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Ont. producer cried during new barn opening

March 28, 2023 - 9:46am
A member of Ontario’s ag community shed some tears when construction on a new barn on her family’s farm finished. “It was around the second week of January when we considered the barn officially open,” Jenn Leadbeter told “When we started to bring the horses in, I cried. They were happy tears, but it was overwhelming.” The new barn has almost 40 stalls, 30 of which are occupied. Walking through the new barn is bittersweet, she said. “We miss the old barn because of what it meant to us,” she said. “But with the new barn we got to design the whole thing. It’s new and it’s great, but we still miss the one we had.” It was around this time last year that Leadbeter’s family lost the old barn. On March 10, 2022, a fire at J & J Farms, which Jenn owns with her husband James in Newburgh, Ont., destroyed the old structure.

Are Cereal Grains Better Than Canola for Canada?

March 27, 2023 - 5:13am
By Haley Bilokraly Intern Do you know what difference your cereal crop makes to the Candian economy? Cereals Canada commissioned a report to understand how much of an impact the cereal grains sector has on the Canadian economy. The report was completed by LMC International, an independent economic consulting firm that focuses on agriculture and the agri-business sector. To get a comprehensive and detailed view of the sector, the report analyzed data from four cereal crops: wheat, barley, oats, and durum. As a result of the report, it was found that cereal grain is the second highest industry in terms of economic impact, with a total of $68.8 billion. Cereal grain only follows the oil and gas industry which has a total impact of $128.1 billion. Behind the cereal grain industry for economic impact is communication services ($66.1 billion), beef cattle ($51.6 billion), and canola ($29.9 billion). When diving deeper into the impact that cereal crop has on the Canadian economy, it is further broken down into direct and indirect. Direct impact is any benefit derived straight from the grains value chain. For example, a wheat farmers wage or the effect related to milling oats are direct impacts. Indirect effects are benefits received from industries that supply or are related to the grains sector. Employment from jobs that support barley farmers would be considered an indirect impact. Of the four cereal crops that were analyzed, wheat and barley were overwhelmingly the top contributors to the sector, both directly and indirectly. This is attributed to the vast amount of acreage that these crops account for in Canada and the many commercial bakeries and breweries across the country that rely on the production of wheat and barley. Much of the impact from wheat and barley is associated with Western Canada, as this is mainly where the production of the two crops takes place. However, indirect impacts are likely to be credited with Eastern Canada since this is where the majority of wheat and barley processing happens. Whether you are a grain farmer in Western Canada or a factory worker at a mill in Eastern Canada, it is clear that cereal crops continue to support our families and economy across the country. Next time you’re enjoying a beer from a local brewery or oat milk in your morning coffee, remember the importance of cereal grains in Canada. Watch the video about the report from Cereal Canada.

Ont. producer is chasing the ace of spades

March 22, 2023 - 12:13pm
When the Hagersville Lions Club starts selling tickets for its Chase the Ace lottery on Thursday morning, at least one farmer will be waiting in line. Cody Snyder, who raises turkeys in the community, plans to spend time in line with others vying for the jackpot that stands around $1.4 million. “My group is a bit more strategic as we send one person every week,” he told “This week is my turn so I’ll be waiting in line at some point tomorrow. My advice to people is to go later in the evening when it slows down. But you run the risk of the Lions Club running out of tickets.” Here’s a breakdown for those unfamiliar of how the Chase the Ace lottery works. People purchase tickets and guess which one of 52 numbered envelopes contains the ace of spades. The winning ticket holder automatically wins 20 per cent of the day’s ticket sales. In a March 4 update, for example, the Lions Club shared a winning ticket holder walked away with more than $133,000.

How High is High? Commodity Marketing Insights

March 22, 2023 - 7:20am
By Haley Bilokraly Intern “Conquer the Volatility” was the theme of a recent presentation by Chief Commodity Strategist Moe Agostino during the London Farm Show in early March (he also presented at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show). On each day of the show, Agostino filled every seat and standing spot during his presentation. Agostino has 42 years of experience in trading markets, commodity risk management, and marketing. He specializes in grain, basis, livestock, feed, futures/options, energy/diesel, fertilizer/input purchases, and both technical and fundamental analysis with a global and local market perspective. During the presentation Agostino covered every type of commodity risk a farmer might encounter and included insights on everything from the effects of the Argentina drought to observations on USDA reports. Agostino discussed the extreme drought happening in Argentina as an example of the 89-year drought cycle. Argentina has experienced 7 consecutive months of dry and hot weather. Agostino predicts that a dry spell is incoming and cautions farmers to hold on to their crop longer than they may normally. He also highlighted some crucial reminders to takeaway, such as keeping an eye on crude oil and the Canadian dollar. Additionally, Agostino stressed the importance of being patient, explaining that it is an important skill to avoid “leaving money on the table”. Watch the full presentation, and learn more about Agostino’s full Commodity Marketing presentation, video below. Risk Management Inc. is an agriculture commodity marketing and price risk management provider for North American farmers, producers, and agribusiness. Sign up for a 8-week trial to receive commodity market advice.

Developing a plan to stay safe

March 22, 2023 - 7:05am
By Haley Bilokraly Intern Last week was Canadian Agricultural Safety Week. You like read countless stories cautioning you to be safe on the farm and encouraging you to create a farm safety plan. But will you? and why should you? What is a Farm Safety Plan? A farm safety plan is a document with a variety of policies, rules, procedures, maps, and information that aid in creating a safe working environment on a farm. Often these are hard copy documents that are well-known and readily accessible to anyone it affects. You know how dangerous a farm can be, you see it every day. It is almost a guarantee that if you haven’t experienced a serious incident or close call on the farm, you know someone who has. Most producers agree that farm safety is important, yet only 15% of Canadian farmers have a safety plan. Are Farm Safety Plans Necessary? So, why should you write a farm safety plan? After all, isn’t safety just common sense? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Farm safety plans include deliberate and personalized information that differs with each farm, such as emergency response plans or inspection history. Even if you know this information, it could be lifesaving to have written down in the case that you may not be available to help. Creating a farm safety plan is also a financially smart decision. Whether it is fixing broken equipment or losing valuable work time, safety incidents on the farm are expensive. You can avoid these costly incidents with a farm safety plan and keep your hard-earned money. Additionally, your farm is a workplace. For this reason, you have a responsibility to keep the people who work and visit your farm safe. Creating a farm safety plan is a reasonable precaution to take to prevent injuries and demonstrates steps of due diligence. Creating a Farm Safety Plan Although safety plans will look different from farm to farm, there are a few elements that every plan should incorporate. According to Jody Wacowich, the executive director of AgSafe Alberta, every safety plan should include hazard assessment and control, emergency response planning, inspections, training procedures, a commitment from leadership, health and safety representatives, incident investigations, and a plan to administer the plan. From there you can add information that is relevant specifically to your operation. The requirements of a safety plan may sound complicated, but it is much simpler than you think! Many organizations have farm safety plan templates available for free online so that you don’t have to start from scratch. A great option to start with is the FarmSafe Plan by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association. Creating a plan is just the first step in ensuring your farm is a safe place to live and work. Take the next step by putting the plan into action, start safety conversations with family members and workers, and continually review and update your documents.

Applications Open for $110,000 in Ag Scholarships

March 22, 2023 - 6:54am
By Haley Bilokraly Intern The GROWMARK Foundation has opened applications for their 2023 scholarships. This year GROWMARK is giving out 55 scholarships, each valued at $2,000. The 55 available scholarships fall under one of three categories: Agriculture-focused bachelor's degree or higher, Agriculture-focused associate degree or certification, or Business-focused bachelor's degree or higher. Scholarships are only available to graduating high school students or current university/college students in the United States or Ontario. Selection of recipients will be made by a committee of individuals outside of the GROWMARK systems. Scholarships will be awarded based on academic achievement, school and community involvement, and answers to the 500-word essay questions. GROWMARK’s goal with these scholarships is to support young leaders in agriculture. “GROWMARK and the FS member cooperatives are strong supporters of youth leadership education, and this is one more way we can contribute to the future of agriculture” said Amy Bradford, GROWMARK Foundation Manager and Corporate Communications Manager. Applications can be submitted online by clicking here: GROWMARK Scholarship Application form. The form must be completed by midnight (Central Time) on May 12, 2023, to be considered.

What can $1.4 million get you in ag?

March 21, 2023 - 9:52am
If you suddenly came into more than $1 million, what kind of ag purchases might you consider? In Hagersville, Ont. the local Lions Club’s Chase the Ace lottery has a jackpot of about $1.4 million. For those unfamiliar with Chase the Ace, here’s how it works. One ticket is $10, or buyers can get three for $20. The Hagersville Lions Club only sells tickets in-person and on Thursdays from 9am to 7:30pm. “You put your name and your number on the ticket, and then there’s a circle on the ticket where you write your envelope number,” Tanya Ribbink, a member of the Lions club, told Norfolk Today. “You write down which envelope you think holds the ace of spades.” The draw takes place at 8pm. The winning ticket automatically wins 20 per cent of the day’s ticket sales. “Then we open the envelope that they chose. If it’s not the ace of spades, we do it all again the next week,” Ribbink said. While envisioning winning $1.4 million, head over to’s classifieds

Ontario gets first cases of avian flu of 2023

March 21, 2023 - 8:41am
Avian flu has arrived in Ontario in 2023. The City of Brampton confirmed a case of bird flu on March 20. Deceased waterfowl discovered near Professor’s Lake and Duncan Valley Foster South tested positive for avian influenza, the City said. Animal samples were sent to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, which confirmed bird flu as the cause of death. Prior to the Brampton case, bird flu was detected on a commercial poultry operation the Niagara Region. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) detected the case on March 14 in West Lincoln. This case caused an attraction in Toronto to change its operations for the time being. In a Twitter thread on March 15 and in a press release, the Zoo said as of March 16 it is closing or modifying walk-through aviaries to protect birds.

New cookbook shares stories and recipes from Ont. ag community

March 17, 2023 - 8:36am
A new cookbook highlights delicious recipes and stories from Ontario’s pork farming community. The Whole Hog, available through Ontario Pork, features 200 pages of recipes and stories from farmers, chefs, truckers, processors and others in the industry. The Wiedricks, who raise hogs and cash crops in Norfolk County, are among the contributors to the book. The family submitted a ham and potato casserole with corn, parsley, garlic and bacon. The recipe is one Kyla Wiedrick found online and is a staple in her family of eight’s meal rotation. “It’s a great way to use leftovers and is so easy to put together, so kids can help prepare it too,” she told “Whenever we’re handing out meals that’s our go-to and it always comes back with good reports.” In additio

International Zeolite opens Ontario production plant

March 15, 2023 - 7:26am
A Canadian ag company will begin producing products in Ontario. International Zeolite’s production plant in Jordan, Ont. has reached operational readiness and will start producing the company’s products later this month. The company acquired the facility in December 2022. International Zeolite manufactures nutrient delivery products through its NEREA line. The plant in Jordan will focus on NEREA products. These can be described as a “solid-state hydroponics,” the company’s website says. “Where simply water – without pre-mixed nutrients-is added without the need for any additional nutrient control infrastructure, such as: circulating pumps, sophisticated sensors, and/or complicated control and monitoring systems.” And future expansion of the facility will allow it to produce up to 25,000 kg of products per day. Having the plant in the Niagara region up and running is an important step for the company. “This is major milestone for International Zeolite,” Mark Pearlman, president and COO, said in

Hit Snooze on Your Alarm for Safety!

March 15, 2023 - 6:04am
By Haley Bilokrary, Intern Do you get enough sleep? According to our recent polls, 48% of readers spend less than 7 hours sleeping each night, the recommended minimum for adults. A further concerning fact about this percentage is that it doesn’t consider sleep habits during busy seasons, like planting, harvesting, or calving, where farmers may sleep significantly less. So, farmers don’t get enough sleep... why does it matter? Although it’s often overlooked, sleep is crucial for the daily functioning of your body. Aside from the general health risks that come along with fatigue, such as weakened immune systems, high blood pressure, and a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease, sleep is also important for safety on a farm. When farmers don’t get the amount of sleep that they need it leads to decreased coordination, reaction time delays, reduced concentration, and greater mood swings that affect decision making. All of these side effects are dangerous, especially when working on a farm around large animals, tall structures, and heavy equipment. For this reason, sleep has become one of the most common causes for a variety of incidents on the farm like falling into grain bins, tractor crashes or roll overs, and amputations from machinery. We know that getting enough sleep is not always a simple task. Peak seasons in agriculture can make it hard to set aside sufficient time to sleep and can affect the speed you fall asleep once in bed. However, there are a few strategies you can implement to help get a better sleep. Here are a few tips that could help you have a productive rest... Establish a regular sleep schedule Refrain from caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bed Avoid using electronics right before sleeping Sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool environment Try to limit naps after 3:00 p.m. Remember that even an extra 20 minutes every night can make a big difference. Take time during Canadian Agricultural Safety Week to start good sleep habits and stay safe on your farm. For more information about Canadian Agricultural Safety week, visit

Auto industry celebrates while Canadian ag suffers

March 14, 2023 - 9:55am
The news that automobile icon Volkswagen was going to construct its first-ever overseas battery manufacturing facility in St. Thomas, brought with it platitudes from the Canadian automobile industry—but the opposite from the Canadian ag sector. On March 13, 2023, Volkswagen—Europe’s largest automaker—announced that its subsidiary PowerCo will establish an electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facility in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. 'This historic investment is a testament to Canada’s strong and growing battery ecosystem and Ontario’s competitive business environment. With a highly skilled workforce, clean energy, an abundance of critical minerals, access to markets, and a flourishing automotive and battery sector, we are an attractive investment destination with everything companies need to grow. In addition, Canada and Ontario offer stability and predictability to their business partners,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade in a jointly issued statement. “This investment is another significant step forward as we build a clean transportation sector to meet global and North American demand for zero-emission vehicles.” While economic pundits for the manufacturing sector praised the Volkswagen initiative that will support clean technology and create well-paying jobs and economic growth within the St. Thomas area, the Canadian ag industry saw this action as yet another slap in the face, as the province loses even more viable farmland. In this instance, some 1,500 acres of farmland in the area (see the highlighted area in the image above) were purchased for the auto manufacturer’s interests. Although hearsay, it is rumoured that the farmland was purchased for $60,000 up to $100,000 per acre. It is said that most of this swathe of freshly-purchased farmland had previously been bought up by a few local farm families. According to Ontario Farmland Trust, over the past 35 years, Ontario alone has lost 18 percent of its farmland—that’s 2.8 million acres—to non-agricultural usage. While the term “non-agricultural usage” usually refers to urban sprawl, it also refers to such industries as aggregate mining, and now per the PowerCo facility a loss to further green technology. Now that’s irony. Along with losing farmland to grow crops, the proposed battery manufacturing facility will also result in a loss of ecosystem habitat. Our Ontario farmlands are utilized for food and shelter by a plethora of species. We can only assume an environmental study was undertaken, however, but it still makes the loss of the ecosystems within the St. Thomas farmland that much more tragic. We would be remiss if we did not recognize that the province of Ontario’s agri-food sector is the largest economic sector in the province, employing over 860,000 people (as of 2021 data). While we can applaud the auto ind

Make Your Farm Safer Using the Hierarchy of Hazard Controls

March 13, 2023 - 5:50am
By Haley Bilokraly Intern According to the Canadian Agricultural Safety organization, agriculture is the fourth most hazardous industry in terms of fatal injury rates. This frightening statistic emphasizes the importance of safety on a farm and encourages serious conversations about farm-related injuries. There is no better time to start these conversations than this week, Canadian Agriculture Safety Week. Although it’s not possible to avoid the dangerous realities in agriculture, there are ways to minimize risks on the farm. By using the hierarchy of hazards control, a guide that outlines effective techniques for keeping farmers safe, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of incidents. The hazards control hierarchy, from most to least effective, is elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment. The first step to implementing the hierarchy of hazards control is to identify what hazards are on the farm. From chemical hazards to properly using machinery, there are many areas of a farm that pose a higher risk of injury. Recognizing these areas will help determine which technique to apply from the hierarchy of hazards control. Guides such as the risk score assessment from Farm Safety Nova Scotia, are great tools for determining high and low risk hazards on the farm and prioritizing which areas should be urgently addressed. Once the hazard has been identified, the next step is to determine what realistic solutions are available from the hierarchy of hazard controls. 1. Elimination Eliminating a hazard is the most effective way to control a hazard. Eliminating a hazard could be as simple as sweeping the floor or tidying your workspace, but it is not always realistic. 2. Substitution Substitution is the next best course of action after elimination. If the hazard cannot be removed completely, a safer substitute might be available. For example, switching noxious chemicals for less toxic versions when available. 3. Engineering Controls When both elimination and substitution are not possible, the next option is engineering controls. This is designing or modifying a space to remove or minimize risk regarding a hazard. An example of engineering controls is using soundproof equipment or barriers to protect your ears from dangerous levels of noise. 4. Administrative Controls After engineering controls, the next choice is administrative controls. This control is different as it doesn’t deal with the hazard itself, but the behaviour of those interacting with the hazard. Training, education, preventive maintenance, and safe workplace policies are all examples of administrative controls. When possible, administrative controls should be used alongside another control. Personal Protective Equipment The least effective control is personal protective equipment (PPE). This control does not work to remove a hazard, it only helps reduce the harmful effects of it. When implementing PPE as a control, it is crucial to ensure all workers are trained in the proper way to use and maintain the PPE. Once a control has been implemented, the hazard should be reviewed. This is to make sure the control is effective and to confirm that the control has not created another hazard. This review should happen immediately after implementing the control and anytime

Do not become a farm incident report

March 9, 2023 - 4:50am
This week, March 12–18, 2023, is Canadian Agricultural Safety Week – a week dedicated to promoting farm safety. It’s one of those things that you think will never happen to you. For example, a farm family in Casselman, Ontario, felt the same way, but then in November 2022 an 82-year-old farmer was fatally injured when the truck he was driving in his farm field struck a ditch. This too could happen to you. According to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, agriculture in Canada is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. The first step in preventing farm incidents or accidents -- is to identify hazards. Hazards can include equipment, chemicals, and the working environment. Of course, farm safety is about more than just being aware of hazards. It’s about engaging in conversations that reflect on the importance of farm safety so that everyone makes safety a priority and takes it seriously. No one thinks it will happen to them, but you need to commit to farm safety. You have to commit to making farm safety a priority each and every day of the year, to ensure no one gets hurt on your farm. Ensure anyone who works on your farm, family or employee, is trained to be aware of the hazards they may encounter, let them know what tools are available to help them and to protect them. Also, let them know that you encourage safe, not risky, behaviours. This Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, celebrate Your Farm, Your Family, Your Success. For more information and resources to help you commit to safety, visit

Ottawa Valley Farm Show starts March 14

March 9, 2023 - 4:35am
After a 3-year absence, the Ottawa Valley Farm Show starts March 14 and will conclude on March 16, it will feature 376 exhibitors – including and Better Farming. In addition to visiting exhibitors, attendees can also view the antique and quilt displays in “Memory Lane”, as well as review the inductees from Eastern Ontario for the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame. While at the show, be sure to catch some of the “10 am Talks” as well as a presentation by Risk Management Chief Commodity Strategist Moe Agostino on March 15 at 2pm in Event Hall B. Find out who will win the first ever Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association (OVSGA) Award of Excellence – they will be honoured with a unique gate sign at the show. Finally, the OVSGA will be holding its 31st Annual Prestigious Pedigreed Seed Auction at the Court of Honour on March 16 at 1pm. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Enter the contest to win a $200 Peavey Mart Gift Card by dropping by the Better Farming and booth #2102-2104. Better Farming Ontario would love to hear your suggestions for articles in the magazine. If you have a Better Farming story idea for Better Farming, online, or sister publication Small Farm Canada, be sure to drop by the booth -- we love hearing your article suggestions. Small Farm Canada, part of the group, will be offering a subscription special – the perfect gift for the small farmers you know in your life. You can also pick up a free copy of the Small Farm Canada Annual Seed Guide. OFA members can post a free classified in Better Farming magazine at any time, but you can drop by the booth to learn how you can post a free classified ad online and in Ag Buyer's Guide magazine as well. Looking for some specialized services to do work on your farm. You can also pick up a free copy of the 2023 Ag and Country Agri-Business Directory. At the booth you can also sign up for a free trial to the Risk Management Commodity Marketing Program. Finally, you can also receive a free copy of the Career Guide if you have young people in your life considering career opportunities in agriculture. Click here for more information about the Ottawa Valley Farm Show.

Oxford County gains increased broadband access

March 8, 2023 - 7:02am
By Andrew Joseph, Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay Good news for residents of Oxford County, Ontario, as a recent investment for increased broadband infrastructure is expected to benefit over 1,040 families, farms, and businesses within the zone. The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing a combined $3.4 million-plus to bring reliable high-speed internet to this area—much as it is doing throughout a plethora of other rural areas in the province. “Ensuring that residents, especially those in rural communities, have reliable access to high-speed internet is vital to community development and well-being,” said Bryan May, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Cambridge, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. May continued: “Today’s announcement will ensure that over 1,000 homes, businesses, and farms in Oxford County have improved access to essential online services for years to come.” Partnering with Southwest Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc., the two levels of government noted that the communities of Fairview, Maplewood, Brooksdale, Youngsville, Bennington, Braemar, Hickson, Strathallan, Huntingford, and Willow Lake soon have the infrastructure to enable high-speed internet service. In addition, projects enabling service to the communities of Salford, Hagles Corners, Foldens, Curries, Culloden, Delmer, and Ostrander are now complete. “Our government continues to deliver on its commitment to expand access to high-speed internet to communities across the province,” stated Lisa Thompson, the Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “By building new broadband infrastructure in Oxford County, we’re helping to build Ontario and strengthen rural communities. This investment is helping people stay in touch with loved ones, enabling them to access the supports they need while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.” This announcement marks the completion of four more projects under the SWIFT project and builds on the Ontario government’s plan to get the right infrastructure in the right places, ensuring people can live, work, and farm where they want. “There are still many people, especially rural residents, who do not have reliable internet access to stay regularly connected to family and friends, or to access public services such as health care,” said Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman. "The completion of these new infrastructure projects in Oxford will benefit numerous families and businesses and help to expand and create new opportunities.” The contracts to expand broadband services in Oxford County were awarded by SWIFT, a not-for-profit corporation, initiated by local municipalities to address connectivity in Southwestern Ontario. “Connectivity is key to empowering businesses, strengthening local economies, and unlocking new opportunities for innovation and growth across our region,” said Gary McNamara, SWIFT Board Chair. “And today in partnership with the governments of Ontario and Canada, we are pleased to mark the

Celebrating International Women's Day in agriculture

March 8, 2023 - 6:33am
By Haley Bilokraly Intern As women across the world are celebrated on International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at the statistics related to women in agriculture and the steps being taken to encourage women in the industry. Firstly, the number of women working in agriculture is growing. There has been a 2.3% increase of women farm operators in Canada since 2016 with the total number rising from 77,970 to 79,975. The proportion of women working in agriculture compared to men is growing closer together. In 2016, 28.7% of farm operators were women compared to 30.4% in 2021. Since 2016 there has been a 26.5% increase in female farm operators managing one-operator farms. As a result, 1 in 7 one-operator farmers in Canada are managed by women. If you were to visit a sheep or goat farm, it is likely that you’d encounter a woman operator as 41.1% of sheep and goat farms in Canada are female managed. The farm type least likely to be operated by a woman is oilseed and grain farms. Female farm operations occur from coast to coast as British Columbia has the highest percentage of female farm operators at 39.7%, in second is Alberta at 32.4%, then Ontario with the third highest at 31.0%. Although these statistics are promising for women in agriculture, women have not easily been recognized in the industry. For many years, women have gone unnoticed for the hidden work they do on farms and were often left out of agriculture-related leadership opportunities. For example, in 2015 the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council found that only 28% of Canadian agricultural associations had at least one woman on their board, further emphasizing the underrepresentation of women in the agriculture sector. However, it is important to celebrate the progress that has been made. This is only achievable because of the individuals and organizations who have created events, networks, programs, funding and more that is dedicated for women in agriculture. A few examples of these initiatives include the Farm Credit Canada Women Entrepreneurship Program, the Engaging and Advancing Women in Agriculture Project, and the Ag Womens Network. This International Women's Day, take a moment to reflect on the promising story told through these statistics and the progress that still needs to be made for women in agriculture.

Do you get enough sleep? Answer our poll!

March 6, 2023 - 8:25am
By Haley Bilokraly Intern Sleep is an important safety tool on the farm, but it is likely one of the most overlooked. With long work hours and constant physical demands, daily life on a farm is already dangerous. Adding fatigue to the mix of hazards only increases a farmer’s risk of injury and has become the cause of many avoidable incidents. It is recommended that adults regularly sleep for 7 hours or more each night. This time of sleep is crucial for body regulation, lowering the risks of serious health problems such as heart disease or diabetes, reducing stress, and keeping the ability to think and act clearly. Although many farmers know the benefits of a good night’s sleep, it doesn’t always impact their sleep schedule. This is especially true when there are external circumstances influencing the number of hours they can get in bed. A few factors that might inhibit sleep include stress or anxiety, health conditions, medications, caffeine, alcohol or drugs, untreated sleep disorders, and undoubtedly busy season on the farm. Throughout demanding time periods, such as harvest or calving, it is common for farmers to ignore their need to sleep so they can keep working. Once this becomes a pattern, exhaustion and drowsiness start to affect a farmer’s ability to be productive and safe. During Canadian Agricultural Safety Week 2023, happening from March 13 to March 19, we want to bring awareness to the importance of sleep for a farmer – but first - we are looking to hear from you! To include real statistics in an upcoming article regarding farmer safety and sleep, we are asking our readers if you get enough sleep each night. Click one of the links below to vote on our Twitter poll! Ontario Farmers: Western Canada Farmers:

Looking for stability in ag? Try the pork sector, one farmer says

March 6, 2023 - 5:08am
If Tanya Terpstra, a pork producer from Perth County, Ont., could send one message to young women looking at agriculture as a career path, that message would be to consider working in the hog sector. The pork industry has multiple opportunities and provides flexibility, she said. “For young women in particular, the pork industry gives you an opportunity for stability,” she said. “It has a diversified work schedule and it’s family friendly. My husband and I work as a team. We both work in the office and in the barn.” Terpstra grew up on 100-acre farm with her parents who also did custom work. In addition, both of her parents had off-farm jobs. This shaped the idea that a person must have off-farm income to support the farm business. If she could go and talk to her 12-year-old self, she’d tell her that’s not the case. “I assumed that because my parents both worked off-farm that the farm didn’t have (financial) security,” she said. “I went through school to get another degree thinking I’d have to supplement our farm income. I’d tell myself that you don’t have to worry, there’s opportunity (on the farm) for security. You can have a fulltime career in agriculture.” But because her parents put the hard work they did, Terpstra views them as her ag inspirations.

Brooke Leystra never thought she’d be a farmer

March 6, 2023 - 4:57am
Brooke Leystra didn’t plan on being a farmer. Despite growing up in Chatham, Ont., and close to farms, her only hands on experience with ag was through a job she had as a kid. “I did corn to tassel when I was in grade eight,” she told “If you grew up in Chatham-Kent, that’s what you did. You had to pull the tassel out of the tops of the corn so it wouldn’t fertilize. You walk up and down the fields all day long. It was the worst. It was cold and wet in the morning and in the afternoon you’re sweating.” And when she wasn’t sweating in the corn fields, 12- and 13-year-old Brooke was planning how to pursue a marine career. “At that age I wanted to be a marine biologist,” she said. “I love the water and love animals. And I was really interested in sharks.” When those plans didn’t materialize, she set her sights on the big city. After studying communications and public relations at Brock University and Sheridan College, she had marketing and communications job in Toronto and figured that’s where she’d make a living. “I thought I’d have my own business there and take my walks in the park on Saturday morning with a cappuccino,” she said.