I suspect there will be a lot of angst over the new federal farm review and forecast – even though statistically, it’s a good news story. The report, released last week, showed farmers produced 96.5 million tonnes of grain in 2013. That’s a major leap over the previous year’s relatively dismal 76.7-million tonne crop, which… Read More

The words “Made in Canada branding campaign” had hardly dried on the page of federal finance minister Jim Flaherty’s Economic Action Plan last week before marketing experts started taking shots at it…even though they didn’t know what it was about. They couldn’t know, because the government itself didn’t — all the budget contained was one… Read More

When new farm animal diseases rear their heads, one of the first questions asked is how they were discovered.  Overwhelmingly, the sleuth turns out to be a rural veterinarian, summoned by the farm’s concerned owner or operator. Although our society is becoming much more urbanized, rural veterinarians play a critical role. In Ontario, the Ontario… Read More

When farmers aren’t busy farming, it turns out they’re busy lobbying the government with ideas, strategies and suggestions to keep farming vibrant. A new members’ survey by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the province’s largest general farm group, shows many farmers are dedicating time to contacting representatives at all three levels – municipal, provincial and… Read More

Consumers want food that’s as cheap as possible. True, they want safe food, too, and all those other features such as wholesome, nutritious and environmentally sound food. But mainly, they want food cheap. The huge increase in grocery items at big box stores and discount outlets bears that out. Exceptions exist, particularly with the growing… Read More

Kinder, gentler wind energy producers are emerging, the kind that share the benefits from wind installations with their neighbours and their community. They’re wading into a maelstrom of discontent, but it appears their approach is striking a chord in some parts of rural Canada. Last week the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), an advocacy group… Read More

Farming has become a year-round state of mind. Seasonality is not as much of a management consideration as it once was, especially for crop producers. Planting season and harvest season still exist, but due to increased demands – including the need to constantly be working on public image — the farming season has become a… Read More

Public breeding (for plants, that is) is not something you’d imagine the public yelling into a telephone about, telling their elected officials support for public plant breeding must absolutely be part of the next federal or provincial budget, or else. But stranger things have happened. For example, who would have thought people would get so… Read More

Agriculture is getting better at not ignoring or dismissing smear campaigns, just because it doesn’t like them (i.e. A&W, Panera bread). So in that light, it also shouldn’t roll its eyes at Friends of the Earth and its new survey that, according to the organization, shows Ontarians want “honey bee carnage” stopped. There are good… Read More