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Saskatchewan farm organizations advocate for carbon offset system that recognizes and rewards farmers’ contribution

Saskatchewan farm organizations, the Soil Conservation Council of Canada and the Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association (SSCA) are encouraging farmers to participate in a review of the Government of Canada’s proposed Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Offset Credit System regulations. The proposed regulations are open for a 60‐day comment period from now until May 5, 2021.

A coalition of Saskatchewan farm group representatives are united in ensuring that Saskatchewan farmers are recognized and compensated for carbon sequestered from conservation practices, including zero‐till and continuous cropping. The groups represented include Sask Wheat, SaskCanola, SaskPulse, SaskBarley, SaskFlax, SaskOats, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan, the Soil Conservation Council of Canada and the SSCA.

“The carbon sequestered each year by Saskatchewan farmers is a critical asset to help both the federal and provincial governments meet their climate change goals. That value should be recognized and returned to the farmgate,” said Jocelyn Velestuk, a Sask Wheat and SSCA director, and member of the SSCA’s Carbon Advisory Committee. At this critical juncture, the SSCA’s Carbon Advisory Committee is committed to working with the federal and provincial governments to develop a science‐based offset protocol for the sequestration of carbon in agricultural soils. As Support Group Members of the Carbon Advisory Committee, Saskatchewan farm organizations support the Committee’s efforts.

“Each year, through no‐till practices, Saskatchewan farmers sequester about 9‐million new tonnes of carbon dioxide. We are committed to achieving a regulatory environment that recognizes this significant positive impact,” added Velestuk, citing the Government of Saskatchewan’s Prairie Resilience Paper.

While details on what farming and ranching practices will be eligible to earn offset credits through the federal protocols are still being developed, the draft regulations indicate that land‐management practices will have to go above and beyond “business as usual.”

“Even though the federal government has recognized the annual contribution of new and incremental sequestration in agricultural soils, the federal proposal could disqualify the majority of Saskatchewan crop producers from participating in an offset trading system,” explained John Bennett, Chair of the SSCA Carbon Advisory Committee.

The SSCA Carbon Advisory Committee and Support Group Members will continue to advocate for separate regulations for agricultural carbon sink protocols that would not be subject to non‐scientific factors such as “business as usual.”

Any offset program must also include farmer ownership of soil carbon credits, a registry that allows farmers to “bank” their credits, an effective price discovery mechanism, and full transparency of basis costs.

To get involved in the federal consultations visit:‐climatechange/services/climate‐change/pricing‐pollution‐how‐it‐will‐work/output‐based‐pricingsystem/federal‐greenhouse‐gas‐offset‐system.html

For more information on the positioning of the SSCA Carbon Advisory Committee and Support Group Members see:‐initiative

For more information, contact:
Tanya Craddock, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association
306-371-4213 |

SaskBarley’s 2020 call for barley research results in $1 million in funding

March 10, 2021 (Saskatoon, SK) – The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) announced today it will fund another approximately $1 million of barley research over the next four years – a major advancement for barley producers in Saskatchewan.

This funded research is the result of a call for research proposals the organization issued last year, with a goal to invest in new and exciting barley research – not available through traditional research channels — to benefit Saskatchewan producers.  

Another goal of this research call was to help the organization ramp up its quickly expanding research program, says Chair Matt Enns.

“Research is the core business function of SaskBarley,” he says. “Since our inception we have been focused on strategically and sustainably growing this function. With this latest investment, we are nearly where we want to be, now allocating more than 60 per cent of our annual budget towards this goal.”

SaskBarley received 18 full applications as a result of the research call last year, of which nine were approved for a total value of approximately $1 million over four years.

Funded projects focus on areas such as exploring novel mechanisms of resistance to fusarium head blight and management of other diseases in barley, optimizing processing practices, and enhancing malting barley quality for beer production, says SaskBarley Research and Extension Manager Mitchell Japp.

“The nine projects approved by the SaskBarley Board all meet our overall research program goals, of increasing yield gains and agronomics, establishing best management practices and enhancing end market appeal,” he says. (See a full listing on projects below.)

“We expect these research investments will have a major impact on barley production in the province.”

Total value for the funded projects, including in-kind and other support, is more than $2.3 million.


Funded projects

  • Establishing a seed testing protocol and greenhouse/growth cabinet based disease evaluation method to improve disease management against bacterial leaf streak in barley (Randy Kutcher, University of Saskatchewan)
  • Examining Fusarium growth and interactions with barley trichomes under the hull (Matthew Bakker, University of Manitoba)
  • Assessing the effects of blending CDC Clear hulless barley malt for beer production (Yueshu Li, Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre)
  • Processing barley grain with variable kernel size (Greg Penner, U of S)
  • Western Canadian provincial malting barley variety field trials (Yueshu Li, CMBTC)
  • Develop and understand resistance to FHB and leaf diseases of barley for Western Canada (Kequan Xi, Field Crop Development Centre)
  • Enhancing capacity of barley breeding programs in Western Canada: establishing disease nurseries and selection of germplasm for pre-breeding (Gurcharn Brar, University of British Columbia)
  • Targeting mycotoxin resistance to control Fusarium head blight (Liz Brauer, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada)
  • Next generation of barley traceability (Rory O’Sullivan, Grain Discovery)


For more information:

Cole Christensen

Communications Manager


SaskBarley response to Responsible Grain Code of Practice


The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) is currently leading the development of a Code of Practice, to showcase to consumers and buyers of Canadian agriculture products that our crops are sustainably produced.

The CRSC is a member-based organization made up of federal government, industry, customer and environmental organizations. SaskBarley is not a member.

Farmer consultations on the Code of Practice process to date are ongoing. To provide your feedback, visit:

SaskBarley position

SaskBarley is opposed to the current draft as is it written. SaskBarley believes in sustainability from an economic, environmental and social perspective, and that these measures of sustainability should apply across the entire value chain. While we understand there is another round of consultations scheduled for November 2021, we feel this should only happen if the current draft has been significantly revised.  

Furthermore, we request that the following criteria be used in any evaluation of a ‘code of practice’:

  1. A Code of Practice should deliver value to producers that choose to adopt it.
  2. A Code of Practice should encompass the entire Canadian agricultural industry and value-chain.
  3. A Code of Practice should drive end-user demand and enhance the reputation of our products providing real economic value for our farmers and value chain.
  4. A Code of Practice should be a living document, incorporating industry best practices and science-based recommendations.

2021 seeding considerations for barley growers

Canada’s barley breeders have developed a promising suite of new malting barley varieties such as CDC BowAAC Connect and CDC Fraser each with excellent agronomics and disease resistance. These new varieties are poised to succeed older, established varieties such as AC Metcalfe and CDC Copeland. They have very desirable malting and brewing characteristics, reinforcing Canada’s position as a supplier of premium quality barley and malt, and increasingly these new varieties are being accepted by domestic and international maltsters and brewers. Click below to see more on malting barley seeding considerations for 2021.

Read entire article 

SaskBarley Board elects new Chair, Vice-Chair

The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) announced today that it made changes to its executive in preparation for three of six Directors completing two consecutive terms in January 2022.

Matt Enns, who joined the Board last year, will replace Jason Skotheim as the Board Chair.

Enns actively farms in a multi-generational grain operation alongside three other owner-operators near Rosthern, SK. He is also a co-founder of Maker’s Crafted Malts, Saskatchewan’s only craft malting facility.

Skotheim will replace Brent Johnson as Vice-Chair and will provide valuable mentorship during his final year on the board. Johnson, who has interests in feed barley, will also focus on lobbying for increased export and sales reporting in Canada throughout 2021 (following a related resolution at our AGM earlier this month).

Johnson and Allen Kuhlmann are also in their final year of consecutive terms on the Board. Keith Rueve, on his second term, and Glenn Wright, who joined the Board last year, complete the team of six.

“One of the greatest strengths of any organization is the quality, engagement and experience of its Board,” Enns says. “I am confident we have a strong team in place and that the changes made today will strategically optimize our capacity to continue to grow the Saskatchewan barley industry.”

“As we look towards the future – and another election for SaskBarley this fall — we recognize that the continued success of our organization will depend on the leadership and adaptability of our Board,” Skotheim says. “We strongly encourage any barley producers with an interest in contributing to our industry’s collective success to consider getting involved with our organization.”

Skotheim and Johnson served as Chair and Vice-Chair for six years. Their respective areas of expertise and interest were drivers for many of the positive developments SaskBarley has overseen in recent years.

For more information:

Jill McDonald
Executive Director

Top Notch Meetings 2021 – Register now!

SaskBarley is once again partnering with SaskCanola to bring you Top Notch 2021.



Virtual Grade School 2021

Grain farmers: Learn about degrading factors in wheat and barley along with other important information at Virtual Grade School 2021!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Joey Vanneste, Canadian Grain Commission (CDC) Operations Supervisor for Northern Saskatchewan, will explain how to spot different degrading factors in wheat and barley. In addition, he will be discussing how to collect a representative sample of grain and the benefits of utilizing programs such as the Harvest Sample Program and the “Subject to Inspector’s Grade and Dockage” program.


SaskBarley AGM 2021

The difficult decision has been made to cancel the 2021 CropSphere Conference due to the uncertainties regarding COVID-19. The health of our attendees, sponsors, and speakers is our top priority and we want to do our part to ensure everyone remains safe.

The annual general meetings (AGMs) for the CropSphere host organizations will be held virtually on January 12, 2021.


Agenda & 2020 meeting minutes

The day will also include presentations from market analysts on the market outlook for each crop. The AGM schedule is below:  

Tuesday, January 12, 2021  

8:30 – 9:30 AM – Market outlook: canola, wheat, and barley  

9:30 SaskCanola AGM

10:30 AM SaskBarley AGM

11:15 AM Sask Wheat AGM

12:15 PM Lunch Break

12:45 – 1:30 PM Market outlook: flax and oats

1:30 PM SaskFlax AGM

2:15 PM SaskOats AGM

3 – 4 PM Market outlook: pulses

4 PM Sask Pulse Growers AGM

5 PM Finish


As this year’s event is virtual, we are asking any resolutions to be submitted by January 11, 2021. Please submit your resolution to

CBRC commits over $1.5 million to AAFC barley breeding activities

(Calgary, Saskatoon, Carman) – The Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC), a collaboration between Alberta Barley, the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), and Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA), has committed more than $1.5 million over five years to a core barley breeding agreement with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The agreement ensures that western Canadian farmers will have continued access to premium barley varieties from AAFC for years to come.

CBRC was officially formed earlier this year, with the goal of facilitating long-term investments aimed at improving profitability and competitiveness for western Canadian barley farmers. CBRC also assumed responsibility for farmer funding of barley varietal development from the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), which includes working with AAFC to ensure adequate funding is in place to deliver improved genetics and profitability for barley farmers. 

“This new phase of funding will allow the continuation of ‘core’ activities for AAFC’s barley breeding programs, which aim to design new varieties that have the best sources of disease and insect resistance, are designed for western Canadian growing conditions and will deliver high quality traits for end users,” says Jason Skotheim, Chair of the CBRC and SaskBarley.

“This funding will support the development of new two-row malting varieties that are adapted to Western Canada and have improved yields, stronger straw, and higher kernel plumpness, test weight and kernel weight,” Skotheim says. “They will also have improved disease resistance, including for fusarium head blight and traits specifically designed to appeal to the evolving needs of the malting industry.”


“Public barley breeding is crucial to Canada’s agriculture sector and the barley varieties AAFC has produced to date are a tremendous return to the farmer investment in this program. This next round of investment will further leverage our check-off investments by developing varieties that will allow our farmers to stay competitive globally, especially in the malting barley world, and reduce farmer business risk.”

Jason Skotheim, SaskBarley Chair

 “Manitoba Crop Alliance knows how important it is to continuously work on the improvement of barley varieties so that western Canadian farmers are able to remain competitive. We’re excited to invest in
this collaboration and are looking forward to learning about the varieties that are developed out of this funding agreement.”    

Fred Greig, Manitoba Crop Alliance Chair

“We are pleased to be collaboratively investing with our fellow Prairie barley commissions and AAFC in varietal development. This investment ensures western Canadian farmers future access to improved, high-quality barley varieties. This core breeding agreement will attribute to new barley varieties providing farmers with stronger agronomic packages, plus superior end-use quality traits for the malting sector.”

David Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair

For more information, contact:

Delaney Seiferling
Communications Manager

Malt Academy Saskatchewan 2020 – Virtual

Friday, November 13, 2020
Virtual event (via Zoom)

SaskBarley and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre have teamed up to bring you another Saskatchewan-focused Malt Academy this fall! This half-day, virtual course will provide Saskatchewan barley producers with a complete overview of the malting industry, domestically and globally, helping them to make informed decisions around growing and marketing their crops. 

See full agenda


Barley Production, New Varieties, Markets-Peter Watts

Barley selection – Jon White

Growing Malt Barley – Drew Sharp

Malting 101 – Aaron Onio

Brewing 101- Andrew Nguyen

Course is free for registered Saskatchewan barley producers and members of Saskatchewan’s barley industry.

Email with your name, business name and contact information.