Business/Policy
August 18, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia – The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working under the AgriRecovery disaster framework to determine the type of assistance that may be required by British Columbia’s agriculture sector to recover from the impact of wildfires.

The announcement was made following the first meeting between Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

"The AgriRecovery response will help B.C. ranchers and farmers recover from their losses, and return to their land and their livelihoods. Our governments are working with producers, local officials and stakeholders, and the results and spirit of resilience is collective and clear, we will work together to respond to this emergency until the job is done," Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture said. 

Government officials are working together to quickly assess the extraordinary costs farmers are incurring and what additional assistance may be required to recover and return to production following the wildfires.

The types of costs under consideration include:
  • Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety.
  • Feed, shelter and transportation costs.
  • Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire.
"Our Government stands with producers in British Columbia who are facing challenges and hardships because of these wildfires. Together, with our provincial counterparts, we will work closely with affected producers to assess the full scope of their needs and help them get back in business as quickly as possible," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said.
Published in Farm Business
August 17, 2016, Ottawa, Ont. - The Government of Canada is listening to Canadians from across the country and from all sectors and backgrounds about trade. This includes conversations with the provinces and territories, industry, unions, civil society, think tanks, academics, Indigenous peoples, women, youth and the general public.

We recognize that trade policies need to respond and contribute meaningfully to Canadians’ economic, social, and environmental priorities. This is a key element of the Progressive Trade Agenda, which supports the Canadian middle class and those working hard to join it.

NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle class job creation in Canada and across North America. As we prepare for discussions with the United States and Mexico on the renegotiation of NAFTA, we are seeking your views. Are there areas of the agreement that could be clarified? Are there parts that should be updated? Are there any new sections that should be part of a modernized agreement?

Any changes to NAFTA would need to support our goals of providing stable, rewarding, and well-paying jobs for Canadians and helping grow our middle class.

Submit your views on NAFTA here: http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/consultations/nafta-alena/form-formulaire.aspx?lang=eng
Published in Trade
August 16, 2017, United Kingdom - The UK should not accept imports of chlorinated chickens as part of any future trade deal with the U.S., Michael Gove has said.

The environment secretary told the BBC that the UK would not "compromise" on or "dilute" its animal welfare standards in the interests of trade.

The EU currently bans chlorine-washed chickens on welfare grounds.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has questioned this but downplayed the potential for UK-US disagreement.

It will be up to the UK to decide whether to retain the ban once it leaves the EU in March 2019.

Labour said the government's "casual and inconsistent" approach risked undermining British farmers.

On a visit to Washington, Fox said chlorinated chicken was just one detail in one sector that would only be addressed at the end of discussions about a free trade deal - which are likely to be years away.

He has suggested there are no food safety issues regarding chlorine-washed chickens, a view shared by many UK experts. READ MORE
Published in Trade
August 16, 2017, Alberta - Public trust is eroding in Canada, and farmers — along with others in the value chain — need to fight back, says the head of a new ag organization aimed at winning back confused consumers.

“The whole industry needs to know a whole bunch more about consumers,” said Kim McConnell, an Okotoks-based marketing expert and new chair of the The Centre for Food Integrity. “That’s what the primary focus of The Centre for Food Integrity is.”

The centre, based in Guelph, Ont., is holding its first “public trust summit” in Calgary from Sept. 18-20. The conference is designed to show members of the agricultural industry how to earn the trust of consumers. READ MORE
Published in Consumer Issues
Keith Robbins grew up on a farm just north of London, Ont. There were no feathers in the mix. Instead, his family raised cattle, pigs, some sheep and grew grains. But today he heads up one of the country’s most important poultry organizations.

Four years ago, Robbins became executive director of the Poultry Industry Council (PIC). He assumed the role after two decades in communications positions with Ontario Pork. “The only commonality was that they’re both monogastrics,” Robbins says in comparing the two industries.

The Centralia College grad, who holds an agricultural business management diploma, had to be a quick study, as he was tasked with leading PIC through a major transition.

As background, the organization was founded in 1997 when the Ontario Poultry Council and the Poultry Industry Centre merged. The move brought both groups’ responsibilities – education extension, event co-ordination, and research administration and co-ordination – together under the newly created PIC moniker.

Then in 2013 it took a different direction. Ontario wanted a one-stop centre to streamline the application process for livestock study. Thus, the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) was born and Tim Nelson, then PIC’s executive director, became the new entity’s CEO.

That’s when Robbins entered the fray. Supported by a small team of staffers working out of PIC’s head office near Guelph, Ont., and guided by a dozen directors, he was tasked with refocusing the council solely on education extension, events and project management. Its research responsibilities would be gradually transferred to the LRIC.

A few years in, Robbins is happy with how the transition progressed. “It became an opportunity for us to look at how we run events and manage profitability,” he says.

Indeed, as PIC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it has plenty to celebrate. Its events continue to draw, not just more producers, but more industry salespeople as well. These reps often become extension staff for the council by sharing the resources it develops. “They often ask, ‘Can I get a couple more copies of that handout?’ ” Robbins says. “That’s a great opportunity for us to put out other factsheets.”

The London Poultry Show, the council’s marquee trade event, drew record numbers two years in a row. Likewise, its annual golf tournament also saw its largest ever turnout last year. And PIC continues to add to its events portfolio, now averaging about two events per month. The council grew its presence in Eastern Ontario as part of that effort, including bringing its Producer Updates educational series to St. Isidore.

What’s more, membership has steadily increased, despite widespread industry consolidation that would typically mean fewer members. “The driver is the material they’re developing,” says Al Dam, poultry specialist with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

“We try to ensure everything we do is driven by our members,” Robbins explains. “They ask and we provide what they need.” Take culling, he cites as an example. One of PIC’s most highly regarded initiatives in recent years was its Euthanasia Resources and Training Project.

PIC’s shareholders identified a strong need for consistent training in the area. Many family farms had developed their own euthanasia practices over the years that they’d pass down. “There may be three generations of you that were doing this in a less efficient manner,” Dam points out.

Thus, the council worked with a diverse range of experts to develop a three-part educational package. “The intent was to have everyone trained to the same level so that the industry has a defendable standard,” Dam continues.

Part one was the “Timely Euthanasia of Compromised Chicks & Poults” poster – a practical guide that helps producers identify young birds that should be culled. The second instalment was the “Practice Guidelines for On-Farm Euthanasia of Poultry” manual.

That document provided the basis for the third instalment – PIC’s Euthanasia Training Program, which is available to farmers in both classroom delivery and video format. Feather boards, organizations and producers across the country utilized all three resources.

PIC’s Poultry Health Day is another example of the council responding to industry trends. While events like Producer Updates and Poultry Research Day often included health-related topics, Robbins and co. saw value in dedicating an entire event to such issues.

Thus, it held its first Poultry Health Day August 2015 in Stratford, Ont. One of the main topics was avian influenza, naturally, as the London Poultry Show was cancelled just a few months before due to an outbreak. The inaugural event was a success, drawing 130 attendees. One of this year’s hot topics was infectious bronchitis, which has plagued Ontario poultry farms in a variety of sectors this year.

Dam expects poultry health to be an ongoing concern for producers and, thus, the council. On the layer side, for example, he sees old diseases the industry solved years ago resurfacing due to housing changes. “What’s old is new again,” he says.

On the broiler side, Dam sees brooding becoming a bigger issue in need of PIC’s attention. He points out that days-to-market continue to shorten each year. This means the brooding period becomes a larger percentage of a bird’s life in the barn. “You screw up that first few days it follows you all the way through,” Dam says.

Going forward, Robbins wants to see a more co-ordinated effort to address farmers’ concerns quicker. Currently, universities conduct the research, LRIC helps with administration and PIC plays that outward role. “That process has to be more interwoven,” Robbins says. “What can we do to solve that problem now?” He also hopes to start live streaming council events to expand its reach.

Looking back on his previous career, Robbins says one of the biggest differences between pork and poultry is marketing legislation. Supply management gives the industry the stability it needs to focus on finding innovative solutions to trends and challenges producers face. That’s where PIC fits in. “Our role is helping understand what those trends are and what they mean for farmers.”
Published in Farm Business
August 15, 2017, Winnipeg, Man. - The controversy over Manitoba Chicken Producers’ (MCP) new annual specialty quota program has been resolved with both sides satisfied they were treated fairly by a ruling from the Manitoba Farm Producers Marketing Council (MFPMC).

In a ruling in early July the council told MPC to postpone charging administrative fees for 10 years among those participating in the program, recognizing the financial impact the additional fees would have on existing participants. At the same time its ruling stated support for MPC’s move to adopt new policy seeing a need to modernize and update the manner in which chicken is regulated. READ MORE 
Published in Business & Policy
August 14, 2017, Washington - Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland released Canada's list of key demands for a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as talks get set to begin in Washington.

Freeland's list, which is much shorter than the U.S. wish list of more than 100 items, includes:



  • Protect Canada's supply-management system for dairy and poultry. Canada does not have free trade in these areas, and regulates imports and prices.
  • A new chapter on labour standards. The original NAFTA included a labour section as an addendum, inserted into the agreement after Bill Clinton was elected and insisted on a few changes. Some officials in Canada and the U.S. have identified a goal of tougher labour rules: Increasing Mexican wages, to make auto plants in the other countries more affordable.
  • A new chapter on environmental standards. This was also added as an afterthought to the original NAFTA, placed there after Clinton's election. Freeland says she wants a chapter that ensures no country can weaken environmental protection to attract investment. She also says it should support efforts against climate change.
  • A new chapter on gender rights.
  • A new chapter on Indigenous rights.
  • Reforms to the investor-state dispute settlement process. Specifically, Freeland referred to Chapter 11, which involves companies suing governments. She said she wants reforms so that ''governments have an unassailable right to regulate in the public interest.'' This is not to be confused with Chapter 19, which regulates disputes between companies over dumping, in cases like softwood lumber, and which the U.S. administration might seek to eliminate.
  • Expand procurement. For years, Canada has wanted to kill Buy American rules for construction projects at the state and local level. It could be a tough sell. U.S. lawmakers are demanding even more Buy American rules, which is something President Donald Trump campaigned on. Freeland said: ''Local-content provisions for major government contracts are political junk food: superficially appetizing, but unhealthy in the long run.''
  • Freer movement of professionals. NAFTA includes a list of professions where people can easily get a visa to work across the border. It's an old list, it mentions land surveyors and range conservationists, but not computer programmers. International companies want this list expanded to make it easier for employees to move between offices.
  • Protect cultural exemptions. Canada insisted on protections in the old agreement for cultural industries, like publishing and broadcasting. The U.S.'s annual report on international trade barriers lists this as an irritant.
  • Maintaining a process to regulate anti-dumping and countervailing disputes, like the one over softwood lumber. Freeland noted that Canada briefly walked out of the original talks in 1987, as this was a deal-breaker. The U.S. says it now wants to get rid of the resulting Chapter 19. Some observers say it might simply be modified.
Published in Trade
July 31, 2017, Winnipeg, Man. - Direct Farm Manitoba is pleased with a ruling by the Manitoba Farm Products Marketing Council (MFPMC) earlier this month that orders Manitoba Chicken Producers (MCP) to not charge extra administrative fees for a decade among those participating in its new specialty chicken quota system.

DFM co-ordinated an appeal on behalf of three specialty chicken producers who would have been affected by the additional expense.

DFM voiced numerous concerns with MCP’s new program after it was rolled out last year, but ultimately launched an appeal on the specific grounds that the program’s new fees for participation would force those already raising specialty chicken to either pay more to keep producing, or produce less. READ MORE 
Published in Marketing Boards
July 27, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - To support economic opportunities and to protect human health and the environment, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers of agriculture endorsed the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada at their annual meeting.

The strategy is a shared vision between partners across governments, industry, academia and others, and charts a path forward for collectively addressing evolving risks to plant and animal health.

Agriculture is an important driver in today's economy and has been identified as one of Canada's key growth sectors. Implementation of the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada is essential to economic growth, and for the health of all of our citizens and the environment.

Effective action depends on the combined and co-ordinated work of numerous partners. By taking a collaborative approach, the partners will be even more successful at protecting plant and animal resources from new and emerging risks.

The action-oriented strategy outlines how all parties will work together to protect these resources, unleashing the potential for growth in Canada's agriculture sector.

"Agriculture is a key growth sector for Canada's economy. By working in collaboration with partners we have been able to create a strategy that will improve how we work together to advance the protection of plant and animal health, reduce risk to Canadians and improve our economic opportunities," said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Published in Business & Policy
July 25, 2017, Montreal, Que. - A group of temporary foreign workers and their supporters are protesting what they say is rampant abuse of the rights of agricultural workers.

About two dozens workers and activists gathered in front of Montreal's St-Joseph Oratory on Sunday afternoon to highlight their cause.

One worker from Guatemala says he ended up making less than minimum wage for a job catching chickens on a Quebec farm since he wasn't paid for travel.

Through an interpreter, Henry Aguirre added he couldn't understand his work permit because it was written all in French.

The activists say workers should be given permanent residency or open work permits so they aren't limited to one employer.

The Canadian government has said it is implementing new measures to improve working conditions for temporary workers, including increased inspections and more efforts to inform workers of their rights.
Published in Farm Business
July 24, 2017, Calgary, Alta. - The federal and provincial governments are partnering to provide nearly $5 million to help five local food processors expand capacity and improve efficiency so they can grow their businesses, including two poultry related agri-food processors.

H. Hein Foods will be receiving funding support  to implement new equipment to improve efficiency, expand capacity to meet increased demand and diversify production for poultry, beef and pork products, and Basha International Foods Inc. will receive two grants, to aid in increasing capacity to debone whole chicken leg meat.

Other agri-food processors in Calgary receiving federal-provincial support include:
  • CadCan Marketing & Sales Inc. - to purchase equipment to develop a gluten-free pellet formula for its air-puffed, low-fat and gluten-free snack products.
  • Just BioFiber Structural Solutions - to purchase and install a commercial-scale plant to turn hemp stalks into building material.
  • Village Brewing Co. Ltd. - to add a canning line and centrifuge to its craft brewery.
Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, and Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Oniel Carlier, made the announcement at Village Brewing Co. who is receiving support to add a new canning line and centrifuge to its craft brewery.

"Agri-business is a key driver of growth in the Canadian economy and a source of well-paying jobs for the middle class. Our government is proud to support these innovative projects that will support Canadian farmers and the broader supply chain through their increased production of value-added agri-food," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

These investments help achieve the federal government's plan to create good jobs in food processing and help food processors develop products that reflect changing market tastes and new opportunities.

In 2016, Alberta's value-added sector, including food and processing manufacturing sales, was worth $14.6 billion and was the largest manufacturing employer in the province, representing more than 22,400 jobs.

These grants are made through Growing Forward 2 (GF2). GF2 is a federal-provincial-territorial partnership with a mandate to drive an innovative, competitive and profitable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. In the past five years, Growing Forward 2 has invested more than $406 million in Alberta's agricultural sector.
Published in Company News
July 21, 2017, Guelph, Ont. – The new Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) elected inaugural board members from across Canada recently to build its mandate to help Canada’s food system earn trust. CCFI provides a support service to assist Canada’s agri-food sector earn public trust by coordinating consumer research, resources, dialogue, and training.

The new CCFI board has named its first six directors, from west to east: Dave Eto (Naturally Splendid, B.C.), Kim McConnell (AdFarm, Alta.), Adele Buettner (AgriBiz Communications Corp, S.K.), Gwen Paddock (Royal Bank, Ont.), Sylvie Cloutier (Conseil De La Transformation Alimentaire Du Quebec CTAQ, PQ), and Mary Robinson (potato farmer, PEI). Three former Farm & Food Care Canada directors (Bruce Christie, Carolynne Griffith and Ian McKillop) are also members of the inaugural board but will be transitioning as additional directors are added to the board over the next few months.

The board is a key step in the development of a solid business model for CCFI, with a smaller, skills-based and governance-focused group of directors. The CCFI leadership model will also include a larger Advisory Council with representation from many sectors, partners, NGOs, academia and government to provide insights and strategic thinking to the board and staff team. Development of the Advisory Council is now underway.

Crystal Mackay will assume the role as President of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.

Kim McConnell was elected the Chair of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. “There is both a need and a strong desire for a coalition approach and shared investment model for more effectively earning trust in Canadian food and farming for the future,” McConnell stated. “We are ready to get to work and deliver on CCFI’s important mandate to help support our many partners and the Canadian food system to earn trust.”

Find out more and help build the momentum for earning public trust in food and farming in Canada by attending the upcoming Canadian CFI Public Trust Summit ‘Tackling Transparency – The Truth about Trust’ in Calgary on September 18-20, 2017. Register today at www.foodintegrity.ca

The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity helps Canada’s food system earn trust by coordinating research, resources,dialogue and training. Our members and project partners, who represent the diversity of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and working together to address important issues in food and agriculture. The CCFI does not lobby or advocate for individual companies or brands. For more information sign up for the CCFI e-news and visit www.foodintegrity.ca
Published in Company News
July 20, 2017, Vittoria, Ont. - Norfolk’s hamlets soon may be known for their omelettes.

In a piece of after-the-fact fine-tuning this week, Norfolk council modified its position on urban chickens in the county.

Keeping chickens and other livestock within the boundaries of Norfolk’s urban centres continues to be forbidden. However – as of this week -- anyone who wants to keep a half-dozen chickens in their backyard can do so in any of the county’s 23 hamlet areas.

Norfolk council made the adjustment after learning many Mennonite families in hamlet areas of west Norfolk already have a coop in the backyard. There seems to be no problem with this arrangement and council wants to leave well-enough alone. READ MORE 
Published in Emerging Trends
July 19, Listowel, Ont. – This year’s second Breakfast on the Farm event will be hosted by the Johnston Family of Listowel. The event will be the eighth Breakfast on the Farm organized by Farm & Food Care Ontario since 2013.

To date, approximately 15,000 people have been fed, entertained and engaged at the events. Organizers are expecting between 1,500 and 2,000 people to attend.

Breakfast on the Farm provides a unique opportunity for farmers and non‐farming Ontarians to have a conversation about food and farming. It gives visitors the chance to visit a real, working farm, provides a showcase for agriculture and gives non-farmers the opportunity to have their questions answered by real farmers.

The event will take place at Maplevue farm – a family business owned by brothers Doug and Dave Johnston. Along with their seven children, the brothers’ family has been farming on the same land for 125 years, and currently have 60 cows and 1,500 acres of crops.

Technology is Doug and Dave’s main focus, and they regularly learn about and incorporate new ideas into the farm.

“Modern agriculture has a lot to show people,” says Doug. “These kinds of events are important. We encourage everybody to come out and see family farming at its best.”

After being treated to an all-Ontario breakfast featuring eggs, pancakes, fruit, sausage and more, visitors will be able to tour the farm. Interactive stops around the farm will include many displays, activities and exhibits that showcase other types of farms in Ontario.

There will also be more than 100 Ontario farmers on hand to answer guests’ questions about food and farming.

This event will run from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm, with breakfast being served until 11:30 a.m. Farm tours wrap up by 1:00 p.m. The event is free, though preregistration is required. The first 2,000 visitors are guaranteed breakfast.

Farm & Food Care Ontario is again looking for those willing to share their time and passion for local food. Approximately 120 volunteers are needed on the day of the event.

The event is supported by many national, provincial and regional farm organizations and agri-businesses. Breakfast tickets can be obtained by visiting www.FarmFoodCareON.org.

Event Details: Date: September 16, 2017; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: FREE; Complimentary breakfast tickets must be reserved online at www.FarmFoodCareON.org.
Location: 7761 Road 147, Listowel, ON Parking: Available at the farm.
Other notes: The farm is wheelchair accessible.
Pets (excluding service dogs) are not allowed on the farm.
Published in Consumer Issues
July 18, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - A significant volume of dairy, poultry, eggs and beef was imported into Canada without a permit or paying the appropriate customs duties, hurting both the federal treasury and farmers, says Auditor General Michael Ferguson in his spring report to Parliament.

Analyzing figures from Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency found “authorizations, certificates, and permits for those items that were on the Import Control List... did not match the volumes authorized for importing annually with the volumes that importers declared to the agency as eligible for a lower rate of duty,” Ferguson said.

The report estimates that $168 million in duties were not collected on $131 million worth of chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, and dairy products, meaning that seven to eight per cent were therefore imported without the appropriate permits.

Dairy had the biggest hit with $81 million in unassessed customs duties and $32 million of product entering the country without permits. Chicken was next with $50 million in unassessed duties and $20 million in products without permits. For turkey the figures $15 million and $9 million, beef $11 million and $41 million and eggs $11 million and $29 million. READ MORE
Published in Trade
July 18, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Following the successful elimination of Category I antibiotics for disease prevention in Canadian chicken production, Chicken Farmers of Canada has established timelines to further its strategy to eliminate the preventive use of antimicrobials of human importance.

The antimicrobial use (AMU) strategy eliminates the preventive use of Category II antimicrobials by the end of 2018, and sets a goal to eliminate the preventive use of Category III antibiotics by the end of 2020.

Chicken Farmers of Canada's policy will maintain the use of ionophores (those antimicrobials not used in human medicine) along with antibiotics for therapeutic purposes to maintain the health and welfare of birds.

"Chicken Farmers of Canada has been a leader in antimicrobial stewardship, and this strategy provides continued confidence to consumers, customers, and to governments," said Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada. "This strategy provides a sustainable means of meeting consumer expectations, while maintaining the ability for farmers to protect the health and wellbeing of their birds."

Consumers can be assured that Canadian chicken is free of antibiotic residues, and has been for decades. Canada has strict regulations with respect to antibiotic use and withdrawal times to ensure that chicken reaching the marketplace does not contain residues, which is monitored by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

This decision builds on the objective of eliminating the preventative use of antibiotics of human importance, guided by a comprehensive strategy that involves reduction, surveillance, education, and research.

The AMU strategy is consistent with the Canadian government's Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and Use.

Chicken Farmers of Canada is responsible for ensuring that our 2,800 farmers produce the right amount of fresh, safe, high-quality chicken and that our farmer's views are taken into account when important agriculture and policy decisions are made.
Published in Meat - Broilers
July 14, 2017, Huron County, Ont. – Lukas Schilder is a chicken farmer in Huron County with centuries of farming in his bloodline. Like others in the agriculture sector, he is keenly aware of the advantages that adopting new technology brings to his business. Looking to invest in a new chicken barn, Schilder and his family recognize an opportunity to connect their farm operations with the expectations of consumers and grow their brand.

Guided by a sector-wide commitment to animal welfare, Schilder is planning to equip a new free-range facility with cutting-edge technology designed to monitor and broadcast information about the state of his flock to stakeholders.

Some of the technology being considered involves a live 24/7 public video feed to demonstrate the care and treatment his chickens receive.

“We stay engaged with industry best-practices both in North America and Europe and operations all over the world are adopting new technology to meet marketplace demands, which include consumer information about the realities of growing food,” said Schilder. “Our farm needs access to high-speed internet to be competitive.”

In April, Huron County Council partnered with Comcentric – a co-operative of local internet service providers – to submit a funding proposal to the Government of Canada’s Connect to Innovate program. The project proposes to connect 98 per cent of Huron County’s population, including the Schilder farm, with high-speed fibre within three years.

Expected to cost $31.5 million, the project requires a partnership with the Government of Canada to proceed. To leverage an investment by the federal government, Huron County Council has committed $7 million over seven years. READ MORE 
Published in Farm Business
July 13, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Some Toronto residents with a hankering for their own fresh eggs could soon be in luck if city council approves a pilot project that would lift a ban on backyard hens.

Four Toronto wards would be part of the project and comes as part of a motion to review the city's list of prohibited animals, which currently includes chickens.

A survey included in a city staff report filed in May suggested that lifting the ban on chickens could be a popular move.

''There's a lot of benefits, for sure,'' said Coun. Justin Di Ciano, whose west-end ward will be part of the pilot project. Home-raised chickens are a healthier alternative to store-bought eggs, he said, and they keep away pests.

He also characterized them as a ''cruelty-free'' alternative to factory-farmed eggs.

Toronto resident Andrew Patel, who has raised hens in his backyard since 2011 despite the ban, said he's pleased at news.

''I think a pilot project is probably the best way to pass a safe and effective bylaw,'' Patel said, adding that such a bylaw wouldn't be difficult to implement.

''We're talking about a couple of people raising a few hens, for non-commercial purposes on private property,'' he said.

Meanwhile, several municipalities in Ontario, including Kingston, Brampton, Niagara Falls and Caledon, all allow residents to keep chickens in backyard coops.

In Brampton, for example, current bylaws surrounding chickens state that coops must be no less than eight metres from any dwelling, store or adjacent property, and at least two metres from the side boundary of the property where it's kept. Bramptonians also can't keep chickens inside their home, and must keep any chicken waste in airtight containers ''in a manner that will not create a public nuisance or health hazard.''

But chickens in Toronto could attract, and be at the mercy of, other critters known to haunt Toronto, a local expert said.

Dan Frankian, a bird and animal control specialist, said that leaving chickens to roam free in a backyard during the day could attract the attention of scavengers.

''Once the chickens are running around, the food is, too,'' Frankian said, which could attract raccoons and coyotes.

Raccoons in particular love eggs, he said, and can break into locked boxes or cages with ease.

''Standard chicken wire is not strong enough to hold those guys,'' Frankian said.

But Patel said he has never had a problem with urban wildlife.

''Raccoons aren't brain surgeons, they can't pick a lock or open a hackproof door,'' he said. ''So I don't think it's an issue that can't be navigated.''

He said his six hens are stored in a coop protected by hardwire, which has smaller holes than a chicken-wire coop.

A survey from a recent city staff report says chickens are among the most complained-about animals on Toronto's prohibited list, alongside sheep, snakes and birds. Objections range from noise to smell.

But Patel said when hens are cared for properly and their bedding is changed, there is not smell. And he added that roosters, not hens, crow.

The pilot project was originally supposed to have been proposed at City Hall on Friday, but was deferred after news came of deputy mayor Pam McConnell's death.

It will be re-introduced at council's next meeting in October.
Published in Business & Policy
July 13, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Kelly Daynard has been hired as executive director of Farm & Food Care Ontario (FFCO), a coalition representing Ontario's farm families, agribusinesses, food processors, food companies and more.

The Board of Directors began an open and extensive hiring process in April of 2017, interviewing several candidates before making its decision.

Daynard first joined FFCO's predecessor organization, the Ontario Farm Animal Council, in 2005. She has been employed as communications manager of FFCO since 2012 and has been serving in the role of interim executive director since January of 2017.

Prior to joining FFCO, she worked first as a journalist and then as communications manager for the Ontario Cattlemen's Association (now Beef Farmers of Ontario). Raised on her family's grain farm near Guelph, Daynard is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. Outside of her work with FFCO, she is involved with several agricultural organizations including the Canadian Farm Writers Federation and the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association.

"The board of directors is unanimous in its decision to hire Kelly to lead Farm & Food Care Ontario. She has a strong knowledge of the agricultural industry and is well-known and well respected by members, staff and industry stakeholders. Over the years, she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to this organization and its mandate and has led the development of many of our award winning initiatives," said Brian Gilroy, chair of the board of directors.

"I'm honoured by the confidence shown by the board of directors in hiring me to this position," said Daynard. "It has been a privilege to work for this organization for so many years. Farm & Food Care Ontario plays such a critical role in this industry, helping to connect consumers with their food. I look forward to being part of the work that we'll continue to do to earn public trust in food and farming."

Farm & Food Care Ontario is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners proactively working together to ensure public trust and confidence in food and farming. For more information visit www.FarmFoodCareON.org.
Published in Company News
July 12, 2017 - Meat-importing countries from North America to Europe and Asia have tightened inspection standards for shipments from Brazil in a bid to protect consumers, following a probe into possible corruption involving inspectors.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said that the tighter inspection standards it enacted in April have resulted in checks on nearly every shipment from Brazil.

"The new Canadian protocols involve full inspection - including tests for pathogens and chemical residues - of all Brazilian meat imports on five consecutive shipments from each approved plant and for each product category," CFIA spokeswoman Maria Kubacki said.

Previously, CFIA conducted one full inspection randomly out of 10 consecutive shipments from each Brazilian plant.

The tougher reviews highlight concerns about the safety of Brazilian meat even among countries that still accept its products. The United States last week banned imports of fresh Brazilian beef after a high percentage of shipments failed safety checks.

Brazilian police raided the premises of global meatpacking companies JBS SA (JBSS3.SA) and BRF SA (BRFS3.SA) in March, as well as dozens of smaller rivals, over suspected bribery of health officials.

Since then, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has re-inspected shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat food products from Brazil and tested them for pathogens. All beef trimmings are now tested for salmonella and E. coli.

The checks have uncovered problems in fresh beef, including abscesses, blood clots, bones and lymphoid tissue, according to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Re-inspections at U.S. ports are directed by a centralized computer database that stores past inspection results from each foreign establishment. Better-performing foreign plants are subject to less frequent re-inspections, according to the USDA.

To meet the stiffer inspection requirements from importers, Brazil has raised its own standards for meat exported from the country.

"Meat-processing plants in Brazil are now blocked from shipping the front part of a cow as a whole piece, and must instead process it into cuts, a step that makes it easier to detect defects but adds cost for packers," Luis Rangel, Brazil's plant and animal health secretary, said in an interview.

“We had to raise the bar because of the United States, and ... you do not raise the bar for only one export market, you raise it for all of them," Rangel said. "Processing costs will rise, but that is necessary to preserve the markets."

Enforcing the higher standards is complicated, however, by a shortage of inspectors in Brazil.

In Europe, authorities now conduct physical checks of all animal-related shipments from Brazil, and perform laboratory tests on 20 percent of them, at the importers' cost, according to a document issued by the Council of the European Union on June 9.

The EU requires Brazil to conduct microbiological checks on poultry and other meats before they are shipped.

Hong Kong has since March boosted surveillance on Brazil's meat and poultry, including sampling for meat deterioration and other food safety concerns, a spokesman for Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety said. As of June 23, a total of 369 samples were tested and all were satisfactory, he said.
Published in Trade
Page 1 of 45

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