Monday, October 31, 2022

Risk management supported

The Ontario Agriculture Sustainability Coalition has issued a report supporting federal-provincial risk management programs.

It said every dollar the governments have spent on risk management programs “leads to $2.01. to $3.60 return on investment” which in 3033 was worth between $282.67 and $506.2 million.

The funding gap the governments have imposed from 2016 to 2020 meant that there was only enough money to cover 40.4 per cent of insurance benefits for participating farmers.

The report said risk management programs are important to farmers in obtaining financial services form private lenders and are particularly important for young and beginning farmers.

The Ontario government asked for creation of the coalition in 2009 to help it develop and implement the risk management program. The members are the Beef Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Pork, Ontario Sheep Farmers, and the Veal Farmers of Ontario.

It does not include supply management marketing boards because they have enough clout to protect their financial interests.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Ont housing policy draws fire


Conservation authorities are complaining about the province curbing the comments they can make to municipalities as they review applications for housing projects.

Conservation Ontario said the government of Premier Doug Ford “is proposing agreements with conservation authorities that prevent municipalities from entering into agreements with conservation authorities to review planning applications on their behalf, proposes exemptions from natural hazard permits for select municipalities where Planning Act approvals are in place, remove ‘conservation of lands’ and ‘pollution’ as considerations in permit decisions, to put a freeze on development fees and to possibly tap into conservation lands to support housing.

“We need to make sure mechanisms are still in place to ensure that we balance growth with a healthy environment,” said Angela Coleman, general manager of Conservation Ontario which represents Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities.

Coleman said conservation authorities have been co-operating by speeding up reviews of housing developments and said conservation authorities are not a barrier to growth.


She said municipalities need to continue to be able to enter into agreements with conservation authorities for advisory services and conservation authorities need to retain responsibility for natural hazard approvals.

Conservation authorities own approximately 147,000 hectares of land which are made up of important natural systems and biodiversity such as wetlands, forests, moraines, and ecologically sensitive lands. These lands typically have clear functions and purpose.

Conservation authority lands are often located in floodplains and help to protect against flooding and erosion. They offer trails and other outdoor amenities that contribute to public well-being and they protect important sources of drinking water and biodiversity. They also contribute to climate change adaptation measures by capturing emissions, cooling temperatures and protecting water quality.

“Regardless of the source of funding for the lands, clear policies are needed to protect these locally significant conservation lands and land use should only be considered for housing in exceptional circumstances,” Coleman said.

“The plan review process by conservation authorities ensures the protection of the watershed-based approach and enables the connections to be made between flood control, wetlands and other green infrastructure or natural cover, thus ensuring safe development”, Coleman said.

Conservation Ontario is calling for the re-establishment of the Multi-stakeholder Conservation Authority Working Group which is comprised of members from conservation authorities, municipalities, development sector and agriculture. The Working Group helped guide the Province in its implementation of the last round of changes to the Act.

In terms of another provincial proposal to freeze conservation authority development fees, Coleman said that ‘development needs to pay for development’. Freezing these fees just creates a backlog of costs that will eventually need to be addressed.





Sweda challenges egg board spending

Sweda Farms has written to the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission calling for it to investigate spending by the Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

One challenge is into more than $2.8 million the board has spent on Hyperspectral imaging with “no reasonable prospect of commercialization.”

Another project is with Rellidep, about which Sweda said “it is hard to fathom how the Rellidep project would "stimulate, increase and improve" the regulated product or how it could have been initially approved based on regulatory restrictions on investments. “

Sweda questions why the egg board spends so much on market development with scant evidence that it pays. Egg farmers fund this budget via levies.

Sweda said Burnbrae and Grayridge pay retailers millions of dollars in rebates to bolster their sales of about $540 million a year, so wonders why the egg board spends so much on marketing.

Sweda has raised these issues with the egg board which has dismissed them.


Scots say horse medication is deadly

Furosemide which is commonly administered to race horses appears to be responsible for sudden deaths which occur about one time in 10,000, report researchers at the University of Glasgow.

The drug is administered to about 94 per cent of race horses.

The study looked into almost every horse race in the United States and Canada over a period of 12 years – and found that around one in 10,000 race starts resulted in a race-day sudden death for a horse.

Horses who were recorded as being administered with furosemide were 62 per cent more likely to experience sudden death.

Furosemide is commonly given to prevent exercise-induced bleeding in the airways and is also associated with enhanced racing performance. 

The ethics of race day medication are controversial, with furosemide already restricted or prohibited on race day in certain circumstances, depending on jurisdiction. 

Fewer cows, more milk

 Dairy farmers in the United States milked 29,000 fewer cows in the summer, but increased milk production by 1.2 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier.

But milk production was down by 23 per cent in the summer from the spring.

The average number of milking cows per farm fell by 500 to 4,000 head compared with summer a year ago.

The government counted 9.41 million dairy cows, the same as the spring, but less than the summer a year earlier.

And another report said today’s cows produce six per cent more milk, consume flour per cent less feed and use 13 per cent less land than they did in 2007.

That report is from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Farmers of America.

North American dairy cows also produce eight per cent less emissions and consume six per cent less water than they did 14 years ago.

Report outlines how to fix supply chains

Recommendations from the federal government’s National Supply Chain Task Force to strengthen the country’s supply chains include industry co-operation to avoid strikes, to protect corridors and border crossings and more kilometres of rail interswitching.

The task force’s final report contains 21 recommendations aimed at easing congestion in Canada’s ports, filling labour shortages and improving employee retention.

Some of what is said is a reminder of Freedom Convoy blockages at Windsor and in Alberta.

Among the report’s short-term recommendations is a call to expand the 30-kilometre rail interswitch distance across Canada — a move meant to give shippers more options to move goods by rail on one company’s track before switching to another for the longer haul.

The report recommends Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan “urgently convene a council of experts to develop a new collaborative labour relations paradigm that would reduce the likelihood of strikes, threat of strikes, or lockouts that risk the operation or fluidity of the national transportation supply chain.”

The Teamster’s Union doesn’t like that, but agrees that more should be done to recruit and retain truck drivers.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Oct. 6 the government will now move to develop a National Supply Chain Strategy, which “will be informed by the recommendations included in the task force’s final report.”

The Teamsters Union said “free collective bargaining is not an impediment to supply chain continuity, but this report suggests otherwise,” Teamsters Canada president Francois Laporte said

“Ultimately, unions and everyday working-class Canadian families are not at the source of the world’s current disruptions. Attacking our rights won’t solve the crisis.”

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Internet becoming essential for farming

A new report from CoBank Knowledge exchange in Denver said satellite smartphones have gained momentum since Apple, T-Mobile and Space announced they will provide satelite service.

CoBank said satellite smartphones could have a profound impact on residents of rural communities as the technology advances and more robust service offerings become available, 

“Initially, the service options available through satellite phone connectivity will be limited to basic text and SOS messaging,” said Jeff Johnston, lead communications economist for CoBank.

“But as new satellites are launched over the next several years, voice calling and more advanced data applications should become available. And smartphones equipped with satellite technology will work anywhere in the U.S., regardless of cellular coverage,” he said.

It doesn’t apply here because the federal and provincial governments are investing millions to provide fibre-optic connectivity to rural Ontario. Fibre optic is much faster and provides broader access to the internet.

Nitrogen production curbed by gas prices

The rising cost of natural gas is going to reduce nitrogen production for next year’s crops said Svein Tore Holsether, president of Yara International, the world’s leading nitrogen producer.

Farmers around the world will likely be lowering their application rates of nitrogen fertilizer due to high prices of the vital crop input.

“The world’s food supply cannot be maintained without nitrogen,” said Holsether.


CFIA denies copying CropLife proposals

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has denied that it copied a proposal from CropLife Canada when it called for industry response to regulation of gene-edited crops.

It said its own staff developed the final draft of proposals, but did not deny that the copy Radio Canada obtained was written by Jennifer Hubert, executive director of CropLife.

The CFIA rejected the NFU call for dismissal of the head of the CFIA.

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Vigilance OGM also asked Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to dismiss Dr. Siddika Mithani.

In its response, the CFIA said it remains “an independent, scientific and evidence-based federal regulatory agency committed to ethical transparency and accountability” and “always authors its own independent guidance and policies.”

It said the final proposals were written by CFIA staff after consultations were held with “seed and grain industry associations” including CropLife as well as plant breeders, researchers, organic industry associations and “non-government organizations” — including the NFU, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Vigilance OGM.

“After considering and then incorporating some of the stakeholder feedback on the draft guidance, the CFIA updated all its working documents within one of the returned copies,” the agency said, and the revised document then went out to stakeholders for further comment.

“For this reason, the metadata erroneously identifies the ‘author’ of this document as someone other than a CFIA employee,” CFIA said, but “in fact, the entire draft guidance document, including the proposed key directions, was written by the CFIA, incorporating some of the feedback from multiple stakeholders.”

All of this is moot because the NFU attack is not on the merits of the CFIA proposals, but an attack on a person. It's known in philosophy as flawed "ad hominem" reasoning.




Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Guelph profs to research magic mushrooms

Health Canada has granted a licence to Dr. Max Jones and Dr. Gale Bozzo of the University of Guelph to grow magic mushrooms for their research.

They will begin by studying psilocybin which has interest as a psychiatric medicine, but say there are probably other components of interest.

As interest grows in the possible therapeutic effects of psilocybin — a key active compound in so-called “magic mushrooms”– University of Guelph plant science researchers are preparing to begin research into this promising field. 

Jones said “we are very excited about this approval as it will allow us to study these psychedelic mushrooms to better understand their biology and genetics, examine what other functional compounds they might contain, and provide well-characterized and chemically consistent material for preclinical and potentially clinical evaluation,” said Jones. 


Psilocybin has emerged in recent years as a promising new avenue to treat mental illnesses such as depression, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.


What’s interesting about psilocybin is that at least 200 species of mushrooms produce it, said Jones.  

“Those species aren’t that closely related; they’re diverse,” he said. “So that makes scientists like me wonder: what else are these mushrooms producing? If you have 200 species producing a compound that affects the human brain, it’s likely they are producing other interesting compounds, too.” 

That area of research interests Dr. Melissa Perreault, a professor in the Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Biomedical Sciences. She studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the pathology of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders such as depression or autism spectrum disorders, and those associated with cognitive impairments such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease. 

“There are many already working with psilocybin, but we’re interested in the potential biological activity of some of the other compounds in these mushrooms and whether they have any therapeutic value alone or in combination with psilocybin,” she said. 

Perreault plans to examine other compounds to determine which signalling pathways they might affect, especially substances that could affect synaptic function, inflammatory pathways and oxidative stress, which are known to contribute to brain diseases and disorders. 

“If there is any potential therapeutic value in these compounds, we would then bring them into some of the models I work with, such as those used to study specific aspects of depression or autism, to examine their therapeutic effects.” 

Future research into psychedelic-producing mushrooms will require a consistent and reliable supply of psilocybin-producing mushrooms, which is what Jones hopes to offer. 

“There is a real need for a public supply of these mushrooms,” he said, adding that a few private companies are licensed to produce these mushrooms but that commercial suppliers often create proprietary formulations. 


“We aim to create a supply of mushrooms to be used for preclinical and perhaps clinical trials in which the genetics and cultivation methodologies will be fully disclosed to researchers and the public.” 

That work will take place in a high-security facility on campus that meets Health Canada standards. 

The research team also hopes to develop a synthetic medium to grow the mushrooms. Currently, they are grown on grains or manure, but the team aims to develop a more consistent and reproducible medium. 

Guelph prof wins research award

Dr. John Fryxell is this year’s winner of the Weston Family Ecosystem Research Award.

Fryxell is former chair of the Integrative Biology department at the University of Guelph and has won the award for his applied which helped the world better understand the interaction of biodiversity and natural systems on agricultural lands,” said Emma Adamo, Chair of the Weston Family Foundation.“

In announcing the award, the foundation said “he, his students and fellow researchers have taken their scientific inquiries to three continents, pursuing a deeper understanding of boreal ecology, aquatic and terrestrial food web dynamics and biodiversity. 

“Of particular merit for the award, Dr. Fryxell and his collaborators have conducted research throughout Southern Ontario, working with local ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) programs to understand how ecosystem projects interact with biodiversity and natural systems on agricultural lands.

“The breadth of Dr. Fryxell’s research is what makes it significant. Dr. Fryxell and his fellow researchers have contributed to a richer understanding of the biological mechanisms that help us sustain the ecosystems and biodiversity that sustains human societies.”

Fryxell said “a lot of the work that I’ve been engaged in has become increasingly oriented around an equitable trade off between the needs of humans and the needs of nature.

“Despite the fact that we’ve been harvesting nature for eons, we’re still not really clear about all the essential contributors that help produce a healthy landscape, and there are many actors that provide some assistance in often hidden ways.”

The university said the award is for more than his work, but “it’s about bringing attention to the ways that research is a broad undertaking, a collaborative effort with extensive value for society.”

Rural population is older

People living in rural Ontario are older than those living in cities, according to analysis by the Rural Ontario Institute.

The median age age in rural Ontario is 47 and 44 in cities. The median is the age at which there are as many people older as younger.

Danielle Letang said politicians and planners should be made aware of that difference when considering things like youth retention and labour force and providing services and housing. 

She said some young people might be moving to cities to be with friends and better job and education opportunities.

“So if people want to live in their local community, but there’s no services or there’s a lack of options for housing or for education or jobs, they may feel like they have no choice but to leave. So I think we really need to think about that,” Letang said.

The median age in Indigenous communities  is 31.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Tyson settles another price-fixing suit

Tyson has agreed to pay Washington State $10.5 million to settle a price-fixing lawsuit.

It is the third company to pay the State of Washington to resolve a lawsuit filed in connection with the lengthy price-fixing lawsuit over allegations of rigged prices paid to local poultry growers for decades.

The settlement frees Tyson from a lawsuit that includes 18 other chicken companies that allegedly colluded to drive up the price of chicken since at least 2008. The lawsuit claimed “the conspiracy” harmed about seven million state residents connected to the industry.

Fruit and vegetable growers counter critics

The Fruit and Vegetable Growers Canada says its farmers are not responsible for food inflation.

In fact, their executive director said their costs have risen to sharply and high that some are losing money.

Rebecca Lee, executive director of FVGC, issued a statement saying “we have seen increased costs for almost all of the inputs required to grow and sell fruits and vegetables, and growers are feeling the pinch. 

“In recent conversations with some of our members, they have reported that many members are losing money and unable to reinvest in their business this year.”

Growers experienced a nitrogen fertilizer increase of 121 per cent this May compared with last year and a doubling of the cost of diesel fuel.

Her comments come in the context of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture launching an investigation into rising food prices and the House of Commons voting to have the Competition Bureau investigate.

The Fruit and Vegetable Growers Canada is likely only the first of many agriculture commodity organizations that will deny responsibility for rising food prices.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Competition Bureau investigating food prices

Canada’s Competition Bureau has announced it’s going to investigate food pricing.

So where has it been for the last decade?

Take eggs as an example.

It has known that there is a court decision that accused Burnbrae Farms Ltd. of limiting competition in connection with the account for Giant Tiger stores.

It has known that Burnbrae and L.H. Gray and Son Ltd. cut a deal to divide the business of Metzger Produce near Elmira.

It has known that Burnbrae and Gray, the dominant egg-grading and egg-processing companies in Ontario, exchanged e-mails about pricing and sharing clients, such as territories of Loblaw-owned stores.

It did nothing.

I am told that it made a deal to sit back and watch while lawyer Donald Good pursued a lawsuit against Burnbrae, Gray and the Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

Good failed to seek documents from Burnbrae to match what he had from L.H. Gray and Son Ltd. which prompted Burnbrae to persuade a judge to remove it from the lawsuit.

So the Competition Bureau has apparently done nothing on its own to delve into the Canadian egg-grading and egg-processing sector.

It did gain a settlement with Loblaw over bread pricing, but what about the Empire Group (including Sobey’s and FreshCo and Foodland) and Metro (including Food Basics)?

Any meaningful solutions are just too complex and legally and politically fraught for politicians and bureaucrats to resolve.

So, grit your teeth, mutter your curses, and pay whatever the price is for the food you buy because the Competition Bureau isn't going to help you.

Mini chocolates on recall

The company that makes UNREAL brand dark chocolate minis is recalling them because they may be contaminated with salmonella food-poisoning bacteria.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there have been no reports of people falling ill after eating the chocolates.

They are distributed in Canada by Naturta Market. They are also marketed via Amazon.

UNREAL has its head offices in Boston. It’s owned and run by Michael Bronner, his son Kristopher and his wife Nicky.

Blue cow logo expands

The blue cow logo controlled by Dairy Farmers of Canada is expanding its presence to Khaas Dahi, Khaas Halal and Siggi’s yogourts made by Lactalis.

It expands the promotion into the South Asian, Middle Eastern and Northern African ethnic community markets in Canada.

 Lactalis uses the logo on 650 products sold under brand names Lactantia, Beatrice, Black Diamond, Cracker Barrel, Balderson, P’tit Quebec, Astro, IÖGO, IÖGO nanö, and Olympic.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Mini chocolates on recall

The company that makes UNREAL brand dark chocolate minis is recalling them because they may be contaminated with salmonella food-poisoning bacteria.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there have been no reports of people falling ill after eating the chocolates.

They are distributed in Canada by Naturta Market. They are also marketed via Amazon.

UNREAL has its head offices in Boston. It’s owned and run by Michael Bronner, his son Kristopher and his wife Nicky.

Flooding prompts milk dumping


Flooding in Victoria State, Australia, is prompting dairy farmers to dump milk that transporters can’t pick up.

Richard Lang, general manager of the Milk Exchange, said up to one million litres of milk per day may be dumped.

He said there were 900 farmers and about 30 factories in northern Victoria.

“These all need open roads and an ability to have power to milk the cows,” he said.

“If trucks don’t get through [to the farms] the milk gets tipped, and that obviously has an impact on incomes.”

Feds give $5.6 million to Genomics Ontario


The federal government is investing more than $5.6 million in Ontario Genomics to deliver the BioCreate program.

The program will provide seed funding and support to help genomics in the health, food and agriculture, and cleantech sectors to bring new products and technologies to market.

Participating businesses are expected to create and maintain up to 160 highly skilled jobs, as well as create eight new products, services, or processes and more than 30 new patents. 

As well, approximately 25 percent of the firms participating in the program will be directed to an investment fund, the Firehood, which connects women founders with mentors, partners and/or customers to help develop their business.

Holstein Canada to do welfare audits

Holstein Canada will continue to conduct animal welfare audits for dairy farmers.

It has agreed to extend its arrangement with Dairy Famers of Canada to do the assessments in every province but Saskatchewan where dairy farmers have a choice among several auditors.

Montreal grain port to be renovated

The federal government is providing $8 million towards an $18-million upgrade of the grain-handling and storage facilities at Montreal.

The funding came from the National Trade Corridors Fund, which helps fund infrastructure projects in Canada. The port facilities are owned by DG CanEst Transit.

Smithfield settles lawsuits

 A judge in Minnesota has approved a $42-million deal Smithfield Foods made with foodservice operators to settle a pork price-fixing lawsuit.

The company has also reached an $83 million settlement with wholesalers and a $75 million agreement with consumers, announced last month.

Smithfield has denied liability in the cases and said it believes its conduct has always been lawful, but negotiating a settlement was in the best interest of the company.

Originally filed in 2018, the case alleged price-fixing behavior by Clemens, Hormel, Indiana Packers, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Triumph Foods, and Tyson, along with the data analysis firm Agri Stats.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Province backs poultry processor

Arvaspring poultry processing of Middlesex County is one of a number of businesses receiving $24 million in provincial funding to create jobs.

Arvaspring is owned by the family of president Dale Donaldson and has built a new facility to process poultry “to meet the increased demand from a culturally diverse marketplace,” he said.

The $5-million new plant will improve efficiency, increase capacity and will need  eight more workers.


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Guess where

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency sent a notice it has lifted the avian influenza quarantine for PCZ 116, but I am unable to determine where that is.

Usually I could look it up on the CFIA’s website map, but not now.

Isn't tha just lovely. Provide information without really providing information.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

HPAI in Wellesley

There has been an outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian infleunza in Wellesley township, north-west of Kitchener-Waterloo.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the outbreak is in a commercial poultry operation, but does not say if it’s layers, broilers, turkeys or a hatching egg flock.

Olymel tightens its belt


Olymel is cutting 177 jobs, most of them management positions, in a move to cut costs.

The company said it faces “market context and growth challenges” such as the COVID-19 pandemic, market and supply chain disruptions,  higher costs for raw materials and uncertain global economics.

The company said the staff cuts primarily will affect administrative positions in the wake of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and “a historic labor shortage at our facilities.”

Of the 177 jobs being cut, 120 “became open in recent months” and the other 57 employees were notified that their positions were being eliminated this week, the company said.

Olymel employs more than 14,000 people at its production and processing facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

Tara family wins milk appeal

Neil and Liz Van Loo of Tara have won their appeal against the Dairy Farmers of Ontario milk marketing board and the appeals tribunal has ordered the board to credit the family with $10,000 in penalties it assessed.

“We find that the Respondent (milk board) has not proven on a balance of probabilities that the Appellants (the Van Loos) moved milk contrary to DFO Regulation 09/21,” the tribunal wrote.

The Van Loos operate two dairy farms on the same property because they purchased a dairy farm and moved it to their home location.

The milk board said they contravened regulations by moving milk from one licenced operation to the other.

There was testimony that the dairy herds were so productive that a total of 150,000 litres of milk was dumped in a three-month period so the family operations could stay within quota limits.

Soil advocates say regs needed

Subsidies that encourage proper soil management are not enough. The government needs to introduce regulations, two soil advocates told a Senate committee headed by Rob Black.

Cedric MacLeod, executive director of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, said “without a stick you’ve only got a carrot. There needs to be a penalty in my mind.”

Don Lobb of Huron County, a life-long advocate of improving soil management, said subsidies to encourage planting cover crops and adopting conservation tillage can be helpful, but something harsher is possibly needed to get more compliance.”

Both were testifying at the Senate Agriculture Committee which Senator Rob Black persuaded his fellow senators to establish to follow up on the first Senate committee on the subject set up by the late Senator Herb Sparrow about 30 years ago.

CropLife influences biotech regs

The National Farmers Union is drawing attention to a Radio Canada report that found a CropLife computer composed proposals the government put out for the regulation of crops developed using gene-editing technology.

The NFU said “this indication of improper collaboration between the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and CropLife has shaken confidence in the CFIA’s ability to protect the public interest. 

“Public confidence in our food and agriculture sector depends on regulatory oversight that operates transparently and in the public interest at all times,” it said.

The National Farmers Union has been critical of the CFIA proposals because they would have government take a relatively hands-off stance and depend on industry self-regulation to keep harmful varieties from going to market.

The National Farmers Union, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Council of Canadians, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Farm Folk/City Folk, Friends of the Earth Canada, Greenpeace Canada, Safe Food Matters, Sierra Club BC, Union Paysanne, Vigilance OGM, United Food and Commercial Workers union and Young Agrarianshave signed a letter to federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau asking her to dismiss the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency over this issue.

The Radio Canada article,  OGM : Ottawa présente sa réforme en utilisant les fichiers d’un lobby agrochimique, provided alarming evidence of inappropriate collaboration between our public regulator and the private corporations whose products it regulates, to the point that it appears CropLife is effectively directing the CFIA, the NFU said.

The document sets out CFIA proposals for how regulations governing many gene-edited seeds are to be interpreted, and puts forward a system that would benefit the multinational seed corporations by allowing them to release many new gene-edited seed varieties without independent government safety assessments or other government oversight, and without disclosing they are gene-edited to government or the public, including farmers and our customers, the NFU said.

“The proposed system would harm Canadian farmers who need to know what they are planting in order to manage their farms and maintain access to sensitive markets,” said NFU president, Katie Ward. 

“The proposed regulatory guidance would also weaken public trust in our food regulatory system by preventing independent scientific evaluation by government regulators before these products are sold, and allowing them to be released with no reporting to government or the public,“ she said.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Two appointed to Animal Care Review Board

Sharon Mintz of Toronto and Susan Clarke of Thornhill have been appointed to two-year terms on the Animal Care Review Board.

Clarke has been appointed vice-chair and alternate executive vice chair.

Mintz has also been appointed a vice-chair.

The board hears appeals from individuals from whom animals have been seized or to whom orders have been issued under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Farmer dries grain with radio frequency

Kevin Eichorn of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has found a radio frequency that can be used to dry grain.

It requires no heat, but electricity to generate the radio waves and run a fan to blow water out of the grain bin.

He explained that the radio waves separate water molecules from grain and from each other so they can be easily removed with air movement generated by a fan. 

It dries grain from the inside out whereas heat works from the outside into the grain kernels.

But the system is expensive to install, so it only pays over time. The electricity costs less than propane in his area of the United States, he said.

He markets his invention as Dry Max Solutions.

Bitcoin worse than beef for environment

Bitcoin energy use is so great that it’s worse for the environment than beef production, according to a report from the University of New Mexico.

The Bitcoin universe is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the study reports.

Each Bitcoin mined in 2021 generated $11,314 US in climate damages, said the report and total global damages were greater than $12 billion US between 2016 and 2021, it said.

Damages peaked at 156 per cent of coin price in May, 2020 - i.e. it cost $1.56 to produce $1 worth of Bitcoin.

Taken as a share of the market price, the climate change impacts of mining the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin is more comparable to the impacts of extracting and refining crude oil than mining gold, according to an analysis published in Scientific Reports by researchers at The University of New Mexico.

Benjamin Jones and colleagues Robert Berrens and Andrew Goodkind present economic estimates of climate damages from Bitcoin mining between January 2016 and December 2021. They report that in 2020 Bitcoin mining used 75.4 terawatt hours of electricity (TWh) – higher electricity usage than Austria (69.9 TWh) or Portugal (48.4 TWh) in that year.

“Globally, the mining, or production, of Bitcoin is using tremendous amounts of electricity, mostly from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas. 

"This is causing huge amounts of air pollution and carbon emissions, which is negatively impacting our global climate and our health,” said Jones. 

“We find several instances between 2016-2021 where Bitcoin is more damaging to the climate than a single Bitcoin is actually worth. This is extremely troubling from a sustainability perspective.”