Saturday, July 30, 2022

Dairy farmers switch ad agencies

Dairy Farmers of Ontario has hired a new advertising agency, Broken Heart Love Affair and its affiliate, Lifelong Crush.

The agency was hired to develop “a refreshed brand strategy designed to build emotional connections between consumers and the province’s dairy farmers,” said Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

“We are honoured to be selected to work with DFO and remind consumers just how much they love dairy,” said Bev Hammond, chief business officer at the agency.

 “We understand there are real farm families behind all of our beloved milk and dairy products, and knowing the work we do with DFO will help increase consumption and support those Ontario families is something we’re really excited about.”

Broken Heart Love Affair has no fixed address.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Veggie burger exits from McDonald’s

McDonald’s Restaurants has ended its trials with Beyond Meats  plant-protein burgers.

It’s not yet clear whether it will continue with them in Europe.

It first tested them in Canada, then 600 outlets in the United States.

Employees indicated sales were disappointing.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

CFIA lifts AI zone around Hanover

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has lifted its avian influenza quarantine zone around Hanover.

That is a significant improvement for Ontario’s poultry industry because the area is home to a large hatchery and some large chicken and turkey farms.

Province willing to subsidize worker innovations

The provincial government has opened the second round of funding under its Ontario Agri-Careers Support Initiative with offers $80,000 ti $200,000 per employer

Those who employ up to 50 workers are eligible for up to $80,000 and if two or more collaborate they could be eligible for up to $200,000.

It’s a federal-provincial program that “will aim to help the sector attract, support and retain the workers ,”a joint news release said.

Examples of pilot projects that could be eligible for funding include:

-transportation initiatives for employees to commute to the job site 

-childcare options for working parents 

-language proficiency solutions for workers 

Rabobank optimistic about pork

Rabobank’s global outlook for pork is generally optimistic.

It says global trade will pick up after China’s imports “have increased greatly in the past month” and are expected to remain strong.

Producers are getting some relief from soaring feed and energy costs.

African Swine Fever continues to spread in Asia and Europe.

The United States sow herd has declined by eight-tenths of one per cent from a year ago.    

Consumer demand is “resilient” because beef and poultry prices are high.

It says things to watch for are currency fluctuations, diseases including African Swine Fever, consumer purchasing of pork, COVID-19, grain harvests in Europe, China and the United States and geopolitics.

Loblaws sales, profits are up

Loblaws reports that sales and profits were up.

It is Canada’s largest supermarket and drug store owner.

Adjusted profit was $566-million,up from $464-million in the second quarter last year.

Revenues were $12.85-billion, an increase of $356-million.

Owner Galen Weston said merchandise sales were a drag on revenues, but he feels good about the company’s inventory controls so there won’t be many fire sales of items such as Joe Fresh clothing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Report calls for reforms for foreign workers

A Canadian union has made 20 recommendations to improve conditions for temporary foreign workers, many of them employed on farms and at agribusinesses such as meat-packing plants.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union and the Agricultural Workers Alliance said in their report, The Stqtus of Migrant Agricultural Workers in Canada 2022, that the pandemic revealed chronic problems, such as poor and crowded housing, below-parity wages and lack of avenues to make their voices heard.

While Ontario and the federal government provided some funding to address pandemic-related housing, isolation, quarantine and wage concerns, Pablo Godoy of the UFCW union said there still are no penalties for employers who abused workers.

“What kind of levies are being placed against the employers to make sure they don’t do them again? Are we making sure there’s an actual method through which a worker can voice concern and be guaranteed not to be repatriated, given an open work permit, or have their case investigated?” she asked.

But Saskia Rodenburg, speaking for Employment and Social Development Canada, said it takes things seriously and employers who abuse temporary foreign workers (TFWs) face monetary penalties and/or bans from the program. 

They can be fined and booted out of the program.

It’s also considered a program abuse if employers exact retribution whistleblowers, she said.

Yet Godoy said workers continue to be at risk due to lack of information and understanding of workplace standards or laws meant to protect them. 

The report alleges that agriculture workers, locals and migrants in Ontario are subject to discrimination and face exclusion from the province’s Labour Relations Act. 

“This is the root cause of the labour precarity of agricultural workers in these provinces,” the report said.

The report said provinces should copy Manitoba’s model to regulate and penalize recruiters or temporary worker agencies that exploit workers.

Godoy said “until there’s an ability to have representation in the program, any change is kind of null and moot because there’s a lack of oversight or actual inspection day to day.” She added that not all employers are abusive.

“The argument can be made that some workers are being forced to work longer, in sometimes more dangerous or difficult situations than Canadian workers who have the protection of Canadian labour law,” Godoy said. 

Godoy said the pandemic showed the need to expand or ensure social security networks and systems are accessible to all people working in Canada. TFWs pay employment insurance and worker compensation premiums, but are too often denied coverage, she said. “People deserve access to the things they’re paying into.”

Rodenberg said “I think there have been more conversations at all levels of government that gives us hope more changes are to come and more protections for workers are on their way, especially now that we’re facing a labour shortage and there’s talks about expanding temporary foreign worker programs.”




Tuesday, July 26, 2022

U.S. pork producers get pandemic pay

Hog farmers in the United States are in line for $62.8 million to compensate for the COVID-19 pandemic. This is on top of $50 million already paid them.

The cheques should start arriving this week, said the U.S Department of Agriculture.

There is nothing comparable for Canadian hog farmers who are in direct competition for the North Ameican and export markets.

The subsidy applied to hog sales on a spot market from April 16 to Sept.1, 2020. 

 “In order to provide more targeted support to hog producers affected by the pandemic (the government) was able to increase funding to provide full payments to producers instead of applying a payment factor,” said program administrator Zach Ducheneaux. 

The program is capped at 10,000 head per farm, no matter how small or large or who owns it.

Election changes

Some election changes that most people don't notice are:

No postings on the Ontario government website that announces appointment to boards and commissions. 

No more almost daily news releases announcing either new contracts to install fibre optic cable for internet services, or the completion of contracts.

A marked decline in photo ops to present companies and organizations with government cheques.

Meat and plant proteins should unite, study says

The meat and plant protein industries should unite as a single protein industry, improving their lobbying stance, said a study released today from the University of Calgary.

It stands in contrast with the fears many in the beef, pork and poultry industry have that plant proteins will steal significant portions of their markets.

“Governments should look at the beef and plant protein industries as one protein market with multiple commodities,” the authors say they learned from participants at a protein industry roundtable held recently at the University of Calgary. 

“The synergies between the sectors can be used to present a strong, sustainable, trusted brand for the Canadian protein market, both domestically and internationally, driving investment for infrastructure and innovation that could improve Canada’s global position for protein production and export. 

“The government should consider developing policies and regulations that can help facilitate such a collaboration,” the study published by the Simpson Centre for Food and Agriculture Policy said.

By presenting a united front, the protein industry has a better chance of lobbying governments for mutually beneficial changes, attracting more investments for infrastructure to increase efficiency and reliability, educating consumers on the synergies between the industries and branding Canadian protein as a sustainable, reliable and abundant market. 

Branding is a key factor in the protein market — consumers, investors and governments need to see the plant and beef protein sectors as partners, not competitors, the authors said.

They need factual information from the industry — rather than be influenced by misperceptions spread by social and mass media — to be satisfied with the agri- products being produced and with the methods of production. 

The roundtable participants cited one example of a synergy with benefits on multiple levels — using the by-product from plant protein production to feed cattle. 

This helps with sustainability in both the beef and plant protein industries, particularly with current global supply chain issues brought on by drought, conflict and other factors. 

It is also environmentally friendly and demonstrates that the industries can work together for each other’s benefit. 

This type of innovative synergy would also improve consumers’ perceptions of the beef and plant protein industries, besides driving investment and expansion. 

Governments need to consider the opportunities that a unified protein market can provide for Canada. A strong, sustainable protein market has the potential for exponential growth, particularly with ongoing global supply chain issues and food security concerns, the study said.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Wage fixing found in U.S. poultry industry

Three giants in the United States poultry industry have been caught colluding to set pay for their workers, including farmers who raise their chickens.

The federal Department of Justice said the provisions of consent decrees signed by Cargill, Sanderson and Wayne Farms prevents them from exchanging compensation information for 10 years.

 They also agreed to a decade of antitrust compliance monitoring and to stop "deceptive conduct toward chicken growers that lowers their compensation." 

One of the main issues was the “poultry tournament system” that has growers competiting to see who comes out best and wins top compensation.

The system is described in the Super Size Me II documentary where a grower who helped researcher Michael Moore found himself demoted from top to bottom and suffered a big cut in compensation.

The settlements also would ban G. Jonathan Meng, president of Webber, Meng, Sahl and Company (WMS), a data consulting firm, from the industry.

“Through a brazen scheme to exchange wage and benefit information, these poultry processors stifled competition and harmed a generation of plant workers who face demanding and sometimes dangerous conditions to earn a living,” said principal deputy assistant Attorney General Doha Mekki of the justice department’s antitrust division, in the posting.


“Today’s action puts companies and individuals on notice: the antitrust division will use all of its available legal authorities to address anticompetitive conduct that harms consumers, workers, farmers and other American producers.”

“This resolution yields significant reforms to the poultry tournament system, including ending one of its most troubling aspects around deceptive base prices, and enhancing transparency in contracting, earnings and inputs that will protect and benefit growers as the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed in our Packers & Stockyard Act rulemaking,” said Andy Green, USDA’s senior adviser for fair and competitive markets.

Calf hutching challenged by welfarists


Calf hutching challenged by welfarists


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is suing a Wisconsin dairy farmer claiming that separating calves from their dams is cruel.

But an animal welfare researcher says practice can protect calf health. On the other hand there's growing interest in potential benefits of cow-calf bonding.

PETA filed a lawsuit in California this week against Organic Valley, which is based in La Farge, Wisc.

The complaint alleges that Organic Valley’s claims of producing milk with humane animal practices are misleading because their farmers separate calves from their mothers shortly after birth, a standard practice in dairy farming.

“These practices are not ‘humane’ and do not comport with established ‘highest standards’ of animal care ‘above and beyond other standards’—including provision of ‘social’ settings—that (Organic Valley) touts on its labels,” the lawsuit said.

Jennifer Van Os researches animal welfare on dairy farms for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She said cow-calf separation is standard for dairy farms around the world. She said the practice started as a way to prevent newborn calves from contracting diseases from other cows in a herd.

“Newborn dairy cows are vulnerable to disease because their immune system is still developing,” Van Os said. “Their immune system develops in a way that’s a little bit different from that of humans. So it came from good intentions, and it was done for the sake of the animal.”

She said older research has also found that removing a calf almost immediately from their dam, or mother, caused less stress for both animals. So that became the standard practice for many farms.

Van Os said there are different ways to house calves, but many farms use calf hutches. These are partially-enclosed, outside shelters that were developed to allow for good ventilation and for farmers to more easily monitor the young animals.

She said dairy cows are precocial animals, meaning they are capable of independent activity very shortly after birth and aren’t as dependent on their mothers. But research has shown that they do benefit from social interaction with other calves their age, such as learning how to get along with others in the herd and getting a chance to play.

“There’s a strategy that has been gaining traction and it’s called social housing, where you keep calves with others of the same age without adult cows. So they could be housed as a pair or in small groups or larger groups,” Van Os said.

She said about a quarter of U.S. farms are already housing calves in groups, and she’s had a significant number of Wisconsin producers reach out to learn how they can adopt the practice on their own farm.

Throughout her work studying cow welfare and educating farmers on ways to improve, Van Os said she has often been asked whether keeping a calf with their mother would be a better option.

“A lot of these questions come from people within the dairy industry — dairy farmers themselves and other people in sort of the food supply chain — because it’s actually not a new concept, keeping cows and calves together. It just isn’t the standard practice,” she said.

Van Os said some dairy farms in Wisconsin already keep calves with their dams. She’s collaborating with another animal welfare scientist, Kate Creutzinger from UW-River Falls, on a new project to observe the natural behavior of cows and calves living together on pasture at these farms, with the hope of creating a model for other farms interested in adopting the practice.



Trucking costs to remain high

Rabobank predicts that trucking rates will remain high into next year, driven by a shortage of drivers and higher fuel costs.

It says the driver shortage is severe in the United States, England, Germany and Poland.

Other issues hurting the industry are the COVIDF-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

Rabobank said there is a risk that some of the weaker companies will be taken over by competitors, consolidating ownership of trucking.

Russian missiles bomb Odessa port

Russian missiles struck the port of Odessa, sparking condemnations for the attack on a port that’s crucial for wheat exports.

However, the Russians said they struck a warship and a warehouse where U.S. weapons that can destroy warships were stored.

Ukrainian officials said grain-loading facilities remain intact and grain-industry damage was limited to one silo.

Russia, Turkey and the United Nations recently brokered a deal to enable Ukrainian wheat esports.

The Ukraine was supplying about 25 per cent of the world’s wheat exports before the Russian invasion began earlier this year.

Music to soothe a pig’s soul

Researchers in Belgium have begun looking into the effects music has on pigs ater farmer Piet Passmans said his sows seem to like music.

When his son started singing a tune in the barn during a sluggish insemination session his sows seemed excited and started wagging their tails, he said.

"I thought this is too good to pass up, we should try that with the other pigs too," Paesmans told a reporter.

He has a playlist for different times of the day 0 energetic when he wants them active and lullabies when he wants them to sleep.

"Jolly dance songs are the biggest hits. They really start wagging their tails and when it's really dynamic they even start dancing around and frolicking. Rock music is too strong, they don't like it," Paesmans said.

The European Union has provided about $90,000 for a research project under coordinated by Sander Palmans who said not much is known about pigs' reaction to music but Paesmans' experience chimes with existing knowledge of the effects of sounds in general on animals.

"There is without a doubt an effect of specific noises on animals. So it's really possible that music can have the same effect," he said, adding that it could help relieve boredom which has been linked to stress.

The findings could have practical impacts for the industry as meat quality is affected by stress in animals, Paesmans said.

Many dairy farmers in Ontario have use music and radio stations to provide background to mask noises that might upset cattle.

Kansas researcher studying phytase

Joel DeRouchey of Kansas State University has begun trials to determine the benefits of adding phytase to hog rations, such as improved growth, feed efficiency and bone integrity.

It seems to be a bit like re-inventing the wheel because Dr. Cecil Forsberg at the University of Guelph demonstrated early this century that genetically engineering pigs so they emit phytase from the salivary glands in their mouth improved feed efficiency.

That research ended going nowhere because it became too expensive to complete research to demonstrate to federal regulators that it is both safe and effective.

DeRouchey said that “by putting phytase into the diet, the pig has the ability to break down more of the phosphorus in its digestive system, absorb it, and use it for growth, feed efficiency and bone integrity.”

Corn and soybean meal – two common ingredients in swine diets – provide only 14 per cent and 30 per cent of available phosphorus, DeRouchey said.

“Thus what the pig is not able to digest, they simply excrete through manure, and that gets applied in the environment,” he said.

Reducing phosphorous in hog manure was the main aim in developing the Enviropig at the University of Guelph because it would improve Great Lakes water quality.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Ontario opposes federal fertilizer policy

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson is opposing the federal government’s policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizers by 30 per cent.

She made the statement following.a meeting of agriculture ministers in Saskatoon.

She said they called for more consultation and flexibility, but did not say whether anyone else felt as strongly as she she has made clear.

“As our farmers work to feed Canada and the world, we need to work with them and support their ongoing efforts to grow and produce the food we need.

“The federal government needs to be true partners, rather than simply imposing targets that make it harder,” said Thompson.

She softened her criticism by saying she appreciates the federal government’s participation in other initiatives.

She did not declare a stance on the 35 per cent tariff the federal government imposed on fertilizers from Russia.

While farmers suffer from global warming, Thompson and her premier refuse to do anything to reduce GHG emissions.

In fact, right now Ford is giving people a holiday from the excise tax on gasoline.

Grand River water is low

 The Grand River Conservation Authority Is asking everyone along the watershed to reduce water consumption by 20 per cent.

This week, the low water response team placed the entire watershed at level two. One area impacted is produce farms irrigated from Whitemans Creek.

The last time a level two was declared for the entire watershed was 2016.

"Conditions are incredibly dry for this time of year and while any rainfall helps, many of the weather systems we have seen this summer have been localized and fall well short of delivering the amount of precipitation needed," Stephanie Shifflett, the GRCA's water resources engineer, said in a release.

"Reducing water use helps ensure there is adequate water supply for drinking water and wastewater treatment."

Kiwis to tax cattle methane emissions

A proposal for pricing greenhouse gas emissions from dairy and sheep farms would cost the typical New Zealand farm about $15,000 per year.

The proposal has a combination of levies and discounts, but has yet to be passed into law.

The calculation for a 330-hectare dairy operation assumed the farm would emit 2,600 kg per hectare per year of methane, priced at 88 cents per kg. This 780,000kg emission would cost the farm more than $60,000 in levies.

The farm would emit 910kg/hectare in carbon dioxide equivalent per year of nitrous oxide, and 965kg of carbon dioxide. These would be priced at $3.38 per tonne. The farm’s total 662.5 tonnes per year emissions of these gases would cost it $10,600 in emissions.

The proposed livestock emissions levy includes an incentive discount for approved emission reduction actions and technologies. For example, if the 330-hectare dairy farm switched its breeding policy to methane-reducing genetics (expected to cost $11.94 per AI straw over and above currently used AI straws), it would get credit for a 20 per cent reduction in methane from the cows. That would cut the levy payment by about $23.000.

Sequestration on the farm would also reduce the levy. If it had 20 hectares of productive forestry, this would sequester 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year per hectare. And 10 hectares of riverside native plantations would sequester seven tons per year per hectare. 

So the levy cost to the farmer works out at $14,888, according to this example, which was prepared by US Department of Agriculture experts, using a modelling approach of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd., the farmer-owned organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers.

In 2019, New Zealand was one of the first countries to bind its climate commitments into law, including objectives for agriculture.

And the country is on the way to becoming the first country to tax “four-legged” emissions, following the recommendations on an alternative agricultural emissions solution (to the country’s Emissions Trading Scheme), which was put forward recently by the New Zealand Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership.

Leading the way on climate action, and with New Zealand having seven times more cows and sheep than people and an average of 153 hectares per dairy farm, their climate change policy may well be adapted and used by other countries with relatively big agricultural sectors, such as Ireland.

The collaboration between the government and the agriculture sector recommended the government “introduce a farm-level split-gas levy on agricultural emissions with built-in incentives to reduce emissions and sequester carbon.”

The split-gas levy would separate charges directed at farmers for short-lived gas emissions such as methane (CH4) and long-lived gases such as nitrous oxide (N20) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Climate scientists say such policies are needed urgently worldwide because reducing short-lived greenhouse gases like methane is the best hope for a fast reduction of global warming.

Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas that causes human-induced warming, but even aggressive reductions of carbon dioxide emissions would have no effect on warming until about 2040. In contrast, measures to reduce methane emissions now could bring global cooling results within 10 years or so.

Reducing methane emissions sharply now could give the world a fighting chance to deal with the carbon dioxide problem over the coming decades, the Kiwis say.

The final decision on the recommendations in New Zealand will be made by the country’s government, probably in December. 




Greenhouse executive director retiring

Joe Sbrocchi has announced he will be retiring in February from executive director for the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers marketing board.

Sbrocchi tha held the p;osition since 2017.

The association said he helped lead our sector through a tremendous period of growth in production capacity, while also helping stimulate increases in both our domestic and export markets. 

He and his team have been instrumental in aiding our membership in their tumultuous transition through the past two and a half years of coping with COVID 19, worker challenges, and incumbent lockdowns. 

Through these times Sbrocci  has allowed our membership to be assured of a strong advocate working on their behalf. 

OGVG is appreciative of the efforts he has taken to help the greenhouse sector achieve its strategic goal of global leadership in greenhouse production.

Land prices surged after Ukraine war

Land prices surged after Russia invaded the Ukraine, yet despite other rising costs such as fertiliser and fuel, Farmers National Company forecasts land prices in the United States will be steady for the next six months.

“Prices for good quality cropland are up 20 percent in some areas since the first of the year. Recent Farmers National Company auction sales demonstrate the strength in the land market so far in 2022. 

“Good land that was selling for around $16,000 US last fall sold for $19,000 to $21,500 per acre at company auctions in March. 

"This increase in prices is on top of a 15 to 30 percent jump in value across most Grain Belt states in 2021,” said Randy Dickhut, senior vice president for Farmers National Company. 


Growing world demand for grains and meats along with uncertain weather conditions brought good commodity price strength in the New Year, which generated a positive view for net farm income in 2022 and the next several years. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine thrust food and ag into the spotlight, which in turn added to the world’s need for good cropland. 

Uncertainties grew from disruptions in input supply chains and the world food and grain trade. 

With a return to a normal supply of cropland for sale, farmers who are looking forward to several years of higher grain prices have continued to aggressively bid for the land that did come up for sale during the past few months. 

Individual investors also stepped into the market as they looked at farmland as a safe, long-term inflation hedging investment. 

This combined heightened demand propelled land prices higher in 2022.  

Turkey brokers deal for wheat transit

Turkey has brokered a deal with Russia to enable the Ukraine to export about 20 million tonnes of wheat held in storage.

It should relieve some of the concern that tens of thousands of people would be left with little or no food, particularly in Africa.

Ukrainian ships would be inspected and escorted in and out of ports, Turkey said.

The deal has yet to be signed.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

CFIA lifts another AI quarantine

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has lifted the avian influenza quarantine from zone two.

It runs from Woodstock west and from Ingersoll in the south to Hickson in the north.

There have been no new outbreaks in Ontario this month, indicating that industry biosecurity measures are working and the threat from infected migrating birds has passed.

New book about poultry

Breeder Management and Nutrition: Moving the industry forward is a reference book for broiler chicken production, including “new ideas in management, nutrition, and industry sustainability,” said Novus International Inc.

“We know in order to meet the production goals of tomorrow, each part
of the industry must work together today,” said Sandrine Durox, Novus
poultry solutions manager who serves as book co-curator together with
Novus executive regional technical services manager Silvia Peris and professor Johan Buyse of KU Leuven, who served as scientific coordinator. 

“This book brings together the knowledge and know-how of academics, researchers, industry leaders, breeding companies, nutrition companies, veterinarians, and nutritionists to consider how each part of the broiler breeder’s lifecycle can be impacted to optimize performance and positively impact the producer and the industry.” 


“It was important to have contributors from recognized academia, as well as experts from the industry and breeding companies, to properly cover the vast array of topics ranging from practical management, nutrition (quality and quantity), welfare, (epi)genetics and physiology,” Buyse said.


Novus will host the official book launch on August 8 during World Poultry Congress 2022 in Paris. 

Taxpayer federation slams Bank of Canada pay

The Bank of Canada gave its employees $45 million in pay raises and bonuses during the pandemic even though it failed to hit its inflation target, said the Canadian Taxpayers Federation citing documents it obtained.


“Why is the Bank of Canada patting itself on the back and handing out millions in bonuses and pay raises while Canadians are struggling to pay for groceries and gas?” asked Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the federation.

“If its objective is to keep inflation low, then it doesn’t make sense for Canada’s central bank to hand out bonuses and pay raises while the cost-of-living soars” from a bank policy limit of two per cent inflation to 8.1 per cent in the most recent report from Statistics Canada.

In 2020, the Bank of Canada gave pay raises to 1,728 employees, costing $5.3 million. In 2021, it gave pay raises to 1,857 employees, costing $5.2 million. It did not cut the pay of any employees in 2020 or 2021.

In addition to pay raises, the Bank of Canada gave bonuses to 1,632 employees in 2020, costing $16.2 million. In 2021, it gave bonuses to 1,752 employees, costing $18.4 million. The Bank of Canada told the CTF that it hands out bonuses for “successfully meeting or exceeding expectations.”

While the Bank of Canada is in charge of monetary policy, economists point to federal government psndemic spending for  causing inflation.

Specific policies recommended for environmental programs

The federal government would be better to keep business risk management programs separate from those to tackle global warming, says a report from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

The report from lead author and agriculture economist Al Mussell says policies with two sets of objectives often end up hampered from achieving desired results for either objective.

Rather than requiring environmental compliance to qualify for business risk management programs, Mussell suggests a better alternative would be the Environmental Farm Plan program.

In what he describes as a brief and quick report, he writes that:

“Pursuing multiple program objectives with a single set of programs increases the risks that the programs will not deliver on either outcome effectively and increases the government’s vulnerability to provide ad hoc supports.

“There are significant challenges with cross-compliance, including effectiveness, increasing moral hazard ( i.e. cheating), administrative burden and its impact on actuarial soundness. 

“Targeted environmental programs, possibly leveraging the Environmental Farm Plan, will likely deliver better, more efficient and effective environmental outcomes. 

“There is a need for a deeper dialogue on how to improve effectiveness, responsiveness, and innovation of risk management tools in Canada.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Another AI quarantine lifted

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has lifted its avian influenza quarantine on a zone north-east of Cornwall.

It said this quarantine was associated with others south-west of Belleville and around Hanover.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Toronto brewery sold to Danish company

Amsterdam Brewery of Toronto has been sold to Royal Unibrew of Denmark for about $44 million.

“The acquisition we are doing today is very important for the future growth of Royal Unibrew in the Americas region,” Royal Unibrew CEO Lars Jensen said in a statement.

“We are adding capacity in Canada, which is also close to our U.S. business and over time we expect to serve most of Canada and partly United States from Amsterdam Brewery,” Jensen said.

Farm groups plead for fertilizer rebate

Grain Farmers of Ontario is one of the leading farm organizations pleading for a return of the 35 per cent tariff on fertilizer imported this spring from Russia.

They say Canada is the only country to impose a tariff on fertilizer, but that appears to be false because this week the International Trade Commission in the United States said it will be lifting United States’ tariffs on fertilizers from Russia.

The organizations involved in the lobbying are  the Atlantic Grains Council, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, Fertilizer Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Agri Business Association, Ontario Bean Growers, Ontario Canola Growers, Qu├ębec Grain Farmers, Sollio Agriculture, and Sylvite Agri-Services.

Viruses survive freezing

Researchers studying viruses similar to COVID-19 have found they can survive freezing temperatures in beef, pork, fish and chicken, but are less likely to survive in refrigeration.

They say the results point to the need to adhere to sustained and rigorous food safety protocols in meat-processing facilities.

Their trials found virus survival in frozen meats and fish for up to 30 days.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Guelph professor calls for fertilizer subsidies

Dr. Manish Raizada of the University of Guelph is urging the federal government to provide farmers relief from sky-high fertilizer prices.

He said farmers’ margins for corn production are razor thin – only one cent per cob, he said.

He also drew attention to the 35 per cent tariff imposed on nitrogen from Russia to punish the country for invading the Ukraine.

“Without fertilizer, yields will collapse and families will be pushed into chronic malnutrition and further poverty,” he said, recalling that 150 million people suffered malnutrition when energy cost spiked in 2007-09. 


Governments also need to provide subsidies to farmers for experiments and to adopt fertilizer reduction approaches in the short term, Raizada said.

In the longer term, governments need to continue funding research into more sustainable alternatives, including probiotic microbes, he said.  

Raizada recently discussed fertilizer shortages in a global webcast hosted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and participated in a British Broadcasting Corporation production on The Climate Question.

U.S. lifts tariff on nitrogen from Russia

The United States International Trade Commission has ruled against imposing tariffs on nitrogen fertilizers imported from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago. 

But in Canada, farmers pleas for a lifting of the 35 per cent tariff on fertilizers from Russia has fallen on deaf ears in Ottawa.

The National Corn Growers Association in the United States said “this comes as a welcome relief,” said 
president Chris Edgington. “We have been sounding the alarms and telling the ITC commissioners that tariffs will drive up input prices to even more unaffordable levels for farmers and cripple our supply. I am so glad they listened.”

The decision comes after CF Industries filed a petition with ITC in late 2021, requesting that the commission place tariffs on urea ammonium nitrate, which is used in liquid fertilizers. 

Shortages and prices have since increased sharply.

Alta co-op gives employees $2,000

United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative is giving its employees two payments for $1,000 each to offset the impact of inflation.

It will go to all but senior-level positions and fits with UFA’s “history of rewarding and recognizing their team members,” it said.

The first payments will be made at the end of the month, the second in December.

“This announcement is both compassionate and strategic and it’s very much in keeping with our co-operative values and purposeful trajectory of UFA’s culture,” said president and chief executive officer Scott Bolton. 

“The resilience and dedication of our team is the most important asset we have. We have always strived to create a service-led environment, a place where people genuinely want to give their best selves in helping our members and customers, and where they feel a sense of belonging, and a sense of safety. 

"Particularly after the challenges faced over the last two years, we need to assure our team that we’re grateful for them and we have their back,” he said.

UPA earlier handed out spot bonuses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bison gets federal funding


The Canadian Bison Association will get $66,805 per year for two years to promote exports to the European Ubion and the United States.

Big whoop!

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the funding during the International Bison Association’s annual convention in Saskatoon.