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

Some people used to think farmers only could grow crops for food. Today, though, some think farmers only should grow crops for food. It’s a great debate, with, I suspect, the answer somewhere in the middle. Philosophical, theoretical, economic and even spiritual debates rage about farmers’ role in feeding the world versus growing crops for… Read More

Research is often seen as an investment in new technology development, in whirring instruments or the roar of equipment. That might make it easy to forget that new technology results from new knowledge. And knowledge is key to preserving and advancing modern family farms. That reminder comes courtesy of Mildmay, ON dairy farmer Ralph Dietrich. He’s the… Read More

Sometimes, people who understand agriculture – farmers, for example – are reluctant to enter into a public forum to talk about the profession they love. Other times, they’ll stand up and speak voluntarily, as leaders of their commodity organization or farm group. But on at least one occasion, others still will actually pay for the… Read More

Yet more evidence is trickling out about consumers’ upbeat perceptions of farmers. And not surprisingly, once again, it’s good. This time the source is food consultant to the Royal Winter Fair, popular dietitian Lois Ferguson of Eating For Ecstasy fame. She’s released results of a survey conducted with more than 1,400 fairgoers last November, which… Read More

Are you up to speed on the Chipotle restaurant controversy? Briefly, Chipotle, a Mexican grill chain, teamed up with Academy Award-winning Moonbot Studios to create a sappy but incredibly popular animated video that takes a mean-spirited and unprovoked shot at commercial-scale agriculture.  It’s become an internet phenomenon, drawing six million viewers over the past couple… Read More