The County’s Agricultural Service Board (ASB) directs the Agriculture Services Department. This board functions as the voice of agriculture by advising and responding to issues of local, provincial and national interest. Through County Council, the ASB and the Agricultural Service department work diligently to carry out the ASB goal of promoting, protecting and enhancing agriculture and rural living in a sustainable manner. The Agricultural Services department is legislated to conduct its activities under the Weed Control Act, the Agricultural Pests Act, the Soil Conservation Act and the Livestock Diseases Act. The department supports the ASB to meet and make recommendations to Council and the Provincial Minister of Agriculture.
Westlock County sprays half the municipalities road allowances annually. Spraying begins as early as June 1st and can continue up to August 31st. There is public notification each year announcing the area to be sprayed. Spot spraying may be conducted in other locations as designated by the Agricultural Fieldman.
Who qualifies for the Incentive?
The incentive program is available to Westlock County residents. The incentive program is only available to users of approved herbicides Reclaim, Restore and Grazon at recognized rates for the control of Tansy.
How do Eligible Land Owners Access the Incentive?
Contact Westlock County agricultural staff and make them aware of the lands intended for herbicide weed control. County staff will inspect area to confirm eligibility of program. Upon completion of the herbicide application process, the appropriate receipts for the approved herbicides are to be forwarded to Westlock County agricultural staff.
The recent ad mail from Westlock County was sent out with an incorrect phone number. The phone number to call to sign up for Fenceline Spraying Program and Tansy Incentive Program should be 780-307-0580. Our apologies for the wrong number.
ASB staff will consult and promote the fenceline program to our residents. Weed Inspector will inspect fencelines, landowners to sign agreement prior to work commencing. Work performed on fencelines and headlands adjacent to county roads will be done at no charge. Fencelines and headlands which are not adjacent to county roads will be treated to a maximum of 5 meter wide and will be subject to a fee. A registered residual herbicide will be applied at label rates. Where two landowners share a fenceline both owners must sign agreement for work to commence. Spraying will be on a first come first serve basis.
Restricted Weed Control Program
Westlock County operates a weed inspection program to ensure that the following weeds do not become established within County boundaries. Westlock County will spray these weeds free of charge for the residents to prevent their establishment. Call the office for details 780-349-3346.
- Scentless Chamomile
- Leafy Spurge
- Common Tansy
- Field Scabious
- Devil’s Trumpet
- Purple Loosestrife
- Orange Hawkweed
- Himalayan Balsam
Weed Identification Service
Please bring in any suspect weeds for identification, early detection and early eradication are key components to achieve optimum control and prevent to small infestations from growing into large problems.
Weed Inspection Program
Westlock County conducts annual weed inspections to control the growth and spread of noxious weeds within the County. Weed inspections begin as early as June with all lands in the County inspected each year. Landowners who have weed infestations are notified and informed of appropriate actions to resolve the issue. The standard time frame for weed control is 7 days.
No Spray Agreement
Any resident who does not want spraying alongside their property, must complete a No Spray Agreement with the County and post the supplied signs. Landowners are then responsible for weed control. This agreement is only in effect for the period of one year. Deadline to complete the agreement for 2021 is May 28. Please call the office at 780-349-3346 select Agriculture for more information or to obtain an agreement.
Equipment Rentals-WILL BE RUNNING SUMMER OF 2021
The Westlock County Agricultural Department provides specialized rental equipment for our agricultural and rural residents. Landowners pre book equipment, sign rental agreement with a deposit, transport, use and return the equipment to the County. It is recommended to call early when booking equipment.
Westlock County Agricultural Service Board Rental Equipment Rates & Damage Deposits. GST will be added to all rates
Boomless Sprayer Slip in Sprayer (Secure in truck box): $50/day ($100 deposit)
Meter Miser (Small yard sprayer): $50/day ($100 deposit)
Exit Applicator (Secure in truck box): $50/day ($100 deposit)
Tree Planter (2) (2”ball hitch): $50/day ($100 deposit)
Back Pack Sprayers: $20/day ($100 deposit)
Skunk trap (2): $20/use ($100 deposit)
Soil Sampler: No daily charge ($100 deposit)
Plastic Mulch Applicator: No daily charge ($100 deposit)
Weed Wiper: No daily charge ($100 deposit)
Tansy Incentive Program Equipment Available
Quad Tank: No charge ($100 deposit)
Slip in Tank: No Charge ($100 deposit)
Handheld Sprayers: No Charge ($100.00 deposit)
*Equipment returned dirty may be charges a cleaning fee of $100.00
*GST will be added to all rental rates.
PLEASE TRIPLE RINSE OUT SPRAYERS PRIOR TO RETURNING.
Westlock County operates various programs to alleviate and reduce the incidences of Pest within the County.
GST will be added to all rates
Beaver Control Program
To reduce the incidences of beaver related flooding, both public and private lands can access the Beaver Control Program. Westlock County employs a beaver trapper to investigate and handle complaints.
Blasting Beaver Dams with Explosives: Protocol from the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Please note that effective immediately, all service requests for blasting of beaver dams must be reviewed for approval by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). This Request for Review MAY HAVE UP TO A 2-3 MONTH WAITING PERIOD FOR APPROVAL. Removal of beaver dams by hand or machinery do not require a Request of Review as long as you are able follow avoidance measures to protect fish habitat and remove the beaver dam slowly and in sections.
Check the DFO website for full Avoidance Measures Information and related links to Request a Review of your project near water. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw-ppe/measures-mesures-eng.html
The predator Control Program was put in place to eliminate coyote predation problems. If there is evidence of coyote harassment that standard prevention measures cannot control, bait is available from the County.
Westlock County completes an annual inspection of rural areas to assist in producing a provincial grasshopper forecast map.
In the last decade, raccoons have become an agricultural wildlife nuisance in Alberta. Raccoons thrive in close association with man, and their numbers are increasing in the urban fringes. As they become more abundant in Alberta, problems of bird depredation, disease transmission and agricultural damage will increase. Fact Sheet
Clubroot prevents the uptake of water and nutrients and causes yield loss. The program is designed to educate the producers while minimizing yield losses due to clubroot and reduce the further spread and buildup of clubroot in canola. Clubroot inspections are also part of the program, inspections provide early detection for our farmers as they manage the disease on their farms.
Fusarium Graminearum (Fg) is a serious fungal disease of wheat, barley, oats and corn.
Why is it of concern
Fusarium Head Blight causes problems in two ways: first, it reduces yield and grade by producing fusarium-damaged kernels (FDK), and secondly, it can have a significant negative effect on the quality of grain intended for the feed, malting, milling, biofuel (ethanol) and brewing industries. FDK may contain fungal toxins that are poisonous to livestock and humans above certain threshold levels. Furthermore, FDK may produce poor quality malt and flour, and it can reduce alcohol yields during fermentation.
A three member partnership has been created including Athabasca, Barrhead, and Westlock Counties. Our shared Conservation coordinator is based out of the County of Barrhead and provides information and leadership on environmentally sustainable programming for agricultural lands and the rural environment through on site visits, Environmental Farm Plans, provincial grant opportunities, workshops and extension activities. For More Information contact: Lisa Card Conservation Co-ordinator 1-780-674-8069 email@example.com or visit https://www.highway2conservation.com
Westlock County Agriculture Services offers the Treemakers Shelterbelt Program that is available annually, (weather dependent), to all residents of Westlock County and offers a variety of shelterbelt trees as well as ornamental trees and shrubs for a nominal cost. The program begins January 4 until tree pick up day is May 21, 2021.
The community garden is located in Southview and provides opportunities for gardeners to enjoy the abundance of fresh preserved veggies. Come garden with us for a rewarding and fulfilling activity, neighborhood improvement, sense of community and a connection to the land and agriculture. To join the Westlock Community Garden for Garden plot rentals and becoming a member contact: Westlock & District Adult Learning Centre Phone: 780-349-5253
Workshops, Seminars and Surveys
Growing Opportunities in the Alberta Hemp Industry Eventbrite link
November 4-Best Practices – Introduction to working with a co-packer: A webinar for food processors interested in using co-packer services to enhance production volumes. This webinar will be an introduction for food, beverage and natural health product businesses looking to utilize the services of a co-packer to increase production volumes or meet market requirements. Hear general Information on co-packing and how to determine if you are ready for these services. Learn about resources available for the industry and some tips for starting this relationship off right. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1941854490832161807
November 18-The E-Commerce Experience: This webinar features panelists that will discuss their on-line sales experience with WooCommerce, Local Line, Shopify, and Local Food Marketplace. Listeners will hear from a panel of producers that will share their experiences selling their products online, including information about the platform they chose, why they chose it, what worked well, what they would change and tips to consider when looking for a platform. Registration closes Nov 17 at noon. http://www.leduc-county.com/local-food
Posted Webinar Series
This posted series may be of interest if you are considering making changes to your business processes due to the current uncertain economic times during COVID-19 recovery.
Preparing Your Business for Change
The series consisted of four, one hour webinars for decision makers in the food, beverage, functional ingredient, natural health products and bio processing sectors. After viewing the series, CEOs, COOs, and Senior Managers/Supervisors will understand the challenges and opportunities facing Alberta food and beverage processing. The webinars review building blocks for change, techniques and best practices, use of risk examples and how you can work through the process to develop change management plans. Best practices and case studies illustrate how leading organizations are driving meaningful change within their organization.
Session #1 – February 4, 2020
Session #2 – February 11, 2020
Session #3 – February 18, 2020
Session #4 – February 27, 2020
- Selling Local Food in Alberta December 08, 2020 at 9:00 AM M.S.T. (1.5 hours) Register now!
Selling Food in Alberta webinar will be presented by Eileen Kotowich and Karen Goad with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Learn about the opportunity of selling your food product locally, the different market channels available to you and the pros and cons of each. https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3234243550653210125
- Marketing and Merchandizing Strategies for Local Business Start-Ups Dec 15, 2020 at 9:00 AM M.S.T. (1.5 hours) Register now!
This webinar explores marketing strategies including image, display, curb appeal, merchandising techniques and other tools to attract customers to your business and secure sales. Eileen Kotowich and Karen Goad with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will be presenters for this webinar. https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8836227806381755662
- Best Practices for working with a co-packer webinar 2: Industry panel date to be confirmed (tentatively January 13, 2020)
This second webinar focuses on the practical steps and tips from industry experiences in co-packing. The webinar builds on the Best Practices for Working with a Co-packer introduction webinar of November 4, 2020. You will hear from a panel of company speakers who have worked with a co-packer to produce their agricultural and food products as well as from a co-packer. This webinar is 90 minutes in length.
The panel will provide perspectives from both sides of the co-packing relationship. The company speakers will discuss what steps they took to be ready and how they selected a co-packer. The co-packer will share what a co-packer will require from a company who wishes to co-pack. All will share some of the challenges and tips for how to get the most from a co-packing relationship and work towards a successful outcome.
Following the industry panel presentation and questions, participants will have an opportunity to participate in a breakout session on co-packing in Alberta. The breakout session will further explore emerging trends, considerations and sharing of best practices or tips that enable companies to expand sales through co-packing.
Registration information will be available in early December. I will send out another e-blast with the registration link when it is available.
New Co-packing Resource
Resource Guide for Co-packing: Legal Aspects of the Co-packing Relationship is now available. You can find the document at https://open.alberta.ca/publications/resource-guide-for-co-packing-legal-aspects-co-packing-relationship
This resource guide looks at the core legal aspects of the co-packing relationship that have resulted in problems for both stakeholders. It is recommended that co-packers and their clients will develop relationships based on written agreements that promote stability and clarity. With clear agreements, Canada’s brand owners can develop and scale their products faster and more efficiently. Likewise, co-packers can identify partners that are compatible with their expertise and with whom they can collaborate to maximize output.
Articles and Information
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Bee Inspectors have reported increased cases of a honey bee disease known as European Foulbrood (EFB). EFB infects the brood (developing larvae and pupae) in honey bee colonies. Healthy honey bee larvae are plump and white; larvae infected with EFB may be yellow-gray, twisted, and shrunken. Any beekeepers contacting their municipality office about diseased honey bee colonies can be referred to the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Bee Health Assurance Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 780-644-8746.
More information regarding biology, symptoms, and management of EFB can also be found here: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/european-foulbrood
The services provided by the Ag-Info Centre (310-FARM) are changing.
Effective immediately the centre will focus on providing information about Agriculture and Forestry programs and services and connecting producers with the many non-government resources available to them. The centre will no longer offer crop, livestock OR other one-to-one specialist services.
The 310-FARM phone number and email@example.com e-mail will still be in service and Resource Agents will still provide information to Albertans about the programs and services of Agriculture and Forestry. They will also continue to connect Albertans to resources available through external organizations. Services such as event registration and confirming Premise Identification Numbers will also continue to be provided.
12-day precipitation accumulations as of September 8, 2020 (Map 1)
Dry weather has been welcome in recent days with most of the provinces wet areas in the North West, and North East experiencing less than 10 mm of rain. The other wet area (south of Red Deer) received up to 20 mm on Sunday, September 6th, following nearly three weeks of relatively dry weather.
Frost as of September 8, 2020 (Map 2 and 3)
Frost came early this year, arriving on about August 31 (Map 2). While these first frosts were considered light, many lands along a wide band from the central Peace region down to the Special Areas saw temperatures dip below -1C.
Early this morning (September 8th), it turned cold again with many areas throughout the south-half of the province experiencing freezing temperatures, in some cases as low as -4C (Map 3). The station at Goose Berry Lake, just north of Consort, saw temperatures dip to -4.5C and it remained below freezing for just over 10 hours. Here temperatures this low by September 10th are very uncommon. You have to go back to 1989 to see a similar event and this is the only one on record looking back as far as 1961.
Soil moisture reserves as of August 27th 2020 (Map 4)
Soil moisture reserves are well above normal for this time of year, through a large portion of the North East, the eastern third of the North West and north central portions of the Central region. Several areas have in excess of one in 12 to 25 year highs, with some relatively large pockets approaching one in 50-year highs. Standing water in low lying areas and ditches still exists in many locals. Some of these field areas will present challenging conditions for heavy equipment, unless significant drying occurs over the next several weeks. Late frosts and warm and dry weather is needed this fall.
90-day temperatures relative to normal (Map 5)
Since the start of June, while it’s been quite wet throughout many parts of the province, average temperature trends have been near normal to slightly above normal. This suggests that there have been no significant delays in crop growth rates due to a lack of heat units. Therefore, crops that have not suffered from excess moisture, hail, pests, diseases, etc. should be on track for a normal maturity date, providing that seeding occurred in a timely fashion.
Map of 25% risk for first killing frost (-4°C) (Map 6)
As harvest season approaches, early frosts remain a concern for many, along with untimely snows, cool temperatures and excess moisture. Note this map shows a one in four year risk date, so it means that over the long term, 25% of the time an area will experience temperatures as low as -4C as early as the date shown in the legend. Keep a close eye on the local forecast to more accurately pin point the likely hood of frost as the weather turns colder. Note that low lying areas and lands near rivers and lakes may be more prone to early frosts than what is depicted here and they could occur earlier.
2021 Pea Leaf Weevil Map If you are interested in the fact sheet https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/0f7bec18-a8a9-4800-bc9b-a43170b84782/resource/80af6cfa-ca41-44e7-ae9c-97765f50ee89/download/pea-leaf-weevil.pdf
2021 Wheat Midge Map If you are in the red zone, and wondering about the insect and how to manage it…here is a link to the wheat midge fact sheet https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/51cf0824-94fb-485b-86f6-73be4e3693e6/resource/3ea58242-3bc1-411d-8662-71b6c81febf4/download/2001-622-22.pdf
https://yardwhispers.ca/blog (Tree Care, Pruning, Planning and Management, Insect and Disease and Urban Forestry)
Cleanfarms Calling for Farmers to Recycle Plastic Ag Jugs Collection sites for Plastic Ag Jugs are located at the Jarvie, Pibroch, Busby and Vimy Transfer Sites as well as the Westlock Regional Waste Management facility. Please triple rinse and puncture all jugs. Thank you for collecting and recycling.
FactSheet-Mountain Pine Beetle #OperationReLeaf — Alberta Mountain Pine Beetle by Tree Canada
https://treecanada.ca/operationreleaf/alberta-mountain-pine-beetle/ Mountain Pine Beetle Municipal Grant Program – Mountain Pine Beetle in Alberta https://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app21/forestrypage?cat1=Mountain%20Pine%20Beetle%20in%20Alberta&cat2=Alberta%27s%20Strategy&cat3=Municipal%20Grant%20Program