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Canadian Special Crops Association Conference: It’s About Results! (PCN Fall 2014) SEP 25 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

The theme of the 2014 Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA) conference held in July really set the stage for the discussion – It’s About Results. For everyone in the industry, this is a primary focus. For growers it is all about results from their investments into their grower organization so that farmers can be profitable with pulse crops. For dealers, it is about how their national organization can address their issues. Together growers and dealers came to Saskatoon to learn about the past, the present and how future work is being done to grow the industry.

There were 480 delegates and guests from 21 countries who came together to talk pulse and special crops for a day and a half. Presenters included Farm Credit Canada’s James Bryan who discussed how the global economy affects trade, a three member panel of CSCA board members speaking on Free Trade Agreements and harmonization impacting trade, as well as an overview from Quorum (Canada’s grain monitor) on the progress on the transportation file over this past year. In addition, a representative of the Canadian Transportation Agency spoke on the complexity of interswitching.

Mission: IMPULSEIBLE was the focus for a morning session with four teams of students from across Canada and a tough judges panel that included an ‘active youth’ representative – the target market for the products this year. Alberta’s team from the University of Alberta presented their product Pulse Pops, a nutritious pulse treat on a stick that included pea butter, black beans and chickpeas, and took home the top prize of $2,500. Alberta Pulse Growers supported the team to scale up their product at the Food Processing Development Centre, and also supported their travel costs to present at the national competition.

Food retail guru John F.T. Scott captivated the audience with a discussion of the dynamic trends in retail. Scott has over 30 years of retail expertise with organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario, and early job experience working for the Government of Alberta on economic policy and analysis specific to the retail food industry. His take home message was about how retail is changing and suppliers need to keep up with the trends. The keynote speaker, Ira Blumenthal, spoke on partnerships and the importance of development of those partnerships in business. Alberta Pulse Growers has always focused on partnerships as a key strategy to get results for our growers.

A key part of any CSCA conference is the market outlook sessions, which are well attended by conference participants. These sessions focused on all crops that fall under the special crops designation. Most certainly the conversation fell back on logistics and transportation. Greg Kostal gave an overview of the Canadian production focusing on pea, lentil and chickpea and leaving the audience with the bearish market feeling. Pea pricing is still expected to have a price premium attributed to green pea over yellow and prices were forecast between $6.60 -$7.00. For lentils, especially reds, the forecast seemed good. Losses were expected with the areas of lentil production in Saskatchewan being lost to flooding and excess moisture.

For Alberta, there has been no significant flooding issues this summer. The forecast for chickpea was flat. Dry bean estimates were provided by Chuck Penner of Left Field Commodity Research commenting on the dry bean acreage increasing to 350,000 acres.

Next year’s CSCA conference will be held in Calgary on June 21-23. We hope to see you there!