Friday, October 22, 2021

De Dell Seeds has new owner

Will Trudell is now the owner of De Dell Seeds, taking over from his father and founder Vince Trudell.

De Dell Seeds has grown and evolved over the past 22 years while remaining a family company. Will has been vice-president for 10 years.

Will said in a release that he does not intend to make any major changes to company polices but will continue to uphold the same high standards for customer service his father taught him. 

“We value our loyal dealers and customers who have trusted us from the very beginning, as well as those who have joined us along the way, and we are very thankful for the continued support.

 “We have a great team in our research department who have done a good job of breeding improved hybrids and we have already advanced a long way compared to the early days.” 

The company markets 36 conventional corn hybrids, 12 of which are available in an organic version, ranging from 2000 CHU (67 Days) up to 3400 CHU (114 Days). 

De Dell has a network of dealers from coast-to-coast in Canada, as well as a smaller network of dealers in the United States. 

Agropur invests in Wisconsin cheese plant

Agropur is investing $168 million to build a new facility to accommodate increased production of cheese and dairy ingredients at its plant in Little Chute, Wis. 

It is the company’s second-largest investment in the United States.

“Having a new state-of-the-art facility in Little Chute will help us solidify our leadership position in the dairy industry,” said Doug Simon, president of U.S. operations at Agropur. 

“Beyond speed and efficiency, the new processes and equipment will provide greater flexibility and will allow Agropur to offer a broader line of products to meet our customers’ needs.”

The investment will increase the plant’s capacity from 300 to 750 million pounds of milk per year.

The 210,000-square-foot plant will be built just north of its existing Little Chute facility and will include a waste-water treatment facility that will generate energy.

The expanded plant is expected to be fully operational by early 2023 and will create 54 new jobs.

Organic conference invites scholarship applications

The Guelph Organic Conference held in January is inviting applications for $10,000 worth of scholarships.

The first prize is worth $5,000.

Entrants are asked to submit a video of up to two minutes in which they express the role they hope to play in the organic regenerative movement

The video format gives students a chance to tell the judging panel about themselves, how they are engaged in organics, and how they intend to use their studies and actions to progress organic regenerative practices in their communities.

The deadline is Oct. 31. Application forms are available at

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Whole raw onions on recall

Onions grown in Mexico and distributed across North America by Prosource Produce of Idaho are on recall because they could be contaminated with salmonella food-poisoning bacteria.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said they have come to retailers in Ontario and Quebec and may have been re-packaged.

The CFIA says retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, and nursing homes should not serve, use, or sell the recalled products described below.

Recalled product






Additional information

Big Bull

Peak Fresh Produce

Sierra Madre Produce

Markon First Crop

Markon Essentials



Rio Valley

Imperial Fresh

Red onions

Yellow onions

White onions

Mesh sacks:

50 lb

25 lb

10 lb

5 lb

3 lb

2 lb


50 lb

40 lb

25 lb

10 lb

5 lb


All products imported between July 1, 2021 and August 31, 2021.

Produce of the state of Chihuahua, Mexico

The CFIA also said these onions may also have been sold in bulk or in smaller packages with or without a label and may not bear the same brand or product names listed above.

The CFIA said there are no reports of Canadians falling ill after eating these imported onions



Hog markets collapsing

Hog markets in China and Spain have collapsed.

China is the world’s largest hog-producing country and Spain is third.

Market hog prices In Spain are 20 per cent short of break-even.

Market hog prices in China are as low as half the cost of production. It’s the worst hog market it has ever seen.

In both cases farmers are dumping sows into the market and sow prices have reached near give-away levels.

It remains to be seen what impact these market collapses will have on the North American pork sector.

Subsidy offered for recruiting workers

The federal and provincial governments are offering $1.5 million to companies and farmers who are trying to recruit workers.

“Labour challenges continue to be one of the leading bottlenecks to growth in our agriculture sector,” said federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. 

“At the same time, there are countless quality and dynamic job opportunities for Canadians looking for rewarding careers. This cost-shared funding for employee attraction, training and retention helps bridge that divide between employable Canadians and labour shortages, and is vital to ensure the long-term prosperity of the sector.” 

“Investing in a strong workforce for the agri-food sector is vital to our economy and our rural communities,” said Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson.

The money is for:

Implementing new, enhanced or expanded approaches to attract and retain labour; 

Planning, analyzing and assessing labour force needs, and 

Implementing training to address identified workforce needs, including training to improve food safety and traceability, labour productivity or tech-focused skills gap.

Projects may be eligible for up to 70 per cent funding of eligible expenses to a maximum of $250,000.

CFIA issues advisory on exports to China

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued an advisory to those who export food products to China.

Effective January 1, 2022, they will need to comply with two new Chinese regulations for imported food and overseas food establishments.

Decree 248: Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food will require all overseas food manufacturers, processors and storage facilities to register with the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC). 

Decree 249: Administrative Measures on Import and Export Food Safety covers a broad range of requirements on food exports to China, including overseas facilities registration, record filing by importers and exporters, quarantine and inspection and product labeling. 

In advance of China's implementation of the decrees, Canadian food exporters should ensure their products are in compliance with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations as well as with China's import requirements, the CFIA said in its advisory.

“It is critical that companies exporting and involved in the export of certain food products to China contact the Market Access Secretariat (MAS) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada before October 22, 2021, to provide necessary contact information to enable the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to compile an exporter list that will be shared with GACC,” the agency said on Oct. 21, one day before the deadline. 

“This new registration process is required in order to maintain continued access to the Chinese market for the specified food products,” it said.




PED in Huron County


There has been an outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in a nursery barn in Huron County.

It is the first case in Ontario since May 3.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Doctors transplant pig kidney to dying woman

 For the first time, a pig kidney has been transplanted into a human without triggering immediate rejection by the recipient’s immune system, a potentially major advance that could eventually help alleviate a dire shortage of human organs for transplant.

The operation involved a kidney donated from a genetically-modified pig. 

Its gene for a carbohydrate that triggers rejection — a sugar molecule, or glycan, called alpha-gal — was knocked out.

The recipient was a brain-dead patient with signs of kidney dysfunction whose family consented to the experiment before she was due to be taken off of life support, researchers told Reuters news agency.

For three days, the new kidney was attached to her blood vessels and maintained outside her body, giving researchers access to it.

Test results of the transplanted kidney’s function “looked pretty normal,” said transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the study.

The kidney made “the amount of urine that you would expect” from a transplanted human kidney, he said, and there was no evidence of the vigorous, early rejection seen when unmodified pig kidneys are transplanted into non-human primates.

The recipient’s abnormal creatinine level — an indicator of poor kidney function — returned to normal after the transplant, Montgomery said.

In the U.S. alone, nearly 107,000 people are presently waiting for organ transplants, including more than 90,000 awaiting a kidney, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Wait times for a kidney average three to five years


Researchers have been working for decades on the possibility of using animal organs for transplants, but have been stymied over how to prevent immediate rejection by the human body.

The genetically altered pig, dubbed GalSafe, was developed by United Therapeutics Corp.’s Revivicor unit. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2020, for use as food for people with a meat allergy and as a potential source of human therapeutics.

Tyson wins price-fixing lawsuit vs. supermarkets

A judge has found Tyson Foods Inc. not guilty of fixing chicken prices in the ongoing Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation case.

Judge Thomas Durkin dismissed the claims leveled by Kroger Co., Albertsons Cos., Hy-Vee Inc., Save Mart Supermarkets, Meijer Inc., Publix Super Markets Inc. and Supervalu Inc. among other grocery retailers, settling a dispute that began more than three years ago.

The stores claimed that Tyson and the other defendants in the chicken processing industry illegally conspired to maintain higher chicken prices paid by retailers for nearly a decade. The latest ruling noted that the dismissal has no bearing on the plaintiffs’ claims against any other defendants in the case.

Earlier this month, Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride and Mar-Jac Poultry agreed to pay a total of nearly $93.5 million to settle price-fixing charges and cooperate in any future prosecutions in the case against other poultry processing firms. Tyson earlier agreed to pay $21 million to settle price-fixing allegations filed by chicken growers and reached a $1.75 million settlement with commercial and institutional chicken purchasers covering the period between Jan. 1, 2010 and Jan. 1, 2017.



More money for farm investments

The federal and Ontario agriculture departments are offering another $10.21 million “to help the agri-food sector adopt on-farm solutions and best practices that will grow their business, create jobs and drive economic growth across Ontario while continuing to provide the safe, high quality food the province is known for.” 
(They need an editor: . . . .:for which the province is known.)

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie Claude Bibeau said “we are committed to helping farmers with strategic on-farm investments that improve their bottom line and generate sustainable economic growth.

 “These cost-shared investments will not only build a stronger, more innovative agriculture sector in Ontario but support the prosperity of rural communities across the province.”

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson said “our government is investing in these projects to help farmers and other businesses adopt innovative solutions that help increase their productivity in the agri-food sector.”

Mennonites continue hay donations

Mennonite Disaster Response is continuing to move hay to drought-stricken farmers in the west.

Donors can contact Lester Weber (519-584-4171) or Delmer Erb (519-897-4330) and those in need in Saskatchewan can call Daryl Bueckert (306-717-3987) or Ike Epp (306-342-7921). An application form for hay can also be found at .

So far 35 have donated hay.

For Bradley and Virginia Walker, livestock farmers in Endeavour, Sask., this year’s weather was a disaster.  

  “The rain was so patchy,” said Bradley. “Some places got good rain, we got nothing.”  

  The lack of rain meant they couldn’t grow enough hay to feed the 350 head of cattle on their organic beef farm.  

  “Normally we grow enough,” he said, noting that wasn’t the case this year—there isn’t enough hay to get the herd through the winter months.  

  That scenario is being repeated across the province. And now, with hay prices having increased from $70 CDN/$56 U.S. a bale before the drought to as much as $300 CDN/$246 U.S. today, farmers like the Walkers are in trouble. 

  “At that price, we can’t make a go of it,” he said, adding lots of farmers are selling off their cattle because they can’t afford to feed them.  

  “I don’t want to do that,” he said, noting it’s taken 35 years to build up their herd.    

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Support for ASF measures increases

The federal and Ontario governments are providing close to another $3 million to help the pork industry step up its vigilance against African Swine Fever.

The previous 35 per cent level of matching funds is being increased to 50 per cent.

Starting November 5, funding will be offered to Ontario pork producers, processors and other agri-businesses to support their training, education and planning, as well as for supply and infrastructure investments and modifications needed to strengthen swine-related operations, support industry businesses, and protect the herds and livelihoods of Ontario pork producers. 

“We know how hard Ontario pork producers work to keep such high standards for safety” said the federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. 

"In the wake of growing concerns since African swine fever has been detected in the Caribbean, this funding will support new measures that protect the prosperity and resiliency of the entire sector."

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson said “our role in government is not just to react to what happens in Ontario but to also be proactive to help mitigate risks to our agri-food sector and our food supply.

“The recent detection of African swine sever in the Caribbean and the devastating impacts it has had in Europe and Asia is a good reminder to tighten protections all along the pork industry value chain to try to prevent the introduction of the disease which would lead to significant market and trade disruptions.” 

Willie Huber dead at 88

Wilhelm “Willie” Huber, the driving force behind Piller’s Meats and Delicatessens Ltd. of Waterloo, has died. He was 88.

The Huber family immigrated from Austria in the 1950s and in 1957 Willie and George Piller each invested $500 to buy a small butcher shop in Waterloo.

The same year they bought 20 acres in the Northeastern part of Waterloo, still home to the main production facility and head office.

Huber’s brothers, Edward and Heinrich, joined the business in 1959 and Piller went on to other pursuits which included rendering plants, a hog-packing plant in Kitchener, joint investments with the late Donnie Martin of Martin Feed Mills in Elmira and several other Elmira businessmen.

The Hubers went on to win a number of prestigious awards, both in Europe and North America, for their sausages, and they increased sales to national distribution.

They captured the top-quality position in the large-volume category of the Canadian meat-packing business, taking over from J.M. Schneider Inc. which was purchased by Smithfield Foods, then Maple Leaf Foods.

Premium Brands of Vancouver, a company that was growing fast through acquisitions, bought Pilller’s in 2011.

Huber’s funeral is being handled by the Henry Walser Funeral Home in Kitchener.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Temporary worker agencies face scrutiny

The province is cracking down on agencies that manage temporary workers.

Apparently workers are owed about $3.3 million because they were paid less than minimum wage or otherwise cheated, the province says.

Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton has introduced legislation to address the abuses which the government said includes farm employers.

Both the agencies and employers who hire their temporary workers will be required to obtain a licence.

Last year during the furore over temporary farm workers, it emerged that some employers and agencies in the Windsor-Leamington area were exploiting foreigners.

"From day one, my ministry has worked to ensure any employer who abuses the rights of their workers – no matter their passport – will quickly find our officers at their front door,” said McNaughton. 

“Today’s announcement sends a clear message to anyone who still thinks they can break the rules that time is up. This legislation would, if passed, be the toughest of its kind in Canada – ensuring every worker in Ontario has unprecedented protection today and, in the years to come.”

Inspections by ministry officers have shown that there are multiple temporary help agencies in Ontario that are illegally paying people below the minimum wage and denying other basic employment rights. 

In doing so, they gain an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding agencies by undercutting rates, the government said.

Lake Erie watershed funding opens


The final round of funding for property owners in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds will be open from Nov. 2  to Nov. 8, the federal and provincial governments have announced.

A total of $2.58 million is available for projects such as:

·       planting cover crops to reduce soil erosion; 

·       modifying equipment to reduce soil tillage and compaction; 

·       improving nutrient placement; and 

·       planting of permanent trees or vegetation strips to serve as windbreaks. 

The federal-provincial program aims to reduce the risk of nutrient losses, to improve water quality and improve soil health.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said “Canadian farmers are leading stewards of our environment, always looking for new tools and innovations to ensure their sustainability.

“I encourage farmers in Southwestern Ontario to make a project application with this exciting new cost-shared program, which can help improve their farms and the Lake Erie watershed.” 

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson said “the Great Lakes are vitally important to everyone in Ontario – from farmers to businesses and the millions of people who live in communities near these vast bodies of water.

“The investments made by federal and provincial governments in the on-farm projects supported through LEADS are greatly appreciated in the agricultural community,” said Chad Anderson, president of Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.

“This funding will result in significant environmental gains that improve soil health and water quality in the Lake Erie basin.” 

The LEADS initiative supports Ontario’s commitment to a 40 per cent reduction of phosphorus run off into Lake Erie and its watershed by 2025. 

New tractors in short supply

New tractors will be more difficult to find this winter.

Deere and Co. workers in the United States are on strike.

CNH Industrial, an Italian-American tractor and vehicle maker, announced this week its temporarily shutting several of its European manufacturing plants that produce agricultural equipment. 

The company can’t source enough parts to keep assembling new tractors.

And the Association of Equipment Manufacturers said the shortage is industry wide, not only at CNH.

CNH manufacturers Case IH, Steyer, New Holland and IVECO equipment.

CNH says it plans to shut down the facilities for eight days this month. 

The supply chain issues are crippling manufacturers. Scott Wilson of CNH said the situation is “brutal”.

"The team has done a really nice job managing through it. I mean, it's brutal. It's the most difficult supply chain situation I’ve seen," said Wine. 

"I was a supply officer in the Navy before I joined the industrial world. So I've been around much of it in all my life. I've never seen it this bad. But the team's done a nice job of managing through it." 

Cut Blades, senior vice president of Ag Services for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, said "the supply chain issues that are facing the ag equipment market are the same ones that are facing cars, and washing machines and pen balls, and whatever, whatever else that you're trying to buy. Everything is in tight supply.

“It's a recipe for empty (retail) lots out there.“

China’s hog production rebounds, stalls

China’s third-quarter pork production rose to its highest level in three years according to official government data.

Reuters News Agency said the rebound is led by thousands of large breeding farms which built barns in 2020. Hog production was cut in half by outbreaks of African Swine Fever in 2018. 

Pork output for July to September was 12.02 million tonnes, an increase of 43 per cent from the same period last year.

China's pork output jumped 38 per cent in the first three quarters of 2021 versus a year earlier to 39.17 million tonnes, the statistics bureau said.

The third quarter was, however, lower than the 13.46 million tonnes in the second quarter.

Prices have plunged 65 per cent so far this year, prompting some farmers to sell their herds and exit, while others took the opportunity to get rid of less productive sows.

China's sow herd contracted by a half of one per cent in July compared with June, and by another nine-tenths of one per cent in August compared with July.

Canadian pork exports to China also stalled this year, in some cases to nothing.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Olymel president has died

Réjean Nadeau, president and chief executive officer of Olymel, has died of a sudden and virulent cancer. He was 71.

Olymel, owned by Sollio Cooperative Group, is one of Canada’s largest pork and poultry processing companies.

In less than 20 years, Réjean Nadeau spearheaded an expansion that has given Olymel an active presence in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta. 

He has served on several boards of directors and is also involved with many charities. 

Under his leadership, the company has also garnered numerous awards for its products and the originality of its marketing, as well as for its management of human resources. 

In November 2013, Nadeau was inducted into the Association des détaillants en alimentation (ADA) Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement. 

In 2016 he was awarded the Prix Hommage Grand Bâtisseur Desjardins for his entrepreneurial and leadership qualities in the agri-food processing sector.

Just before he died, he sent a note to employees asking them all “to continue on the path of growth, always keeping in mind the values on which the company was founded: integrity, respect and trust. 

"Pay attention to your colleagues, smile, question your attitude and your way of leading, and be open to change: at times it will be technological and will push our business model to evolve; you will see our old face-to-face model become hybrid; at times the path of growth and development will send shockwaves through the organization, and in the end, management will experience a new boom under new leadership. 

“These are all challenges that I know you are capable of meeting, like a tight-knit family," he wrote.





Deere union workers on strike

About 10,000 employees of Deere & Co. went on strike Thursday after rejecting a tentative five-year deal that the company and union representatives negotiated.

The tentative deal covered production and maintenance employees across 14 facilities in the United States, but they voted 90 per cent against accepting it.

The company has about 27,000 employees in Canada and the U.S.

"Pickets have been set up, and our members are organized and ready to hold out and fight for a contract they believe meets their needs," Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4, said.

Separately, Deere said it remained committed to reaching a new agreement, adding that it had not yet estimated when it would complete negotiations.

The now-rejected offer would have given five per cent wage hikes for some workers and six per cent for some others. The proposed deal had also called for three per cent raises in 2023 and 2025.

The workers understand that they had to make concessions on some benefits in the past and now they want to get some of it back at a time when Deere is doing "very well financially" and labor shortages persist industry-wide, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters news agency.

Deere had earlier said its operations would continue as normal in Canada and the U.S.

Farmers, meat packers plead for workers

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), Mushrooms Canada and the Canadian Meat Council are pleading with the federal government for more temporary foreign workers.

A new online application form that was supposed to make the process quicker and easier has been down since August with no indication when the federal government will get it up and running again.

Meanwhile meat packers said they are desperately short of workers and want the government to increase the cap on foreign workers from 20 to 30 per cent of their workforce..

“When we talk about unfilled jobs, what we’re talking about is lost opportunity,” said Mary Robinson, CFA president. 

The CFA estimated the agriculture industry lost about $2.9-billion in revenue in 2020 because of low productivity, or about 4.5 per cent of overall sales.

Canadian agriculture has increasingly relied on bringing in workers from overseas to make up for shortfalls in domestic hiring. According to a Statistics Canada analysis from 2020, 27.4 per cent of all workers on crop production in Canada were temporary foreign workers (TFWs)..

Marie-France MacKinnon, vice-president of public affairs at the Canadian Meat Council, said her group wants the cap restored to 30 per cent which it was in 2014.

“Our labour shortage is critical right now,” MacKinnon said. “It’s over 4,000 empty butcher stations from across the country.”

Mark Chambers, vice-president Sunterra Farms, a large Alberta pork producer with a packing plant, said his production runs below capacity because of a shortage of workers. He said his pork-processing plant has 120 stations, 20 of which are empty because there is no one to work them.



Thursday, October 14, 2021

Hay lift to north completed

Beef Farmers of Ontario has completed a hay lift to drought-stricken farmers in Northwestern Ontario, a program it administered on behalf of the provincial government which provided about $1 million.

They delivered 5.8 million pounds of hay to 129 livestock farmers to feed more than 11,000 beef and dairy cattle in the Rainy River and Kenora Districts.

Over the course of 60 days, the hay travelled by 120 trucks, by CN Rail, and endured a collective voyage of more than 200,000 kilometers. 

“On behalf of our members in the northwest, we are so grateful for the response from (Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa) Thompson and the government of Ontario to help Ontario’s farmers navigate the drought of 2021,” said BFO president Rob Lipsett.

“When we work together, we can accomplish great things and we sincerely appreciate the efforts of all of our partners and donors who played pivotal roles in providing an incredible amount of hay to the producers of Rainy River and Kenora in such a short time.” 

Thompson said she “very much appreciates the impact this drought has had on farmers, as well as their candor when discussing this issue. 

“That is why our government acted quickly to provide the emergency assistance to those affected by it.” 

BFO was overwhelmed by the response from fellow farmers who wanted to lend a helping hand by providing either donated forages or offers of surplus hay for sale. 

On behalf of farmers in the northwest, BFO humbly accepted over $64,000 in financial donations to support its efforts, and used the funds to purchase and transport additional feed for the region. 

BFO would like to thank this incredible list of generous financial, feed and transport donors, and especially those who provided their valuable time to help BFO execute this initiative with extreme professionalism and precision: 


  • Chris Martin, Marhaven Agri Inc., hay and transport procurement 
  • Fritz and Gise Trauttmansdorff, Dunlea Farms Ltd., hay and transport procurement 
  • Jeff Pollard, Stratton drop site management 
  • Evan Debney, Kenora drop site management 
  • The many hay suppliers, transport companies, and drivers from across the province 

The donar list is:

Frew Family
Mark Horst, Marcrest Lucknow Kinsmen Club Jason Fuerth
Larry Miehls
George Dickenson
Roger Thurston
Brian Pelleboer
Robert Halliday
Ken and Marie McNabb Dan and Greg Schantz Nathan Fried
James and Francis Johnston 

Transport Donars: 

Titan Trailers Inc. Jerry Martens
Mark Horst, Marcrest 

Financial Donars: 

Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Essex, Hastings, Kent, Lambton, Niagara and Simcoe federations of agriculture.