.

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Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA)

The AOPA legislation sets out a framework for resolving conflicts between agricultural producers and the public relating to nuisance and disturbance caused by agricultural operations. An agricultural nuisance or disturbance includes things such as odor, dust, noise, smoke. Confined feeding operations (CFO) are also dealt with extensively and in particular, manure storage and handling standards are detailed.

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Livestock Industry Diversification Act

The Livestock Industry Diversification Act is legislation that applies to livestock that fall outside the realm of traditional livestock.

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Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act

The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) is the primary act in Alberta through which regulatory requirements related to air quality is managed. The purpose of EPEA is to support and promote the protection, enhancement and wise use of the environment.

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Agriculture Pest Act

The Agricultural Pests Act enables the Minister's authority to declare an animal, bird, insect, plant, or disease as a pest or nuisance if it is destroying, harming, or is likely to destroy or harm any land, livestock, or property in all or part of Alberta.

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Soil Conservation Act

The Soil Conservation Act describes the requirement for landholders to prevent soil loss or deterioration from taking place or to stop loss or deterioration from continuing.

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Weed Control Act

This Act aims to regulate Noxious weeds, prohibited noxious weeds and weed seeds through various control measures.

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Agriculture News and Events

Award-winning organic farmers dedicated to customers and planet
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/ Categories: Agriculture

Award-winning organic farmers dedicated to customers and planet

2021 Excellence in Agriculture Award - Sundog Organic Farm

By Lorena Franchuk for Sturgeon County


As spectacular sundogs appear in the sky on frosty winter days in Sturgeon County, James Vriend and Jenny Berkenbosch are reminded they are one northern farm family trying to do their part for the planet.

While it’s still months before their seedlings begin to poke through their fields, the atmospheric optical phenomenon, which happens primarily during winter months, symbolizes “good luck” as two halos often bookend the sun to indicate that snow or rain may be on the way.

It’s been a year of mixed emotions for the couple who have operated Sundog Organic Farm east of Gibbons since 2011. The family, including sons Silas, Eli and George, and a handful of employees grow produce such as carrots, broccolini, lettuce, celeriac, and radicchio for sale at area farmers’ markets and a Community Supported Agriculture membership program in which members receive weekly produce during the growing season.

Sundog Organic Farm was recently honoured with a 2021 Excellence in Agriculture Award by Sturgeon County’s Agricultural Service Board for innovation and environmental leadership.

Expanding the organic produce business hasn’t been an easy journey since the couple first started an “incubator” farm on organic land owned by James’s parents in Leduc County. Two years later they purchased nine acres of their own in Sturgeon County.

“The first time we saw this place, it was just a potato field,” recalled Jenny of the triangle-shaped piece of property near the Sturgeon River. “There was nothing else. All of the infrastructure that we currently work with we’ve had to put on ourselves.”

They are modest about their recognition, acknowledging that they are determined to eke out a living on an organic farm that works for the planet rather than against it, while providing nutritious produce for their community—those who purchase their food.

“I feel like this is what we can do as individuals and as a business, you know, this is our best,” said Jenny, when asked about their global impact as world leaders met in Scotland for a United Nations Climate Change Conference in the fall of 2021.

Their “best” has seen the owners researching techniques to rebuild the soil’s quality without relying on the salt-based fertilizers often used with conventional farming.

James and Jenny are determined to focus instead on rebuilding the natural biological activity in their soil so it is “teeming with fungus, microorganisms, worms, insects and much more,” as noted on Sundog Organic Farm’s website, “to become a nutrient-dense matter that supports plant life” in conjunction with sun and water.

One way they are improving the soil is through a no-till method introduced this year. Rather than working their land before spring seeding and after harvest, Sundog applies four inches of compost mulch on top of the soil, uses cover-cropping (growing plants for the purpose of maintaining moisture, reducing erosion, deterring pests and diseases, and improving soil health rather than for consumption), and adds biological inoculants in the form of worm castings and casting extracts.

It is their hope the no-till strategy will help Sundog’s crops withstand the extreme weather conditions that they have faced over the past few years and perhaps help them extend their growing season. Soft, spongy healthy soil is able to withstand extreme drought and flooding easier than hard, compacted dirt, said Jenny.

“We are very hopeful that because of the resilience that no-till farming seems to provide other farmers with that will also provide us with resistance to flooding and resistance to drought and just (yield) healthy vegetables,” she said. “That translates to income security, but also food security for the region.”

Another strategy they are excited about is regenerative agriculture which includes carbon sequestering, a process where carbon dioxide gas is left in the soil. Since the land isn’t disturbed through tilling and exposed to oxygen, various organisms are able to consume the carbon dioxide rather than it being released into the atmosphere.

“What happens is those tillage events are actually huge polluters—a big pollution event that happens every spring and every fall—and so when you don't need to work the land in that way, then you are keeping that carbon where it's meant to be,” said Jenny.

It’s much like what happens on the forest floor where various layers of vegetation decay to create an environment rich with micro-organisms.

Not all organic farmers use this method of regenerative agriculture, but there is quite a movement occurring now in Europe and the United States.

“Organic farming is good, but it isn’t the solution to climate change,” said Jenny.

“What we’re doing is small, quite small, but the idea of regenerative agriculture could be a huge benefit to our climate or climate change,” added James.

“If everybody was doing this, it would be great. I mean, we’re just trying, we’re starting that journey. We’re learning, you know, jumping in.”

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