Satellite Technology Helps Ranchers Manage Feed Crops

The Government of Canada is committed to working with agricultural industry partners to explore and develop new risk management tools that meet the needs of Canadian farmers when faced with serious challenges beyond their control.

Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, Terry Duguid, on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, was at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business today to announce federal support for a study exploring the use of new and innovative technology to track hay and pasture production. The cutting-edge research, headed by Dr. Lysa Porth in the Warren Centre for Actuarial Studies and Research at the University of Manitoba’s I.H. Asper School of Business, will play an important role in contributing to the stability to the cattle sector.

Working with the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA), with $988,000 in federal funding, the project consists of collaborative research with Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) to use new satellite-based technology to reliably estimate forage growth at the farm level in each province, and to develop a forage production index, which would form the basis for the development of new insurance tools.

Quotes

“Feed is the lifeblood of any livestock operation, and our government understands the importance of helping to protect ranchers from risk such as losses to their forage crops. This project uses cutting-edge satellite technology to equip ranchers with the information they need to manage those risks and demonstrates why the University of Manitoba is renowned for its world-class research. With this targeted investment, our government is helping to ensure our ranchers remain on the cutting-edge of science, which helps to create good jobs and grow our economy.”
–  Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South

“The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association is glad to support and facilitate this research into forage insurance innovation. Grass and hay insurance uptake rates in the prairies are much lower than for annual crops. Some of this is due to program design and how programs work. By exploring satellite options perhaps we can move perennial crops closer to competitive balance with annual crops, at least when it comes to insurance programs offered. The AgriRisk Initiatives program is the successor to the program that helped to bring Western Livestock Price Insurance to the marketplace and we are glad to see the federal government continue investing in finding new solutions for producers.”
–  Ryder Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association

“This project provides a tremendous opportunity to bring together leaders in agricultural risk management and insurance, both within Canada and internationally, across academia, the private sector and government.  Satellite-derived approaches show promise for improving forage insurance, based on improved design that is cost-efficient, representative and reliable, however, more research and development is needed. Our team looks forward to working with the project partners and discussions with Canadian producers in order to help develop improved risk management for forage based on state-of-the-art technology.”
–  Lysa Porth, Director, Warren Centre for Actuarial Studies and Research, and Assistant Professor / Guy Carpenter Chair in Agricultural Risk Management and Insurance

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 focused on agri-food as one of the top industries in the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, an ambitious effort to make Canada a world leader in innovation with a focus on expanding growth and creating good, well-paying jobs.
  • Budget 2017 set an ambitious goal of growing Canada’s agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.
  • Saskatchewan farms reported 3.9 million acres of tame hay in 2016. (Statistics Canada)
  • This project is led by Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, and involves an interdisciplinary research team with members from the University of ManitobaUniversity of WaterlooNanyang Technological University, SCOR Inc. (an international agricultural reinsurance provider) and Airbus Defence and Space, along with cooperation from Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) and Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC).
  • This investment is made through the AgriRisk program which supports the research and development, as well as the implementation and administration of new risk management tools for use in the agriculture sector. AgriRisk is a Growing Forward 2 Business Risk Management initiative.

Associated Links

Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada
Like us on Facebook: CanadianAgriculture

SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Halifax

Most Canadians say they ‘need to save more,’ but aren’t making it a priority

The vast majority (85 per cent) of Canadians agree that they ‘need to save more money’, but nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) are not making savings a priority, finds a new CIBC (CM:TSX) (CM:NYSE) poll. And, while most admit they could get by with less, few do, and many say ‘extra money’ is for ‘pleasure or enjoyment’.

“With consumer spending still strong and fueled by a long period of record low interest rates, the study shows that very few Canadians are making savings a priority, which is concerning as we head into the holiday spending season,” says David Nicholson, Vice-President, Imperial Service, CIBC. This is the time of year when many of us make room in our budget for spending on gifts, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and holiday parties, but don’t think twice about how little we’ve saved until regret kicks in with our New Year’s resolutions.”

Key poll findings:

  • 85 per cent of Canadians agree that they ‘need to save more money’
  • 64 per cent say they lack a detailed or regular savings plan, including 26 per cent who ‘don’t really save’ or ‘never save’ at all
  • 82 per cent admit they could ‘cut back’ each month by on average $360 ‘before feeling the pinch’
  • In addition to their regular income, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) say they receive on average $2,280 in ‘extra money’ each year
  • 79 per cent of those aged 35-54 worry about not having enough money to retire when they want to
  • 53 per cent of Canadians say they’d use credit or borrow from friends and family if faced with unexpected $1,000expense
  • Top hurdles to saving are: not earning enough income (46 per cent), getting derailed by unexpected expenses (29 per cent), and struggling to pay everyday expenses (24 per cent)

“People think it’s too hard to save, but the truth is that we’ve just become rusty at saving. It’s about shifting your mindset, and getting into the habit of saving regularly,” says Mr. Nicholson. “The hard part is exercising self-control over your spending so that you can increase the amount you save over time.”

No more excuses

A majority of Canadians (82 per cent) admit they could spend, or get by with, less each month — on average $360 less — before feeling the pinch.

Further, almost two-thirds (62 per cent) receive ‘extra money’ each year — roughly $2,300 on average and as much as $13,100 in the form of cash gifts, employer bonuses, and tax refunds. But, less than half (44 per cent) will save the surplus funds, and two in five say the ‘extra money is for pleasure or enjoyment.’

Among those who receive extra cash throughout the year, most (66 per cent) use it to buy themselves gifts, pay everyday expenses, or to chip away at consumer debt. Only two in five (41 per cent) will put those extra funds aside for an emergency, or to boost retirement savings.

With interest rates expected to edge higher and people living longer in retirement, Canadians need to do more than simply spend less, says Mr. Nicholson.

“The real question is, how can you afford not to save? Every day that you delay starting a savings plan, the harder and more expensive it gets to meet your goals later on in life,” he says. “The sooner you start a savings plan the sooner your money can be put to work for you.”

‘Give to’ yourself first

The poll findings show that simple saving habits work best, with more than half (55 per cent) of Canadians agreeing they’d be more likely to save if a set sum went automatically off their pay and directly into a dedicated savings account.

“Paying yourself first is an easy and effective savings strategy,” says Mr. Nicholson. “For most people, it’s actually easier to start with a savings goal first, set an automatic savings plan to meet that goal, and then, simply spend what’s leftover.”

Having a budget and financial plan helps determine the right savings amount based on each of your short- and long-term goals and monthly cash flow. By setting up the withdrawal on payday, we remove the temptation to spend those dollars, rather than trying to overcome it, he adds.

Directing money into a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) can give an added boost to your savings since the interest or investment income that’s earned will be tax-free, helping your money grow faster. Money in a TFSA can also be withdrawn without penalty and used for multiple short- or long-term savings goals, such as to buy a car, renovate your home, take a vacation, tap it for an emergency, or save it for retirement.

“Before you get ready for the first big shopping weekend of the season, think twice and put yourself at the top of the gift-giving list,” says Mr. Nicholson. “We automate our bill payments, why not automate our savings? It can help you get through the upcoming season confidently, and get your savings on track.”

5 hacks for fail-proof savings:

  1. Get into a savings mindset
  2. Set a goal
  3. Decide how much you can cut back
  4. Make it automatic and frequent
  5. Keep spending and credit in check

SOURCE CIBC

Can You Be a Great Leader Without Technical Expertise?

Can You Be a Great Leader Without Technical Expertise?

Excerpted article was written by Art Markman | Harvard Business Review

There is a broad assumption in society and in education that the skills you need to be a leader are more or less transferable. If you can inspire and motivate people in one arena, you should be able to apply those skills to do the same in another venue.

But recent research is rightly challenging this notion. Studies suggest that the best leaders know a lot about the domain in which they are leading, and part of what makes them successful in a management role is technical competence. For example, hospitals managed by doctors perform better than those managed by people with other backgrounds. And there are many examples of people who ran one company effectively and had trouble transferring their skills to the new organization.

Over the last year, I’ve been working with a group at the University of Texas thinking about what leadership education would look like for our students. There is broad consensus across many schools that teach leadership education about the core elements of what leaders need to know. These factors include: The ability to motivate self and others, effective oral and written communication, critical thinking skills, problem solving ability, and skills at working with teams and delegating tasks.

On the surface, this seems like a nice list. Good leaders do have these abilities and if you wanted to create future leaders, making sure they have these skills is a good bet. They need to take in a large volume of information and distill it into the essential elements that define the core problems to be solved. They need to organize teams to solve these problems and to communicate to a group why they should share a common vision. They need to establish trust with a group and then use that trust to allow the team to accomplish more than it could alone.

But these skills alone will not make a leader because, to actually excel at this list of skills in practice, you also need a lot of expertise in a particular domain.

As an example, take one of these skills: thinking critically in order to find the essence of a situation. To do that well, you must have specific, technical expertise. The critical information a doctor needs to diagnose a patient are different from the knowledge used to understand a political standoff, and both of those differ in important ways from what is needed to negotiate a good business deal.

Even effective communication differs from one domain to another. Doctors talking to patients must communicate information differently than politicians reacting to a natural disaster or a CEO responding to a labor dispute.

When you begin to look at any of the core skills that leaders have, it quickly becomes clear that domain-specific expertise is bound up in all of them. And the domains of expertise required may also be fairly specific. Even business is not really a single domain. Leadership in construction, semiconductor fabrication, consulting, and retail sales all require a lot of specific knowledge.

A common solution to this problem is for leaders to say that they will surround themselves with good people who have the requisite expertise that will allow them to make good decisions. The problem is that without actual expertise, how do these leaders even know whether they have found the right people to give them information? If managers cannot evaluate the information they are getting for themselves, then they cannot lead effectively.

This way of thinking about leadership has two important implications. First, when we teach people about leadership, we need to be more explicit that domain expertise matters. Just because a person is successful at running one kind of organization does not mean that they are likely to have the same degree of success running an organization with a different mission. Second, when we train people to take on leadership roles, we need to give them practice solving domain-specific problems so that they can prepare to integrate information in the arena in which they are being asked to lead. For example, it isn’t enough just to teach people about how to resolve generic conflicts between employees, we should create scenarios derived from real cases so that people have to grapple with all of the ambiguities that come from the conflicts that arise within particular industries.

This issue is particularly important given the frequency with which people in the modern workplace change jobs and even move across industries. This mobility means that many younger employees may not gain significant expertise in the industry in which they are currently working, which will make it harder for them to be effective in leadership roles.  Companies need to identify prospective future leaders and encourage them to settle down in order to develop the specific skills they need to lead.

Canadians Have no Plans to Cut Holiday Spending

Love or hate holiday shopping, Canadians are showing little sign of cutting back on spending this holiday season. The vast majority of Canadians (86 per cent) plan to be as generous, or more, this year versus last year, with an anticipated average holiday spend of $570, according to a recent poll by Ebates.ca.  Those planning on taking advantage of holiday shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, anticipate getting roughly one-third of their holiday shopping finished on these days (36 per cent on Black Friday and 33 per cent on Cyber Monday).

“Canadians may not be spending less, but they are leveraging pre-holiday sales to save money and stretch their dollar further,” said Belinda Baugniet, director of marketing and resident shopping expert at Ebates.ca. “Our survey indicates that convenience is increasingly important to their shopping habits and decisions.”

2017 shopping trends
Parents are anticipated to be the big spenders, shelling out an average of $710 compared to $489 for those without kids, while dads say they plan to spend more than moms ($803 versus $638). Despite 22 per cent of Canadians who still plan on being last-minute shoppers, more Canadians are shopping early this year, with 31 per cent saying they have most of their holiday shopping done before the winter season starts, up from 28 per cent last year. These shopping keeners are more likely to be under the age of 35 (37 per cent), and/or parents of preschoolers (45 per cent). Those who do at least some shopping online (34 per cent) are also more likely to have their holiday shopping wrapped up early than those who don’t (18 per cent).

Some people dread going anywhere near a mall during the holidays, and they are not alone; Canadians increasingly cite shopping for gifts at the mall as their least favourite part of the holidays (62 per cent), up slightly from last year (59 per cent). The majority (82 per cent) of Canadians are turning to online shopping to avoid the chaos and plan to dedicate 38 per cent of their holiday spend online, versus 36 per cent last year. Accordingly, convenience is cited as the top benefit of online shopping (26 per cent), followed by the ability to find things not available in stores (21 per cent).

Speaking of convenience, a whopping 87 per cent of Canadians say they typically purchase gift cards as holiday gifts and just as many say they are happy when they receive gift cards. In fact, only 21 per cent say they are a little disappointed to get a gift card, and just 36 per cent feel a little guilty giving one. By far, the majority of Canadians feel gift cards simplify their holiday gift shopping (84 per cent) and nearly three quarters (73 per cent) feel they are a thoughtful holiday gift. The most popular type of gift card is for restaurants/coffee shops (49 per cent) followed by multi-purpose ones such as Visa gift cards (38 per cent).

Smart strategies
Regardless of where they shop, Canadians strategize ways to stretch their holiday shopping budget. Two-thirds redeem loyalty program points to purchase gifts and 59 per cent make a point of shopping with retailers that offer loyalty points, while 47 per cent make a point of shopping with retailers that offer cash back. Other strategies include:

  • 38% use social media to help them find deals (39% in 2016)
  • 31% use social media to recommend products (31% in 2016)
  • 32% use mobile apps or mobile payment (up vs 28% in 2016)
  • 30% use store mobile apps to make purchases (up vs 27% in 2016)
  • 22% use social media to complain about products (22% in 2016)

About the survey The Ebates Canada survey was conducted online in October 2017 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Canadians. A sample of this size is accurate to within +/-3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About Ebates Inc. The Ebates brand supports a strong community of millions of savvy shoppers around the world. Ebates.com was founded in 1998 and has paid over $300,000,000 in cash to its global members. In 2012, Ebates began international expansion with the launch of Ebates Canada, specifically designed by Canadians for Canadians. Ebates.ca membership is free. To earn cash back, online shoppers log in to Ebates.ca and click through to a partner retail site to complete their purchase. Ebates.ca then tracks the purchase and offers back in cash a percentage of everything bought. Every quarter, Ebates.ca sends members their cash back account balance in the form of a #BigFatCheque or #BigFatPayment through PayPal. Members also have the option to send their cash back to a designated charity.

SOURCE Ebates Canada

No – You Can’t Call Evidence Suggesting Your Client is a Criminal Without Instructions

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

Reasons for judgement were recently published by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, with critical comments canvassing the conflict of interest that can arise when a defense lawyer is taking instructions from a Defendant’s insurer.

In the recent case (Kirilenko v. Bowie) the Plaintiff was involved in a collision and sued for damages.  The plaintiff alleged the collision caused a severe and disabling traumatic brain injury.

Mid trial the Defendant’s lawyer brought an application seeking permission for a police officer to testify who would provide evidence of both the Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s involvement in what the court described as “the drug culture“.

The Defendant’s lawyer argued this evidence would be important in helping the Court’s assessment of damages.

In refusing this evidence in the court noted that counsel would not provide “a straight answer” about whether they had instructions from the Defendant directly to call such potentially damaging evidence (as opposed to the Defendant’s insurer).

In refusing to allow the evidence in Mr. Justice Saunders provided the following reasons:

[11]         If the defendants were to tender evidence in this proceeding of the plaintiff having been trafficking in drugs along with the defendant Ms. Bowie, I would, in the first instance, have expected that evidence to come from Ms. Bowie. Ms. Bowie’s name is not on the list of defence witnesses. The natural inference that arises from the defence’s decision not to call Ms. Bowie is an adverse one: that she does not support Cst. Tumbas’ evidence. Had Ms. Bowie testified to that effect, counsel could not call evidence to the contrary, as that would impeach their own client. I do not see how the defence should be entitled to avoid that result, simply through the expediency of not calling Ms. Bowie’s testimony. A party may not do indirectly that which it is prohibited from doing directly.

[12]         This is not just an evidentiary issue. It is an ethical one as well.

[13]         In the eyes of the court, it is Ms. Bowie, and not her insurer, who is defence counsel’s client. There have been references made to insurance in this case – for example, references by the quantum experts who have been called as to ICBC’s involvement in approving certain expenses in regards to Mr. Kirilenko’s rehabilitation. Ms. Bowie’s liability insurer, if it is ICBC, would of course have the exclusive right to conduct the action and instruct counsel under s. 74.1 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, B.C. Reg. 447/83. However, even if that were the case, I would hesitate to allow defence counsel, on the insurer’s instructions, to tender evidence implicating a defendant insured in criminal conduct without that defendant having been given explicit notice and the opportunity to consult counsel as to her rights, and possibly to be heard on that point.

[14]         To put the matter more simply, in attempting to advance evidence possibly detrimental to the interests of Ms. Bowie, defence counsel would appear to be potentially in a conflict, acting in favour of one client to the detriment of another. I asked counsel directly whether they had instructions from Ms. Bowie that would permit them to tender evidence implicating her in criminal activity. I did not get a straight answer. The existence of any such conflict would have to be ruled out or resolved before this evidence could be admitted, or before Cst. Tumbas could be called.

[36]         I find nothing in the circumstances of this case justifies an order that Cst. Tumbas be allowed to testify and he will not be called as a witness.

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