Business/Policy
April 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) poll on wine imports and distribution reveals most Quebecers believe the current system impedes restaurants and their customers.

In the poll, 71 per cent of Quebecers believe independent restaurateurs should have the right to import wine and sell it directly to consumers.

"These numbers show a solid majority of people from Quebec recognize the huge hurdles to wine imports, and the negative effect it has on consumer choice and product diversity," says David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada's Vice-President Federal and Quebec.

Currently, direct imports from producers are sometimes allowed, but the taxes, levies and paperwork required make it almost impossible to do so efficiently.

Restaurants Canada has long-advocated against trade barriers between provinces, and the MEI poll results supports its stance. READ MORE
Published in Research
April 27, 2017, Summerland, BC – In preparation for the fall 2017 commercial launch of nonbrowning Arctic apples, Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) has added produce industry veteran Jeanette De-Coninck-Hertzler as sales manager and Denise Everett as communications specialist to their team.

De-Coninck-Hertzler brings to OSF more than 30 years of produce sales experience. After obtaining a BSc, with a major in agricultural business management, from California Polytechnic State University, De-Coninck-Hertzler began her career as a sales representative with Frieda’s Inc. in 1985, where she worked for nearly 20 years before joining MCL Distributing, since re-named to 4Earth Farms, as a senior account manager. De-Coninck-Hertzler has since worked in various roles with Shamrock Foods Company, Greengate Fresh LLLP, and Index Fresh, Inc. As sales manager, she will serve as OSF’s sales contact for Arctic apples.

“Jeanette has a proven track record of sales in the produce industry, strong agricultural roots and a passionate personality,” says Jennifer Armen, OSF’s director of business development and marketing. “We look forward to her added experience as we introduce Arctic apples to consumers.”

Denise Everett will join the company on May 8 as the team’s communications specialist. Denise will be leading the company’s media relations, serving as OSF’s primary contact for interviews and executing on the company’s social media strategy. Everett has more than 15 years experience as a communications professional, and began her career in the journalism sector in B.C.

Also in May, OSF will welcome three new members to its research and development team, who will be working to improve additional apple varieties, as well as other tree fruits. Additionally, Jenavive Holmes has joined OSF as an administrative specialist.

OSF is also implementing role changes of current team members to further boost the scope of the team’s activities. Joel Brooks has transitioned from brand manager to brand marketing manager and Jessica Brady has transitioned from marketing and communications specialist to stakeholder outreach and education. In their new positions, Brooks will take a lead role in OSF’s branding, marketing and communications activities, and Brady will focus on outreach and relationship development with key influencer groups and organizations.

“It’s an exciting time for us here at OSF,” says Carter. “With so many strong additions to our team to help bring Arctic apples to eager consumers, we look forward to continued team growth and the introduction of additional wholesome and delicious apple varieties.”
Published in Companies
April 27, 2017, Mississauga, Ont — BASF has signed an agreement to acquire ZedX Inc., a company involved in the development of digital agricultural intelligence.

Headquartered in Bellefonte, Penn., ZedX’s expertise lies in the development of agronomic weather, crop, and pest models that rapidly translate data into insights for more efficient agricultural production. With this planned acquisition, BASF strengthens its digital farming footprint and further invests in helping growers take advantage of big data generated in farming and beyond.

“Growers are embracing cutting-edge technology and tools that can help them increase crop yields,” said Scott Kay, vice president of crop protection with BASF North America. “ZedX’s innovative platforms and strong intelligence capabilities will not only enhance our current digital services, but will also provide growers with critical data to successfully manage their operations.”

In a time where digital transformation is changing business, BASF aims to ensure that agronomic insights and recommendations from digital solutions help its customers make better, more informed decisions.

BASF is playing an active role in the digital transformation of agriculture and is constantly evaluating where and how to engage further,” said Jürgen Huff, senior vice president of global strategic marketing with BASF’s crop protection division. “ZedX’s experts impressed us with their extensive and deep know-how in agronomic models. We are very pleased to incorporate their knowledge into our offers to serve farmers’ needs through innovative products and services.”

Joe Russo, ZedX’s founder and president, pointed out that during a three-year collaboration, the partnership has already shown great results.

“Our modeling expertise, coupled with BASF’s knowledge of chemistry, has truly benefited growers and agriculture in general,” he said. “For example, we developed a model that gave the right window of application for a BASF herbicide based on important weather and environmental conditions.”

Weather conditions, soil temperature, windspeed – all of these factors can influence the performance of crop protection products. By acquiring ZedX, BASF will be able to help farmers use their resources more efficiently and sustainably. Additionally, the ZedX acquisition further complements BASF’s digital farming portfolio, which includes Maglis and Compass Grower Advanced. Maglis is an online platform that connects technology, data and people in a smarter way. It offers a range of integrated and intuitive tools that guide farmers from planning and planting to harvest.

“The smart use of digital solutions can open up all sectors of the economy to many new opportunities, and farming is no exception. ZedX is a great fit to our growth plan. We will strengthen our sales by offering targeted advice, insights and recommendations and by interacting more closely with our customers,” concluded Huff.

The acquisition is expected to be completed within four weeks. Products and solutions from ZedX will soon be available to all key markets. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Published in Companies
April 25, 2017, Montreal, Que. - Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (la Caisse) presented its strategy for Québec's agri-food sector, and also announced the creation of a $125-million fund to invest in every segment of the sector's value chain, targeting both companies seeking to accelerate their growth and farmers who operate family businesses, and their successors.

La Caisse has been investing in agri-food processing and distribution/marketing for many years. The strategy presented aims to maximize la Caisse's impact and expand its presence throughout the value chain and among all types of businesses and of projects by covering the entire agri-food sector.
This strategy is built on four pillars:
  • Supporting young farmers and entrepreneurs who want to take over a business or create new market leaders;
  • Backing owners and the family-farm model in the production segment;
  • Reinforcing technological transition by improving access to modern equipment;
  • Supporting growth and the expansion of operations in regional and international markets in industries where they are competitive.
To further support projects in the agri-food sector, la Caisse has announced the creation of the Fonds agroalimentaire CDPQ. This $125-million fund will be used to make direct investments (between $1 million and $30 million) in every segment of the value chain, with farmers and in projects and SMEs.

Specific criteria and targeted investment amounts vary for each segment in the value chain, as shown in the table available on the Caisse's website.

Investments in the agri-food sector will also be made through funds, in partnership with those active in the industry and other experts in targeted markets (between $5 million and $30 million). The Fund will target investments meeting certain criteria, including:
  • A well-structured business plan;
  • A well-established management team to provide farmers and entrepreneurs with proper support and structure;
  • A transition and succession plan;
  • A solid performance track record and growth strategy;
  • An investment structure positioning la Caisse as a long-term partner for sustainable businesses and projects.
READ MORE
Published in Companies
April 24, 2017, Toronto, Ont – Canada's agri-food leaders want Prime Minister Trudeau to create an Agri-Food Growth Council to focus on actions that will unleash growth in the industry, according to the Canada as an Agri-Food Powerhouse report, released today by the Public Policy Forum (PPF) and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI).

The report is a summary of roundtable discussions held in March 2017 with more than 150 agri-food stakeholders across Canada. It builds on the February 2017 report issued by the Minister of Finance's Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which emphasized the potential for Canada to become "the trusted global leader in safe, nutritious and sustainable food for the 21st century."

"The stakeholders we talked to made it clear – the agri-food sector needs to be a national economic priority. Establishing an Agri-Food Growth Council that reports to the centre of government and includes leaders from across the broader food system has the potential to drive this growth agenda, triage and resolve issues, and galvanize this diverse sector around a common vision," said David McInnes, special advisor to the board and former CEO of CAPI. "We heard repeatedly that the potential for inclusive growth is enormous, especially if we put a strong emphasis on the greater societal benefits delivered by Canada's agri-food sector, such as improved nutrition and environmental sustainability."

The report also calls for the creation of an inter-departmental agri-food task force, to improve alignment within government and resolve priority regulatory obstacles. Following are some of the most common comments from stakeholders during the roundtable meetings:
  • The aspirational vision — being the trusted global food leader – should be the lens through which all relevant policies and strategies are assessed
  • The responsiveness of our regulatory system should be made a comparative advantage that ensures both consumer protection and a nimbler, modernized regulatory environment. This would help encourage investment, innovation and competitiveness
  • While export growth must be prioritized, there are also opportunities to drive significant growth domestically, particularly among small and medium enterprises. This requires swift action on internal trade barriers
  • Delivering co-benefits – enhancing health and natural capital – is crucial to building public trust and strengthening our global food brand
"Our trusted food brand, leading-edge technology and responsiveness to changing consumer trends put Canada in a strong position to satisfy the appetite of the world's growing middle class for high-quality food. With an empowered sector, better alignment and bold actions, Canada can seize this opportunity to be a global agri-food superpower," said Edward Greenspon, Public Policy Forum president and CEO. "The agri-food sector can unleash significant economic growth and deliver broad societal benefits for decades to come. Now is the time to make it happen."

In February 2017, the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, established by the Minister of Finance, released its second wave of recommendations, which emphasized the potential for Canada to become "the trusted global leader in safe, nutritious and sustainable food for the 21st century." Using the advisory council's report as a starting point for discussion, the PPF and CAPI partnered on a coast-to-coast consultation convening roundtables in Charlottetown, Montreal, Ottawa, Guelph, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary and Vancouver to hear from more than 150 sector leaders and stakeholders. The full report is available here.
Published in Business & Policy
April 24, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. – The Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF) of B.C. held its annual general meeting in Abbotsford to present its contributions for 2016 to the British Columbia agriculture and agri-food industry.

IAF chair, Ken Bates, praised the collaboration between industry and government, citing results shared by project partners such as increased market opportunities and sales, enhanced production management and more.

"More than 50 per cent of clients reported an increase in sales as a result of their project, while more than 37 per cent were able to generate new value-added products," reported Bates, adding that project funding has also been credited by clients for helping to improve food safety and quality, increase productivity, create jobs, and more.

Executive Director Peter Donkers provided an overview of project impacts across B.C.'s crop, livestock and pan-agricultural sectors, highlighting some of the many industry visionaries who are helping to advance their sectors.

Donkers also confirmed that the independent impact study commissioned by IAF was completed last year, detailing the economic, environmental and social impacts of government investments delivered by IAF over the past 20 years. Included in the report are just a few of many project successes and industry milestones.

"From revolutionizing pest control, to developing the first cranberry research farm in Canada, to helping a budding family business build an iconic B.C. brand within the international marketplace, these stories illustrate the very tangible impacts that these investments have made over the years," said Donkers.

On the financial side, the report by treasurer Bert Miles revealed IAF approved nearly 300 projects in 2016, with contributions totaling more than $8.3 million toward new and continuing projects and initiatives.

Following the AGM, new directors Glenda Gesy (Kamloops/pre-farm gate) and Dave Zehnder (East Kootenay/beef cattle) were welcomed onto the IAF board, while a fond farewell was bid to departing directors Ed Salle and vice chair Bar Hayre.

Continuing IAF directors are chair Ken Bates (Lower Mainland/Field Vegetables, Berries and Mushrooms), Len Bouwman (Fraser Valley/Dairy), vice chair Jack DeWit (Fraser Valley/Other Livestock), Walter Fritsche (Peace/Grains & Oilseeds), Arzeena Hamir (Vancouver Island/Emerging Sectors), Alistair Johnston (Fraser Valley/Post Farm Gate), Dale Krahn (Fraser Valley/Poultry), Dennis Lapierre (Okanagan-Shuswap/Community Agriculture), secretary Don Low (Kootenays/Tree Fruits & Grapes), treasurer Bert Miles (North Okanagan/Greenhouse, Floriculture & Nursery), and Kalpna Solanki (Lower Mainland/Post Farm Gate).
Published in Business & Policy
April 19, 2017, Peterborough, Ont. - The Greenbelt Fund has announced plans to fund 24 local food projects, aimed at ncreasing access to local food across Ontario, made possible with funding from the Government of Ontario.

The Ontario Government will be investing over $830,000 in 24 innovative projects.

These projects include:

Earth Fresh Farms - Increasing Access for Ontario's New Innovative White Potato ($42,900)
Earth Fresh Farms will work with 9 Ontario growers to grow premium Polar White potatoes and extend the season for Ontario white potatoes. The project is expected to increase the market for Polar White, Ontario potatoes significantly, with increased sales of well over $1m a year.

Bayfield Berry Farm - Increasing Processing of Ontario Fruit Juices, Cider, Preserves & Fruit Liqueurs ($37,250)
Bayfield Berry Farm will expand their on-farm processing facility to meet growing demand for fruit juices, ciders, preserves and fruit liqueurs. The expansion will allow Bayfield Berry Farm to develop packaging and labelling, including requisite nutritional information, to sell their products to wholesale and retail markets, in addition to their on-farm shop. The project is expected to increase sales by up to 50% in their first year.

Cauldron Kitchen Inc. - Local Food Entrepreneurship Program ($5,000)
Cauldron Kitchen will launch a Local Food Entrepreneurship Program for 4-8 participants to build the skills to create a viable local food business. Participants will have access to business development classes, mentoring and commercial kitchen use.

Cohn Farms Processing and Distribution Hub ($72,500)
Cohn Farms will be scaling up capacity at its processing and distribution hub to meet growing demand for local food, which is outpacing supply. The project is expected to double the number of farms supplying Cohn Farms to 25-30, create over 15 full-time equivalent jobs, and increase sales of local food by over $4m per year.

Deep Roots Food Hub Grow West Carleton – Food Hub ($48,500)
Deep Roots Food Hub will increase access to local produce by investing in a new co-packing approach for its roots cellar, providing storage, distribution and marketing opportunities to area farmers. In addition, the project will expand the Good Food Box program and include an "Eat West Carleton" promotional campaign.

Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario - Supporting Local Food Market Access for Ecological Growers Across Ontario ($14,475)
The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario will increase market access for small to mid-scale ecological producers by providing specialized training through workshops and farm tours, including selling to new markets (eg. Food hubs, retail, wholesale, farmers markets), on-farm value-added opportunities, and new and emerging markets (eg. World crops, heritage grains, ecological fruit).

Farmersville Community Abattoir – Processing Equipment ($30,141)
Farmersville Community Abattoir is a new, not-for-profit initiative to establish a community-owned abattoir to meet the needs of the farming communities in Leeds and Grenville, Frontenac, Lanark and Ottawa-Carleton. By establishing a community-owned facility, Farmersville Community Abattoir will help ensure the long-term viability of the agricultural system in Eastern Ontario for 1,300 farmers in the region and increase local food sales by $240,000.

Farms at Work – Tides Canada Initiatives Expanding Impact and Sustainability of Local Food Month in Peterborough ($15,000)
Farms at Work will expand the impact and improve the sustainability of Peterborough Local Food Month, by working in partnership with Transition Town Peterborough to facilitate local food-related workshops, events and tours throughout September and culminating in the Purple Onion Festival.

Flanagan Foodservice Homegrown – Local Food Project ($42,840)
Flanagan Foodservice is Canada's largest family-owned foodservice distributor and will increase sales of Ontario foods by increasing its local food offerings, improving traceability, and investing in a promotional campaign to improve awareness of Ontario food available to its customers. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $1 million in 2017.

Greenhouses Canada - Northern Ontario Mobile Growing Facility ($52,283)
Greenhouses Canada will purchase a mobile "grow truck" to serve as an indoor demonstration and training site, and allow for transportation of fresh produce to remote northern communities (including on seasonal ice roads). The project is expected to increase local food sales by $117,000.

Halton Healthcare Good For You, Locally Grown – Phase 2 ($51,500)
Halton Healthcare will build on the progress made to increase local food served in its hospitals by working with farmers, manufacturers and other industry colleagues to develop recipes using Ontario food that meet the nutritional needs of patients. The project will also establish branding to identify local food choices to patients, as well as a marketing campaign to promote the local food offerings at Halton Healthcare facilities.

Len & Patti's Butcher Block - Improved Production Efficiency to Increase Ontario Raised Pork, Beef, Lamb, Elk & Goat ($46,438)
To meet growing demand for Ontario raised meats, Len & Patti's Butcher Block will invest in modernized machinery to increase production capacity. The project will include a new smoke house, tumbler, sausage stuffer, and patty machine. The increase in production capacity is expected to increase the sale of local meat by $2.5 million by the end of 2017.

Local Line Inc. - Local Line Food Hub Project ($28,316)
Local Line will build custom local food hub software for Ontario food hubs, based on a market assessment of the needs of Ontario's existing food hubs. The platform will leverage existing Local Line marketplace and reporting software to create easy-to-use software for new and established local food hubs.

Munye Kitchens Increasing Local Food Outreach – Multi-Ethnic African Communities & Beyond ($23,495)
Munye Kitchens will create a local food guide for multi-ethnic African communities to increase awareness of locally-grown foods relevant to the African communities and identify where Ontario-grown produce can be purchased. The project will also educate consumers on how to use African crops like okra and callaloo, grown in Ontario and the Greenbelt.

Muskoka Foundry Market - Assessment for the Development of a Local Food Hub ($30,000)
Muskoka Foundry will establish a new aggregated local food hub in Northern Ontario in Bracebridge's historic Foundry building. The space will include 10 permanent retail spots for agri-food processors, and provide mentorship opportunities for new processors and producers through an additional 10-15 temporary vendor stalls. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $1.5m per year.

National Farmers Union – Ontario Building a Network of Local Food Advocates ($32,675)
The National Farmers Union – Ontario will enhance local food literacy across the province by building a network of local food advocates across a number of sectors, including educators, healthcare providers, faith communities, artists, academics, outdoors professionals, and youth. The NFU will create tailored local food information material for the different advocates and create a directory of local food advocates.

Neyaashiing Smoked Fish - Increasing Access for Local Neyaashiing Smoked Fish Products ($13,250)
Neyaashiing Smoked Fish will invest in upgrades to its smoking facility to improve food preparation, food safety and production output. This will allow Neyaashiing Smoked Fish to increase access to new markets for smoked fish sourced and processed in First Nations communities, both through retail and wholesale market channels.

Poechman Family Farms - Microgreens for Pastured Eggs ($38,100)
Poechman Family Farms will invest in significant changes to its barn to improve quality of life for its hens as well as quality and flavour of its eggs, meeting consumer demand for humane eggs. The project will involve the introduction of a new perch for the hens, and specially grown greenhouse microgreens for the hens' diet. The pilot will allow Poechman Family Farms to share learnings with other egg farmers in the Organic Meadows Co-Operative and the Yorkshire Valley Farms distribution family.

Reiche Meat Products Ltd. - Growing Opportunities for Local Poultry ($14,550)
Reiche Meat Products will meet a significant gap in the agricultural system in Renfrew County by establishing poultry processing facilities, which are currently not available in the county. The availability of an abattoir in the county will allow existing small-scale poultry farms to scale up and meet growing demand for local poultry at farmers' markets and in stores. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $100,000 and bring 20 new farmers to market.

Select Food Products - Implementation of New Cooking Line to Increase Production Capabilities and Access the Ontario Market ($75,000)
Select Food Products has made a significant investment in a new cooking and production line in order to deliver a made-in-Ontario with Ontario ingredients French's Ketchup. The project will nearly triple production capacity for Select and help French's to execute on its commitment to make and source ketchup in Canada.

Victorian Order of Nurses – Windsor Essex Promoting Local Food Literacy & Increasing Local Food Consumption in Southwestern Ontario Schools ($18,988)
The Victorian Order of Nurses delivers school breakfast and snack programs that feed over 100,000 students every year. This project will develop local food literacy awareness materials for students and parents, to accompany increased local food served through these programs.

Wendy's Mobile Market - Season-Extension, Value-Adding Processing and Services ($71,538)
Wendy's Mobile Market will retrofit a cow barn into a local food processing and storage facility to offer season-extending and value-added processing to local farmers. The facility will create new processed products including jams, jellies, preserves, dried fruit, and frozen entrees.

West Niagara Agricultural Society - Niagara 4-H Local Food Booth ($14,463)
West Niagara Agricultural Society will partner with Niagara 4-H to purchase a road-worthy trailer for the volunteers of the 4-H club to bring to food and agricultural events throughout the region. The trailer will allow the 4-H to introduce their local food products to urban and near-urban students who might not otherwise be exposed to local food offerings.

Wickens Lake Sunshine Greenhouse Retrofit Extension – Northern Ontario ($9,942)
Wickens Lake Sunshine will invest in a retrofit and extension of its existing hydroponics greenhouse to extend the farms' growing season and increase capacity. Once the upgrades are complete, Wickens Lake Sunshine will partner with Open Roads Public School and the Cloverbelt Local Food Co-Op to supply produce for the school's salad bar program, bringing more local, nutritious food to students.

READ MORE
Published in Provinces
April 19, 2017, Ontario – The Ontario’s South Coast Wineries and Growers Association (OSCWGA) has elected a new board of directors, naming Nick Vranckx of Blueberry Hill Estates Winery as president.

“I am honoured to have been selected as president and I look forward to working with OSCWGA members to ensure the organization’s continued success,” Vranckx said. “Ontario’s South Coast is being recognized more and more for quality grape and fruit wine production and it’s an exciting time to be at the forefront of the association. My goals for the association include continuing to improve the quality of our grape growing, gaining further recognition for our region’s wines, and helping develop the area’s wine and food culture.”

Vranckx succeeds Mike McArthur as president. This ends McArthur’s involvement as a board member, chair and president. He has been active in the association since its founding eight years ago. Mike was recently appointed as a judge with the Ontario Court of Justice in Guelph.

“It has been a real privilege to lead this organization representing the wineries in Haldimand, Norfolk, and Elgin,” said McArthur. “It’s an exciting time for us as we continue to further the goal of becoming our own DVA appellation. The organization’s strategic goals are being realized and I have been glad to be a part of this sustained effort and achievement. The association is in a good place for the future.”

The executive committee also consists of Dr. John Kelly, vice president; Ron Barr, treasurer, and Kim Ludwig, secretary. Elected to the board were: Karen Matthews, Burning Kiln Winery; Kim Ludwig, Wooden BearL; Dr. John Kelly; Richard Czerlau, Frisky and Gamble; Rob Gill, Villa Nova Estates Winery; and Shantel Bosgoed, Inasphere Winery.

The board thanked Phil Ryan of Villa Nova Estates Winery, Joe Czerlau of Frisky and Gamble, Ryan Bosgoed of Inasphere and Mike McArthur of Burning Kiln Winery for their service and look forward to continuing working with them in their capacity on some of the many committees of the board.

The board also recognized the following members that are continuing on for another year of office: Anita Buehner, Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery; Andrew Shelswell, Golden Leaf Winery; Mat Vaughan, Hounds of Erie Winery; Phil Ryan, Villa Nova Estates Winery; and Ron Barr, Rush Creek Winery.

In the fall of 2016, the association applied for Designated Viticulture Status (DVA) under the title, “Norfolk County,” which includes wineries in Haldimand, Norfolk, and Elgin. This application is currently under consideration by VQA Ontario. If passed, Norfolk County will become the newest DVA in Canada and would join Niagara, Prince Edward County, and Lake Erie North Shore as official appellations.
Published in Associations
April 19, 2017, Shelton, CT – Tiger-Sul, a supplier of sulphur fertilizers and crop performance products, recently announced that sales veteran Christopher (Kit) Rowe has joined the company to fill a key U.S./Canada sales manager position.

As U.S./Canada sales manager, Rowe will lead the overall Tiger-Sul sales expansion efforts and work closely with regional account managers to provide support in their individual territories.

“Christopher is a great addition for the Tiger-Sul team,” says Don Cherry, Tiger-Sul Products president and CEO. “He brings a tremendous depth of industry experience which will help us further strengthen our relationships with retail customers and grow our overall business.”

Rowe joins Tiger-Sul with more than 30 years of industry experience. He earned his degree in environmental life science from Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio. He started his career in the turf and ornamental sector and has extensive experience in agribusiness, managing various territories. Rowe’s technical expertise – complemented by his years of experience in the agricultural industry – position him to lead Tiger-Sul’s growth in the U.S. and Canadian market.
Published in Companies
April 18, 2017, Portage la Prairie, Man. - The bankruptcy of Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products (CPGPP) means more than the loss of a dozen jobs and the facility closure, it may also have potentially devastating consequences for many vegetable growers and related business and sectors according to the Vegetable Growers Association of Manitoba.

The Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba filed for bankruptcy protection in late March.

Receivership records show that the company owes $9 million, $6 million to secured creditors and $3 million to unsecured creditors.

In January of 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) certified the CPGPP plant as an aseptic processing facility. But already financiers were supporting CPGPP, which between 2012 and 2016 received about $3 million in government loans and grants.

Secured creditors are mostly investors, such as the First Peoples Economic Growth Fund, which is owed $1.7 million, but the list of unsecured creditors is much longer. It includes trucking companies, one that has been expanding it is believed to handle additional CPGPP business as the company was to expand from 12 employees to 60.

According to the Vegetable Growers Association of Manitoba, the bankruptcy could be devastating for vegetable farmers who invested in their operations to supply additional demand from Canadian Prairie Garden.

Many of Manitoba’s vegetable farmers have invested sizeable dollars in equipment, buildings and other related infrastructure to help CPGPP meet its capacity requirements. In addition to these losses, local farmers are owed a significant amount of money for the vegetables they have delivered to CPGPP in 2016.

The facility housed breakthrough technology leveraging direct steam injection to achieve full cook/sterilization in four to 20 seconds. The fresh, raw vegetable puree the plant produced using products grown by local farmers was without compare. Its vegetable purees are low in acid and contain no additional ingredients or preservatives.

Farmers across Manitoba were contracted by CPGPP to grow a variety of vegetables to meet its facility’s current and projected demands. Some of these contracts included vegetables such as carrots, squash, kale and pumpkins. READ MORE
Published in Business & Policy
April 18, 2017, Lake Country, B.C. - An addition to a fruit plant that crosses municipal lines has caused division among Lake Country town staff. Planners want to relax regulations so the project can go ahead, but engineers hope council will abide by current building rules.

BC Tree Fruits wants to expand its facility on Bottom Wood Lake Road by 370 square metres. More than 97 per cent of the new area would be within the City of Kelowna, with just a sliver poking into Lake Country. Because so little of it extends into Lake Country, town planners will recommend that council allow the expansion without requiring BC Tree Fruits to pay for various upgrades to Bottom Wood Lake Road that would normally be required.

Those improvements concern such things as sidewalks, storm drains and streetlights, and would cost an estimated $223,000.

However, the town’s engineering staff take a different view. They want council to order BC Tree Fruits to proceed with the upgrades to Bottom Wood Lake Road as required by the regulations. The improvements, engineers say, would be a major benefit to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians using the road.

The City of Kelowna last year granted the approvals necessary for most of the one-storey addition to be built on city land, but the project has been delayed pending Lake Country’s decision.

Kelowna’s boundaries were extended northward by the provincial government in the early 1970s to take in many industrial lands that previously had been part of the Winfield area.

The arbitrary annexation has long caused resentment among some Lake Country residents, who say the area was deprived of a significant tax base. READ MORE
Published in Companies
April 17, 2017, Kelowna, B.C. - Members of the agricultural community in Kelowna, B.C., say City Council did not communicate with them enough when constructing a new temporary farm worker housing plan.

Kelowna city council forwarded the new temporary farm worker housing plan to public hearing at Monday afternoon’s, April 10, council meeting.

The plan focuses on making the process simpler for farmers who want to house fewer than 40 workers on their property. Those farmers would have one meeting before council and no public hearing. Farms with over 40 workers will have to go through council and a public hearing process.

The B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association would like to see a different way of determining when an application for temporary farm worker housing should go to public hearing. They have requested the city host further dialogue with industry partners before the plan moves forward.

According to the City's suburban and rural planning manager, over 90 per cent of Okanagan farms use less than 40 workers, and the City has spent ample time trying to consult with the agricultural community.

Revised policy changes were sent out again for comment on February 10, 2017. However, the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association was not included in this e-mail. It was not until March 15, that the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association was sent the final revised policy for comment before the April 10 council meeting.

A public hearing for the new temporary farm worker housing plan will be held on May 2, 2017.

If the new plan is not accepted at the public hearing the City will have to look at different options and will have to consult with all partners once more. READ MORE
Published in Business & Policy
April 10, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Average farmland values in Canada continued to climb in 2016, but lost steam in most provinces, including Ontario, according to Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) latest Farmland Values Report.

Canada’s farmland values showed an average increase of 7.9 per cent in 2016, compared to a 10.1 per cent increase in 2015 and a 14.3 per cent increase in 2014. Canadian farmland values have increased at various rates for the past 25 years.

The average value of Ontario farmland increased 4.4 per cent in 2016, following gains of 6.6 per cent in 2015 and 12.4 per cent in 2014. Values in the province have continued to rise since 1988.

In six provinces, the average increase in farmland values slowed from the previous year. And despite the overall national increase, seven of the 51 regions assessed across Canada showed no increase in farmland values in 2016.

“The impact of some of the key farmland value drivers appear to be fairly consistent across Canada,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC chief agricultural economist. “Levelling out of commodity prices and some challenging weather conditions may have taken some of the steam out of farmland values and hopefully this moderating effect will turn into a trend.”

Prince Edward Island experienced the highest increase among the provinces and saw the only double-digit increase at 13.4 per cent. There were not enough publicly reported transactions in Newfoundland and Labrador to accurately assess farmland values.
 
“Demand for Canadian agricultural products remains strong at home and abroad,” Gervais said. “A healthy agriculture sector – supported by a low Canadian dollar and low interest rates – helped sustain increases in farmland values in 2016.”

“I would, however, caution producers not to become overly confident,” he said, noting crop receipts have increased at a slower rate than farmland values over the past few years. “Although we have just come off of several years of record farm receipts, agriculture is a cyclical business and producers should always plan for different market conditions.”

Gervais encourages producers to identify key risks and available solutions to manage these risks should changes suddenly occur in their businesses or the economic environments in which they operate.

To view the 2016 FCC Farmland Values Report, video and historical data, visit www.fcc.ca/FarmlandValues.

To learn more about the report, register for the free FCC webinar on April 18, which can be found in the Agriwebinars section at www.fcc.ca/events.
Published in Federal
April 10, 2017, Scottsdale, AZ – Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) was honoured with a Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Industry Role Model award at the Produce for Better Health’s annual conference, held last week. This represents the third consecutive year of Fruits & Veggies – More Matters recognition, with OSF’s designation as an industry champion in each of the previous two years. 

Jessica Brady of OSF accepted the award on behalf of the company.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits is proud to be a long-time supporter of Fruits and Veggies – More Matters, and we look forward to continuing this support in years to come,” she said. “OSF has always been committed to promoting produce consumption for all ages, and we look forward to our flagship products, nonbrowning Arctic apples, helping support healthy lifestyles.”

Recipients of the Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Industry Role Model awards are recognized for the ongoing support and promotion of the health based mission and messaging efforts associated with the program.
Published in Companies
April 4, 2017, Woodstock, Ont – The Garlic Growers Association of Ontario held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Woodstock on April 1, 2017, where a new executive board was elected.
 
The 2017-2018 board of directors includes:
  • Joann Chechalk, president
  • Peter McClusky, first vice president
  • Steve Droog, second vice president
  • Dan Hemstock, treasurer
  • Norm de Groot, secretary
  • Mark Wales, past president
  • Bob Romaniuk, director
  • Paul Smith, director
  • Dean VanRaay, director
  • Janice Wright, director
For many years, the Garlic Growers Association of Ontario has had strong leadership in the hands of Mark Wales (past president,) executive members Warren Ham and Al Cowan, plus many more dedicated directors and members.

"It has been a pleasure working on behalf of Garlic Growers Association of Ontario and I look forward to working with the newly elected board to help our members provide the best garlic in the world to our customers,” said Wales. “Thanks to all of the volunteers that I have worked with over the years to keep our industry strong."

"I want to thank Mark and the other directors of the association for their years of dedicated efforts to raising the awareness to Ontario garlic and for representing our industry so well,” said Joann Chechalk, new GGAO president. “I know the new board of directors will continue to look for their input on the new directions of the association. There is lot of work to be done, but the new board is energized and ready for the challenge. We're ready to work together to make Ontario garlic a staple in all homes across the province."

Much has happened since the association was formed and, like many agricultural organizations, Ontario garlic has weathered a number of significant challenges.

Members made it clear at the annual meeting that they are ready for a renewed commitment to address these challenges as well as to grow the awareness of the quality of Ontario garlic to consumers, and to provide practical support and educational opportunities to grower members.

Compared to imports, more and more consumers are recognizing the superior quality of garlic grown in Ontario as evidenced by the steadily growing demand for this locally grown, fresh and healthy food staple.
Published in Associations
April 3, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) recently presented its new president and board of Directors for 2017-2018.

CHC’s board of directors appointed Alvin Keenan, of Prince Edward Island, as president for the 2017-2018 term. Keenan started working with CHC in 1983. Since that time, he has advocated on a wide range of issues, including trade and marketing, labour, and crop protection. He currently operates Rollo Bay Potatoes with his brother, Ray, and their families. They are dedicated to quality, care for the environment, and incorporating the newest and most innovative technology into their operations. Alvin inherits the presidency from Keith Kuhl, who held the position from 2013-2017.

Several new members were appointed to CHC’s board of directors for the 2017-2018 term. The full listing of board members for 2017-2018 is as follows:

President – Alvin Keenan

Past President – Keith Kuhl

British Columbia
  • Bar Hayre (second vice-president)
  • Fred Steele
Prairies
  • Beth Connery
  • Robert Purton
Ontario
  • Brian Gilroy (first vice-president)
  • Adrian Huisman
Quebec
  • Stéphanie Levasseur
  • Jocelyn St-Denis
Maritimes
  • Peter Swetnam
  • Andrew Lovell
The CHC and its members is looking forward to continued success working with Alvin Keenan and its new board of directors.
Published in Associations
March 27, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Keith Kuhl, outgoing president of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), recently presented Gary Linkletter with the 2017 Doug Connery Award for leadership excellence during CHC’s annual general meeting in Winnipeg, Man.

Linkletter is a seventh-generation potato farmer from Prince Edward Island who has been advocating for the potato industry at a national level for many years. He provided important grassroots feedback on the fresh pack industry as CHC worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on harmonizing packaging and grade regulations with the U.S. He was also involved in the committee looking at harmonization of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for potato crop protectants between Canada and the U.S.

Linkletter has been a dedicated and active committee participant and has contributed to making regulations for the Canadian horticultural industry more effective. He has participated in Canada-U.S. Potato Committee meetings for several years, and his calm and knowledgeable perspective is well respected by grower and industry representatives on both sides of the border.

The Doug Connery award was created in 2012 in honour of the late Doug Connery, a past president and driving force behind CHC who suffered an untimely passing in 2011. CHC was honoured that Paulette Connery, Doug’s widow, was in the audience and helped to present the award that bears his name.
Published in Associations
March 27, 2017, Churchbridge, Sask – Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ (OYF) program is once again offering two $1,000 scholarships to Canadian agriculture students. Applications for the 2017 awards will be accepted until June 30, 2017.

The OYF Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one individual entering post-secondary education from high school, and one individual who has already completed at least one year of post-secondary study. Applicants must be pursuing a diploma or degree in agriculture.

The late Martin Streef, OYF alumnus, established this scholarship program to help future generations of Canadians pursue their passion for agriculture. Streef was the 1997 winner of both Ontario’s and Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers and president of Streef Produce Ltd, a family-run fresh fruit and vegetable business in Woodstock, Ontario.

Scholarship application forms are available here.

Celebrating 37 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial and territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Published in Associations
If you ask a group of random Canadians about whether they trust farmers and Canada’s food system on the whole, you’ll likely hear a variety of responses.
Published in Marketing
March 24, 2017, Kentville, NS – Loblaws recently recognized Pazazz apple with its top honour – selection as a President’s Choice product.

President’s Choice status is only bestowed on produce and other food items that demonstrate truly exceptional quality, taste and great value to customers.

Grown locally in Canada by Van Meekeren Farms, Pazazz is a premium winter apple variety and has been in development in conjunction with Honeybear Brands for more than nine years. A descendent of the crowd-pleasing Honeycrisp, Pazazz has a unique blend of sweet and tart flavours and explosive crunch that has attracted a loyal following of customers in just a few short years on the market.

“Each year there are literally hundreds of candidates for President’s Choice status,” says Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs for Loblaws Atlantic. “We consider each very carefully for perfect taste, appearance, premium quality and a uniqueness they offer to our Loblaws customers. Pazazz scored highly across the board and was an easy selection for us to make.”

Available now, Pazazz will be sold in 2lb special President’s Choice branded bags in select Loblaws stores while supplies last.

“This is a huge honour and we’re very excited,” says Michael Van Meekeren, co-owner of Van Meekeren Farms. “Pazazz is a young variety compared to many available today and because it’s a winter variety that peaks in flavour in the winter months, it gives apple lovers something that is very difficult to get at this time of year – a premium apple variety with that just-picked freshness.”
 
Pazazz is harvested in late October but reaches the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavours during the winter months, arriving on Loblaws and other retailer shelves in early January each year. This season the variety has shattered all retail goals and expectations.

For more information about Pazazz or Honeybear Brands visit PazazzApple.com or honeybearbrands.com.
Published in Marketing

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