Category: Industry Issues

Mind Your Farm Business — Ep 32: Putting a value on public trust

If we can’t manage what we can’t measure, how do we approach the very real risk of losing public trust in how food gets grown? “Public trust is one of those things where we don’t know the full value of it until we’ve lost it,” says Crystal MacKay, president of the Canadian Centre for Food… Read more »

In 30 years, will farming be as controversial as oil & gas is now?

I read a column recently that made my stomach drop, just a little. The article, a sign-off from seasoned journalist Claudia Cattaneo, showcased not just her career spent covering the oil and gas sector, but also highlighted the current lack of in-depth, credible reporting on a controversial industry. As I read the following, I noticed… Read more »

U.S. groups raise hackles over the definition of ‘meat’

The issue The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has submitted a petition to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), asking that labeling rules exclude certain products from being called ‘beef’ or ‘meat’. The group is asking that ‘meat’ only be used as a descriptor for products derived directly from animals… Read more »

Changing minds by changing yours: influencing consumers’ opinions on agriculture

Are you willing to change your mind when you discuss agriculture and food issues with people who don’t agree with your point of view? On some level, most people in agriculture engage in conversations with family, friends, and colleagues on a range of issues – everything from conventional versus organic agriculture, to the right to… Read more »

Announced high speed rail will split farms in half, isolate rural communities

Last week, the Ontario government formally announced the blueprint for bringing high speed rail (HSR) to southern Ontario. The $11 billion line item in last month’s election-ready budget would see Phase One connect London and Toronto by 2025, according to the province. The proposed HSR line would eventually run all the way to Windsor for… Read more »

Staking a claim for ag in the social media jungle

Marketing and farming go hand in hand, says UK communications specialist Simon Haley. In a swing through Ontario that starts later this week, he’ll be urging farmers to use their intrinsic marketing skills to get back in touch with consumers. “Farming is where marketing started,” says Haley. But over the years – as nations became… Read more »

Pop the bubble: Why farm groups need to spend more on lobbying

Whether the government brings forward small business tax change legislation, the U.S. closes the border to Canadian cattle, or a bill (i.e. C-49) ends up locked in the Senate and going nowhere fast, our industry associations and member-based organizations lobby for change on behalf of farmers. According to Wikipedia, lobbying is defined as: the act of attempting… Read more »

EU neonic restrictions ‘a tragedy’ for beneficial insects, says UK researcher

The European Commission ‘severely restricted‘ three neonicotinoids — clothiandidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam — in an effort to protect honeybees, but critics say the regulations are doing for the very opposite. “In 2013 the European parliament voted to ban the use of neonics on flowering plant species, because of concerns about bee health,” said Simon Kightley,… Read more »

Stock growers express concern over front-of-package food product labelling

In February, the Government of Canada announced it would launch consultations on front-of-package (FOP) labelling, as part of the Healthy Eating Strategy announced in late 2016. The labelling, according to a press release, would use a symbol to “provide a clear visual cue that a food is high in nutrients of public health concern.” The… Read more »

Alberta cattle feeders vote in favour of ‘New Era Beef Industry’

The Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA) met last week at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference for their Annual General Meeting, where a resounding 75 percent of the membership voted in favour of pursuing an agreement that is being called the “New Era Beef Industry.” This agreement, if successful, will see a change to the check-off… Read more »

The farming problems the shared economy can solve

We live in an age of disruption. Middle man getting in the way? Just work around them. Whether it’s ride-sharing such as Uber, house rentals via Air BnB, or crowdfunding to make something happen, several established industries are in the midst of a I-can-do-it-myself revolution. For highly competitive, highly regulated industries, such as taxis and… Read more »

SpaceX launch could be a leap toward solving the rural internet problem

Slow and inconsistent internet accessibility is a major problem in many rural areas. It’s a competitive disadvantage for farmers, ranchers and rural businesses who generally have no choice but to settle for slower, more expensive internet than people living in urban areas. Traditional internet service providers, unless they’re regulated or funded by government, see little… Read more »

The race is on for trade agreements: Masswohl

There a great number of trade files open in Canada, with officials focused on Japan and Asia Pacific with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP); the ongoing negotiations surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); and the European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), just to name a few. “I… Read more »

Last quarantine lifted in Alberta bovine TB investigation

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada this week announced a release of all quarantines related to the bovine tuberculosis investigation in Western Canada. According to a press release, the release from quarantine includes 79 trace-out herds with approximately 15,000 animals, and 71 trace-in herds, also with roughly 15,000 animals. “I am… Read more »

Who do we think we are? Canada’s shifting demographics shape food demand

For decades, the average Canadian was of British, western European, or even American descent. Over time, most people’s idea of “average” has stayed the same, but the actual demographics have shifted, and in some ways, the change is quite dramatic. Canadians are much older, more suburban, and more multicultural than ever. Instead of European influence,… Read more »