Friday, July 31, 2020

Migrant worker murdered

A migrant worker from Guatemala has been murdered on a farm about 15 kilometers west of Waterloo.

A fellow worker from the same village in Guatemala is charged with his murder.

They lived together in a farmhouse near St. Agatha.

Imported red onions on recall

A Canadian Food Inspection Agency investigation into an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning has led to the recall of red onions Sysco foodservice company brought in from the United States.

Although the illnesses centred on Western Canada, the recall is nation-wide.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says there have been 55 people sickened since July 24 and is advising Canadians to not eat any imported onions or foods containing imported onions.

In total, 102 people have been sickened and 16 of them have been hospitalized. 

China looking to import swine

China’s state planner said on Friday that it will encourage foreign investment in livestock and poultry breeding, as well as plant-based meats substitutes. 

The National Development and Reform Commission is trying to organize a recovery from African Swine Fever which took out about 60 per cent of China’s sow population.

Canada has a history of exporting breeding stock to China.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

COVID-19 bites into AGCO

AGCO of Duluth, Georgia, reported net sales of about $2.0 billion for its second quarter ended June 30, a decline of 17.2 per cent from the same quarter last year.

Net income from operations was halved from about $200 million to $97 million.

Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s chairman, president and chief executive officer tried to put a brave face on the results in the face of COVID-10, saying. “we’ve had good success with these efforts to this point, and I would like to thank our employees around the world for finding innovative solutions to keep our business running effectively and to support our customers. 

“Our second quarter results demonstrated strong execution as we overcame COVID-19 related production disruptions in Europe and South America in order to deliver a solidly profitable quarter.

“While all our factories are now open with strong order boards heading into second half of 2020, we still face a demanding environment to manage our manufacturing, supply chain and aftermarket operations. 

“AGCO’s priorities throughout the COVID-19 crisis continues to be the safety of our employees while serving our dealers and the world’s farmers as they maintain the global food supply,” he said.

The company’s main brands are Challenger®, Fendt®, GSI®, Massey Ferguson® and Valtra®, supported by Fuse® smart farming solutions.

Wilmot delivers food to needy rural residents

A federal donation of $23,000 has enabled Wilmot Family Resource Centre to buy a van to deliver fresh produce to rural families in need.
Trisha Robinson, the centre's executive director, said there has been an increase in needs since January when the centre served about 225 people. In June, it was more than 400.
"We know that food is medicine and how important it is for the people that we serve," Robinson said Kitchener-Conestoga MP Tim Louis.’
"We're just looking to serve our community better," Robinson said. "We're trying to provide everything that they need."

Masks, PPE donated for migrant workers

Conquer COVID-19 is donating more than 120,000 masks, face shields, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to the migrant workers in Windsor-Essex where there are the highest rates of the virus in all of Canada.

Conquer COVID-19 consists of doctors, nurses, business leaders, small business owners and volunteers.

Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk said the donation will go to six agencies and community organizations: the Migrant Worker Community Program, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Windsor Regional Hospital, Erie Shores Healthcare, and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
“These organizations are working day-and-night to protect our farmworkers and our communities, and this incredible donation provides a timely boost and the opportunity to demonstrate once again that our region stands united,” she said in a news release.

Maple Leaf profits rise

Maple Leaf Foods reported increased sales and profits for its second quarter.
Sales increased by seven per cent to more than $1 billion.
Meat Protein Group sales increased by 5.8 per cent and plant protein sales by 41 per cent.
More hogs were processed and sales to Asian markets increased.
Net earnings were $25.7 million compared with a net loss of $6.3 million last year.
Gross costs associated with COVID-19 were about $20 million.
Capital spending was $102.0 million of which $62.8 million was for a new poultry processing plant being built at London.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Equine Centre gifted $100,000

Sheryl Kerr has donated $100,000 to Equine Guelph to establish an equine education and community outreach endowment. 

A portion of the Kerr Fund for Equine Education and Community Outreach will support much needed ongoing operational funding for the University of Guelph’s not-for-profit Centre for the horse owner.

“Having learned so much myself from Equine Guelph’s online courses, I know first-hand how much value they bring to the horse community, said Kerr.

“Our horses deserve the very best, and Equine Guelph has access to the latest advice from experts across a range of topics that are essential for any horse owner – from beginners to barn owners.”

U.S. chains squeeze dairies out of milk

Three of the largest supermarket chains - Kroger Co., Walmart Inc. and Albertsons Cos. – in the United States are bottling their own milk.

That has squeezed competitors, including some of the largest.

Dean Foods Co., which until last year was the largest U.S. milk processor by sales, and Borden Dairy Co. were sold this year after filing for bankruptcy in November and January. 

Executives of both had blamed some of their struggles on grocers’ focus on cheap milk, often used as a loss leader.

But in Canada the trend has been in the opposite direction. The Weston Group sold its Neilson’s Dairy, but continues to buy that brand for its supermarket chains such as Loblaws and Zehrs.

Sobey’s sold four of the milk processing plants it had bought in Western Canada when it picked up the Canada Safeway supermarket chain. Agropur co-operative now owns them.

They were once known as Lucerne. 

“There are retailers who prefer to have really aggressively low prices on milk because it’s a great way to get people in the stores,” said Tony Sarsam, Borden’s former chief executive. Private-equity firm KKR & Co. and Capitol Peak Partners LLC, an investment firm headed by former dairy executives, bought Borden out of bankruptcy this month.

Adding to the industry’s pressures, milk’s luster has been slowly fading for years in an increasingly crowded beverage market. Many consumers have switched to bottled water and juice, or dairy alternatives made from almonds or oats; breakfast cereal has fallen out of favor.

Pro-farmer billboards up in Kansas

There are more billboards going up alongside the biggest highways in Kansas saying “1 Kansas Farmer Feeds More than 155 People + YOU!” 

The Kansas Agri-Women’s mission is behind the campaign which began with the Mertz family in 1977.

Harold and Jeanne Mertz were driving to San Angelo, Texas, to purchase livestock when she thought it was too bad that billboards sitting on farm fields said nothing about the farmers who own the land.

Kansas Agri-Women was founded in 1974 and Jeanne Mertz was a member when her campaign began with a hand-painted billboard erected by Thomas Signs of Manhattan, Kan., in 1977. It was on the Mertz farm.

“We lost a true visionary in 2017 on the passing of Jeanne Mertz. She helped show the impact our organization could have on spreading the message of agriculture,” said Lori Bammerlin, Kansas Agri-Women president.

The Mertz estate included
 a sign memorial fund to go toward replacing and installing signs.      

Farmers sign up for 235 conservation projects

Farmers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds have signed up for 235 projects to improve the environment and protect water quality.
The federal and provincial governments are providing $2.5 million for the projects.
“Farmers in Ontario have been and continue to be stewards of the land. We want to continue to make a positive impact on the environment, the economy and our communities,” said Jan VanderHout, member of Environmental Collaboration Ontario (EcoAg). 
“Partnership programs like LEADS are important tools for achieving innovative and effective environmental outcomes.” 
LEADS supports the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan and aligns with the Made-in- Ontario Environment Plan, committing to a 40 per cent reduction of phosphorus run off into Lake Erie and its watershed. 
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 2,500 projects through the Partnership.

Walmart Canada puts squeeze on suppliers

Walmart Canada sent notices to 3,000 suppliers, including food suppliers, that they will face a new charge of 1.25 per cent beginning Sept. 14.

Suppliers worry that other supermarket chains will follow suit.

It’s far from the first time the giants in the business have introduced a new squeeze.  Couple of years ago Sobeys and Loblaws announced they would discount invoices by a couple of percentage points, and made that change retroactive.

Another sign of their clout came when Sobeys, Loblaws and Metro all cancelled COVID-19 bonus pay on the same day. In testimony before a House of Commons committee, they admitted that as a “courtesy” they informed each other when they made that change.

Walmart called its new charge a “Vendor Investment Program,” an apparent reference4 to its announcement that it will be spending $3.5 billion in Canada.

“It sets a really, really unfortunate precedent,” said Michael Graydon, chief executive officer of Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), a trade group representing manufacturers. 

“The practice in the past has been that the phone starts to ring, with other retailers saying we want the same deal,” Graydon said.

Too bad farmers couldn't do the same to hike their prices. Of course, supply management marketing boards can.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Pig transport rolls over

A transport hauling pigs rolled over on Highway 7/8 about five kilometres east of New Hamburg on Monday morning.

A veterinarian was on site to help with rescuing or euthanizing injured pigs. So, too, was an animal welfare woman who said that the response would have been different had the transport been loaded with dogs. She said nobody seems to care about pigs.

Americans warned to not plant mystery seeds

Officials across the United States are warning people who get unsolicited packages of seeds in their mailboxes to not plant them.

There are concerns that the seeds come from China and may contain invasive species.

"At this point in time we don't have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam or an act of agricultural bioterrorism," Ryan Quarles, Kentucky's agriculture commissioner, said in a video posted on the department's website.

Photos of packages that state agriculture departments posted on social media show seeds of different sizes, shapes and colours that arrived in white or yellow envelopes. State officials said some packages were labelled as jewellery and may have contained Chinese writing.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond the Reuters News Agency request for comment.

The United States Department of Agriculture said it is "aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days." 

The agency is working with the Department of Homeland Security and states to protect U.S. agriculture and prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds, according to a statement.

State officials have asked recipients to secure the seeds in sealed plastic bags until they are picked up by authorities.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Young Farmers event cancelled

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer gathering has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

It was to be held in Saskatoon on December, but chairman Steve Cooper said, “the Saskatchewan hosting committee . . . advised the national board that the best move was to cancel the 2020 event. 
“The board agreed and the event was cancelled,” Cooper said.

Rory McAlpine retiring

Rory McAlpine, for 15 years Maple Leaf Foods’ government relations manager, is retiring.

His replacement is Nadia Theodore who is moving from the federal government to become vice president of Global Industry and Government Relations, effective Oct. 13.

Her most recent government job was Consul General of Canada in Atlanta, Georgia.

Since 2004 she has worked on global affairs and trade policy.

"Nadia's deep experience in global issues, her understanding of government and her diplomatic skills will be tremendous value to Maple Leaf Foods," said Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer.

"We are grateful for Rory McAlpine's long-standing leadership of industry and government relations and we know that Nadia will be an outstanding successor."

Americans love their meat

Americans are buying more meat than ever, despite higher prices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beef sales are up by 35 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic and volume is up by 28 per cent.

Pork supplies are up by 12 per cent and prices by 13 per cent.

The report is from Anne-Marie Roerink of Analytics LLC.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Four youth chosen for Council

Four from Ontario have been chosen from more than 800 applicants to join the 25-member Agriculture Youth Council established this year by federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

They are:

Gordon Bell, a soil and environmental science graduate from the University of Guelph where he now works on the Climate Smart Soil project.

Vicki Brisson is a francophone scientist.

Paul Hrycyk worked on an organic farm in Ontario and a wheat, pea and canola farm in Saskatchewan while studying for his MSc degree. For the last two years he has worked for the PUR Project.

Guillaume Pasquier has worked and studied in Ontario, Quebec and France.

They will be challenged to recommend priorities for Canadian agriculture, to identify problems and to propose solutions, said Bibeau.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Youth employment program filled

The youth employment program offered by the federal agriculture department has been filled.

It opened in May to respond to COVID-19 and had $9.2 million to help the agriculture
industry attract 700 Canadian youth, ages 15 to 30.

FCC posts strong year

Farm Credit Canada grew its portfolio by 6.6 per cent to $38.6 billion in the fiscal year that ended March 31.

Its net income was down to $656.6 million from $670 million the previous year.

It increased its provision for loan losses to $103 million compared with $31 million the previous year.

It paid dividend of $394.8 million to the Government of Canada which also gave it another $500 million worth of backing so FCC can make another $5 billion in loans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the FCC is important to keeping the Canadian agriculture industry healthy and noted that exports have increased by six per cent so far this year.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Grey-Bruce Week goes virtual

The 55th Grey-Bruce Farmers’ Week is going virtual this January.

The event will continue to be five days of seminars and a tradeshow day Tuesday, Jan. 5.

The Beef Day will be Jan 6, Dairy Day Jan 7, Goat Day-Jan 8, Sheep Day Jan 9,
Horse Day-Jan 10, Ecological Day-Jan 11 and Crops Day Jan 12.

 There will be more than 60 speakers and panelists. They will be available either by live-streaming or pre-recorded.

Co-ordinator Lorie Smith said “we are in a sweet-spot to pivot to a virtual conference
as a result of live streaming GBFW for the past three years. Our continued partnership with CTRE Productions will ensure the success of this new initiative.”

Farm Credit Canada is a joint sponsor.

Corteva donates to Farm Safety

Corteva is making donations to equip the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) to help rural fire departments deal with grain entrapment rescues.

CASA's grain safety program, BeGrainSafe, is designed to save lives and is
supported by sponsors such as Corteva.

CASA said this support has helped to build the BeGrainSafe mobile demonstration unit, develop BeGrainSafe resources, raise awareness on grain hazards, and train firefighters on grain entrapment rescue and now supply these fire departments with much needed rescue equipment.

Corteva’s support will purchase a GSI RES-Q-TUBE and a Haul-ALL pencil auger for eligible rural fire departments that have taken part in BeGrainSafe training.

The grain rescue tube and portable auger are essential in rescuing a person trapped in grain. When used in combination, the grain rescue tube creates a barrier between the victim and the grain while the auger helps rescuers quickly move the grain away from the entrapped person.

The combination of training and equipment “greatly increases the probability of a victim
 surviving a grain entrapment,” saids Robert Gobeil, CASA’s Agricultural Health and Safety Specialist. 

Meat packers claim prices reflect market conditions

The American Meat Institute is defending wild price swings for cattle after the August, 2019, fire at the Tyson Foods’ plant at Holcomb, Kansas, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The institute’s biggest members are under several investigations for price-fixing.

The institute issued a statement this week that said “in its analysis of the effects of the fire and the pandemic, USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture) found no wrong-doing and confirms the disruption in the beef markets was due to devastating and unprecedented events.”

Meat Institute president and chief executive officer Julie Anna Potts said “it is difficult to see how the USDA’s recommended legislative proposals would have changed the outcome of the fire or the pandemic.

“We will continue discussions with producer groups, Congress, and the Administration to ensure there is a fair and competitive market. 

It cited Dr. Stephen Koontz of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State who said “record low livestock prices are also not a surprise. If packers cannot run at typical throughput levels – especially if supplies are abundant –then the marginal value of that last group of animals that is not sold is close to zero.”

And wholesale beef prices rose because shoppers emptied supermarket meat counters and the stores we eager to refill them.

Chris Crump wins swine award

Chris Crump has won the B. W. Kennedy Memorial Award from the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement.

He runs hog quality tests for Quality Swine and the Ontario Swine Improvement Association, has worked with the University of Guelph’s swine research program and has trained other technicians.

He runs a crop cash and beef farm in Middlesex County and offers soil testing services.

He has been a volunteer with 4-H programs and has judged at county shows and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Jacques Poulin and CĂ©line Bolduc were awarded the Swine Breeders’
Merit Award.

They own a purebred swine breeding operation, Ferme Porcine de Beauce, located south of
Quebec City.

They began it almost from scratch when Poulin’s father gave them a small
piece of land in 1975.

The purebred breeding operation began in the mid-80s and is now a herd of 400
purebred sows (Landrace, Yorkshire and Duroc). It ranks as one of the best herds under performance testing by the provincial association.

Brent Robinson re-elected head of swine centre

Brent Robinson has been re-elected to his fourth term as chairman of the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement.

Other Ontario people elected were second vice-chairman Dave Brandenbroek of Alliance Genetics, Rod de Wolde of Ontario Swine Improvement and Lee Whittington of the Coaching Excellence Organization.

Marquis Roy of AlphaGene is first vice-chairman.

Burger King cancels misleading ads

Burger King has cancelled advertisements for its Whopper burgers after facing criticisms for telling whoppers about the environmental impact of cattle.

The company’s goal to reduce methane and produce a more eco-friendly Whopper is a positive, acknowledges Frank Mitloehner, University of California-Davis air quality Extension specialist, department of animal science.

But much of the information in the advertisement is inaccurate, he said.

Beyond Meat to be made in Quebec

Beyond Meat has announced that its Beyond Burger will be produced at a co-manufacturing facility in Quebec.

It did not say who or precisely where.

“Canada continues to be an important part of Beyond Meat’s long-term growth strategy and producing the Beyond Burger locally in Canada enables Beyond Meat to better serve the Canadian market, while reducing the company’s environmental footprint,” the California-based company said.

“Our process of rapid and relentless innovation in service of the consumer, and making investments in the markets we serve, are key pillars in our company’s strategy to provide delicious and nutritious plant-based protein with a lower environmental footprint,” said Ethan Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Beyond Meat.

Trade talks with U.K. are slow

The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) is trying to light a fire under Canadian trade negotiators to get on with a new deal with the United Kingdom.
But Steve Verheul, assistant deputy minister of trade policy and negotiations at Global Affairs Canada, told a parliamentary committee that negotiations will have to wait until a deal emerges on Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union.
And he told a House of Commons committee that Canada will be asking for a deal that duplicates what already exists in the recently-implemented trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.
Claire Citeau, executive director of CAFTA, said that deal (CETA) held promise for exporters when first signed but “continues to fall short” of its potential, because of the EU’s reluctance to remove technical and non-tariff trade barriers to trade over the deal’s three years of existence.
“Our view is that Canada should formally engage and seek to conclude negotiations of an ambitious (Canada-U.K.) free trade agreement that removes tariffs and non-tariff barriers, that provides liberal rules of origins, and secures the level playing fields,” she said.
She said some other countries have done this and Canada needs “to be at the table as well.”
She said Canada has too often been later than other nations in making trade deals. Earlier this month the United States said it’s talking to the United Kingdom about a post-Brexit deal.

Brussels Transport driver charged

A driver for Brussels Transport has been charged with careless driving in the death of a protester near the entrance to the Fearman’s hog-packing plant in Burlington.
Halton Regional Police said “there were no grounds to indicate that this was an intentional act or that a criminal offence has been committed”.
The 28-year-man was charged after the police say they interviewed witnesses, analyzed physical evidence and video footage.
Regan Russell of Hamilton, a woman in her 60s, was a regular protester at the plant, where trucks are often stopped by protesters so they could give the pigs water.
A GoFundMe page has been created to support the driver.
The incident happened days after the province passed legislation to try to stop animal welfare activists from trespassing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Now it’s crickets

I’ve seen bubbles with chinchillas, pigeons and research with red Holsteins,

But never in my wildest dreams would I expect London to become home to the world’s largest cricket processing plant.

Nor did I, as a taxpayer, expect to be investing $10 million in construction of the plant.

On the other hand, what could go wrong?

This is a venture backed by a researcher from McGill University.

It’s put forward by Aspire Food Group of Texas which says it will hire 60 people to start in the building of 100,000 square feet.

I guess it would not surprise me if next we will learn about “opportunities” to invest in rearing crickets to be processed at the plant. Or maybe offers to starving students to go out and catch crickets? Should be easy to simply follow their chirps, eh?

I can hear you chastising me for being such a skeptic and critic. This could be a perfectly legitimate business venture.

I guess we can all wait and see.

Roundup damages reduced again

A court award of $289.2 million, reduced to $78.5 million, has been reduced again to $21.5 million by an appeals court in California.

But the court upheld the verdict that glyphosate in Monsanto’s Ranger Pro herbicide caused non-Hodgkins lymphoma in schoolyard groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson.

The 1st District Court of Appeal said there was evidence to support a California jury’s 2018 decision that “Monsanto acted with a conscious disregard for public safety.”

The original San Francisco Superior Court jury found that St. Louis-based Monsanto had purposely ignored warnings and evidence that glyphosate, the active ingredient in its popular Roundup and Ranger Pro products, causes cancer..

Monday, July 20, 2020

Two tech investors form alliance

RH Accelerator Inc.  of London has entered into a strategic alliance with Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) to fund and help emerging companies in the food and agriculture sectors.
RH Accelerator launched last year to recruit experts to help fund and mentor early-stage companies, especially those in agriculture and food.
“We are excited about adding OAFT’s 23 years of knowledge, network and reputation to our founder programming already being delivered to the RHA companies.“ said Joe Dales, co-founder of RH Accelerator Inc.
“While RH Accelerator is a relatively young company, we have made almost 20 investments and our new private virtual community has grown to over 500 members – founders, mentors, investors and business professionals.”
RH Accelerator Inc. is currently raising a private RHA fund with accredited investors using the system so it can invest in early-stage innovative companies.
Tyler Whale, president of OAFT, said “we are looking forward to working with the experienced RH Accelerator team to expand our impact and enable more companies to gain access to needed resources such as financing, highly-accomplished mentoring, deep business intelligence and expanded networks in our collaboration with RH Accelerator. The combined resources will significantly improve the growth prospects and probability of success for early stage innovators.“

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Hardeman's twiddling thumbs

I got a chuckle watching Premier Doug Ford announce increased funding for business risk management programs this week.

Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman is standing behind him, twiddling his thumbs.

"Hurry up, Doug!  I want to talk to my farmers."

Friday, July 17, 2020

African Swine Fever vaccine under development

Kansas State University is working with a Korean company using a new technique to develop a vaccine to counter African Swine Fever.
The project is on a three-year research and development schedule.
The university’s partner is MEDIAN Diagnostics Inc., or MDx, a veterinary medicine company based in South Korea.
The technology we are utilizing is based on a novel adenovirus backbone — developed from human adenovirus serotype 6 — that can amplify a transgene up to 10,000 copies in the infected cell without producing infectious viruses," said Waithaka Mwangi, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Maple Leaf sells Cericola plant in Quebec

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has sold the Cericola chicken-processing plant in Quebec to Giannone Poultry of St. Cuthbert, Que.

Giannone will continue to supply fresh chicken to Maple Leaf Foods for three years.

The Cericola plant in Brampton remains with Maple Leaf. It bought Cericola in 2018.

Ontario boosts BRM 50 per cent

Ontario is increasing Business Risk Management program funding by 50 per cent to $150 million a year.

Premier Doug Ford also promised that funding will remain at that increased level in the years ahead.
The government also announced that farmers have until July 30 to enrol in the enhanced AgriStability program.

Ontario Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman also announced another $10 million for beef and hog farmers under the AgriRecovery program. The federal government is a partner in that promise.

South Carolina seeks agri-business investors

South Carolina has launched a campaign to lure Canadian investors in its agri-business sector.

It has hired Sanford Holshouser Economic Development Consulting of Raleigh to handle the campaign.

South Carolina says its agri-business sector has a $46.2 billion economic impact and supports more than 246,000 jobs in a state of five million people. 

It had a 25 percent growth rate between 2010 and 2018. 

The state is a welcoming environment for business, with a dedicated Office of Agribusiness Development to help guide projects and is well positioned for national and international trade.

The Port of Charleston is the most efficient port on the East Coast and the state is within a day’s driving distance of 75 percent of the U.S. population.

Vets suffering from stress

An alarming number of large-animal veterinarians are suffering stress-related mental illness, said  Athena Diesch-Chham, a veterinary social worker in the Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

She said when she speaks to gatherings of veterinarians, they are shocked to learn the results from surveys about mental illness.

COVID-19 has increased the stress, she said.

The good news is that more people are now openly talking about their mental health and seeking help, she said.

One stress is simply the heavy workload and social isolation in rural communities, she said.

Another is “moral stress” – situations where veterinarians are uncomfortable with the way cattle and pigs are being managed. 

“You can’t pull anybody else out of the stream if you’re in it too,” she said. 

“We need to get veterinarians to a better place. Pull yourself out of the stream so you can help all of us on the banks pull people out who need help.”

Ontario to restrict deer-farm imports

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is planning to regulate the movement of farmed deer into, through, and within Ontario.

“This is something the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has been advocating for and is a major accomplishment in the fight to keep Chronic Wasting Disease out of Ontario. All OFAH members should be proud knowing their voice drove this change, the OFAH said.

Chronic Wasting Disease, which has a similar impact on deer as Mad Cow’s Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) has on cattle, has been an issue on deer farms across Western Canada.

The government is also proposing to ban the use of deer material to make lures. 

They are already banned from use in hunting, but are allowed for other uses, such as nature photography.

The government also proposes to increase restrictions on hunters bringing animal parts into the province. The proposal is to allow only cut (butchered) meat, taxidermy mounts, tanned hides and skulls, canine teeth and antlers from which all tissue has been removed.

Five seeds organizations may merge

Five Canadian organizations involved in the seeds industry are planning to merge this year.

Members will get a chance to vote on the proposal later this summer.

The five are the Canadian Seed Growers Association, the Canadian Seed Institute,  the Canadian Seed Trade Association, the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada and the Canadian Plant Technology Agency.

The new organization is to be called Seed Canada.

Burger King launches a Whopper

Burger King launched an advertising campaign for its Whopper Burger this week claiming it’s environmentally friendlier because the cattle eat lemongrass.

Beef farmer organizations and some researchers hit back, saying the campaign amounts to a Whopper of deception.

First, it challenges the claim that cattle are responsible for about 14 per cent of global greenhouse gas. 

Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a University of California at Davis professor who specializes in air quality, said in the United States it’s three per cent.

Second, there are no peer-reviewed scientific reports that show lemongrass reduces methane emisssions from cattle.

Third, Burger King makes a joke about the methane in farts. In fact, most of the methane from cattle is burps.

Burger King cited a lemongrass trial that has not been officially published.

Burger King is owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and a Brazilian company. They also own Tim Horton’s, Popeye’s, Heinz and Kraft.