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Farm Field

Industry Tours

Continuing the IFMA tradition, tours will take place on Tuesday and Thursday (July 9th & 11th) of congress week. Industry tours will embark on day trips throughout Saskatoon and area. When registering for the conference, you will choose one tour per day.

The seven tour options are:

  1. Value-added Agriculture

  2. Barley to Beer

  3. Dairy

  4. Livestock

  5. Irrigation

  6. Grain and Oilseed Production

  7. Research and Innovation

In the case of low registration numbers, some tours may be cancelled; however, you will be informed and given the opportunity to select from the remaining available options.​

It is recommended that you wear long pants and closed toe shoes as several of the tours have these clothing and footwear requirements for safety.

Value added agriculture: Valley Road

Valley Road in Saskatoon, Canada, is a picturesque route along the South Saskatchewan River, renowned for its serene ambiance and stunning views. It's frequented by locals and tourists seeking a peaceful drive or nature walk, with parks, lookout points, and wildlife sightings along the way. 

Moreover, Valley Road is significant for its proximity to agriculture value-added businesses. These businesses leverage the region's fertile lands and agricultural resources to create value-added products such as specialty foods, beverages, and artisanal goods. Visitors can explore farm-to-table experiences, and agricultural tours, and purchase locally-made products, showcasing Saskatoon's agricultural heritage and economic diversity.

On this tour, you will take in:

Black Fox Farm and Distillery is a renowned agricultural destination in Saskatoon, Canada, offering visitors a unique farm-to-table experience of premium crafted spirits using locally sourced ingredients. Visitors can explore their range of artisanal spirits, including vodka, gin, and whisky, all made with care and precision at their distillery. Another must-visit spot is Farm One Forty, where you will enjoy a delightful lunch experience amidst the scenic surroundings. Farm One Forty specializes in sustainable farming practices and offers high-quality, ethically raised meats and produce directly to consumers; and serves their produce at Odla their restaurant in Saskatoon. This farm eatery emphasizes fresh, locally sourced ingredients, providing a true taste of Saskatoon's agricultural bounty. For those craving artisanal dairy products, Twin Peaks Creamery is a must-stop destination. The tour will head North of the city not only to sample the exquisite range of dairy delights of Twin Peaks but more importantly to learn how this dairy is expanding beyond its raw input of fluid milk in the supply-managed industry.

Barley to Beer

Barley is a significant crop in Saskatchewan's agricultural sector, contributing to both domestic and international markets. Saskatchewan plants over 40% of Canada's barley acres. Saskatchewan farmers grow various barley varieties suited to different purposes, including feed barley for livestock feed, specialty barley for niche markets, and malting barley for the brewing and distilling industries.

In our Beer to Barley tour, we will take you: 

  • The first stop, is the Crop Development Centre (CDC), where Dr. Aaron Beattie will tour you through his barley plots and share insights into barley breeding in Canada.

  • Next stop, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, to Makers Malt, a notable supplier of premium malted grains for breweries and distilleries. They are known for their high-quality malt products that contribute to the unique flavours and characteristics of craft beverages. A sensory panel will be presented on the malt as well.

• Before heading for a tasting of Saskatchewan's fine barley, Dr. Chris Eskiw will tour us around his start-up Ag-Biotech company "IntelliYeast". Eskiw's IntelliYeast is "revolutionizing yeast production’ for multiple applications", including the brewing industry. •Finally, the day will wrap up at 9 Mile Legacy Brewery, founded by Shawn Moen and Garrett Pederson, a well-known craft brewery in Saskatoon. They are celebrated for their innovative approach to brewing, creating a wide range of unique and flavorful beers that showcase local ingredients and techniques. They started as a nano-brewery, and over the years and a locations later, and thousands of batches later, they are a pillar in Saskatchewan's brewing industry.

Livestock – People & Poultry - Tues, July 9

In Canada, both poultry and dairy production are supply managed. There are 74 egg quota holders in Saskatchewan with an average flock size of 20,000 layer hens. Strict biosecurity policies due to avian influenza outbreaks in recent years means farm visitors are limited and wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) is required.

Many layer barns are located on Hutterite colonies. A Hutterite colony typically consists of 15 families (~100 people) living a communal agrarian lifestyle where members work together to grow crops, raise livestock and manufacture goods. 

This tour will teach you about colony life followed by a tour of the province's egg processing facility (Star Egg). The day will end off with a tour of Crossmount Cider Company's orchard and a cider tasting.​

Livestock – Beef & Bison - Thurs July 11

Saskatchewan is home to ~30% (1.04M) of Canada’s beef cows with an average herd size of 87 beef cows. Average cost of production for SK cow-calf producers was $1656 per cow wintered (Canfax 2023). Saskatchewan is considered a cow-calf province, as over 90% of western Canadian feedlot capacity and 77% of the federally inspected slaughter capacity is located in the neighbouring province of Alberta. Saskatchewan is also home to 308 farms raising ~53,000 bison (35% of national herd; avg. 172 hd/farm). The four western provinces account for 92% of Canada’s bison producers and 97% of commercially raised bison in Canada. 

On the Beef & Bison tour we will visit:

  • Usask’s Specialized Livestock Research Facility, home to ~40 head each of Plains and Woods bison. Hear how researchers from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine produced the world’s first IVF bison offspring and are now developing the world’s first bison genome biobank in a multi-partner effort to conserve and protect bison. 

  • The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE) started operation in 2018 at new facilities south of Clavet to support teaching, research and engagement on livestock and forage research. LFCE manages 8,000 ac (3240 ha) of owned and rented land across six locations for feed production and research. Facilities include a 1500 hd capacity finishing feedlot, 24 stall metabolism barn and calving barn and pens for 400 beef cows. LFCE is also part of the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network serving as a ‘living lab’ to test technologies to improve the efficiencies of farms and ranches as well as the collection and analysis of data.  

  • After lunch we will visit two cow-calf operations – one seedstock and one commercial – to learn about the challenges and opportunities they face in the beef industry and how they manage business and financial risks.  ​

Dairy

Dairy production in Canada has been supply-managed since 1971. There are 147 dairy producers in Saskatchewan with an average herd size of 190 cows. The dominant breed is Holstein. The blue cow logo used to recognize grocery items made with Canadian milk is recognized by 86% of Canadians. On this tour we learn about research, innovation and management in the dairy sector.

On the tour we will visit:

  • Usask’s Rayner Dairy and Teaching Facility - a 124-cow on-campus dairy with multiple milking methods (robotic, parlor, tie stall) for research and teaching purposes.

  • Saskatoon Colostrum Company (SCCL) (July 9 only) - established in 1994 by two USask researchers - Dr. Deborah Haines and Dr. Brian Chelak. Over 30 yr, SCCL has become a global leader in the collection of excess colostrum to manufacture shelf-stable, spray-dried colostrum powder for calves, lambs and kids as well as products for people, pets and horses. SCCL partners with donor dairies in five countries and distributes it products in 19 countries around the world.  

  • After lunch we will visit dairy operations located north of Saskatoon to learn about their path into dairy production, utilization of technology and strategies for risk management and succession. ​

  • At the end of the day we will visit a local on-farm ice cream parlour. 

Irrigation

Irrigation has been used since the province's start in 1905. In 2020, Saskatchewan announced a $4 billion multi-phase project that would double irrigable acres and fulfill the potential of Lake Diefenbaker/Gardiner Dam which was built in the 1960s. On this tour you will visit people and places who make use of irrigation and the reservoirs for their livelihoods. In the morning you will visit Lakeshore Tree Farm (the Krahn family) and in the afternoon delegates will participate in the field tours on the Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre's field day near Outlook, SK.

Grains & Oilseeds Tour

Saskatchewan is home to over 40% of Canada’s cultivated farmland with 36.4 of 40.4 million acres allotted to cash crop farming (grains, pulses and oilseeds). The most popular crop grown is canola followed by spring wheat, durum wheat, lentils and barley. Saskatchewan has some of the cheapest land in Canada, however land values have been steadily increasing and currently average $3,000 per ac ($7400/ha) for non-irrigated and $6500 per ac ($16,055/ha) for irrigated. While the average farm size in Saskatchewan is 1,766 ac (2021 Census of Ag), commercial grain farms typically average 7,000+ acres (2,800 ha).

Tuesday, July 9:

  • AgInMotion - an outdoor farm show held each July since 2015. Sneak a peek of the venue the week before the event to hear about advancements in agtech and more. AgInMotion attracts over 30,000 visitors each July to see applied research and demonstrations on technology, equipment and practical solutions for Prairie farmers/ranchers.

  • Producer Lance Walker will show us around his mixed operation near Borden, SK which includes 10,000 ac (4,050 ha) of land where he has been growing intercrops and polycrops and 2,000 beef cows.

  • Pulse processing facility near Vanscoy, SK with a 'Titanic' connection that turns peas, lentils, chick peas, quinoa and faba beans into flour, protein and fiber for consumer food and animal nutrition applications. 

Thursday, July 11:

  • Ag-Quest - a contract field research farm located west of Saskatoon that has been in operation for over 40 years.

  • Grain producer Josh Lade will share how he ended up farming in Saskatchewan and how his farming partnership manages risk and utilizes leading innovations on their 16,000 ac (6,000 ha) operation near Osler, SK.

  • Grains Innovation Lab - milling and grinding facilities to evaluate new crop lines being developed by USask plant breeders.

Research & Innovation Tour

Research and innovation are vital to growth and resilience. Learn about research and innovation happening on campus, Innovation Place and on the farm/ranch. Planned tour stops include:

Tuesday, July 9

  • AgInMotion - an outdoor farm show held each July since 2015. Sneak a peek of the venue the week before the event to hear about advancements in agtech and more. AgInMotion attracts over 30,000 visitors each July to see applied research and demonstrations on technology, equipment and practical solutions for Prairie farmers/ranchers.

  • Novozymes uses enzymes, microorganisms and proteins to generate 'biosolutions' for the agriculture industry and beyond.

  • Canadian Light Source is Canada's only synchrotron; a particle accelerator that allows materials to be examined at the molecular and atomic level. Learn how CLS is used for advancements in agriculture, mining, energy storage, drug development and biomedical imaging.

Thursday, July 11

  • Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health - for 38 years the Centre has been undertaking research and extension for the health and well-being of rural and agricultural people. 

  • Canadian Light Source is Canada's only synchrotron; a particle accelerator that allows materials to be examined at the molecular and atomic level.

  • Novozymes uses enzymes, microorganisms and proteins to generate 'biosolutions' for the agriculture industry and beyond.

  • Quantum Genetix - has provided DNA testing services to livestock and crop producers since 2003; Quantum Genetix initially started with testing beef animals for the Leptin gene and has since diversified into parentage testing and crop testing (i.e. disease presence, GMO presence, etc).

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