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Survey Says: APG Members Generally Pleased with APG and Many Had Suggestions for Future Direction (PCN Spring 2015) MAR 25 2015 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Pulse Crop News.

More than 10 per cent of eligible members completed the Alberta Pulse Growers Member Survey recently, and while many of the results came in as expected, some of the answers were surprising.

It was expected that the majority of respondents (90.12 per cent) listed field peas as a pulse crop grown on their farm in the last three years, with faba beans a very distant second with 17.96 per cent. Pulses were recognized as very important in the crop rotation of 70.66 per cent of respondents.

When asked if they were considering growing soybeans in the near future, 61.38 per cent of respondents stated that they weren’t, but those who were listed crop rotation as the top reason to consider it. Crop rotation was also the number one reason cited for planting pulses in general, with 76.35 per cent of respondents.

The vast majority (71.26 per cent) of producers who took the survey, which was mailed to APG members last fall and made available online, expected to grow the same amount of pulse crops over the next three years as in 2014.

Pulse Crop News was the top source of information on pulse varieties, followed closely by Alberta Seed Guide, and word of mouth as a distant third.

Not surprisingly, disease was listed as the number one issue facing pulse growers in the 2013-14 crop year. The second choice of respondents was the Other category, which included a variety of issues including weather.

The vast majority of respondents (67.97 per cent) noted that their impressions of the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission are very positive or somewhat positive. A host of APG activities received responses indicating a wide variety of awareness levels.

Variety research should be APG’s top funding priority, according to 57.49 per cent of respondents, which was far higher than for any other option.

When asked what other core activities should APG focus on to provide better service to members, most respondents did not have any additions.

Suggestions from those who filled in an answer included more info on particular crops and diseases, find more markets for end products, lower check-offs, market development, supporting local industry development of pulse crop processing, consumer awareness, advocate for farmers, transportation, on-farm biosecurity, and sustainability.

Variety development was listed as the top research priority by more than twice as many respondents as the next priority, which was agronomy and sustainable production.

Increase value-added processing in Alberta was cited as the top market development priority for the most respondents, and closely followed by improving export market access.

An overwhelming number of respondents (89.52 per cent) felt that it is valuable for APG to partner with grower groups provincially and across provincial borders. Similarly, 76.65 per cent said that it was very important for APG to be a member of Pulse Canada.

It was a surprise to APG that 57 people responded that before receiving the survey, they did not realize that they were a member of APG. More communications about the benefits of APG membership was also suggested as a way in which APG could improve its membership value. More information on membership appears in a fact box on the previous page.

A vast majority of respondents (82.93 per cent) agreed that APG is helping to build a prosperous pulse industry.

As for the respondents themselves, more than half had been farming for more than 30 years and were between 50 and 65 years old.

The most common number of acres farmed in 2014 was between 1,000 and 3,000 acres. The majority of respondents had businesses structured as corporations.

Some of the comments from members surveyed included gratitude for the survey because they learned new information through it about resources, and also expressed an appreciation for the opportunity to provide input.

Congratulations to Peter Van Assen and Murray Woods, who each won a three-day pass to FarmTech 2015 as a result of the survey draw.

Thank you to all APG members who provided feedback through this survey. Your insights will help shape the future of this organization.

Benefits of APG Membership

(You are an APG Member if you have sold pulses to an Alberta dealer in the last two crop years.)

Here are a few examples of the way in which your check-off is used:

Pulse Canada

The pulse industry’s national organization is leading – and has been leading for many years – work on transportation which became a significant issue facing all western Canadian grain, oilseed and special crop producers last year. In addition to transportation, Pulse Canada engages on market access, development of new food product innovation using pulses focusing upon the larger multi-national processors, and work to seek approval of health claims for pulses which will encourage more processors to incorporate them into foods and encourage consumers to consume more in their diets. APG has put significant investment into Pulse Canada to address these areas.

Research Investment

Funding investment through the Commission has been directed to research on genetic improvements for pulse crops, addressing agronomic challenges, and to support food innovation and health research. Through recent funding, a focus has been on root rot research – an economically important topic for the industry in Western Canada.

Tax Credits

Research investment also gives you as a grower an opportunity to claim a tax credit for your investment into the organization. Each year, commissions calculate the Science Research and Experimental Design Tax Credit and growers can claim this credit on a portion of their funding that went to research. This past year it was 17.5%. If you ask for a refund you are no longer eligible for this tax credit.

Extension Programs

APG is out in the community working with the Agriculture Research Organizations and providing funding to deliver the Regional Variety Testing Programs across Alberta. This gives growers knowledge of what new cultivars of pulses can be grown in your area. The results of the RVT program are published as part of the Alberta Seed Guide and in the Winter Edition of Pulse Crop News.

Meeting Opportunities

Do you attend FarmTech? APG is a host organization that works with other industry organizations to put on the largest educational farm show in Western Canada. APG also hosts meetings in your zone where we bring together industry experts and allow you to discuss pulse crop issues with other growers.

The APG staff are also a resource for you as a grower. We can help answer your questions and provide information to you about the industry.