Programs, Grants & Awards
March 27, 2017, Churchbridge, Sask – Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ (OYF) program is once again offering two $1,000 scholarships to Canadian agriculture students. Applications for the 2017 awards will be accepted until June 30, 2017.

The OYF Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one individual entering post-secondary education from high school, and one individual who has already completed at least one year of post-secondary study. Applicants must be pursuing a diploma or degree in agriculture.

The late Martin Streef, OYF alumnus, established this scholarship program to help future generations of Canadians pursue their passion for agriculture. Streef was the 1997 winner of both Ontario’s and Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers and president of Streef Produce Ltd, a family-run fresh fruit and vegetable business in Woodstock, Ontario.

Scholarship application forms are available here.

Celebrating 37 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, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial and territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Published in Farm Business
March 20, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – Chicken Farmers of Canada's (CFC) commitment to animal care has been confirmed with the completion of a comprehensive third-party audit.

"The national Animal Care Program has been implemented effectively and maintained on an on-going basis,” stated NSF International in its report. “Animal care measures have been consistently applied."

Under CFC's Animal Care Program, audits are conducted annually on all Canadian chicken farms. It is a mandatory program with enforcement measures for issues of non-compliance and the program guarantees one national standard for consistency of requirements and recordkeeping on all chicken farms in Canada.

CFC has been administering a national Animal Care Program on all 2,800 broiler chicken farms across Canada since 2009. Since 2016, the implementation of the program by farmers and the effectiveness of CFC's audit team are subject to an annual third-party audit. NSF performs the third-party audits using PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization) certified auditors to ensure the effective and consistent implementation of the CFC Animal Care Program.

NSF is an internationally recognized, third-party certification body, accredited by the American National Standards Institute to ISO 17065. Their auditors are professionals with years of experience performing animal care and food safety audits for the agricultural sector. Third-party audits were conducted in all provinces and more than 90 per cent of CFC's on-farm auditors were evaluated.

The program has credible, science-based foundations in that it is based on the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys, as developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC is a leader in bringing together stakeholders with different perspectives – farmers, veterinarians, processors, transporters, animal welfare associations, and provincial/federal governments – to develop robust and sound codes of practice.

NFACC's code development process begins with a full scientific review, which is used to draft the code that then undergoes a public consultation process. In this way, all Canadians have an opportunity to contribute to the final code.

With the code of practice for chicken recently finalized in 2016, CFC has begun implementing the new requirements and is in the process of updating the Animal Care Program by engaging a group of competent experts using NFACC's Animal Care Assessment Framework.

Looking forward, CFC will continue funding animal care research as a priority area – to enhance future versions of the code of practice and farm management practices.

In addition, CFC is petitioning the federal government to implement a recognition protocol for animal care in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's next Agricultural Policy Framework, similar to the successful on-farm food safety recognition protocol. Such a recognition system would leverage the work performed by NFACC and organizations such as CFC that are implementing one auditable, mandatory standard to effectively demonstrate the level of animal care on Canadian farms.
Published in Marketing Boards
March 10, 2017, Toronto, Ont – Jefo was recently received designation as one of Canada’s best managed companies, the second year in a row.

"I am very proud that Jefo is being requalified as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies,” said Jean Fontaine, president and founder of Jefo, adding that 2017 marks the company’s 35th anniversary. “Since our modest beginnings, we have been able to carve out an enviable place in a competitive environment. Our originality has attracted the attention of many customers.”

The 2017 Best Managed program recognizes the best-in-class of Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieve sustainable growth.

“Best managed companies deserve recognition for their entrepreneurial approach to excelling in an uncertain economic climate,” said Peter Brown, a partner at Deloitte and co-leader of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program. “They truly bring out the best in Canadian business leadership.”

Established in 1993, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs recognizing Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices. Winners are an important engine of economic growth for being adaptable and sustainable in a global market. Applicants are evaluated by an independent judging panel made up of judges from Deloitte, CIBC, Canadian Business, the Smith School of Business, and MacKay CEO Forums. Best managed companies share commonalities that include an emphasis on culture and people, innovation, sustained performance and strong financial results.

This year’s winners will be honoured at the annual Canada’s Best Managed Companies gala in Toronto on April 19, 2017.
Published in Company News
March 2, 2017, Madison, NJ – Merck Animal Health recently announced the introduction of the High Quality Poultry Science Award, aimed at supporting research in poultry health, production and welfare by tomorrow’s industry leaders.

Starting this year, Merck Animal Health will award three masters or doctoral students who recently received degrees in veterinary or animal science with an emphasis on poultry, the unique opportunity to present their research to industry specialists. Winners will travel to Merck Animal Health High Quality Poultry meetings in Europe, the Americas and Asia, to review their research and network with some of the most renowned experts in the field.

“At Merck Animal Health, we are proud to invest in the future of the poultry industry by supporting these young veterinary scientists with this new award program,” said Delair Bolis, executive director for global poultry, Merck Animal Health. “Our High Quality Congresses provide a forum for leading experts from across the industry to further foster innovation that will benefit poultry health, production and welfare.”

Eligible graduates must have completed master or doctoral (PhD) research for an applied project in either veterinary or animal science, with an emphasis on poultry, and defended their degree in the past 12 months. Topics of interest include infectious diseases such as infectious bronchitis (IB), Newcastle disease (ND), infectious bursal disease (IBD), infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT), reovirus (REO), Salmonella or Campylobacter, as well as red mite control, general welfare, hatchery health, antibiotic reduction, and environmental impact.

To apply, eligible graduates must submit a 300-word summary of their research project and a brief letter describing why they deserve the award, including how their work can contribute to the improvement of the poultry industry, to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Applications must be submitted by March 20, 2017.

Winners will be notified in mid-April. One student per region will present their research at the 2017 High Quality Poultry Congress in Europe (Prague), in May; the Americas (Brazil), in June, and Asia (location yet to be determined), in October.

For additional details, please visit: http://www.highqualitycongress.com/hqpoultryphdaward.aspx.
Published in Research
February 22, 2017, Victoria, BC – Due to an underwhelming response by users to register their wells, the province has extended its waiver of the application fee to December 31, 2017.
 
The new Water Sustainability Act took effect February 29, 2016 and includes licensing requirements for all non-domestic groundwater users. As a result, all wells used for irrigation and livestock watering must be registered. READ MORE
Published in Business & Policy
Jan. 27, 2017 - Canada's 150th anniversary is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the historical role of farmers in growing our nation. The Canada's Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, provides yet another opportunity for Canadian farmers to strengthen their communities by nominating their favourite local charities to win grants of $2,500.

Over the first five years of the program, more than 300 rural charities have received almost $1 million thanks to farmers. The fascinating stories of the farmers, the charities and their connections to the community paint a colourful portrait of rural Canada which will now be shared on the Canada's Farmers Grow Communities blog.

"Farmers are often unsung heroes in Canadian history," says Kelly Funke, public affairs manager for Monsanto Canada. "But farmers deserve credit for their contributions. That's why we created this program, and why we've now added a blog to our website to further highlight the stories behind the farmer heroes and their chosen charities."

The list of charities can include almost any non-profit organization based in rural Canada. Winners have included 4H clubs; rural daycares; libraries; volunteer fire departments; hospitals; schools; ag societies; senior centres; and other community facilities.

Farmers who are considering an application are encouraged to visit the Canada's Farmers blog at http://canadasfarmers.ca/blog/ for inspiration and to think about their own local charities or non-profit organizations. It takes just five minutes to apply and be entered into the random draw.

Once again in 2017, two $2,500 grants will be awarded in each of 33 different territories across the grain growing regions of northeastern B.C. (Peace River district), Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces. Applications are open now through September 30, 2017. And anyone can suggest a charity for a farmer to discover! Simply visit www.CanadasFarmers.ca where complete contest rules and an online application form are available. Winners will be selected by random draw on or about Nov. 1, 2017 and notified by Nov. 15, 2017.
Published in Farm Business

Jan. 25, 2017 - 4-H Canada and Syngenta Canada are pleased to announce the national winners of the Proud to Bee a 4-H’er video contest. 4-H’ers from across Canada were asked to create a short video, either as a club or as individuals, demonstrating their pride in being a part of the 4-H program and reflecting the wide variety of Canadian 4-H clubs, projects, communities and age groups.

The videos submitted during the contest entry period in November—coinciding with National 4-H Month—highlighted the common values and central experience of 4-H in building responsible, caring and contributing young leaders, and the sense of pride and accomplishment they all feel as 4-H’ers.
 
“Congratulations to all of the winning 4-H clubs and 4-H members who did such a wonderful job of showing their enthusiasm and excitement for 4-H in their videos, making this contest a great success,” said Shannon Benner, CEO of 4-H Canada.  “Thanks to Syngenta and the Proud to Bee a 4-H’er initiative, 4-H youth across Canada have had incredible opportunities to grow their knowledge of the important work of pollinators and show leadership in their communities by supporting the creation of pollinator-friendly habitats.”   
 
Approximately 3,800 votes were cast during the online public voting period. The winning entry received a GoPro HERO5 camera. The first and second runner-up entries each received an Apple iPad mini 2 and the remaining top ten entries received a selfie stick. Each of the top ten entries also received 4-H Canada branded items to continue displaying their 4-H pride in their communities.
 
Proud to Bee a 4-H’er – Winning Video Entries

  • 1st place - The Pas Helping Hands  / 4-H Manitoba
  • 2nd place - Aidan Tully / 4-H Manitoba
  • 3rd place - Colton Skori / 4-H Alberta
  • 4th place - Comox Valley 4-H Calf Club / 4-H British Columbia
  • 5th place - Boots N Bridles 4-H Club / 4-H British Columbia
  • 6th place - Irishtown 4-H Club / 4-H New Brunswick
  • 7th place - Caroline Carpenter / 4-H New Brunswick
  • 8th place - 4-W 4-H Club / 4-H Alberta
  • 9th place - Hillmond 4-H Beef Club / 4-H Saskatchewan
  • 10th place - Jocelyn Kerr / 4-H British Columbia
This fun and engaging video contest wrapped up the third year of Proud to Bee a 4-H’er, a national initiative encouraging 4-H club members to learn about the amazing world of bees and other pollinators, which includes planting and tending pollinator-friendly gardens in their communities.
 
Since 2014, close to 100,000 seed packets have been distributed across Canada, through the generous support of Syngenta, giving 4-H’ers and others the opportunity to create pollinator-friendly habitats and to enjoy the outdoors.
“The addition of the Proud to Bee a 4-H’er video contest in 2016 was a fun and fitting way to cap off a successful year of activities that saw more than 120 4-H Canada clubs from coast-to-coast-to-coast support the important work of pollinators. The enthusiasm that 4-H’ers brought to their Proud to Bee a 4-H’er activities was on full display in their video submissions,” says Dr. Paul Hoekstra, Stewardship and Policy Manager with Syngenta Canada.
 
Syngenta support for Proud to Bee a 4-H’er is through its Operation Pollinator program, which is focused on research and other initiatives that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and habitat in support of healthy pollinator populations.
 
To watch the winning videos, please visit www.youtube.com/4HCanada.
Published in Emerging Trends
Jan. 16, 2016 – Canadians looking for the real story about their food can get it directly from the source online with virtual visits to farms and processing plants. Farm & Food Care is proud to present its latest national outreach initiative – FarmFood360°.
 
Using 360 cameras and virtual reality technology, the new FarmFood360° website gives Canadians the chance to tour real, working farms and food processing plants, all without putting on boots. It’s the latest version of the highly successful Virtual Farm Tours initiative, which was first launched in 2007.
 
“Canadians want to know more about their food, but they are also increasingly removed from its production,” says Ian McKillop, chair of Farm & Food Care Canada. “Changing technology also means they are looking for and finding information in different ways.
 
“FarmFood360° keeps pace with both these factors; it uses modern technology to immerse them right in the process, and address their questions in the most compelling way possible.”
 
Farm & Food Care partnered with Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. and Dairy Farmers of Canada to add three new tours to the FarmFood360°  website – a dairy farm with a Voluntary Milking System, as well as two individual milk and cheese processing facilities. Visitors can access these tours on tablets and desktop computers, as well as through mobile phones and VR (Virtual Reality) viewers. Interviews with the farmers and plant employees involved in each business have also been added.
 
Both dairy processing facility tours were created in partnership with Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. Steve Dolson, chair of Gay Lea Foods, says “Farm & Food Care has created an accessible and practical way for us to open the doors to two of our processing facilities – locations that are usually restricted to ensure food safety and quality.”
 
“Gay Lea Foods is pleased to provide this unique opportunity for Canadians to see how milk from family farms is transformed into the milk, cream and cheese they know and love.”
 
Michael Barrett, president and CEO of Gay Lea Foods, added “we are tremendously proud of our employees and happy to highlight the passion, care and dedication that goes into the wholesome products our company is known for.”
 
As an original partner in the first Virtual Farm Tours project, Dairy Farmers of Canada again worked with Farm & Food Care to film a dairy farm using Voluntary Milking System in Prince Edward Island. These tours compliment the two dairy farm tours already on the site – featuring farms that use both free stall and tie stall milking technologies.
 
“Using new technology to bring farm life to Canadians is both exciting and a critical part of food production,” says Wally Smith, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada. “This modern platform is a great way of doing just that. These immersive tours open barn doors to show the passion and care our farmers put into the food they produce.”
 
This national initiative is being launched with a newly rebranded and interactive website, www.FarmFood360.ca. The site features all 23 farms originally featured on the Virtual Farm Tour platform plus the three new virtual reality tours. Additional tours will be added later in 2017.
Published in Consumer Issues
Jan. 13, 2017 – After graduating from high school, Gary Baars hung up a shingle as TNT Agri-Services, offering “relief milking and much more.”

“Much more” soon started becoming a reality and on Jan. 11th, the now 33-year-old Chilliwack, B.C. dairyman, hay salesman and cattle dealer and his wife, Marie (26), became the B.C. & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers for 2017.

In 2006, TNT Agri Services turned into TNT Hay Sales as Baars started selling hay, first to local horse farms and then to local dairy farms.

“We sell a lot of hay to different dairy farms,” Baars says. Not long after, the young entrepreneur expanded TNT to include cattle sales. When Farm Credit Canada offered him a large loan with “no strings attached” in early 2011, Baars used it to start his own dairy farm.

“I had enough money to buy quota for 15 cows,” he recalls.

Two years later, Marie’s grandmother asked if they would manage her 160-cow 80-acre dairy farm in east Abbotsford. The Baars agreed on condition they could buy it.

“We amalgamated our small herd with her larger herd and have been steadily improving the facilities over the past few years,” Baars reports.

His entrepreneurship did not stop there. Last year, he purchased additional hay-growing acreage in Greendale and joined up with two partners to buy a 472-acre 100-cow dairy in Manitoba.

“We have already grown that farm by 20 per cent,” Baars says.

He has also served as a director of both the Mainland Young Milk Producers and the B.C. Young Farmers. Baars’ entrepreneurial spirit even extends itself to his recreational activities. Gary and his father-in-law have begun holding Cornfield Races twice a year, inviting friends and neighbours to race beat-up cars on the farm.

To earn the 2017 award from judges Rick Thiessen (2004 BC & Canadian Outstanding Young Farmer), Mark Sweeney (retired B.C. Ministry of Agriculture berry and horticulture specialist) and Kurt Bausenhaus (KPMG), the Baars outpointed Jeremy and Tamara Vaandrager of
Vaandrager Farms in west Abbotsford.

After managing several egg farms for other owners, the Vaandragers obtained a 3,000 bird quota in the 2010 B.C. Egg Marketing Board new entrant lottery. In the six years since, they have increased their quota holdings to 6,000 birds and are in the process of converting their farm from a free-run operation to an aviary.

“Aviaries have become common in Europe but it is still a relatively new system in North America,” Vaandrager notes.

The BCOYF program is sponsored by the BC Broiler Hatching Egg Commission, Clearbrook Grain & Milling, Farm Credit Canada and Insure Wealth. To be eligible for the award, applicants must be under 40 and derive at least two-thirds of their gross revenue from farming. They are
judged on the progress in their agricultural careers, the sustainability of their farming operations and involvement in their industry and community.

Gary and Marie Baars will represent B.C. at the national OYF competition in Penticton, B.C., in November. The national competition is supported by AdFarm, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Annex Business Media, Bayer Crop Science, BDO, CIBC, Farm Management Canada and John Deere.
Published in Producers
At a conference last month, I ran into a peer who I would dub an “agvocist” – someone very passionate about promoting agriculture to the point that it pours over into her personal Facebook posts.  This woman is, for lack of a more appropriate word, effervescent.

But, when I asked her what she thought of two on-farm animal welfare breaches that made the mainstream news last fall, her shoulders sagged slightly and a small sigh escaped from her lips.  I was taken aback.

“Sorry,” she said as she collected herself.  “It’s just that there’s so much good being done out there that doesn’t make the news but agriculture is a slave to its exceptions.”  We carried on chatting for a little while and by the end of the conversation, she was back to her usual bubbly self, but that one brief moment of resignation startled me – perhaps because it was so out-of-character.  

I think any farmer who strives to do what’s right grimaces when an undercover video surfaces. We cannot deny that Code of Practice violations will occur from time to time on Canadian farms – and yes, poultry operations too.   What we can do, is acknowledge and correct those breaches.  We can train personnel, instil respect for the animals in our care, reprimand and penalize as necessary and learn lessons from what happened.

But let us not forget that there’s another side to the coin.  As well as recognizing when things have gone wrong, it’s equally important to acknowledge things done right, and applaud the many shining examples we own in this industry of sustainable farming.  We congratulate not because they are exceptions, but because they are – happily – instances of the trending norm.  As an industry, it’s essential to remind ourselves of that.

So, on that note, in this issue we are delighted to tip our cap to Farmcrest Foods Ltd. (Farmcrest) of Salmon Arm, B.C., recipients of the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award.  As you read on, you’ll discover how Farmcrest is dedicated to continual learning and improvement, takes responsibility as stewards of a sensitive land area and works to ensure that employees are treated like family.  The operation is a true model of sustainability in all of its forms.

Owners Richard Bell and Alan Bird will receive $2,000, and a farm gate sign as well as the award itself.  We congratulate them on their achievement.

In closing, I would also like to take the time to first acknowledge all of the applicants for the award.  Your dedication and commitment to your own longevity and that of the industry is commendable.

I would be remiss as well, if I didn’t acknowledge our Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award judges this year – former Canadian Poultry editor, Kristy Nudds; Valerie Carney, poultry research scientist and technology transfer coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; and Al Dam, provincial poultry specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  The quality of the applicants was exceptional and selecting our winner was no enviable task.  Your thorough review process and willingness to give time to the selection of our winner is appreciated.

Recognition, also, to would-be sponsors of the cancelled Canadian Poultry Sustainability Symposium: Big Dutchman, Clark Ag Systems Ltd., Chicken Farmers of Canada, Cobb-Vantress, Egg Farmers of Canada, Farm Credit Canada and Walbern Agri Ltd. Thank you for your support.
Published in Companies
Dec. 20, 2016 - The University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan campus has a new national research chair. In collaboration with Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), UBC has named Nathan Pelletier as egg industry chair in sustainability/endowed chair in bio-economy sustainability management.

Pelletier is cross-appointed to both UBC's Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences and the campus' faculty of management, to support interdisciplinary research at the Okanagan campus.

"Food system sustainability is a subject of increasing importance in Canada and beyond and I look forward to collaborating with UBC colleagues and others in this research area," says Pelletier. "I would like to thank Egg Farmers of Canada for their participation and support of this crucial area of study."

As part of his role, Pelletier will be responsible for directing and managing research programs to support sustainability measurement and management for the Canadian egg industry and food sector more broadly. His work will include exploring sustainability measurement and management, life-cycle thinking and resource efficiency.

"We are proud to be working with Dr. Pelletier," says Tim Lambert, chief executive officer of Egg Farmers of Canada. "Egg farming is already one of the most environmentally sustainable forms of animal agriculture. Building on this reality, our strong commitment to sustainability and our investment in Dr. Pelletier's innovative research will ensure that the Canadian egg industry continues to improve its environmental footprint."

Pelletier holds a BSc from the University of Victoria, a Master of Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University and an interdisciplinary Research PhD in Ecological Economics, also from Dalhousie. He also conducted post-doctoral research for Environment Canada and, most recently, for the European Commission Joint Research Centre's Institute for Environment and Sustainability.

EFC will be providing funding for the new chair in connection with research activities, including the areas of sustainability measurement and management, life-cycle thinking and resource efficiency.

EFC has released a video that provides additional information on Pelletier and his research, available online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig_PHQkYpfo.
Published in Profiles
Dec. 13, 2016 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has announced an investment of up to $780,040 to 4-H Canada to host the 2017 Global 4-H Network Summit.

The summit, which will take place in Ottawa in July 2017 (to coincide with the 150th anniversary of confederation), will host over 600, 4-H delegates from across Canada and around the world where they will share experiences, develop skills and learn about agriculture. The summit will include four days of workshops and plenary sessions including a two-day trade show focusing on education and career opportunities. This investment is made through the Growing Forward 2, AgriCompetitiveness program, a five-year, up to $114.5 million initiative.

Canada's minister of agriculture and agri-food, Lawrence MacAulay, also announced changes to Farm Credit Canada's (FCC) Young Farmer Loan. FCC will increase its support for young farmers by doubling the amount of credit available to $1 million from $500,000, and lowering the possible minimum down payment to 20 per cent of the value of the loan which supports the purchase or improvement of farmland and buildings.
Published in Farm Business

Dec. 7, 2016 - Andrew and Jennifer Lovell of Keswick Ridge, N.B. and Dominic Drapeau and Célia Neault of Ste-Françoise-de-Lotbinière, Que. have been named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016. These two farm families were chosen from seven regional farm couples across Canada at OYF’s national event last week in Niagara Falls, Ont.
 
Both families have dreamed of owning their own farm since they were young and were not afraid to make changes and embrace technology along the way. Their entrepreneurial spirits and adaptability has made them successful both on and off the farm.
 
“All of this year’s regional honourees have shown us their incredible passion for agriculture,” OYF president Luanne Lynn says. “It was extremely difficult for the judges to make their decision, but ultimately our winners stood out for their state-of-the art thinking and commitment to the future of Canadian agriculture.”
 
The Lovell’s story is different than most because neither of them grew up on a farm. In 2012 they purchased their farm River View Orchards with roots tracing back to 1784, and created a diversified u-pick farm market operation. It wasn’t an easy start as they suffered $100,000 in damage in 2014, but they persevered and adapted their plans until they were able to begin full production again. By offering fence and trellis construction services and building attractions which brought over 1,400 visitors to their farm they were able to carry on with the farm they have always dreamed of.
 
Drapeau and Neault are third-generation dairy and field crop farmers who are not afraid to make changes and embrace technology. Raised in a farming family, Dominic got involved in the family business at a young age. When he was 16, he was performing artificial insemination on cows and developed his management skills by taking over the herd and feeding responsibilities.  In the barn they use genomic testing on young animals, motion detectors for reproduction, a smart scale on the mixer-feeder and temperature probes close to calving. In the fields, the farm uses a satellite navigation system for levelling, draining, seeding, fertilizing and spraying. With these innovations over the last four years, they have enabled the farm to increase overall yields by five to 10 per cent each year.
 
“The national event in Niagara Falls this year was a great opportunity to showcase all of the great contributions to Canadian agriculture,” Lynn says. “All of the regional OYF honourees really went outside of the box and pushed the boundaries this year.”
 
Every year this event brings recognition to outstanding farm couples in Canada between 18 and 39 years of age who have exemplified excellence in their profession while fostering better urban-rural relations. The Lovell’s and Drapeau/Neault were chosen from seven regional finalists, including the following honourees from the other five regions:

  • Brian and Jewel Pauls, Chilliwack B.C.
  • Shane and Kristin Schooten, Diamond City, Alta.
  • Dan and Chelsea Erlandson, Outlook, Sask.
  • Jason and Laura Kehler, Carman, Man.
  • Adrian and Jodi Roelands, Lambton Shores, Ont.
Celebrating 36 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, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Published in Producers
Dec. 9, 2016 - The Back to Ag Program is a funding project focused on supporting the cost of adaptive technology for farmers that have experienced a traumatic injury. The Back to Ag Program is the result of a partnership between the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, Farm Credit Canada and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Barry Cloutier, a farmer from near Ponteix, Sask., is one farmer that Back to Ag has helped.

In October of 2014, Cloutier was running a round baler when trouble struck. “The twine yanked out,” he explains. “To see where the problem was, I had to leave the baler running.” That’s when he saw the buildup of chaff and straw. “I’ve had two baler fires, so I’m pretty wary of extra chaff and straw. I reached out to remove the blockage - I wasn’t thinking at that point, and that’s when my fingers found the roller chain,” Cloutier says. “I knew better, but it was close to supper time, and I wanted to be done my work in 15 minutes.”

Cloutier had lost portions of his index and middle finger on his right hand. Cloutier immediately called 911. After some initial confusion on where he exactly was, the paramedics found him, and the ambulance rushed him to the hospital.

After a night in hospital and then day surgery, Cloutier was back on the farm. “I had to have my hand bandaged and cleaned daily at the local hospital. I also had to drive to hospital for a time for a hand therapy program,” he says. “The physical therapist told me that she could see I was stubborn and that I was going to work to get my hand and fingers to the point where I could make a fist. And I did.”

Even with his injury, Cloutier hasn’t slowed down on the farm. “I don’t want to do anything else,” he explains. “This is where my heart is. This is me; this is who I am, and this is what I do.”

However, Cloutier’s injury has affected his ability to do his job on the farm. “It’s a good thing I’m stubborn,” he says. “Things are more difficult. I have to think and plan very carefully what I’m going to do. My hand is always very sensitive, always cold. If I’m climbing a ladder or working around machinery, I have to be very thoughtful about how to use my hand; the strength isn’t there anymore.” Cloutier has looked into other programs and personal insurance, but no program or insurance existed that would be able to help him deal with his injury on the farm.

That’s when he saw an article about Back to Ag.

“I was waiting for my wife and happened across a newspaper article about Back to Ag,” he explains. “I thought, wow, that’s interesting!” Cloutier explains that he started thinking about applying and what type of technical solution would best accommodate his injury. Cloutier faces many challenges in having only two fingers on his dominant hand and hauling five-gallon pails is one of them.

With over 200 head of livestock, Cloutier was dependent on a shovel and pail to feed his animals. “I put out pails six months of the year,” he explains. “I needed something that would help ease the pressure and pain on my hand.”

Through the Back to Ag Program, Cloutier was able to purchase a cattle-feed cart. This grain handling system means that Cloutier is able to feed his livestock more efficiently and safely, without the risk of injuring his hand further.

When talking about the grain handling system, he is enthusiastic. “I like the way it looks; it’s a great idea. I like the idea of not having to haul those doggone pails.” He does have one problem with the new grain handling system, “It might make me want to farm that much longer,” he laughs.

Cloutier encourages other traumatically-injured farmers to find out more about the Back to Ag Program. “Definitely apply,” he says. “Find out more and use it for something that’s going to help you and be useful on your farm.”

CASA is currently accepting applications for the Back to Ag program for the 2016–17 funding period. Applications are being received on a first come, first served basis. Applicants must be farmers who have experienced a life-altering incident resulting in a disability. They must demonstrate that the purchase of specialized equipment or adaptation of existing equipment will help them get back to work on the farm safely.

For more information about program criteria or to submit an application, please visit casa-acsa.ca/BacktoAg or call 877-452-2272.
Published in Farm Business
Dec. 2, 2016 - Each year the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC) presents the Carl Block Award to an individual nominated by his or her peers for outstanding contributions in the field of livestock animal health. This award is in memory of Carl Block, who was chair of the CAHC when he passed away as the result of a small plane crash in May 2002.
 
The CAHC has named Dr. Grant Maxie of Puslinch, Ont. as this year’s recipient of the award.  Through his hard work and dedication, Dr. Maxie has made many significant contributions to the Canadian animal health industry.
 
Maxie has been integrally involved in the laboratory management and surveillance scene both in Canada and internationally over his distinguished career. Since 1997 he has been Director of the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL), University of Guelph and since 2007 co-executive director of laboratory services, University of Guelph. In these positions he has provided leadership in several national diagnostic and surveillance initiatives. 

Most recently, he has lead the Animal Health Lab and provided guidance to industry through the recent PEDV and Avian Influenza outbreaks in Ontario. He is the project chair for the Disease Surveillance Plan 2013- 2018, an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs project, administered by AHL that has enhanced the conduct of disease surveillance in Ontario and has contributed nationally as well.
 
Accompanying Maxie’s nomination for the Carl Block Award were several letters of support from both Canadian and international bodies, which is a testament to his influence globally.
 
In a news release, CAHC says that considering that the primary criteria to receive the Carl Block Award is that recipients demonstrate leadership, commitment and passion for enhancing animal agriculture in Canada, it is easily apparent why Grant Maxie is the 2016 recipient.
Published in Profiles
November 21, 2016 - Libro Credit Union (Libro) and the University of Guelph (UofG) have announced Ryan Gibson, PhD, as the Libro professor of regional economic development for southwestern Ontario. The professorship is a partnership between Libro and the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), focused on building economic development and innovation
across the region, through research, teaching, outreach and collaboration.

Gibson joins the UofG from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, N.S. He’ll be working through the OAC’s school of environmental design and rural development.

“Ryan’s expertise and experience are a perfect fit for this new position,” says Rene Van Acker, OAC dean. “His focus on community-engaged scholarship combined with his enthusiasm, assures me he will do great things while working with the communities of southwestern Ontario.”

Gibson’s research examines issues related to the future of rural communities and regions, and topics such as governance, immigration and revitalization. He is also president of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, a national organization committed to strengthening communities by creating economic opportunities that enhance social and environmental conditions.

Originally from rural Manitoba, Gibson has a deep respect for rural communities, rural people and the events that shape their futures. Growing up witnessing the transformations in rural development, agriculture and their influence on communities instilled a fascination and commitment to rural issues.

Libro has committed to endow the professorship with $500,000 over 10 years, which will be matched to existing donations, for a combined gift of $1 million.

Overall goals of the professorship include:
  • Establishing southwestern Ontario as a defined economic region of the province and identifying strategies to shape the future vision of economic development
  • Strengthening links between rural and urban communities to establish solutions for an integrated regional economy
  • Building a network among Ontario’s post-secondary institutions and research facilities to collaborate on initiatives to grow regional economic development
The professorship will be hosted at the UofG within the OAC, bolstered by the Ridgetown campus.
Published in Researchers
Nov. 8, 2016 - The Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture (CYSA) Competition has announced the winners of the 2016 competition which took place Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
 
Senior Champion: Spencer Graling from St. Paul, Alta.; First Runner-up: Daniel Vander Hout from Waterdown, Ont.; Second Runner-up: Katelyn Ayers from Severn, Ont.
 
Junior Champion: Douglas Archer from Mount Pleasant, Ont.; First Runner-up: Maxwell Archer from Mount Pleasant, Ont.; Second Runner-up: Aleri Swalwell from Strathmore, Alta.
 
This 32nd edition of CYSA welcomed 30 competitors aged 11 to 24 from across Canada who offered their insight and solutions regarding the following topics:
  • 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?

"Once again it was wonderful to see the continuing interest of the very talented young people across Canada that want to speak out about agriculture. From a board perspective, we all take great pleasure in ensuring this exciting competition prevails annually to capture the thoughts of each and every participant," says Ted Young, CYSA chair.
 
CYSA also took the opportunity to present long-time board member and past president John J. MacDonald with a plaque recognizing his more than 10 years with CYSA and naming him honourary president. CYSA also presented a recognition plaque to honour board member and past president Richard Kutnz who is concluding his term on the CYSA board.
 
As announced after the Seniors final round the topics for 2017 will be:
 
  • Working in agriculture is more than just farming
  • Does digital farming have a place in the future of Canadian agriculture?
  • Farm gate to dinner plate: The importance of food traceability for Canadian consumers
  • How will we feed 9 billion people by 2050?
  • Food waste: What is the global impact and who is responsible for making a change?
This year also saw a change in board members with Gerry Sullivan (Nfld.) becoming past-president; April Stewart (Que.) stepping into the role of president; Christina Crowley-Arklie (Ont.) becoming vice-president; and Ted Young remains board chair.
 
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.
 
Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture is a national, bilingual competition that gives participants an opportunity to share their opinions, ideas and concerns about the Canadian agri-food industry in a five- to seven-minute prepared speech.
 
Since the first competition held at the Royal Winter Fair in honour of the International Year of the Youth in 1985, it has gone on to become the premier public speaking event in Canada for young people interested in agriculture, with more than 900 participants in total over the years. For more information about CYSA visit www.cysa-joca.ca.
Published in Profiles
Nov. 8, 2016 - The Career Focus Green Jobs program is offering wage subsidies to help employers with an environmental focus hire new graduates. The program targets small and medium sized businesses to help reduce the cost barriers of hiring new graduates by subsidizing their salary by 50 per cent to a maximum of $13,500 per year. Its purpose is to help employers hire the talent they need and help recent graduates initiate a career.
 
“Agriculture is a natural fit for this green jobs initiative,” says Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, executive director of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC). “Canada’s primary producers are the frontline caregivers for much of our nation’s lands and waters and are therefore also the most invested in making sure heathy ecosystems are maintained.”
 
To qualify as a green job the job must have a green mandate or the employer needs to have an environmental focus. For example, the job must help reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials; limit greenhouse gas emissions; minimize waste and pollution; and protect and restore ecosystems.
 
Such opportunities may be found in non-profit environmental organizations; solar and wind technology companies; environmental science centres; watershed and water resource agencies, farms and farming co-ops; conservation organizations; museums and educational institutions; waste management companies; and information technology companies, among others.
 
For agriculture, as long as the company meets one of the following specifications they are considered eligible for the program: the farm/company has a sustainable mandate or focus which helps protect and restore ecosystems; it has developed and implemented systems to reduce waste within the industry; it produces organic products which reduce the use of chemicals; it conducts research on the environmental impact and resolutions within the industry; or it is an agricultural manufacturing company that develops equipment that reduces emissions and energy use.

The program is being administered by CAHRC partner BioTalent Canada and all applications must be submitted by Dec. 12, 2016 to offset employment costs until June 2017. For more information on the Career Focus Green Jobs program contact Jennifer Ash at 613-234-1402 Ext 221 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or  visit https://www.biotalent.ca/en/career-focus-green-jobs.
 
This initiative is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy.
Published in Farm Business
Nov. 1, 2016 - The Canada and Manitoba governments are investing more than $432,000 over two years to help Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) establish a new program to provide practical, on-farm expertise, resources and training to enhance on-farm safety.  The announcement was made by federal agriculture minister, Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba agriculture minister, Ralph Eichler.

The farm safety program will offer access to agriculture industry-specific information to ensure agriculture employers understand the regulations, rights and responsibilities around safe workplaces and to identify safety risks on their farms.

“Many people in agriculture work outdoors with heavy equipment or livestock in locations that can be a far distance from emergency services, which can increase the risk of injury,” says Eichler.  “This program will give producers the information they need to comply with safety and health regulations and ensure safe work environments for themselves and their employees.”

Services will include:
  • information and resources on health and safety regulations, risk-specific tip sheets and signage and basic safety orientation for farm workers, supervisors and owners;
  • on-site safety advisors who will work directly with farm businesses to identify and address farm risks;
  • commodity-specific farm safety workshops; and
  • safety awareness training for farm workers and supervisors, as well as hazard-specific training.
The program will be administered by KAP, with leadership and guidance provided by a Manitoba farm safety council.  It will include representatives from a number of agriculture stakeholders, as well as organizations focused on workplace safety and health.

“Our goal is to provide resources for farmers that are practical,” says Dan Mazier, KAP president.  “Rather than just telling them to read through safety regulations, we are making someone available to show them what they can do to reduce accidents on their farms and comply with provincial regulations.”

SAFE Work Manitoba is a project partner and will provide funding, expertise and other resources to support the initiative.

“SAFE Work Manitoba commends KAP for taking this important step in establishing a farm safety program,” adds Jamie Hall, chief operating officer, SAFE Work Manitoba.  “This program will help make Manitoba’s farms safer for farmers, their families and for workers. We look forward to a continued partnership by working with KAP to bring safety information and resources to Manitoba farms.”

Work to establish the program will begin immediately. Funding will be provided through the Growing Forward 2 – Growing Actions program, which supports industry-led initiatives to increase competitiveness and develop innovative solutions for agricultural organizations.  For more information about Growing Actions and other programs, visit www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/growing-forward-2.

The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.

For more information on Manitoba’s agricultural programs and services, follow the Twitter account @MBGovAg  

KAP is Manitoba’s general farm policy organization, representing farmers and commodity organizations from across the province.  For more information about KAP, visit www.kap.mb.ca .
Published in Farm Business
Sept. 29, 2016 - Farmers in Alberta are invited to turn in their obsolete or unwanted agricultural pesticides and livestock/equine medications on the dates and at the locations specified below for safe disposal.

Collection sites will be open on the days specified from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 3                        

Central Alberta Co-op in Innisfail, 403-505-1467
Edberg Crop Management in Edberg, 780-877-0003
Crop Production Services in Westlock, 780-349-4525
Crop Production Services in Smoky Lake, 780-656-4343

Tuesday, Oct. 4                        

Richardson Pioneer in Provost, 780-753-2511
Alliance Seed Cleaning Association in Alliance, 780-879-3927
Parkland Fertilizers in Lacombe, 780-782-2232
Neerlandia Co-op in Barrhead, 780-674-2820

Wednesday Oct. 5

Andrukow Group Solutions in Saint Paul, 780-645-5915
Richardson Pioneer in Lavoy, 780-658-2408
McEwen's Fuels & Fertilizers in Athabasca, 780-675-9500
Crop Production Services in Camrose, 780-672-3025

Thursday, Oct. 6                      

Crop Production Services in Vermilion, 780-853-4711
North Corridor Co-op in Thorhild, 780-398-3975
Leduc Co-op in Leduc, 780-986-3000
Andrukow Group Solutions in Wainwright, 780-842-3306

Friday, Oct. 7                            

Sturgeon Valley Fertilizers in Legal, 780-961-3088
Andrukow Group Solutions in Viking, 780-336-3180
UFA in Drayton Valley, 780-621-0313
Crop Production Services in Lloydminster, 780-871-4601
 

CleanFARMS, a national, industry-led agricultural waste stewardship organization, has partnered with CropLife Canada and the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) to deliver this program to Alberta farmers. The plant science and animal health industries are committed to safely and responsibly collecting and disposing of obsolete pesticides and livestock/equine medications at no cost to farmers.

For more information, visit www.cleanfarms.ca or call 1-877-622-4460.
Published in Farm Business
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