E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. and Phytocultures Ltd. are working together to bring new types of potatoes to Newfoundland and Labrador from South America.E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. was founded in Newfoundland in 1925. It specializes in selling “high-quality vegetable and flower seeds,” according to the company’s website.“It was actually (Phytocultures) that reached out to us originally to try out the new potato seeds they have been working on for a few years,” said Jackson McLean, assistant manager of E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. “We got them to send us in a bunch of samples that we could give out to our customers, which I thought was a great idea ... to test them out because they have never been grown here before.” | READ MORE
Less than five per cent of family businesses make it to the fourth generation but the Davison family did just that.Davison Orchards has been growing apples since 1933. This year they celebrate 85 years and four generations of family farming in Vernon, B.C.Bob Davison is the eldest of the three generations currently working on the farm. His uncle Tom began the business after emigrating from England after the First World War in the hopes of a more prosperous future. The family realized their dream of owning their own orchard in the Okanagan in 1933. Bob began working in the orchard with his uncle in 1948. He was 17 at the time and still works at the family orchard today. | READ MORE
A combination of ideal weather conditions through bloom and the post-bloom periods, as well as new production coming on, has resulted in an estimated 12 million pound BC Tree Fruits cherry crop this season.Consumers will start seeing Okanagan cherries from the orchards of BC Tree Fruits in stores starting the end of June and with the anticipated record crop, there will be plenty of juicy and sweet cherries for all to enjoy over the warm summer months. | READ MORE
A group of fungi might fight a disease that’s dangerous to tomatoes and specialty crops. University of Florida scientists hope to develop this biological strategy as they add to growers’ tools to help control Fusarium wilt.Using a $770,000, three-year grant from the USDA, Gary Vallad, associate professor of plant pathology, hopes to harness the advantages of fungi known as trichoderma to fight Fusarium wilt.Vallad will work on the project with Seogchan Kang, Beth Gugino and Terrence Bell from the department of plant pathology and environmental microbiology at Pennsylvania State University and Priscila Chaverri from the department of plant science and landscape architecture at the University of Maryland.Scientists hope to use trichoderma to supplement various pest-management methods to help control Fusarium wilt, Vallad said.Trichoderma are ubiquitous fungi in soil and on plants, and they have been used in agriculture as biological control agents, he said.UF/IFAS researchers have used trichoderma to try to control pathogens, but with little to no success. With this new round of research, they hope to understand what factors limit the fungus’ benefits as a biological control agent, Vallad said. That way, they hope to develop ways to increase its ability to control Fusarium wilt.Growers began using other fumigants as methyl bromide was gradually phased out from 2005 until it was completely phased out of use in 2012, Vallad said. As growers tried various ways to control diseases, including alternative fumigants, they saw a re-emergence in soil-borne pathogens and pests on many specialty crops, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupes and strawberries, Vallad said.When the project starts July 1, UF/IFAS researchers will do most of their experiments on trichoderma at the GCREC, but they’ll also use crops from commercial farmers during the project.Vallad emphasizes that their research goes beyond Florida’s borders. Studies in Pennsylvania and Maryland will likely focus on small to medium-sized farm operations.“We are focusing on tomato production Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania,” he said. “We hope that our findings will help improve management of Fusarium wilt with trichoderma-based biological control agents.”
An unusual “killer” frost has caused widespread damage to crops in the Maritimes, with everything from Nova Scotian wine grapes to Island asparagus harmed by a sharp plunge in spring temperatures.Farmers were beginning to assess the toll from the June cold front that hit Monday, as word came from Environment Canada of yet another frost advisory for early Thursday in all of Atlantic Canada. | READ MORE
It would be nice to be able to stand up and look out over your whole field at once, with a “bird’s eye view, to see how it is progressing. A camera mounted on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV or drone] can do that for you.
Nova Scotia's blueberry producers are bracing for a difficult year ahead after two hard frosts decimated much of the province's crop.Peter Rideout, executive director of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia, said this week's sub-zero temperatures, coming on the heels of warm days that encouraged blueberry blossoms to open up, have caused widespread damage. | READ MORE
Second Harvest is working with Value Chain Management International (VCMI) on a ground-breaking food loss and waste (FLW) project, funded by the generous support of The Walmart Foundation. A world first, the project is researching FLW from a whole of Canadian chain perspective – from primary production to consumer.The project encompasses Canada’s food and beverage industry (including fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, grains and oilseeds, sugars and syrups, beverages and seafood). The purpose of the study is to establish a framework and metrics that businesses operating in the farming, processing, retail and foodservice sectors can use to 1) understand where losses are likely to occur and 2) identify ways to improve their performance and profitability by reducing losses and waste. The team will achieve this by collecting data that will allow an accurate estimate of FLW occurring at discrete points along the value chain and evaluating the comparative impact of root causes. The project will also estimate losses that occur during the redistribution of rescued and donated food, for example in foodbanks.Key outcomes of the project: It will calculate the total amount of food available for human consumption in Canada. Through conducting pioneering primary research, it will identify where, how and why waste occurs along the chain. It will identify potential root-cause solutions to reduce the percentage of Canadian food sent to landfill – by proposing improved redistribution, reuse and recycling practices. It will identify greater opportunities for food to be recovered and distributed to people who are food insecure. It will culminate in the production and dissemination of a manual of scalable and sustainable solutions for addressing and preventing food waste. 800 to 1,000 survey respondents to be targeted across the entire value chain – Canada wide.Second Harvest and VCMI are targeting 800 to 1,000 respondents from across the entire value chain to gain insights from farmers, food and beverage processors, retailers, foodservice operators, institutions and food redistributors across Canada (regardless of their size). If you fall in this category of participants, and would like to take part in the short, completely confidential survey, please access the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018FLWSurveyThe project will be completed by the end of 2018.“We are thrilled to be working with Second Harvest on this revolutionary food loss and waste project,” said Martin Gooch, CEO of VCMI. “Prior studies relied on existing data, largely not gathered for calculating food loss and waste; we are collecting and analyzing data that will achieve this. The project outcomes will have important implications for businesses, industry, researchers and government.”
Tide Head, N.B. – The worst flooding to hit New Brunswick in nearly a century has unexpectedly spread ruin and misfortune to parts of the province hundreds of kilometres away from the high-water mark.May’s historic flooding swamped southern parts of the province. But none of that occurred in Tide Head, a tiny village more than 300 kilometres north of Moncton that is known as “The Fiddlehead Capital of the World.” Yet, their entire crop of wild fiddleheads has been tarnished.That is because of a widespread belief among consumers that the flood rendered all of New Brunswick’s fiddleheads poisonous. Driven by statements from provincial emergency officials, the fiddlehead scare has had a negative impact on growers, pickers and distributors in a region already hit by hard economic times. | READ MORE
An invasive pest that was initially contained within Pennsylvania has spread to Delaware and Virginia, and insect experts worry the next stop will be Ohio.Spotted lanternflies suck sap from fruit crops and trees, which can weaken them and contribute to their death. Native to China, the insect was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania.At this time, spotted lanternflies are still relatively far from the Ohio border. They have been found in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. However, they can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or items containing egg masses.“The natural spread would take a long time, but it would be very easy to be moved through firewood or trees that are being relocated,” said Amy Stone, an educator with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.If it arrives in Ohio, the spotted lanternfly has the potential to do serious damage to the grape, apple, hops and logging industries, Stone said.The lanternfly’s preferred meal is from the bark of Ailanthus or tree of heaven, which is typically not intentionally planted but instead grows on abandoned property and along rivers and highways.Compared to the spotted wing drosophila or the brown marmorated stink bug, which seize on fruit and vegetable crops, the spotted lanternfly has a more limited palate so it likely would not do as much damage, said Celeste Welty an OSU Extension entomologist.“Everybody’s fear is any new invasive pest will be like those two. But it seems to me, it’s not as much of a threat,” Welty said.And unlike the spotted wing drosophila and the brown marmorated stink bug, the lanternfly is easy to spot because the adult bug is about 1 inch long and, with its wings extended, about 2 inches wide, Welty said.For now, all that can be done to stem the spread of lanterflies is to stay watchful for their presence and any damage they may inflict. On trees, they zero in on the bark, particularly at the base of the tree. Lanternflies can cause a plant to ooze or weep and have a fermented odor. They can also cause sooty mold or a buildup of sticky fluid on plants as well as on the ground beneath infested plants.An app developed by the CFAES School of Environment and Natural Resources allows users to report invasive species if they suspect that they have come across them. The app, which is called the Great Lakes Early Detection Network, features details about invasive species that people should be on the lookout for.If someone sees a lanternfly, he or she should contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6201.
Some people regard frozen vegetables as a disappointing alternative when fresh veggies are not available. But that is likely to change with new methods of preparing food for cold storage.Dr. Tony Savard and his team from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s St-Hyacinthe Research Development Centre re-examined the usual way of treating vegetables -blanching - which refers to briefly heat-treating the vegetables before freezing. While this method is helpful for ensuring food safety and preventing freezer burn, it also affects the taste and texture which some people don’t like even when nutritional value is retained.The team worked with Bonduelle Amérique as part of the Canadian Food Innovator research cluster, to come up with a fresh alternative for processing vegetables for freezing: partially drying them using low doses of microwaves combined with a vacuum process. Doing so avoided the breakdown of vegetable tissue that happens with freezing and thawing. This innovative method preserves the natural flavour and even improves it in certain cases, while still ensuring food safety. Furthermore, the texture of the vegetables is maintained."New markets are possible if we can improve the taste of frozen vegetables and maintain high standards of food safety," says Savard.Whether or not a consumer picks a frozen option likely depends on their previous experience with frozen foods. And with healthy choices being so popular among Canadians, creating frozen foods that are both healthy and tasty is important. As such, Savard and his team will continue exploring new options for preserving the veggies that we love to eat.Ultimately, if new methods of food preservation can be developed then new markets will also be opened. The domestic market for preserved fruits and vegetables is valued at $7.5 billion. The export market is also strong, worth over $3 billion in 2015, according to Statistics Canada. That same year saw almost $6.5 billion in total revenue. There are more than 17,000 Canadians employed in the sector, contributing in different ways to produce great food options. With so much economic activity generated it is important to identify what food areas can be improved upon.The findings emerged from a "research cluster" organized between government and industry. Bringing together expertise from the public and private sectors has generated positive results like this new preservation method. Best of all, it’s helping Canadians find something both healthy and delicious to eat.Key discoveries: Soggy onions and peppers no more! New preservation method improves natural flavour and maintains texture during freezing and thawing. Food processing industry will have new tools to preserve vegetables, which may open new markets.
With an increase in precision agriculture and more closely monitored in-season crop fertilizer applications, we’ve also seen an increased interest in plant tissue testing. But, before you begin sampling in the field this season, do what you can to ensure you’re getting the best sample and making the most from your time spent.“It’s very important to take a plant tissue sample from the correct plant part,” says Dr. Jim Friedericks, outreach and education advisor for AgSource Laboratories. “For example, to have the earliest effect on this growing season, corn plants should be in the 8-leaf to 12-leaf stage, soybean plants can be submitted from 4-inches to 8-inches tall and alfalfa from 6-inches to first flowering.” These results can then be used to fine-tune an expected side-dress application or for a “rescue” nutrient application for the current crop.The results from plant tissue samples are typically reported in comparison to the range of nutrient concentrations sufficient for that plant at that growth stage. Because these ranges shift with the growth of the plant it is important to identify the growth stage when submitting a plant sample to the laboratory. It’s normal for crop nutrient levels to vary throughout the season, therefore it’s important for these nutrients to be available when the crop needs them.Alternatively, taking plant tissue samples multiple times throughout the growth cycle reveals the seasonal trends of your crop, and differences in your individual fields. Reports from these frequent plant tissue samples can be used to make corrections or additional nutrient applications as long as your field equipment makes it feasible to spray the canopy or dribble nutrients onto the soil surface.Plant tissue sampling provides a picture of the nutritional status of your crops. Combined with a soil testing program, you can build a 360° view of your fields and crops to make better management decisions that could drive higher yields and reduce input costs throughout the growing season.Plant tissue testing is also helpful when checking for suspected nutrient deficiencies. Often, a common visual sign of a macronutrient deficiency can be mistaken for what is actually micronutrient deficiency. One example is molybdenum (Mo), which is required for nodule formation in nitrogen fixing crops. What visually appears as nitrogen deficiency in alfalfa may in fact be inadequate supply of molybdenum.While creating your plant tissue sampling plan, keep these points in mind: Sample your fields using appropriate zones. Pull plant/leaf samples from the same variety or hybrid. One sample = one variety or hybrid = one zone Combine with a soil sample. Consider a routine soil sample that includes nitrate in the analysis. Pull this sample in the same location as your plant tissue sample. This approach can determine the soil’s ability to supply nutrients in the growing season and identify confounding problems such as low soil pH. Avoid trouble spots. Stay away from sampling close to field boundaries or gravel roads, or visually damaged field zones. Trouble spots should be a separate sample. Collect the proper plant part and amounts. Collect 15 to 20 leaves, or at least half a paper lunch bag full, and choose mature leaves from the middle or upper part of the plant. Never send bottom leaves or immature leaves. Consult a sampling guide for more specific instructions. If the leaves are contaminated with soil rinse them briefly under a stream of distilled water and allow to air dry. Consistency is key in plant tissue sampling. Pull samples at the same time of day throughout the season. Handle the samples properly. Label your sample bags, make sure the labels match your submittal forms and send them promptly. Pack the shipping box loosely to include some air space. If possible, collect and ship the samples the same day. If not, store samples in a refrigerator. “Shipping and handling is critical. When samples are shipped wet and in plastic bags, we end up with moldy tissue. We can’t test moldy samples and growers end up having to go back out to the fields and resample,” notes Friedericks. “For best results, use a paper bag and ship dry samples. We hate having to call clients to tell them their samples have to be tossed.”
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of minor use label expansion registrations for Venture L Herbicide for control of labeled weeds on rhubarb, the bulb onion subgroup 3-07A, green onions, caneberries subgroup 13-07A and lettuce in Canada. Venture L Herbicide was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of several weeds.These minor use projects were submitted by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Pest Management Centre (AAFC-PMC) as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. | READ MORE
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of minor use label expansion registrations for Entrust and Success insecticides for control of cabbage maggot on Brassica leafy greens crop subgroup 4-13B and Brassica head and stem vegetables, crop group 5-13 in Canada. Entrust and Success insecticides were already labeled for use on a wide variety of crops in Canada for control of several insects.These minor use projects were submitted by Quebec as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. | READ MORE
If you were going to tank mix chemical pesticides, you would of course read the label to check for compatibility before mixing products. The same concept applies when using living organisms for pest control. Whether you are using parasitoid wasps, predatory mites, microorganisms, or nematodes, you need to know whether your biocontrols are compatible with each other and any other pest management products you plan to use. For example, a biocontrol fungus might be killed if you tank mix it with (or apply it just before) a chemical fungicide. Insecticides (whether or not they are biological) could be harmful to natural enemy insects and mites. Even some beneficial insects are not compatible with each other because they may eat each other instead of (or in addition to) the pest.It’s a good idea to keep an updated list of the products and organisms you plan to use for pest management, and their compatibility with each other. For biopesticides (remember the difference between “biopesticide” and “biocontrol”?), start by reading the label (see label excerpt below). You must follow all instructions you find there. Many manufacturers also provide lists, tables, databases, or apps to help you find compatibility information (some links at the end of this post). This is especially useful for insect, mite, and nematode natural enemies, which are not pesticides and do not have pesticide labels. When possible, obtain compatibility information from the manufacturer or supplier you will be using. Different strains of the same microorganism or nematode may have different sensitivities to chemicals. | For the full story, CLICK HERE
If you were going to tank mix chemical pesticides, you would of course read the label to check for compatibility before mixing products. The same concept applies when using living organisms for pest control. Whether you are using parasitoid wasps, predatory mites, microorganisms, or nematodes, you need to know whether your biocontrols are compatible with each other and any other pest management products you plan to use. For example, a biocontrol fungus might be killed if you tank mix it with (or apply it just before) a chemical fungicide. Insecticides (whether or not they are biological) could be harmful to natural enemy insects and mites. Even some beneficial insects are not compatible with each other because they may eat each other instead of (or in addition to) the pest. | READ MORE 
Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, recently announced that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in Canada has granted Dow AgroSciences upgraded approval for Closer Insecticide use to actively control Woolly apple aphid in pome fruit crops.“Canadian apple growers who have used Closer in the past know of its exceptional speed and ability to knockdown aphids. This upgraded designation reinforces the quality and efficacy of Closer and we are pleased that the PMRA has responded to the ongoing need to control insect infestation,” explains Tyler Groeneveld, category leader, Horticulture with Corteva Agriscience.This approval is significant as it gives growers greater access to a highly effective product that combats sap feeding insects at various stages of growth and outbreak. Insects such as Woolly apple aphid can cause extensive crop damage, ultimately impacting the quality and value of orchard crops.Closer Insecticide, powered by Isoclast active, is a revolutionary product ideal for control of both resistant and non-resistant pests, delivering the active ingredient sulfoxaflor, which is classified by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee as the sole member of IRAC Subgroup 4C Sulfoximines. The active ingredient moves quickly through the plant and has excellent systemic and translaminar activity that controls insect pests both on contact and by ingestion. The results are fast knockdown and residual control of aphids and other sap feeding insects.Closer is highly selective and has minimal impact on beneficial insects. The properties and overall spectrum of activity of Closer Insecticide makes it an excellent fit for treatment when outbreaks occur as well as part of Integrated Pest Management Programs (IPM) to minimize flare-ups.
A potato variety genetically engineered to resist potato blight can help reduce the use of chemical fungicides by up to 90 per cent, according to a new study - drastically reducing the environmental impact of potato farming.Potato blight, caused by a water mould called Phytophthora infestans, can rapidly obliterate potato crops, and is one of the biggest problems in potato farming. Working together, scientists from Wageningen University & Research and Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, have developed a two-pronged approach: a genetically modified potato, along with a new pest management strategy, that combine for healthy crops with minimal fungicide use. | READ MORE
Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, recently announced that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in Canada has granted Dow AgroSciences new label registration for Closer Insecticide for the control of Campylomma verbasci (mullein bug) effective immediately. This announcement is significant as it means Canadian apple growers now have full access to a highly effective product for pest control.“Closer has always been known for its targeted and quick control of aphids and other orchard pests. With this registration, growers can have even greater confidence in the quality and efficacy of Closer on apples when outbreaks occur as well as for resistance management,” explains Tyler Groeneveld, category leader, Horticulture with Corteva Agriscience.Closer Insecticide, powered by Isoclast active, is a revolutionary product ideal for control of both resistant and non-resistant pests, delivering the active ingredient sulfoxaflor, which is classified by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee as the sole member of IRAC Subgroup 4C Sulfoximines. The active ingredient moves quickly through the plant to deliver excellent systemic and translaminar activity. Pests are controlled both through contact and by ingestion, resulting in fast knockdown and residual control.Closer is highly selective and has minimal impact on beneficial insects. The properties and overall spectrum of activity of Closer Insecticide makes it an excellent fit for treatment when outbreaks occur as well as part of Integrated Pest Management Programs (IPM) to minimize flare-ups. Further information can be found at: www.corteva.com.
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently released its final decision on the future use of chlorothalonil, a fungicide used in agriculture including fruit and vegetable production.“Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, the PMRA has determined that continued registration of products containing chlorothalonil is acceptable,” the report states. “An evaluation of available scientific information found that most uses of chlorothalonil products meet current standards for protection of human health or the environment when used according to the conditions of registration, which include required amendments to label directions.”Even so, some changes have been made to the chlorothalonil label, including cancellation of its use on greenhouse cut flowers, greenhouse pachysandra, and field grown roses (for cut flowers). As well, all chlorothalonil products currently registered as dry flowable or water dispersible granules must be packaged in water-soluble packaging. Buffer zones have also been revised and a vegetative filter strip is required.You can review the decision and new label requirements by clicking here.
Syngenta Canada Inc., is pleased to announce the registration of Revus fungicide as a potato seed treatment for the suppression of pink rot and control of seed‑borne late blight in potatoes.Pink rot is a devastating, soil-borne disease caused by the pathogen Phytophthora erythroseptica that thrives in wet, poorly drained soils. Infection typically takes place pre-harvest, as the pathogen enters tubers through the stem end and lenticels.Tubers infected with pink rot will often decay during harvest and handling, which allows the pathogen to spread quickly from infected tubers to healthy tubers while in storage.“Every field has the potential for pink rot,” says Brady Code, eastern technical lead, with Syngenta Canada. “It takes a very small number of infected tubers going over harvest equipment or getting by on the belt to put an entire season of work in jeopardy and leave growers with far fewer healthy potatoes to ship.”Revus contains the active ingredient mandipropamid (Group 40) and works by protecting the daughter tubers from becoming infected with pink rot.“Growers can use Revus as part of an integrated approach to target fields where they’ve had pink rot issues in previous seasons, on their more susceptible varieties, and in tandem with other in-furrow and post-harvest fungicides,” explains Shaun Vey, Seedcare and Inoculants product lead with Syngenta Canada.Vey adds that Revus also provides control of seed-borne late blight (Phytophthora infestans). Syngenta research demonstrates that potatoes treated with Revus for seed-borne late blight have nearly perfect emergence, while untreated seed potatoes infected with late blight have a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in emergence.“Seed-borne late blight can have a big impact on emergence over time,” explains Vey. “When used as a seed treatment, Revus can help prevent seed piece decay and the spread of disease spores from seed piece to seed piece.”Revus is applied at 5.9-11.8 mL per cwt of seed (13-26 mL/100 kg of seed).Following a seed treatment application of Revus fungicide, the first foliar fungicide application should be a product that does not contain a Group 40 active ingredient.Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for mandipropamid, have been established for markets including Canada, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, in support of the seed treatment use pattern.For more information about Revus potato seed treatment, please visit Syngenta.ca; contact your local Syngenta Representative or our Customer Interaction Centre at 1‑87‑SYNGENTA (1‑877‑964‑3682).
Bayer announces the launch of Luna Sensation fungicide in Canada for stone fruit, root vegetables, cucurbit vegetables, leafy green vegetables, leafy petiole vegetables, brassica vegetables and hops.The foliar product is a co-formulation of two fungicide modes of action, a unique Group 7 SDHI (fluopyram) and a proven Group 11 (trifloxystrobin) to deliver superior disease control, resulting in higher yields and exceptional fruit quality.“Luna Sensation gives Canadian growers further access to the excellent disease control provided by Luna,” said Jon Weinmaster, crop & campaign marketing manager, corn & horticulture. “It’s designed for optimal efficacy on specific crops and diseases, most of which are not covered by the Luna Tranquility label, a product that has proven invaluable to many horticulture growers for several years already.”Luna Sensation is a systemic fungicide that targets highly problematic diseases such as sclerotinia rot, powdery mildew, and monilinia.It also has added benefits for soft fruit.“Experiences of U.S. and Canadian growers show that Luna offers post-harvest benefits in soft fruit, improving quality during transit and storage”, says Weinmaster “It’s an added benefit that comes from excellent in-crop disease control.”The addition of Luna Sensation from Bayer extends the trusted protection of the Luna brand to a broader range of crops: Luna Tranquility, a Group 7 and Group 9 fungicide, is registered for apples, grapes, tomatoes, bulb vegetables, small berries and potatoes Luna Sensation is registered for stone fruit, root vegetables, cucurbit vegetables, leafy green and petiole vegetables, brassica vegetables and hops Luna Sensation will be available to Canadian growers for the 2018 season.For more information regarding Luna Sensation, growers are encouraged to talk to their local retailer or visit: cropscience.bayer.ca/LunaSensation
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a minor use label expansion registration for Prowl H2O Herbicide for control of labeled weeds on direct seeded or transplanted cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli grown on mineral soil in Canada. Prowl Herbicide was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of several weeds.These minor use projects were submitted by Ontario as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel.The following is provided as an abbreviated, general outline only. Users should be making weed management decisions within a robust integrated pest management program and should consult the complete label before using Prowl H2O Herbicide. | READ MORE
Researchers are combining new digital tools, computer technologies and machine learning to bring cost-effective weed control solutions to the field. Although still in the early stages, this new high-tech solution is being designed as an advanced spot-spraying precision technology that will help farmers reduce input costs and add another management tool to their integrated management systems.  
Working in the intense heat of the summer sun can put workers at risk of heat stress, but heat stress can also hit you in places you wouldn't expect."Any job that causes your body temperature to rise has the potential to cause heat stress," says WSPS occupational hygiene consultant Michael Puccini. "Even jobs carried out in air-conditioned environments."Left unchecked, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heart attack, and other physical health effects. Plus, it can be damaging to business, by way of lost productivity, disability costs, and fines and penalties.Prepare for the heat nowThese heat waves may last only a week or two, but in this time workers can suffer debilitating effects and even death. A few simple steps taken now can keep your people thriving and productive even in the hottest weather."Based on the internal responsibility system, everyone has a role to play," says WSPS occupational hygienist Warren Clements. "Employers, supervisors and workers can all make a difference in their workplaces."Steps for employers:Put a policy and procedures in place, based on a risk assessment. Ask questions, such as: Have workers been affected by heat in the past? Is work done in direct sunlight? Are there heat producing processes or equipment in the workplace? This will help you understand the magnitude of the issue. If heat stress may be a hazard, you may want to conduct heat stress measurements so you can develop a control plan. The plan should include engineering controls, such as insulating hot surfaces.Train all employees during orientation on the policy and procedures to manage the hazard. Include heat stress symptoms, how to prevent it, and what to do if someone starts showing symptoms. Heat stress training is particularly critical for young and new workers, as well as all manual workers. Research conducted by the Institute for Work & Health shows that heat strokes, sunstrokes and other heat illnesses disproportionately affect those on the job less than two months. Steps for supervisors: Acclimatize workers to hot conditions, and watch out for de-acclimatization. Workers can lose their tolerance in only four days. Schedule work in the hottest locations for cooler times of day. Build cool-down breaks into work schedules. Adjust the frequency and duration of breaks as needed. "Taking a break means going to a cooler work area or providing workers with periodic rest breaks and rest facilities in cooler conditions," says Warren. Get to know your workplace and your workers. "Are there certain jobs at elevated risk? Is anybody working outside today? 'Is so-and-so looking a little different from how he normally looks? A little more flushed? Sitting down more?'" Ensure ready access to cool water in convenient, visible locations. Workers need to replenish their fluids if they are becoming dehydrated. Supply protective equipment and clothing as needed, such as water-dampened cotton whole-body suits, cooling vests with pockets that hold cold packs, and water-cooled suits. Monitor weather forecasts. "If it's Tuesday and you know superhot weather is coming on Thursday, ask yourself, 'Who will be working then? What will they be doing? Who... or what... should I watch out for?'" Be extra vigilant in extreme conditions. "Check on workers frequently. If you can't do this, then assign a temporary pair of eyes to do it for you." Steps for workers: Watch out for each other and speak up. "People suffering from heat stress don't always recognize their own symptoms. If anyone's behaviour is 'more than usual' - more sweating, more flushed, hyperventilating - it could be a sign of heat stress." Other signs could include rashes, muscle cramping, dizziness, fainting, and headaches.For more information, visit: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
Manfredi Cold Storage recently expanded the facility by 70,000 sq. ft., for 400,000 total sq. ft. of cold storage space, and already plans are in the works for future expansion. The distributor handles fruit, vegetables and foodstuffs from 22 countries, at zero to 55 Fahrenheit temperatures, in its facility that provides retailers with wireless, real-time inventory and access.In order to keep such continued growth on track, effective operation has required the use of rugged drive-in rack, designed to the application, according to Rob Wharry, the facility’s director of operations.“About 150 to 200 truckloads of product move in and out of our storage everyday – about 25,000 pallets – so the drive-in rack needs to be very durable and accessible,” says Wharry. “The product has to go out quickly and efficiently to grocery stores, club stores, distribution centers, and the food service industry.”Drive-in racks enable storing of up to 75 per cent more pallets than selective rack and are ideal for high-traffic and cooler/freezer installations. With drive-in rack, forklifts drive directly into the rack to allow storage of two or more pallets deep.But because forklifts drive directly into the rack, they tend to take more abuse than other rack structures. In cooler and freezer applications, the rack must withstand forklift abuse due to the confined space, slick surfaces, and cold temperatures that slow driver reflexes and make impact more frequent.“We’re in and out of rack with heavy pallets and equipment so many times a day,” says Wharry. “It’s a fact of life that sometimes forklifts will run into the rack, so it just needs to be able to stand up to the daily use.”Looking to optimize the rack’s durability and operation, the cold chain distributor turned to Steel King Industries, a storage system and pallet rack manufacturer. In the most recent expansion, about 4,000 pallets of refrigerated storage capacity were added. For this, Manfredi Cold Storage chose SK3000 pallet rack, a bolted rack with structural channel columns.A number of rack features are helping the distributor to meet its strength, durability, and maintenance goals.Compared to typical racking, the pallet rack constructed of hot-rolled structural channel column with full horizontal and diagonal bracing offers greater frame strength, durability and cross-sectional area. All Grade-5 hardware provides greater shear strength, and a heavy seven-gauge wrap-around connector plate ensures a square and plumb installation with a tighter connection and greater moment resistance.The drive-in rack also includes a number of features that enhance ease-of-use and safety.The drive-in load rail construction includes: structural angle rails that “guide” pallets for ease of use; flared rail entry ends to allow easy bay access; space-saver low profile arms that increase clearance and decrease possible product damage; welded aisle-side load arms that eliminate hazardous load projections into aisles; welded rail stops that prevent loads from being pushed off and increase safety; and two-inch vertical adjustability of the bolted rack, which allows for a variety of configurations for current or future products.“The heavy rub rail inside the rack helps to guide the pallets in,” says Wharry. “The flared rail entry makes it easier to put pallets in and to take them out of the upper positions.”For extra protection and reinforcement against forklift impact, a guard on the front of the rack’s first upright was added. The double column, welded angle column protector is designed for heavy pallets and provides additional strength.According to Wharry, the vendor was also willing to accommodate their needs in other ways as well.“Our operation is a little different than a typical storage customer because we’re dealing with lots of different sized products, so we had a very specific design in mind,” says Wharry. “Everything is specific to our application – rack height, width, pallet loads, and how we utilize it.”The rack openings are about 12- to 16-inches taller than a standard rack opening to allow the use of very tall pallets, he says. Additional adjustments to the rack include the specific implementation of guards, heavy rail, and how it is anchored to the floor.With continuing growth expected, Manfredi Cold Storage is already planning to start the construction of a new facility in southern New Jersey.“When the new facility is constructed, the racking set up will be just like what we have here,” concludes Wharry. “We’ve determined what works for us and our customers, and
AgSafe has launched a new free safety self-assessment web tool for B.C.’s agriculture organizations and other naturally aligned industries.The Safety Ready Certificate of Recognition (COR) Self-Assessment website is designed to assist organizations in assessing their readiness for a COR program audit.The self-assessment tool begins with a questionnaire to be completed by the person responsible for overseeing the Safety Management System in your organization. Once that is done, the tool provides feedback on your readiness for a COR review. The web tool will also help you calculate your organization’s potential WorkSafeBC incentive.“There are three levels of readiness and depending on your organization’s situation you may need assistance from an AgSafe advisor or consultant to become audit ready,” explained Wendy Bennett, executive director of AgSafe. “This is a resource designed to streamline the process and help employers become more familiar with what they need to do to reduce safety risks in their organization.”Between 2013 and 2017, 641 agricultural workers were seriously injured and seven killed in work-related incidents.AgSafe is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries. They are doing this by offering health and safety programs, training and evaluation, consultation and guidance.As a COR program certifying partner AgSafe offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers in British Columbia’s agriculture industry and ensures that WorkSafeBC is aware of all COR certified agriculture employers.AgSafe’s COR Self-Assessment Tool is also available to companies that are not classified as agriculture, such as landscape professionals, tree services, or animal handling, but have been advised to work with AgSafe for their COR certification.AgSafe does not charge for use of the assessment tool. Set up your account by going to the COR Self-Assessment website.For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture workplace safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca
Drip irrigation is no longer the ‘new kid on the block,’ and nearly 10 per cent of U.S. farms rely on it to grow their crops. Each year, new growers dabble with drip and many learn by trial and error. Reaching out with some helpful tips to those growers is Inge Bisconer, technical marketing and sales manager for Toro Micro-Irrigation.
Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. recently announced the AgriPump Rebate Program, the first program of its kind in Ontario to offer instant rebates to customers who purchase a high-efficiency pump kit. The program is ideal for all farming applications, including livestock, greenhouse and vineyards. Upgrading to a high-efficiency pump will improve performance and could save customers up to 40 per cent of their system's energy costs."This energy conservation program is focused on helping our agricultural customers manage their electricity and water usage all while saving money," said Cindy-Lynn Steele, vice president, Market Solutions, Hydro One. "As Ontario's largest electricity provider to farming customers, we are committed to offering a variety of energy solutions to help them save on electricity and invest in programs that will meet their important needs while delivering a positive return to their bottom line.""This collaborative approach with IESO and Hydro One allowed us to be very innovative with this new program," says Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. CEO and president Brian Wilkie. "We're happy to be able to cater to the agricultural sector and provide this instant rebate program on high efficiency pump sets with advanced control technology.""Water conservation and high energy costs are a big concern for farmers in the Niagara region and across the province," said Drew Spoelstra, director for Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara North and Niagara South, Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "The Save on Energy Conservation Program and this type of cross-utility initiative to launch the AgriPump Rebate Program is great for agriculture."To be eligible for a rebate under the program, each kit must be between 0.5 hp and 10 hp and must comprise of a pump, motor, variable frequency drive and accessories. Customers can receive up to $610 per constant pressure pump kit. The pumps are quick and easy to install and guard against wear and tear.The AgriPump Rebate Program is only available to agriculture customers in Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI) service territories. The instant rebate is fulfilled at the point of purchase.To learn more and participate in the AgriPump Rebate program, visit: www.agripump.caContact: 1-844-403-3937 or
Champaign, Ill. — A new lightweight, low-cost agricultural robot could transform data collection and field scouting for agronomists, seed companies and farmers.The TerraSentia crop phenotyping robot, developed by a team of scientists at the University of Illinois, was featured at the 2018 Energy Innovation Summit Technology Showcase in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 14.Traveling autonomously between crop rows, the robot measures the traits of individual plants using a variety of sensors, including cameras, transmitting the data in real time to the operator’s phone or laptop computer. A custom app and tablet computer that come with the robot enable the operator to steer the robot using virtual reality and GPS. For the full story, CLICK HERE. 
January 24, 2018, Charlottetown, PEI – It will now be elementary for a P.E.I. raw potato preparation operation to inspect the inside of potatoes with new technology called the Sherlock Separator-2400. RWL Holdings Ltd. in Travellers Rest, PEI, recently received more than $400,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the province for food safety equipment. The Sherlock Separator is a chemical imaging machine that uses new technology to inspect the inside of the potato without removing the peel. READ MORE
January 11, 2018 - The growing popularity of robotic weeders for vegetable crops has grown partly out of necessity, says Steven Fennimore, an extension specialist at the University of California, Davis. The need for robotic weeders stems from two issues: a lack of herbicides available for use in specialty crops, and the fact that hand-weeding has become more and more expensive. Without pesticides, growers have had to hire people to hand-weed vast fields. Hand-weeding is slow and increasingly expensive: it can cost between $150 and $300 per acre. That motivates some growers to look to robotic weeders. “I’ve been working with robotic weeders for about 10 years now, and the technology is really just starting to come into commercial use,” Fennimore says. “It’s really an economic incentive to consider them.” Fennimore works with university scientists and companies to engineer and test the weeders. The weeders utilize tiny blades that pop in and out to uproot weeds without damaging crops. He says that although the technology isn’t perfect, it’s getting better and better. The weeders are programmed to recognize a pattern and can tell the difference between a plant and the soil. However, they currently have trouble telling the difference between a weed and a crop. That said, Fennimore explains how some companies are training the machines to tell a lettuce plant from a weed. He’s also working with university engineers on a system to tag the crop plant so the weeders will avoid it. “The problem with the machines right now is that they are version 1.0, and there’s tremendous room for improvement,” he says. “The inability to be able to tell the difference between a weed and a crop requires the grower to be very exact when using them. The rows have to be a little straighter, cleaner, and more consistent because the machines aren’t that sophisticated yet. The robots don’t like surprises.” The robotic weeders currently on the market cost anywhere between $120,000 and $175,000. For some growers, it is a better long-term option than expensive hand-weeding. Others think it’s a lot of money for a new technology, and are waiting for it to get better and cheaper. Fennimore believes robotic weeders are the future of weeding in specialty crops. Because of higher labour costs and more incentives to grow organically with fewer pesticides, European growers have been using robotic weeders for some time. Fennimore is focusing his work on physical control of weeds because it offers the best option. He’s also started working in crops besides lettuce, such as tomatoes and onions. He adds that each crop will require a different system. “I believe what makes the robotic weeders better than herbicides is that this electronic-based technology is very flexible and can be updated easily,” he says. “We all update our phones and computers constantly, which is a sign of a robust and flexible technology.” Fennimore recently presented his research at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America in Tampa, FL.  
Pests in food-handling environments threaten product safety and create an unpleasant sight for employees and visitors. In addition to physically damaging the product or its packaging, some pests can carry and transmit diseases like E. coli, Salmonella and hantavirus. When products become infested or contaminated, they not only impact a business’s bottom line but also its reputation.
According to my children – and myself at times – I’m ancient. I grew up in those heady days before TV remotes and hand-held video games, back when where you stood in a room played a role in whether the TV station would come in clear. I remember when personal computers became mainstream. My first PC was gigantic, composed of three heavy, bulky components that could each serve as a boat anchor. The PC was going to revolutionize work. Hello three-day workweek.
August 28, 2017, Washington - In today’s modern, high-density orchards, growers are constantly seeking new ways to match the biology of their trees with emerging technologies in mechanization. The goal: improve both yields and efficiency."It’s true that some technologies don’t exist yet, but the compact, planar architectures with precision canopy management are most suitable for future mechanization and even for robotics," said Matthew Whiting, Washington State University research horticulturist. “So it is kind of an exciting time for what will be a new era of tree fruit production, as more and more technologies become available."Research labs and research orchards are driving new developments, but in many cases, they’re happening with innovative growers and private companies, he said.“Growers are innovating with orchard systems and varieties and architectures, and that’s fueling university research in many cases, and conversely, universities are driving new genotypes and how to manage and grow them best,” Whiting said. “It’s all coming together as it has never before, and it is an exciting time.”At the same time, employing the mechanization tools that already exist can take a variety of forms, across all four seasons.Those platforms you’re using for harvest? You can use them for pruning, green thinning and training, too.Two growers whose companies have been pushing forward with platforms, hedgers and other tools shared their insights for automating tasks in winter, spring, summer and fall with Good Fruit Grower.For Rod Farrow, who farms 520 acres of apples at Lamont Fruit Farm in Waterport, New York, the emphasis has been to increase income with high-value varieties and to reach maximum potential income on his standard varieties, Honeycrisp, Fuji and Gala.Almost everything is planted on Budagovsky 9 rootstock in 11-foot by 2-foot spacing, and he’s been planting and pruning to a fruiting wall for almost 18 years.“It’s less about employing mechanization by season than about deciding the orchard system — as much as anything, making sure the system that you plant now is suitable for robot use,” he said. “If it’s not, you’re going to be in trouble in terms of how you can adapt that new technology, which is coming really fast.”In the past two years, Farrow also has elected to install 3-foot taller posts in new plantings, allowing for a 2-foot taller system intended to increase production from 60 to 70 bins per acre to a more predictable 80-bin range. READ MORE 
July 27, 2017, Waterloo, Ont. - A biotechnology company that created a spray that helps farmers and growers protect crops from frost damage was among the big winners at the Velocity Fund Finals held recently at the University of Waterloo. Velocity is a comprehensive entrepreneurship program at Waterloo.Innovative Protein Technologies created Frost Armour, a spray-on-foam, after witnessing the effects of a devastating spring frost in 2012 that knocked out about 80 per cent of Ontario’s apple crop. Farmers would remove it after several days with another solution that converts it into a fertilizer."Frost damage not only affects farmers’ livelihoods, but also our food supply," said Erin Laidley, a Waterloo alumnus, who co-founded the company with Tom Keeling and Dan Krska, two alumni from the University of Guelph. "There are other spray-on solutions, but ours is non-toxic and has no negative environmental impact.”During the competition, 10 companies pitched their businesses to a panel of judges representing the investment, startup and business communities. Judges considered innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch.The following three companies were also grand-prize winners of $25,000 and space at Velocity. Three of the five top-prize-winning companies are based at Velocity Science. Altius Analytics Labs is a health-tech startup that helps occupational groups better manage musculoskeletal injuries. EPOCH is a skills and services marketplace that connects refugees and community members, using time as a means of exchange. VivaSpire is making lightweight wearable machines that purify oxygen from the air without the need for high pressure. For the first time, the prize of $10,000 for best hardware or science company went to a team that was not among the grand-prize winners. Vena Medical is making navigating through arteries faster, easier and safer by providing physicians with a camera that sees through blood.During the VFF event, an additional 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three prizes of $5,000 and access to Velocity workspaces.The winners of the Velocity $5K are: HALo works to provide manual wheelchair users with accessible solutions to motorize their wheelchairs. QuantWave provides faster, cheaper and simpler pathogen detection for drinking water and food suppliers. SheLeads is a story-based game that helps girls realize their unlimited leadership potential. “Building a business is one of the boldest risks you can take, and yet our companies continue to demonstrate the vision, talent, and drive to think big and tackle challenging problems,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity. “Today we are fortunate to benefit from an enormous wealth of experience from our judges who are leaders from the global investment, health and artificial-intelligence communities and entrepreneurs at heart. In helping Velocity award $125,000 in funding to these companies, we have taken a bet of our own in these founders, and said be bold, think big, and go out and change the world.”The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition travelled from Palo Alto, San Francisco and Toronto. They were Seth Bannon, founding partner, Fifty Years; Dianne Carmichael, chief advisor of health tech, Council of Canadian Innovators; Eric Migicovsky, visiting partner, Y Combinator; Tomi Poutanen, co-CEO, Layer 6 AI.The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Kane Hsieh, investor, Root Ventures; Tobiasz Dankiewicz, co-founder, Reebee; Karen Webb, principal, KWebb Solutions Inc.For more information on the Velocity Fund Finals, please visit www.velocityfundfinals.com
FMC is pleased to announce that Darren Dillenbeck has joined the company as Canada country manager.Dillenbeck will lead the Canadian organization and report directly to Amy O'Shea, FMC vice president and business director for Agricultural Solutions, North America.O'Shea expects that Dillenbeck's comprehensive marketing and sales experience will be a major asset, as FMC enters a new chapter in the Canadian marketplace with a wide-ranging product portfolio strengthened by the acquisition of select crop protection assets from DuPont in 2017."Darren is joining FMC at a very exciting time," says O'Shea. "His key responsibilities include exploring the unique market opportunities our broader portfolio affords us and working in collaboration with the Canadian team to grow and evolve our market presence and channel partner strategy."Dillenbeck notes that FMC will be a "pure-play" agriculture company focused solely on bringing unique crop protection options and value to Canadian farmers."We want to build a business platform that makes it easier for our customers to work with us," he says. "With world class research and development, in addition to a strong team, I believe that FMC is well-poised to deliver local solutions that serve our customers' needs."Dillenbeck brings more than 20 years of agriculture industry experience to FMC, having held various commercial leadership roles with Dow AgroSciences. Dillenbeck also helped launch new business segments in Canadian agriculture with the introduction of technology, formulations and product combinations.
The Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation (CABEF) is proud to announce the winners of their annual scholarships. Each of these exceptional students will receive $2,500 for post-secondary agricultural education.The 2018 winners are: Adriana Van Tryp, Burdett, Alta. Laura Carruthers, Frenchman Butte, Sask. Pete Giesbrecht, Winkler, Man. Owen Ricker, Dunnville, Ont. Jeremy Chevalley, Moose Creek Ont. Émilie Carrier, Princeville, Que. Justin Kampman, Abbotsford, B.C. Each year, CABEF awards scholarships of $2,500 to Canadian students entering their first year at an accredited agriculture college or university. CABEF is a charity foundation that encourages students to pursue their passion for agriculture and to bring their new ideas and talent to the industry.Scholarship winners are evaluated on a combination of leadership attributes, academic standing and their response to the essay question, "What do you consider to be the three main opportunities for the Canadian agriculture industry and which one inspires you the most?"“We are proud to support the future of the Canadian agriculture industry by providing these scholarships,” said Jenn Norrie, chair of the board for CABEF. “With the high-quality applications received from students across the country, the future of Canadian agriculture is bright.”For further information about CABEF’s work, visit cabef.org.
The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association Inc. (NAFDMA) has announced the selection of Corey Connors as its new executive director. This appointment comes after Charlie Touchette, who provided NAFDMA with association management services for nearly 20 years, formally concluded his tenure effective May 1, 2018. The selection of Connors was made after an extensive national search overseen by the NAFDMA Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to formally announce Corey’s appointment,” said Tom Tweite, President of NAFDMA.Connors joins NAFDMA with over 17 years of leadership experience in the agriculture, retail and attractions industries. Most recently, he served as chief staff executive of the North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA). Prior to NCNLA, he served in advocacy roles for several prominent national and international trade groups including the Society of American Florists (SAF), the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Connors holds a Master of Arts in Political Management from the George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clarion University.“It is a genuine privilege and honor to serve this dynamic, growing industry,” said Connors. “Agritourism and farm direct marketing provide an unparalleled opportunity for consumers to reconnect to the family farm, creating unique experiences and rare opportunities to make precious memories.” He continued, “Our charge is clear: NAFDMA must provide cutting-edge tools and resources that support our community of innovators who seek to grow farm profitability while providing immeasurable benefits to their hometown.”Connors begins his tenure at NAFDMA under a new operating structure, with the organization previously hiring on two additional direct employees last fall. This positions the association to have a stronger pulse on industry trends and will provide the opportunity to launch new member-focused programs and services. The first employees hired by NAFDMA include Membership Development and Services Manager, Lisa Dean and Education and Operations Manager, Jeff Winston.“Interacting with motivated farm operators and entrepreneurs is rewarding. It is truly my pleasure to service our members,” said Dean.“Having worked for this industry over the past five years, I’m excited to elevate the educational offerings that NAFDMA provides to each of its members,” said Winston.
An escalating trade fight between the United States and Mexico may affect B.C. apple growers in the Okanagan, experts say.Mexico is the biggest customer of Washington state apples, buying up to $250 million's worth each year.But Mexico now wants to slap a 20 per cent tariff on U.S. farm goods including apples in response to the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum. | READ MORE 
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recently released a report that details the important contribution rural municipalities make and outlines the unique challenges they face. The comprehensive report titled Rural Challenges, national opportunity – Shaping the future of rural Canada includes recommendations encouraging the federal government to tackle these challenges head-on and raise Canadians’ quality of life nationwide.“When it comes to providing the infrastructure necessary to support a strong economy and high quality of life, rural governments are faced with two key problems—the challenge of serving dispersed communities and the limits of their fiscal and administrative capacity,” said FCM’s rural forum chair, Ray Orb.The report provides recommendations to address the realities rural municipalities face. Key recommendations of this report include: Applying a ‘rural lens’ to all federal policies and programs aimed at empowering smaller communities to better support local needs Designing future rural infrastructure programs that provide long-term predictable funding with flexibility to account for rural realities Committing long-term predictable resources to expanding broadband internet access in rural, northern and remote communities “This report tells the story of the significant contribution rural municipalities make to the nation’s economy, but it also highlights the fiscal squeeze they face due to low population densities and the exodus of younger generations,” added Orb. “But as a key driver of economic growth, we know that investing in rural Canada means building a better country for everyone.”FCM is leading the way in advocating for new tools that empower rural communities to build tomorrow’s Canada and has secured unprecedented federal investment in recent years. The full report is available here.The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population.
The Canadian Horticultural Council presented before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (AGFO) to discuss Part 5, as it relates to farming, of Bill C-74 (a bill intended to pass into law certain elements of Budget 2018).Key points conveyedCHC took advantage of its appearance before the senate committee to reiterate its key messages regarding carbon pricing, notably: The government should recognize that greenhouse vegetable growers deliberately create, capture and assimilate CO2 for crop fertilization. The government should issue a national exemption from its carbon pricing policy to cover all fuel used for agricultural activities, including greenhouses, thereby minimizing the impacts of interprovincial competitiveness. The government should create a national relief mechanism, as the current carbon tax creates a competitive disadvantage between growers within a single province, across Canada, and on the international stage. The government should use CHC’s revised definition of primary agriculture across all departments and in Bill C-74, as the current definition does not reflect the full range of farming activities and machinery used in Canadian primary agriculture (see suggested definition below). Many greenhouse growers invest their own money into adapting and implementing new energy efficiencies, even before government funding becomes available. The Senators discussed with CHC the opportunity for these efforts to be recognised financially, retroactively. Carbon pricing cannot simply be passed onto consumers due to the global nature of the produce market. CHC will be following up directly with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-74 to emphasize our main asks.
When plants are growing outdoors, it’s no surprise that they are at risk for pest activity. But even once produce is harvested and brought inside for storage and packaging, it can fall victim to pests’ appetites. In fact, pest infestations that are established during storage can put your produce at increased risk, as it is easy for pests to move and spread quickly in the closed environment.While a pest infestation in the field might be obvious as plants show signs of fatigue, develop deformations or die, an infestation in the warehouse can pass under the radar if it is not monitored. So, it’s important for your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to include strategies for protecting your fruits and vegetables as you prepare them for storage and shipment. IPM strategies focus on preventive techniques, like exclusion, maintenance and sanitation and use sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices to manage and control pests.Fresh fruits and vegetables are vulnerable to pest infestations because of their succulence and the aroma they produce. Pests can infest produce items at any point in the supply chain, and improper packaging can make it easier for them to access your produce. Here are some of the most common pests that attack harvested fruits and vegetables:SpidersSpiders prey on insects and are naturally inclined to be found on foliage and vegetation. Therefore, harvested produce will harbour spiders. While in the field, spiders do help keep insect populations in check, but you don’t want them on your produce when it gets packaged and shipped.SpringtailsSpringtails are tiny insects that jump around when disturbed. They are attracted to moisture, dampness and humidity. They normally live in damp soil and feed on mold and fungi. So, naturally they will be found concealed in foliage and on plant stems, especially on vegetables that grow at soil level. As a result, they can easily make their way into packaged produce once harvested.Fruit FliesAs their name suggests, fruit flies are attracted to ripening and fermenting fruits and vegetables. Female fruit flies lay their eggs under the surface of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, a detailed inspection of random samples of fruits and vegetables to detect eggs and larvae is crucial to preventing a pest infestation in your processing and storage facilities. Sampled fruits should be cut through and examined for eggs and larvae, which are visible to the eyes.Indian Meal MothsWhile they only feed on dried fruits and vegetables, Indian meal moths are the most common stored product pest in food-handling facilities, homes and grocery stores. They are primarily attracted to dry foods and can damage products as their larvae spin silk webbing that accumulates fecal pellets and cast skins in the food. Common signs of an Indian meal moth infestation include the silk webbing, buildup of droppings in the food product and pupal cocoons along walls, shelving and ceilings.PreventionOnce harvested and packed, fruits and vegetables must continue to breath to maintain their freshness. So, packaging often has aeration pores that can make produce vulnerable to pest attacks, and it is difficult to find packaging that is impervious to all pest activity. However, there are some packaging materials that should be avoided for produce.Wooden containers can harbour wood boring insects. When exposed to moisture, they also can rot or cause mold and fungal growth that attracts insects which can spread and infect the packed produce. Rough, wooden boxes or bamboo like packaging can cause bruising and damage produce, which attracts insects. Materials less capable of withstanding stress also can damage produce, as they are vulnerable to tears, which can expose or damage the fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right type of packaging for your produce.In addition to avoiding these materials, keep an eye out for packaging that doesn’t seal properly. Even the best packaging doesn’t stand a chance if it’s not closed all the way or has a hole. At the end of the day, your goal should be to make it as difficult as possible for pests to reach your fruit and vegetable products.Fruit and vegetables are susceptible to pest infestations while they are growing. And once in storage, it’s easy for a pest infestation to spread quickly – especially with such an abundance of food for the pests to thrive on. So, it’s important to take steps to manage infestations in the field and to establish controls to help prevent infestations from being brought inside and spreading once in storage.In the field: Pest prevention starts with Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) in the field that reduce conditions conducive to pest infestations. Extensively monitor for pest activity by inspecting or scouting plants regularly during growing season to catch infestations early. Reduce pest attractants by practicing good sanitation (phytosanitation) and eliminating onsite harbourage sites such as weeds, piles of compose, standing water and idle unused equipment. Remove fallen, overripe or rotting fruits from the fields, as this could attract fruit flies and other pests. At time of harvest, inspect extensively for insects and spiders on produce. Harvest produce when they are dry. This prevents pest and diseases from clinging on them. Clean and sanitize harvest equipment, bins and tools before and after harvesting. Avoid or prevent bruising of produce. The bruising attracts insect pests, especially fruit flies. In processing and storage:As a first step, implement these post-harvest handling practices:Sanitation Have written cleaning and sanitation operating procedures for equipment and the facility. Clean and sanitize packaging, handing bins and equipment regularly to prevent build-ups and habourages. Regularly clean spills or trapped produce, especially in hard to reach areas and dead voids in packaging conveyer machines and equipment footing, as well as under and inside pallets. Ensure floor drains have undamaged cover grids or traps to prevent trapping fruits and vegetables in the drain. This creates a breeding ground for fruit flies, drain flies and phorid flies. Using drain brushes, mechanically clean floor drains at least every two weeks or so. Ensure the floor is void of cracks and tile gaps. The floor should be smooth and level for effective cleaning. Practice good fruit and vegetable waste management to avoiding attracting pests and creating harbourage sites. Exclusion Air curtains, sensor doors and roll-up doors keep flies from entering into processing or storage areas. Install pest monitors like insect light traps and pheromone traps. Repair screens and weather stripping around doors and windows. Storage and Shipping Use the first-in, first-out rule for storing and distributing products to avoid fermentation. Keep products off the floor on racked shelves. Keep products refrigerated when you can. Temperature regulation and maintaining your cold storage system keeps the produce fresh and keeps pests away. Allow proper illumination and ventilation to keep moisture down and discourage pest activity. Avoid crisscross movement of packed produce to prevent pest contamination. Ensure transportation vehicles are clean and temperatures are regulated. Inspect packaging for pest activity prior to loading and shipping. In addition to these preventive steps, be sure to monitor pest activity closely – indoors and outdoors. This will help you identify trends and adjust your pest management program to meet the unique needs of your property. You should also talk with your pest management provider about your process for storing and packaging food. They can offer recommendations specific to the types of produce you grow and help adjust your pest control program accordingly.Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is a quality assurance manager with regulatory and lab services with Orkin Canada.
A new presentation on Canada-U.S. regulatory initiatives is now available on the CanadaGAP website to explain how CanadaGAP certification fits with recent regulatory initiatives in Canada and the U.S.The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) are expected to be published in spring/summer 2018. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has already come into force in the U.S.The presentation puts into context for program participants: How CanadaGAP requirements line up with SFCR requirements How CanadaGAP's Full Government Recognition positions the program as a "model system" to meet regulatory requirements The results of CFIA's assessment of CanadaGAP under its Private Certification Polic and more. The presentation is now available on the CanadaGAP website at: https://www.canadagap.ca/publications/presentations/As a reminder, CanadaGAP has also made available various resources to help CanadaGAP-certified companies in or exporting to the United States determine how they will be impacted by the Food Safety Modernization Act. For these resources, visit the Food Safety Linkswebpage: https://www.canadagap.ca/audit-checklist/food-safety-links/, and click on the tab labelled 'FSMA Resources'.If Canadian program participants are facing pressures from U.S. buyers with respect to the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP), please let us know. It is important to quantify the extent and impact of the new legislation for the Canadian food safety industry as U.S. regulations are implemented.If you have any questions or require additional information, send us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call our office at 613-829-4711.
CanadaGAP is now accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the Board of Directors for CanAgPlus, the corporation that owns and operates the CanadaGAP Program.CanAgPlus relies on volunteer leaders to guide decision making and oversee management of CanadaGAP. Participation on the Board of Directors affords volunteer leaders the opportunity for personal growth and satisfaction in moving the program forward and improving food safety in the fresh produce industry.CanAgPlus directors are elected by members (i.e., those who are enrolled in the CanadaGAP Program) at the Annual General Meeting, which will take place in December 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario. See http://www.canadagap.ca/events/annual-general-meeting/ for further information.Composition of the Board of DirectorsCanAgPlus is currently seeking nominations for four directors to the Board. The Board is comprised of eight directors in total, serving two-year rotating terms to ensure some continuity in membership.NominationsA recommended slate of nominees will be prepared in advance of the AGM for circulation to members, and presented for vote at the AGM. In accordance with provisions in the corporate by-law, and subject to applicable rules of order during meetings of members, nominations may also be made by ordinary resolution at the AGM.Criteria for DirectorsCandidates are expected to have a strong interest in the delivery, integrity and objectives of the CanadaGAP Program. Criteria for service on the Board of Directors include: Exhibit ability to communicate interpersonally, provide facilitative leadership, and enforce group discipline on board processes. Strong understanding and experience with the appropriate roles, group processes and corporate bylaws and policies that form systems of corporate governance. Demonstrated judgment and integrity in an oversight role Consideration will be given to volunteers with experience serving on a not-for-profit Board or governance committee or senior level experience working with other Boards. Experience and skills in the following areas will be considered assets: Good working knowledge of CanadaGAP - its functioning, goals, evolution, etc. Familiarity with administrative and management processes, rather than technical knowledge Personnel management experience Financial management experience Knowledge of international food safety context Directors need NOT be CanadaGAP program participants.Term of OfficeDirectors will serve a two-year term. The Board meets twice a year in person, and holds conference calls as needed.How to ApplyThose interested in serving on the Board of Directors must complete and submit the application form by August 31, 2018. Self-nominations are acceptable.General Operating By-law No. 1The by-law is available for download at: https://www.canadagap.ca/history/members-only/If you are not a member of CanAgPlus, but interested in serving on the Board, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 613-829-4711 to obtain a copy of the by-law.For more informationVisit www.canadagap.ca for further information about CanadaGAP and its governance.
AgSafe, formerly known as Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA), is celebrating their 25th anniversary as British Columbia’s agriculture health and safety association.Established in May of 1993, AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for B.C.’s agriculture industry and offers site-specific health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services. AgSafe is also a COR program certifying partner and offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers.The organization was established as a joint initiative of WorkSafeBC (Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia), the BC Agriculture Council and the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union as B.C.’s experts on workplace safety for the agriculture industry.Wendy Bennett has been the AgSafe executive director since 2015. “I am really happy to be in this position and celebrating this milestone,” Bennett commented. “I’m proud of AgSafe and the work our team does. Our consultants and advisors work hard to deliver safety information and guidance to hundreds of employers and workers around the province every year, and we’ve seen a significant change over the past twenty-five years with better safety practices for those who work in agriculture.”Don Dahr, former WorkSafeBC Director of Industry and Labour Services, is the newly elected chair of the AgSafe Board of Directors replacing long-time retiring chair, Ralph McGinn.“I’ve been involved with, and supported this organization for many years,” says Dahr. “As a non-voting member on the AgSafe Board of Directors for five years my role was to provide guidance on issues affecting agriculture and safety initiatives. Over the years I’ve watched the organization make great strides in developing and offering safety resources and consultation to B.C.’s farmers and ranchers.”Just over half of B.C.’s agriculture industry employers regularly use services, resources, or information from AgSafe and almost two thirds of agriculture employers have accessed AgSafe resources periodically.AgSafe’s services are also available to B.C. based landscape trades and professionals, garden centres, wholesale and retail nurseries, suppliers, and tree services.For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture workplace safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca.
Following a corporate rebrand last fall, packaging manufacturer DuPak Inc. recently launched its new website.While the company launched a temporary site with the unveiling of its new brand late last year, the new website allows customers to explore the plethora of printing and packaging options DuPak has been offering for more than 15 years.To adequately showcase DuPak’s history, growth and leadership in innovative packaging, the site features details on the brand’s evolution from its humble beginnings, the range of industries served, and the packaging solutions they now provide.“While we are updating our branding and website, we remain the same company that has served this industry for the past 15 years,” said Duke Yu, CEO of DuPak Inc. “We hope the new site serves as a hub for people looking to learn more about the lastet trends in functional, durable and stylish packaging solutions.”To experience the new fully branded site, please visit www.dupak.com. For business inquiries, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Don Dahr, retired WorkSafeBC cirector of industry and labour services (ILS) has been elected the new chair of the AgSafe British Columbia board of directors.Dahr replaces retiring chair Ralph McGinn who served as the board chair for the past twelve years.Don Dahr has been involved with AgSafe, formerly FARSHA, over the years as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors, providing guidance and updates on safety issues affecting agriculture.Dahr has a strong professional history in workplace safety. Starting early in his career as an electrician he worked to address workplace electrical safety needs in the agricultural and farming sector throughout Alberta and northern B.C.After a move to B.C., Dahr took a position with WorkSafeBC as a safety officer, eventually becoming WorkSafeBC’s director of ILS, overseeing the management of three of the major high risk industries in the province - agriculture, oil and gas, and forestry. Dahr retired from WorkSafeBC in 2014.Wendy Bennett, AgSafe executive director welcomed Dahr as the new board chair, “Don’s involvement with AgSafe in the past has been very valuable. He is committed to creating safe work environments and that is what AgSafe does. It’s a great fit for our organization.”Professional acknowledgements and safety projects: Recipient, Lieutenant Governors’ Award for Public Safety Chair, OSH Regulation Update for Part 19 Electrical Safety President, Electrical Contractors Association Central Alberta Member, Board of Directors BC Cooperative Association of B.C. Resource Roads Safety Project Confined Spaces in Agriculture Risk and Identification Initiative

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