Category: Industry Issues

The push to end supply management signals waning public support of farming

Over the last few months, the Conservative leadership contest has thrust a highly emotional issue for rural Canada into the spotlight— is supply management worth keeping or not? If you aren’t aware of the issue, one candidate, Maxime Bernier, is looking to eliminate the system. The rest of the field of candidates have said they… Read more »

CBC runs a story smearing University of Saskatchewan professor for alleged ties to Monsanto

As universities encourage researchers to collaborate with industry, activists are looking to discredit academics they declare to be compromised.  This week, an American anti-GMO activist organization, U.S. Right to Know, convinced someone at CBC that University of Saskatchewan professor Dr. Peter Phillips has been compromised by Monsanto. The attack is similar to others carried out by… Read more »

Putting the squeeze on celebrity influence

How powerful is popular culture? It has tremendous influence on much of our daily lives, impacting everything from food choices and diets, to exercise, and what products we buy. Many of these choices our those we make to help our families lead healthy lives. Dr. Timothy Caulfield would like to like to see governments, regulators,… Read more »

Could Investing in Rural Canada Make for Affordable Cities?

We know that housing prices – regardless of whether you buy or rent — are out of sight, especially in Canada’s major cities, and in particular, Toronto, where housing prices have jumped more than 30 per cent in one year. As part of what’s called the Fair Housing Plan, announced Thursday, April 20, Ontario Premier… Read more »

Is Glyphosate the Next Honeybee?

When I’m knee-deep (ankle, for most of you) in discussions about challenges in agriculture, I often ask, “What’s the next bee?” I’m used to the funny looks I get, but what I mean, once I clarify, is what is the next issue in agriculture that will be debated and perhaps regulated not necessarily on the… Read more »

The Future of Food and Genetic Technology in a “Post-Truth” World — Pamela Ronald

Oxford dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” We’re seeing this term thrown around by the media in the context of recent politics, but these “post-truth” conditions are really nothing new for agriculture. “This has… Read more »

Trudeau Playing the Trade File Perfectly at this Point

It was a great week for Canada in terms of trade on several fronts. You can say many negative things about Prime Minister Trudeau, but you cannot take away his government’s effort to extend Harper’s commitment to trade. There is much discussion and renegotiation to still happen, but the week of February 13th was very good for… Read more »

Carbon Tax Hits Greenhouse Industry Hard

How easily could your farm business absorb an added $120,000 bill? That’s approximately what Jan Vanderhout, co-owner of Beverly Greenhouses, says the new Ontario carbon tax will cost him this year, or just over $6,000 per acre of greenhouse space. Vanderhout, a third-generation greenhouse grower and the chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’… Read more »

When Evidence-Free Fear Causes Real Harm: Timothy Caulfield

Why are celebrities so influential when it comes to trends? Turns out, we may actually be programmed to follow prestige. But, as Timothy Caulfield explains, we may not always recognize this behaviour in ourselves, claiming instead that “everyone else” falls for such things, but not us. Caulfield, a professor with the University of Alberta’s law… Read more »

Northern Ontario — Distraction or Attraction?

Sitting in the Northern Exposure presentation at the Southwest Agricultural Conference, I watched with fascination as a room full of southern Ontario farmers were captivated by Prairie agriculture. How’s that, you ask? Well, farming in Ontario’s “north” is far more similar to farming in Manitoba than the rest of the growing region of Ontario, and this Prairie… Read more »

Trump Legacy: Feed the World, or the Ego?

I’m a big advocate of democracy. I defend the free press globally, especially the agricultural free press, and people’s right to say what they want, as long as they don’t misuse it by slandering or scurrilously pursuing others. But when I see Donald Trump supporters flaunting slogans like Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required, as… Read more »

New Year Prediction: Your Natural Capital Will Be Trending

Every decade or so, the rest of the world realizes how cool it is to be a farmer — to be someone with “natural capital,” that is, a steward of natural resources such as healthy soil, clean water, and good air. In my lifetime, it’s happened a few times in North America, driven initially by… Read more »

Will Agriculture Benefit Under Donald Trump’s Presidency?

As America awaits the announcement of the Secretary of Agriculture, speculation rages on what the new Trump presidency will mean for agriculture. In Canada, the opportunistic wave of Trump or the backdraft are possible with so many election promises made and an eagerness to close many deals. At the recent Montana Grain Growers meeting in… Read more »

Young and Female — The Changing Face of Farming

There’s certainly a growing emphasis on reducing gender-related barriers in Canadian agriculture, whether that’s measured by the success of conferences for women in ag, the launch of the Ag Women’s Network, policy projects being led by the Canadian Ag HR Council, or through less formal means within individual workplaces. The topic has been in the… Read more »

Is Polling Still Relevant?

2016 will be remembered for all sorts of monumental things — many of them bad. If you were in the polling industry in 2016, you may even call it a very bad year. Brexit wasn’t exactly a shining example of getting the call right. Then, there’s that pesky Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump contest that… Read more »