New Demand and Investment in Agronomic Research Drive Excitement Around Flax

The darkest days in the flax industry are in the past and the future is looking bright, according to the head of the Flax Council of Canada.

There’s excitement surrounding flax, with new and more-diversified demand, stronger prices and a  renewed effort to improve agronomic aspects of flax production, says Don Kerr, the new president of the flax industry organization.

In 2008, the Canadian flax sector suffered a major blow when Europe — by far the largest customer at the time — closed its border to Canadian flax after discovering traces of a genetically modified variety known as Triffid. By implementing testing protocols and reconstituting the seed supply, the industry is now moving out of Triffid’s shadow.

“We’ve put that behind us. Now we’re in a position to really focus on some of the other issues, and hopefully bring yields forward, increasing them to help producers and provide better returns,” says Kerr in the interview posted above.

The federal government on Thursday announced a $3 million investment in the Flax Council for research to improve genetic and agronomic practices. Kerr says they hope this work will boost flax yields, and result in farmers adding flax back into their rotations.

 

Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin

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