Soil preservation is gaining seatbelt and sugarless gum status in our society. It’s simply no longer optional. Some soil advocates are now calling for every agricultural grant application to have a tick box explaining how the proposed project exercises best soil management practices. No doubt, pressure is mounting to acknowledge the unparalleled role those first… Read More

One of the world’s largest agricultural lenders suggests North American farm equipment dealers “transform” to improve returns on invested capital. In a food and agribusiness research and advisory missive, Rabobank’s senior analyst for farm inputs, Kenneth Zuckerberg, says the equipment sector is being rocked by three years of declining sales, along with shrinking net income… Read More

Ontario’s focus on the environmental side of farming has just been underlined and intensified, even more. With the midpoint mandate of her provincial government having been reached, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne put pen to paper last week to help guide both new and established ministers on the next part of their journey. Her mission was… Read More

Does agriculture have its own social licence, its own special bond with the public? I wondered that last week, thinking about the energy sector. My thoughts were prompted by the terrified look on Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s face, when he unwittingly found himself between a protestor (described by the media as “burly”) and participants at… Read More

For 32 years, Rob Hall worked in agricultural banking in Ontario – sometimes at the very top of the food chain, and always on the management side of the desk. Now, he’s switched sides. He’s on the farmer’s side. And he’s eager to talk in plain language. In February, Hall launched BankSpeak, a business finance… Read More

Producers can take heart in the approaches underway by provincial authorities to get a handle on two rabies outbreaks in southern Ontario. The outbreaks, involving terrestrial rabies (not bat rabies) have officials turning to proven control methods — and social media, through the Ontario Animal Health Network (OAHN) — to keep the disease in check. They… Read More

Safety is one of the key selling points that agriculture uses to promote food produced on Canadian farms. It’s often mentioned in the same breath as freshness, wholesomeness and nutrition, mirroring what consumers say they value (besides local). Farmers take many on-farm measures to keep food safe — using sound environmental practices, and federally approved plant and animal health… Read More

Has anything received more talk and less action than Canada’s chronic farm labour shortage? The nagging disconnect between unemployed Canadians and job openings in agriculture hit me this week when Statistics Canada announced that the country had lost more than 31,200 jobs in July. The figure was a surprise to everyone. Economists had predicted a… Read More

When your back’s against the wall, and talking and reasoning isn’t working, sometimes a 1-2 punch seems like the only forward. For example, in recent times, some Ontario farm groups — grain farmers, in particular — have used what appeared to be a pretty tough approach in dealing with pressure over neonicotinoid pesticides. People in… Read More

You can’t be everywhere at once. You can‘t be in the field, in the barn, on the road and, at the same time, talking face to face to consumers. You need some help, some friends. And more and more, those friends include professionals in related fields, such as butchers, retailers and dietitians. Dietitians’ role is… Read More

No one is saying farmers aren’t tough. But when it comes to mental illness, it turns out they have the same vulnerabilities as everyone else – and more. A mental health literacy training program and mental health emergency response model for Ontario farmers are being created now, following early results of a study that shows… Read More

More than 300 Ontario farmers consider lambsquarters Ontario’s worst weed. Results from a months-long online survey show lambsquarters narrowly edged out Canada fleabane by a half-dozen votes to take the title. “They were neck in neck,” says survey coordinator David Bilyea, weed specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Ridgetown…. Read More