Business & Policy
FMC is pleased to announce that Darren Dillenbeck has joined the company as Canada country manager.Dillenbeck will lead the Canadian organization and report directly to Amy O'Shea, FMC vice president and business director for Agricultural Solutions, North America.O'Shea expects that Dillenbeck's comprehensive marketing and sales experience will be a major asset, as FMC enters a new chapter in the Canadian marketplace with a wide-ranging product portfolio strengthened by the acquisition of select crop protection assets from DuPont in 2017."Darren is joining FMC at a very exciting time," says O'Shea. "His key responsibilities include exploring the unique market opportunities our broader portfolio affords us and working in collaboration with the Canadian team to grow and evolve our market presence and channel partner strategy."Dillenbeck notes that FMC will be a "pure-play" agriculture company focused solely on bringing unique crop protection options and value to Canadian farmers."We want to build a business platform that makes it easier for our customers to work with us," he says. "With world class research and development, in addition to a strong team, I believe that FMC is well-poised to deliver local solutions that serve our customers' needs."Dillenbeck brings more than 20 years of agriculture industry experience to FMC, having held various commercial leadership roles with Dow AgroSciences. Dillenbeck also helped launch new business segments in Canadian agriculture with the introduction of technology, formulations and product combinations.
Engage Agro Corporation is pleased to announce the tolerance for chlormequat chloride, the active ingredient in MANIPULATOR Plant Growth Regulator, has been established for wheat in the United States. The U.S. MRL is consistent with CODEX.Engage Agro has worked closely with the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA), and they have informed their members that the U.S. tolerance for Manipulator on wheat is established.After years of very encouraging field tests, Engage Agro is excited to introduce Manipulator Plant Growth Regulator to wheat producers across Canada. This technology will help producers realize the full potential of high yielding wheat varieties while dramatically reducing lodging.Engage Agro looks forward to working closely with Canadian wheat producers to ensure maximum benefits of Manipulator Plant Growth regulator are realized.
Sakata Seed America recently announced the launch of its new, mobile-responsive website for the vegetable side of their business. The organizational structure of the new www.SakataVegetables.com closely mirrors that of the previous site, allowing users who have used the Sakata vegetables website previously to enjoy a seamless experience when transitioning to the new website.“We’re thrilled to launch this new mobile optimized site for Sakata vegetables. This tool will allow our customers, growers and retailers alike to access all of the great information on our website wherever they may need it from whatever device they have handy!” states Alicia Suits, Sakata’s communications manager.Coupled with a sleek and clean new interface, the website allows for easy, responsive access from phone, tablet or desktop and creates not only ease of viewing information but optimizes downloading capabilities for the site’s assortment of product brochures, field charts, educational videos, harvest schedules and more.In addition, the new website improves the user experience for Sakata customers, providing easier access to order tracking and seed availability information through the password-protected customer ‘Service Center.’“The goal of this new site is to keep us and our customers up to speed with the shifting technology trends in our industry. More and more we see people reaching for their phones in the field, in a sales meeting and on the tradeshow floor... Printed literature is slowly becoming obsolete in favor of digital versions. Our new site takes all of the great information from our previous site and allows for better functionality and accessibility from any device,” continues Suits.What’s next? A responsive renovation of Sakata’s ornamentals website, www.SakataOrnamentals.com, set to launch in early 2019.
Todd Greiner Farms Packing, LLC., a leading Michigan asparagus grower/packer/shipper, recently revealed production and packaging plans for the 2018 retail season.To facilitate growth, the company recently completed a 20,000 square-foot addition to its packinghouse which is the second expansion in the last 12 months and includes two new controlled atmosphere/cold storage rooms and two new shipping and receiving docks.“We expanded the packinghouse so we could be more responsive to our retail customer’s preferences for value-added product, to increase production, and to modernize our expanding operations,” said Todd Greiner, CEO and president of Todd Greiner Farms.An important addition to the expansion is a new “flow-wrap style” bagging line that will initially package fresh asparagus into new 16oz bags. The value-added microwave bags were introduced last season to meet the growing consumer trend for quick and easy meal solutions.After a successful 2017 test, a few modifications were made to increase the package size from a 12 oz to 16 oz bag and make facility changes to increase efficiencies.It is estimated that the new machine will be able to package 50 to 60 bags per minute compared to the previous hand-packing system of eight to 10 bags per minute.This is a critical time, labor and cost savings as the company expects to handle 20 to 25 per cent more asparagus this year to support growing demand.“We were basically at capacity last year. With existing customers asking us to do more, and new business on the horizon, we simply would not be able to keep pace without this much needed expansion,” Greiner said.Now that all packing facilities are under one roof – previously the company operated two packing sheds in different locations – operations will be streamlined with a more efficient and simple process for tasks including shipping, inventory and food safety certifications.Greiner notes that the expansion will also allow the company to increase production of other commodities including zucchini, summer squash and sweet corn.The Michigan asparagus season typically runs early-May to late-June with promotable volumes expected for Memorial Day so it is time to set adds now.In addition to its locally grown, domestic pedigree, Michigan asparagus is also known for being “hand snapped” versus ground cut. The end result of this harvest technique is an all green, all edible spear with more shelf appeal and more total yield per spear.
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.
The 96th Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Horticultural Council took place in Ottawa from March 13 to 15, 2018. By all accounts, the event was a success. More than 150 delegates from all over Canada participated in over 30 standing committee and working group meetings for an update on activities and to discuss issues pertaining to labour, crop protection, industry standards and food safety, business risk management, and trade. Commodity committees also met to discuss issues pertaining to apples, potatoes, berries, field vegetables, and greenhouse vegetables.Members reviewed, discussed and adopted 21 resolutions that will guide the activities of CHC throughout 2018. The majority of the adopted resolutions pertain to crop protection issues, followed by trade, and then labour issues.Government participationThe event attracted a significant amount of attention from government, with over 21 federal and provincial government departments and agencies attending. Participants included the following Canadian government departments: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Statistics Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Pest Management Centre, and more.AwardsCHC recognized three special individuals with awards at its 96th Annual Banquet. Rebecca Lee, CHC Executive Director, handed out the Honourary Life Membership Award to Craig Hunter for his 40-plus years of service in the crop protection sector and his longstanding role as technical advisor to CHC’s Crop Protection Advisory Committee. She then presented the Outstanding Achievement Award to Charles Stevens for his dedication and service as a CHC member. Alvin Keenan, CHC President, then took the stage to present the Doug Connery award to a fellow PEI farmer John MacDonald who has spent more than 40 years in CHC activities, including as president in 1983.Advocacy DayFor the first year ever, CHC took advantage of its members already being in Ottawa to organize a series of advocacy meetings with government. In just one morning, CHC led 15 meetings with senior department officials and ministerial staff from Agriculture and Agri-Food, Global Affairs, Employment and Social Development, Health, Immigration and Refugee, Environment and Climate Change, and the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as issue-related staff in the offices of parliamentarians. The meetings helped to further our relationships and to reinforce our key positions with senior government officials.
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/
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.
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.
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.
The Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) will be delivering a mixture of established programming and new projects under the newly launched Canadian Agricultural Partnership.The focus will be on business management, productivity enhancement and local production opportunities for both farm businesses and food processors.Popular AMI initiatives, including Advanced Farm Management Program, Transition Smart and the Learning Roadshow, will continue under the new Partnership funding framework.A Beginner Farmer Entrant Workshop will also be launched this year to complement a new online resource AMI has just unveiled on its website.New to AMI’s offering will be resources and tools to address productivity-related issues in farm and food processing businesses.The organization will also be focusing on regional opportunities for value-adding by building connections along the value chain and identifying supply chain gaps in local food production.AMI promotes new ways of thinking about business management by developing resources, providing information and offering training opportunities for agri-food and agri-based producers and processors. AMI receives funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.For more information, visit: www.takeanewapproach.ca
The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) and its members recently expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on Her Majesty the Queen v. Gerard Comeau. The case challenged restrictions on interprovincial trade, an issue the CVA has been working on for over a decade.“We respect the Court’s ruling but are disappointed at this missed opportunity to remove interprovincial trade restrictions,” said Dan Paszkowski, president & CEO of the CVA. “Removing restrictions would have opened the door to allowing consumers to order wine for direct delivery to their home from any Canadian winery located in any province. We call that Direct-to-Consumer, it is something nine out of 10 Canadians believe should be permitted, and we now eagerly await the provinces making this choice available to their citizens.”In October 2012, Gerard Comeau of New Brunswick purchased beer and spirits in Quebec and drove back to New Brunswick. He was charged with possessing liquor purchased from outside the province in quantities that exceeded the province’s prescribed limit, an offence under section 134 of the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act.The trial judge held that section 134(b) of the Liquor Control Act constitutes a trade barrier (violating section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867) and dismissed the charge against Mr. Comeau.The case subsequently made its way to the Supreme Court and recently concluded with the trial judge erred in overturning binding precedent and that although Section 121 prohibits laws that in their essence and purpose impede the passage of goods across provincial borders, it does not prohibit laws that yield only incidental effects on interprovincial trade.“We will continue our work with the federal / provincial / territorial governments’ Alcoholic Beverages Working Group to allow interprovincial wine delivery from wineries to consumers,” continued Paszkowski. “It’s important to recognize that interprovincial trade barriers affect a range of industries, including wine.”Unfair interprovincial trade barriers have impeded Canada’s wine industry growth and prevented consumers from purchasing the Canadian wines of their choice.“We are disappointed that the Court didn’t express stronger views on the need to remove interprovincial trade barriers,” said Paul A. Bosc, president & CEO, Château des Charmes. “Most wine sold in Canada is imported largely because it is so difficult for Canadians to obtain wines from any province other than the one they live in. No other wine producing country has these kinds of restrictions.”Canada’s wine industry had seen the ruling as a way to open the doors to direct-to-consumer wine purchases across the country, something consumers believe should be done.Direct-to-Consumer would lead to important growth for the country’s highest value agricultural industry. Indeed, free interprovincial trade would positively impact the economy across the country. Industry research shows that for every $1.00 spent on Canadian wine in Canada, $3.42 in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated across the country.
Canada’s agriculture and food system is a leading producer of high-quality, safe products and a key driver of the country’s economic growth. The Government of Canada understands the importance of this sector in creating good, middle-class jobs, while growing the economy, and is committed to working with farmers, ranchers and processors to ensure its continued innovation, growth and prosperity.April 1st marked the official launch of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a progressive $3-billion commitment that will help chart the course for government investments in the sector over the next five years. The Partnership aims to continue to help the sector grow trade, advance innovation while maintaining and strengthening public confidence in the food system, and increase its diversity.Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments have been working collaboratively since 2016 to develop the next agricultural policy framework, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. FPT governments consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including producers, processors, indigenous communities, women, youth, and small and emerging sectors to ensure the Partnership was focused on the issues that matter most to them.In addition, under the Partnership, business risk management (BRM) programs will continue to help producers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farm and are beyond their capacity to manage.Ministers of Agriculture will convene in Vancouver this July for the Annual Meeting of Federal,Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture.“I am incredibly proud to announce that the Canadian Agricultural Partnership has officially launched and all that it promises for our great sector. Our goal is to help Canadian farmers, ranchers and processors compete successfully in markets at home and around the globe, through this strong collaboration between provincial, territorial and federal governments," said Minister MacAulay.
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.
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
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/.
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Field Day: Sprouts, Seedlings & Indoor GrowingWed Jul 11, 2018
Maritime Wild Blueberry Field DayThu Jul 12, 2018
2018 NAFDMA Advanced Learning RetreatSat Jul 28, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Carrot FestFri Aug 17, 2018