A berry WILD success with blueberries

A berry WILD success with blueberries

The story of how Ontario’s first and only wild blueberry farm and winery came about.

Taking toys and putting them to work

Taking toys and putting them to work

Developing a role for UAV’s in Canada’s fruit and vegetable industry.

Spears of success: Fox Seeds continues growth

Spears of success: Fox Seeds continues growth

Love for asparagus is growing

The story of how Ontario’s first and only wild blueberry farm and winery came about perhaps started when a large parcel of land near Wawa was deforested some years ago. The 600 acres of ancient Lake Superior bottom – completely stone-free and extremely flat with a sand/silt soil type – quickly filled in with wild blueberries bushes.
Storm Preparedness – are you ready?The following are recommendations to help you prepare for damaging winds, should they occur. Preparedness before and after a storm can improve your opportunity for a rapid recovery. Young trees can break in high winds if they have not been tied to support systems. Train young trees as quickly as possible before the storm is expected. Ensure that equipment is accessible if it will be needed for recovery, including saws, shovels, fuel, equipment parts, and knowledge of the location and cost of other equipment. A long-term strategy for storm preparedness includes insurance coverage for equipment and crops, windbreaks, ongoing disease management, and a regular pruning program to control tree size and improve air movement. A special note from Michelle, tree fruit specialist: Apple growers should be aware that damage to plant tissues is a fire blight trauma event in which fire blight bacteria have access to open wounds to enter and infect tissues. Please follow all local recommendations for fire blight trauma events and contact Michelle Cortens (c) 902-679-7908 for more information.
Perennia in association with Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has been monitoring for leek moth across Nova Scotia since early May this year. Leek moth is an invasive insect pest from Europe that feeds on Allium species (onions, garlic, leeks,etc), and can cause significant damage to these crops. Previous to 2018, leek moth had been identified in Kings County twice, once in 2016 and again in 2017. In response to this a provincial leek moth monitoring project was established, to determine how widespread the pest is in Nova Scotia. As of July 3, 2018, leek moth has been confirmed in both Kings and Annapolis County. Currently the pest has not been found in large scale commercial fields, and all the leek moth samples have been from garlic. Leek moth favours garlic and leeks primarily; researchers are currently unsure of its effects in onion production.Leek moth can be monitored using commercially available pheromone traps, which attract adult males. The adult leek moth is a small (five to seven mm in length) brown moth with a distinctive white triangle in the middle of its wings when they are folded at rest. Additionally allium crops can be scouted for feeding damage from leek moth larvae. On alliums with flat leaves (garlics, leeks) the larvae feeds on the tops and inside of the leaves, as well as bores into the center of the plant leaving noticeable frass. In alliums with hollow leaves (onions, chives) the larvae will feed internally producing translucent areas on the leaf known as "windowing". The larvae will also occasionally bore into bulbs.There are several chemical controls registered for leek moth in garlic, leeks, and onions that can be found in the Perennia's Garlic Management Schedule, Leek Management Schedule, and Onion Management Schedule. These pesticides are most effective when eggs are present and leek moth larvae are small, so monitoring is crucial to ensure proper timing of applications. Row cover is also an effective means of protecting allium crops against leek moth, without using chemical controls.For additional information on leek moth identification and management please consult AAFC's An Integrated Approach to Management of Leek Moth. If you think you have leek moth please contact Matt Peill, horticultural specialist with Perennia (email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , cellphone: 902-300-4710).RELATED: Monitoring for Leek Moth
The PEI Analytical Laboratories (PEIAL) plant diagnostic section has re-opened for the 2018 season and is currently accepting samples.The PEIAL serves all commodity farmers, agricultural representatives and greenhouse producers. Crop types accepted include potatoes, cereals, fruit crops and cole crops. Common potato diseases identified routinely include late blight, Fusarium dry rot, leak, pink rot and bacterial blackleg. The lab will provide a summary report at no charge containing information on the disease in question along with relevant fact sheets and referrals to specialists from the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.The diagnostic request form can be found at www.princeedwardisland.ca/labservices.When submitting a sample for diagnostic work, please include a diagnostic request form with the sample.The sample collected for submission should be fresh and representative of the problem. For plant material, the sample should be submitted in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel to help keep the integrity of the sample. Potato tuber samples should be submitted in paper bags. For more information on the proper collection of a sample for testing, please review the information at https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/agriculture‑and‑fisheries/how‑collect‑plant‑samples‑plant‑disease‑identification.For more information on this service, contact Marleen Clark at 902-368-5261 or 902-620-3300 or by email at
It is well known that vegetables are good for people but they could also be the key to making stronger and greener buildings.Engineers at Lancaster University are working with industrial partners at Cellucomp Ltd. UK to research how concrete mixtures can be strengthened and made more environmentally friendly by adding ‘nano platelets’ extracted from the fibres of root vegetables.The work, which is being supported with £195,000 by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 funding, will build on findings from early tests that have demonstrated that concrete mixtures including nano platelets from sugar beet or carrot significantly improve the mechanical properties of concrete.These vegetable-composite concretes were also found to out-perform all commercially available cement additives, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes and at a much lower cost.The root vegetable nano platelets work both to increase the amount of calcium silicate hydrate – the main substance that controls the performance of concrete, and stop any cracks that appear in the concrete.By increasing the performance of concrete, smaller quantities are needed in construction.The construction industry is urgently seeking ways in which to curb its carbon emissions. The production of ordinary Portland cement, one of the main ingredients for concrete, is very carbon intensive – its production accounts for eight per cent of total global CO2 emissions. This is forecast to double in the next 30 years due to rising demand.The proof-of-concept studies showed that adding the root vegetable nano platelets resulted in a saving of 40kg of ordinary Portland cement per cubic metre of concrete – which gives a saving of 40kg of CO2 for the same volume. This is because the greater strength of the root vegetable mixture means smaller sections of concrete are required in buildings.Professor Mohamed Saafi from Lancaster University’s Engineering Department and lead researcher, believes root vegetable concrete vegetables could go a long way to reducing construction carbon emissions.He said: “These novel cement nanocomposites are made by combining ordinary Portland cement with nano platelets extracted from waste root vegetables taken from the food industry.“The composites are not only superior to current cement products in terms of mechanical and microstructure properties, but also use smaller amounts of cement. This significantly reduces both the energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with cement manufacturing.”The vegetable-based cementitious composites were also found to have a denser microstructure, which is important to prevent corrosion and increasing the lifespan of the materials.The research project is also looking at adding very thin sheets made from vegetable nano platelets to existing concrete structures to reinforce their strength. The researchers believe that the vegetable nanofibre-based sheets will out-perform existing alternatives, such as carbon fibre. This is partly because concrete beams reinforced with the sheets will be able to bend more, which would help deflect potentially damaging forces.The two-year research project will investigate the science behind the results of the proof-of-concept studies to gain a fuller understanding of how the vegetable nano platelet fibres enhance the concrete mix. The researchers will also seek to optimise the concrete performance to help produce a mixture that can be used in the construction industry.Cellucomp Ltd already uses fibres from root vegetables to manufacture more durable paints.Dr Eric Whale from Cellucomp Ltd said: “We are excited to be continuing our collaboration with Professor Saafi and developing new applications for our materials, where we can bring environmental and performance benefits.”
A new initiative will help to expand perennial crops such as apples, high bush blueberries, and grapes in Prince Edward Island.The Perennial Crop Development Program is being implemented under the new federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership.“Government is strongly committed to the expansion and diversification of the agriculture industry in this province,” Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Robert Henderson said. “Perennial crops provide both ecological and economic benefits, and this program will support innovations in production and storage practices.”Eligible expenses include the purchase of capital equipment and the adoption of leading edge technologies to reduce costs, add value, increase efficiencies, improve quality, and strengthen market access. Assistance of 50 per cent of the costs is available up to a maximum of $40,000 per project.The production of perennial crops is the province is diverse. In addition to crops such as blueberries and strawberries, there has been an increase in specialty crops including a rapid expansion in apple production.
Hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables grow in Ontario each year, but many Ontario residents still face barriers to accessing those foods. Now, an innovative food accessibility program in Guelph is making it easier for its community members to buy fresh produce.The SEED – a community food project that delivers community programs to address food insecurity – offers weekly, affordable fresh food markets with items priced on a sliding price scale. The markets, running a few hours each week now in two neighbourhoods in Guelph, offer a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables to residents who may face income, transportation or other barriers to eating well.“When people come to the market, they choose what they want to pay,” says Becca Clayton, community food markets co-ordinator at The SEED. “On the reduced end of the scale, we price items as low as we can offer while still covering our costs. The upper value of the scale is retail value. Customers can pay the retail end or the reduced rate, or anything in between — no questions asked.”While the community market has been operating in a downtown location at the Guelph Community Health Centre for less than a year, the program is already expanding. A second site, in a so-called “food desert” (located a significant distance from grocery stores) in Guelph’s east end opened in April 2018.Clayton says while a number of communities offer affordable fresh food markets, she believes the sliding scale model is less common.“We came to the sliding scale model in a collaborative meeting, after a large amount of research,” says Clayton. “Research suggests in sliding scale models for other services, people choose their price point based on their income very accurately. People are generally honest about choosing where their income sits on a sliding scale, and we thought it would make sense for fresh food too.”Clayton says in the market’s downtown Guelph location, approximately half of its sales are at the low-end of the sale. The other 50 per cent is sold at mid-to-retail price points.“That’s exactly the balance we’re looking for, because it allows everyone to shop in stigma-free space together,” says Clayton. “We need people of all incomes at the market for the model to work.”The food sold at the markets come from a variety of sources, including the Toronto Food Terminal and the Guelph Youth Farm, another project run by The SEED, which provides youth with urban agriculture and employment experience. Wherever possible, Clayton says market organizers seek direct relationships with local farmers.“It’s important to us that we offer good prices for our low-income customers as well as pay farmers fair wages for what they’re growing,” Clayton says. “We have relationships with apple farmers and garlic farmers, and we’re always looking for new connections.”The markets run on a social enterprise model, which allows for a small amount of profit. After staffing, cold storage and transportation costs are paid, the market aims to turn a small profit that will allow the project to operate sustainably, without reliance on grant funding.The Seed’s community markets have been awarded a Transformative Change Award from the Ontario Association of Health Centres.
Late blight has been confirmed on tomato plants near Syracuse, New York (Onondaga County). At this time the late blight strain is not believed to be a known or common strain.The late blight confirmation is the first reported in the North East this season. The find is close enough that potato and tomato growers in Ontario should be on alert for this disease. | READ MORE 
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.”
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has released its decision on the re-evaluation of mancozeb and will continue registration only for foliar application to potato crops.“All other uses of mancozeb are being cancelled due to unacceptable risks to human health and will be removed from the labels,” states a summary of the decision.Foliar application on potatoes has been limited to 10 applications per year at a maximum application rate of 1.68 kg of active ingredient per hectare with a seven-day interval between applications and a one-day pre-harvest interval using aerial or ground spray only.Product labels must be changed within 24 months. Registration of products being cancelled as a result of the review will expire 36 months after the release of the decision. Chemical companies have 12 months and retailers 24 months to sell old product.
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. | 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
Ontario’s horticultural industry has launched a digital campaign to demonstrate public support for a long-running program that allows growers affected by a chronic labour shortage to hire workers from Mexico and the Caribbean on a seasonal basis.The Fairness for Growers campaign uses a web portal to provide information about the benefits of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and to help consumers to directly email their Members of Parliament, voicing support for the program and the importance of continued access to fresh, local food.The campaign was initiated in May. As of June, 1,400 Canadians had used the portal to send letters of support for SAWP to their MPs.The labour program was established in 1966 to respond to a severe shortage of domestic agricultural workers. It continues to serve the same role 52 years later, enabling Ontario farmers to stay in business. This year, more than 18,000 workers from Mexico and the Caribbean are expected to fill vacancies on a seasonal basis — up to a maximum of eight months — at approximately 1,450 Ontario farms.But the federal government may change that. Federal regulators who oversee the program are implementing more and more regulations, and some growers are concerned about the program’s future.These changes could threaten the livelihoods of thousands of farmers, making it harder for local growers to get the workers they need and operate effectively. They could also significantly reduce access to local fruits and vegetables on store shelves, put Canadian jobs at risk and hurt thousands of seasonal workers who want these jobs to provide a better standard of living for the families.The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program is a “Canadians first” program, which means supplementary seasonal farm labour is hired from partner countries only if farmers cannot find Canadians willing to take the same jobs.It’s estimated that at least two jobs for Canadians are created in the agri-food industry for every seasonal worker employed through SAWP at Ontario farms.Without the program most Ontario farmers simply couldn’t continue to grow fruits and vegetables. Some would move into less labour-intensive crops, while others would abandon agriculture altogether.Recent labour market research by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council cited the program as a key reason Ontario’s horticulture industry is able to generate $5.4 billion in economic activity and approximately 34,280 jobs.A severe shortage of domestic workers is costing Canadian farms approximately $1.5 billion per year and hurting Canada’s overall economic competitiveness, according to research by the Conference Board of Canada.For more information, visit www.fairnessforgrowers.ca
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) recently launched a new product, Arctic ApBitz.ApBitz dried apples are made 100 per cent from Arctic Golden apples – the first Arctic apple variety that doesn’t brown when bitten, sliced, or bruised.The unique benefit, developed through biotechnology, means that Arctic apples, including ApBitz snacks, do not require preservatives and are just as healthy and delicious as their conventional counterparts.“We decided to make Arctic ApBitz dried apples initially available online via Amazon.com so that everyone in the U.S. would have convenient access to our sweet and crunchable Arctic ApBitz snacks,” explains Neal Carter, president of OSF. “One of the core initiatives behind Arctic apples is to help reduce unnecessary food waste. Acknowledging that not all fruit is suitably sized for slicing, we’ve been working on innovative ways to use our nonbrowning Arctic Goldens from this past harvest to give consumers more ways to eat more apples. ApBitz snacks are the result of these efforts and help us in our commitment to sustainability and the ability to maximize the benefit of our entire crop.”OSF is gearing up to launch a summer social media contest as part of its promotional plan to create awareness about the new product. The #BitzofSummer contest will have participants share on social media photos and videos of themselves enjoying ApBitz snacks on their summer adventures. The contest will begin on June 29th and the grand prize winner will receive a trip to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, a world-class destination for wine, fruit and home to OSF. The winner will also receive the opportunity to dine with Neal Carter and learn more about the founding of OSF and development of our Arctic apples.For more information, visit: https://www.arcticapples.com/win-a-trip-to-the-home-of-arctic-apples/
CanadaGAP, an internationally recognized food safety program for fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, has successfully achieved recognition against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Version 7.1 benchmarking requirements.The recognition encompasses three CanadaGAP certification options: B, C, and D (for repacking and wholesaling).Heather Gale, executive director, comments that "CanadaGAP appreciates the rigour of the GFSI benchmarking process. GFSI recognition of CanadaGAP provides the fruit and vegetable industry the option to implement a made-in-Canada program that meets GFSI's high standard and satisfies the food safety requirements of customers in domestic and international markets."Jack Bates, chair of the board for CanadaGAP, adds that "GFSI recognition will allow CanadaGAP-certified companies to remain competitive and maintain access to customers who require certification to a GFSI-recognized food safety program."Scope of GFSI RecognitionCanadaGAP has been GFSI-recognized for certification options B and C since 2010. Option D (for repacking and wholesaling) was originally recognized by GFSI in 2016. Re-benchmarking is required each time GFSI updates its benchmarking requirements.Recognition of the three CanadaGAP certification options has once again been granted for the following GFSI scopes: BI - Farming of Plants D - Pre-process Handling of Plant Products (includes packing/repacking and related activities such as cooling, trimming, grading, washing, storage, etc.).
Loblaw Companies Limited has announced that by 2025 it will spend $150 million more each year with Canadian farmers buying local, fresh produce that otherwise would have been imported from around the world.Given the short Canadian growing season and unique climate conditions, customers are used to eating produce sourced from international growers, often picked before their prime and then trucked thousands of kilometres. As part of the pledge, Loblaw will work directly with local farmers to implement innovative growing methods or plant non-traditional crops, extending the growing season and bringing the "Grown in Canada" label to what were typically imported fruits and vegetables."For decades, we have worked with local farmers to feed our national appetite for Canadian-grown food," said Galen G. Weston, chairman and CEO, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We are applying new resources to accelerate that work, helping Canadian farmers find new opportunities to provide global products and year-round freshness, grown right here at home."Loblaw sources more Canadian produce than any other grocer, working with about 300 domestic growers. In season, nearly half of all produce in Loblaw's various stores – including Loblaws, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills and others – is Canadian-grown. However, the Canadian growing season is traditionally only a few months, and farmers have focused primarily on a well-established range of crops.Over the past few years, Loblaw has worked with Canadian farmers to grow a greater variety of products, including multicultural goods not traditionally grown in Canada. As a result, customers can now find bok choy, long eggplant, methi leaf, napa cabbage and okra bearing Grown in Ontario and Grown in Quebec labels. These crops are traditionally grown in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Central America.Loblaw is also working with Canadian indoor farmers and greenhouses to ensure a steady supply of fresh produce that would otherwise be out-of-season or imported from warmer climates for much of the year. Through its President's Choice brand, the company has developed relationships with various greenhouse operations to source Canadian-grown berries from January through December. Additionally, in Newfoundland, where fresh produce often travels long distances to store shelves, the company has introduced a pilot program with a vertical farm operation, bringing unprecedented fresh greens to the region."This effort is a large and logical extension of commitments we've been making for decades," said Frank Pagliaro, who leads the produce procurement for Loblaw. "We're investing in Canadian innovation, supporting local farmers, extending shelf life to offer fresher goods, serving new tastes, and helping the environment by reducing food waste and the carbon footprint generated by international shipments. And, our customer love every one of these details."
Canada's wine sector is growing, with the industry generating revenues of $1.2 billion in 2016 and employing over 5,600 people. Wine makers and grape growers across the country are working hard to ensure their businesses are able to thrive in Canada's climate, and innovate as the industry grows.Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, recently announced an investment of up to $8.4 million to the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's AgriScience Clusters. This is the first time grape and wine producing organizations from across the country have come together, as the CGCN, to develop a national research cluster.This research investment, which includes up to an additional $3.7 million from industry contributions, will help growers better protect their crops, test new vine varieties, and analyze growing practices in Canadian vineyards that are better for the environment.Minister MacAulay also congratulated the Canadian Vintners Association on completing a $1.5 million project under Growing Forward 2's AgriMarketing program. This funding helped the Canadian wine industry enhance Canada's international reputation as a top cool climate wine producer through market development and trade advocacy activities, and helped launch the Wines of Canada brand.Minister MacAulay also announced an additional investment of $1.5 million over three years to the Canadian Vintner's Association under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's AgriMarketing program. The funding will assist the industry in activities such as participation in trade shows, missions, and promotions in traditional markets, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and China, as well as CVA's participation at international trade advocacy events."Today's announcement and investment in the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network for Canada's grape growing industry comes after many years of hard work and collaboration. The Grape Growers of Ontario are pleased to be working alongside our partners in Nova Scotia, Quebec, British Columbia and with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to create a domestic supply of clean rootstock which is critical to the future of Canada's grape growing industry," said Matthias Oppenlaender, chair, Grape Growers of Ontario.Today's announcement is part of the Minister's cross country 'Growing Canadian Agriculture' tour which started in Quebec last week and ends in B.C. on July 17.The Minister is meeting with farmers, processors and industry leaders, as well as participate in rural agricultural events, to highlight strategic federal agricultural investments and programs - including those recently launched under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership—and how they will help to build an even stronger and more innovative sector for Canada."I'm thrilled to be launching Canada's first-ever grape and wine cluster. Our domestic grape and wine sector has had a positive impact on Canada's economy, and it continues to grow. Today's announcement will help increase the market share of Canadian wines by supporting research that improves wine quality and vineyard management practices, addresses challenges faced by the sector, and build upon Canada's international reputation as a top cool-climate wine producer," said Minister MacAulay.
Wayne Ackermann joins Bird Control Group after serving for years as a senior member of the management team of OVS Oregon Vineyard Supply.“I was exposed to this innovative technology of using laser light for bird control while at OVS. It proved to work so well that I joined the team of Bird Control Group to help them expand their network of dealers throughout North America,” says Ackermann.OVS-Oregon Vineyard Supply is known for offering new solutions to specialty fruit growers in the Northwest. This technology of using laser developed by Bird Control Group, based in The Netherlands, is a great example of a neighbor friendly and sustainable solution.In a world with increasing demands for clean and safe food, effective and long-lasting bird control is crucial. Bird Control Group provides innovative products to keep birds at a distance from commercial activities, ensuring a safer working environment and a highly effective way of preventing damage. For more information, visit: www.birdcontrolgroup.com
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering support for customers growing fruit and vegetables or operating wineries facing financial hardship as a result of recent widespread frost throughout all three Maritime provinces.In the first week of June, temperatures dropped to as low as -3 C., causing varying degrees of damage to fruit and vegetable crops in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. As a result, many customers may experience lower yields, reduced revenues and, in some cases, face higher operating costs.Although FCC’s support program is focused on customers in these provinces, FCC offers flexibility to all customers through challenging business cycles and unpredictable circumstances on a case-by-case basis.“While producers and agri-food processors are still assessing the impact of the frost damage, we want them to know we are ready to provide the support they may need to reduce any short-term financial pressure caused by the unusual weather.” said Faith Matchett, FCC vice-president of operations for Atlantic and Eastern Ontario.“Knowing that we are prepared to help will hopefully provide some comfort for the many producers and agri-food processors who may be feeling personal hardship and stress as a result of the frost at the beginning of the growing season,” she said. “We will support customers as needed and ensure they have the financial means to continue operations or prepare for the next season.”FCC will work with customers to come up with solutions for their operation and will consider deferral of principal payments and/or other loan payment schedule amendments to reduce the financial pressure on producerscaused by the late spring frost.“Having farmed for many years, I know that things don’t always go to planned and the weather can have a serious impact on farm operations,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “This late frost has created a difficult situation for many fruit and vegetable farmers across New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. I’m pleased that FCC is able to offer financial assistance and flexibility to those who have been impacted.”Customers in the three impacted provincesare encouraged to contact their FCC relationship manager or the FCC Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 to discuss their individual situation and options.
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.

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