Monday, November 30, 2020

More ethanol in gasoline coming

The province is gradually increasing the mandatory ethanol content in gasolines from 10 to 15 per cent.

The requirement will increase to 11 per cent in 2025, 13 per cent in 2028 and 15 per cent in 2030.

The province said it’s being announced now as an incentive to increase production capacity. It said the policy aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Ice cream on recall

Kawartha Dairy Limited has detected pieces of metal in some of its ice cream, so has issued a recall.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there have been no reports of injuries.

The products under recall are:






Kawartha Dairy

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

1.5 L

0 62229 08950 1

PRD/ 03/11/2020 and
PRD/ 04/11/2020

Kawartha Dairy

Choc. Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

11.4 L

0 62229 08150 5

PRD: 03/11/2020 and
PRD: 04/11/2020

Kawartha Dairy

Mint Chip Ice Cream

1.5 L

0 62229 08917 4

PRD/ 13/10/2020 and
PRD/ 14/10/2020

Kawartha Dairy

Mint Chip Ice Cream

11.4 L

0 62229 08117 8

PRD/ 13/10/2020 and
PRD/ 14/10/2020



Sunday, November 29, 2020

Feds speed up dairy subsidy


The federal government is speeding up the compensation it is paying dairy farmers to compensate for the trade deals signed with the European Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the United States and Mexico.

It will now be paid in three years instead of seven.

And federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau repeated promises that compensation will be coming for the poultry industry, for the first time naming an amount of $691 million.

But negotiations continue on how the poultry-industry money will be spent.

The poultry marketing boards issued a statement saying “this investment in our sectors is a step in the right direction towards supporting farmers as they make ongoing improvements to their operations and enhance the long-term efficiency and sustainability of their farms. It will also help maintain economic activity in rural and urban communities across Canada.”

They thanked Bibeau and said “we look forward to working with officials on the development and implementation of these programs and initiatives in the coming months.”


The dairy compensation totaling $1.75 billion will now be finished by spending $468 million next year, $469 the following year and $468 million in the last year.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Metro launches major multi-product recall

Metro Ontario Inc. is recalling a long list of products because they might be contaminated with salmonella food-poisoning bacteria.

The product list is:


Fresh 2 Go Black Forest Ham Pinwheel


Starts with 0238325

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Beef Inside Round Alouette Stfd W/Spinach/Swiss Cheese


Starts with 0223355

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Pork Loin Center Pinwheel Spinach Pepper Cheese


Starts with 0219678

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Pork Loin Centre Chops Boneless W/Spinach/Cheese


Starts with 0215644

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Salmon Torenado


Starts with 0223622

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Salmon Torenado


Starts with 0223621

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Rainbow Trout Stuffed With Vegetable & Cheese


Starts with 0219859

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Rainbow Trout Stuffed With Vegetable & Cheese


Starts with 0219862

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Haddock Vegetable Tournedos


Starts with 0219153

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Haddock Vegetable Cheese Tournedos


Starts with 0219151

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Cod Vegetable Roast


Starts with 0219165

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Cod Vegetable/ Cheese Tournedos


Starts with 0219160

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Tilapia Roast Stuffed Vegeable /Cheese


Starts with 0219154

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Tilapia Roast Stuffed With Vegetable & Cheese


Starts with 0219155

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Spinach-Fruit Salad W/Nuts

180 g

Starts with 0226644

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Spinach and Fruit Salad Supersize 400G with Nuts

400 g

Starts with 0204590

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Tropical Green Juice

350 ML

Starts with 0222482

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Tropical Green Juice

500 ML

Starts with 0235094

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Hawaiian Green Juice

350 ML

Starts with 0222473

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

Hawaiian Green Juice

500 ML

Starts with 0235092

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

F2GO Kale-Quinoa Wrap with Hummus


Starts with 0222762

All units sold up to and including November 27, 2020

The Canadian Food Inspection agency says Metro initiated the recall, and that there have been no reports of customers falling ill.

No consensus reached on boosting BRM

The federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture failed to reach a consensus on improving AgriStability, even though they acknowledge that famers need improvements.

In a news release from the federal government, it said changes made in 2013 prompted many farmers to drop out because financial protection was reduced and it was difficult for farmers to know whether they would receive payouts.

The federal government apparently offered to boost funding by 50 per cent, to change the reference margin and to boost the payouts from 70 to 80 per cent and to make the program and its changes retroactive to 2020.

But the federal government said it still needs consensus from the others because they share in the costs for Business Risk Management programs.

Another topic up for discussion was concerns about the fees supermarkets charge suppliers. They agreed to establish a working group to delve further into the issue and what governments can do to protect suppliers.

The working group is going to consult suppliers and is to issue a report by July.

“We all recognize that these fees recently imposed by some retailers are really worrying,” federal Agriculture and Agri-food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said during a press conference after a meeting with provincial and territorial agriculture ministers on Friday. Ms. Bibeau will co-chair the working group with Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, André Lamontagne.

Ms. Bibeau signalled that the group is open to creating some kind of code for the industry, which would require co-operation among jurisdictions.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Fresh baby spinach under recall

Vegpro International is recalling Fresh Attitude brand Baby Spinach from the marketplace because it might be contaminated with Salmonella food-poisoning bacteria.

The recall was initiated by the company and is being overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The packages under recall are 312 and 142 grams marketed best before Dec. 4 and 5.


Public can take online farm tours

Farmers have opened their doors so film crews could capture what it looks like to run turkey, chicken, cow-calf and beef farms in Ontario.

The information is posted on the internet at and includes interviews with farmers , veterinarians, nutritionists and others involved in providing food.

There were 15 farm and food processing tours already on the site.                                                                                

Browsers can access the tours on tablets and desktop computers, as well as through mobile phones and VR (Virtual Reality) devices. 

Wheat researchers gain more insights

Wheat breeders have gained new insights into the genetics that make up some of the world’s best varieties.

An international team led by the University of Guelph has sequenced the genome for 15 varieties. Two years ago researchers had the first wheat genome for a single variety.

Armed with the new information, researchers can compare the varieties to pinpoint the genes most closely linked to yield, pest resistance and other important traits.

The 10+ Genome Project involved nearly 100 international scientists from universities and plant breeding institutes in Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Israel, Australia, and the United States.

Their research results were recently published in Nature, an academic journal.

“This is huge,” said project co-leader Curtis Pozniak, a wheat breeder at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Canadians sold vaccine-production business

ID Biomedical Corp. owns two chicken locations in Quebec where hens lay eggs producing vaccines , but it was bought by GlaxoSmithKline in 2015 for $1.7 billion.

GlaxoSmithKline is one of the world’s largest vaccine producers.

In an interview with Andre Picard of the Globe and Mail in 2014, the company said it could provide 12 million doses of influenza vaccine per year to the United States.

After it was taken over by GlaxoSmithKline, it said it could produce up to 75 million doses per year.

This week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will have to import all of the COVID-19 vaccine it will need because there is no Canadian production capability.

China suspends sales of frozen foods

China has suspended sales of imported frozen foods from the nation’s largest storage facilities after finding COVID-19 on and inside packaging.

The storages are in Qingdao and Tianjin cities, reports Reuters news agency.

Refrigerated meat, seafood and frozen products in the market have been dumped, and the market has disinfected more than 100 cold storages and shut down their power, Beijing News reported on Wednesday .

Workers in a particular environment who repeatedly come into contact with cold-chain products polluted by the coronavirus might be infected without proper protection, a Chinese official said.

However, officials said the risk is "very low".

China has ramped up testing of frozen foods after saying it has repeatedly discovered the coronavirus on imported products and their packaging, triggering mass scale testing of food and related personnel, suspension of certain imports and disruptions to trade flows.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Richard Cressman dead at 67

Police found the body of Richard Cressman at the Nith River in New Hamburg Tuesday.

The circumstances of his death were not revealed by police.

For 25 years he served as secretary-treasurer for the Waterloo Region Federation of Agriculture and for six years as secretary-treasurer for the Waterloo Region milk committee.

He dairy farmed with his brother, Ralph, for 14 years and then struck off on his own. He took over the family's Pioneer Seed sales business and seven years after parting ways, he rejoined his brother in another partnership.

One of the many things he did was act as a consultant for farming families making generational transitions.

Turkey defenders sue Cargill

Days after losing a lawsuit against Diestel Turkey Ranch of California, six organizations have sued Cargill claiming it makes “false and misleading claims” about its turkey production.

Cargill vigorously denied the allegations, saying it conducts its business in a legal, ethical and responsible manner” and “has worked with (USDA- the United States Department of Agriculture) to develop an audited process verified program for turkey production that exceeds all current governmental and industry standards.”

The lawsuit alleges that Cargill markets its turkeys as raised by family farmers, which the groups say is misleading because "in fact the turkeys used in the brands come from large, corporate-controlled factory farms." 

Other charges made in the complaint are related to what the organizations contend are disparities between Cargill's claims and what the complainants say are the realities about how the turkeys are raised and harvested.

Booming grain prices change farmers’ moods

Farmers are in a much better mood now than at mid-summer, according to a survey by Purdue University.

It’s Agriculture Economy Barometer hit a record high of 183 this month.

Rising prices are translating into predictions that net incomes for United States farmers will set a record this year.

It’s a strange outcome, given that the government announced in August that it would provide up to $14 billion to compensate for disruptions and costs incurred by COVID-19. That's on top of $16 billion to compensate for trade relations with China.

“This has been a phenomenal year with all sorts of market developments every month, we think we've got things figured out, and then the next month, something new happens,” says Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri.

In Canada, farmers have been lobbying the federal government for increased support, mainly by boosting coverage provided via AgriStability.

But Prairie grain farmers are noticeably less enthusiastic about this than beef and hog farmers, especially in Ontario and Quebec.

The House of Commons Agriculture Committee issued a report this week supporting the call for increased support via AgriStability.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

More COVID-19 linked to meatpacking

There are more COVID-19 cases and deaths in counties that have a meatpacking plant, according to analyses conducted by two universities and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

Those counties had 51 to 75 per cent more cases and 37 to 56 per cent more deaths than the baseline, revealed the research which traced all COVID-19 cases up to July 21.

They concluded that meatpacking plant workers likely carried the virus into the surrounding communities.

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Chicago estimated that "excess COVID-19 infections and deaths" related to U.S. meatpacking plants amounted to between 236,000 and 310,000 COVID-19 - i.e. six to eight per cent of total cases - and between 4,300 and 5,200 deaths – I.e. three to four per cent of total cases.

The "vast majority" of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths occurred among people not working at livestock plants, they reported, but data suggest that in areas where a meatpacking plant is located, community spread is markedly higher. 

The researchers also found that lower rates of COVID-19 case growth followed temporary closures of high-risk plants, and that smaller, decentralized facilities do not appear to contribute to transmission. 

However, the analysis indicated that meat processing plants with U.S. Department of Agriculture approvals to operate at higher production line speeds appeared to more be associated with more county-wide cases.





Peggy Brekfeld elected OFA president

Peggy Brekfeld is the new president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, taking over from Keith Currie who retired.

Brekfeld is a dairy farmer from near Thunder Bay and has been vice-president for six years.

Mark Reusser, a turkey farmer from the Waterloo Region, was re-elected vice-president and Drew Spoelstra is new to his role as the other vice-president.

Spoelstra is part of the family that runs Roy-A-Lea Seeds Ltd. of Binbrook, near Hamilton. The business includes dairy and cash crop farming. Spoelstra has been on the executive team for four years.

The executive was elected by the OFA’s 18-member board of directors instead of the entire membership. The change in election protocols was approved during the annual meeting, held via the internet.

Bloc backbencher defends supply management

Backbench Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon has introduced a private member’s bill that would bar Canadian trade negotiators from allowing any increase in low-tariff imports of dairy and poultry products.

The bill is due for debate later today.

Bill C-216 would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" that would increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.

"Something very important for milk and egg and poultry production is given away as a token and nothing comes back for those producers, so we say in the law that this should not happen anymore," Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet said.

"The Liberal government says, 'Oh, we will will compensate you. And you know what, they don't," he said.

The debate comes just after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an agreement to extend European Union trade rules after the U.K. leaves the E.U.

Then, they said, negotiations will resume towards a more detailed trade agreement.

The U.K. has already indicated it wants to sell more cheese to Canadians.




Monday, November 23, 2020

Politicians support farmers’ call for help

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture has issued a report supporting farmers’ calls for a long list of improvements to existing business risk management programs and for some new ones.

The most expensive recommendation is to improve AgriStability. Beef Farmers of Ontario asked that the federal and provincial governments:

·       Increase the AgriStability trigger from 70-85 per cent;

·       Remove the Reference Margin Limit (RML) from AgriStability calculations, and

·       Increase or remove the cap on individual operations.

 “We are extremely pleased with this report and its recommendation that the Government of Canada immediately adjust the AgriStability program to cover losses below 85 per cent of the historical reference margin, and that additional changes be made to ensure the program is more effective, agile, timely and equitable,” Beef Farmers of Ontario said in a statement responding to the report.

Among other recommendations were ones to:

1. Improve and enhance AgriInvest to make it more effective, agile, timely and equitable, with the following measures: 

a. Increasing the percentage of allowable net sales; 

b. Increasing the matching government contributions; and 

c. Increasing the maximum account balance limit. 



2 Provide livestock insurance in all provinces and improve the ones already in place by escalating payouts in response to higher feed costs.

3, Extend production insurance for horticultural and other crops currently not covered by AgriInsurance; and 

4. Work with provincial and territorial governments to modernize the rating methodology for AgriInsurance premiums. 

5. Improve the advance payments programs by:


a. Increasing the interest-free portion; 

b. Increasing the overall cash advance limit; and 

c. Providing access to APP to all commodities. 



6. Look at ways to facilitate access to Business Risk Management suite of programs to under-represented groups such as young farmers, women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and people with disabilities.


7. Simplify the Business Risk Management programs with the goal of making them more user friendly, timely, bankable and predictable while ensuring the programs meet the needs of farmers with diversified operations and to improve and enhance access for small businesses.


8. Conduct research into more and better risk management programs and provide education to farmers on business risk management.



9. Look into reducing AgriInsurance premiums by: 

a. Waiving AgriStability fees; 

b. Providing educational support to bolster a better understanding of Business Risk Management programs and best practices; and 

c. Making the AgriInvest program more accessible to young farmers. 

10. Provide protection for produce farmers by establishing a fund to cover losses in the event of buyer insolvency or bankruptcies.