Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Tail biting increases with low-protein hog diets

Tail biting increases if hogs are on a low-protein ration, reports veterinarian Hannah Jansen of Southwest Ontario Veterinary Services.

She outlines her work and Netherlands research on a posting on the Swineweb internet site.

Pigs that are fed low protein diets may spend increased amounts of time investigating their environment and foraging for food in an effort to find what they are lacking, she said. 

On the other hand, lowering protein is associated with reduced rates of diarrhea among newly-weaned hogs.

When environmental enrichment is very poor the pigs may increasingly redirect their behaviours towards pen mates. If the act of “nibbling” on a penmate should happen to produce some blood the pigs will become very interested in the blood since it can be an easy source of amino acids and other nutrients that are missing from the diet, Jansen wrote.

They found that:

Hogs on a low-protein diet had a lower feed intake, growth, and gain-to-feed ratio, and were more active than hogs on a normal ration or those on a low-protein diet supplemented with amino acids.

Those on the low-protein diet interacted most often with enrichment materials, such as hanging ropes.

Low-protein pigs showed more tail biting.

 Adding amino acids and extra toys reduced tail biting in the starter phase. but did not help in grower or finisher phases.

Dr, Jansen said this study done in the Netherlands confirms previous findings that pigs that are fed low crude protein rations can be at greater risk of tail biting behaviour.





Starbucks, Lactanet, FCC, DFC join on sustainability

 Starbucks coffee chain, Lactanet dairy services company, Farm Credit Canada and Dairy Farmers of Canada have joined forces on dairy-industry sustainability projects. 

Starbucks has committed $500,000 to support dairy sustainability-focused projects over the course of this year, rewarding the continued efforts of Canadian dairy farmers on their path to net zero.

The partnership includes three projects.


The first is already underway for 2024 in collaboration with Farm Credit Canada and Lactanet for FCC’s Dairy Sustainability Incentive Program. 

This program rewards farmers who are successfully adopting environmental best management practices and encourages continued sustainable farming by granting annual incentives of up to $2,000 to FCC customers who meet select criteria. 

As part of its partnership with DFC and overall investment for the year, Starbucks will provide additional funding to the FCC program in two new categories, Top Achieving and Most Improved, further recognizing the sustainability successes of Canadian dairy farmers.


Monday, April 29, 2024

Smithfield, Seaboard settle for price-fixing pork


Smithfield Foods and Seaboard Foods have settled with pork buyers for an undisclosed amount of money.

And in a separate deal they settled with supermarket chain Kroger, also for an undisclosed amount.

They are accused of rigging the pork market and prices between January, 2009, and until at least 2018.

In late 2022, Minnesota District Court Judge John Tunheim ruled to consolidate 27 cases involving 146 parties. The pork processors involved in the lawsuit control more than 80 per cent of the wholesale pork market.

Yoplait business rumoured for sale


There are rumours that General Mills has hired J.P. Morgan Chase to find a buyer for its Yoplait yogourt business in Canada and the United States.

It earlier sold its European business to Sodiaal.

General Mills is rumoured to be asking $2 billion for Yoplait.

General Mills and JPMorgan have declined to comment.

Shares of General Mills have fallen about 19 per cent over the past year to $71.04 on Friday, valuing the company at about $40 billion US.

Yoplait was started by a group of French dairy farmers in 1964 and struck a deal with General Mills in 1977.

In 2011, General Mills acquired a 51 per cent per cent stake worth $1.2 billion in Yoplait from private equity firm PAI Partners and French dairy cooperative Sodiaal. Sodiaal retained the remaining stake.

In 2021, General Mills sold the European operations of Yoplait to Sodiaal. At the time, the company said its U.S. and Canada yogurt operations generated a combined $1.4 billion in net sales for fiscal 2020.

Reuters news agency reports that General Mills sees the remaining yogurt assets as non-core in its current strategy as it faces tough competition from market leaders Chobani and Danone’s Dannon brand.

Large Listeria recall in B.C.


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is over-seeing a fast-expanding recall of Asian-market foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes food-poisoning bacteria in British Columbia.

Over the weekend the CFIA added 11 products to the recall list bearing Kingwuu brand and T&T Kitchen brand names. T&T is a large Asian-market supermarket chain owned by Loblaws.

The recalled items are meat and vegetable products including spicy duck ,cold beef and offal and cold pork head.

The recall was triggered by the maker, Jue Wei Foods (Canada); the CFIA said there have been no reports of consumer illness linked to the products

Batista brothers back on JBS board


Wesley and Joesley Batista were elected to two-year terms on the board of directors for JBS S.A. of Brazil, the world’s largest meat-packing empire, on Friday.

They were hit with a fine of $2.1 billion in 2017 for bribing hundreds of politicians and civil servants to obtain loans that enabled them to buy major meat-packing companies, including in the United States and Canada.

The Batistas were also elected to the board of Pilgrim’s Pride In February, one of the largest meat-packing companies in the United States.

In January, a supreme court justice in Brazil suspended the $2.1 billion fine imposed on J&F Investimentos, Brazil's largest business group with ownership stakes in JBS. The Batista brothers are controlling shareholders of J&F.

J&F initially agreed to pay the fine in 2017 as part of a leniency agreement related to its involvement in corruption scandals. The Batista brothers confessed to operating a political bribery ring in a plea bargain deal.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Avian flu in cattle spreads



Colorado has been added to the states where dairy cattle have been found infected with highly-pathogenic avian influenza that has claimed millions of farmed chickens and turkeys in the United States and Canada.

And it may be far more widespread among cattle.

One in five commercial milk samples tested in a nationwide survey contained particles of the H5N1 virus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said late on Thursday. The agency said there is no reason to believe the virus found in milk poses a risk to human health.

“This says this virus has largely saturated dairy cattle throughout the country,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota.

Many infectious disease experts and government officials have said they believe the pasteurization process will inactivate the virus, also known as avian influenza. However, additional testing is needed to confirm that there is no infectious virus in the milk, the FDA said.

“I’m not worried about the milk itself,” said Samuel Alcaine, associate professor, of food science at Cornell University. “It does indicate that the virus is more widespread among dairies than we had previously thought.”

Osterholm said the developments suggest the U.S. should be doing much more sampling, in both dairy and beef cattle, as well as pigs, which are a frequent mixing vessel for flu viruses that can be transmitted to people.

So far there have been no reports of the virus in Canadian cattle, but Canadian officials have not said if milk samples are being tested.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Ban coming on horse transport

The House of Commons Agriculture Committee has passed a private member’s bill that would ban air transport of horses.

It is clearly intended to end horses being sent to Japan for slaughter and bows to a vigorous lobby by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition which has been applying for years for Access-to-Information documents from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency about horses destined for transport to Japan.

It says six horses died in 2012 and three in 2011, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency testified that only five of 47,000 horses air-lifted to Japan have died in the last 10 years.

Dr. Trevor Lawson, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, testified that the organization does not support the bill which was introduced by Tim Louis, Libertal MP for Kitchener-Conmestoga.

The animals have a good quality of life on their farms of origin, Lawson said.

“Regarding the current proposed bill, Bill C-355, the CVMA is cognizant of and is concerned that the potential for disruptions to the current supply of Canadian horses for this market could lead to unintended negative consequences. These includes the significantly decreased value of the horses in the supply chain and the concomitant potential decrease in incentivized high welfare standards,” he said. 

“As well, animal welfare would be at risk due to the current lack of slaughter capacity to process these horses and the resultant uncertain final disposition of these animals.”

Conservative agriculture critic John Barlow sought to regulate, rather than ban, air transport of horses.He also sought an investigation into harassment of potential witnesses.

He said “we had a number of witnesses who eventually decided not to appear at committee because of the intimidation and the reaction they were getting from phone calls…. A couple of witnesses had to call the RCMP on multiple occasions as a result of protests or intimidation at their farms or at their businesses,” he said.

The bill will now go to the House of Commons for third reading and, if approved, to the Senate.

There has also been a well-organized lobby against horse slaughter in the United States. One tactic was to deny funding for inspectors at horse-slaughter plants, which effectively ended almost all horse slaughter there.

Many shipped their horses to slaughter plants in Alberta and Quebec which, in turn developed export markets in countries where horse meat is a common commodity.

The U.S. ban led to complaints by native bands in New Mexico which said their pastures were being ruined by over-population.

This is an example of what happens when determined people who have no skin in the game can destroy long-accepted and well-regulated normal agriculture practices and industries.

Worry, but don’t panic, over bird flu in cattle



‘We should be worried, but not panicked,’ said dairy specialist professor Phillip Jardon about bird flu in cows.

He is on the faculty of Iowa State University’s Veterinary Extension service.

He said it does not seem to be highly pathogenic in dairy cows, so far.

“It certainly makes them sick for a few days and they go down in production, but it doesn’t kill them, and they seem to recover fairly well from it,” Jardon said.

Iowa State University pathologist Drew Magstadt suggested testing the milk for bird flu, which showed the disease being shed in high amounts through the milk.

Although there is evidence of cow-to-cow transmission, it still doesn’t explain all the ways the disease has been spreading, they said.

“We should be worried, but not panicked,” said Jardon. “Then I think there’s also some evidence that this might be spreading from cows to some of the birds, whether it’s because of the mutation or whether it’s because of, just proximity. So I think we need to be careful of that, too. 

And try our best to keep it from coming into Iowa.”

The federal agriculture department recommends minimizing the movement of cattle because there is evidence that the virus has spread between herds. 

They also suggest minimizing access of wildlife, especially migratory wildfowl and other birds, to cattle and feed.

It is now mandatory to test all cattle crossing state lines for the virus.

The World Health Organization is advising the public to be sure their milk has been pasteurized.





Vitalus milk processor expands again


Vitalus Nutrition said it will soon start construction of a 143,000-square-foot addition to its milk-processing plant at Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The same plant was expanded two years ago. It processes milk into ingredients such as powders.

The province said it is supporting the project with $25 million and the federal government gave Vitalus $5 million in February from its Supply Management Processing Investment Fund which compensates the industry for facing increased competition from imports allowed under trade agreements with the United States, Europe and the Pacific Partnership.

The addition will increase the plant’s processing capacity by 50 per cent and will cut into butter sales from Eastern Canada, the provincial government said.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

David Hunt named chief grain commissioner


David Hunt, a former deputy minister of agriculture in Manitoba has been chosen chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission.

He will take over from Dave Chorney who will retire April 30.

Hunt has been appointed to a four-year term.

Hunt recently worked at Environment and Climate Change Canada and helped to implement the Protected Areas Initiative for Manitoba, which builds a network of protected and conserved areas that contain biological diversity.

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said he has “no doubt that Mr. Hunt’s leadership experience and commitment to a competitive, innovative, and resilient agriculture sector will ensure Canada continues to be recognized as a leading producer, processor, and exporter of high-quality grain.”

Cattle need avian flu test


The United States Department of Agriculture has introduced a new regulation requiring a test for avian influenza on all cattle crossing state lines.

It comes after dozens of dairy cattle have been identified as infected with the virus that was previously believed to be almost exclusively spreading among birds, and in particular from migrating birds to farmed chickens and turkeys.

The government said there have been more than 1,100 outbreaks of highly-pathogenic avian influenza on poultry farms.

Under the Federal Order, dairy cattle must receive a negative test for Influenza A virus at approved laboratories before interstate movement. Positive test results must be reported to USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) by laboratories and state veterinarians.

Nothing similar is in place in Canada, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has asked veterinarians to be on the lookout for disease.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Demand for foreign workers increasing


Despite the federal government’s announced intention to clamp down on temporary foreign workers, employers ramped up their requests to 81,000 in the last three months of last year. More than half of the applications were for temporary farm workers.

Last year employers were approved to bring in about 240,000 temporary foreign workers. That was 7.5 per cent more than 2018, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic cramped all employment.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has said that Canadian companies have become “addicted” to temporary foreign labour.

“Let me be clear, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is a last resort,” Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault said at a news conference last month. “Employers should not use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program as a means to avoid offering competitive wages to Canadians.”

The federal government broadened access to temporary foreign workers in April, 2022, through a mix of temporary and permanent measures aimed at helping employers who were struggling to find new hires. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian unemployment rate hit a low of 4.8 per cent in the summer of 2022 – leading to stiff competition to fill vacancies.

Meat packers were among employers that the federal government allowed 25 per cent of job vacancies to be filled with temporary foreign workers, up from the previous cap of 10 per cent.

Last month, Ottawa announced several changes to the program, including that a few industries, such as accommodation and food services, would move down to the 20 per cent cap, effective May 1.

“I think the abuses that we see in the program would be quickly solved if we had open work permits,” said Catherine Connelly, a professor at McMaster University and the author of Enduring Work: Experiences with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. 

“Because the workers who experience mistreatment, it starts out small enough. … It would be really nice if they could quit and work somewhere else before something terrible happens to them,” she said.

Metro profits decline

Metro Inc. reports its profits declined by 14.5 per cent for the second quarter and sales increased by only 2.2 per cent, which is less than food inflation tracked by Statistics Canada and less than Metro’s own measure of three per cent.

The company took a $20.8 million charge for its decision to drop Air Miles and rely on its own MOI loyalty program. Without that charge, the decline in profits was 8.4 per cent.

Another bite into profits was investment in an automated facility for fresh food in Toronto and an automated distribution center for fresh and frozen products at Terrebonne, Que.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Feds challenge approve Bunge-Viterra merger


The federal government’s Competition Bureau is withholding approval of an $8.2-billion merger between Viterra and Bunge.

But the companies believe they can gain approval because they say the concerns focus on ”localized concerns relating to the purchase of canola in the Nipawin, Saskatchewan and Altona, Manitoba areas, and related to canola oil sales to a small segment of customers in Eastern Canada.

Viterra is a merger among the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba wheat pools and it bought more grain-handling businesses in the United States. Bunge is one of the world’s largest grain-trading companies and is also a major oilseed crushing business.

The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board owns 40 per cent of Viterra and British Columbia Investment Management Corp. is the other major owner.

Glencore paid $6.2 billion to buy Viterra in 2012 and took the Viterra name in 2020, then sold to the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Fun and BCI.

The Competition Bureau report goes to the federal transport minister who is charged with reviewing the merger.

Avian flu spreads cow-to-cow

The United States Department of Agriculture said it has evidence that avian influenza can spread from cow to cow.

Yet no officials have called for quarantines on herds where the infection has been identified in dairy cattle.

It has been identified in eight states and in one person.

Until recently it was believed the only threat to agriculture was the spread of highly-pathogenic avian influenza from migrating birds to domestic chickens and turkeys and in a few notable cases to mink.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it still does not know exactly how the virus is being moved around among cattle.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has asked veterinarians to be on the lookout for cases in cattle.

“Those of us that have worked with influenza for a long time were fairly quickly saying, ‘Yep it moves cow to cow,'” said Jim Lowe, an associate dean at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. “You can’t explain the epidemiology any other way.”

The U.S.D.A . said its investigation into cow infections “includes some cases where the virus spread was associated with cattle movements between herds.” There is also evidence the virus spread from dairy cattle premises “back into nearby poultry premises through an unknown route,” the department said.

The U.S.D.A. said cows shed the virus in milk at high concentrations, so anything that comes in contact with unpasteurized milk may spread the disease. Respiratory transmission is not considered a primary way for the virus to spread in cattle, the department said.

The USDA said it expects that minimizing cattle movement and testing those that must be shipped, along with safety and cleaning practices on farms, should avoid the need for regulatory restrictions.

Officials reported last month that bird flu primarily affected older cows, though additional data now indicates younger cattle have been affected, the U.S.D.A. said.

The World Health Organization has advised consumers that milk should be pasteurized.

Monday, April 22, 2024


The two Green Party members made a motion in the Ontario legislature to protect about 770 acres of farmland in Wilmot Township that the Waterloo Regional Government is trying to buy for industrial development.

“From the beginning, the Wilmot land assembly process has lacked transparency and left farmers in the dark,” said Green Party leader Mike Schreiner of Guelph.

“Now, they are at risk of losing their lands, livelihoods and businesses – it’s just not right.”

Kitchener Green Party member Aislinn Clancy said “we know this problem is bigger than 770 acres. The Ford government is determined to use every chance it has to impose expensive sprawl onto communities who have been clear that they don’t want it.”

“Greens will continue working across party lines to fight back against forced boundary expansions and protect prime farmland – in Wilmot, and all across the province – for generations to come,” said a news release from the party.

A vigorous lobbying campaign has been launched and funded by local residents who have criticized the purchase efforts and expropriation threats and the lack of information from municipal politicians and staff who have signed non-disclosure agreements.

The land in question is south of Highway 7&8 and east of New Hamburg.

Some of the land is an abandoned gravel pit. It's a tempest in a teapot because no matter where the Waterloo Region seeks industrial land, it's going to involved fields that are farmed.

World Health urges pasteurization


The World Health Organization has voiced concerns about high levels of avian influenza virus in milk of infected cattle in the United States and India and is cautioning the public to only consume milk and dairy products that have been pasteurized.

So far there have been no reports of Canadian dairy cattle being infected, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has asked veterinarians to watch for outbreaks. It took a while for the United States to realize that a mystery disease affecting dairy cattle was avian influenza.

In India, cows have apparently been infected by ducks stricken by the virus. Health officials there have stepped up their lab facilities and testing.

In the United States, the first cows detected with the disease were in Texas where the only person infected so far worked on a farm. It has since been detected in dairy cows in several states.


Olymel closing poultry plant


Olymel will close its poultry processing plant at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec,  on July 19.

It employs 135 workers, 30 of them temporary foreign workers and another 23 non-regulated.

The plant has been working at 40 per cent of capacity, the company said.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Weather patterns set to shift

Meteorologists are predicting that weather patterns will change from El Niño to La Niña sometime between July and September, bringing a return to colder winters/

While El Niño is characterized by warm, above-average sea-surface temperatures, La Niña is a climate pattern that tends to occur soon after El Niño and brings on opposite, cold effects.

Weather events that cause changes in sea temperatures can have widespread impacts, which is why meteorologists closely monitor them. 

In the case of La Niña, greater precipitation and winds may lead to rain storms, or even hurricanes.

La Niñas tend to cause more agricultural and drought damage to the United States than El Niños and neutral conditions, according to a 1999 study. That study found that La Niñas in general cause $2.2 billion to $6.5 billion in damage to U.S. agriculture.

In Canada, La Niña tends to be linked to winter weather that includes above average precipitation in British Columbia, colder-than-normal temperatures in the Prairies and more rain and snow than average in Ontario and Quebec, said Environment Canada the last cycle around.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pork board issues PDCoV alert


The Ontario Pork marketing board has issued an alert to members to take stiffer biosecurity precautions because the risk of Porcine Deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PED) infections has increased. 

It is also warning that Senacavirus A has been identified at a private assembly yard and at a related sow barn and nursery barn in Quebec and virus elimination plans are underway. 

In an advisory to members, the board said “active cases of PDCOV and PED have risen sharply in Ontario. All producers and their business partners visiting the farm are strongly encouraged to increase biosecurity vigilance, particularly as we approach planting season where risk of transmission through manure movement is increased.

Report all potential cases to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

It is also reminding transporters of proper disease prevention protocols.

Pigs need a clean ride, it said.

Genetic stock is the highest priority, weanling and feeder pigs are the next highest priority. 

The barns you load out from must be protected and the barns receiving these pigs need them to come in clean.

Dirty places are DIRTY places. Cull assembly yards are the highest risk to any trailer. All processing plants are also high risk. Any shavings or manure present at the end of a loading chute at any location should be assumed to carry disease. 

Know what pigs were on your trailer. If you have been hauling shedding pigs (e.g. pigs from known outbreak herds or cull pigs from assembly yards), these trailers are covered with infectious virus. These trailers must have a very detailed wash, disinfect and dry.

Transportation also includes the tractor. Detailing the power unit is very important. Cases have been found where the trailer was clean and the virus came from a contaminated power unit. 

Wash your wash bay. If contaminated trailers are washed, the result is often a contaminated wash bay. You can reduce contamination of your wash bay by scraping known positive trailers offsite at a designated spot, then soaking the trailer prior to washing with a disinfectant such as Synergize or Prevail.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Food inflation remains high


The price of food purchased from stores cost about three per cent more this March than a year ago, slightly higher than the overall rate of inflation which rose by 2.9 per cent, Statistics Canada reported.

The overall inflation rate inched up from 2.8 per cent in February because gasoline and housing costs increased.

Statistics Canada also reported percentage changes from a year earlier in December, showing prices paid farmers, food processors and for transportation were all down, but supermarkets hiked their markups by seven per cent.

Dog is infected with HPAI


A dog in Oshawa was infected with highly-pathogenic avian influenza, reports the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The dog had been chewing on an infected dead goose.

France uses vaccine against avian flu


France has vaccinated more than 26 million farmed ducks as its strategy to defeat highly-pathogenic avian influenza that claimed about 10 million birds. About 21 million have received a second dose.

Canada and the United States are relying on euthanizing flocks that experience an outbreak and imposing quarantine zones designed to keep the virus from spreading. The virus has so far claimed 11 million birds in Canada, most as result of proactive culling.

France said its strategy is showing signs of success. 

France reported 315 HPAI outbreaks in the 2022-2023 season, but confirmed just 10 cases since last fall, just before the vaccination program for commercial ducks launched in October.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Swierenga wins award

Henry Swierenga is this year’s winner of the Farm & Food Care Ontario Champion Award. 

left to right:  Past chair and board member Bruce Christie presents the 2024 Food & Farming Champion Award to winner Henry Swierenga, alongside Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson and board chairman Crispin Colvin. 

The award was established in 1999 to recognize an individual or group’s significant commitment to public outreach and support for Ontario’s farming community.

Swierenga, who was nominated by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and his local Niagara Federation of Agriculture, has been a stalwart volunteer with both federations, particularly working with youth including production of two award-winning children’s agriculture videos.

He participated in Breakfast on the Farm, Lincoln County Fair and Niagara Agriculture Days.

Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson said “Henry shines a light on how Ontario’s agriculture and food industry continues to grow, meeting both domestic and global market demand, while promoting the very best of rural communities.”

Former colleague Joanne Fuller said, “We are so lucky to have Henry’s passion, knowledge and experience still advocating for Ontario farmers, which makes him a perfect recipient for the Champion award.”



Friday, April 12, 2024

Province seeks power to over-rule conservation authorities


The Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry is seeking power to over-rule conservation authority decisions on development permits.

The changes are posted on the government’s regulations website.

While it begins by saying the minister can over-rule a decision to grant a permit, it goes on to say the minister is required to satisfy the same criteria concerning natural hazards and public safety, such as the risk of flooding.

But in the final paragraph it would grant the minister unlimited power to make decisions on permit applications.

It says “The Minister may refuse the permit or issue a permit subject to such conditions as the Minister determines are appropriate.”

Avian flu hits cows in N. Carolina and S.Dakota


The same strain of highly-pathogenic avian influenza that has resulted in culling of millions of chickens has now infected dairy cattle in two more states – South Dakota and North Carolina.

That expands from earlier reports in dairy cattle from six states.

They are one cow in Idaho, three in Kansas, two in Michigan, four in New Mexico, one in Ohio and nine in Texas.

French reaction to Canadian trade mixed


France’s politicians are sending mixed messages about whether they want to continue the free trade deal with Canada.

A large majority of senators recently voted against ratifying the deal in response to farmer protests against liberal trade policies.

But on Thursday France’s prime minister Gabriel Attal said in Ottawa “CETA is a win-win deal” and will continue to apply despite political disagreements in France.

Attal said the deal has been particularly advantageous for French farmers.

Canadian beef producers are frustrated that import quotas can’t be filled because non-tariff trade barriers that defy science remain in place.

Restaurant prices higher than grocers’


Restaurant prices have increased more than supermarket prices, reports the United States Bureau of Labour.

That has been the case for 15 months it said and now prices are 4.2 per cent higher than a year ago compared with a 1.2 per cent increase for food eaten at home in the United States.

Prices at full-service restaurants were up by 3.2 per cent, but at limited-service outlets, such as the fast-food chains, by five per cent.

The higher prices have also reduced sales.

Yes, but there are no villains to compare with Loblaws' arrogance. And it still won't sign on to the code of practice, and I think it's all a matter of retaining its power to bully suppliers.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

OMAFRA seeks updates to Line Fences rules


The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs wants to clean up the Line Fences Act and has posted notice of its intentions on the governments regulatory notice website.

The notice said the changes would:

- Allow occupants to receive a notice of an upcoming fence viewing and remove the requirement that an occupant is liable if the occupant does not inform the owner of a notice given under the Act. 

• Remove the requirement that a referee may order a sum of money to be paid by the appellant.

• Mirror language and align the legislation with the Municipal Act, 2001, and the City of Toronto Act. 

• Allow notices to be sent electronically or by registered mail. 

• Allow the Minister (of Agriculture) to appoint referees and deputy referees rather than the Legislative Government in Council (cabinet).

• Remove the requirement for an appeals division and remove the requirement that the cabinet may establish a regulation to prescribe an appeals division. 

• Remove the requirement for municipalities to provide stenographic services during appeals hearings. 

• Remove the requirement that the commencement date of a fence must be included in an award.

The ministry said these proposed changes will: 

Allow it to reduce some burdens. 

Modernize the act by aligning with the government's mandate of Building a Digital Ontario and Red Tape Reduction. 

Update outdated references and modernize outdated language. 


As background, OMAFRA said currently municipalities that have not opted out from the Line Fences Act are required to send notices to homeowners through registered mail if a homeowner in a given municipality requests a fence viewing. 

OMAFRA said removing the requirement that notices need to be sent by registered mail is anticipated to yield $1,500 in direct compliance cost savings over a 10-year period. 

If a homeowner in a given municipality wishes to appeal the referee's decision, a hearing is required for which municipalities, instead of OMAFRA, are required to provide stenographic services. This would save it $1,000 over 10 years.

What an amazing amount of savings!

Apple Growers board seeks changes


The Ontario Apple Growers has asked for changes to expand who can be elected to its board and to merge advisory committees for apples and juices.

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission has posted notice of the intended changes on the Ontario government’s regulatory notice website.

The changes are:

o the definition of a producer that removes the current requirement for a producer to be a beneficial owner of property on which apple trees are growing; 

o permit producers to designate individuals to vote or be elected or appointed as a board member on their behalf; 

o introduce a limit to the number of years a producer could serve as a member of the board before having a break in service; and
o remove the term limits for chairs of the board.

o replace the Fresh Apple Advisory Committee and the Juice Apple Advisory Committee with one Apple Advisory committee that would cover fresh, juice and processing apples;

o remove the requirement that the advisory committee meet annually; and 

o include provisions for replacing a committee member unable to act in their role. 

The commission said that if the changes are approved it would expand the eligibility of who could be a member of the Ontario Apple Growers and in turn, potentially bring in new perspectives around the board table on how the apple sector grows and evolves moving forward.