New Commissioner Encourages Support for Producer-Run Groups (PCN Summer 2014) JUL 9 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.
Fraser Robertson, Zone 4 Commissioner
Producer Profile: Fraser Robertson Fraser Robertson and his family live near Fairview, AB. Fraser was elected for a three-year term as Commissioner on the APG Board in January representing Zone 4.
Pulse Crop News: Can you tell me a bit about your family and your farm?
Fraser Robertson: My dad took over the company farm that he was part owner of in 1969. I had been farming previous to that when I was younger. In 1975, I started renting land and got married that year. My wife, Monica, is a school teacher. We’ve got two boys, Nolan and Alexander, and five grandchildren. My older son, Nolan, started farming with me around 1996 and now we farm 6,800 acres. The biggest focus in my life now is my family and my grandchildren.
PCN: What has been your experience with growing pulse crops?
FR: I grew faba beans several years ago on a small scale when we had a hog producer nearby. I grew peas about 25 years ago, at least, but didn’t have much success so we backed away from them until about 10 years ago. It was really dry that year. We picked up the seed by the bag, it was fairly limited in the area and the varieties weren’t that great. Even 10 years ago, we had some major losses when we didn’t have powdery mildew resistance.
PCN: What tips or tricks have you learned growing peas?
FR: The last couple of crops we just tried to do everything that is recommended including proper spraying, treating seed, planting early, rolling and we have good combine headers. This spring we rolled about half and harrowed about half of our peas after seeding. We took a chance on it because it was getting late. We also had good success seeding wheat into the pea stubble this year.
PCN: Initially, what got you interested in APG?
FR: I was talking to the guys on the board from the (Peace region) about the position and wanted to help promote growing pulses here.
PCN: APG commissioners sit on various committees. Which ones did you choose to be on?
FR: I’m on the internal Audit and Finance committee and Marketing committee. I was a councillor for the MD of Fairview at one time and worked on budgeting, etc., so I thought it would be interesting to see how the check-off dollars are being used. Quite often you hear about the (industry) issues but it’s good to be involved with those issues and have your point of view heard. It is a fairly like-minded group of people that get involved with a board. I think that if more people have the opportunity to do this, they would get their eyes opened to how things work at a committee level and board level and learn what is being done with checkoff dollars.
PCN: Is there an issue in particular that is important to you?
FR: I am interested in marketing and pricing. That part of farming seems the most frustrating to me and I think there needs to be more transparency in what’s coming for pricing.
PCN: What is the biggest issue facing your farm this year?
FR: We had limited sales opportunities and shipping issues last year, which is affecting our operation this year. I know that is being addressed and I know that APG and Pulse Canada are involved in making those changes. It is important to support provincial producer-run groups who are lobbying on your behalf, that way there is money available to put toward the industrywide issues that come along.
Welcome Fraser, we are looking forward to having you on the board!