Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Biochar seen as a climate help

Researchers at the University of California have found that adding biochar to anaerobic manure digesters can reduce methane emissions from dairy farms by 84 per cent and benefit soil.

The dairy industry is one of the main sources of methane in California, making up half of the state’s total, so reducing them is a goal of federal and state governments.

“This is a wonderful example of an untapped climate solution,” said Life and Environmental Sciences Professor Rebecca Ryals . “Biochar reduces pollutant emissions from open burning of biomass and methane emissions from decaying biomass.”

California dairies typically stockpile manure solids, then spread it on fields or burn it.

The study looked at composting the manure with biochar instead of stockpiling it. Biochar also improves the composted manure so that it makes a better fertilizer for farmers to use on other parts of their land, said Mechanical Engineering Professor Gerardo Diaz .

“Composting the solid manure isn’t the common practice, but if we go from stockpiling to composting, now we’ve gone from a carbon source to a carbon sink,” Ryals said.

 “Composting in and of itself is a very climate-beneficial practice. And you can basically double your impact by adding a little bit of biochar into that compost,” he said.

So far only a small percentage of California’s dairy farms process manure through anaerobic digesters, but the federal and state governments plan to have that increase.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

McDonald’s sues pork packers over pricing

McDonald’s Corp. is accusing eight companies of conspiring to fix pork prices over the last 14 years in a lawsuit filed Friday in New York.

The Chicago-based fast food giant claims that the companies “entered into a conspiracy … to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize the price of pork” and associated pork products beginning in 2008 through the present, according to a filing in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York. 

McDonald’s alleges that the defendants also worked together to “restrict output and limit production with the express intended purpose of increasing and stabilizing the price of pork” across the country.

The defendants include: Agri Stats Inc., Clemens Food Group (Clemens Family Corp.), Hormel Foods Corp., JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods Inc., Triumph Foods, Tyson Foods Inc. (including two specific Tyson units — Prepared Foods and Fresh Meats).

The filing also lists Daily’s Premium Meats. Indiana Packers Corp. and Seaboard Triumph Foods as non-defendant entities that allegedly “combined, conspired or agreed" with the defendants and “committed acts in furtherance of the unlawful conspiracy alleged in the complaint.”

Feds restrict an insecticide

The Pest Management Review Agency has cancelled registration for insecticides containing lamba-cyhalothrin to be used on crops such as lettuce and on those that will be used as livestock feed.

That means the distributers, such as Syngenta and ADAMA Canada,  need to recall insecticides so the labels can be updated to reflect the federal government regulator’s decision.

Syngenta said it “will not be selling lambda-cyhalothrin based products for 2023 in Western Canada. We will continue to sell Matador 120EC product in Eastern Canada for the horticultural markets.”

ADAMA Canada, which markets a lambda-cyhalothrin product called Silencer, has stopped taking new orders.

Brian Slenders, vice-president of the Alberta Alfalfa Seed Commission, said alfalfa growers use Matador on alfalfa weevil, lygus bugs and aphids. On canola, he uses to control diamondback moths and cabbage seed pod weevil.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Avian flu found in Middlesex

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reported an outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza on a commercial poultry farm in North Middlesex.

There have also been numerous oubreaks reported over the weekend in the Chilliwack-Abbotsford area of the Southern Fraser River valley area in British Columbia.

Country Life in B.C. magazine reports that of the 30 commercial premises that have tested positive over the past two weeks, the majority fall within one of five control zones, which include four in Abbotsford and one in Chilliwack.

The industry remains at its most vigilant red biosecurity alert level, credited with limiting cases at commercial operations, but CFIA staff say farm-to-farm transmission is a risk.

“The high concentration of poultry operations in the Fraser Valley does present an increased risk for farm-to-farm spread,” CFIA told Country Life in BC in a statement.

To date, 33 wild birds – primarily eagles, owls, and waterfowl – have tested positive for H5N1 in BC. This is the least of any province in Canada. Three red fox and one skunk have also tested positive, according to the federal government’s avian influenza dashboard.

Climate needs 75 per cent cut in meat

A study from the University of Bonn says people in wealthy countries need to reduce meat consumption by at least 75 per cent to ensure there will be enough food for everybody.

The study also addresses impacts on the environment and climate.

But the study said eating meat in small amounts can be quite sustainable. The results are published in the journal Annual Review of Resource Economics.

Livestock farming damages the climate and the environment., the study said.

For example, ruminants produce methane which accelerates global warming. Animals also convert only a portion of the calories they are fed into meat. 

In order to feed the same number of people, meat therefore requires a much larger land area. This is to the detriment of ecosystems, as less space is left for natural species conservation. Furthermore, those eating too much meat live risky – meat in excess is not healthy and can promote chronic diseases, said the study led by Prof. Matin Qaim of the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn.

"If all humans consumed as much meat as Europeans or North Americans, we would certainly miss the international climate targets and many ecosystems would collapse," he said.

"We therefore need to significantly reduce our meat consumption, ideally to 20 kilograms or less annually. 

"The war in Ukraine and the resulting shortages in international markets for cereal grains also underline that less grain should be fed to animals in order to support food security,” he said.

How ya goin to keep em down on the farm?

In Quebec it’s a herd of cattle that escaped in the summer and remain on the lam.

In Taber, Alta., it was 20 ostriches that escaped from a farm, but were rounded up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The cows in Quebec made it into the Canadian Senate where Sen. Julie Miville-Dechene donned a white blouse with black Holstein-honouring spots to recount how the cattle escapades continue.

The climax of her narrative came as nine cowboys — eight on horseback, one with a drone — arrived from the western festival in nearby St-Tite, Que., north of Trois-Rivieres, and nearly nabbed the cows before they fled through a cornfield.

“They are still on the run, hiding in the woods by day and grazing by night,” said Miville-Dechene.

She paid tribute to municipal general manager, Marie-Andree Cadorette, for her “dogged determination,” and the wranglers for stepping up when every government department and police force in Quebec said there was nothing they could do.

Only two changes in OFA executives

Mark Reusser, a turkey farmer from the Waterloo Region, has finished a long term as first vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, opening the way for Crispin Colvin to move into that position and for Drew Spoelstra to become a vice-president.

Paul Vickers was elected an executive member.

Peggy Brekveld was re-elected president for a third one-year term during the annual meeting in London.

Thompson unveils strategy

 Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson has unveiled Ontario’ agriculture strategy – a combination of recently-announced initiatives such as updating the Ontario Veterinary Act, investing in supply chains and adding more trained workers.

She said “The Grow Ontario Strategy is our government’s plan to make sure the province’s food supply chain remains safe, strong and stable from farm to fork.

“This plan is a bold vision of pride and trust in the quality and quantity of food produced in Ontario, grown on the foundation of a competitive agri-food industry that serves the needs of Ontarians, Canadians and the world.” 

She re-announced a $10 million fund open to applications for supply chain projects such as updated inventory software, expanded warehousing to allow increased inventory levels or automation equipment to address labour gaps. She also re-announced a $25-million Agri-Food Procesasing Fund.

She said the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario Act is up for review, as is the Ontario Veterinarians Act.

She said he province aims to increase total agri- food sector employment by 10 per cent by 2032, as well as increase awareness of modern, high-tech agri-food careers, opportunities for mentorship and hands-on job training.






Friday, November 25, 2022

Ontario has pork disease map

Hog farmers are being encouraged to sign up to learn about disease threats around their farm.

Swine Health Area and Regional Control — colloquially known as SHARC — tracks and maps disease outbreaks. Participating farmers can see the disease status and hog density around their farm and take action, such as vaccination, choosing a locations for a new barns managing manure and treating diseases.

To participate in SHARC, producers, in conjunction with their herd veterinarian, agree to confidential sharing of herd disease status with other participating producers. Collaboration is key, and the more producers who agree to participate, the more effective the program will be, said Ontario Pork marketing board.

SHARC is operated by Swine Health Ontario in partnership with Ontario Pork and the Ontario Pork Industry Council.

It has been built based on extensive industry feedback, and offers significant improvements for producers compared to previous disease management programs, the pork board said.


Another meat and cancer study published

A research review done at the University of Washington has concluded that the evidence that cancer is associated with eating unprocessed meat is weak.

Their work has been published in the Nature Medicine journal.

The team "conducted a systematic review and implemented a meta-regression ... to evaluate the relationships between unprocessed red meat consumption and six potential health outcomes” and found "weak evidence” between unprocessed meat consumption and colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease.

They said there is no evidence of an association between unprocessed red meat and ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke; and that while there is some evidence that eating unprocessed red meat is associated with increased risk of disease incidence and mortality, "it is weak and insufficient to make stronger or more conclusive recommendations."

More rigorous, well-powered research is needed, they concluded, to better understand and quantify the relationship between consumption of unprocessed red meat and chronic disease.

Most of the studies the team reviewed compared the health of one group of people eating a lot of unprocessed meat with another group that ate little meat.



Thursday, November 24, 2022

OFA awards five bursaries


The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has awarded five $2,000 bursaries to young people studying agriculture and this year, and for the first time there is a category for students completing a post-graduate or leadership development program.

The winners are Valerie Higginson of Vankleek Hill who is in her final year of studies to become a veterinarian, Andrew Kuiak who is apprenticing through Fanshawe College in London, Faith Emiry of Massey who is studying resource economics at Guelph, Michael Jones of Midland studying at Queen’s University in Kingston and Lexi Johnston of Listowel who is studying animal science at Guelph.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Health units might demand rabies vaccination

The Ontario government has posted a proposal that would give medical officers of health the power to demand rabies vaccinations, including farm animals.

The government said” Regulation 557 establishes the responsibility for rabies cases. There exists no authority for Medical Officers of Health to order testing of deceased animals under observation, unless there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an animal is rabid.


“Without testing to rule out rabies, bite victims may have to undergo a publicly-funded rabies vaccination as part of the post-exposure protocol. 

Regulation 567 defines conditions for the administration of the rabies vaccine in certain animals. 

"This regulation allows for vaccination by licenced veterinarians within Ontario, animals vaccinated in other provinces, territories, or countries must be revaccinated to meet the regulation."

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is dealing with an outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial poultry operation in Adelaide Metcalfe which lies west of Strathroy.

There have been few outbreaks in Ontario, more in Quebec and a lot more in British Columbia and Alberta this fall. 

On Tuesday alone, the CFIA reported four more outbreaks in British Columbia.

Big turnover at Ontario Sheep

There are four new directors, two new vice-presidents and a new general manager at Ontario Sheep Farmers organization.

Gone are Colleen Alloi, first vice-chair, Jay Lewis, second vice-chair and directors Heather Little and Gary Fox.

New are Jay Lennox, Ryan Schill, Karen Davis and Jenna White.

And the new vice-presidents are Art Alblas and Ken Lamb. 

Erin Morgan is the new executive director taking over from Jennifer MacTavish who was praised for her help in developing the National Sheep Roundtable and building good relations within the industry and with the Ontario government.

Two Ontario winners in winter wheat competition

 Andy Timmermans of Stratford and Kelsey Hill from Arnprior were among the winners in a winter-wheat yield competition among farmers around the Great Lakes.

Timmermans won along with Jeffrey Krohn of Elkton, Michigan, and Aaron Stuckey of Archbold, Ohio, in the highest percentage yield category.

Timmermans and Hill were with Krohn for the highest yields.

Paul Hoekstra, vice-president of Grain Farmers of Ontario, said “nderstanding and learning about the potential for winter wheat is incredibly valuable to farmers. The Great Lakes YEN has played a pivotal role in providing us insightful data on yield and beyond.” 

The organizers are Grain Farmers of Ontario, Michigan State University, Michigan Wheat Program, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph.

Sikes will head Cargill

Brian Sikes, who spent some of his 31 years with Cargill Inc. in Canada, will take over as president and chief executive officer on Jan. 1.

He replaces Dave MacLellan who has had the two positions since 2013 and now will be executive chair of the board of directors and will serve as a strategic advisor to Sikes.

Sikes has been a Cargill executive in Europe and the United States as well as Canada and has been head of the company's talent centre of expertise and is now its chief financial officer.

Jeanie Theoharis heads animal care watchdog

Jeanie Theoharis of Mississauga has been appointed to a two-year term as associate chairman of Ontario’s Animal Care Review Board.

She is a lawyer specializing in administrative and regulatory law.

The other associate chairman is Stepahie Zwicker-Stavens of Toronto who was also recently appointed to a two-year term. She is also a lawyer.

National building code in the works

A new organization, the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes, has been established to develop a national building code.

As matters stand now, each province and territory has its own building code.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) will continue to publish the codes, and provide administrative, technical, and policy support to the code development system.

There has been an advisory committee from the provinces and territories on building codes and this is another step towards harmonization following two years of negotiations. The advisory committee will remain in place.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Turkey price-fixing case continues

A federal judge in Chicago denied a request to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the nation’s top turkey suppliers of conspiring to fix prices between 2010 and 2017.

United States district Judge Virginia M. Kendall said the plaintiffs in the case provided sufficient inference that price-fixing of turkeys took place. 

While the defendants submitted what were described as “alternative explanations” for their turkey prices, Judge Kendall also said the standards for potential dismissal are higher for the defendants than those for the plaintiffs in outlining her decision.

The lawsuit accuses Butterball, Cargill Inc., Cooper Farms, Hormel Foods Corp., House of Raeford Inc., Farbest Foods Inc., Foster Farms Inc., Perdue Farms Inc., Prestage Farms and Tyson Foods Inc., of exchanging information on turkey production cutbacks in an effort to inflate prices. 

Agri-Stats Inc. is also involved in the lawsuit, as it has been in similar price-fixing complaints in the pork, chicken and beef industries.

The defendants submitted a joint denial against the activities featured in the lawsuit as part of their effort to win a dismissal of the case. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Veterinary Act due for update

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson is calling for comments before she introduces legislation to update the Ontario Veterinarians Act.

It was last updated in 1989 and has had only minor tweeks since.

“ We recognize that it no longer reflects the realities of modern veterinary practice” said Thompson.

Thompson wants the public to tell her “how to align oversight of the Ontario veterinary profession with other self-governing regulated professions in the province to ensure that the veterinary profession continues to be overseen in the public interest. College president  Lorie Gold said it welcomes the review.

She is also inviting input on “the scope of practice for veterinary medicine, such as the procedures, services and processes a licensed veterinarian or other veterinary professional, such as a veterinary technician, is permitted to perform.” 

And she wants to learn “how to improve accountability and transparency to make sure that powers, responsibilities, and processes under the Act are clear to the public.“

Details on the proposed changes to the Veterinarians Act are available at The public can share feedback by email at to share initial feedback to shape a future proposal for modernizing the framework for the regulation of veterinary professionals in Ontario. 

A discussion paper will be posted on the Regulatory Registry for public consultation this winter and then people can provide additional input through the registry at that time. 

In 2021, the college held licenses for 5,247 veterinarians and accreditations for 2,405 facilities. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Olymel layoffs continue

Olymel has announced it will close one of its pork-processing plants in Ste. Hyacinthe, Que., on Feb. 10.

The company said it has faced two years of difficulties caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the labor shortage, market uncertainties and other factors underlying the unfavorable economic situation.

The 107 employees working at the facility in its melting, storage and packaging operations have received a 12-week notice of termination, in accordance with Quebec labor standards. All employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate to other Olymel facilities in the region.

The company announced in 2016 it was discontinuing pork butt boning operations at the St-Hyacinthe facility, resulting in the elimination of 340 jobs.

Last month, Olymel announced it would eliminate 177 management positions in an effort to improve 

Beef lawsuit consolidated

A federal district court in Minnesota has consolidated the antitrust claims of several large retailers and wholesalers against four beef packers into the lawsuit originally brought by R-CALF USA and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The plaintiffs, which include Sysco, US Foods, Kroger, Hy-Vee, Albertson, Associated Grocers, Subway and SuperValu, allege the packers’ efforts to jointly manage their slaughter volume and their cattle purchasing practices caused beef prices to rise while also pushing cattle prices lower.

The discovery phase of the case, originally filed in April 2019, is expected to continue through 2023, the NFU said.

Cows get high on hemp

A German study has found that cows fed hemp flowers and leaves get high and produce milk with THC, the substance that gives humans a high when they smoke or eat marijuana.

The dairy cows also showed behavioral changes — yawning and salivating a lot, moving a little unsteadily on their hoofs, standing in one place for a protracted period, and having a “somnolent appearance.”

The peer-reviewed study, conducted on Holstein cows in Berlin and published Monday in the journal Nature Food, is one of the first major investigations of the use of industrial hemp as a potential supplement in animal feed.

It’s illegal to feed cows hemp in the United States, but hemp could be an excellent source of animal feed if government regulators approve it, said Erica Stark, executive director of the National Hemp Association. The seeds of hemp do not contain any THC, she said, and are high in protein.

“It’s going to be such a really large market. There’s actually animal feed shortages in this country right now, ramifications of what’s happening in Ukraine, droughts and other crop failures,” Stark said.

The researchers at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment found no behavioral change in cows given the entire hemp plant, which contained very low levels of THC. Only when fed solely the portions of the hemp plant with higher THC concentrations — including the flowers and leaves — did the behavioral effects appear, according to the study.

Those effects included slower heart rate and respiration, “pronounced tongue play, increased yawning, salivation, nasal secretion formation,” and reddening of a portion of the eyes, the report states. Some animals “displayed careful, occasionally unsteady gait, unusually long standing and abnormal posture.”

The animals also ate less and produced less milk, according to Robert Pieper, head of the department of food chain safety for the institute and co-author of the new paper.

Migrant worker activist joins University of Guelph

Gabriel Allahdua, a migrant worker activist, has been chosen the first “activist in residence” at the University of Guelph.

His position will be in the university’s Grounded and Engagement Theory Lab. 

“It’s an emerging approach in our areas of study, and our goal is to advance it,” said Monique Deveaux of the philosophy department and co-founder of the lab.

“We hope to foster community, knowledge sharing and research collaboration by engaging in research methods that centre the voices of members of justice-seeking communities.”  

Collaboration is at the heart of the way the lab conducts its research, Deveaux said. Researchers and students listen to those in communities engaged in struggle, such as the migrant worker community.

“We want him to help us plug into the communities we are looking at in our research. He’s also going to help us establish a network in Ontario that’ll bring researchers together with activists working on common issues around migrant workers and justice for migrant workers.,” she said.

 Allahdua is from St. Lucia, has a general agriculture diploma from the Guyana School of Agriculture and was a beekeeper before enrolling in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program in 2012. He worked in Leamington’s greenhouse sector for four years before seeking permanent residency and turning his full attention to activism. 

Now he’s an organizer with Justice for Migrant Workers and an outreach worker with The Neighbourhood Organization, which provides services to migrant workers.


Allahdua has also written an autobiography, Harvesting Freedom, about his experience as a migrant worker. It is scheduled for release March 7.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

UPSIDE gets ok for cultivated meat

UPSIDE Foods has received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration for the process it uses to grow meat from cells.

It is the first researcher to gain an approval that the process the company uses to grow meat from chicken cells is safe. It is not approval for the product, just the process.

The agency said in a letter to the company in California that “we evaluated the information UPSIDE Foods submitted to the agency and have no further questions at this time about the firm’s safety conclusion.”

 The firm will use animal cell culture technology to take living cells from chickens and grow the cells in a controlled environment to make the cultured animal cell food.

 The FDA's pre-market consultation with the firm included an evaluation of the firm’s production process and the cultured cell material.

The voluntary pre-market consultation is not an approval process. Instead, it means that after our careful evaluation of the data and information shared by the firm, we have no further questions at this time about the firm’s safety conclusion, the agency said.

Chicken agency dials back production

After major increases for several production quota periods in a row, the national chicken agency is adopting a one per cent increase over base for the winter production period.

Ontario’s increase will be 1.4 per cent.

The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board said “the prospect of additional imports leads to a conservative approach” after saying “demand for chicken continues to be strong.”

The outlook for strong demand  “is supported by competing meat prices and overall market conditions,” it said.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Politicians exempt grain drying from carbon tax

Members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee have approved a bill that will exempt grain drying from the federal carbon tax.

It now goes to the full House of Commons for third reading and, if approved there, to the Senate.

“We were pleased with the support Bill C-234 received. . .,” said chairman Brendan Byrne of Grain Farmers of Ontario.


“It is clear that these Members of Parliament understand the lack of current alternatives for grain drying and the need to provide an exemption until viable technological solutions are developed. Now we need the bill to pass the House and for Honourable Senators to pass the Bill into law during the life of this Parliament.” 

He is now calling on the Senate to pass the bill expeditiously, mindful that a previous Private Members Bill on the same topic passed the House but died on the Order Paper with the dissolution of the previous Parliament for the 2021 general election.

Living wage takes huge leap

According to the latest report from the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN), employees in the Waterloo Region need $19.95 an hour which is 16 per cent more than last year.

The Waterloo Region government is among employers who subscribe to the living wage. Guess what that will mean for property taxes.

"It's no surprise," said Greg deGroot-Maggetti, the board president of OLWN. "We all know that this past year, we've seen a lot of inflation especially for core expenses like shelter costs and food."

Waterloo Region and Wellington County have been combined this year and Waterloo’s rate had been lower. Wellington’s increase is 10.2 per cent.

Canco labour talks problematic

The union is asking for wage increases in dollars, but Canco tomato processor is offering only pennies leading up to a strike vote on Saturday.

About 800 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union are awaiting a report from the conciliator appointed by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Canco bought the plant at Leamington in 2014 after Heinz shut down operations and shifted its processing to the United States. A group of plant managers and executives formed Canco to buy the plant, then they bargained hard to reduce tomato prices.

The tensions prompted the province, via its Ontario Farm Products Marketing Council, to dismiss the directors of the Ontario Vegetable Processors Marketing board and to appoint its vice-chairman, Elmer Buchanan, a former NDP agriculture minister, to negotiate a new contract.

Now it appears the company is bargaining hard with its 800 union members.


PigTRACE tag issues cleared


After 10 months of supply-chain issues, hog farmers are once again able to get normal-time delivery of ear tags that are necessary for the mandatory PigTRACE program.

Jeff Clark, who is director for the program, said there were no major disruptions to the flow of pigs throughout the shortage but plenty of dancing to avoid problems.

The main challenge was cull sows, most of them shipped to packing plants in the United States and therefore requiring the ear tags.

“We were definitely scrambling to find supply and through that period of time, prioritizing orders that were extremely urgent,” Clark said. Farmers faced fines if their sows lacked an ear tag.

The beef industry also had a supply challenge earlier this year.

In September, Allflex’s parent company, Merk Animal Health, opened a new manufacturing facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to complement its plant at Dallas, Texas.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Feds invest $2.4 million in meat inspection technology

The federal government is investing $2.4 million in a Waterloo company that is developing a smart imaging system that can measure meat tenderness, freshness, protein, water and fat content on a packing-plant processing line.

It can also detect imperfections and eliminate foreign materials, such as plastic and bone chips.

P&P Optima will use the federal funds to build demonstration units to show meat-packing companies.

The money comes from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovate Program, which aims to accelerate the commercialization and adoption of technologies that increase competitiveness and sustainability.

Province proposes more housing on farmland

The provincial government has posted another set of proposals designed to increase housing and it includes making it easier to expand urban boundaries and to develop on farmland.

The proposal said the government wants a “streamlined and simplified policy direction that enables municipalities to expand their settlement area boundaries in a coordinated manner with infrastructure planning, in response to changing circumstances, local contexts and market demand to maintain and unlock a sufficient supply of land for housing and future growth.”

It said “the intended outcome of this review is to determine the best approach that would enable municipalities to accelerate the development of housing and increase housing supply (including rural housing), through a more streamlined, province-wide land use planning policy framework.”

That apparently means the province will be able to over-ride municipal and regional governments.

More specifically, if local planning clashes with the province’s new housing initiatives called “A Place to Grow”, the proposal said the housing policy will prevail.

Under a heading for agriculture, it said its plans are policy direction that provides continued protection of prime agricultural areas and promotes Ontario’s Agricultural System, while creating increased flexibility to enable more residential development in rural areas that minimizes negative impacts to farmland and farm operations.”

And it said municipalities will be able to approve development on wetlands if there is either compensation or offsets.

Supply management gets lion’s share of budget

Supply management tops the list for agriculture subsidies revealed in Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s economic statement.

There is provision for the final instalments of $1.7 billion worth of compensation for the trade deal with the United States and Mexico.

While dairy producers already know how much they will receive next year under the fourth compensation payment for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) the Government intends to offer them extra funding of up to $1.2 billion over six years under the Dairy Direct Payment Program to account for the impacts of CUSMA.

There is up to $300 million for the dairy processing industry to develop more value for solids-no-fat byproducts.

For the Canadian poultry and egg producers there is an additional $112 million under the Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program. Producers will receive payments based on their quota holdings to support improvements to their farm businesses. 

This funding will bring the total compensation for this sector to $803 million.

The wine industry will get $83 million per fiscal year in the next two fiscal years.

But we are desperately short of federal funds for medicare.

Politicians exempt grain drying from carbon tax

Members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee have approved a bill that will exempt grain drying from the federal carbon tax.

It now goes to the full House of Commons for third reading and, if approved there, to the Senate.

“We were pleased with the support Bill C-234 received. . .,” said chairman Brendan Byrne of Grain Farmers of Ontario. 

“It is clear that these Members of Parliament understand the lack of current alternatives for grain drying and the need to provide an exemption until viable technological solutions are developed. Now we need the bill to pass the House and for Honourable Senators to pass the Bill into law during the life of this Parliament.”


He is now calling on the Senate to pass the bill expeditiously, mindful that a previous Private Members Bill on the same topic passed the House but died on the Order Paper with the dissolution of the previous Parliament for the 2021 general election.

Wage-fixing is the new meat-industry lawsuit

Eleven of the largest meat packers in the United States have been accused of wage-fixing in a new lawsuit filed in Colorado.

Heinz-Kraft, one of the largest food-processing companies, is also accused in the lawsuit which is seeking class-action status.

The suit accuses affiliates the companies of conspiring to drive down wages paid to workers at beef and pork plants across the country by allegedly imposing “no-poach” agreements, exchanging data about compensation among workers through “detailed surveys” and imposing what were described as “highly regimented” wage schedules.

The accusers say the collusion began Jan. 1, 2014, and continued through the present.

The 11 main defendants and their affiliates include American Foods Group, Cargill Inc., Hormel Foods Corp., JBS, National Beef, Perdue Farms, Seaboard Corp., Smithfield, Triumph Foods, Tyson Foods Inc., data aggregators Agri Beef, Agri-Stats Inc. and Weber, Meng, Sahl and Co.

The list also includes Kraft Heinz — which is accused of providing a detailed wage survey in 2019 — Clemens Food Group, accused of setting “artificially depressed” wages based on compensation, and Indiana Packers, which allegedly benefited from Agri-Stats data.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Beef slaughter heading down


The United States is heading into the biggest decline in beef slaughter since 1979 next year, predicts the United States Department of Agriculture.

It said drought is the reason, prompting farmers to send heifers to feedlots this year and cows to slaughter.

In the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, USDA forecast 2023 U.S. beef production of 26.343 billion pounds, down by 7.3 per cent from 2022 levels. 

The agency cut the estimate by 90 million pounds this month from it prediction last month.