Monday, February 28, 2022

Chaffe elected beef chairman

Jack Chaffe of Mitchell has been elected chairman of Beef Farmers of Ontario, taking over from Rob Lipsett who stepped down but remains on the board.

Craig McLaughlin of Renfrew County was elected vice chairman.

Chaffee represents feedlot operators and his feedlot has capacity for 2,500 head and is enrolled in the Ontario Corn Fed Beef program.

McLaughlin represents Eastern Ontario, has been on the board for five years and has a cow-calf and backgrounding operation.

Three directors were re-elected: Don Badour as cow-calf director, Joe Dickenson as feedlot director and Kim Jo Bliss as an at-large director. Ron Stevenson was acclaimed as southern director.

GRCA budget $35 million

 The directors of the Grand River Conservation Authority have approved a budget of $35 million, of which $12.5 million will come via municipal taxes.

Their portion of the budget has increased by 2.5 per cent.

Federal and provincial governments contribute $3.9 million, or about 12.5 per cent of the budget.

The GRCA will generate about 46 per cent of its revenues from fees for camping, tree sales, property rentals, planning permits and donations.

The GRCA was the first in Ontario to offer farm subsidies for erosion controls, manure storages, tree planting and other measures designed to protect water resources. Most other conservation authorities have copied some of all of those initiatives.

Major expenses this year will be for water protection, flood warning and maintenance on dams and dikes.

Species at Risk gains three members

The Ontario government’s advisory committee on Species at Risk has gained three new members.

Allison Featherstone of Kitchener is an ecological consultant with LGL Consulting research associates and has been an advisor for the Region of Waterloo on ecology and the environment, wastewater treatment and transportation.

Shannon Catton of Guelph is senior ecologist with LGL Ltd.

Christine Scheewe is studying horticulture at the University of Guelph.

They have all been appointed to three-year terms.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Bouvry Exports loses CFIA licence

Bouvry Exports Calgary Ltd. has lost its Canadian Food Inspection Agency licence for because of food safety issues.

The company, based at Fort McLeod, exports red meats, including horse meat.

The CFIA said it “suspended the licence because the licence holder failed to comply with sections 49 and 50(2) of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations with regards to operational sanitation procedures to prevent cross-contamination of food and sections 47(2), 86, 88 and 89(1)(c) of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations with respect to preventive control measures for the detection of E. coli and the detection of temperature deviations in carcasses. In addition, the CFIA was of the opinion that a risk of injury to the public may result if the licence holder continued to conduct the activities identified in the licence.”

Cheese importers say little will change

Three weeks after Canada filed its response to the victorious dairy-industry challenge the United States filed against Canada’s import practices, the Biden administration has not said what it intends to do.

But Canadian importers who want a piece of the action told AgriPulse they don’t expect the Canadian government, under heavy influence from the dairy lobby, has offered much.

“Basically the (Canadian) government is completely beholden to the domestic producer and processor lobby,” said Karl Littler, a senior vice president for the Retail Council of Canada, an organization that represents companies that want more access to U.S. products such as cheese. 

“In this case we are cheering on the U.S. government as it pushes to actually have some of the free trade benefits go to (Canadian) consumers rather than producers and processors,” he said.

But the Canadian government didn’t seek the council’s opinions, nor those of the International Cheese Council of Canada.

Pat Pelliccione, chairman of the International Cheese Council of Canada and president of the Ontario-based importing company Jan K. Overweel Ltd., said the Canadian government is scared of the potential for the U.S. to retaliate, but stressed that he is still skeptical that Canada will make any substantial changes to its quota policy.

“My past experience is they’re going to try to get around it in any way they can,” Pelliccione said about the Canadian government and any meaningful reform that opens up the market there to more U.S. cheese.


“What processors do with the licenses they’ve been given is they will call people like myself and they will rent the license for a fee,” he said. “Your access is actually costing you money. We have to pay upwards of $1.50 per pound for license access so we can bring in U.S. cheese.,” he said.

What do you think might happen because our politicians heed the dairy lobby and poke a finger in the eagle's eye?

U.S. outlook for less corn, more soybeans and wheat

The United States Department of Agriculture’s outlook for this year features an increase in soybean and wheat, but a decline in corn plantings. Total plantings will be the highest since 2014

Grain prices are likely to decline as supplies increase.

The beef breeding herd declined by two per cent last year and three per cent fewer heifers have been retained so production will be down by about two per cent this year.

Hog production declined for the second year last year, but will likely hold steady this year. Hog slaughter will decline by one to two per cent in the second half of the year, but labour shortages and logistical constraints will keep prices bouncing up and down.

Broiler production will increase by about one per cent. Low hatching rates are challenging hatcheries, but so far the industry has not responded by increasing broiler breeder flocks.



Thursday, February 24, 2022

Grey-Bruce wins stewardship award

The Grey-Bruce Community Pasture is this year’s winner of the Environmental Stewardship Award, a joint venture between Beef Farmers of Ontario and the Royal Bank.

This community pasture has demonstrated its environmental stewardship through its commitment to grazing management, willingness to support research and project development, and dedication to preserving Ontario’s pasturelands, the organizers announced during Beef Farmers of Ontario annual meeting.

Over the years, a number of research projects have been conducted covering a variety of topics including rotational grazing, pollinators, forage utilization, grassland birds, and parasites, to name a few. 

 “The willingness of the board and manager to participate in demonstration and research projects related to grazing management has made them a leader in the grazing community,” says Jack Kyle, retired OMAFRA Grazier Specialist. 

“Their environmental projects have had positive benefits for the Grey-Dufferin Community Pasture, the wildlife of the pasturelands and the local community.”

The pasture is the largest in Grey and Bruce Counties.

Fed-prov. help to recruit, retain farm workers

The federal and Ontario agriculture departments are launching a new program to help employers recruit and retain farm workers.

Pilot projects will be eligible for up to $80,000 to cover up to 70 per cent of approved expenses. If two or more businesses collaborate, the limit could be up to $200,000.

Examples of pilot projects are:

- transportation initiatives for employees to commute to the job site;


- childcare options while parents are at work;


- language proficiency solutions for workers with English as a second language, and

 - Improving workspace environments to help retain employees.

“There are countless quality and dynamic job opportunities for those looking for rewarding careers in agriculture,” said federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

 “Our government will continue to support initiatives that help Ontario’s food sector retain skilled workers and operate under the best possible conditions to continue providing nutritious, safe, high-quality foods to Canadians and a growing global population," Bibeau said.

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson said “there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to address the labour challenges in our agri-food sector.

 “We are supporting projects that will make it easier for workers to start and continue their careers in the agri-food sector. These projects will help provide concrete solutions to ensure the sector have the workers they need to keep the province’s food supply chain safe and strong.”

What a welcome alternative to temporary foreign workers.



Loblaws sales decline

Loblaws sales declined by four per cent in comparison with the same number of fourth-quarter weeks last year.

The company’s inflation rate was 4.8 per cent, so the decline in groceries sold was more than eight per cent.

Its fourth-quarter net income was $719 million.

Its annual net earnings increased from $1.2 to $2 billion on sales of $53.2 billion.

When the extra week this year’s fourth quarter is included, revenue increased 2.8 per cent to $12.8-billion. 

Concentrated cutworm insecticide hits market

FMC is introducing highly-concentrated Coragen insecticice for controlling most common western bean cutworms across Eastern Canada.

Called Coragen® MaX, it will mean fewer containers, less warehousing and retail space and one 2.1-litre jug is enough to treat 60 acres.

“The new application rate will be a bonus for retailers and growers alike,” said Frances Boddy, insecticide product manager at FMC. “Lower volumes, smaller warehouse footprint, less plastic and less packaging to handle means added efficiencies to their operations.”


Maple Leaf’s sales increase, profits plunge


Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reports an 8.2 per cent increase in meat protein sales, but a 3.77 per cent decline in plant protein sales.

The combined total was $1.12 billion for the fourth quarter, an increase of 6.9 per cent.

Net earnings plunged from $25.1 million to $1.9 million.


Sales for the year were up by 5.1 per cent to $4.5 billion, but net earnings declined by 9.2 per cent to $102.8 million.

The review of the company’s future in plant proteins remains ongoing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Rood booted from shadow cabinet

Lianne Rood, MP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, has been replaced by Shannon Stubbs of Lakeland, Alberta, as the Conservative critic for rural economic development and rural broadband.

Stubbs was in the shadow cabinet when the party was led by Rona Ambrose.

Ben Lobb of Huron Bruce is shadow minister for digital government and special advisor on blockchain technologies and crypto assets.

Michael Barrett of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Island and Rideau Lakes is shadow minister for health.

Marilyn Gladu of Sarnia-Lambton is associate shadow minister for international trade and supply chains.

Kyle Seeback of Dufferin-Caledon is shadow minister for environment and climate change.

Rachel Blainy of British Columbia is the NDP shadow minister for rural economic development. She represents North Island-Powell River.

I find it amazing that none of these six MPs represents a big-city riding. Farmers need not complain that they have no voices in Parliament.

Dairy farm fined over fatality

Jimlee Farms Ltd. of Summerberry, Sask., was fined $80,000 after pleading guilty in the death of a farm worker from Mexico.

Jesus Helnar Zavala Gervaraa, 34, was chopping barley when his clothing got caught in a power take-off shaft that had no guard. The accident happened in November, 2020.

The farm worker is from Mexico where he is survived by his wife and two children.

 He was one of nine people working on the farm with 100 mature cows and 130 other cattle.

Italian seed company fined

Italian company Societa Agricola Sicil Vival A R.L. has been fined $78,780.50 and eight months in prison for violating plant breeders rights on tomatoes.

It was also ordered to pay almost $144,000 in fees.

The Court of Ragusa sentenced Gaetano Senia and Bartolomeo Bernini, legal representatives of a nursery in Vittoria, in the province of Ragusa, where a PBR protected tomato variety was being cultivated without the required authorization. 

This is the second ruling of its type in Italy. The process began with a complaint filed by the AIB (Anti-Infringement Bureau for Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Material), an international association established under Belgian law whose objective is to fight against illegal activity in the seed sector. During the investigation conducted by the Public Prosecutor of Ragusa, DNA analysis was carried out on the Società Agricola Sicil Vivai A R.L. company’s crops, which confirmed the presence of the PBR protected tomato variety in its greenhouses. 

The Ragusa financial police confirmed that the company was unable to provide purchase invoices for seedlings of the protected variety or other documentation demonstrating the legitimate origin of the seeds used.

The sentence creates a significant precedent in the seed sector, because it gives criminal significance to the widespread technique of reproducing plants covered by Plant Breeders Rights with cuttings or "stubs" of plants, a practice which damage the protected rights of the owners of the varieties, under which each seed purchased must correspond to only one plant.




Beef loan limit is doubling


The Ontario government is doubling the loan guarantee limit for beef producers from $500,000 to $1,000,000.

The loans are through the Feeder Cattle Guarantee Program which makes the money available to experienced co-operative members. For experienced corporations, the new limit is now $1,500,000.

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson said “these improvements  . . . build on a series of enhancements our government has put in place to support our beef farmers and the agri-food supply chain. 

“It’s important that we keep listening to the needs of these agri-food heroes and give them the tools they need to help lead our sector.” 

NFU wants corporate power curbed

Katie Ward, president of the National Farmers Union, said the power of large corporations involved in agriculture needs to be curbed when she testified before the House of Commons standing committee on agriculture.

She also challenged the current agriculture policy that promotes increased exports.

“Going forward, agriculture policy should be designed to build in safety valves and surge capacity so that disruptions are manageable challenges instead of full scale crises,” Ward said.

“The acute supply chain issues we face now have roots going back decades, stemming from multinational conglomerates’ use of global sourcing and ‘just-in-time’ delivery to minimize their costs.”

She singled out the fertilizer industry where companies are blaming supply chain issues for their exorbitant prices yet still accumulating huge windfall profits, the NFU said in a news release, adding that it wants the committee to launch an investigation.

“Farm families are subsidizing the system with their off farm jobs. For rural people, the supply chain is a one-way street, where the results of their work and the value of their crops and livestock disappear into the bank accounts of distant multinational companies,” Ward said.

“It is not surprising that so many feel left behind. Increasing economic inequality leads to social instability and disempowerment,” she said.

Across the food system — from beef to vegetables — concentration of infrastructure ownership means the packers, processors and retailers benefit most,” the NFU said.



Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Mad scramble set for provincial subsidies

There could be another mad scramble for limited funds the province is making available for protecting endangered species by providing and/or preserving habitats or saving rare plants.

This has happened before with other provincial programs with the money running out within a day or two.

Under the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program, applicants may receive 45 or 50 or 75 per cent of their costs. The government lists 13 Best Management Practices it wants to encourage.

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) will start accepting applicants at 9 a.m. March 14.

OSCIA president Warren Schneckenburger said ““Tte Environmental Farm Plan is the perfect complement to SARFIP because it allows farmers to evaluate how their operation is meeting their farm’s stewardship needs and identify opportunities to take action.” 

Frito Lay spats with Loblaws

Frito Lay has stopped shipping potato chips and other snack foods, such as Doritos, to Loblaws supermarkets because it has been unable to get price increases it seeks.

Loblaws for its part said it is trying to keep grocery prices down for its customers.

It is highly unusual for a supplier to Canada’s largest supermarket company to fail to yield to pricing pressure.

The stores that are not being supplied include Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortino’s, Shopper’s Drug Mart, No Frills, T&T and Super Centres.

Frito Lay’s main Ontario facility is in Cambridge. It is owned by PepsiCo.

The federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers are engaged in a review of relationships between supermarket chains and suppliers with a view to developing a code of practice.

The concern has been that the supermarkets hold too much power over suppliers.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Second Huron County farm has PED

A nursery to finish hog operation in Huron County has been hit by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus.

It is the second Huron County farm to be infected within four days this month. The first was a finishing operation.

There have only been five outbreaks in Ontario since the end of November, four of them in Huron County and one in next-door Lambton County.

Sylvain Charlebois disses dairy again

Food-industry analyst Sylvain Charlebois has taken another swipe at the Canadian dairy industry over milk pricing by marketing boards and the Canadian Dairy Commission.

He said the commission prices milk to reflect the cost of production as determined by a survey of 200 producers, but said none of that data is made public.

And he said the commission and the Dairy Farmers of Canada organization, which represents dairy farmers, act closely together so there is nobody representing the public interest.

I have likewise been stone-walled by the Ontario dairy industry when I tried to find out about pricing for fluid milk.

The Canadian Dairy Commission has jurisdiction over industrial milk used to make products such as butter and cheese.

The provinces have jurisdiction over fluid milk which is pasteurized to market as fresh milk.

In Ontario, fluid milk pricing has been decoupled from cost of production when it was deemed beneficial to dairy farmers to incorporate factors such as the Consumer Price Index.

But when I asked the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, which is its regulator, about fluid milk pricing, I got no replies. For weeks now. No replies to e-mails. No replies to phone calls.

The public be damned! Just pay what the dairy farmers want and never mind any justification.

And don't expect the government of Premier Doug Ford to lift a finger.

Icahn pushes sow crate ban

Carl Icahn, a feared corporate raider, is pushing McDonald’s fast-food chain to immediately require pork suppliers to ban sow housing in gestation crates.

McDonald’s is pushing back, saying it has made progress towards that goal but can’t move faster without losing pork supply.

McDonald’s pledged in 2012 that it would move to crate-free pork, a pledge that the Wall Street Journal said Icahn pushed.

"Since making this commitment, McDonald's has led the industry, and today an estimated 30 to 35 per cent of U.S. pork production has moved to group housing systems," the company's statement said.

The company expects to source 85 to 90 per cent of its U.S. pork volumes from sows not housed in gestation crates during pregnancy by the end of 2022 and expects all of its U.S. pork to come from sows housed in groups during pregnancy by the end of 2024, the company said.


Avian flu continues to spread

Highly-pathogenic avian influenza has hit more poultry flocks in the United States, apparently coming from migrating ducks.

In Indiana another commercial turkey flocks prompted the depopulation of 15,000 birds. It’s the fourth so far in Indiana with 119,000 turkeys culled.

Kentucky’s case in Webster County, meanwhile, is the state’s second HPAI case. The first, in Fulton County, triggered the culling of 240,000 Tyson Foods chickens, as well as collaborative efforts between the state veterinarians of Kentucky and Tennessee.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Abbott recalling Similac

Abbott is recalling a number of Similac-brand products, including infant formulas, because they are contaminated with food-poisoning bacteria.

The contaminants are Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella.

The recall originated in the United States where some people have fallen ill. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency so far has no evidence of Canadians falling ill.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Huron County finisher has PED

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus has broken out in a finishing barn in Huron County.

It is the first outbreak this month.

Potato wart detections total 33

Contrary to oft-repeated information that there are only two fields in Prince Edward Island where potato wart has been detected, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has revealed that there have been 33 detections since the first one in 2000.

When that original detection came to light, the U.S. banned P.E.I. potatoes for six months. The ban was lifted after Canada put sanitation measures in place.

Late last year, in the face of a threat from the U.S. to impose a new ban, the CFIA acted to impose a ban on P.E.I. potatoes going to the U.S.

Recently that ban has been relaxed to allow exports to Puerto Rico whence they can go the U.S. which has no restrictions on Puerto Rico because no potatoes are grown there.

Potato wart is a soil-borne fungus that can remain dormant in a field for more than 40 years. The latest detections in October 2021 represent the largest area and highest number of associated fields. 

“This increase required the strongest action to date against the further spread of potato wart off P.E.I.,” the CFIA said. 

However, it allows Island potatoes to be sold across Canada.

North Bay meat packer expanding

Canada Meat Group plans to build a 50,000-square-foot halal processing plant in North Bay to add capacity to its existing plant.

The company has operated a 16,000-square-foot beef and halal beef processing plant and cold storage facility at the North Bay Airport Industrial Business Park since March 2020.

The new plant will employ 150 people and source cattle from farms in northeastern Ontario and northern Quebec. Canada Meat Group has already secured land and equipment and completed the design of the new plant.

The federally regulated facility would process 200 head per day of beef, veal and lamb, up to five days per week, and could also offer custom slaughter, reports Northern Ontario Business.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Ethanol takes a hit from a new study

"Corn ethanol is not a climate-friendly fuel," said Dr. Tyler Lark, assistant scientist at University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment and lead author of a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

He calculates that ethanol releases at least 24 per cent more carbon into the atmosphere than gasoline. The United States Department of Agriculture has said ethanol releases 39 per cent less carbon than gasoline.

Based on that study, beginning in 2015 the United States government mandated the use of ethanol in gasoline and that immediately propped up corn prices and led to significant increases in acreage planted to corn.

It’s that conversion to corn that Lark has taken into account, plus the release of carbon when soil is tilled and the use of nitrogen fertilizer.

Lark’s research was funded in part by the National Wildlife Federation and U.S. Department of Energy.

Geoff Cooper, president and chief executive officer of the Renewable Fuels Association, called the study "completely fictional and erroneous," arguing the authors used "worst-case assumptions cherry-picked data."

As a result of the mandate, corn cultivation grew 8.7 percent and expanded into 6.9 million additional acres of land between 2008 and 2016, the study found. 

Lark said the U.S.D.A. study underestimated the emissions impact of land conversion.




Cell-cultured milk competitor coming soon

An Israeli company has plans to soon begin distributing its cell-cultured product as a competitor to milk.

It has received a United States patent, opening the way for nation-wide distribution of its Wilk product in the United States. It was formerly called Biomilk.

It is cultured from mammary cells; the company makes both cow and human versions of milk.

Its backers include $2 million from Coca Cola.

The cultured dairy market is projected to reach $58 million by 2027, increasing at a growth rate of nearly five per cent. 

Wilk has two main competitors: Perfect Day and Those Vegan Cowboys.

“Our proprietary technology is based on more than 10 years of research, and with this patent, we can solidify our processes and continue down the path of making milk ingredients available to all in a completely sustainable manner,” said Nurit Argov-Argaman, co-founder and chief technical officer of Wilk.

I figure it won't take Wilk long to recognize that the Canadian market is easy pickings, given the high price umbrella supply management marketing boards hold for competitors to flourish.

That has already fuelled the expansion of goat milk, but Will is in an entirely different league.



Tuesday, February 15, 2022

240,000 Kentucky chickens culled

Tyson Foods said a flock of 240,000 chickens being raised for it in Kentucky has been culled because of an outbreak of highly-infectious avian influenza.

Another flock in Indiana has also been felled by the virus.

And Mexico has joined about a dozen countries in banning poultry imports from the United States areas that have had the outbreaks.

Canada also faces bans on exports of poultry and eggs after two outbreaks in Nova Scotia and one in Newfoundland.

China ramps up testing for imported foods

China has built 869 warehouses to test imports of refrigerated and frozen foods, including tests for COVID-19.

The warehouses will conduct unified disinfection and testing procedures for imported cold-chain foods, which can enter the market only after being certified at the warehouses, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation.

Besides testing, they will help dispose of condemned food imports.

A national platform to trace imported cold-chain foods was put in operation in December 2020, involving key imported cold-chain foods such as livestock, poultry and aquatic products.

China has suspended trade with some countries, notably Australia, in recent years, due to a broad range of reasons including a belief that coronavirus can survive cold temperatures in imported refrigerated and frozen food products.

OBHECC appeal to continue

The appeal chicken processors have filed against hatching egg producers is scheduled to resume for five days from March 14 to 18.

The Association of Ontario Chicken Processors is arguing that the Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission has inflated its cost of production used to price eggs and chicks, mainly through the labour and capital costs components.

The decision the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs makes will impact not only the hatching egg producers, but also members of the chicken marketing board where a similar cost-of-production formula is used and consumers through the costs they will face for chicken.

Manitoba vet wins award

Dr. Jewel White, veterinarian for Maple Leaf Agro-Foods at Landmark, Man., has won the annual F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production.

She learned how to draw blood samples without having to tie up the snout and pull to restrain the pig.  Instead they are run into a stall and she can readily draw a sample from their rump.

She and two others at the farm built a portable stall into which they could drive the pig and then use an aluminum slide to prevent the pig from backing out while the blood sample is drawn. They call it the Backspacer Device.

White said it makes collecting a blood sample easier on both the pig and the staff.

Van Loos file appeal vs. milk board



Neil and Liz Van Loo have filed an appeal against the Dairy Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural AffairsTribunal has set a pre-hearing date of March 4. It is closed to the public.

Roundup hit by supplier problems

Roundup may be temporarily in short supply, the manufacturer, Bayer AG, has said in a letter to customers.

It’s because its supplier of membrane caustic soda has had a mechanical failure at its plant.

This issue arises at a time when global suppliers of many pesticides are in short supply.

"Our supplier is on track to restore production, (and) we’ve sourced additional materials and made other mitigation efforts to help best manage this situation," the company said in a statement.

Bayer has not identified the supplier.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Migrating teal ducks spread avian influenza

Teal ducks have been identified as the migrating wildfowl most likely responsible for outbreaks of avian influenza, according to a new study by the United States Geological Survey.

Agency scientists identified the migration patterns of the blue-winged teal, one of 11 dabbling duck species known to breed in North America and a common carrier of bird flu viruses, Diann Prosser of the U.S. Geological Survey reported

It is the first-ever study to examine the movements of a waterfowl species likely to carry the virus and their relative proximity to domestic poultry facilities.

Avian influenza outbreaks this year in the United States, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have prompted many countries to impose trading bans.

The research found that facilities in northern states may be at a greater risk of AI transmission during the annual migration period between mid-September through mid-November. Commercial chicken operations in southern states may be at a greater risk of bird flu transmission during the spring migration from March through April, the report added.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) also is already expanding its surveillance of wild birds for potential avian influenza transmission in the wake of AI spread in North America. 

The updated program will include sampling of birds in all four of the flyways used by wild birds that flow across North America to better understand how these birds may interact with wild birds from Europe and Asia before arriving here.

There have also been AI outbreaks in Europe this year.

Highly pathogenic AI is extremely contagious and deadly to poultry, but poses no risk to humans, other than if it mutates after people pick it up and then start passing it to others.



Farm groups call for open borders

Eight of Canada's major farm and food organizations have called on governments to end the border blockades and restore the flow of goods and animals across the U.S. border.

Yet tractors continue to figure prominently in protesters blockades and demonstations at provincial capitals, including Queen’s Park in Toronto.

The farm organizations said the blockades are stopping transport of fruits, vegetables, meat, food packaging, feed supplies, livestock shipments, transport equipment and inputs for both agriculture and food processing.

"These blockades are impacting the livelihoods of Canadian farm families, the further businesses they are connected to and the timely supply and delivery of essential goods," said a news release issued by the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Meat Council, Canadian Horticultural Council, Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Produce Marketing Council and the National Cattle Feeders' Association.

Friday, February 11, 2022

CFIA reports one rabies case

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports there was one case of rabies confirmed in a dog in Ontario during January.

There were seven in Canada, including two arctic foxes and a dog in Nunavit Territory.

Newfoundland had one arctic fox and one red fox with rabies. Quebec had one dog.

Canadian poultry faces bans

About a dozen countries have banned Canadian poultry because highly-pathogenic avian influenza has been identified in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Europe imposed its ban after the outbreak in an exhibition flock in Newfoundland. The others imposed their bans after the disease broke out in a commercial flock in Nova Scotia.

The ban is on Canadian birds, poultry meats and eggs.

Among those imposing the bans are the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea and Taiwan.

The U.S. has had more recent outbreaks from Florida to Indiana than Canada.




Thursday, February 10, 2022

Lactalis ceo is gone

Philippe Palazzi is gone from his job as chief executive officer of Lactalis which owns Parmalat, one of the largest dairy processing companies in Canada.

He apparently had disagreements with owner and billionaire Emmanuel Besnier, nicknamed the “King of Cheese” and the “Emperor of Milk” according to Bloomberg news agency.

Lactalis is one of the world’s largest dairy firms with annual sales estimated $22.6 billion US.

Besnier, the company’s president and primary shareholder, and his two siblings own all of Lactalis, the world’s largest maker of cheese.

Recently Danone, another global dairy business, appointed a new ceo.

Indiana turkey flock felled by flu

A turkey farm in Indiana has experienced high mortality from an outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza.

It likely came from migrating birds which are believed responsible for outbreaks from the Florida to Maryland and in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

It is the first case of the disease in a commercial flock in the United States since 2020.

Then avian influenza ravaged the U.S. poultry industry, in some cases wiping out flocks of hundreds of thousands of laying hens.

In Ontario, the poultry marketing boards and industry have established a command centre and have been able to nip outbreaks in the bud.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

P.E.I. spuds gain access to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has been cleared to import potatoes from Prince 

Edward Island, opening a back door to the United States market.

Canada has refused to grant permits to export P.E.I. potatoes to the United States since November, citing U.S. concerns about potato wart fungus that has been confirmed in two fields there.

But the U.S. will allow imports from Puerto Rico because it does not grow potatoes, said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Negotiations between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and U.S. counterparts continue with the aim of soon lifting the ban that has disrupted the nation-wide Canadian potato markets.