Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, recently joined newly hired researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Harrington Research Farm to announce the completion of a $6.8-million upgrade of the world-class facility.
The Government of Canada is commitment to discovery science and innovation, and to reaching its goal of growing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.
The upgrades included $2.97 million for 10 new and renovated laboratories and the purchase of a $1.3-million nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for the Charlottetown Research and Development Centre, and $2.54 million for an expansion of the Harrington Research Farm greenhouse. The spectrometer allows scientists to study farm soil at the molecular level, which will help farmers improve the soil health and productivity of their land.
Three of the five scientists hired by the research centre over the past 18 months occupy new positions that expand the facility's areas of research. The five specialists are a microbial ecologist, an agro-ecosystem modeler and data scientist, a weed specialist, an environmental chemist and a cereals and oilseeds biologist.
"Having farmed on P.E.I. and travelled around the world as Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, I see how science and innovation opens markets and creates new opportunities for our farmers and ranchers. This government is committed to innovation through world-class science and to helping farmers have access to the most current tools and knowledge to continue to grow the best food in the world," said MacAulay.
The farm received a $155,141 repayable contribution from ACOA to help purchase the equipment.
Two pieces of equipment are automated 10-pound potato bagger machines. The other piece of equipment is a master baler that packages 10, five-pound potato poly bags into a larger bag. For the full story, click here.
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Member of Parliament for Delta and Minister of Public Services and Procurement, recently announced a $1.8 million investment with the University of British Columbia to determine carbon sequestration and GHG emissions, and develop beneficial management practices (BMPs) for increasing the efficiency of fertilizer use in blueberry, potato and forage crops.
This project with the University of British Columbia is one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.
"This project will provide new science-based knowledge on net GHG emissions by accurately measuring GHG emissions and developing mitigation technologies for blueberry, potato and forage crops in the Lower Fraser Valley. The research team will use state-of-the-art instrumentation and automated measurement techniques to quantify annual GHG emissions. While the specific research objectives are targeted to fill regionally identified gaps in knowledge, they will be applicable more broadly to similar agricultural production systems across Canada and Global Research Alliance member countries," said Dr. Rickey Yada, Dean, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC.
Nov. 19, 2015, Ottawa – The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) needs producer volunteers to participate in focus groups that examine the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the commodities of apples, crops, honey, mushrooms, potatoes and turf.
These standards will then be further developed into meaningful tools and inform training programs based on what producers indicate are the best ways of doing business. To date, 20 National Occupational Standards have been developed with input from 270 industry stakeholders for the pork, sheep, aquaculture, beef and poultry commodities.
Producers can find dates, times and places for focus groups across Canada at http://www.cahrc-ccrha.ca/node/2251. Participant expenses will be reimbursed.
The research is in support of two projects being conducted by CAHRC: the National Agricultural Occupational Framework and Labour Market Support (NAOF) and the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-food Workforce Action Plan (WAP).
NAOF is an in-depth study of the jobs and skills involved in today’s agricultural workforce with specific focus on 10 commodities. The information gathered through this research is being used to develop training and support tools for producers and workers, as well as a curriculum mapping tool that will assist educators to enhance and develop new curriculum that reflects the modern work done on farms today. In addition, this research is helping to develop a job matching tool that links employers with qualified job seekers and student interns.
The WAP examines issues of industry labour management and shortages. It is led by the national Labour Task Force and functions as a solution-oriented forum made up of industry representatives from across Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sectors. The consultative process has identified two recommendations: one is to increase the supply of agricultural labour (skilled and unskilled workers) and the other to improve the knowledge and skills of workers already in the industry. To date, 65 organizations are confirmed as implementation partners, lending support, credibility and a sense of urgency to addressing labour issues for the industry.
Industry participation is the cornerstone of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council’s research with input, direction and guidance for all activities sought from agriculture and agri-food employers, employees, associations, education, and government at regional, provincial and national levels. Likewise, product development is done with similar consultations to ensure quality, accuracy and relevance of prepared solutions. This requires grass root participation in consultations at all stages.
Nov. 11, 2015, Guelph, Ont. - The Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture (CYSA) Competition named the winners of the 2015 competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Nov. 7.
- Senior champion: David MacTaggart from Lacombe, Alta.
- Senior second place: Simon Greenough from Newport, N.S.
- Senior third place: Kathryn Ringelberg from Troy, Ont.
- Junior champion: Denesh Peramakumar form Concord, Ont.
- Junior second place: Douglas Archer from Mount Pleasant, Ont.
- Junior third place: Priethu Raveendran from Woodbridge, Ont.
This 31st edition of CYSA welcomed 26 competitors aged 11 to 24 from across Canada who offered their insight and solutions regarding the following topics:
- The biggest challenge facing Canadian agriculture today is . . .
- What role should government play in assisting young people entering farm businesses?
- Here's how our changing climate is affecting Canadian agriculture.
- This Canadian has significantly influenced agriculture.
- The one thing modern Canadian farmers must have is . . .
Each year the renowned public speaking competition is held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. The competition is open to youth ages 11 to 24 with a passion for agriculture whether raised on a farm, in the country or in the city. The topics for 2016 will be:
- What is the impact of public opinion on Canadian farmers?
- How would you explain a GMO to a non-farmer?
- What does the next generation of agriculture bring to the table?
- How can we improve the media's perception of Canadian agriculture?
- Old MacDonald had a farm...But what about Mrs. MacDonald?
For more information about CYSA visit www.cysa-joca.ca.
Oct. 15, 2015, Canada – UAVs, UASs, drones – call them what you will, but these aerial vehicles are making news every day – and there is so much more to come.
Yes, there’s a new frontier on the verge of exploding on the commercial scene and drones will be used by a variety of businesses including aerial firefighting, security, agriculture, law enforcement and more.
So, what’s in it for you? How can you capitalize on this emerging trend and what does it mean for your business? How can you utilize UAVs and what are their benefits and limitations? What are the regulatory realities and how will they change in the future? And just exactly what will the future hold?
These are just some of the questions Wings and Helicopters magazines – sister publications to Top Crop Manager – will attempt to answer in an upcoming webinar entitled UAVs – The Value Proposition.
Eric Edwards will explore these topics and offer insightful information on how to capitalize on the UAV trends during the webinar on Nov. 10, 2015, EST. As with the first very successful UAV seminar hosted by Wings and Helicopters, $25 gets you a seat – and a chance to ask – your most pressing questions. Edwards will be digging into the realities and perceptions around UAV utility and economics, in several civil and commercial sectors.
September 17, 2015 - Six entrepreneurial farm couples from across Canada are travelling to Edmonton in November to vie for top recognition as Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) at the organization’s annual national event.
These regional honourees have been chosen from their home regions, and will present highlights of their operations at the national event. Bringing together OYF alumni and the larger agricultural industry, OYF’s event includes a special forum and concludes with a gala banquet to announce Canada’s 2015 national OYF winners.
The day-long OYF event is open to the public and includes an information forum entitled “Working with the ones you love” and will be at the Marriott River Cree Resort & Casino at Enoch, Alberta on the outskirts of Edmonton.
Pre-registration is available at www.oyfcanada.com and includes the forum, lunch, honouree presentations and awards gala. Honourees presenting for the 2015 event include: David and Sara Simmons, Little Rapid, NL; Mike and Amy Cronin, Bluevale, ON; Christian Bilodeau and Annie Sirois, St-Odilon-de-Cranbourne, QC; Mark and Cori Pawluk, Birtle, MB; Jeff and Ebony Prosko, Rose Valley, SK and Patrick and Cherylynn Bos, Ponoka, AB. Two of these regional winners will be chosen at the awards gala as Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015.
Tickets must be purchased to attend the awards gala. Pre-registration is required to attend the OYF event in person – forum/lunch/presentations are $75 per person, awards gala are $100 per person, and forum/lunch/presentations/awards gala are $175 per person.
Ticket prices do not include applicable tax and can be ordered at www.oyfcanada.com. Celebrating 35 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year.
The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
May 27 2015 - The Ontario government has passed the Agriculture Insurance Act, 2014 which will allow more types of agricultural products to be covered by the province's production insurance program.
Production insurance is part of a suite of business risk management programs designed to help farmers manage losses due to events beyond their control, such as weather, pests and disease. While production insurance is currently available for almost 90 commercially grown crops in Ontario, including grains, oilseeds and certain fruits and vegetables, the new legislation will expand eligibility for the production insurance program for more agricultural products.
The new legislation will help agri-food producers better manage risk, as well as encourage greater innovation, profitability and job creation in the agri-food sector. It also aims to help agri-food producers achieve the financial security they need to support business expansion and meet the Premier's challenge to the sector to double its growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by 2020.
The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.
“Our government is pleased to give a broader range of producers the opportunity to access production insurance," says Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "This legislation will enable producers to manage the multitude of risks they face every day. Ontario is a leader in risk management because tools like production insurance give our farmers the protection they need to safeguard their investments, grow their farms and help meet the Premier’s Agri-Food Growth Challenge.”
The province says the Act will also give it more flexibility to work with industry partners to develop potential future production insurance plans for more sectors like apiculture and pork.
Amy Cronin, Chair of Ontario Pork says that pork producers strongly support Bill 40. “Broadening the scope of production insurance beyond crops is an important piece in supporting a positive business environment for the livestock industry in Ontario. Production insurance can be instrumental in providing stability against risks that are beyond the control of pork farmers.”
In 2013, there were more than 14,000 producers insured under Ontario’s Production Insurance program, representing more than five million acres in crop land.
By allowing more types of products to be covered by production insurance, the province says it is fulfilling a commitment made to farmers under the Growing Forward 2 agreement in 2013.
April 28, 2015 - Farmers in Ontario are being offered expanded options to manage their empty seed and pesticide bags this year.
This pilot is part of the agricultural industry's commitment to the responsible management of its products throughout their entire lifecycle and will help determine the feasibility of a permanent program.
"This pilot project will build on the solid agricultural stewardship programming that is already in place in Ontario and provide farmers with more options for managing packaging waste on the farm and contributing to long-term goals of keeping agricultural waste out of landfills," says Barry Friesen, general manager of CleanFARMS.
CleanFARMS will collect, transport and ensure collected bags are safely converted to energy at facilities that have extensive emission controls and meet all necessary provincial and federal approvals. Farmers can contribute to a clean and healthy environment by ensuring that empty seed and pesticide bags end up in the right place.
"The end-of-life stewardship programs that CleanFARMS operates play an important role in our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship," adds Mark Brock, chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.
Funding for this pilot program is provided by CropLife Canada, the Canadian Seed Trade Association, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
May to September
2015 Collection Sites
Collection sites will be located at participating retailers in Ontario. A list of participating retail collection sites can be found at CleanFARMS.ca.
- Empty pesticide bags: multi-walled paper, plastic and aluminum
- Empty seed bags: multi-walled paper and polywoven plastic
- How to return Bags:Obtain free collection bags from select agricultural retailers
- Ensure that your seed or pesticide bags are empty
- Place the empty bags in the collection bag
Return your full, tied bags to a participating retailer. Bags will be accepted free of charge and sent for safe disposal.
CleanFARMS is a not-for-profit industry stewardship organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural waste.
For a list of all recycling programs, visit CleanFARMS.ca.
March 4, 2015 – We all eat, yet many of us give little thought to where our food actually comes from, what is in it, and who produces it. The newly launched Real Dirt on Farming blog (www.RealDirtBlog.ca) aims to connect consumers with farmers and share credible facts on food and farming in Canada.
This site has been developed by the Farm & Food Care Foundation. The national Foundation cultivates appreciation for food and farming in Canada by connecting farm gates to our dinner plates.
Today, less than two per cent of Canadians are farmers – this has led to a huge disconnect between the farm and our dinner plates. The goal of The Real Dirt on Farming blog is to help consumers make informed food choices about the food they’re serving their families.
This blog is based on the popular The Real Dirt on Farming booklet (www.RealDirtonFarming.ca) , now in its third edition. The booklet, published last fall, answers Canadians’ questions about food and farming and tackles hot topics – like pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and GMOs – head on.
Each week, blog posts will tackle issues that matter, both to consumers and to Canadian farmers. Along the way, readers may even be impressed by stories about some of the cool and funky things happening in agriculture today. The blog will provide a forum for anyone involved in Canadian agriculture - real experts on food and farming - to tell their stories. Bloggers will also profile the stories of real Canadian farmers and others that work in food and farming.
Bruce Christie, Chairman of the Farm & Food Care Foundation, said the blog is designed to “sort fact from fiction, and will dish up the ‘Real Dirt’ on what it takes to produce safe food for Canadians.” Are you a farmer-blogger interested in being ‘spotlighted’?
The Farm & Food Care Foundation cultivates appreciation for food and farming in Canada by connecting farm gates to our dinner plates. Farm & Food Care is a coalition of farmers and associated businesses proactively working together with a commitment to provide credible information and strengthen sustainable food and farming for the future.
December 5, 2014 - In a news release issued in early December, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) says it is pleased to see that agriculture is included in the newly released Science and Technology Strategy for Canada. The future success of this large and impactful industry, says the release, is dependent upon a focus on science and innovation. New research is critical to ensuring productivity advances are possible and allows modern agriculture to continue to contribute to the growth of Canada’s economy.
“Agriculture is rooted in science,” says Mark Wales, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council Chair. Producers have achieved record productivity gains and modern agricultural efficiencies that help the environment due to research and innovation. Now that agriculture is included within the Science and Technology Strategy, it is recognized as an Industry Canada priority. This is important for the future of Canadian producers, our agriculture industry, and the future workers we will need for our operations.”
“Agriculture and agri-food is an exciting career choice and innovation is an important part of the agriculture and agri-food industry,” says Portia Macdonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director of the Council. “This recognition within the Science and Technology Strategy highlights the high level of skill required for agriculture and agri-food workers today.”
“To take advantage of the productivity gains through science and innovation, more highly skilled workers will be needed,” says Doug Chorney, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council Vice-Chair. “We have a lot of successes in agriculture and improvement in our modern agriculture production practices is directly connected to technology and research advancements. Access to agriculture labour, however, remains one of the biggest limiting factors to productivity gains for the industry.”
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council conducts labour market research and is responsible for the implementation of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan, a road map for addressing critical labour shortages within the industry. The report states labour shortages are pervasive across all agriculture and agri-food commodities, affecting current operational success and future growth potential.
“Producers and industry from all regions across the agriculture and agri-food value chain are coming together through the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan to collectively address worker shortages in the industry,” says MacDonald-Dewhirst. “We are working together as industry professionals to showcase that this is an exciting time to work within the agriculture and agri-food industry, a place where research and innovation connect to feed the world and build a better Canada.”
OYF National Winners: From left to right: Komie Hossini, Bayer CropScience, Jack Thomson, President Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers, Myron & Jill Krahn, National Winner from Carman, Manitoba, Heidi & Andrew Lawless, National Winner from Kinkora, PEI, Jan Kennema, John Deere Ltd., Darryl Worsley, CIBC.
Dec. 2, 2014 - Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2014 are grain farmers Myron and Jill Krahn of Carman, Man., and potato farmers Andrew and Heidi Lawless of Kinkora, P.E.I. These two farm families were chosen from seven regional farm couples across Canada, at the OYF annual national event held recently in Quebec City, Que. Special guests at the event included Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Quebec Minister of Agriculture Pierre Paradis and UPA President Marcel Groleau.
A strong entrepreneurial drive, together with a passion for family and farming, are common drivers for both farm couples, who are the newest additions to the family of OYF ambassadors for Canadian agriculture. The Krahn's have realized tremendous growth and diversity in the grain, seed production and seed retail outlet operation they took over from the last generation about 10 years ago. The Lawless's, together with family, operate a large potato operation that includes the first joint venture potato operation on Prince Edward Island.
"Every year, our organization recognizes and welcomes more innovation and more passion with farm families who are helping shape the dynamic future of Canada's agri-food sector," says OYF President Jack Thomson. "The Krahn's and Lawless's are carrying on family operations, taking their sectors to new levels and helping raise the next generation who are experiencing the values this industry is built on. OYF is so proud to showcase their accomplishments."
Myron and Jill Krahn (left) farm for one simple reason – they love it. After they both completed agriculture degrees from the University of Manitoba, they took over the farm from Myron's parents in 2003. Krahn Agri Farms Ltd. of Carman, Man., has grown into a 3,000-acre grain farm with an independent seed retail arm and new on-site seed treating system. Custom seeding, harvesting and grain drying have been added to round out the diversified farm operation. Taking over the family farm required significant changes to maintain profitability. Myron and Jill have seen their family farm thrive through hard work, determination and dedication. They share their passion and work ethic with their two daughters, Cadence and Keira, and an appreciation for where their food comes from.
Farming has been part of Andrew and Heidi Lawless' family (right) for the past four generations. In 2007, Andrew and Heidi formed a partnership with Andrew's parents, and today, the partnership farms as Hilltop Produce Ltd. With a four million pound potato storage facility and contracts for an increase to 12 million pounds, they extended their operation to include 400 acres of cereal grains. Most recently, Andrew initiated R&L Farms – a joint venture potato farm operated together with neighbouring potato farmers. Through every part of their operation, Andrew and Heidi value family, a respect for the land, best practices and a strong work ethic. And they are sharing those values with their growing family, Vance, Max and Maeve.
Myron and Jill Krahn from Manitoba, and Andrew and Heidi Lawless from Prince Edward Island were chosen from the seven 2014 regional finalists – that included the following honourees from the other five regions – Bruno Soucy and Hélène St-Pierre (Quebec region), Jason and Amanda O'Connell (Ontario region), Aaron and Adrienne Ivey (Saskatchewan region), Richard and Nicole Brousseau (Alberta region), and Lydia Ryall (British Columbia, Yukon region).
Celebrating 34 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
July 23, 2014, Guelph, Ont. – The Advanced Farm Management Program (AFMP) for Ontario farm owners and managers begins late November at five locations across the province.
The program, now in its third year, is offered by the Agricultural Management Institute (AMI) in partnership with the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) and Synthesis Agri-Food Network.
This year, participants can attend the program in Ridgetown, London, Orangeville, Ancaster or Winchester.
The program consists of five intensive one-day training sessions over a four-month period. For the 2014/15 class, the sessions are scheduled to run from November to February.
Registration is now open. Farmers are urged to register early to secure a position at their preferred location. The deadline to apply is Oct. 31, 2014. Registrations received before Sept. 15 are eligible for a $150 discount. AFMP tuition is $1,950 per person and farmers may be eligible for a cost share rebate of 50 per cent of the tuition through the Growing Forward 2 Capacity Building program. Full payment of tuition is required by Oct. 31, 2014. Visit www.ontariosoilcrop.org for more details.
April 11, 2014 - Glenn and Deb Harrison, who run a broiler chicken operation outside of Uxbridge, Ont., are pleased to talk about how recent changes to the lighting used in their barns has resulted in many benefits apart from energy savings alone. Last year, the couple participated the (now closed) cost-share program called Farming Power, which provided farm businesses with funding to improve on-farm energy efficiency in the Greenbelt.
Before applying to the program Glenn took his time and did his research carefully to find the bulbs with the best fit for his two barns. He tested about fifteen different types of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps, and states that there were four reasons he went to LED rather than compact fluorescent lamps.
First and foremost, he says, was the electricity savings. The LED lamps are expected to save approximately 119,246 kWh or $19,000 per year at $0.16/kWh. Apart from the energy savings and economic benefit, the LED lamps last longer than fluorescent lamps: 15,000 hours for a compact fluorescent versus 25,000 for LED lamps. "Changing the lamps is just one less job I will have to do," he adds.
In addition, Glenn points out that the LED bulb is self-contained, meaning he will not have to remove them when he washes down the barn, making cleaning easier. And, while compact florescent lamps lose their brightness over time, the new LED lamps do not.
"When I was considering making the switch to LED lamps the benefits were just too obvious," he remarks. "So I jumped in and made the plunge."
Since transitioning to broiler chickens in 2002, Glenn and Deb have been looking for ways to optimize production and their bottom line. They have installed solar walls on both barns to pre-heat the incoming fresh air and, since lighting is one of the biggest energy users of all, he and Deb see this Farming Power project as a very bright idea.
Glenn reflects how he found applying for the Farming Power program through the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association to be straightforward and simple. As stated previously, his electrician was involved in the application process to verify the amount of energy savings the new lamps would provide. The pair is quite satisfied with the results as well and sees the benefits the lights will have for the farm's bottom line. Knowing Glenn, Deb smiles when she says that she expects he will continue to explore and research other energy saving projects in the future.
Overall, the lighting project implemented by the Harrisons will result in an expected 91 per cent reduction in energy consumption of on-farm lighting, the highest amount of energy savings of all the projects completed under the Farming Power program. The Greenbelt Foundation is pleased to present the Harrison's with a $2,000 prize to applaud them for their efforts as one of the top energy saving farms within the program.
"Greenbelt farmers, like the Harrisons, are on the cutting edge when it comes to innovations that help protect the environment and help grow their business," said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "By partnering with the OSCIA, we are providing the solution to keeping our environment healthy, while also supporting substantial, long-term economic benefits for farmers."
The Farming Power program provided cost-share opportunities for farm businesses in the Greenbelt to implement select Best Management Practices focused on lighting, refrigeration, cooling and heating upgrades to increase energy efficiency within agricultural operations. The program was funded by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and delivered though the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association in the 2013 cropping season.
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