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Updated: 37 min 14 sec ago

market movers to watch the week April 22

12 hours 37 min ago
Risk Management Intern 1. USDA’s Crop Progress The USDA’s crop progress report will be released on Monday April 22nd which could show that the U.S. 2024 corn, soybean, and spring wheat planting will start to fall behind in planting as a result of rainstorms that are predicted to last through April 26th. The record fast planting pace is no longer part of the narrative. If some regions cannot plant early, top end yields will start to come down. Those regions that were dry will welcome the moisture, but many would have preferred it 2 to 3 weeks from now after planting was complete. The western U.S. remains dry while the east is too wet. The 5-year average for next week for U.S. corn is 11 percent, soybeans 4 percent, cotton 11 percent, oats 42 percent (already at 43 percent as of April 13, 2024) and spring wheat 12 percent. Look for improvements in U.S. topsoil and subsoil moisture with 1-3 inches of moisture that fell this week. 2. U.S. Q1 GDP The U.S. Q1 GDP figures will be released on Thursday April 25th.The 4th quarter of 23 GDP was a + 3.3 percent, far above the 2 percent gain wall street was looking for. Overall it exceeded most predictions at the beginning of the year. Fed forecasts for Q1 GDP for 2024 show a 2.1 percent increase in real GDP, increased from previous estimates of around 1.4 percent in December. The strong U.S. economy is not provided any clues to the U.S. Fed to lower interest rates and is why the rates are not comingdown. The earliest is now September of 24 -- 6 months after the fact. 3. Crude oil Keep an eye crude oil prices on any Israeli plans to retaliate and attack Iran in the Israel-Hamas-Iran war. Higher crude oil prices could spill over into a higher commodity complex and drive grain prices along for the rise. However, Iran is trapped as they cannot afford to stop shipping oil exports to China, it’s not in their best interest to disrupt 31 percent of global oil exports through the Strait of Hormuth and they can’t win a war with Israel and the U.S. 4. USDA Cold storage Wednesday April 24th marks the next release date for the USDA cold storage report. Last month's cold storage report showed natural cheese stocks rose slightly compared to the previous month and 2 percent from a year ago. Butter stocks surged by 19 percent month-on-month and slightly increased year-on-year. However, frozen poultry supplies dipped by 1 percent from the previous month and 5 percent from last year, with chicken stocks down 5 percent month-on-month and 9 percent from last year. Turkey stocks saw a notable 9 percent increase from last month and 4 percent from February 29, 2023. Despite declines in frozen fruit and vegetable stocks, red meat supplies also fell, with beef and pork stocks decreasing month-on-month and year-on-year. With the HPAI virus in the U.S. dairy cow herd look for a build up in beef in cold storage. For daily information and updates on agriculture com

Keep it Clean launches 2024 Product Advisory

12 hours 37 min ago
An updated resource is available to help farmers make informed crop protection decisions. Keep it Clean, a joint initiative between the Canola Council of Canada, Cereals Canada, Pulse Canada and the Prairie Oat Growers Association, released its 2024 Product Advisory. “It’s meant to provide information to growers in the industry on the potential market access implications of on-farm decisions,” Jeff English, vice president of marketing and communications with Pulse Canada, told Farms.com. “We want to bridge the gap between what’s happening in export markets and bring that information back to the farm level.” The Product Advisory, for example, states that grain buyers will not accept malt barley treated with safluenacil. But in the U.S., canola entering the U.S. and treated with safluenacil have a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 0.45 parts per million, the Code of Federal Regulations says. The Product Advistory encourages farmers to consult with grain buyers before using pre-harvest glyphosate on chickpeas. With a majority

Nanton, Alta. grain elevators up for preservation award

12 hours 37 min ago
Three grain elevators in Alberta are finalists to receive a grant to support their preservation. The buildings in Nanton at the Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre, are among the candidates to receive a $50,000 grant from The Next Great Save Competition. The competition, administered by the National Trust for Canada, a national charity, awards a total of $65,000 to communities. In total, 12 sites across the country are up to receive financial support. The second-place winner will receive $10,000 and $5,000 will go to third place. Canadians are encouraged to vote for their favourite sites between April 18 and May 6. The National Trust for Canada and Ecclesiastical Insurance will announce the winners on May 7. Any winnings would be put towards multiple initiatives at the elevators. “With your help we will be able to begin restoration and paint our two former Alberta Wheat Pool beauties,” Nanton’s competition

Eocycle wind turbines get $25M for US expansion

12 hours 37 min ago
By Farms.com Eocycle Technologies, a leader in compact wind turbines, has secured $25 million to ramp up operations in the US and Europe. This funding will fuel a hiring spree, accelerate product development, and slash delivery times for their innovative wind turbines. Eocycle's claim to fame is its 25 kW and 90 kW wind turbines designed for farms and businesses. These on-site generators produce clean electricity, significantly reducing energy costs compared to traditional utilities. Excess power gets fed back into the grid, maximizing efficiency and potential revenue. "Distributed wind," as Eocycle calls it, caters to rural areas where these turbines, despite their size, generate a surprising amount of power. Richard Legault, Eocycle's CEO, highlights the financial benefits: "One turbine can save over $1 million on energy bills over its lifetime." This investment, led by Export Development Canada, will empower Eocycle to capitalize on a potential $200 billion distributed wind market in the US and Europe. The company plans to double its workforce across sales, production, and customer service, while also boosting R&D efforts to further enhance user savings. "Eocycle's wind turbines are a key player in the shift to clean energy," said Julie Pottier from Export Development Canada. They believe Eocycle's technology will expedite the global transition towards a low-carbon economy. With this funding, Eocycle positions itself as a one-stop shop for distributed wind power. They offer a complete solution, from feasibility studies and permitting to construction, maintenance, and even financing options. This comprehensive approach makes clean energy accessible to a wider range of rural businesses seeking energy independence. The future looks bright for Eocycle, backed by both market potential and government incentives. The US Inflation Reduction Act offers significant financial encouragement for businesses to adopt on-site wind power generation. With these tailwinds, Eocycle is poised to become a major player in the clean energy revolution.

6 Tips for Successful Spring Forage Establishment

12 hours 37 min ago
By Farms.com Spring's warm embrace brings the perfect conditions for establishing new forage stands. But busy farmers face tight planting windows and a long to-do list. Here's how to maximize your chances of success: 1. Nourish the Ground: Just like healthy people need a balanced diet, strong forages require optimal soil conditions. Ensure your soil boasts sufficient available nutrients for robust growth. Additionally, maintaining the proper soil pH level allows plants to efficiently absorb these nutrients. Provincial soil fertility guides can help provide you with the right information. 2. Choose Wisely: Don't gamble with your investment! Select high-quality forage seed varieties specifically chosen for your region and intended use. Consider factors like your local climate, the plant's resistance to disease, and the desired forage characteristics. Remember, premium seeds are the building blocks for a thriving forage stand. 3. Time is of the essence: Planting windows is short, so precise timing is crucial. Keep a close eye on soil temperatures and weather forecasts to identify the ideal planting window. Aim to plant when the soil temperature promotes seed germination, and the risk of frost has minimized. Seizing favorable weather conditions significantly increases your chances of successful establishment. 4. Plant Smart, Not Hard: Follow recommended seeding rates and planting depths to ensure optimal seed-to-soil contact and uniform germination. This means adjusting your seeding equipment to ensure proper seed placement. Remember, proper seed placement is key to strong seedling emergence and establishment, ultimately leading to vigorous forage growth. 5. Give Your Forage a Fighting Chance: Weeds are like uninvited guests at a party – they compete for resources and space. Implement effective weed control measures to minimize this competition. Proactive strategies, such as applying pre-emergent herbicides or timely cultivation, help suppress weed populations and allow your forages to flourish. Early intervention prevents weeds from stifling your newly established forages.

Introducing the HORSCH Maestro SXL High-Speed Planter

12 hours 37 min ago
Farms.com recently asked Jeremy Hughes, Product Manager with HORSCH, to give us an overview of the HORSCH Maestro SXL, a groundbreaking high-speed planter designed to offer unparalleled efficiency and precision in the North American market. Unlike traditional planters, the Maestro SXL starts with a choice of 24-row 30, or 16-row 30 configurations, boasting impressive capacities including 140 bushels of seed carry capacity and up to 1000 gallons of liquid for starter fertilizer. A standout feature of the Maestro SXL is its simplified high-speed planting approach. Utilizing a single fan system, it innovates seed delivery and singulation. This system pressurizes the toolbar, ensuring accurate seed placement through a unique metering system that prefers airflow over traditional vacuum methods. This not only enhances singulation but also ensures seeds are precisely placed in the furrow for optimal germination. The HORSCH Maestro SXL's airspeed innovative metering system allows for differential pressure settings that simplify the planting process while maintaining accuracy in seed spacing and placement. This simplicity extends to its setup, making it user-friendly and highly efficient in the field. HORSCH's commitment to innovation is evident in the Maestro line's history. Since 2011, the HORSCH Maestro has been at the forefront of planting technology, being the first to introduce electric motor drives for metering systems, hydraulic downforce on row units, and a full chassis weight transfer system. These features ensure stability and precision at high speeds, setting the Maestro apart in the high-speed planting world. The design of the HORSCH Maestro SXL embodies a fusion of technology and technique, aimed at achieving precise seed placement even at higher speeds. Watch the video below to learn more about the HORSCH Maestro SXL High-Speed Planter.

Ag generally unhappy about the federal budget

April 18, 2024 - 9:06am
Members of the Canadian ag industry have mixed feelings, but mostly negative ones, when it comes to the federal budget’s contents. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), for example, says while the commitment to consultations on equipment interoperability and increases to Lifetime Capital Gains Exemptions are welcomed, multiple industry issues went unmentioned. The budget didn’t address labour challenges or trade infrastructure, the organization said in a statement. And the continued pressure of the carbon tax, plus no upgrades to risk management programs means the budget falls short of what Canadian farmers need. “While we understand there are competing priorities for government funds, with erratic weather and high prices tremendously increasing the risk profile of Canadian agriculture, the government can ill-afford to ignore food production and Canadian farmers,” CFA President Keith Currie said in a statement. The Liberal budget and its nearly $40 billion deficit will do little to address the needs of Canadian farmers, said Daryl Fransoo, chair of the Wheat Growers Association. “It’s unfortunate the federal government has once again failed to support Canadian grain farmers,” he said in a statement. “We are most efficient at growing highest quality grains and oilseeds, yet the government is either putting roadblocks into the supply chain or not supporting the changes needed to continue to grow this sector.”

Parasite Named for Arkansas Poultry Scientist

April 18, 2024 - 9:06am
Billy Hargis, a distinguished poultry scientist, has been recognized for his contributions to poultry gut health research with a unique tribute. A newly discovered poultry pathogen, Eimeria hargisi, was named in his honor by colleagues at the Ontario Veterinary College in Canada. The parasite was discovered during studies of a recurring disease at a commercial chukar partridge farm in Ontario. Hargis, who serves as the director of the John Kirkpatrick Skeeles Poultry Health Laboratory, expressed gratitude for the honor bestowed upon him by his longtime colleague and friend, John Barta, a professor of parasitology at the Ontario Veterinary College. The oval-shaped tattoo of the newly named microbe adorns the side of Hargis's right calf, serving as a permanent reminder of his contributions to the field. The parasite discovery, led by a team of student researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College, was published in the Journal of Parasitology. Eimeria hargisi is part of the Eimeria parasite family, which causes coccidiosis, a deadly disease that affects a wide range of animals. The naming of the parasite after Hargis recognizes his research record in support of poultry gut health and his mentorship of future scientists in the field. This tribute marks the second time an Arkansas poultry researcher has had a parasite named after them. Previously, a parasite was named Eimeria Chapmani in honor of retired experiment station researcher David H. Chapman. Hargis's contribution to poultry science extends beyond his role at the Skeeles Poultry Health Laboratory. He teaches courses in the poultry science department at the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, furthering education and research in the field. The naming of Eimeria hargisi serves as a testament to Hargis's dedication to advancing poultry health research and his lasting impact on the scientific community.

Using vegetables to boost canola yield

April 17, 2024 - 9:06am
A University of Alberta scientist will be sifting through vegetable genes to find out which ones can help increase canola yield. “We’ll be looking at the genes of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and kale to identify which genes from these vegetables can increase seed yield in hybrid canola,” Plant Scientist Habibur Rahman told Farms.com. Those vegetables belong to a species of plant known as Brassica oleracea. Others in this group include Brussels sprouts, collard greens and Savoy cabbage. Rahman’s previous work proved that Brassica oleracea plants can improve canola hybrids because they carry genes for traits like early flowering and high oil content. This research is an expansion of his past findings. “Now that we know these plants can support canola, we’re going to pinpoint which genes are responsible for these benefits and use them to create better canola hybrids,” Rahman said. But farmers shouldn’t expect to have these hybrids available to them soon. He expects to test produce some of these hybrids in 2024-25 and field test them in 2025.

Alberta pork export markets

April 17, 2024 - 9:06am
“Alberta is a major pork exporting jurisdiction and the pork sector is a sound contributor to the provincial economy,” says Ann Boyda, provincial livestock market analyst with the Alberta government. “In 2022, the sector contributed $11.2 billion in gross domestic product and employed approximately 69,000 Albertans.” In 2023, Alberta slaughtered 2.727 million hogs in federally inspected facilities, 1.784 million of Alberta origin. Alberta produced 2.169 million market hogs, with an estimated 82% processed in Alberta, 11% processed in British Columbia, and 6% in Manitoba. Alberta has an estimated 13% of the hog processing capacity in Canada Over the last decade, live hog exports have declined from the peak of 714,727 head in 2016 to the low of 473,640 head in 2023. USDA suggests that the first quarter of 2024 may see larger market hog exports. Expansion in sow slaughter in Western Canada is suggested to see fewer cull sow exports. USDA has projected feeder exports will increase slightly in 2024, especially out of Western Canada. Alberta exported 105,840 tonnes of pork product valued at $354.2 million in 2023. This volume was down 26.5% from the prior year and the export value declined by 34.4%. The greatest share of pork (28.3%) was chilled or fresh pork, followed by frozen swine cuts (19.4%), bone in fresh or chilled hams (18.9%) and fresh or chilled pork bellies (16.1%). Fresh or chilled bone in pork shoulders comprised 7% of the total export volume. Frozen edible offal, frozen bone in hams and shoulders, and fresh or chilled edible offal comprised 5.3%, 3.4% and 1.4% of export volume, respectively. Alberta’s top export market remains the United States (U.S.) with 43,474 tonnes of pork product valued at $140.5 million, representing 39.7% of the market share. Japan is Alberta’s second largest market representing 28.7% of the total export value at $101.6 million and 18,930 tonnes of pork. Mexico represents Alberta’s third major market for pork at $48.6 million or 20,089 tonnes. Alberta also shipped 10,712 tonnes of pork to China, valued at $22.3 million and 6,947 tonnes of pork to the Philippines, valued at $18.5 million. In terms of export volume, fresh or chilled bone in hams represent the largest export category with 63.2% destined for Mexico and 36.8% destined for the U.S. Approximately 54.6% of fresh or chilled pork was destined for U.S. and 41.4% to Japan. Japan was also the major market for fresh or chilled bone in pork shoulder (83.4%). “Alberta’s swine sector performance has faced challenges, but there are recent signs of Alberta’s hog margins improving,” explains Boyda. “Except for June through October, producers experienced nearly 7 months of financial losses in 2023. Losses did extend into the first 2 months of 2024 but have finally rebounded in March.” At a March 28, 2024 webinar hosted by National Pork Board, Brett Stuart of Global AgriTrends shared that the U.S. hog sector reported financial losses for 12 of the past 14 months. The China hog sector, plagued with disease issues, weak demand and over supply, faced 23 of the past 30 months with producer losses. The European Union (EU) also witnessed significant liquidation in its hog sector due to rising costs and environmental policies and is projected by USDA to continue to decline through 2024. Liquidation in EU markets provides export demand opportunities for Alberta pork, but Alberta must compete with U.S. and Brazil. U.S. has increased its pork exports by 17% from a year ago. “Alberta will also need to navigate climate and environmental policies such as California’s Proposition 12 regarding requirements for h

Canada Innovates with High-Protein Plant-Based Foods

April 17, 2024 - 9:06am
Protein Industries Canada celebrated the introduction of a groundbreaking project that will elevate plant-protein nutrition and expand its global market presence. The initiative is a collaboration among Wamame Foods, Apex Food Source, Crush Dynamics, and AGT Food and Ingredients, focusing on developing high-protein food products like burritos that surpass the protein content of many traditional protein bars. The initiative stems from the successful launch of Wamame’s premium Waygu line, funded by Protein Industries Canada's first investment. The new line boasts a protein content 65% higher than that of cooked ground beef, crafted using Canadian-sourced peas, favas, and canola proteins. This project is not just about higher protein levels; it also prioritizes sustainability. For instance, Crush Dynamics integrates environmentally friendly practices by repurposing wine by-products, while Apex focuses on amplifying production for international reach. This strategy aims to position Canada as a leader in plant-based food innovation and address the increasing global demand for sustainable and nutritious food options. A notable $6.3 million has been committed to this venture, with $2.8 million from Protein Industries Canada and the balance from the involved partners. This investment reflects a robust confidence in the potential of Canadian plant-based foods in the international marketplace. The project’s launch was marked by a tasting event in Toronto, showcasing the innovative high-protein products set to be available across North American and overseas retail locations. The event aligned with the commencement of Plant-Based Food Week and underscored Canada's capabilities in ingredient processing and food manufacturing. Officials, including the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne and executives from the collaborating companies, expressed enthusiasm about the project's potential. They highlighted its role in not only advancing Canada's food technology but also in enhancing the nutritional value and taste of plant-based proteins, thereby providing superior alternatives to traditional meat products.

New Holland ProBelt 450 Built for Intelligent Baling

April 17, 2024 - 9:06am
New Holland Agriculture introduces the ProBelt 450 Premium Round Baler with IntelliBale technology, a machine built for heavy-duty use and intelligent farming operations. Farms.com spoke with Noah Pendry, Field Marketing Specialist with New Holland about the ProBelt. Pendry says the ProBelt 450 is “built for business” and is designed for long-lasting performance, and features enhanced components throughout the machine. This includes heavy-duty bearings, sprockets, chains, and gearboxes to ensure smooth operation even in abrasive conditions. The baler comes equipped with two double rollers and four endless belts, all covered by a three-year warranty. Customers can choose between a standard pickup, a super feed model with no knives, or a crop cutter with either 13 or 25 knives depending on their needs. The pickup also comes with a three-year / 22,000 bale warranty, and the entire machine is backed by a two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. The ProBelt 450 Premium Round Baler is compatible with ISOBUS tractors. An ISOBUS compatible monitor is available for tractors without this functionality, allowing for plug-and-play operation and a user-friendly touchscreen interface. Even if you do not have ISOBUS, an ISOBUS compatible monitor can be used. One of the key highlights of the ProBelt 450 is its intelligent baling system, known as IntelliBale. This system can automatically stop the tractor, wrap the bale, and eject it without any input from the operator. However, IntelliBale requires a compatible tractor with specific features. When properly equipped, IntelliBale offers several benefits. It ensures consistent bale size by stopping the tractor precisely when the bale is full. It also minimizes operator fatigue by automating repetitive tasks like opening the tailgate. The automatic sequence also reduces baling time by eliminating delays between cycles. The New Holland ProBelt 450 Premium Round Baler is a strong contender for farmers seeking a durable and intelligent baling solution. Its heavy-duty build promises long-lasting performance, while the IntelliBale system offers significant improvements in efficiency and operator comfort. Watch the video below to learn more about the New Holland ProBelt 450 and IntelliBale technology.

Enhance Your Safety with Anhydrous Ammonia This Spring

April 17, 2024 - 9:06am
As planting season approaches, many farmers prepare to apply anhydrous ammonia, a common yet hazardous chemical used in agriculture. While racing against weather and time, prioritizing safety is crucial to prevent serious accidents. When working with anhydrous ammonia, always wear safety goggles and gloves; contact lenses are not advisable. Ensure you have at least 5 gallons of clean emergency water nearby in case of exposure. Be cautious during the connection and disconnection of lines. It's vital to assume that lines always contain anhydrous ammonia. Always work upwind to avoid direct exposure, and securely close and bleed lines when taking breaks or after use. Additionally, keep equipment well away and downwind from homes, people, and animals to avoid accidental exposure. Regular maintenance of equipment is also important. Never assume that NH3 lines are empty, and always have safety water accessible while performing maintenance. Transporting anhydrous ammonia requires careful attention too. When moving a nurse tank, maintain a speed limit of 30 miles per hour, ensure the tank is visibly marked with a slow-moving vehicle emblem, and secure the tank with two independent chains. In case of an accident or spill, it's imperative to call emergency services immediately at 911 and then contact the appropriate local authorities.

Disease Alert: PDCOV and PED

April 16, 2024 - 9:06am
Don't let outbreaks turn into a potentialepidemic. Active cases of PDCOV and PED have risen sharply in Ontario. All producers and their business partners visiting the farm are strongly encouraged to increase biosecurity vigilance, particularly as we approach planting season where risk of transmission through manure movement is increased. Report all potential cases to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Additional information is linked below. Disease updatefor producers Disease updatefor transporters Case counts can be viewed on thePED/PDCOV Tracking Mapand onSHARC.

Ontario Pork Chair and Vice-Chair Elected (2024)

April 16, 2024 - 9:06am
GUELPH, ONTARIO – The Ontario Pork Board of Directors welcomes incoming Chair Tara Terpstra, a producer from Huron County and Vice-Chair Bruce Hudson, a producer from Ottawa Valley. Both have deep roots in the farming community and share an interest in advancing the industry. Terpstra previously served as Vice-Chair of Ontario Pork, while Hudson served as an active member of the Board. Former Board Chair John de Bruyn completed his term after serving as Chair for 13 years. Philip Van Raay, TJ Murray, and Eric Schwindt will serve as at large Board member positions. They join other board members Karen Sanders, Tanya Terpstra, Arno Schober, and Jolanda Van Den Broek. “I’m deeply honoured and excited to embark on this journey”, said Terpstra. “Serving as the Chair of Ontario Pork offers a unique chance to champion the needs of pork producers in animal care, risk management, processing, and other areas. I look forward to working with pork producers and industry on fostering collaboration and unity within the pork sector, as we navigate the challenges ahead and seize the opportunities to create a thriving, sustainable future for all involved.”

Maintaining Reduced Exposure To Toxoplasma gondii, By Brad DeWolf from Southwest Ontario Veterinary Services

April 16, 2024 - 9:06am
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a zoonotic and protozoan parasite that infects more than one-third of the global human population. Warm-blooded animals can act as hosts but only members of the cat family, such as domestic cats, act as the definitive hosts and have the potential to shed oocysts (infective eggs) into the environment. Human infection occurs through the ingestion of sporulated eggs from the environment (eg kitty litter) or from tissue cysts in undercooked or raw meat from livestock. Occasionally infection can come from ingestion of water or food that contains sporulated oocysts. People with a competent immune system may have mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all. The consequences of T. gondii infection may be more severe in pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. Transplacental transmission of T. gondii may result in spontaneous abortion, premature birth, stillbirth, or neurological or ocular damage to the foetus. Eye lesions from congenital infection are often not identified at birth but occur in 20 to 80% of congenitally infected persons by adulthood . These public health researchers from the Netherlands wanted to revisit the prevalence and risk factors for T gondii infection in the Netherlands. A cross-sectional study conducted in samples collected 2016/2017 was designed similarly to the previous two studies (1995/1996 and 2006/2007) and included a questionnaire and serum sampling among Dutch residents.

An OFA Viewpoint

April 16, 2024 - 9:06am
https://ofa.on.ca/newsroom/ontario-farm-leaders-meet-with-provincial-politicians/">Ethan Wallace, Executive Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture; Photo by Akshayan on Unsplash Taxation, support for local food, and rural infrastructure needs will be on the agenda this week as Ontario farmers head to Toronto to meet with provincial politicians as part of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s (OFA) government outreach efforts at Queen’s Park. As an advocacy organization, OFA has ongoing meetings and communications with provincial ministers, political staff, and bureaucrats on issues that are important to the agriculture sector and rural communities. At the local level, many OFA members also regularly meet with the MPP from their ridings. It’s not as often, however, that we have the chance to sit down face-to-face with a broader spectrum of provincial politicians from all major political parties, including those who represent urban ridings without any rural constituents or connections. An in-person meeting, for example, with an MPP from a downtown Toronto riding is a unique opportunity for both sides to learn about what matters to the other, and we often discover that we have more in common than we think. Housing, homelessness, and food insecurity aren’t just urban issues; by comparison, roads, bridges, and social infrastructure don’t just need attention in rural Ontario. I’m a dairy farmer near Lake Huron, and as someone very passionate about our industry, I look forward every year to this opportunity to share that passion, make connections, and show how the OFA can be an important ally on issues like housing, healthcare, jobs, food security, and climate change. This will be my third time participating in OFA’s advocacy day at Queen’s Park, and while I always enjoy the official meetings with MPPs, the end-of-day reception also offers the opportunity for more informal conversations. It was at that reception last year that I got talking with an urban MPP who had met with some of my OFA colleagues earlier in the day, and he had a newfound understanding of agriculture and why our sector matters to Ontario. For me, that’s the reason why we do this—to build that awareness and make those connections with people we wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to meet. As in previous years, the OFA team will be joined at Queen’s Park this year by younger farmers who are also emerging leaders in our industry. It’s an opportunity for elected officials to also hear from younger, grassroots voices and for the next generation of leaders to experience advocacy and outreach firsthand. In fact, my own first participation in this event was as a young leader in 2021, and it’s that experience that helped convince me to let my name stand for a provincial director position later that year. So what are the burning issues on the minds of farmers this spring that we’ll be taking to Queen’s Park? Taxation: the burden of the federal carbon tax and the added costs it places on farm businesses and food production are significant. Provincially, we also struggle with d

Ag in the House: April 8 – 11

April 16, 2024 - 9:06am
Conservative MPs used part of question period on April 8 to pressure the Liberals to provide Canadians and farmers carbon tax relief. Jasraj Singh Hallan, the MP for Calgary Forest Lawn, asked if the upcoming federal budget will include Bill C-234’s removal. Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault responded citing Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s experience with the Canada carbon rebate. “Guess what? She lives in rural Alberta, so she gets even more,” Boissonnault said. Leslyn Lewis, the Conservative MP for Haldimand-Norfolk, also pressed the government about Bill C-234, asking them to pass the bill in its original form. Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson provided the response, repeating that eight out of 10 Canadian families receive more than they pay in the carbon tax. On April 9, Michael Kram, the Conservative MP for Regina-Wascana, asked if the government would pass Bill C-234 in its original form to provide carbon tax relief for farmers. Minister Wilkinson responded, reminding the House that farmers have exemptions. “Mr. Speaker, again, it is important to ensure we are dealing with the facts,” he said. “Ninety-seven per cent of on-f

Stress Hormones Measured in Hair Offer Potential to Identify Pigs’ Resilience to Disease

April 16, 2024 - 9:06am
A multi-institutional team, of scientists is exploring the potential of using the levels of stress hormones deposited in the hair of pigs to determine which genetic lines will be more or less able to ward off disease. Researchers with Iowa State University, the Universities of Saskatchewan and Alberta and CDPQ, with funding from PigGen Canada, Genome Alberta, Genome Prairie and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are measuring the levels of stress hormones in the hair of pigs to evaluate the effect of stress on disease resilience and performance. Dr. Jack Dekkers, a distinguished professor in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University, says the goal is to develop methods by which genetic companies can determine a pig's disease resilience without exposing it to disease. Quote-Dr. Jack Dekkers-Iowa State University: We all know from our own experiences that if we get stressed we are more susceptible to disease.If we get stressed the immune system gets activated and it is less able to respond to viruses or bacteria.We know that animals respond to stress and disease.They go hand in hand.They are interwoven pathways in terms of how an animal responds to different external factors and they are very important. We know that disease is one of the most important cost factors in swine production.We also know that stress can have a huge impact and both stress and disease have huge implications for animal welfare and ultimately if we have animals that are less resistant to disease, we need to use more veterinary treatments, antibiotics, the danger of resistance of pathogens to antibiotics.Ultimately it can also have an impact on human health. Dr. Dekkers says by correlating the levels of stress hormones in the hair to growth performance and disease resilience it should be possible to calculate which genetic lines of pigs will be more or less affected by stress.

Consumers Expected to Pay the Price for New U.S. Voluntary Country of Origin Labelling

April 16, 2024 - 9:06am
The Executive Director of the Canadian Pork Council warns consumers will end up paying more for their pork as the result of U.S. voluntary country of origin labelling. Last month U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced voluntary country of original labelling, or V-COOL, will come into effect by January 1, 2026. Under the new voluntary rule, the use of "Product of USA" or “Made in the USA” label claims on meat, poultry and egg products will only be allowed when those products are derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Stephen Heckbert says the concern is that this very prescriptive approach to labelling will disrupt the ability of pork producers in Canada and the U.S. to work together, limit the movement of pigs and products across the border and drive up pork prices. Quote-Stephen Heckbert-Canadian Pork Council: This is the U.S. government.The politicians are elected by American citizens so this is a case where working with U.S. pork producers is probably our number one thing that we have to do.This is a U.S. regulatory change and we've got to figure out how to work with American producers to see if we can't get these regulations to be more in line with what actually works. Secretary Vilsack has been interested in this for a long time.I've got to confess; I do not understand the politics of it from his perspective but he's a former governor of Iowa so he must think there's a reason why this is beneficial but it is a solution that has created a whole bunch of new problems.Our hope is that eventually common sense prevails and people understand that it is not going to deliver for consumers. The number one problem with this is that at the end of the day it's consumers who are going to pay more.Budgets are tight, times are tough and any government that says they're really concerned about costs to consumers should be doing everything it can to reduce costs to consumers not increase them. Heckbert says the hope is that this matter can be resolved at the trade table rather than through a World Trade Organization challenge, as was the case with U.S. mandatory country of origin labelling which was repealed following a successful WTO challenge.