The continuing rise in Ontario farmland values

Farmland in Ontario has been steadily increasing in value since 1993, driven by higher commodity prices and strong fundamentals in agriculture and urban growth. It’s also increasingly being seen as an investment


The ground your ancestors plowed is not the same ground that you plow. Your ground has gained investment status.

Everyone seems to agree that recent gains in the price of farmland are due to low interest rates and high commodity prices, but there are other factors at work in a complex marketplace where farmers are still the dominant players.

Risk management: which model will win out?

Federal ag minister Gerry Ritz favours a producer-funded insurance program on Alberta lines, a model which Ontario cattlemen have already rejected. Meanwhile, Ontario’s Ted McMeekin, accepting the need for change, is looking at yet another approach


Just over a year ago, to much fanfare, Ontario’s agriculture industry and provincial government announced a series of risk management programs (RMPs) to help several different commodities deal with market fluctuations.

Ontario shepherd’s PR campaign doesn’t faze CFIA or sheep producers elsewhere

Alberta sheep rancher Patric Lyster believes his Ontario counterpart’s flock should be destroyed because a ewe she sold him tested positive for scrapie. But Hastings shepherd Montana Jones is resisting to protect her rare breed


Alberta sheep rancher Patric Lyster thinks the public sympathy for Hastings County shepherd Montana Jones’ condemned sheep in Ontario is misplaced. “The public doesn’t have the information” he says.

Statements from livestock associations that are concerned about possible effects on trade or the contamination of other sheep by an infected flock, he says, “don’t see the light of day” in the mainstream press that has publicized Jones’ cause.

The changing world of on-farm communications

Two-way radios, Mike and 10-4 systems are still working for some farmers, but smart phone applications are also gaining acceptance


Tools that allow farmers to communicate with employees, suppliers and family members are being offered on more devices with more features. It is possible with some smart phone applications to talk, text, send photos and keep a record of conversations and texts. It is also possible to lose time and money if your message doesn’t get through, which could also happen.

Seasonal worker program seeks to ‘get the truth out’

Seasonal workers make as much money in a morning on his farm as the monthly minimum wage in Jamaica, says the president of FARMS


Flushed with a sense of pride after an extremely positive meeting with top leaders of Caribbean countries about the foreign workers program, Hamilton area hort farmer Ken Forth, president of the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS), started casting around in January for ways to get out what he considered to be a good news story.

‘Sharing the risks and rewards of farming’

By dedicating part of their produce to specific Toronto restaurants and receiving seed money in exchange, these Meaford-area ‘truck farmers’ can guarantee top-quality produce while still building their business


In mid-winter, Meaford-area “truck farmers” Grant MacPherson and Lainie Knox headed to downtown Toronto to plan their plantings, in co-ordination with chefs from a trendy Queen Street West restaurant.

Different visions of what’s a home-grown product

When it comes to what’s considered a product of Ontario, it can vary widely – depending on whether you are talking about eggs, chicks, calves, dairy products or flour


Late in 2011, Egg Farmers of Ontario’s director of public affairs sent a brief memo to 37 egg graders in the province. “We have created a new definition for Ontario eggs to be used by Foodland Ontario,” she wrote, and invited feedback.

The original definition, established in 2008, required all eggs registered under the provincial government consumer promotion program to be laid on egg farms in Ontario. The Egg Farmers’ definition proposed to allow 10 per cent of the eggs to come from other provinces.

The puzzling death of two agricultural workers

No one will ever really know why, two years ago, a worker climbed into a tank filled with deadly fumes to fix a faulty pump, says one of the farm’s operators  


The two Jamaican workers who died on an Ayton-area farm almost two years ago did receive training on enclosed space dangers and were warned by other employees not to enter a vinegar tank immediately before they did, says Shaun Becker.