Welcoming Chantelle!

Impact Group is pleased to announce that Chantelle Andrukow has agreed to join our team. Chantelle is a welcome addition and comes with experience in account management, event planning, web design and social media strategies. Chantelle is a graduate of U of A with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Marketing Major. She grew up in Viking, Alberta in a retail business so her knowledge and experience of that sector will bring our clients many positive insights. Chantelle will be an Account Manager, and her many talents will have her working on many projects in our business. We are very excited that Chantelle has agreed to join our team.


Monsanto investment in Corn in Western Canada

Last week, Monsanto announced it would invest $10,000,000 per year over the next 10 years into corn breeding and product development. Although it is as surprising announcement for some it makes sense for the following reasons:
Western Canada has proven itself as a remarkable farming region. Considering the vast amount of acres, western Canada farmers can seed 2,000,000 acres in a day (a big day, and by the way, I have absolutely no proof of this) as made evident this spring where the crop, in large part was seeded in 20 days. Therefore when the pressure is on to get in early seeded crops it can happen fast.
Corn is following soybeans and they go together. The soybean business is moving and it isn’t going to stop. Earlier maturing bean varieties are coming every year and we are seeing beans grown as far north as Saskatoon and they are looking good.
Canola, the CInderella crop, is hitting a wall. The notion that canola is a 20,000,000 acre crop in Western Canada is agronomically wrong and most people know it in their hearts and minds even if they won’t say it. Yields aren’t consistently good enough when farmers push rotations of canola with pulse crops and they will be willing to embrace new cash generating crops that can spread the rotation out. They have to. Corn and soybeans fit that need. And remember, soybeans are not a pulse crop. They are an oilseed.
If corn hits 8 million acres buy 2025, like Monsanto says, then soybeans will be at at least 4 million and canola will rest at around 12 – 15 million. And we’ll all live happily ever after. (Well,,maybe)
I’ll bet Monsanto isn’t investing $10,000,000 for ten years in canola or wheat breeding.


If living in the Red River Valley taught me one thing…

We thought we bought high. If growing up the Red River Valley taught me one thing, it was that if I ever buy a home, buy on high ground. So when we bought a home in Calgary 20 years ago that was a main criteria. We bought in a community called Riverbend, but it had never flooded in the history of the city. We were a 1/4 mile from the river and many feet higher than the banks so I was confident water, at least too much of it, would be a problem for us.
Turns out that it wasn’t but we sure got a scare, as Cheryl tells about in her blog below. What struck me was how small we are when Mother Nature chooses to move. On the Thursday we were told to leave our home I felt incredibly helpless.
Other than some inconvenience, we escaped unscathed. But so many in this province have had their lives change dramatically. Homes that would have sold for hundreds of thousand of dollars a few weeks ago risk being condemned. Trailer parks that resemble refugee camps are being erected to hose people for what may well be a year. A senior home is residing in college and can stay as long as they need to. Its crazy.


Its been 10 years

Unbelievable as it seems Impact Group has been in business 10 years. As we currently sit, my wife Cheryl, our three daughters, Kate, Jenny and Vicki, Kate’s husband Mike, his sister Heidi and her husband Chris, as well as Jenny’s friend Sheena make up our company of nine people.

I did not see this strange configuration of family and friends coming together and all being in one business. Many would say we are nuts. Others say “you must be living a dream.” I would suggest that neither are accurate. Working with family members can be the best and worst of times. My belief is when its good its good for both (the family and the business) and when its bad its bad for both. So the risk of something happening at work that affects the family is certainly there. But that risk exists in every family whether they people work together or not.

Many people say “my spouse and I could never work together.” Fortunately Cheryl and I work well together and the reason is logical. The things we bring each other that have helped us be balanced and happy in our marriage for 33 years are the same things that keep us balanced and happy at work. And when one of us talks about work, the other can certainly relate because its the same work, same people, same clients, same goals, same frustrations and hopefully, the same retirement date. I would never suggest this can work for others but I’m very pleased its working for us. And the nicest part is how Cheryl’s talents have blossomed and she is contributing in ways that surprise her. And that is true of every single person in our company. Its very nice to see.

And then there is agriculture. When I left the farm I tried my darnedest to get out of agriculture. It didn’t happen and I am thankful.  I am so proud to be making a living in agriculture. And I’m lucky. When I left the farm I could not possibly imagine the joy and pride I now feel 25 years later because I stayed in ag. But I am. And now my city raised children, and their relatives and friends are benefiting from it as well. Who would have thought. I didn’t know. But God did. He always does.

Thanks to all our clients who have trusted us to help them. Thanks to farmers and their determined spirit. Thanks to all those who choose to serve in this industry. Thanks to my family who is our company and all who have chosen to join us. And thank God for the many, many blessings!



Now you’re thinking Air Canada

A first for me. A cell phone free zone in the Air Canada lounge. And its pleasant. Almost serene. I can use more serene in my life. So i’m sitting here, in a small section of the lounge with my cell phone off  and no one around me forcing me to be part of their phone conversation that I have no interest in.

And its kind of funny, but when I first saw the sign, I thought it was a no smoking sign but then realized that there hasn’t been smoking allowed in the lounges for 10 years. And then I thought, will cell phone use be viewed like smoking in a few years. As a violation, and even pollutant of our personal space. Or maybe even…. oops, gotta go, my phone is ringing!  Kidding.


A bad example

Really, at my age. I need to be singled out as a person of bad behaviour? Well it appears so.  I recently got off a flight from Saskatoon. It was a typical flight that I make many, many, many times a year. It was the last flight home and I was tired. The plane landed and I turned on my phone as I have done many times in past.

The flight attendent came to my seat (5D to be precise) and said “sir, I noticed you turned on your electronic device when we landed before we had cleared the active runway, which I explicitly said in my instructions.

I said, “huh?” She said” You are not allowed to turn on your electronic device until we have cleared the active runway!” I said, “I thought I could look at it as soon as I landed, I have done it or seen it done on every flight I am on.” She said” Transport Canada would never allow that!. I said, “I’m very sorry and I won’t do it again. She said ” It is a very dangerous time in the flight, as the plane is landing and on the active runway. I said” I’ve never heard the term active runway before. Again, I’m sorry.”

She went back and sat down and less then 30 seconds later she was back, and told me again and said they may allow this in the US but never in Canada. Maybe on Westjet but not us. The active runway is a very dangerous time to have on your electronic device. (Really? My phone will make us crash? Or signal enemy aircraft to blow us off the tarmac? Or the pilot would turn the plane the wrong direction and we end up driving on Hwy 2 up to Edmonton?) Then out loud I said, ” As I mentioned before, I’m sorry.”

The gothically attired girl beside me said ” Whao, intense.”

I guess the flight attendant needed to make an example of someone, and this day, it was me. My advice? Don’t turn on your electronic device until the plane is off the active runway! Whatever that is. Sigh!



Tories Going Down? – Alberta Provincial Election Post 1

For 41 years, the Governing Party of Alberta has been PC. For 36 years prior to that it was Social Credit. It looks like what was old is new again and the So Cred’s  reincarnation is the Wild Rose Party of Alberta and they are about to shake up Alberta politics, big time.

No party has been a serious contender to the Tories since they took power in 1971. But considering Alberta’s electorate, it is logical that the first real threat to their power is from the right.

Right now, many people think that the PC’s are too liberal and that they have squandered the great prosperity that this province had. The Wild Rose, with dynamic leader Danielle Smith, have given right wing Albertans another legitimate choice and it seems they have hit a home run.

The polls vary a lot, and have the PC’s and WRP neck and neck or 7% either way, but suffice it to say that the political landscape will be greatly changed.

Almost every Albertan I have spoken to says they are voting Wild Rose. I haven’t decided. In all I have seen and heard from them, I think I know what they are against but its hard to pin down what they are for.  Anyway, lots of interesting days ahead.

Albertans want change. But be careful what you wish for.


Wow is this a snoozer – US Election post #7

I haven’t posted for awhile because I haven’t had anything relevant to say. But that won’t stop me today. The Republican Primary season is brutal. Its April and Mitt Romney, although leading by a lot , will not wrap up the nomination for at least 6 weeks and perhaps not until the convention this summer.

Rick Santorum can’t close the gap and Newt and Ron Paul refuse to get out. I guess it beats working.

Along with the other candidates and the Democrats, the late night talk shows are beating on Mitt.

What the GOP seems to miss, is that as long as they beat themselves up, independent voters, dissatisfied with the current administration slowly forget what they are dissatisfied with and drift back to the incumbent.

I might be wrong, but unless something major happens, the President gets re-elected.

But Santorum is the front runner in for 2016. Maybe that has been his plan all along.


Welcoming Chris & Heidi

Chris Brown has agreed to join Impact Group as our  web specialist and if you scroll down you can read his blog where he introduces himself rather well.

Chris’s started with us last summer on an interim basis and quickly demonstrated great skill at his craft. We are very glad to have him with us full time.

The most exciting part, is that he and his family are moving to Calgary later this spring. Its a big step for all involved. Chris’ wife, Heidi will also be joining our team after the move.

On behalf of Impact Group, I can say that we are very grateful that this talented young couple has the belief and trust in our company to make this step of faith.

We welcome you both with open arms!


Watch Michigan Closely – US Election Post #6

All those with an interest in US politics will be watching the results of the Michigan Primary with great interest on February 28. It’s Mitt Romney’s home state and currently he is behind Rick Santorum in the polls, there. If Santorum wins, Romney may not be able to “stop the bleeding.”

The GOP’s seem to be polarizing and many think that Romney is too liberal. Many others think he lacks substance. Rick Santorum finally ditched the sweater vests and is starting to look more Presidential and people are noticing. If he wins Michigan, he will have great momentum going into Super Tuesday when 10 states hold their primaries. If Santorum does well then, “we’ve got a real canoe tipper!”