November 16, 2018 - Grain Farmers of Ontario is proposing several ideas for action at an industry meeting called by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to address the high DON in corn crisis in Ontario.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is proposing ideas that will help alleviate farmer-member concerns around testing protocols, cash flow, storage of corn and harvest bottlenecks, new markets for high DON corn, and support for on-farm testing and technology.
“We want to commend Minister Hardeman on his responsiveness to this devastating issue facing our farmers. Farmers are facing an outbreak of DON in corn beyond what we have ever seen,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “The grain value chain in Ontario counts for 40,000 jobs and this issue could impact everyone. Our farmers face major financial losses that could have devastating impacts on their businesses and the businesses of others across the grain industry.”
Storage: A significant number of farmers depend on the grain handling system for storage. The infected corn and late harvest is creating bottlenecks. Grain Farmers of Ontario is prepared to invest $240,000 into a program to purchase grain baggers for temporary storage solutions on the ground as early as next week.
Testing: Yesterday the Grain Farmers of Ontario approved a $100,000 investment to assist in improving the accuracy and consistency of the corn testing process. This project is expected to start producing results in the next two weeks.
New Markets: Grain Farmers of Ontario is proposing a high DON corn market mission to Western Canada and to parts of the US to explore new markets in the cattle feed industry. Grain Farmers of Ontario is also committing to a market development task force to seek out these new markets. This is in addition to work already underway with ethanol companies to process high DON corn.
On-Farm Testing: Grain Farmers of Ontario is going to explore bringing on-farm testers to farmer-members and expediting the delivery of back-ordered corn screens for cleaners to Ontario.
GFO is working with the Minister on other actions that will help Ontario farmers through this crisis:
• Providing certainty to farmers about Crop Insurance benefits, including DON limits and salvage benefits as well as the need to leave claims open beyond the current March deadline.
• Farmers will need some additional assistance from the AgriRecovery program and that process needs to be the initiated with the federal government.
• Providing relief for cash flow concerns including extending the Commodity Loan‘s Program limit from $120 million to $200 million with increased flexibility in repayment schedules.
• Initiating the late enrollment opt-in process for the few farmers that could benefit from AgriStability.
• The development of an emergency intake for CAP programming that could help farmers market this crop.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is also initiating mental health programs for farmer-members as they deal with mounting stress, and it is working with industry organizations like IGPC to find new ways to market the high DON corn with reasonable discounts that will allow the industry to continue.
Sales of farm machinery dipped
November 15, 2018 - PSales of farm machinery dipped in October, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.
U.S. sales of self-propelled combines declined by seven per cent compared with last year, and sales of four-wheel-drive tractors declined by one per cent.
But sales are still better this year than last with a year-to-date increase of 17 per cent for combines and 13.5 per cent four four-wheel-drive tractors.
October sales of two-wheel-drive tractors increased by six per cent compared with last year.
Sales of those with less than 40 horsepower increased by nine per cent and for those with 40 to 100 horsepower by five per cent. There was a decline of eight per cent for tractors with more than 100 horsepower.
Two new DFO directors
November 15, 2018 - PThere will be two new faces around the board table of Dairy Farmers of Ontario, at its first meeting in the new year.
In Region three, John Wynands, of Grenville County, will replace Henry Oosterhof, and in Region 11, Mark Hamel of Bruce County, will be replacing Ralph Dietrich who is retiring from the board.
The new directors serve four-year terms, starting January 10, 2019.
Albert Fledderus, of Lowbanks, in the Niagara areas, was previously acclaimed to represent Region 7. He begins his second term in 2019.
The ballots were counted Nov. 13, 2018, and the newly elected directors were notified via conference call.
Organic council pushes for regulation
November 12, 2019 - The Organic Council of Canada says a survey of 94 stakeholders indicates support for its push to have the province regulate the industry.
The survey also indicated small-scale organic producers need supports to achieve and maintain certification.
“Organic regulation is looking like more of a real possibility in Ontario, as we continue to engage with policymakers,” said Carolyn Young, executive director of the Organic Council of Ontario.
“Most of our respondents indicated that they are in favour of regulation, in principle, as long as small-scale supports are also created.
“Once regulation is in place, small operators will be required to have certification to use the word organic. So we want to make sure that it is realistic and viable for them to become certified.”
As part of the survey, OCO asked whether alternative forms of certification for “low-risk” farms would be a reasonable solution.
They would face fewer inspections if they demonstrate good behaviour for at least three years, the council suggests.
“The results of the survey indicated that while this approach would be welcomed by many producers, other supports are still needed,” the council said.
“The cost of certification is a concern for many farmers, which is why British Columbia has a low-risk program.” said Young.
“In other jurisdictions, there are also certification subsidies to help with this, as well as some organic-oriented extension services such as technical supports and training. OCO is now looking at alternative ways of funding them.”
Tribunal okays CFFO, OFA accreditation
November 12, 2019 - The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture have received approval for stable funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal.
There were public hearings at the end of September and nobody showed up to oppose their applications for re-accreditation.
There is no word yet on the application filed by the Ontario Branch of the National Farmers Union.
Cilantro on recall
November 12, 2019 - Canada Herb is recalling Canada Herb brand culantro (Ngò Gai) due to possible Salmonella contamination.
Testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency detected the salmonella food-poisoning bacteria.
The CFIA says there have been no reported illnesses associated with this product. The recall is for Ontario only.