Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Swine compartment program launched

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the pork industry are launching a compartment program to deal with any outbreak of African Swine Fever.

It will establish heightened biosecurity around pig populations to contain any outbreak.

It is designed to assure trading partners that Canada has an outbreak under control. It is in addition to a zoning protocol that geographically divides the country into regions that remain free of the disease so exports from those regions can continue.

It is one piece of a bigger program called the African Swine Fever Industry Preparedness Program which has $23.4 million available to provinces, territories and academic institutions, associations and Indigenos groups. It is, in turn, part of an international program to contain and prevent spread of the disease.

In August the Manitoba Pork Council got $944,450 under this program.

It is using that money to “enhance efforts to control wild pigs in the province, develop an integrated response plan that focuses on animal welfare, disease response and sector recovery, and encourage the adoption of best management practices to improve biosecurity measures through targeted awareness campaigns.

The CFIA said about the new compartment program that “a compartment or part of a compartment can be present within an infected zone. 

“It is the biosecurity and surveillance practices of the compartment that maintain the ASF-free status of the pigs within the compartment, not the location of the premises. 

“This makes continued trade of pigs and pork products from a compartment free of ASF theoretically possible even when a premises is located within an infected zone.”

"The Canadian pork industry is unwavering in its dedication to the health of our swine herds and the prosperity of our industry. The Canadian ASF Compartment Program offers a robust tool to manage ASF risks, ensuring our continued success in the global market," said RenĂ© Roy, Chairman of the Canadian Pork Council.

"The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is taking every precaution to protect swine herds and the pork industry from African swine fever,” said Dr Harpreet Kochhar, president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

”The Canadian ASF Compartment Program underscores our commitment to proactive biosecurity and disease management and strengthens Canada's position as a global leader in swine health."

The CFIA sets national standards and provincial governments and members of the Canadian Pork Council handle administration.

Biosecurity and traceability programs are key elements of the program.


Despite trying times, pig exports continue

Despite trying times in the global hog industry, Canadian purebred hogs continue to have export customers.

Carla Dusick, executive director of the Canadian Swine Export Association, said there have been orders from South Korea.

“Most of the rest of Asia is suffering from negative margins which limits buying.

"We have had some orders to Taiwan, Thailand and Viet Nam.


“There is limited activity in Mexico and Central America and next to no activity to Europe.”

There is a steady business from buyers in the United States, but that is also down from the usual demand.

Gay Lea closes Thornloe Cheese

Thornloe Cheese has been closed by owner Gay Lea Foods, according to a notice posted on the front door of the business.

Gencor kept the business from bankruptcy and then sold it to Gay Lea in the fall of 2019.

It was transformed from a single-product plant to a producer of award-winning cheeses and other dairy products.

“As someone who was involved in the Parmalat transfer phase of the plant, as a former dairy farmer, and a Gay Lea shareholder, I am extremely disappointed,” said John Vanthof.

”I have spoken to the CEO (chief executive officer) of the company and will speak to other stakeholders in the upcoming days to see what can be done.

“We fought too long and too hard to save Thornloe Cheese to just wave and say goodbye.”

Monday, October 30, 2023

Olymel runs afoul of U.S. inspection


Olymel has been forced to recall 11,016 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products that were not presented for import reinspection into the United States.

The federal agriculture department is advising consumers to not eat the products which went to distributors and retailers in California. It has provide detailed information about the packaging of the products involved.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service is keeping watch to ensure the products are effectively recalled.

It said there have been no reports of any illnesses related to the Olymel products.

Seaway unions have tentative deal


Striking members of five unions will be voting on a tentative deal their negotiating team has reached with St,. Lawrence Seaway companies.

The strike halted all traffic between Lake Erie and Montreal, including a large volume of Ontario grain.

The unions said no details will be revealed until members complete voting.

An article from Bay Day of North Bay

In a span of six years, Thornloe Cheese went from a regional curd-maker generating $6 million in annual sales to a national supplier of artisanal cheeses, more than doubling its revenues to $14 million.

It’s a happy success story for a business that began in 1940 with just two employees and 900 pounds of milk. And it’s one that’s increasingly rare for small companies, said Pam Hamel, Thornloe’s national sales product manager.

Hamel appeared as a guest speaker during the 2023 Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum, hosted by the City of Temiskaming Shores and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

Held Oct. 17-19, this marked the first time the annual conference has been held in Northern Ontario. This year’s theme was ‘Connect, Collaborate, Cultivate Agriculture Across Ontario.’

“There are significant challenges to growing that business,” Hamel said. “We have American competition; we have European competition; we have our competition from within. There are a lot of barriers.

“Do we have potential? Yes.”

Hamel said the first key to Thornloe’s longevity is having quality, in-demand products.

In the mid-2010s, in conjunction with the University of Guelph and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, the company developed a national standard for cheese made with dairy from grass-fed cows. In 2017, Thornloe produced its first grass-fed cheese — the first in Canada to do so — and a short time later, Thornloe added grass-fed butter to its repertoire.

For its efforts, the company has won regional and provincial accolades, including the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence in 2015 and the Grand Champion Award in the butter category at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in 2018.

“You have to be prepared to be a bit of a disruptor when you are developing food products because the shelves are full already,” Hamel said. “There’s a lot of competition.”

Even with great products, small food businesses won’t get very far without a solid distribution plan in place, she added. The days of loading up a truck with product and making in-person deliveries to customers are long over.

“A lot of times food-makers are very passionate; they don’t want to relinquish control,” she said.

“There’s this notion that food distributors out there will erode their margin; they’ll lose control. But in truth, you cannot build your business without it.”

At Thornloe, with the help of OMAFRA, Hamel began attending industry trade shows, like Grocery Innovations Canada and the Restaurants Canada Show, which helped her make connections with food service companies and distributors.

Hamel opted to partner with distributors that work alongside independent grocery stores to get a bigger bang for her buck.

In Canada, 85 per cent of grocery stores are owned by the ‘big three’ companies: Metro,  Sobeys and Loblaw. Competition for shelf space is high, and vying for consumer dollars can quickly become expensive for small businesses.

Instead of jumping into that “pay-to-play” model, Hamel steered Thornloe toward smaller grocers where their products have a better chance of finding shelf space and developing a following.

“Keep us in the independent stores,” she advised her distributors. “Get me in the butcher shops, get me in the farmers markets, get me into all of those, and that is manageable.”

Under new ownership since 2019, Thornloe is thriving, producing a range of specialty cheeses alongside the cheddars, curds and butter it’s become famous for.

It remains a competitive business, and Hamel said producers must be assertive in order to secure their place in the market.

But consumers, too, have a role to play in the success of local food producers, she said.

Visit a farmers market, she advised, order meat from a local butcher, and shop with them repeatedly to “really support them,” she advised.

“That is where we start to grow food businesses so then they get a leg up and they keep growing.”

Support for new fruit varieties

The federal and provincial governments are offering $8 million to farmers who plant new varieties of apples, tender fruits and wine grapes.

It’s a cost-sharing offer aimed at aligning production with market demand for new varieties or ones with improved winterhardiness and/or resistance to pests and diseases.

The applications open for tender fruit growers on Nov. 30; the applications for grape growers will come early next year.


Legislature chooses wines

The Ontario legislature has chosen 2020 Cabernet by King and Victoria Winery and 2021 Chardonnay by Watchful Eye Winery as its official wines this year.

The winners were announced during the annual wine tasting hosted by Grape Growers of Ontario at the legislature.

“The wines showcased at this event reflect the connection between 100% Ontario grown grapes and the winemakers who craft them. We congratulate all of Ontario’s wineries on producing top-quality VQA wines and thank the six wineries who participated in this year’s tasting,” said chief esecutive officer Debbie Zimmerman.
“We are so excited to have had our Cabernet 2020 chosen as the red wine for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. We have been growing grapes for more than two decades to supply to premium winemakers throughout Ontario and in May of 2023 we were able to open the doors to our very own boutique winery on the Twenty Mile Bench in Vineland, Ontario,” said King an Victoria Winery.

 It is an honour to have our 2021 Chardonnay chosen as the white wine of the legislature and we appreciate the amazing feedback we received from all who tasted as we told our story and poured our wines,” said Watchful Eye Winery.

Carbon credits remain mysterious

Farmers could be garnering money from carbon credits, but the complex system remains a mystery to most in Ontario.

The Smart Prosperity Institute has published a report that aims to educate farmers, but actually making money from adopting practices that reduce carbon emissions or increase biodiversity remains a daunting challenge, judging by the information in the report.

Ontario was a member of a carbon exchange with Quebec and California, but Premier Doug Ford cancelled that arrangement almost immediately after coming to power.

Farmers in Quebec can garner $30 or more for their carbon credits in this exchange.

Alberta and British Columbia are the other provinces that have some type and degree of carbon credits.

The 32-page report named Carbon Offsets for Farmers is available online.

The Smart Prosperity Institute is a national research network and policy think tank based at the University of Ottawa.

This report is a joint effort of the institute and Co-operators General, a national multi-product insurance company.

Blue light found to fight Listeria

Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that blue light is effective in controlling Listeria, a common food-poisoning threat in the food-processing industry.

Their report published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology said blue light kills the Listeria monocytogenes pathogen as both dried cells and biofilms, especially when placed on polystyrene which is commonly used in packaging.

Biofilms, the researchers note, are normally resistant, suggesting "that blue light could effectively destroy Listeria monocytogenes."

One of the researchers, Francisco Diez-Gonzalez,  said "the application of blue light for controlling microbial contamination has the potential to offer an additional technology that could complement existing methods for disinfecting surfaces in contact with foods."

For the study, researchers experimented with combinations of doses and wavelengths to find the most effective blue light approach to biofilms. 

Diez-Gonzalez said that blue light has been effective as a disinfectant in hospitals and is less risky to users than ultraviolet light.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Rabid skunk found in Cambridge

One person came in contact with a rabid skunk in Cambridge and is being treated, reported the Waterloo Region Health Unit.

It is cautioning people to avoid skunks or other wildlife exhibiting abnormal behaviour, such as no fear of humans.

If a person does have contact, they are advised to wash that area of their body with soapy water.

The health unit is also reminding pet owners that they have an obligation to vaccinate them against rabies.

Norfolk County pot seized

Police seized 2,100 marijuana plants which they valued at 

$1.7 million at a property in Langton, Norfolk County.

They have laid charges against two men, one from York Region, the other from Markham.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Animal activists plan court lobby

Animal Justice is planning a demonstration at a court in Toronto when it begins hearing a case seeking to scrap legislation banning hidden cameras from barns.

Animal rights groups have used footage gained secretly in barns to advertise cases of animal cruelty.

The Ontario government passed legislation in 2020 that bans undercover investigations in meat-packing plants and farms.

Similar laws in other jurisdictions across North America have been thrown out when challenged in courts.

The Ontario lawsuit also challenges restrictions on peaceful protests outside slaughterhouses where animal activists have bothered truckers delivering pigs for slaughter. One activist seeking to offer water to pigs died when struck by a truck delivering hogs in Burlington.

Animal Justice is joined in the case by journalist Jessica Scott-Reid and animal advocate Louise Jorgensen of Toronto Cow Save. 

The court case begins Monday at the Superior Court of Justice at Queen and University streets in Toronto.

Ontario finally launches veterinarian program

The Ontario government is finally opening its purse strings on a frequently-announced program to provide more veterinarians in Northern Ontario.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs issued a news release today to say that applications are now open for grants of up to $50,000 over five years to veterinarians who provide service to livestock and poultry farmers  The goal is to add 100 veterinarians for under-serviced areas.

“Veterinary services are a necessity for the agricultural community across Ontario, and our government recognizes the long-standing issues that farmers in underserviced areas have experienced when trying to access these services,” said Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson. 

“Through this initiative, we’re taking action to fix it. The Veterinary Incentive Program will ensure the sustainability and continued health of Ontario’s livestock sector,” she said. 

The program is being delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC). 

“Access to veterinary care is vital to ensure a prosperous Ontario livestock value chain, especially in underserviced areas,” said Doug Alexander, chairman of the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

The government and Ontario Veterinary College announced in the summer that a new program will train veterinarians jointly at Lakehead University and the University of Guelph. It includes financial incentives to service farmers in Northern Ontario.

Sanderson wins price-fixing lawsuit


In the only price-fixing case to go to trial so far, Wayne Sanderson poultry processing company has won.

A jury unanimously ruled in favour of the company.

The trial in Illinois lasted six weeks.

Others have settled out of court, including House of Raeford for $27.5 million and Koch Farms for $47.5 million last week.

This case began in 2016.

Another enoki mushroom recall

Lian Teng brand enoki mushrooms are under recall because testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency detected Listeria monocytogenes food-poisoning bacteria.

The product was distributed in Ontario.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Kirk McLean again Pork Congress president

Kirk McLean has been elected president of the Ontario Pork Congress – again.

He was president before COVID-19 disrupted the Congress and became president again last year, This is the first time for consecutive terms.

First vice-president is Henry Groenestege who was president in 2021-22.

Drew De Bruyn is second vice-president, Joe Dwyer, who was president in 2016-17, is recording secretary, Victoria Stewart is treasurer and the directors are Abel Lopez and Dave Ross.

Feed can transmit PRRS

Feed can transmit Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus, writes veterinarian Dr. Scott Dee of Pipestone Applied Research in a report of his investigation at a customer farm.

The client practiced strict biosecurity, yet had an outbreak, so shut down his automatic feeder and called Dee who took samples discovering that there was PRRS in the feed.

The sow farm manager was doing everything right from a biosecurity standpoint. The barn was filtered. The farm team adhered to strict mechanical biosecurity protocols for trucks, people, supplies – basically everything you could imagine. The farm had a clean source for animals and semen.

Dee said “It reminded me of the first porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) case back in January 2014 when we took paint rollers and collected all the interior leftover material in the bin.” 

“It's really fortuitous that the manager called me, shut off the line and preserved the sample so I could sample the bin of feed that these index cases were consuming,” Dee points out.

“In our research on the susceptibility of viruses to survive in feed, we've kind of neglected PRRS virus,” Dee told reporter Jennifer Shike. 

“Many years ago, PRRS was shown not to survive in feed at all. 

"However, at the time of this study, they used a very insensitive laboratory test called virus isolation. PCRs and bioassays didn't exist. Still, everyone kind of wrote it off.”

“I can’t say PRRS transmission through feed is a major risk. But I think it's a big enough risk that we should talk about it. We've always wondered if it was possible that feed could bring it in,” he said.

The problem with figuring out the transmission of virus in feed in a farm setting is that the feed gets eaten and new feed comes in, Dee said.


“It's the first proof that PRRS virus can be alive in feed and can be transmitted through consumption of feed. That’s never been discovered before,” Dee said.

“The truth is we don't know how big of a risk it is,” Dee said.

Grocers summoned to Ottawa

The House of Commons Agriculture Committee has summoned the six major grocery chains to come to Ottawa to explain what they are doing to stabilize grocery prices.

The motion was made by the NDP and supported by the Liberals.

The grocers were summoned to Ottawa earlier this month by Industry Minister Francois Phillippe Champagne and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to explain what they will do to restrain price increases. There were few details shared after that meeting.

The six are Loblaws, Sobey’s, Metro, Walmart and Costco.

The committee said it wants “a comprehensive report on their strategies and initiatives taken to date and on future actions around the stabilization of grocery prices in Canada.”

After meeting with Freeland and Champagne, Sobey’s said it won’t reveal its plans because that would tip off competitors. Walmart said it has everyday low prices. The others said little or nothing.

For more than a year, the committee and the federal and provincial agriculture ministers have been pressuring the same chains to adopt a code of practice governing their relationships with suppliers.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Microbots made with plant materials

Microbots used in medicine are being made of plant materials by researchers at the University of Waterloo.

The microscopic robots’ shapes can be changed to suit the task at hand, said chemical professor Dr. Hsmed Shahsavan. They can also be cut apart and stuck together to achieve the desired shape.

Magnets can guide them through the body to a destination.

One of the tasks they can perform is gathering material for biopsies.

They are made of hydrogel composites that include cellulose nanoparticles from plants.

That means they are biodegradable and non-toxic.

Carbon tax exemption trimmed

Senator Pierre Dalphond has tossed a monkey wrench into the adoption of a bill to exempt grain drying and barn heating from the carbon tax.

He said farmers have no alternatives for grain drying, but do have options for heating barns and greenhouses to explain his exemption.

Senator Don Plett opposed the amendment, noting that Delphond’s move will delay passage of the legislation.

Its alteration by the Senate not only diminishes [carbon price] relief but also increases the cost of Canadian food production,” said Jan VanderHout, president of the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada“It’s disheartening to witness this lost opportunity for meaningful impact,” he added.

Grain farmers have been in the forefront of requests for an exemption.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Seaway strike begins


As feared, a strike by several unions representing St. Lawrence Seaway workers began today.

It shut down all traffic between Montreal and Hamilton, including grain exports and fertilizer imports.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

First case in Ontario of HPAI

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reporting an outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial poultry flock in the Kawartha Lakes Region.

It is the first case in Ontario since the spring and coincides with the migration of waterfowl.

Alberta has had a number of outbreaks this month.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Huge combine wins innovation award

A New Holland concept combine tested in Canada has won the top Agritechnicaaward that will be officially announced next month.

It’s the largest combine ever.

Geert Nerinckx, New Holland combine global product manager, said “our goal with this new combine was to bring down the total cost of harvesting for the customer, especially with regard to grain loss.

“I am just back from Canada where we had one of our machines running. This is a very important machine for farmers there because they are very interested in reducing loss from combines, particularly in higher value crops like canola, for example.

This combine will be fully automated, will have increased productivity and is 95 percent new, he said.

To increase threshing capacity without making machines wider because of road-width restrictions New Holland engineers have come up with this new CR twin axial rotor combine, that the company says can reduce crop loss to near zero.

The core element of the new CR combine harvester is the drive technology with an engine mounted lengthwise so that it spins in the same direction as the rotors.

The centrally located split-power gearbox drives rotors and harvesting headers with an intake chain in a straight line or via a propeller shaft. The left rotor serves as a counter shaft for the feed dru

This combine’s propeller shaft is located on the right-hand side of the chassis, above the level of the rotor housing. There are no drives on either side of the chassis, and this space was used to increase the chassis and threshing channel.

The cleaning system has been made 13 percent wider, while pressure-sensor-supported control technology measures the ram pressure that crop distribution on the front and rear upper sieve.

To eliminate blockages, an automatic system performs the usual back and forth movements to loosen the blockage and slews the belt tensioner to the respective tensioning side of the feed drum belt, which leads to precise transfer of the rotary movement.

The system not only ensures consistent distribution of the material on the upper sieves on the flat and also on lateral slopes, but is also able, for the first time, to solve the basic lateral distribution problem typical of axial rotor combine harvesters.

The straw chopping and distribution system is equipped with camera-based control technology, which increases the combine’s energy efficiency while the machine’s weight has remained virtually unchanged.




Land prices continue rising

Farmland in Ontario is selling for 6.9 per cent more now than six months ago, reports Farm Credit Canada.

“Limited land for sale has been driving farmland values higher over the last six months,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief economist.

 “With higher interest rates, elevated farm input costs and uncertainty regarding future commodity prices, producers are being cautious with their investments and capital expenditures.”

“Buy land, They’re not making any more of it,” wrote Mark Twain.

Seaway strike threat looming


Five unions representing workers along the St. Lawrence Seaway have voted to give their bargaining team a strike mandate.

If they strike, the agency responsible for managing locks between Montreal and Lake Erie said it will shut down.

Grain exports in keen demand because of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine would stop.

So would imports of fertilizer.

Judge denies AgriStats secrecy request


A judge in Minnesota has denied a request by AgriStats that the information involving it in price-fixing lawsuits be sealed – i.e. kept secret.

AgriStats said the information was provided to the government as part of its investigations into price-fixing in the poultry, pork and beef markets.

If that information becomes public, AgriStats said it would hurt its business.

Ironically, AgriStats is accused because it collected information about supplies, production and pricing from meat-packing companies, compiled it into reports which went back to all of the companies involved.

In other words, ironically the company accused of sharing information that ought to be confidential is seeking court protection from revealing its information.

Judge John F. Docherty emphasized the importance of public access to records, especially when the government is involved in litigation.

AgriStats’ lawyers argued the information was provided to the government under confidentiality provisions.

Researchers coming close on avian flu solution


Researchers in the United Kingdom are coming closer to a genetic solution to the spread of highly-infectious avian influenza.

They report that gene-edited chickens were less likely to spread the virus and if they were infected, the effects were less severe.

They are tinkering with the genetics involved in multiplying the virus once it infects a chicken.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Saputo fined over Tavistock worker injury

Saputo has been fined $75,000 after pleading guilty to failing to follow workplace safety measures leading to a hand injury to a worker at the plant in Tavistock.

The company pleaded guilty in provincial offences court in Woodstock. In addition to the $75,000 fine imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson, the company must pay a 25 per cent ($18,750) victim fine surcharge.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation determined that a ‘pusher arm’ should have been stopped from moving and prevented from starting, and the machine should have been locked out before troubleshooting/maintenance from staff started.

Dairy farmers win award


The Dairy Farmers of Canada’s campaign “Net Zero by 2050 – We’re In” won the award in the International Dairy Federation’s Innovation in Marketing & Communication Initiative Building Dairy category.

Additionally, DFC’s digital “cow influencer Daisy and her Mini-Games” campaign was recognized as a finalist in the same category.

“The honours received at the IDF Dairy Innovation Awards shine a spotlight on the Canadian dairy industry by recognizing its continuous innovation, both on and off the farm,” said David Wiens, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada. 

“These campaigns highlight the commitment and advances our sector is making towards net zero and we are proud to share real farmer success stories with our fellow Canadians.”

Pamela Nalewajek, DFC’s chief marketing officer, accepted the award in Chicago. 

“This recognition would not be possible without our hardworking dairy farmers, who strive day in, day out to feed the nation,” said Nalewajek. 

“Their efforts to blaze a trail for sustainable milk production are what make our marketing campaigns so effective.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

David Sobey dead at 92


David Sobey, who grew the family grocery business into the second-largest supermarket chain, has died. He was 92.

At the time of Mr. Sobey’s death, the grocery chain had grown to operate over 1,500 stores across Canada earning about $31.5-billion in annual sales and employing 131,000 people, with corporate headquarters in the rural Nova Scotia town where it all began – a legacy of which he was immensely proud, according to his friends and colleagues.

“He’d always shake his head and say, ‘It’s amazing what this company has become,’” said Andrew Walker, vice-president of communication for Empire Company Limited and Sobeys.

His first job was taking phone orders and gathering the groceries for clients of the store in Stellarton, N.S., working alongside his mother.

His grandfather, John William Sobey, started the Sobeys brand in 1907, purchasing livestock from local farmers and delivering meat by horse-drawn wagon to the townspeople of Stellarton. Soon he built a storefront in the heart of the town with broad glass windows that sold meat and other provisions. By 1924 his son Frank was in full partnership, opening other stores throughout the county and eventually the region.

Sobey remained strong and sharp and active until his last day. He lived within walking distance of the Westside Sobeys store, near his home in the town of New Glasgow. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Another price-fixing lawsuit filed

A group of small food distributors has filed a new lawsuit accusing the nation’s four largest beef packers of fixing prices for years.

They said that going back to at least Jan. 1, 2015, Cargill, JBS USA, Tyson Foods, and National Beef Packing Co. used their market power by conspiring to limit the supply of beef sold to purchasers and to inflate prices. They said the prie-fixing continued the end of 2021.

The big four packers account for about 80 per cent of the beef in the U.S.

The lawsuit resembles previous ones that were settled out of court for millions of dollars.

 The new complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, home to ongoing litigation also accusing the nation’s largest chicken processors of colluding to fix prices. 


The lawsuit cites beef plant production data and price fluctuations, as well as testimony from two inside witnesses with knowledge of company agreements to help each other manage output.

Summer storms cost insurers $350 million


The Insurance Board of Canada said summer storms resulted in $350 million in claims in Ontario.

That does not include crop coverage provided by the federal and Ontario governments.

The most expensive of four catastrophies was between August 23 and August 25 when more than 200 mm of rain fell on some communities, including Harrow, Amherstburg, and Kingsville.

The storms also spawned three tornadoes in the region - an EF1 near Cottam, a second in Tecumseh, and an EF-0 in West Windsor.

Insurance companies paid out $110-milllion when the remnants of Hurricane Hilary swept through.

A month earlier, thunderstorms on July 20 and July 21 produced strong wind gusts and spawned two tornadoes near South Buxton and Petrolia. A microburst in Sarnia brought down trees and powerlines.

Another line of supercell thunderstorms a week later toppled trees in Windsor and caused tennis ball-sized hail and flash flooding in Ottawa.

Each of those catastrophes caused $30 million in damage.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said the frequency of flooding and severe storms in Ontario and across Canada is increasing year after year.