Cereals Canada, Ducks Unlimited and prairie winter wheat producer groups have created the Habitat Friendly Winter Wheat Ecolabel Program to encourage winter wheat acreage.
Leif Carlson, the director of market intelligence and trade policy at Cereals Canada, says Ducks Unlimited research has shown that ducks that nest in winter wheat stubble are 24 times more successful than those that are nested in spring-planted cereals.
"Recognizing these benefits, we saw that there was an opportunity to highlight this unique benefit of winter wheat and worked with the provincial lead associations to create this eco-label, and allow consumers to have this bit of information."
Consumers will be able to recognize the products that use winter wheat flour by a specific label.
To participate in the ecolabel program the product has to contain 30 per cent Western Canadian Winter Wheat flour.
Coyote Pancake and Waffle Mix from Rockport Flour Mills at Magrath, Alberta is made with whole wheat flour milled from spring wheat and winter wheat.
Jake Wipf, Production Manager for Coyote Pancake Mix, says participating in the Ecolabel program makes sense since it represents a purposeful way to preserve a variety of water birds in the wetlands and lakes around Magrath.
"Rockport Flour Mills cares deeply about the environment and the impact our operations have on it, We are pleased to share that we have been audited and met the requirements for Habitat-Friendly Winter Wheat certification. All three Coyote Pancake and Waffle Mixes are made with flour containing at least 30 per cent habitat-friendly winter wheat."
Alberta farmer Gary Stanford has grown winter wheat for over a decade because of the many benefits it brings to his farm.
He is especially fond of the high yield potential and less disturbance to wildlife, especially waterfowl.
"As a winter wheat farmer, I am pleased to see more local businesses support growers. Winter wheat is an important crop for my operation as it benefits the sustainability of my farm both environmentally and fiscally."
The new Habitat Friendly Winter Wheat Ecolabel initiative helps brands stand out in a competitive marketplace, satisfies consumer demand for sustainability on store shelves, and supports Canadian farmers while providing critical habitats for ducks, birds, and other wildlife.
To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Leif Carlson click on the link below.