Willowtree Farm: Going big with direct sales

Willowtree Farm: Going big with direct sales

Willowtree Farm has developed a number of innovative ideas to boost their direct sales.

Seal off your produce from pests in storage

Seal off your produce from pests in storage

Ensure your integrated pest management plan includes strategies for storage.

Creating seed sustainability

Creating seed sustainability

A number of B.C.-based organizations are working together to develop shared resources for new entrants, small seed businesses and existing ventures.

Exploring raspberry production methods in Canada

Exploring raspberry production methods in Canada

A few experienced producers provide insight on their success growing container-high tunnel raspberries.

New Varieties 2019

New Varieties 2019

Check out the new varieties available for the 2019 growing season.

New apple varieties have been popping up for years in hopes of becoming the next Ambrosia. But, how do new varieties gain traction in the market? And, how much of their success depends on consumer preference?  
A new processing plant in Guelph, Ont., plans to transmute sweet corn into a highly innovative product that can be used in a myriad of cutting-edge applications.
Selling directly to consumers is a strong trend in farming these days, and it’s no wonder why. More profit is kept by the farmer and demand for local food is higher than ever. Consumers also want to get to know, if they can, who produces their food.   
Fruit tree growers are often dealt major setbacks when warm temperatures arrive early in the spring and crops blossom early, leaving them susceptible to frost events.
The beloved peanut usually grows in sandy soil where there might not be much moisture. But some varieties of peanut perform better in drought than others. They use less water when there isn’t much to go around, and remain productive as drought deepens. Crop scientists are trying to find the peanut varieties best at it.
Innovations on the farm can come in many forms. From developing a new piece of equipment or production method, to improving the methods you already have in place. Canadian farmers are always searching for ways to work better and smarter.
When he was 12 years old, Owen Bridge had an encounter that would change his life. He met Dan Jason, the writer, activist and seed guru behind Salt Spring Seeds in B.C. Dan placed seeds from three rare bean varieties in Owen's hand, and assigned him a very special job: Growing and caring for them so they wouldn't disappear.
Supply-side factors will drive the profitability stories for cranberries, blueberries and maple syrup, the three Canadian horticulture sectors Farm Credit Canada (FCC) focus on in 2019. FCC expects Canadian cranberry profitability to be near break-even in 2019. Policy changes in the U.S. are expected to help support producer prices and improve the sector’s outlook from 2018.
Canada’s food processing sectors continue to expand, yet the profitability outlook for each is uneven in 2019. Production challenges, trade uncertainty and higher input costs generally dampen this outlook, while expansion in export markets, strong household disposable income and a lower Canadian dollar will support revenues of food manufacturers.
Canada currently imports millions of dollars’ worth of seed every year, despite mild winters in the southwest of B.C. that position the province as a viable climate for seed production.
Longtime horticultural labour issues advisor Ken Linington is the winner of this year’s Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) Industry Award of Merit.
Nova Scotia’s reputation as a wine-growing region continues to flourish with award-winning labels and expanding production. In 2018, the province’s 23 licensed wineries produced 1.5 million litres of wine valued at over $23 million, employing over 700 people.
BASF introduces new Versys insecticide for the 2019 season. Versys controls aphids and whiteflies in fruit and vegetable crops.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a minor use label expansion registration for Avian Control bird repellent to reduce feeding damage to ripening bushberries (crop subgroup 13-07B), grapes and sweet corn caused by birds in Canada.
The Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) website is undergoing a renovation, and as a result the Pest Management Centre pages have been relocated to join the AAFC Research and Development Centres’ web pages. Along with this migration, the pest management centre homepage has been updated.
New for 2019, BASF will introduce Serifel, an innovative, new fungicide with three modes of action to target powdery mildew and botrytis in grapes.
Syngenta Canada Inc. is pleased to announce the registration of Vibrance Ultra Potato as a new seed piece treatment for the suppression of pink rot and control of key seed- and soil‑borne diseases, including late blight.
Wageningen University & Research uses computer models to develop sustainable management strategies in the control of potato late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans. At the moment, large amounts of fungicides are used to control the disease. Organic farmers face an additional challenge because they are not allowed to use these chemicals. From an environmental point of view, these chemicals are also very polluting and therefore sustainable late blight management strategies are needed. In Ph.D research study, computer models have been used to investigate how the disease spreads in an agricultural landscape and to analyze the effect of growing resistant varieties.In Francine Pacilly's Ph.D. research, computer models have been used to investigate how the disease spreads in an agricultural landscape and to analyze the effect of growing resistant varieties. These models show that an increase in the number of potato fields with resistant varieties increases the risk that aggressive strains of the pathogen emerge and spread. This risk decreases if more than 50 per cent of the acreage of potato fields consists of resistant varieties. So, many resistant potatoes are not yet available so alertness is required. Various strategies are available to limit the consequences of a breakthrough, for example the spatial allocation of crops in combination with the use of small amounts of fungicides to limit the environmental impact. In addition, growing resistant varieties with multiple resistance genes reduces the risk of susceptibility to the potato disease. It is expected that these type of varieties will enter the market soon.Last year workshops with farmers were organized to increase awareness about the risk of resistance breakdown. In these workshops, the computer model was used to present several model scenarios to conventional and organic farmers. These workshops were very useful for showing farmers how the disease spreads in a landscape over time and space and for showing the effects in the long term. After the workshop farmers agreed that resistance management is important to increase the durability of resistant varieties and that collaborative action is needed. The workshops were useful to bring farmers together and to discuss strategies in the control of late blight to reduce the impact of the disease.In order to develop sustainable strategies it is important to consider all factors that influence late blight control such as the disease, the crop and control strategies of farmers. This research is part of the Complex Adaptive Systems program of Wageningen University where the goal is to identify these factors and to analyze how they influence each other. Potato late blight as one system brings a future without chemical control closer.
The use of biocontrol pest methods in horticulture is growing, whether it’s trap crops, pheromone traps, predatory insects or biopesticides.
Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency [PMRA] recently announced it is restarting the review process for mancozeb. All current final decisions and proposals regarding MRLs for mancozeb products will be removed and a new proposal for consultation will be posted. The PMRA released its evaluation for mancozeb and metiram products in June 2018. According to that decision, all uses of products containing mancozeb (Manzate, Penncozeb, Dithane, Ridomil Gold MZ and Gavel) and metiram (Polyram) were to be cancelled with the exception of foliar applications to potatoes. Representatives from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the Canadian Horticulture Council met with PMRA to voice their concerns about the loss of these products and a new review process was agreed upon. The decision for metiram could not be reversed for legal reasons. This means that as of June 2020, Polyram cannot be used on any crop except potatoes and the label will reflect that change.
Five new fertilizer-compatible products are expected to be available from Vive Crop Protection for U.S. corn, sugarbeet and potato growers in 2019. Each product includes a trusted active ingredient that has been improved with the patented Vive Allosperse Delivery System.AZteroid FC 3.3 is a high-concentration, fertilizer-compatible fungicide that improves plant health, yield and quality of key field crops, including potatoes, sugarbeets and corn. AZteroid FC 3.3 controls seed and seedling diseases caused by Rhizoctonia solani and certain Pythium spp. It contains azoxystrobin, the same active ingredient as Quadris.Bifender FC 3.1 controls corn rootworm, wireworm and other soil-borne pests in corn, potatoes and other rotational crops. Bifender FC 3.1 has a new high-concentration, fertilizer-compatible formulation and contains bifenthrin (same as Capture LFR).TalaxTM FC fungicide provides systemic control of pythium and phytophthora, similar to Ridomil Gold SL but in a fertilizer-compatible formulation. Talax FC contains metalaxyl and helps potatoes and other crops thrive right from the start, resulting in improved yield and quality.MidacTM FC systemic insecticide is a fertilizer-compatible imidacloprid formulation that controls below-ground and above-ground pests in potatoes and sugarbeets. It provides the same long-lasting protection of Admire PRO but with the convenience of being tank-mix compatible with fertilizers, micronutrients and other crop inputs.AverlandTM FC insecticide is a fertilizer-compatible abamectin formulation that controls nematodes in corn. It also controls potato psyllid, spider mites, Colorado potato beetle and leaf miners in potatoes. In-furrow application trials for nematode control in a wide range of crops are under way.All of these fertilizer-compatible products use the Vive Allosperse Delivery System - the first nanotechnology registered for U.S. crop protection. Products containing Allosperse are the best mixing products on the market, whether they are used with each other, liquid fertilizer, other crop protection products, micronutrients or just water.Brent Petersen, president of Cropwise Research LLC, performed trials on behalf of Vive Crop Protection to test mixability of the company’s products. During spring 2018, he mixed all five of the new products together with liquid fertilizer and observed, “We didn’t see any separation or settling out. It was nice to see because we often see products that aren’t compatible with other products, and especially with liquid fertilizer.”EPA registration is pending for Talax FC, Midac FC and Averland FC and the new formulations of AZteroid and Bifender.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency recently announced that it will be cancelling the use of the group M3 chemicals mancozeb and metiram in a wide range of crops, including field tomatoes. In 2020 products like Manzate, Penncozeb, Dithane and Polyram will no longer be available for sale and in 2021 use will be banned completely. This will ultimately have an effect on how we control diseases, including anthracnose, early blight and, most importantly, late blight. Although mancozeb is currently an important player in fungicide programs, tomato growers do have other options available.For best control it is always good to start with preventative or protectant fungicides once environmental conditions are conducive to disease development and before symptoms appear. | READ MORE
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
Ontario's Government for the People unveiled valuable resources to help farmers reduce the risk of barn fires this winter, the time when most barn fires occur.
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.
Every day there is a new smartphone application launched that claims to assist growers in their farming efforts. And while many of these apps can be beneficial tools, wading through the ever-growing lineup of offerings can be a daunting task.
When a new crop takes off, it’s not unusual that specialty equipment is designed and commercialized in order to make things easier. In this case, the crop is garlic, and the equipment is a planter and an add-on under-cutter (both pulled behind a tractor), designed and manufactured by Garlic-EEZ of Dundalk, Ont., owned by garlic grower Ken Hunt.
In 2018, MS Gregson introduced a line of electrostatic sprayers (the Ecostatik) in Canada. While electrostatic technology has been used in agriculture since the 1980’s, this is the first time ground rigs have been so readily available to Ontario (possibly Canadian) growers.
Fresno, CA – Jain Irrigation, Inc. recently announced it is acquiring ETwater, a supplier of intelligent irrigation technology and smart irrigation controllers. ETwater’s patented technology integrates data science, machine learning and predictive analytics about weather forecast and environmental variables to automatically, optimally adjust site-specific irrigation schedules. Connecting over the Internet, ETwater smart controllers get their schedules through secure, cellular data networks, and users are able to remotely monitor and manage controllers from any mobile or smart device. “We’re very proud of the positive impact on outdoor water conservation we’ve had in the U.S. market and raising awareness to the necessity of irrigating in harmony with nature,” said Pat McIntyre, CEO of ETwater. “The Jain acquisition will expand ETwater efficiencies throughout the U.S. and now worldwide to become a gold standard in sustainable water management globally.” “Jain is an early leader in the IoT for agriculture,” said Aric Olson, president of Jain Irrigation, Inc. “ETwater will improve our position in agriculture and helps us make a bigger impact in reducing water waste in landscape irrigation." “We are thrilled to have ETwater join our family. After several successful irrigation technology acquisitions, the addition of ETwater … adds key technologies that can be deployed globally to our growing technology customer base.”
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. 
The CanadaGAP website offers many useful resources to help participants succeed in the CanadaGAP program.
The agency responsible for safeguarding Canada’s food supply has new leadership.
The Canadian and Manitoba governments are providing $950,000 over five years in Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding to the Assiniboine Community College (ACC) for their Field to Fork initiative.
The agriculture and agri-food sector is a major contributor to Canada's economy, employing approximately 2.3 million people in 2017. Reliable access to labour is vital for the sector to ensure it can continue to create high-quality jobs and meet the growing demand for top-quality products for Canadians and consumers around the world.
A Soil Health Certificate program is part of a new project to promote agri-environmental stewardship in Ontario. With the support of funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Ecological Farmers’ Association of Ontario (EFAO) is offering farmer-to-farmer based soil health training and mentorship.
The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Bayer, announced new platform partnership agreements between the company's industry-leading Climate FieldView platform and three Canadian-based ag tech companies, SoilOptix, A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. and AgCon Aerial Corp.
Food business owners across Canada can now apply for a licence under the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations by accessing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s online portal, My CFIA. These regulations will protect Canadian families by making the food system even safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.
Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) members from across the province met this week to discuss the agri-food sector’s potential for growth, vote for leadership of the organization and address related challenges facing the industry.
Canadian farmers and food processors across the country work hard every day to put safe, high-quality food on our tables, while driving our economy and creating good, middle-class jobs. Farming can provide an amazing lifestyle with great rewards, but it can also be hard on mental health. Farmers and their families often face high levels of stress because of forces that are beyond their control, such as weather, disease, commodity prices, and trade.
Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage will remain the highest in Atlantic Canada when it increases by 70 cents to $12.25 per hour on April 1, 2019.
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) welcomes the recent announcement by the Canadian government whereby it is providing targeted relief from the federal carbon tax on fuels for heating greenhouses. This targeted relief is a positive step by the federal government to recognize the unique needs of domestic food production.The greenhouse vegetable sector has quickly become an economic driver in the province, generating over $920 million in farmgate sales in 2017. Using modern and efficient technologies, Ontario greenhouse growers are able to produce fresh product year-round in Canada’s northern climate, complementing Ontario’s bountiful field grown fruit and vegetable production. Without relief, carbon pricing has the potential to negatively impact the competitiveness of greenhouse and field production of fruits and vegetables, both of which compete in the global marketplace.“The reality is that farmers have already been incentivized to become energy efficient as it has been necessary to remain competitive,” says Jan VanderHout, chair of the OFVGA. “Today, we thank the federal government for recognizing the specific needs of greenhouse production.”The OFVGA looks forward to ongoing dialogue with the federal and Ontario provincial governments to support all of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers as stewards of the air, land and water that they depend on to contribute to Canada’s food security and the economy.
The Greenbelt Fund is partnering with the Wallace Centre and Farm Credit East to undertake this Food Hub Financial Benchmarking Survey based on their past successful surveys in the United States.With your help, we can benchmark Ontario’s food hub sector to help us all better understand where the food hub sector is headed, and help individual hub operators such as yourself understand how to get on, and stay on, the path to long-term financial success.Large companies develop or access benchmarks by hiring consulting firms to conduct research on their competitors. We want to have the data collected so that key benchmarks of the sector can be shared with all of you to help you grow your businesses and build stronger, more sustainable food systems.How to participate in the survey: You’ll complete a brief survey and submit your financial data for analysis. This process is completely confidential (The Greenbelt Fund and Wallace Centre never sees any individual data) and protected by Farm Credit’s bank-level security. To ensure that you’re ready to participate in the survey, please review the Wallace Center’s free Financial Fundamentals for Food Hubs webinar series, in which Farm Credit East staff demonstrate how to set up and manage your key financial information. Your hub will receive an individualized benchmark report, comparing your individual hub performance to the sector, and guidance on how to use the findings of the survey as a decision-making and goal-setting tool. Once the data are analyzed and findings documented the Greenbelt Fund will host a webinar on the findings in early 2019. The deadline to complete the online survey is November 30, 2018Each hub participating in the study is automatically entered to win a RoboCoupe Food Processor – a handy item for food hub operators that prepare, cut, slice, and dice local food! One winner will be selected from the survey participants.For more information, click here. 

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