Pulse Beat Individual Articles

Message from Board Chair

Calvin Penner, Chair

IN FEBRUARY, I was nominated for the position of Chair of Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG). I accepted.

It’s an honour to serve on such a great board of directors and I am humbled by the hard work of outgoing Chair John Preun and retiring board member Rick Vaags, both of whom were instrumental in building a solid organization and helping the pulse and soybean industry strengthen.

As MPSG celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, I would like to acknowledge the dedication of all previous staff and board members. The association has seen a lot of change — a lot of growth — since it formed. And our upward trajectory is due to strong leadership in and out of the boardroom. Thanks!

I would also like to welcome Garrett Sawatzky to the MPSG Board of Directors. Garrett and his wife farm near Altona, MB and is an otherwise active person in the agricultural sector. He teaches farm management at the University of Manitoba and he’s a Keystone Ag Producers delegate. Welcome, Garrett!

Staff and farmers are looking forward to the 2019 growing season. As I write this, it looks as though the soybean industry will face unique challenges related to pricing and trade. We’ve noticed a decrease in soybean acres again this year, especially in swing areas that don’t have as much experience growing the crop as others. In the words of outgoing Chair John Preun, “Soybeans are here to stay.”

We’re still growing them on our farm and I choose to remain positive that the trade issues currently weakening the price for soybeans are going to get resolved or new markets will get discovered. Soy is still widely regarded as an excellent source of protein. And the world needs protein. I know Soy Canada is working hard to mend the situation.

It’s encouraging to see pulse acres increase. There are quite a few edible bean acres represented on our board and those farmers should feel encouraged by the strong representation. We look forward to supporting our pulse farmers and doing what we can to see that those acres remain profitable and supported in a global marketplace. Our friends at Pulse Canada are a tremendous help on these matters. I encourage you to visit our website at manitobapulse.ca, but I would also suggest you take the time to visit pulsecanada.com and soycanada.ca.

Staff at MPSG are geared up and ready to help farmers with any issues they are having on their farms, as take your questions. We’re here for you and I’d like to see you take advantage of that. MPSG continues to look for ways to improve pulse and soybean production in Manitoba, through continued research on ongoing and upcoming issues, events, field scouting and the generation of top-­notch agronomic resources/extension materials.

The On-Farm Network is set for steady growth again, as more and more farmers are seeing the value in conducting research on their farms on issues relevant to their farms.

I’m looking at the long-range forecast calling for more late-summer moisture and I don’t think I am alone in hoping for a wetter growing season. I’m choosing to remain positive.

MPSG continues to lend expertise and a listening ear to conversations surrounding the attraction of a local soybean crush facility. Staff and board are paying attention to this. We’re also continuing to monitor the protein levels in Manitoba soybeans and what that means for the marketplace.

I would like to thank the province of Manitoba for a great relationship with MPSG and its willingness to hear the concerns of our farmers. I look forward to working with the great people at the province.

Farm machines are big. Grain bins are tall. Please, I urge you, be safe out there. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t. Take the time to think things through and, please, make spending time with your loved ones a priority.

Have a great growing season!

— Calvin