Business & Policy

After a soft launch in late 2017, Marketplace-E is being introduced by Ritchie Bros. as its latest buying and selling solution. Complementing the company's onsite unreserved auctions and online-only auctions through IronPlanet, Marketplace-E offers sellers increased control over price, location, and timing, while providing buyers access to more equipment available to purchase right away."With the launch of Marketplace-E we can now serve customers as a true one-stop shop, with a complete suite of selling solutions to meet every need," said Ravi Saligram, CEO of Ritchie Bros. "We have many customers who, for a variety of reasons, need more control over the selling price and process of their assets. With Marketplace-E they will get the control they need while still benefiting from Ritchie Bros.' marketing and expansive global buyer network."Ravi continued, "Marketplace-E will also open up new customer opportunities for Ritchie Bros. In our quest to lead the industry in innovation; we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the asset disposition experience. Developing a sleek, user-friendly digital platform expands the options available to OEMs, dealers, brokers and end users."How Marketplace-E works – three selling options: Make Offer: List equipment online and let potential buyers submit offers, then negotiate with potential buyers to reach an agreement. Buy Now: List equipment online at a fixed, buy-it-now price; like a basic ecommerce transaction. Once the item is purchased, the listing is closed. Reserve Price: An online listing with a minimum/reserve price. The item will not sell until the reserve is met. The seller minimum is protected, but the potential highest selling price is not capped. The selling process is also aided by an inside sales team dedicated to facilitating offline negotiations between interested buyers and sellers.For more information about Marketplace-E, visit ironplanet.com/Marketplace-E.
Cargill recently announced it has reached an agreement on the sale of Cargill's grain and crop inputs retail assets in Ontario, including its ownership in South West Ag Partners, to La Coop fédérée, an agri-food cooperative with operations across Canada.The sale comprises 13 grain assets and crop inputs retail assets, and Cargill's 50 per cent share of South West Ag Partners, a joint venture which includes nine grain and crop inputs facilities in Ontario. The sale does not include the Cargill export terminal in Sarnia, or the AgResource crop inputs wholesale business. All other Cargill grain and crop inputs assets in Canada and all other Cargill businesses in Ontario or throughout Canada are not included in the sale agreement.Terms of the pending sale are not being disclosed. Finalization of the transaction will take place upon the completion of definitive agreements and any required regulatory reviews, which are expected the second quarter of the calendar year."Cargill continually evaluates its assets to ensure its sites are operating efficiently and are competitive in the areas it serves," said Dave Baudler, managing director for Cargill's grain business. "After an in-depth evaluation of our grain and crop inputs businesses in Ontario, we came to the conclusion that a sale of those assets was the best path forward to remain competitive and deliver on our growth strategy. La Coop fédérée was the buyer of choice to ensure a smooth transition for employees and customers.""Our Agromart retail network and LCF grain trading businesses have been growing steadily in recent years and the addition of these facilities will be a complementary fit to existing operations in Ontario, which already include four crop input terminals, 16 locally-owned joint-venture retailers and a grain trading group," added Sébastien Léveillé, executive agribusiness vice-president for La Coop fédérée.Glenn Houser, managing director for Cargill's crop inputs business, reiterated Cargill's dedication to its growers and customers. "Cargill remains committed to helping Canadian growers and agricultural producers succeed," said Houser. "We will maintain the operation of 40 crop inputs retail locations, 26 elevator assets, five export terminals, and two oilseed processing facilities to serve growers throughout the country.""We are confident that existing customers will benefit greatly from our experience and expertise in providing crop input, grain handling and merchandising services in the region, and from having access to a broad agribusiness retail network that reaches well beyond Ontario, with over a hundred affiliated locations across Canada," added Sébastien Léveillé."South West Ag Partners continually looks for opportunities to ensure its business is operating efficiently and is aligned to meet the needs of our customer," said Paul Hazzard, general manager for South West Ag Partners Inc. "Working with La Coop fédérée will, without a doubt bring new opportunities to our customers," he added.Facilities included in the sale to La Coop fédérée are: Cargill grain: Melbourne; Princeton; Shetland; Staples; Talbotville Cargill crop inputs: Alliston; Clinton; Courtland; Harriston; Harrow; Melbourne; Mount Albert; Princeton; Shetland; Talbotville; Tilbury; Waterford South West Ag Partners grain: Becher; Grande Pointe; Palmerston Grain; Rutherford; Tupperville; Wallaceburg; all grain satellite relationships South West Ag Partners crop inputs: Becher; Dover; Eberts; Ridgetown; Rutherford
Nearly two years after its parent company, Kubota Corporation, acquired the five divisions of Great Plains Manufacturing Inc., including several facilities in Kansas, Kubota Canada Ltd. (KCL) is pleased to announce it has taken over the distribution of Great Plains equipment from La Coop fédérée for Quebec and Atlantic Canada.As it did with Land Pride in 2017, KCL is thrilled to now be able to offer innovative, durable and high-performance Great Plains equipment to farmers across Quebec and Atlantic Canada at their local Kubota dealerships.“Everything we’ve done over the past years has been geared towards customer satisfaction and brand loyalty,” said Bob Hickey, president of KCL. “That’s what drove us to not only expand our product line through acquisitions such as Great Plains Manufacturing, but also invest in our distribution network, so that current and potential clients could access an expanded range of high-quality products when the time came to invest in their farm equipment.”
Port Burwell, Ont. - Firefighters from four different departments battled flames overnight at an apple storage facility in Port Burwell.Emergency crews were called to the scene on Plank Road at about 8:40 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20th and were still fighting the fire on Wednesday afternoon.The facility is owned by Kevin Martin of Martin’s Family Fruit Farm of Waterloo. He estimates the value of the damage to be about $3 million. An area of about 60,000 square feet was affected. For the full story, CLICK HERE.
David Pratt, formerly of Michigan Sugar Company and Michigan State University recently joined Vive Crop Protection as a technical sales associate.In the technical sales associate role, Pratt will work with cutting-edge crop protection products in sugar beets and potatoes, managing field trials and presenting information to farmers to help increase profitability on their farms.Pratt holds a Masters in Science, Agronomy from Michigan State University and his focus will be on AZteroid FC fungicide and Bifender FC insecticide, as well as demonstrating three new products launching in 2019 for potato and sugar beet growers. AZteroid FC provides excellent disease control and plant health benefits while Bifender FC controls important below-ground insects including rootworm and wireworm. Both products can be mixed in the tank with starter fertilizer, saving farmers money, time and hassle.Dr. Darren Anderson, President of Vive Crop Protection says, “David’s background in both university and private industry research will help potato and sugarbeet growers to get the best from our products, and will also help us develop new solutions for those customers.”
BASF is in exclusive talks to acquire Bayer’s entire vegetable seeds business, operating under the global trademark Nunhems. Bayer intends to divest this business in the context of its planned acquisition of Monsanto. Definitive agreements have not been concluded. With this transaction, BASF targets to enhance its future seed platform and the market position of its Agricultural Solutions business.On October 13, 2017, BASF signed an agreement to acquire significant parts of Bayer’s seed and non-selective herbicide businesses. The all-cash purchase price is €5.9 billion, subject to certain adjustments at closing. The assets to be acquired include Bayer’s global glufosinate-ammonium non-selective herbicide business as well as its seed businesses for key row crops in select markets: canola hybrids in North America under the InVigor brand using the LibertyLink trait technology, oilseed rape mainly in European markets, cotton in the Americas and Europe as well as soybean in the Americas. The transaction also includes Bayer’s trait research and breeding capabilities for these crops and the LibertyLink trait and trademark. This acquisition complements BASF’s crop protection business and marks its entry into the seed business with proprietary assets in key agricultural markets.
In mid-March, Nova Scotia tree fruit growers visited Eisses Family Farm with Dr. Lee Kalcsits from Washington State University to discuss pruning and crop load for Honeycrisp to reduce bitter pit. They wielded their clippers on 4th year nonbearing Honeycrisp and power-sawed the large limbs on mature Honeycrisp. Next, the group visited Al Fisher's where Larry Lutz had counted the buds on a tree and talked about pruning in relation to crop load. He also stressed the importance of pruning Ambrosia to manage its upright tree structure.During the indoor session on March 14th, Dr. Lee Kalcsits presented the topic of root and tree physiology in relation to nutrients. Amy Sangster carried on the conversation with her perspective on soil health. She shared videos and soil samples from N.S. orchards. Dr. Lee Kalcsits finished the session with his much-anticipated presentation on nutrient relations, calcium and bitter pit. There is plenty to learn about bitter pit and his research is offering explanations.For more information, please visit: http://www.nsfga.com/
February 26, 2018, Osoyoos, BC – Pinder Dhaliwal always knew that the farm was his home no matter what career he chose to follow. And that’s exactly what the new president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association fell back on after exploring several jobs in his youth. The 48-year-old farmer from Oliver was recently elected to take over the helm of the BCFGA after former president Fred Steele stepped down. READ MORE
February 23, 2018, Niagara Falls, Ont – Apple and lavender grower Harold Schooley and crop protection specialist Craig Hunter are the winners of the 2018 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) Industry Award of Merit. It’s the first time in the organization’s history that two winners were selected in the same year. The awards were presented recently at the OFVGA annual banquet in Niagara Falls. Schooley has farmed in Norfolk County since the mid-1970s, growing apples and more recently adding lavender production to his family’s operation. He joined the OFVGA board of directors as chair of the research section in 2004, a role he has held until the section was retired this year. “Growers rely on research to help advance the industry and we appreciate Harold’s many years of service on our behalf to ensure we get the research we need to grow our markets and maintain our competitiveness,” says Jan VanderHout, OFVGA chair. “Harold’s insights and expertise have been valued additions, both to our board table and to the fruit and vegetable industry as a whole.” During his tenure as research section chair, Schooley reviewed hundreds of research proposals for industry relevance, attended countless research-related meetings and events, and represented the grower viewpoint during research priority setting exercises. He is a board member and past chair of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, an active member of the Norfolk Fruit Growers, and was previously involved with the now-defunct Ontario Apple Marketing Commission. Schooley is also a past recipient of the Golden Apple Award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to the apple industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and a Masters’ in Plant Pathology, both from the University of Guelph, and lives with his wife Jan on their third generation family orchard near Simcoe. Hunter has dedicated his career to crop protection, spending 30 years with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) before joining the OFVGA to work on behalf of horticulture growers and becoming an industry-renowned expert in the process. “As growers we’ve been very fortunate to have Craig’s skills and expertise at our disposal to help ensure access to new crop protection materials and keep old ones available,” says Charles Stevens, OFVGA crop protection chair. “He is a valued and respected resource in global crop protection circles and his efforts on behalf of growers have been invaluable to our industry.” Hunter helped establish the Pest Management Centre in 2003, Canada’s hub for improving access to newer, safer pesticides as well as promoting novel production practices that reduce agriculture’s reliance on pesticides, and was also instrumental in helping start the Ontario Pesticide Education Program more than 30 years ago. He’s the longest serving member of the provincial Ontario Pesticide Advisory Committee, chairs the national Minor Use Priority Setting meetings, and is a driving force behind the Global Minor Use Summits that are working towards global registration for crop protection products. Hunter lives in Simcoe with his wife, Jane, and is a graduate of the University of Guelph, holding a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Masters’ in Environmental Biology. The OFVGA Award of Merit is presented annually to an individual or an organization that has made outstanding contributions to the fruit and vegetable industry.
February 23, 2018, Niagara Falls, Ont – The chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association expects labour, energy and trade to be the discussion points this year in the horticulture industry. The association held its annual general meeting in Niagara Falls this week. And greenhouse vegetable grower Jan VanderHout will serve another one-year term as chair of the OFVGA. READ MORE
February 20, 2018, Kelowna, BC – The outgoing president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association painted a picture of an industry that has bounced back after some very dark days. Fred Steele, stepping down after four years at the helm, told the 129th BCFGA convention in Kelowna, painted a picture of hope and prosperity in his final address to the membership. READ MORE
February 20, 2018, Kelowna, BC – It’s not something politicians like to talk about but Okanagan fruit growers say it’s something that needs to be addressed. The B.C. Fruit Growers Association says it’s time governments begin talking about the possibility of a deer cull because the deer are destroying their orchards. READ MORE
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.
Apple, cherry and other tree fruit growers throughout British Columbia will be able to update aging equipment and infrastructure while increasing their marketing and research efforts thanks to a new $5-million Tree Fruit Competitiveness Fund announced recently.
Three Alberta companies and one association participated in the Seed Potato Trade Mission to Thailand from November 19 to 27, 2017. The Companies included Haarsma Farms, Parkland Seed Potatoes, Sunnycrest Seed Potatoes, and the Potato Growers of Alberta. Participants met with importers, distributors, and potential customers in Bangkok, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, Thailand. They also toured local potato farm operations.“This was the first market development mission focused on seed potato suppliers to Thailand since Alberta was granted market access last year,” says Rachel Luo, senior trade and relations officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Alberta seed potato companies pushed to make this mission a reality, and all the companies expect to generate new sales.”“We expect to be exporting Alberta seed potatoes by 2019 starting with a trial order,” says Kirby Sawatzky with Parkland Seed Potatoes. “We made excellent connections with two major seed potato importers.”The Alberta delegation met with PepsiCo and toured its potato chip factory and contracted farm. The group also met with BJC Foods and toured its storage facilities and contracted potato farm. The Thai importers made it clear that the opportunities for Alberta seed potatoes were positive due to the hearty nature of Alberta’s seed potato varieties.Alberta Agriculture and Forestry collaborated with the Canadian Embassy in Thailand to organize this mission to Thailand.For more information on the South East Asia market, contact Rachel Luo, senior trade and relations officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry at 780-422-7102.
On the heels of Alberta's boycott of B.C. wines, the B.C. government is ramping up its support for the industry by proclaiming April as B.C. Wine Month, including a special month-long promotion at all public liquor stores."We are grateful for the loyalty and support we have received from the consumers across B.C. and Canada in response to Alberta's announcement to boycott B.C. wine," said Miles Prodan, president and CEO of the BC Wine Institute. "We appreciate the province's quick response in support of B.C.'s wineries, and we remain resolute in our mission to secure sales opportunities here in B.C. for the many B.C. grape wineries across the province, most of which are small, family-owned-and-operated businesses, and will continue to promote our local world-class products at home and abroad."Along with the proclamation of B.C. Wine Month in April, other government initiatives in support of B.C.'s wine industry include: Increased opportunities to have B.C. wines in local BC Liquor Stores, including local wines from small and medium producers that are not typically available outside of the wineries. Promotion throughout the month with storefront displays. A greater variety of in-store tastings of B.C. wines. Funding for an expansion of the Buy BC: Eat Drink Local campaign, to further develop partnerships between the BC Wine Institute and the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association. Funding to support the marketing of BC VQA wines to new international markets. While the Province has worked to develop this support, the Ministry of Agriculture has been involved in ongoing engagement with wine producers throughout the province.
February 28, 2018, Toronto, Ont – Ontario’s new minimum wage is affecting the city’s entire food industry. On Jan. 1 the province’s minimum wage rose to $14 an hour, after increasing to $11.25 an hour last April. READ MORE
February 20, 2018, Kelowna, BC – B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham offered some hope of relief for Okanagan fruit growers concerning the minimum wage increases. Popham said she has heard “loud and clear” about the concerns of the minimum wage being increased beyond $15/hour as of June 2021. READ MORE
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Dr. Qiang Liu is developing a new plant protein-based bioplastic that will keep meat, dairy, and other food products fresher longer.The bioplastic is made from the by-products created by industrial processing of certain plants. Not only will this bioplastic protect perishable food better than regular plastic packaging, it is also more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.Dr. Liu has been working to advance the science around bioplastics for over 15 years. He is a "green" chemist - someone who specializing in making plastics and other goods from agricultural plants."I, along with industry, saw great opportunity to create something useful out of the leftover by-product from industrial canola oil processing, which is why this project was funded under the Growing Forward 2 Canola Cluster. We can extract all sorts of things like starches, proteins, and oils from plant materials to make plastics, but I am particularly interested in proteins from canola meal in this research project," says Dr. Liu.Plant protein-based bioplastic has been shown to have similar attributes to other plant-based bio-products; it can stretch, it doesn’t deform in certain temperatures, and in some cases, it biodegrades. That being said, building the polymers (long chains of repeating molecules) that are the basis of biofilms and plastics can be tricky and finding just the right technique and formula is challenging.One challenge with some protein polymers is that they are can be sensitive to a lot of moisture - not a good trait if you want to use them to protect food with a natural moisture content. Dr. Liu and his team recently discovered a formula and technique to make soy and canola protein polymers water-resistant by "wrapping" them in another polymer.The team was also able to add an anti-microbial compound to the mix, which not only made the resulting bioplastic able to prevent nasty bacteria like E. coli from growing - but, depending on how much was added, also could change the porosity of the film.The porosity of bioplastic (essentially how many holes are in it) is very important in food packaging since different foods need different amounts of moisture to stay fresh. Having a way to adjust porosity (either having more or less small holes in it) is a great feature in a potential plastic because it can either let more or less water go into or out of the area where the food is.Even though it is in the early stages of development, Dr. Liu believes there is great future for bringing this technology into the marketplace."The use of plant-based plastics as a renewable resource for packaging and consumer goods is becoming increasingly attractive due to environmental concerns and the availability of raw materials. My hope is that someday this research will lead to all plastics being made from renewable sources. It would be a win for the agriculture sector to have another source of income from waste and a win for our environment," explains Dr. Liu.Should this potential biofilm prove viable, it would be a win for the agriculture sector and the environment, as it would provide added revenue by creating a renewable plastic alternative.
February 22, 2018, Niagara Falls, Ont – The Canadian Government recently announced an investment of more than $175,000 to the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) in providing services to Canadian buyers and sellers of fresh fruits and vegetables. The announcement was made during the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls. The DRC, which acts as a third party financial dispute resolution body for fruit and vegetable growers, received an investment of $118,795 to deliver an outreach and education initiative on the impending Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and regulations. An additional $58,807 was provided under the same program to support the industry to initiate work toward updating the Canadian grade standards for fresh fruits and vegetables in order to reflect current market and consumer preferences. "We are very pleased the Government of Canada has provided support to the fruit and vegetable sector for the DRC’s role in the trade and commerce portion of the SFCA as well as modernization of the Grade Standards Compendium for fresh fruit and vegetables,” said Fred Webber, president and CEO of the DRC. “The playing field will be truly leveled when everyone knows the rights and responsibilities associated with the proposed regulatory requirement for a DRC membership. Furthermore, the grade standards play an essential role in evaluating and resolving grade and condition disputes fairly and efficiently.” "This investment will help provide clarity and confidence to farmers across Canada and ensure Canada continues to produce the same high quality fruit and vegetables to Canadians and the world," added Rebecca Lee, executive director of the Canadian Horticultural Council.
January 9, 2018, Morell, PEI – The federal government is supporting new automated processes at Green Meadow Farms to help increase productivity, allowing employees to focus their skills in other aspects of the business. A repayable contribution of $155,141 – provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program – will help Green Meadows purchase and install new automated sorting and bagging equipment at its Morell farm. The technology upgrades will improve efficiency and productivity at the operation. “At Green Meadow Farms, we are continuously looking for ways to update our operation to compete in the global marketplace,” said Anneke Polstra, one of the founders of Green Meadow Farms Inc. “With this repayable contribution from ACOA, we are able to invest in new packaging technology that will support the work of our staff and help us keep up with growing industry demand.” Green Meadow Farms Inc. was established in 1993 by Anneke and Reitze Polstra, and is now managed by brothers, Terry and Thys Polstra. The 2,000 acre farm has more than 1,000 acres of potatoes and grain in production with up to 14 full-time and part-time employees. “Nearly 25 years ago, the Polstra family moved to the Island and began a successful farm operation,” said Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay. “Hard work and a continued commitment to updating the technology in their processing facility has allowed them to remain competitive and to create employment in rural P.E.I. I applaud their successes and am pleased to show support for this latest investment.”
December 19, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – Canadian farmers help drive the economy but can face risks that threaten the viability of their farms and are beyond their control such as unpredictable weather, crop or animal disease, extreme market volatility and high input costs. Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which will take effect April 1, 2018, producers will continue to have access to a robust suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to help manage these risks. In July 2017, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers of agriculture agreed to undertake a review of BRM programs to assess program effectiveness and their impact on growth and innovation. An external expert panel consisting of producers, academics and experts has been established to provide feedback and guidance on the review. The panel members will support the BRM review task team made up of FPT officials who have been working on the review since the summer of 2017. This work will help inform ministers on the continued effectiveness and impact of BRM programs in meeting the future needs of the sector. The panel will meet through the winter and spring of 2018, and their findings will be presented to FPT ministers at their annual meeting next summer in British Columbia.  “This expert panel is a group of diverse and highly capable people who will bring important perspectives to this process,” Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay. “I look forward to seeing the results of their discussions as governments work to ensure these programs continue to help farmers when they need it most, enabling them to create well-paying middle class jobs and keep pace with the world’s growing demand for our high-quality products.”
October 19, 2017, Erinsville, Ont – Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is climbing down from another controversial tax proposal to address the concerns of farmers and fishers. Morneau made the announcement at a farm alongside Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay in Erinsville, Ont., about halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, and three area Liberal MPs. Morneau said the government is abandoning the proposed tax reform that would have restricted the conversion of income into capital gains. READ MORE  
October 4, 2017, Vancouver, BC – As dairy products, Bombardier aircraft and softwood lumber continue to bedevil trade relations between Canada and the U.S., negotiators will have to add wine to their list of issues to resolve. The U.S. has filed a second complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over what it perceives as B.C.’s unfair rules regarding wine sales in the province’s grocery stores, according to a release from the WTO. READ MORE
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
February 8, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – Effective April 1, 2017 CanadaGAP will introduce an unannounced audit program in response to new GFSI benchmarking requirements.What is an unannounced audit? Unannounced audits will not be scheduled in advance with the producer. The certification body will provide two to five business days' notice that the auditor is coming. An unannounced audit will take place instead of a scheduled audit (NOT additional to a scheduled audit). The producer will pay the regular audit fee for the unannounced audit. Only if needed, the certification body or auditor may contact you ahead of time (e.g., early in the season) To confirm the scope of your operation's certification To confirm in general when certain activities are occurring (e.g., harvesting, packing, shipping, etc.) NOT to identify a specific time for the audit. When will unannounced audits occur? Like all CanadaGAP audits, unannounced audits must occur while activities relevant to the scope of your operation's certification are occurring. You cannot block off "busy periods" like harvesting or shipping. Unannounced audits can occur during periods of high activity. Be audit-ready You can refuse the first notification, for valid reasons as determined by the certification body. You cannot refuse the second notification. Not responding to the notification (phone or email) from the certification body or auditor will be considered an ACCEPTED notification.  If you are not prepared to proceed with the audit when the auditor arrives, you will still be charged for the cost of the auditor's time and travel. If possible, the auditor will return for another unannounced audit during the current season. Note that it may be impossible for the auditor to return during the current season due to scheduling demands. In other words, not being prepared for the unannounced audit could put your operation's certification in jeopardy. Who will be chosen for an unannounced audit? The new unannounced audit program will be for those enrolled in CanadaGAP certification Options A1, A2, C and D.  The certification body will choose five per cent of its clients each year. Over time, all individually certified companies will have an unannounced audit. Those enrolled in group certification Option B already have an unannounced component to their option. Option A3 will also see the introduction of an unannounced component in 2017.  What about random audits? If you are enrolled in CanadaGAP certification Option A1 or A2 (four-year audit cycle) 1) there is no change to your four-year audit cycle, and 2) there is no change to the way that random audits work. You would still be informed in advance if you've been randomly selected for an audit. However, you may not be told the exact date of your audit. It could be an unannounced audit. Likewise, if you already expect to be audited this year (because you are due for an audit in your four-year cycle), this audit could be unannounced. "Unannounced" means you won't know more than two to five business days in advance of the date of your audit. You will still know in advance that you are having an audit sometime this year. "Although certification options A1, A2 and A3 are not GFSI-recognized, the CanAgPlus board has chosen to include all certification options in the unannounced audit programme to improve the overall rigour of CanadaGAP certification," explained Heather Gale, executive director for CanadaGAP. Why are unannounced audits being introduced? To meet new GFSI requirements To respond to market signals To ensure that producers are maintaining their program on a continuing basis "We need to be ready to demonstrate to our customers that CanadaGAP-certified companies can meet program requirements at any time," commented Jack Bates, chair of the CanAgPlus board.A presentation outlining the new unannounced audit program is available on the CanadaGAP website at: http://www.canadagap.ca/publications/canadagap-presentations/.
“Vineland is scouting the world for new fresh grape varieties suited to the Canadian climate with consumer appeal.”
November 1, 2016, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian government recently announced it has secured market access for Alberta seed potatoes to Thailand. Effective immediately, Alberta becomes the third province to have an export agreement with Thailand, joining Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, both of which secured export agreements in 2009. Combined, these three provinces form about 76 per cent of Canada’s seed potato exports. Alberta’s seed potato exports to Thailand could be worth up to $2 million annually, according to industry experts, adding to the $5 million on average exported annually to that country. The increased access will advance the competitiveness of, and create new opportunities for, the seed potato sector. “The Potato Growers of Alberta are pleased to have worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to profile our seed industry to Thailand officials and to receive approval to export seed to their country,” said Deb Hart, seed potato coordinator with the Potato Growers of Alberta. “Alberta has a very innovative and progressive seed potato industry and is looking forward to the opportunity to grow low virus, high quality seed varieties requested by the Thai potato industry.”
September 27, 2016, Charlottetown, PEI – Greg Donald is upbeat discussing the upcoming harvest, until talk turns to potato tampering. Donald, the general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, would rather the topic get buried like, well, a needle in a haystack. READ MORE

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