Category: Real Talk Real Action

New technology to reduce antimicrobial use in pigs

An all-Canadian product that promises better pork health is coming onto the domestic market this month. It’s designed to reduce antimicrobial use in piglets, by making them healthier from the start. The product is called Nuvio. Its producers, MicroSintesis and Bio Agri Mix, call Nuvio technology  “proteobiotics.” That’s the name they’ve given molecules produced by… Read more »

Swiss food security vote: because you can’t live on chocolate alone

In our country, referendums are rare, and not for the faint of heart. Remember the Quebec separation referendums back in the 1990s? They nearly tore the country apart. It’s a different story in Switzerland, which like us, is an agricultural nation. Here, referendums — like the one on food security that concluded on Sunday —… Read more »

Efforts intensify in Ontario to regulate organic products

Recent efforts to address consumer questions and confusion over certified organic food production have taken a step forward in Ontario. On Wednesday, MPPs Peter Tabuns and Sylvia Jones announced a co-sponsored private member’s bill for organic products regulation in Ontario. “This bill will provide further transparency and help ensure that the growing organic industry continues… Read more »

Sausage study challenges consumer confidence

My daughter and grandson share the same birthday, August 7. They’re part of a pork-and-grain farming operation near Thamesville. At their birthday celebration on the weekend, our family barbequed pork sausage from their farm on the campfire. There was no reason to doubt the quality of the sausage. We trust the meat packers in nearby… Read more »

Websites highlight Canadian farmers’ food products

Canada has a reputation for producing superb food ingredients…then shipping them abroad to be processing into finished goods, which we buy back at a higher cost. We further lose their added value because the processing and manufacturing jobs that are part of creating finished goods are part of someone else’s economy, not ours. Apologies if… Read more »

Say ‘salud!’ to the Canada–Mexico connection

I’m sure that with all the sabre rattling going on over NAFTA, our friends in the US understand why Canada and Mexico want to strengthen ties with each other, like we did earlier this month at a meeting in Calgary. There, Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and José Calzada, Mexican Secretary of… Read more »

Blood test can identify litter-limiting genetic problem in pigs

A lab has been established in Guelph to screen boars with a genetic abnormality that results in smaller litters. The abnormality happens naturally, when cells divide. “Sometimes, the genes just don’t line up the way they should when cells are developing,” says University of Guelph Prof. Allan King, who established the lab. That results in… Read more »

Farmers taking measures to clean up Ontario water

Producers can, and will, continue asking the age-old rhetorical question about why anyone thinks they are, or would be, insensitive to the environment when (unlike most people) they and their families actually live where they work. And although it’s a valid question, I get a feeling that the way our what’s-in-it-for-me society has evolved, logic… Read more »

Wet weather prompts warning about northern corn leaf blight

If above average moisture continues through June, growers should start scouting early for northern corn leaf blight (NCLB). Rob Miller, BASF’s technical development manager for eastern Canada, says NCLB can appear as early as the 8-10 leaf stage in a wet season. Lesions appear on the lower leaves and move upwards, as the infection often… Read more »

Ontario farm leaders head south to keep U.S. ag trade flowing

Starting Wednesday, Ontario ag leaders are headed south of the border to try to mend some of the trade fences that embattled U.S. President Donald Trump has crashed through. Led by Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs minister Jeff Leal, the group – which includes representatives from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the… Read more »

Survey shows gap between precision data collection and use

Precision agriculture counts on not only data collection, but also on data management as well. And while a new survey of 700 farmers across Canada shows most producers are indeed gathering agronomic data electronically, many are not yet using that data for management purposes. The survey, which took place over three weeks in November and… Read more »

Door Opens for Easier On-Farm Business Development in Ontario

With 98 per cent of businesses in Canada employing less than 100 people, it really is true that, cliché or not, small business is the backbone of the country. In Ontario, agriculture and food already employs some 800,000 people. Its presence is clear. But once businesses are up and running, they then have to grow…. Read more »

More Farm and Food Teacher Ambassadors On Deck

Rejoice, people who say we need more agriculture education in the classroom. Here’s some good news. In Ontario, plans are underway to have up to 50 agriculture in the classroom teacher ambassadors – twice as many as now exist — trained and available for assignment by the 2018/19 school year. This initiative is being driven… 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 »

Africa’s Farmers Need Investment to Feed Africa

Globally, the big question in food production – the one that reverberates in any discussion about the future – is who will feed the increasingly hungry world, and how. Most of the focus is on Africa, and the growing population there. So the question goes: Who will feed Africa? Well, after spending two weeks with… Read more »