Business & Policy

October 10, 2017, Toronto, Ont – Vive Crop Protection recently announced that company CEO, Keith Thomas, has been elected to CropLife America’s board of directors for a three-year term. “I am excited to contribute to CropLife America’s mission supporting modern agriculture,” said Thomas. “We are relatively new to the U.S. crop protection industry, but we’ve had a big impact. Our election to the CropLife America board recognizes our commitment to the industry. We plan to be here for the long-term.” “We look forward to the business experience and academic perspective Keith brings to the CLA board,” said Jay Vroom, CropLife America’s CEO. “These qualities, combined with his interest in the role the industry plays in sustainability aligned with our technology innovation, makes him a great addition to the main governance body of CropLife.” “Innovation is incredibly important to farmers today,” he added. “Using new technologies we can improve sustainability, productivity, and crop quality. As an innovative, technology-based company, we are proud to be part of this industry.” Thomas is also a governor of the University of Toronto and is the chair of its Business Board.
October 6, 2017 – The Grand Falls and Florenceville-Bristol, NB, growers banquets were held in August 2017 to recognized the top grower partners of McCain. Les Fermes LP Thériault & Fils of Drummond was named the 2016-2017 McCain Champion Potato Grower for Grand Falls during the 43rd annual McCain Growers’ Banquet held August 22 at Centre E.& P. Sénéchal. Lakeside Farms of Greenfield was named the 2016-2017 McCain Champion Potato Grower for Florenceville-Bristol, NB, during the 44th Annual McCain Growers’ Banquet held August 23 at the Northern Carleton Civic Centre. Allison McCain, chairman of McCain Foods Limited, Shai Altman, president of McCain Foods Canada, and Christine Wentworth, VP of agriculture NA extended personal congratulations to Lakeside Farms, and Les Fermes LP Thériault & Fils as well as all of the McCain growers. McCain expressed the importance of New Brunswick agriculture and the need to continuously be innovative in farming practices. “Early adoption of farm practice innovations is essential to ensuring New Brunswick growers and McCain can compete in global markets,” she said. Wentworth thanked the growers for their “loyalty, dedication and contribution to McCain over the last 60 years” and wished them a safe and bountiful harvest, while Altman reiterated that the company’s partnership with the growers is critical for the business.  “McCain is a proud Canadian company,” he said, “and you all have a part to play in that.  We look forward to a bright future ahead.” ​Marc Thériault of Les Fermes LP Thériault & Fils of Drummond was thrilled to be announced as the Champion Grower. The Thériault family has been contracting with McCain for 44 years, has been in the Top 10 17 times, and this was their second time winning the Champion Grower title. “It’s a great feeling and makes me feel appreciated for all the hard work that I’ve given,” said Marc. “It takes dedication, hard work, employees that care and, of course, some good luck too.” Arthur Tweedie – with sons Peter, Paul and grandson Matthew – of Lakeside Farms was surprised and delighted to be announced as the Champion Grower. The Tweedie family is only one of two grower families that have been providing potatoes to McCain since the company started 60 years ago, in 1957. They have been in the Top Ten eight times and this is their second time claiming the Champion title. When asked what it took to achieve the first place standing, Peter said “following advice from McCain agronomists and talking to other growers about best practices was really helpful, but a lot of it was just good luck and help from Mother Nature.” Other growers who qualified for the top 10 Florenceville-Bristol roster, in order of final standing were: Kilpatrick Farms (Brian Kilpatrick with son, Jared – Greenfield) Valley Farms Ltd. Florenceville (Under management of Jeff Miller and Colton Rennie) G and C Culberson Inc. (Cory Culberson with father, Gerald - Jacksonville) B and C Young Farms Ltd. (Blair Young with son, Chad - Bedell) Herb Culberson Farms Ltd. (Herb Culberson – Jacksonville) Double B Farms Ltd. (Dana Bubar with son, Aaron – Hartland) Meduxnekeag Farms Ltd. (Daniel Metherell – Jackson Falls) R H McLean Farms Inc. (Randy McLean with son, Jason – Maplehurst) Wilmot Farms (Kevin Taylor – Lakeville) The other growers who qualified for the top 10 Grand Falls roster, in order of final standing were: Ed & Dan Levesque (Edmund & Daniel Levesque with sons Eric and Denis – Saint-André) Northwest Potato Farms (Michel & Lise Levesque and son Marc – Saint-André) Desjardins Farms (Denis and René Desjardins – Drummond) Eagle Farms (Gilles Godbout and his son, Mathieu – Saint-André) Ferme GIL Roberge (Guildor Roberge and his son Luc – Saint-André) Super Farms Potatoes (Jean-Guy, Jules, Luc & Andre Levesque – Saint-André) Les Fermes Poitras (Rock Poitras and his son, Luc – Saint-André) Andre Daigle Farms (Andre Daigle and his son Mathieu – St-Leonard) Les Fermes Mario Levesque (Mario and André Levesque – Saint-André)
October 3, 2017, Kingston, Ont – Employee labour tracking, cloud based data, and the need for a future of digital food safety documentation were each important aspects when the Ontario Berry Growers Association (OBGA) decided to provide its growers with a high level traceability software, Croptracker. For the OBGA, the software selection of is the result of the Croptracker team working diligently with Ontario berry growers for the past year to learn and develop berry crop processes and strategies. The most important and beneficial feature berry growers needed was the capability of developing, calculating, and tracking piecework harvest. This allows for growers to track individual employee labour and payout calculations while managing and adjusting piecework rates. With successful implementation, the association saw the opportunity to opt into Croptracker, not only for their food safety and audits, but also for their labour tracking. “Croptracker is a very intuitive program that provides growers with food safety traceability and so much more,” said Kevin Schooley, executive director of the OBGA. “I encourage all berry growers to take advantage of the opportunity to work with this software. It is an Ontario product that understands the needs of growers.” Croptracker is currently free to all OBGA members.
While most young men in the early 1900s were likely dreaming about driving a Model-T Ford, Norman M. Bartlett was thinking in an inventive way. Living in Beamsville, Ontario – the heart of the Niagara Peninsula – had a strong influence on the direction of his thinking. The Niagara Peninsula has possibly the most unique combination of fertile soil types, climatic conditions and access to local markets in Canada.It is also interesting to note that even at the turn of the century, the consumer was recognizing quality and placing demands on the growers to improve produce quality. This interest in quality plus quite possibly the fact that the major variety of pears grown in this area was (and still is) the Bartlett pear, (an interesting coincidence), were most probably the factors that strongly influenced Norman M. Bartlett’s life in 1912. During that year, he began manufacturing lime sulphur in a 40-inch cast iron kettle and thereby established Bartlett Spray Works. His product was excellent by 1912 standards, and Bartlett gained notoriety with this product as it helped to produce the quality crops the consumer desired. It was not long before other products were added to his list of crop protection materials and demand was spreading into the other fruit and vegetable growing areas of Ontario. Quality and service were synonymous from the very beginning. Bartlett was a fruit grower as well during this time. The Bartlett farm on Bartlett Side Road in Beamsville consisted of a mixture of apples, grapes and pears – mostly Bartlett pears, of course. A grass-rooted involvement and extreme interest in trying to solve problems and find answers that were sound and profitable to not only Bartlett Spray Works, but to the growers he was serving then evolved. This would become the cornerstone of the foundation that N.M. Bartlett Inc. would still be building on some three generations and more than 80 years later. Over the next quarter-century, Bartlett Spray Works continued to grow in both product range and geographical coverage. Products such as Paris Green, Bluestone (Copper Sulphate), Microfine Wettable Sulphur, Calcium Arsenate, Nicotine Sulphate, and Arsenate of Lead, to name but a few, were found under the Bartlett label. By this time, Bartlett had designed and built his own hammer mill and cyclone separator to be able to produce the finest ground sulphur in North America. Bartlett Microfine Sulphur was known to growers as the best available. Soon word spread to other industries and Bartlett Microfine Sulphur was used extensively in the manufacture of rubber and explosives in Eastern Canada by companies such as Firestone, Uniroyal, CIL, and Dupont. When the use of dusts became the newest application method during the 1950s, Bartlett Spray Works met the challenge to produce quality products. The grind mill became instrumental in producing high quality superfine dusts. The involvement of other Bartlett family members was also critical to the success of the company, which was incorporated in 1951 and renamed N.M. Bartlett Manufacturing Company. The three Bartlett children – Evelynne, Jim and George – all were involved in the family business. The children first helped out on the farm and, when old enough, became active in the spray works. George and his future brother-in-law, Hec Little, directed a staff of six involved in production, Evelynne managed the office and billing, and Jim looked after deliveries of the product, which included deliveries to the province of Quebec by the 1940s. From the beginning, Norman had an inventive mind and enjoyed challenges. Therefore, it was not surprising that he designed and built fruit grading and sorting equipment as early as 1930. The Bartlett equipment set a world standard for excellence of handling fruit and vegetables. In fact, during the 1950s and 1960s, Bartlett equipment was built for growers in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Israel, France, and United States as well as Canada. In Canada, this equipment introduced the Bartlett name into other areas of the country. Bartlett equipment and the Bartlett reputation became know to all fruit and vegetable growers from coast to coast. All of these additions to the Bartlett line complemented the crop protection products, which remained the mainstay of the overall business. Jim Bartlett took over the leadership of the company in the late 1950s when his father, Norman, suffered a stroke. After a full and eventful life with many credits to his name, Norman passed away in 1970 at the age of 77. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the next generation of the Bartlett family became involved. The company name changed to N.M. Bartlett Inc. during the late 1970s and growth through service and commitment remained strong. The leadership provided by Jim to the company blossomed out into the industry. Jim spent considerable time and effort working for effective policy. He advocated tirelessly on behalf of the industry to the federal government on issues of cross border importation. He championed the first minor use registration of pesticides program in Canada in 1977 to help keep Canadian horticultural growers competitive. And he was an early promoter of the need for federal help to bring new crop protection products to the small acre crops that make up the diverse horticulture industry in Canada. Jim served as chair of the national organization now known as CropLife Canada and was involved in the creation of the CropLife Ontario Council – working to balance the interests of the industry with the interests of society. He was an active member of a group that brought the first Ontario horticultural conference in Toronto. Today, that annual event is known as the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention and Jim’s grandson, Matt Peters, has served as its president. He’s one of eight grandchildren that represent the fourth generation in the Bartlett family business. Jim continued to be actively involved in all the aspects of the business until 1981, when he had a severe heart attack. At that time, his brother-in-law, Hec Little, son-in-law Don Peters, and son, Craig Bartlett, became the management nucleus with Jim serving as a semi-retired advisor. This management team oversaw a broadening sales force of 13 across Canada and continued successfully through the 1980s. When Jim retired in 1987, he was elected as Chairman of the Board, and his son, Craig Bartlett, became president of the company. Jim passed away in 2011, one year shy of the business celebrating 100 years. He was conducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in November 2016, recognized as a visionary, passionate advocate and respected voice in Canadian agriculture. He left behind a lasting legacy in a family business that continues to have a positive impact on Canadian horticulture. The values set out by Norman and Jim have been carried forward in the third and fourth generation’s business goals and commitments. Service and dedication to the horticultural industry in Canada is still first and foremost. In the words of Craig Bartlett: “We at N.M. Bartlett Inc. are proud of the heritage and values that the first two generations established, and the company looks forward to a future where we will continue to apply these time-tested values.” Norman Bartlett himself would have been proud of the accomplishments to date of the little, privately-owned family business he started 105 years ago.
August 14, 2017, Morgan Hill, Cali. – We are pleased to announce the promotion of John Nelson as Vice President of Sakata America Holding Company and its primary operating subsidiary of Sakata Seed America, effective September 1st. John is currently the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at Sakata Seed America, a position he’s held since 2004.“I am truly looking forward to the next phase of my career. This industry has a lot to offer globally and Sakata will continue to be a major contributor to the well-being of our distributors, growers and consumers.” says Nelson.John is a long-standing industry vet, beginning his career in 1985 at Northrup King in Gilroy, California, where he spent nearly five years in the marketing department. In November 1990, John joined Sakata Seed America to manage advertising for vegetables and ornamentals. Over the years, as John’s involvement grew into the sales arena, his focus shifted to vegetables. In 2004, John took on the responsibility of director of sales and marketing for Sakata.“John’s experience will help strengthen the Sakata team and add value to Sakata’s affiliates all over the world”, says Dave Armstrong, President-CEO of Sakata Seed America. “John brings a deep understanding of Sakata’s culture and expansive product line to his new executive position, ensuring he will be a crucial asset to our company’s strategy.”Sakata is actively recruiting to fill the position of senior sales-marketing manager, vegetables.Sakata Seed America, which celebrates its 40th year of business in NAFTA and Central America this year, is focused on expansion of personnel and infrastructure to continue successful growth.
August 11, 2017, Toronto, Ont – Vive Crop Protection recently announced a new partnership with four biopesticide manufacturers to develop new and improved biopesticides, supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). Biopesticides are the fastest growing crop protection segment, but have suffered from limited effectiveness in field situations, shorter product life, poor compatibility with conventional pesticides, and limited combination products. Vive has recently demonstrated that the Allosperse Delivery System enhances the viability and performance of biopesticides. “This project extends the scope of the Allosperse Delivery System and means that we can provide a complete solution to growers, whether they need a conventional, biological, or combination crop protection product,” said Keith Thomas, CEO of Vive. “We’re excited about the potential for these products and thank SDTC for the support.” Over the next three years, Vive will work with the partner manufacturers to develop new and improved versions of their products. This work will be supported by SDTC. “Vive Crop Protection is developing environmentally-friendly pesticides made from organic matter,” said Leah Lawrence, president and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. “This Canadian-made technology represents an advancement in biopesticides that will deliver real economic and environmental benefits across Canada and around the world.”
October 13, 2017, St. Catharines, Ont – Grape harvest is in full swing in Ontario, and the Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) welcomed the opportunity to meet with Premier Kathleen Wynne in the vineyards of grape grower Bill George in Beamsville, Ont. The Premier had a birds-eye view of the vineyards from the seat of a harvester. The harvest is at the mid-point with white varieties such as Riesling and Chardonnay typically harvested early in the season followed by the later maturing red varieties. While the rain has slowed down harvest this week, the return to warm and dry weather is expected over the next week. The Grape Growers of Ontario were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the Premier to discuss topics of importance to grape growers and hear first-hand about issues that are impacting farm families. The planned increase in minimum wage is one of the key issues for growers. “While we appreciate the intent behind the increase in minimum wage to improve the livelihood of minimum wage earners, we explained clearly the impact that it will have on farm families, and are pleased that the Premier understands our issues”, said Matthias Oppenlaender, chair of the GGO. “Normal labour costs for horticulture farms are about 65 per cent of operating earnings, making it the highest on-farm expense,” added Bill George, vice chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association. “The increase announced for next year can push labour costs to as much as 90 per cent of operating earnings.” There is a very real need for financial assistance to transition to the higher minimum wage to protect family farms, as well as support for local VQA wine made of 100 per cent Ontario grown grapes to ensure a market for the fruits of their labour.
September 20, 2017, Calgary, Alta – New research released recently by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) shows that an increasing number of Canadians feel the food system is headed in the right direction. According to the study, which examined consumer concerns and expectations surrounding food transparency and the overall food system, showed an increase in the number of Canadians who believe the food system is headed in the right direction from 30 per cent in 2016 to 43 per cent this year. While consumer confidence is increasing, an equal number of Canadians (43 per cent) say they aren’t sure if the food system is on the right track, down from 50 per cent in 2016. These findings are significantly different than the American consumers’ findings from 2016, which showed more definitive opinions with 55 per cent choosing right direction and only 23 per cent saying they were unsure. The 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research occurred in-the-field in June, asking 1307 Canadians about top life concerns, specifically their level of concern, trust and transparency expectations related to food and how it’s grown. Those polled clearly identified food companies to be the most responsible for providing information about food and how it’s grown. Other food system partners including farmers, government, restaurants and grocery stores also ranked highly as being responsible for transparency. “Canadians are looking for credible information to make informed decisions about their food,” stated Crystal Mackay, president of CCFI. “This research reinforces that everyone in the Canadian food system, from the farm through to grocery stores and restaurants, should engage in conversations about food.” Those polled are personally concerned and want more information about specific topics, including food safety, environment and farm animal treatment. Consumers are looking for information on food company websites such as third party audits, track record, practices and policies that demonstrate their values. When studying these elements of transparency, accuracy rose to the top as the most important attribute to Canadians. Many Canadians are unsure about their food or how it’s grown, but want to learn more. Canadians ranked the rising cost of food and keeping healthy food affordable as their top two life concerns above rising energy costs, healthcare and the economy for the second year in a row. These findings and other insights are key areas for discussion when leaders from across the entire Canadian food system meet at the CCFI Public Trust Summit in Calgary. Find out more by reading the full 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research report on www.foodintegrity.ca.
September 15, 2017, Wallaceburg, Ont – Survey results from more than 100 processing vegetable growers confirm overwhelming support for the grassroots representation of a provincial board. The Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance (PVGA) conducted an online grower and industry survey in August 2017 to gauge interest and support of various activities and actions of a provincial board. “The survey responses from growers support everything [PVGA] has been pushing for – a return to a fully grower elected board with the authority to negotiate prices, terms, conditions and contracts for Ontario’s processing vegetable growers,” says Francis Dobbelaar, chair of the PVGA. “Our findings support our serious concerns about why the government and [Ontario] Farm Products Marketing Commission have taken the steps that they have to disrupt our entire processing vegetable sector when it is not the wishes of most growers.” Growers ranked the importance of issues on a scale of zero (not important) to 100 (very important) on the structure and role of the processing vegetable growers association. On the issue of having a say in the representatives that negotiate contracts on their behalf, the average grower answer was 92 on the scale of importance. Additional results indicate support for a fully elected grower Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) board that negotiates contracts with processors – both issues receiving an average response of 90 on importance (out of a possible score of 100). “The survey results are very clear – the vast majority of growers want a grassroots, grower elected board and want their contracts negotiated by those board members they elected,” says Dobbelaar, who also points out another survey ranking of 86 on the importance of the OPVG chair be elected by the board. “This is the first time anyone has asked Ontario growers how they want to be represented since the OPVG board was dismantled.” A further 44 processing vegetable growers signed a petition in a show of support for the work of the PVGA “to maintain our representation of a fully elected OPVG board/chair, and further the industry through the continuance of an Advisory Committee with all willing stakeholders at the table.” The PVGA formed in March 2017 when the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission removed the OPVG board and senior staff, taking away the growers’ ability to choose the representatives who negotiate contracts with processors on their behalf. The PVGA represents farmers who grow 14 different types of processing vegetables in Ontario. Visit PVGAlliance.org for more information about the Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance.
September 12, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – On July 25 and 26, Quebec’s Apple Producers hosted the annual meeting of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC)’s Canadian apple industry. Representatives from the industry, from the Quebec and Canadian governments and from the other provinces increased their knowledge of Quebec’s apple industry. The event, held in the Laurentians, was a huge success. On July 25, networking among the members of the working group was undertaken in Mont-Tremblant. The crop estimate for each province was discussed. Crop volume for Nova Scotia should be similar to last year’s. Some Ontario producers faced hail that devastated a few orchards; in all, a slight drop in volume is predicted compared to 2016. A high volume of apples is predicted for British Columbia and the number of available Ambrosia is still increasing. We also discussed the re-evaluation of Captan. Considerable action was taken following last year’s CHC survey of a number of Canadian apple producers. Recently, the various associations answered a second questionnaire from the PMRA in order to prepare arguments in favour of continuing its use in Canadian orchards. It was proposed that a video be made on the international farm workers programs, stressing the importance of these workers for the horticultural industries of Quebec and Canada, and highlighting the program’s positive impact on the families of the workers. CHC needs funding to produce the video and is asking for the support of all those who can contribute financially. The next day, members visited many apple-producing and agribusiness sites. Many presentations were made. Here are the details: The Cataphard Orchards Sexual Confusion, presented by Daniel Cormier, researcher at the IRDA The Apple of Tomorrow, presented by Roland Joanin and Philippe Quinn Marc Vincent Warehouse The Agropomme Club, presented by Marilyn Courchesne Storex Industries, presented by Chris Treville Coeur de pomme Orchard Apple Network and a group of experts, presented by Gérald Chouinard, researcher at the IRDA Double grafting, harvester and weather station, presented by Éric St-Denis Rochon et Frères Farm SALSA handling concept and staking, presented by Éric Rochon Thanks to Éric Rochon who organized the day in expert fashion, and to QAP employees and regional administrators who helped plan the day. Of course, an event such as this could not have been held without the generous contribution of our partners. We sincerely wish to thank them for having contributed to the success of the meeting.
August 30, 2017, Washington, D.C. - With the produce department facing its second consecutive quarter of decreased sales, understanding consumer exposure to new products and how they engage with food will help retailers meet changing needs as the produce department, according to the United Fresh Produce Association’s Q2 2017 edition of the FreshFacts® on Retail report.This quarter’s report features seasonal category deep dives on apples, potatoes and lettuce with a close look at important Q4 2016 vs. Q4 2015 results to help companies plan for a successful Q4 2017. A spotlight on organic produce, which represents 10 per cent of all produce sales, showcases purchasing trends and commodities that still have room for growth in the organic sector. The report also looks at value-added fruits and vegetables, including a continued feature on the packaged salad category.Building on Q1 2017’s report on fresh produce at convenience stores, the Q2 2017 report explores produce’s role in healthy snacking more broadly. “Consumers are seeking healthy options, and produce departments are seeing competition for dollar share as healthy snack options are featured in all corners of the retail store,” says Jeff Oberman, United Fresh Vice President of Trade Relations and United Fresh’s Retail-Foodservice Board liaison. “However, there is great potential for produce companies to find success in cross-merchandising and partnerships with other food companies to maintain a presence with the consumer across the store, which will help retailers continue to fresh produce sales success.”The FreshFacts® on Retail report, produced in partnership with Nielsen Fresh and input and direction from the United Fresh Retail-Foodservice Board of Directors, measures retail price and sales trends for the top 10 fruit and vegetable commodities as well as other value-added produce categories. The report is sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce.For more information, visit www.unitedfresh.org
August 25, 2017, Aurora, Ont. - The Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association (OFFMA) has launched its new PYO video series. PYO has been an option that farmers have been offering for decades. PYO has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity as more and more people want to connect with their food and understand how it is grown. Thus, it is more attractive than ever for consumers to visit farms and pick their own fruits and vegetables.The videos can be found on the Ontario Farm Fresh website:http://ontariofarmfresh.com/consumers/Apple season will be starting shortly and it would be beneficial for consumers to review the short video before they head out to their favourite apple farm. PYO guidelines are presented in a friendly, interesting manner to ensure that consumers have a safe and enjoyable experience on the farm. Upon viewing the video they will be better prepared knowing what to expect from their farm visit.OFFMA is a voluntary membership based organization that works with farmers who market directly to the consumer. OFFMA’s mission is to provide knowledge and leadership to help grow the farm fresh experience.
October 16, 2017, Vancouver, BC – Five small B.C. wineries have been granted permission to bring their concerns to the Supreme Court of Canada in the interprovincial shipping of liquor case R. v. Comeau. The Supreme Court will hear the case in early December 2017. R. v. Comeau is the first court case in which any winery in Canada has had an opportunity to address the legal barriers to interprovincial shipping of wine made from Canadian grown grapes. Curtis Krouzel (50th Parallel Estate), Ian MacDonald (Liquidity Wines), Jim D'Andrea (Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery), Christine Coletta (Okanagan Crush Pad Winery), and John Skinner (Painted Rock Estate Winery) each own and operate vineyards and wineries that produce wine exclusively using 100 per cent B.C. grown grapes. These five producers head a coalition of more than 100 small wineries from British Columbia who seek to change the law governing interprovincial shipping of wine and liquor across Canada. As such, the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Comeau will determine the fate of the B.C. wine industry for decades to come. “The Supreme Court of Canada will hear from the two parties to the appeal (the New Brunswick Crown and Mr. Comeau) as well as a couple dozen other ‘interveners’ at the hearing on December 6 and 7, 2017,” explained Shea Coulson, counsel for the five winery owners. “After the hearing, the court could take up to a year to make its decision." Coulson's aim is to inform the court about the alleged negative impact on small B.C. wineries created by interprovincial barriers that prohibit shipment of wine to Canadians across the country. “The court has to balance many complex interests, but my clients will argue that it is possible to incrementally change the law to permit interprovincial shipments of Canadian wine, and why it is of fundamental importance to the future survival of the industry to remove these barriers,” he said. Whichever way the court decides, R. v. Comeau will have a monumental effect on the Canadian liquor industry and addresses questions at the heart of Canada's federalist constitution.
September 5, 2017, Ontario - The popularity of a seven-year-old program designed to give wine grape growers funding for production improvements shows no signs of abating.When the first-come, first-served application process opened in June for the marketing and vineyard improvement program, the program’s administrator, Agricorp, received enough applications for the available funding in just one day.There is $2 million worth of funding for the 2017-2018 program year, and another $2 million for the 2018-2019 program, says Agricorp spokesperson Stephanie Charest. The intake of the 152 applications was for both years, as requested by industry.Government funding for production improvementsThe Grape Growers of Ontario website says the program provides funds to growers to help with the costs of improving their production of wine grapes. Successful applicants can get payments for up to 35 per cent of their project.Chair Matthias Oppenlaender says with the funding taken up so quickly, it clearly shows there’s a need for more money in the program.He’s used the program in the past for his Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard for wind machines and improved harvesting technology.There are 17,000 acres of grapes vines in south, southwestern and eastern Ontario. In 2016, growers harvested about 70,000 tonnes of wine grapes valued at $95.3 million.Split fundingThe 2017-2018 program will fund 73 to proceed with their proposed projects. Growers then submit claims once they have completed the work.The remaining applicants are placed in sequence for the 2018-2019 program. Agricorp will know how many growers will get funding in that program year once it gives them the go-ahead in the spring of 2018 to proceed with their project.Program popularityGrape Growers of Ontario officials aren’t surprised by the intense grower demand.CEO Debbie Zimmerman says farmers use the money for a variety of items, such as weather mitigation measures and machines to improve vineyard production and sustainability.“It’s an important program,” Zimmerman says. It helps growers mechanize their vineyards and invest in innovation. You get to try some new strategies to help grow grapes in a cold climate.”Bottom LineWine grape growers continue to invest in improvements to their production.
August 17, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - The new British Columbia government confirmed it won't tinker with the previously-announced $.50 increases to BC's general minimum wage and liquor server wage. Effective Sept. 15, the general minimum wage will increase from $10.85 to $11.35 and the liquor server wage will increase from $9.60 to $10.10."Restaurants Canada supports reasonable minimum wage increases that ensure our employees keep up with the cost of living, are announced well in advance to give businesses time to adjust, and do not trigger large menu price increases or a reduction in entry-level employment," said von Schellwitz. "We're concerned when governments move too quickly and at the wrong time, as it hurts businesses, customers and employees."The association doesn't want to see a repeat of the job losses in Alberta, where an arbitrary push for a $15 minimum wage cost more than 4,700 hospitality industry jobs in 2016 alone, and where the youth unemployment rate spiked to over 14 per cent.Our members are equally concerned by the Ontario government's about-face on minimum wage policy, moving abruptly from linking minimum wage increases to the cost of living, to pushing for a $15 minimum wage in just 18 months. This decision, combined with other labour reforms, is putting 187,000 jobs at risk, 17,300 in the restaurant and hotel industries alone.  It will also double inflation, increase household costs for consumer goods and services by $1,300 a year, and increase deficits for all levels of government."Restaurants Canada is pleased that the BC government is maintaining the previously-announced 2017 minimum wage increases that small businesses have been preparing for. We look forward to working with the new government and Fair Wages Commission on future minimum wage increases that raise wages without costing entry-level employment opportunities," concluded von Schellwitz.
June 19, 2017, Fredericton, NB – The development of the wild blueberry sector has been identified as a significant growth opportunity in New Brunswick’s economic development plan. “The time is ripe to realize the full potential of this sector,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “Your government is committed to working with industry stakeholders to make the most of this exciting opportunity.” Wild blueberry production has more than tripled over the past decade. The expansion of the sector was identified as a key opportunity for development in the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework for growing the economy and creating jobs for New Brunswickers. “With the optimal climate, geography and land availability for wild blueberry development, the sector has huge potential for growth,” said Doucet. Six components have been identified as necessary to help the industry prosper in New Brunswick: Diversification of markets to find new global buyers. Identification of value-added opportunities. Increased production to meet future value-added demands. Increased storage capacity to stabilize inventory. Expanded consumption within the province via the Local Food and Beverage Strategy. Opportunities for capital investment from the private sector. There are 39,000 acres, both private and Crown land, currently under production in multiple locations and at various stages across the province, from the Acadian Peninsula to Charlotte County. The wild blueberry industry currently supports an estimated 440 jobs. The government recognizes that First Nations communities have an interest in becoming more involved in the industry, and is working with those communities to ensure that they have opportunities to participate. More than 300 farm families are involved in the province’s wild blueberry industry. New Brunswick accounts for 25 per cent of Canada’s overall production.
June 13, 2017, Wolfville, N.S. – Nova Scotia plays host to the National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC) from June 15 to 19, 2017 in the Annapolis Valley.Twenty-two talented wine tasters will be arriving in Wolfville from seven Canadian provinces as well as London, England to pick the winners from among 1700 wines and ciders made in Canada.“Nova Scotia hosted these awards back in 2011, and while that is only a short number of years ago, our industry has developed greatly,” says Gillian Mainguy, executive director of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia. “We are particularly pleased that the awards fall on the heels of the Atlantic Canada Wine Symposium. Together the events present a fantastic opportunity to showcase what we do best in Nova Scotia.”“There has been great deal of energy emanating from the Nova Scotia wine industry in recent years,” says WineAlign VP David Lawrason, co-head judge of the National Wine Awards. “It is much like the energy within the sparkling wines and Tidal Bay whites that are now defining the region. Every one of our judges can’t wait for our time in Nova Scotia to tap into that vibe and experience some Atlantic hospitality.”
May 4, 2017, Niagara Falls, Ont. - More than 750 wine and food lovers celebrated excellence in Ontario VQA winemaking on March 24 at the annual Cuvée Grand Tasting.The event, held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre, was organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). The proceeds help fund academic scholarships and research focused on priorities of the grape and wine industry.Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Gerald Klose was honoured with the Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award that evening, which is presented by BASF Canada Inc. and recognizes a grape grower who promotes excellence in vineyard practices.Klose was selected by an expert panel for maintaining a high level of quality in his Chardonnay vineyard.The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence, honouring those who further the aims and aspirations of Ontario’s wine industry, was presented to award-winning wine journalist Ian D’Agata. He was recognized as a “great ambassador for Ontario wines on the world stage.”The VQA Promoters Awards, which recognize individuals who support VQA wines through promotion or education, were also announced at Cuvée and given out April 19 at CCOVI’s Experts Tasting.The 2017 winners are:Lifetime Achievement: Roberto Martella, owner of Toronto’s Grano Italian restaurant, for routinely promoting VQA wines in his establishment.Education: Barb Tatarnic, manager of Continuing Education and Outreach at CCOVI, for her commitment to advancing wine education over the past two decades.LCBO: Melissa McFadden, customer service representative in Owen Sound, for her comprehensive product knowledge and eagerness to promote VQA wines.Media: Angela Aiello, founder and editor of Toronto’s iYellowWineclub.com and editor at Chloe magazine, for vibrantly promoting VQA Ontario in countless print, television and radio appearances.Hospitality: Mike Fish, sommelier and owner of London restaurant Glassroots, for 10 years of promoting VQA wines and for hosting London’s only all-Canadian wine list.Retail: Brian Hanna, sommelier at Prince Edward County’s Huff Estates Winery, for sharing his deep knowledge about Ontario wines in a way that educates, promotes sales and enriches the lives of those around him.To further student engagement, long-time Cuvée Education Advocate sponsor BASF Canada Inc. also sent the 20 top oenology and viticulture students from Brock University and Niagara College to the event.“As the Cuvée Education Advocate, BASF is thrilled to provide an opportunity for some of Brock University and Niagara College’s best oenology and viticulture students to network with future employers, colleagues or even customers at the Grand Tasting event,” said Scott Hodgins, BASF Crop Manager (Horticulture, Professional & Specialty Solutions), on the importance of providing the valuable learning opportunity for students every year. “The development of the Canadian wine industry has been built on innovation, and we continue to support the new innovations that these students and others will bring to drive the industry forward.”When reflecting on what the experience meant to her, Alexandra Gunn, a third year OEVI student at Brock University, said: “It is an incredible honour to represent Brock as a top Oenology and Viticulture student within the program — an opportunity I wouldn’t have been able to experience without the generous support of BASF.”Second-year Niagara College Wine and Viticulture student Amelia Keating-Isaksen said she was “pleased to go to Cuvée because of the known prestige of the event, as well as the connections and people attending.”Brock University’s second year student Catherine Cahill summed it up by saying: “Being acknowledged affirms my hard work, dedication and passion for Oenology and Viticulture. Receiving such an incredible opportunity encourages me to continue to work hard towards my dreams.”Visit cuvee.ca for emerging details and dates for Cuvée 2018.
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
September 20, 2017, Old Chelsea, QC – The Government of Canada is committed to working with the agricultural industry in developing new risk management assessments and tools that help farmers manage risk. The federal government recently announced a $461,816 investment for the Canadian Organic Growers. This funding will be used to conduct a study of the risks involved in transitioning from conventional production to organic production. This first-of-a-kind study will reach out to organic producers across the country, as well as others in the sector. The data collected will be used to identify techniques that farmers can use to help reduce risk and manage their shift to organic production. “More than ever, Canadians are looking to purchase organic products grown and made in Canada; however supply is not keeping pace at home or abroad,” said Rochelle Eisen, president of Canadian Organic Growers. “There is a growing environmental and economic case for transitioning to organic agriculture in Canada and by enhancing our knowledge on the subject, we can develop effective tools, programs, and policies that can better support a farmer’s journey to sustainable, organic production.”
September 15, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) and the Canada Institute of the Wilson Center are pleased to co-publish a short piece on approaches to food safety cooperation in Canada and the United States. With NAFTA renegotiation talks in full swing, it is a critical time for a conversation on protecting and improving our shared food supply chain. As think tanks and think networks, CAPI and the Wilson Center know the importance of good debate and a robust marketplace for ideas. This short piece, written by Rory McAlpine and Mike Robach, encourages just such debate. "The contents of the piece represent an opportunity for our two organizations to present to our respective stakeholders on the frontlines of Canada-US economic policy some new thinking on important food safety issues", said Don Buckingham, president and CEO of CAPI. "Food safety is not just about consumer protection, it's about enhancing the competitiveness of the Canada-U.S. agri-food supply chain around the world. A well-functioning food safety regime helps to increase global demand for safe and wholesome North American food products." "During a period of trade upheaval and fractured supply chains, it is particularly important to bring practical suggestions to the table that will build trade, increase competitiveness and safeguard the protection of consumers," added Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute of the Wilson Center. The short piece is available here.
September 12, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – Representatives from four different government departments and departmental organizations recently made the trip to Norfolk County, known as “Ontario’s garden”, to observe the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) in action. Officials from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Service Canada; Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) participated in a two-day tour, which stopped at 12 farms and included greenhouses and packing facilities. Government officials picked the farms they wanted to visit, so as to make sure they were seeing typical SAWP environments, and not just ones hand-picked by the tour organizers. READ MORE
August 4, 2017, Boise, ID – Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have completed the food, feed, and environmental safety assessments of the J.R. Simplot Company’s second generation of Innate potatoes. The authorizations enable the potatoes to be imported, planted, and sold in Canada, complementing the three varieties of Innate first generation potatoes that received regulatory approval last year. Health Canada conducted a comprehensive safety assessment and approved the use of Innate second generation potatoes for food. In addition, CFIA determined that these potatoes are “as safe and nutritious as traditional potatoes” for use as livestock feed, and that the potatoes do not present increased risk to the environment when compared to currently cultivated potato varieties in Canada. The second generation of Innate potatoes contains four beneficial traits of relevance to potato growers, processors and consumers: Protection against the late blight pathogen Reduced bruising and black spot Reduced asparagine, which contributes to reduced acrylamide in cooked potatoes Lower reducing sugars, which further contributes to reduced acrylamide while enhancing cold storage capability These traits were achieved using genes from wild and cultivated potatoes to adapt the standard Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet, and Atlantic potato varieties. Innate late blight protection trait can convey up to a 50 per cent reduction in annual fungicide applications typically used to control late blight disease. This disease was a contributing cause of the Irish Potato Famine in the mid-19th century and remains a major constraint for production and storage. Further, research shows that Innate second generation potatoes help reduce waste associated with bruise, blight, and storage losses by reducing waste at multiple stages of the value chain, including in-field, during storage and processing, and in food service. That research suggests that these traits will translate to less land, water, and pesticide applications to produce these potatoes. Lower asparagine and reducing sugars mean that accumulation levels of acrylamide can be reduced by up to 90 per cent more when these potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. In addition, lower reducing sugars enable cold storage at 3.3 Celsius for more than six months without significant degradation in quality. According to academic estimates, if all fresh potatoes in Canada had Innate Generation 2 traits, potato waste (in-field, during storage, packing, retail and foodservice for fresh potatoes) could be reduced by 93 million kilograms. In addition, CO2 emissions could be reduced by 14 million kilograms, water usage reduced by 13 billion liters, and a total of 154,000 fewer pesticide hectare-applications would be needed. “This is a big technology advancement for the Canadian potato industry,” said Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada. “As long as proper stewardship guidelines are followed, Innate biotechnology provides growers a promising option to significantly reduce waste, chemicals, and pesticides.” “We’re excited to offer the latest generation of Innate potatoes to the Canadian marketplace,” said Susan Collinge, Ph.D., vice president of Simplot Plant Sciences, a division of the J.R. Simplot Company. “Innate second generation potatoes offer important benefits while staying within the potato genome to create a quality crop.”
August 9, 2017, Charlottetown, PEI – Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay recently opened the first regional engagement in Charlottetown, PEI, as part of the ongoing consultations regarding the development A Food Policy for Canada. “Today’s session marks the continuation of the important, in-depth conversation we are having about A Food Policy for Canada,” he said. “The decisions we make as a government, and as individuals, about food have a major impact on not only our health and well-being, but on our environment, our communities, and our economy. Conversations like the one we are having today are vital to ensuring the food choices we make are the right ones, while ensuring we meet the growing world demand for high quality foods produced by our farmers and ranchers.” The session, which includes stakeholders, Indigenous representatives, experts, and key policy makers, is the first in a series being held across the country over the next two months. Public consultations on A Food Policy for Canada were launched on May 29, 2017, via an online survey. Due to a strong response from across the country, the comment period for the online survey was recently extended to August 31, 2017. A Food Policy Summit also took place in June that brought together more than 250 participants with diverse expertise and experience to discuss a broad range of food-related issues, related to: increasing access to affordable food; improving health and food safety; conserving our soil, water, and air; and growing more high-quality food.
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
August 22, 2016, Alliston, Ont – The 2016 Ontario Potato Field Day, hosted on August 18 by HJV Equipment in Alliston, was a very successful event. Approximately 250 growers, crop consultants and potato-industry personnel gathered in a friendly atmosphere to see the latest potato equipment, new potato varieties and the trade show. Potato growers from Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec also attended the event. More than 100 new potato varieties were on display, including for the fresh, processing and specialty markets. For the fresh market, the variety Actrice (Real Potatoes) caught the attention of many growers because of its attractive tubers with smooth, shiny skin. Actrice is an early, yellow-fleshed variety that is very tasty. Primabelle and Panamera (HZPC Americas) are two yellow-fleshed varieties that got good reviews from potato growers. Among the russet potatoes for the French fry market, Alta Strong (Real Potatoes) and Pomerelle Russet (Pommes de Terre Laurentiennes) were well rated by growers. There was interest in Kalmia (La Patate Lac Saint-Jean) a white-fleshed, fresh-market variety that could also be used as a French fryer. Double Fun (HZPC Americas) had the nicest skin among the purple-fleshed varieties. It also has very good culinary traits. Among the trade show exhibitors, the Quebec company Lab’eau-Air-Sol demonstrated the use of spore traps for foliar diseases of vegetables. Douglas Ag Services provided the latest information on chloropicrin application to control soil-borne diseases. Displays by Gorman Controls (PEI) and GRB Ag Technologies (Ontario) focused on storage management. Potato growers attend this important annual event to obtain practical, up-to-date information on varieties and the latest potato production technology. It is also a chance for growers to meet in a friendly, informal setting to discuss problems.

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