News
There will be no commercially grown GMO potatoes on Prince Edward Island this year, according to Simplot Plant Sciences, the company that developed the Innate potato.

Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications, said the company is holding off allowing commercial growth of Innate potatoes in Canada until there's a proven market for them. | READ MORE

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced a $250,000 loan to J & S Visser Produce of Orwell Cove.

The company will add a baler and bagger system, allowing the company to move quickly between types of potatoes and various packaging sizes. This will increase the variety of potato products offered and potentially attract new consumers. | READ MORE

The new Eco steam peeler from TOMRA stands more than eight metres tall, and has the capability to peel 650kg of potatoes in less than seven seconds. The processing capacity of the steam peeler is more than 65,000kg (143,300 lbs) of potatoes per hour or a daily rate of 1,560,000kg (3,439,200 lbs).

Steam peeling has for a long time been the most efficient method of removing skin from the surface of vegetables.The new Eco steam peeler is not only the fastest steam peeler; it is also the most efficient in the industry using 28 per cent less steam than other peelers of its type.
Potato growers are hoping for some warmer temperatures and sunny skies in the coming days after two weeks of rain have brought planting to a halt across most of Prince Edward Island.

"We're into our second week of wet weather and really there's nothing being done at the present time," says Rodney Dingwell, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board. | READ MORE
Linkletter Farms potato seed warehouse caught fire sometime in the early morning hours on May 1st.

Fire Chief Jason Woodbury said workers at the farm spotted smoke coming from the roof of the 22,000 square foot structure, and traced it to a fire in the attic of the building. | READ MORE

McCain Foods USA, Inc. has announced it is expanding the voluntary recall of retail, frozen hash brown products that may contain golf ball materials, specifically hard plastic or rubber pieces, that despite the supply standards may have been inadvertently harvested with potatoes used to make the products. There is no recall for Canada. | READ MORE

A potato farm in western P.E.I. is getting $400,000 from the federal government to help expand its business.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, through its Business Development Program, will provide Mid-Isle Farms of Albany with the repayable contribution. | READ MORE

U.S. President Donald Trump swore off plans to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement on Wednesday, after a day rife with speculation that he could be on the verge of threatening to obliterate the seminal trade deal.| READ MORE

Prince Edward Island potato farmer Alvin Keenan is leading a national lobbying group that represents more than 120 agricultural commodities in Canada.

"It's a huge industry," said the veteran farmer, adding the organization deals with any number of issues including trade marketing, industry standards, food safety, labour, temporary foreign workers, environment and more.          | READ MORE

 

Farmers of all types, from dairy to fruit to livestock, contribute to the economy and to the healthy lives of Canadians. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants to help make filing your income tax and benefit return easier so you can save your time and energy for the harvest.

Claiming expenses 
Farmers can generally deduct any reasonable current expense from farming income, including interest on loans and losses, and the cost of fertilizer, feed, veterinary fees, and materials to pack and ship goods. Other eligible expenses are machinery rental, electricity, insurance, and motor vehicle expenses. To find out more, go to cra.gc.ca/smallbusiness and click on “Report business or professional income and expenses.”

When it’s time to harvest your crops, you may need a helping hand (or two) out in the field and if you do hire someone, the cost may be claimed as an expense. If the person you hire is a qualified Red Seal trade apprentice, like an agricultural equipment technician, you may also be able to claim the apprenticeship job creation tax credit. This non-refundable investment tax credit is 10 per cent of the apprentice’s salary or wages. The maximum credit an employer can claim is $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice. For more information about the apprenticeship job creation tax credit, go to cra.gc.ca/smallbusiness and click on “Investment tax credit (line 412),” and then on “Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit (AJCTC).”

Reporting income or loss
As with any business, not every year will be profitable. When your farming business expenses are more than your farming business income in a year, you have a net loss. You can transfer a farm loss amount back to any of the preceding three years or forward to any of the next 20 years to deduct the loss from income for another year. For more information on farm losses and how to calculate and apply them, see Chapter 6 of CRA Guide T4003, Farming and Fishing Income.

Eligible farmers who dispose of breeding livestock in a tax year because of drought or flood can exclude part of the sale proceeds from their income until the next tax year, under the livestock tax deferral provision. This provision also covers breeding horses over 12 months of age and certain breeding bees. For more information, see Chapter 2 of Guide T4003.

To avoid the stress of ploughing through countless invoices and receipts, stay on top of your record keeping during the year. Records of your business-related expenses will support your claims. These records need the same constant and conscientious care as your crops. Without supporting documents, the CRA may not allow a credit or deduction. To learn more, go to cra.gc.ca/records.

Completing your return
The legislated deadline for most Canadians to file their income tax and benefit return is April 30. Since that date is a Sunday in 2017, the CRA will consider your return as filed on time and your payment to be made if the CRA receives your submission or it is postmarked no later than May 1. Self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners have until June 15 to file their returns. However, if those persons have a balance owing to the CRA, that amount is due no later than May 1. 

If you’re facing cash flow problems and can’t pay your tax balance owing in full, you may be able to pay off your tax debt in more than one payment. You can set up a pre-authorized debit payment agreement through the CRA’s My Business Account or My Account service or by calling 1-888-863-8657. To learn more about your payment options, go to cra.gc.ca/payments.

The CRA has a list of certified tax preparation software on its website, including some software that is free. Last year, more than 84 per cent of individuals filed their tax return online. File online, so you can spend less time working on your return and more time doing the things you love. To find out more, go to cra.gc.ca/netfile.

When filing online, you can save valuable time by using the CRA’s auto-fill my return feature. This feature automatically fills in parts of your return. For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/auto-fill. If you sign up for online mail, you can find out the status of your return immediately after you file your return and receive your notice of assessment the next day. For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/express-noa.

Protect yourself
When it comes time to file your return, don’t risk your reputation and your business by intentionally underreporting your income. If you get caught evading tax, you may face fines, penalties, or even jail time. It’s not worth the risk. Don’t participate in the underground economy. For more information, go to cra.gc.ca/undergroundeconomy.

If you make a mistake or omission, the CRA offers you a chance to set things right under the Voluntary Disclosures Program. If you make a valid disclosure before you know about compliance action taken against you by the CRA, you may only have to pay the tax owing plus interest. You can get more information about the program at cra-arc.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.

Stay on top of the latest CRA news and tax tips by following @CanRevAgency on Twitter.

Early last year, a spud was planted in soil from Peru’s Pampas de La Joya desert, which boasts “the most Mars-like soils found on Earth,” according to NASA scientist Chris McKay. The experiment, sponsored by the International Potato Center (CIP), took place in a CubeSat built by Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) with guidance from NASA’s Ames Research Center. | READ MORE

Canadian Agricultural Safety Week (CASW), an annual public awareness campaign focusing on the importance of safe agriculture, is running March 12-18. This year, organizers want to empower farm families with the information they need to help keep everyone safe on the farm while preserving the farming lifestyle. The campaign lasts for a week, but farm safety is important all year long. | READ MORE

 

Using a combination of traditional crop breeding techniques, as well as new and emerging technologies, here are Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's 2017 releases to the marketplace.

The accelerated Release 2017 (AR2017) available selections include entries for french fries, chips and the fresh market.  Click on each selection number for description, picture and tables of performance and quality data.

French Fry Selection

Potato Selection AR2017-01 (CV08104-5) (A98345-1 x CO98067-7RU) French fry. Oblong to long selection with buff skin and white flesh; good French fry, cold (7 C) storage potential; extremely resistant to PVY

Potato Selection AR2017-02 (F12004) (Blazer Russet x Glacier Fryer) French fry. Long selection with buff skin and white flesh; good French fry, cold (7 C) storage potential; moderate resistance to scab

Potato Selection AR2017-03 (F12011) (F99028 x ND699-13) French fry. Oblong selection with light russet skin and white flesh; good French fry, cold (7 C) storage potential; resistant to scab

Potato Selection AR2017-04 (F12064) (Red Island x Goldrus) Fresh Market, French Fry. Oval to oblong selection with red skin, light yellow flesh; high yield potential; good dual purpose quality scores (Fresh market/ French fry-wedges); resistant to PVY

Chip Selections

Potato Selection AR2017-05 (F12043) (F00016 x King Harry) Fresh Market, Chip. Round selection with white skin and cream flesh; good boil, bake and chip scores; resistant to PVY, extremely resistant to PVX, moderate resistance to scab

Fresh Market Selections

Potato Selection AR2017-06 (F12008) (Defender x F87070) Fresh Market. Long selection with russet skin and white flesh; high yield potential; good boil and bake scores; resistant to late blight, resistant to PVY, carries a marker associated with resistance to golden nematode

Potato Selection AR2017-07 (F12022) (Innovator x F99047) Fresh Market. Oblong selection with russet skin and light yellow flesh; high yield potential; good boil and bake scores; resistant to scab, indication of moderate resistance to late blight

Potato Selection AR2017-08 (F12024) (A11197-02 x Redsen) Fresh Market. Round selection with smooth red skin and white flesh; high tuber set; fair boil and bake scores; extremely resistant to PVX, indication of resistance to late blight, moderate resistance to scab

Potato Selection AR2017-09 (F12031) (AT12897-17 x Redsen) Fresh Market. Oval selection with dark red skin, white flesh, good boil and bake scores; resistant to PVY, extremely resistant to PVX

Potato Selection AR2017-10 (F12035) (A11197-02 x Rochdale Gold- Dorée) Fresh Market. Round selection with light yellow skin, white flesh; good boil and bake scores; resistant to PVY, moderate resistance to scab

Potato Selection AR2017-11 (F12041) (Chieftain x Rochdale Gold- Dorée) Fresh Market. Round to oval selection with red skin, light yellow flesh; high yield potential; good boil and bake scores; extremely resistant to PVX, moderate resistance to scab

Potato Selection AR2017-12 (F12044) (F00016 x Redsen) Fresh Market. Round selection with smooth red skin and white flesh; very high yield potential; good boil and bake scores; indication of moderate resistance to late blight

Potato Selection AR2017-13 (F12049) (King Harry x Redsen) Fresh Market. Round selection with smooth red skin and white flesh; good boil and fair bake scores; resistant to scab and to PVX

Potato Selection AR2017-14 (F12060) (V0498-9 x V07025-3) Fresh Market. Round to oval selection with smooth red skin and white flesh; good boil and bake scores; extremely resistant to PVX, carries a marker associated with resistance to golden nematode, moderately resistant to defoliation by Colorado potato beetle

Potato Selection AR2017-15 (F12061) V0498-9 x V07025-3) Fresh Market. Round to oval selection with smooth red skin and white flesh; high yield potential, high tuber set; good boil and bake scores; resistant to PVX, carries a marker associated with resistance to golden nematode, indication of moderate resistance to late blight, moderately resistant to defoliation by Colorado potato beetle

 

EDMONTON - A group examining applying employment standards to Alberta's agriculture sector recommends that farm workers should not get overtime pay. The Employment Standards Technical Working Group has been reviewing the standards to see how it could apply to farm and ranch workers.

The group says standards around pay, employment records, job-protected leaves and termination notice should apply to workers. However, it recommends having no set hours of work or breaks and no overtime. It recommends that non-family employees get four days off every 28 days, at the employer's discretion. The group says family members who are employed at farms and ranches should be exempt from all employment standards.

"The application of standards would be impractical and unfeasible, as well as burdensome without providing any benefit," the group recommends in a report released Monday. The group says non-family workers aged 12 and 13 should be allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. For non-family workers under 16, the work must "not be detrimental to health, education, or welfare and parental consent must be obtained by employers." It suggests sufficient time be allowed to phase in changes and sessions be offered to teach farm owners about the employment standards.

Another recommendation was that non-family workers under 16 be paid 75 per cent of the minimum wage rate, but that was not agreed to by the whole group. The government said Albertans have until April 3 to give feedback on the recommendations. Alberta passed legislation that took effect in January 2016 to include farm and ranch workers in general occupational health and safety rules. The changes contained in that legislation ignited protests at the legislature and threats to Premier Rachel Notley and some of her cabinet.

An invention called a "humigator" is helping potato growers across the U.S. have yearlong control over their potatoes. Its primary function is to clean the air of potato storage sites. By doing so, the pathogens known for inflicting diseases like silver scurf and black dot disease are taken out. | READ MORE

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