Business & Policy
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is pleased to welcome Gabrielle Ferguson as the new leadership programs director.In this new position, Ferguson will be directly responsible for managing ROI’s long-running Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, and continuing to develop the organization’s other leadership program offerings. Ferguson will also be instrumental in maintaining and creating sponsor relationships for current and future programs.Ferguson comes to ROI with over 25 years’ experience in both industry and government, having worked with organizations such as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Cargill, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Guelph. She is also a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 15). Ferguson lives on a cash-crop farm in Lambton County and is passionate about promoting a greater understanding between agriculture and the public.Chief Executive Officer Norm Ragetlie is delighted that Ferguson has joined the team and says, “Gabe’s arrival will give us a chance to take a fresh look at our leadership programming offerings. Gabe brings a wealth of ag sector relationships to this job which we will build upon to ensure the needs of the sector are being met.”Ferguson is expected to begin her position with the organization in September. “I’m excited to support leadership development in the ag sector and rural communities,” Ferguson says. “I’m looking forward to this new role and engaging with industry stakeholders to explore existing and new opportunities for leadership programming.” The Rural Ontario Institute is a non-profit organization committed to developing leaders and facilitating collaboration on issues and opportunities facing rural and northern Ontario. More information is available at www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/.
In addition to the bronze medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards, held in London, for the 2011 Brut Réserve won earlier this year, Blomidon Estate Winery has received two Bronze Medals at the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada for their 2014 Blanc de Noirs and 2010 Blanc de Blancs, and also a 2018 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia Wines for the 2010 Blanc de Blancs.“Receiving these awards locally, from across the country, and also internationally is a great testament to our winery team and wine program,” says winemaker, Simon Rafuse. “It’s important for us as a benchmark, and it’s very gratifying to be rewarded for the hard work we try to do, placing Nova Scotia on the world wine map.”The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia Wines was established in 2014 to honour the outstanding achievements of Nova Scotia’s flourishing wine industry. That inaugural year Blomidon Estate Winery was bestowed the very same award for their sparkling 2010 Cuvée L’Acadie.The National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC) is held annually as a showcase of the best wines from across the country. In 2018, over 1,850 wines from 257 wineries were entered into the NWAC, making this the largest and most comprehensive wine competition in Canadian history. In 2015 and 2016 Blomidon Estate Winery received Gold Medals for two of their sparkling wines, as well as two silvers and one bronze medal in 2017.The Decanter World Wine Awards is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition annually held in London. This year 16,903 wines from around the world were tasted, judged by top wine experts from around the globe. In 2017 Blomidon Estate Winery received two silver medals along with a bronze for their wines.
After another strong financial performance in 2017-18, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has renewed its commitment to support growth and innovation in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry.“Agriculture and agri-food remains one of the strongest and most vibrant sectors in Canada’s economy,” said FCC president and CEO Michael Hoffort, in releasing the federal Crown corporation’s annual report . “FCC had record demand for financing this past year as producers and agriculture business operators continue to invest in the industry by expanding their businesses, building new facilities and adopting technologies to increase their efficiency.”In 2017-18, FCC grew its portfolio by 8.4 per cent to $33.9 billion, including $3.3 billion in new lending to young farmers. FCC also increased lending in the agri-food and agribusiness sector, supporting young entrepreneurs and helping business operators become leaders in job creation and innovation.“Innovation spurs increased productivity and competitiveness,” Hoffort said. “We understand the needs of our customers across the agriculture value chain, from primary producers to the agribusiness and agri-food companies that create value-added products for Canadian and global markets.”Looking ahead, FCC has set its sights on advancing its public policy role by contributing to a more sustainable and inclusive agriculture and agri-food industry. The federal Crown corporation is launching initiatives to advance mental health awareness in agriculture, developing financing and business support for women entrepreneurs, and exploring ways to involve more indigenous people and communities in the industry.“By helping primary producers and agri-food operators achieve their full potential, FCC is enabling the industry to create more opportunities for a broader range of people who can bring fresh ideas and new energy to Canadian agriculture and agri-food,” Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said. “At the same time, FCC is contributing to our government’s ambitious goal of increasing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.”In 2017-18, FCC support programs were provided last year for Ontario and Quebec customers impacted by excessive moisture and, more recently, New Brunswick and Quebec maple syrup producers and Maritimes fruit and vegetable producers impacted by unfavorable weather this spring.FCC also gave back almost $4 million through community investment initiatives, launched the Ignite summit for young farmers, offered a wide range of Ag Knowledge Exchange learning events attracting more than 15,000 participants and raised an equivalent of 7.2 million meals in conjunction with its like-minded partners through the FCC Drive Away Hunger tour in support of food banks across Canada. It also continues to support groups, such as 4-H Canada, Ag in the Classroom, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, STARS air ambulance service and numerous industry associations.“Our role goes well beyond loan transactions,” Hoffort said. “We look forward to continuing our support for young and new entrants, enabling intergenerational transfers of family farms and supporting the growth of our customers and the industry.”Other 2017-18 financial highlights include: Net income of $669.9 million, to be reinvested in agriculture through funding new loans and developing agriculture knowledge, products and services for customers. A dividend of $308.3 million paid by FCC to the Government of Canada. A healthy loan portfolio with the allowance for credit losses remaining steady, reflecting a strong and vibrant industry. Strong debt-to-equity and total capital ratios, indicating continued financial strength and an ongoing ability to serve the agriculture and agri-food industry. A full copy of the report can be found at www.fcc.ca/annualreport
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/
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."
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
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.
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.
AgSafe, formerly known as Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA), is celebrating their 25th anniversary as British Columbia’s agriculture health and safety association.Established in May of 1993, AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for B.C.’s agriculture industry and offers site-specific health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services. AgSafe is also a COR program certifying partner and offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers.The organization was established as a joint initiative of WorkSafeBC (Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia), the BC Agriculture Council and the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union as B.C.’s experts on workplace safety for the agriculture industry.Wendy Bennett has been the AgSafe executive director since 2015. “I am really happy to be in this position and celebrating this milestone,” Bennett commented. “I’m proud of AgSafe and the work our team does. Our consultants and advisors work hard to deliver safety information and guidance to hundreds of employers and workers around the province every year, and we’ve seen a significant change over the past twenty-five years with better safety practices for those who work in agriculture.”Don Dahr, former WorkSafeBC Director of Industry and Labour Services, is the newly elected chair of the AgSafe Board of Directors replacing long-time retiring chair, Ralph McGinn.“I’ve been involved with, and supported this organization for many years,” says Dahr. “As a non-voting member on the AgSafe Board of Directors for five years my role was to provide guidance on issues affecting agriculture and safety initiatives. Over the years I’ve watched the organization make great strides in developing and offering safety resources and consultation to B.C.’s farmers and ranchers.”Just over half of B.C.’s agriculture industry employers regularly use services, resources, or information from AgSafe and almost two thirds of agriculture employers have accessed AgSafe resources periodically.AgSafe’s services are also available to B.C. based landscape trades and professionals, garden centres, wholesale and retail nurseries, suppliers, and tree services.For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture workplace safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca.
My husband is always reminding me not to read the online comment sections of news articles. “They’ll only aggravate you,” he says, before listing off the numerous times I’ve almost had a stroke yelling at my computer screen.
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
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.
Don Dahr, retired WorkSafeBC cirector of industry and labour services (ILS) has been elected the new chair of the AgSafe British Columbia board of directors.Dahr replaces retiring chair Ralph McGinn who served as the board chair for the past twelve years.Don Dahr has been involved with AgSafe, formerly FARSHA, over the years as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors, providing guidance and updates on safety issues affecting agriculture.Dahr has a strong professional history in workplace safety. Starting early in his career as an electrician he worked to address workplace electrical safety needs in the agricultural and farming sector throughout Alberta and northern B.C.After a move to B.C., Dahr took a position with WorkSafeBC as a safety officer, eventually becoming WorkSafeBC’s director of ILS, overseeing the management of three of the major high risk industries in the province - agriculture, oil and gas, and forestry. Dahr retired from WorkSafeBC in 2014.Wendy Bennett, AgSafe executive director welcomed Dahr as the new board chair, “Don’s involvement with AgSafe in the past has been very valuable. He is committed to creating safe work environments and that is what AgSafe does. It’s a great fit for our organization.”Professional acknowledgements and safety projects: Recipient, Lieutenant Governors’ Award for Public Safety Chair, OSH Regulation Update for Part 19 Electrical Safety President, Electrical Contractors Association Central Alberta Member, Board of Directors BC Cooperative Association of B.C. Resource Roads Safety Project Confined Spaces in Agriculture Risk and Identification Initiative
Ontario’s average farmland values gained steam in 2017 while the Canadian average increase held relatively steady, a sign of a strong and stable agriculture economy, according to J.P. Gervais, chief agricultural economist for Farm Credit Canada (FCC).The average value of Canadian farmland increased 8.4 per cent in 2017, following a gain of 7.9 per cent in 2016. Although average farmland values have increased every year since 1993, recent increases are less pronounced than the 2011 to 2015 period that recorded significant average farmland value increases in many different regions."With the steady climb of farmland values, now is a good time for producers to review and adjust their business plan to reflect variable commodity prices and slightly higher interest rates, assess their overall financial position and focus on increasing productivity,” Gervais said. “It’s also a good idea to have a risk management plan in place to protect your business against unforeseen circumstances and events.”In Ontario, average farmland values increased by 9.4 per cent in 2017, following gains of 4.4 per cent in 2016 and 6.6 per cent in 2015.While Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia reported the largest average increases, four provinces – British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island saw a smaller increase from the previous year.Quebec and New Brunswick both showed increases that were fairly close to the national average, while Newfoundland and Labrador didn’t have enough transactions to fully assess farmland values in that province.Some of last year’s average farmland value increase may also be a result of timing as most provinces recorded a faster pace of increase in the first six months of the year while interest rate increases didn’t occur until the latter half of 2017.Recent increases in borrowing costs and expectations of further increases could cool the farmland market in 2018, according to Gervais.FCC’s Farmland Values Report highlights average changes in farmland values – regionally, provincially and nationally. This year’s report describes changes from January 1 to December 31, 2017 and, for the first time, provides a value range in terms of price per acre.“It’s important to remember that farmland prices can vary widely within regions due to many local factors that can influence how much value a buyer and seller attach to a parcel of land,” Gervais said.He also stressed that every farm operation is unique and there may be a strong business case for buying more land, but not without carefully weighing the risks and rewards.“Farm operations need to be cautious in regions where the growth rate of farmland values has exceeded that of farm incomes in recent years,” Gervais said.“The good news is Canadian farms are generally in a strong financial position when it comes to net cash income and their balance sheets,” he said.To view the 2017 FCC Farmland Values Report and historical data or register for the free FCC webinar on May 2, visit www.fcc.ca/FarmlandValues. For more information, visit: fcc.ca or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Twitter @FCCagriculture.
The Alberta government is taking new steps to raise the profile of local food producers, and supporting the province’s $1-billion local food industry by tabling the Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector Act.The proposed legislation would: Raise the profile of the local food industry Strengthen consumer confidence Identify solutions to challenges facing producers and processors Support sustainable growth in the agriculture and food processing sector “Alberta has some of the best farmers and food producers in the world. Our government is stepping up to show their support for this industry and the people who put food on our table. This new legislation will help this growing industry find new markets, create new jobs and further diversify the provincial economy," said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. The legis`lation would include the establishment of a Local Food Council which would identify options to help address challenges affecting growth in the local food sector.As well, a new Alberta Local Food Week would be held the third week of August to celebrate and promote local foods. This would tie in with the popular Open Farm Days program that offers Albertans the opportunity to visit local farms to get a better understanding of where their food comes from.“We support local Alberta producers and the abundant, high-quality agricultural products that are produced in this province. An Alberta local food week will help us raise awareness of amazing Alberta producers and celebrate the innovative, fresh, local foods they produce," said Jason Andersen, president, Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association.“This act would ensure that certified organic farmers and processors have a level playing field in Alberta. And consumers will now have trust and confidence that they are getting what they pay for when they buy local organic food," added Charles Newell, president, Organic Alberta.Under the proposed legislation, the province would also adopt the Canadian Organic Standard for organic foods produced and marketed in Alberta. This would help to improve consumer confidence that foods labelled “organic” are meeting a consistent and nationally recognized standard. Organic regulations will come into effect in 2019.Government engaged with a wide variety of stakeholders that identified opportunities for the local food industry in the areas of market development, consumer awareness and education, policy and collaboration, access to capital and regulations.Local food sales from farmers’ markets and through direct-to-consumer channels have more than doubled since 2008 and exceeded $1 billion last year.
Guelph, Ont. – The Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) recently launched 'The Food Entrepreneur’s Journey’, to help budding food manufacturers with practical step-by-step advice on how to build a thriving business from idea to commercialization.“There are many opportunities in Ontario’s food industry, but it’s tough to break into and tougher to succeed,” said AMI executive director Ashley Honsberger. “To ease the process, we’re offering this free guide that’s full of tips on business planning, avoiding pitfalls and finding the resources that are available to assist entrepreneurs along the way.”The guide takes the reader through all the activities that need to be performed in five basic stages: idea, proof of concept, product and business development, pre-commercial trials and sales, and finally commercial sales.Included are knowledge and experiences words of wisdom from product developers, chefs and other industry experts as well as owners who have already gone through the experience of starting up. Fran Kruz, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Not Yer Granny’s Granola, in Barrie, described her process. “This is not a linear model – at least not in my experience. The process continues to be very organic, multi-directional, and in some cases, it’s one step forward and two steps to one side, three to the other side, one back and a leap forward... I guess you could call it a dance!”A Food Entrepreneur’s Journey was also developed as a source of food industry information for advisory staff in federal, provincial, municipal and other organizations that help business start-ups across the province.The guide is now available online at the AMI’s website: https://takeanewapproach.ca/news and will be available at trade shows throughout the year.The Agri-Food Management Institute promotes new ways of thinking about agribusiness management and aims to increase awareness, understanding and adoption of beneficial business management practices by Ontario agri-food and agri-based producers and processors. AMI is funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC)’s Board of Directors recently welcomed industry and government representatives on their summer tour of several berry and vegetable farms, as well as an apple orchard near Quebec City. Most notably, the group was joined by MP Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary for agriculture, and MP Luc Berthold, Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. CHC was also pleased to host representatives from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Pest Management Centre, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, CropLife Canada, Farm Credit Canada, the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation, l’Association des producteurs maraîchers du Quebec, l’Association des producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec, and Lassonde.Throughout the day, key topics of discussion centered on labour, small business tax deductions, and crop protection issues. At each location, group participants also learned directly from the farmers about the kinds of innovative practices that are being implemented in their operations. | READ MORE
Canada's AgGrowth coalition and our members believe it is critical to continue the Business Risk Management (BRM) review with a comprehensive mandate, and encourage the Federal Provincial Territorial (FPT) Agriculture Ministers to extend the review process without delay.In summer of 2017, the FPT Agriculture Ministers initiated a review of the BRM programming in response to concerns that BRM programming did not meet farmer's needs. The review is not complete, and more work needs to be done to achieve a complete picture of gaps in the BRM suite and identify solutions."We urge Canada's Agriculture Ministers to extend the BRM review process under the guidance of a new steering committee, including more participation from our farming organizations." said Mark Brock, chair, AgGrowth Coalition. "This will help ensure that BRM programing is more effective at managing risk for producers on the farm."The External Advisory Panel, established to advise on the BRM review, will be submitting recommendations to the FPT Ministers this July in Vancouver. AgGrowth encourages the FPT Ministers to support their work to find solutions for farmers. The AgGrowth Coalition supports the work of the External Advisory Panel (EAP)."The Canadian agri-food sector has great potential - it is a strategic national asset," said Jeff Nielson, vice chair, AgGrowth Coalition. "There are many opportunities for growth, but they come at a time with increased volatility and risk. Canadian farmers need a suite of BRM programs that they can use to effectively manage risk so they seize these opportunities."AgGrowth Coalition was established by farmers to advocate for a comprehensive reform of risk management programming. The agriculture sector wants to continue to work in partnership with governments across the country to establish the right policies and programs to better reflect modern farming needs in Canada.
Canada's agriculture and agri-food system contributes $110 billion to Canada's economy, with more than $64.6 billion in exports. Agriculture risk management is important to the sector – it helps stabilize farmers' incomes, strengthens farm businesses, and encourages growth in the agricultural sector. Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, governments continue to support the development of new risk management tools that reflect the changing nature of the business.Building on the successes of Growing Forward 2, the AgriRisk Initiatives Program has been renewed under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced that the $55 million program will encourage partnerships between agriculture industry stakeholders, researchers, and federal, provincial and territorial governments to proactively explore and develop new risk management products and services for the agricultural sector.Funding is available under two components: Research and Development and Administrative Capacity Building. In response to recommendations received from the BRM Review Expert Panel, priority will be given to proposals for industry-led projects to develop new and innovative business risk management tools."Canada's hard-working farmers constantly face volatility and unpredictability in their business. Our Government is launching this renewed AgriRisk program to help protect our hardworking farmers from the risks they face so they can continue to grow the economy and create good, well-paying jobs. This announcement responds to what we heard from the external advisory panel on business risk management," said Minister MacAulay
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.
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 Canadian Horticultural Council presented before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (AGFO) to discuss Part 5, as it relates to farming, of Bill C-74 (a bill intended to pass into law certain elements of Budget 2018).Key points conveyedCHC took advantage of its appearance before the senate committee to reiterate its key messages regarding carbon pricing, notably: The government should recognize that greenhouse vegetable growers deliberately create, capture and assimilate CO2 for crop fertilization. The government should issue a national exemption from its carbon pricing policy to cover all fuel used for agricultural activities, including greenhouses, thereby minimizing the impacts of interprovincial competitiveness. The government should create a national relief mechanism, as the current carbon tax creates a competitive disadvantage between growers within a single province, across Canada, and on the international stage. The government should use CHC’s revised definition of primary agriculture across all departments and in Bill C-74, as the current definition does not reflect the full range of farming activities and machinery used in Canadian primary agriculture (see suggested definition below). Many greenhouse growers invest their own money into adapting and implementing new energy efficiencies, even before government funding becomes available. The Senators discussed with CHC the opportunity for these efforts to be recognised financially, retroactively. Carbon pricing cannot simply be passed onto consumers due to the global nature of the produce market. CHC will be following up directly with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-74 to emphasize our main asks.
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.).
When plants are growing outdoors, it’s no surprise that they are at risk for pest activity. But even once produce is harvested and brought inside for storage and packaging, it can fall victim to pests’ appetites. In fact, pest infestations that are established during storage can put your produce at increased risk, as it is easy for pests to move and spread quickly in the closed environment.While a pest infestation in the field might be obvious as plants show signs of fatigue, develop deformations or die, an infestation in the warehouse can pass under the radar if it is not monitored. So, it’s important for your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to include strategies for protecting your fruits and vegetables as you prepare them for storage and shipment. IPM strategies focus on preventive techniques, like exclusion, maintenance and sanitation and use sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices to manage and control pests.Fresh fruits and vegetables are vulnerable to pest infestations because of their succulence and the aroma they produce. Pests can infest produce items at any point in the supply chain, and improper packaging can make it easier for them to access your produce. Here are some of the most common pests that attack harvested fruits and vegetables:SpidersSpiders prey on insects and are naturally inclined to be found on foliage and vegetation. Therefore, harvested produce will harbour spiders. While in the field, spiders do help keep insect populations in check, but you don’t want them on your produce when it gets packaged and shipped.SpringtailsSpringtails are tiny insects that jump around when disturbed. They are attracted to moisture, dampness and humidity. They normally live in damp soil and feed on mold and fungi. So, naturally they will be found concealed in foliage and on plant stems, especially on vegetables that grow at soil level. As a result, they can easily make their way into packaged produce once harvested.Fruit FliesAs their name suggests, fruit flies are attracted to ripening and fermenting fruits and vegetables. Female fruit flies lay their eggs under the surface of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, a detailed inspection of random samples of fruits and vegetables to detect eggs and larvae is crucial to preventing a pest infestation in your processing and storage facilities. Sampled fruits should be cut through and examined for eggs and larvae, which are visible to the eyes.Indian Meal MothsWhile they only feed on dried fruits and vegetables, Indian meal moths are the most common stored product pest in food-handling facilities, homes and grocery stores. They are primarily attracted to dry foods and can damage products as their larvae spin silk webbing that accumulates fecal pellets and cast skins in the food. Common signs of an Indian meal moth infestation include the silk webbing, buildup of droppings in the food product and pupal cocoons along walls, shelving and ceilings.PreventionOnce harvested and packed, fruits and vegetables must continue to breath to maintain their freshness. So, packaging often has aeration pores that can make produce vulnerable to pest attacks, and it is difficult to find packaging that is impervious to all pest activity. However, there are some packaging materials that should be avoided for produce.Wooden containers can harbour wood boring insects. When exposed to moisture, they also can rot or cause mold and fungal growth that attracts insects which can spread and infect the packed produce. Rough, wooden boxes or bamboo like packaging can cause bruising and damage produce, which attracts insects. Materials less capable of withstanding stress also can damage produce, as they are vulnerable to tears, which can expose or damage the fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right type of packaging for your produce.In addition to avoiding these materials, keep an eye out for packaging that doesn’t seal properly. Even the best packaging doesn’t stand a chance if it’s not closed all the way or has a hole. At the end of the day, your goal should be to make it as difficult as possible for pests to reach your fruit and vegetable products.Fruit and vegetables are susceptible to pest infestations while they are growing. And once in storage, it’s easy for a pest infestation to spread quickly – especially with such an abundance of food for the pests to thrive on. So, it’s important to take steps to manage infestations in the field and to establish controls to help prevent infestations from being brought inside and spreading once in storage.In the field: Pest prevention starts with Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) in the field that reduce conditions conducive to pest infestations. Extensively monitor for pest activity by inspecting or scouting plants regularly during growing season to catch infestations early. Reduce pest attractants by practicing good sanitation (phytosanitation) and eliminating onsite harbourage sites such as weeds, piles of compose, standing water and idle unused equipment. Remove fallen, overripe or rotting fruits from the fields, as this could attract fruit flies and other pests. At time of harvest, inspect extensively for insects and spiders on produce. Harvest produce when they are dry. This prevents pest and diseases from clinging on them. Clean and sanitize harvest equipment, bins and tools before and after harvesting. Avoid or prevent bruising of produce. The bruising attracts insect pests, especially fruit flies. In processing and storage:As a first step, implement these post-harvest handling practices:Sanitation Have written cleaning and sanitation operating procedures for equipment and the facility. Clean and sanitize packaging, handing bins and equipment regularly to prevent build-ups and habourages. Regularly clean spills or trapped produce, especially in hard to reach areas and dead voids in packaging conveyer machines and equipment footing, as well as under and inside pallets. Ensure floor drains have undamaged cover grids or traps to prevent trapping fruits and vegetables in the drain. This creates a breeding ground for fruit flies, drain flies and phorid flies. Using drain brushes, mechanically clean floor drains at least every two weeks or so. Ensure the floor is void of cracks and tile gaps. The floor should be smooth and level for effective cleaning. Practice good fruit and vegetable waste management to avoiding attracting pests and creating harbourage sites. Exclusion Air curtains, sensor doors and roll-up doors keep flies from entering into processing or storage areas. Install pest monitors like insect light traps and pheromone traps. Repair screens and weather stripping around doors and windows. Storage and Shipping Use the first-in, first-out rule for storing and distributing products to avoid fermentation. Keep products off the floor on racked shelves. Keep products refrigerated when you can. Temperature regulation and maintaining your cold storage system keeps the produce fresh and keeps pests away. Allow proper illumination and ventilation to keep moisture down and discourage pest activity. Avoid crisscross movement of packed produce to prevent pest contamination. Ensure transportation vehicles are clean and temperatures are regulated. Inspect packaging for pest activity prior to loading and shipping. In addition to these preventive steps, be sure to monitor pest activity closely – indoors and outdoors. This will help you identify trends and adjust your pest management program to meet the unique needs of your property. You should also talk with your pest management provider about your process for storing and packaging food. They can offer recommendations specific to the types of produce you grow and help adjust your pest control program accordingly.Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is a quality assurance manager with regulatory and lab services with Orkin Canada.
November 14, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – Are you a vegetable or fruit grower who needs to up your on-farm food safety game? Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF), with support from Growing Forward 2, are offering Bridging the GAP: Making CanadaGAP Work on Your Farm. This one-day workshop will be offered in two locations – Airdrie on November 29, 2017, and Leduc on December 6th, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CanadaGAP is a food safety program for companies that produce, handle and broker fruits and vegetables. The program is designed to help implement and maintain effective food safety procedures within fresh produce operations “This introductory workshop is targeted at those growers who are looking to sell into retail or food service markets but require certification or to those who are unsure about where to start thinking about food safety,” says Kellie Jackson, development officer, AF. “Facilitators will help you to better understand the benefits of an on-farm food safety system, how CanadaGAP works, and walk you through assessing risk on your farm. A producer will share how CanadaGAP has affected their business and a produce buyer will talk about why they want suppliers to be CanadaGAP certified.” This workshop will be the precursor to two other workshops planned for January and February 2018. The first will be to further CanadaGAP understanding to help participants to become certified once enrolled in the program, while the second workshop focuses on maintaining certification and implementing process improvements that address risk. To register for one of the introductory workshops, call 1-800-387-6030 or register on line at https://eservices.alberta.ca/bridging-the-gap-workshop.html. Cost is $30 plus GST per person and includes coffee and lunch. For more information, contact Kellie Jackson at 403-948-8538.
August 15, 2017 - The Council of Canadians is pressing the provincial government to keep genetically modified potatoes out of P.E.I. soil.Council chair Leo Broderick questions the science behind Innate generation 2 potatoes, and added P.E.I. would be better off staying away from the controversy surrounding genetically modified food. He noted P.E.I. is already attracting attention as a producer of genetically modified salmon. READ MORE
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Carrot FestFri Aug 17, 2018
Potato Field Day in EloraWed Aug 22, 2018 @10:30AM - 02:00PM
Ontario Potato Field Day Thu Aug 23, 2018
Ontario Garlic WorkshopWed Sep 05, 2018 @ 9:30AM - 03:30PM