The Smoky Lake County Agricultural Services Board (ASB) continued to deliver quality programs serving the agricultural community during the 2014 season. The 2014 year was full of change for the Agricultural Services Department. The Department saw Evonne Zukiwski leave on maternity in May, with Amanda Shapka being hired on as Assistant Agricultural Fieldman in her absence. In July the department said good-bye to Agricultural Fieldman Kurt Holdis, who left to pursue a full time farming career. In August Tori Dey was hired to replace Kurt. She joins us with experience from working with Lamont County’s Agricultural Service Department. A new east division Mower Operator, Paul Skarlicki, was hired in August. Unfortunately in September we lost our West division Mower Operator Dwayne Goreniuk who passed away, so we carried the rest of the season out with one mower. We know the 2015 season will be a lot smoother for the department.
Pest and Disease surveillance was a major focus for the 2014 season, with an emphasis on canola pest and disease monitoring. Clubroot the disease affecting canola was found in 6 fields in Smoky Lake County this season. This lead the board to make a changes to the Policy # 62-12-02 Clubroot, as the board felt that we should be working with the producer to help manage Clubroot. The ASB would like to commend the staff on executing excellent surveying for Clubroot and working with producers to ensure that they have the proper information to handle the situation.
Policy review continues to be a significant role of the ASB. Most recently, Policy Statement # 62-02-02 Roadside Mowing was amended to include a third mower so roadside right-of-ways could be mowed fenceline to fenceline where ever possible. This will be implemented in the 2015 season.
In 2014 Smoky Lake County Agricultural Service Board chose to partner with Lakeland Agricultural Research Association (LARA) to provide unbiased agricultural extension and research to producers in the County for 2015. We look forward to seeing the programs and research LARA will provide us.
On behalf of the Smoky Lake County Agricultural Services Board I wish a safe and successful farming year and look forward to seeing everyone at the Farmer and Rancher Appreciation BBQ on June 11, in Waskatenau.