Dig Deep Archive

Biologicals offer new opportunities to make plants and soils thrive

This U of Guelph researcher looks to wild relatives and ancient varieties of crops to identify biologicals from the plant microbiome that might help today’s agricultural systems

by Jackie Clark
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Dr. Manish Raizada and his team of graduate students and researchers in the plant agriculture department at the University of Guelph are studying endophytes to find potential biological growth promotors or biological pest controls.

Planting the seeds of ag literacy

Can your teen make turkey pasta puttanesca? How about a hard-boiled egg?

By Paula Schuck
Better Farming

If your teen was suddenly accepted to college or university tomorrow, would he or she be ready to care for him- or herself? Would his or her diet revolve around microwaved ramen noodles, hot dogs, and boxed macaroni and cheese? Or could your child shop for ingredients, and plan and prepare healthy meals for a week?

What if every teen began his or her post-secondary education knowing how to make at least six simple, nutritious, fresh meals?

Digging into our knowledge of the living soil

Soil testing for the microbiome is not yet standardized, but DNA sequencing has allowed for soil scientists to determine proxy measurements

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Farmers and researchers are starting to develop a better understanding of the importance of a well-functioning cooperative community of micro-organisms, called the soil microbiome. To help improve their soils, producers must have an accessible way to evaluate the microbiological activity in their fields.

Is it turnaround time for Ontario’s abattoirs?

Staffing and regulations are key to meat processing sector success

by Peter Hohenadel
Better Farming

Many Ontario abattoirs have disappeared over the past decade, confirms Dr. Sylvain Charlebois.

He’s a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He’s also a well-known commentator on agri-food matters.

The future of the World Trade Organization

The actions of American representatives handicap the functioning of the WTO

By Jim Algie
Better Farming

When their terms expired in May 2019, the fourth and fifth remaining members of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) beleaguered, appellate body made fond-but-anxious farewell speeches to the organization’s ambassadors in Geneva.

Lobbying for reform of business risk management programs

As the federal, provincial and territorial governments consider program updates, these officials should consider farmers’ environmental contributions

By Jim Algie
Better Farming

Part of the solution to Canada’s current policy struggle over complex business risk management programs in the era of Donald Trump’s trade war should involve payments to farmers for environmental goods and services, says Dr. Don Buckingham.

Cashing in on carbon

Developers at Nori are creating software that would simplify the exchange of carbon offsets between farmers and interested buyers

By Jackie Clark
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Protecting your farm and family from trespassers

Several provinces want to update trespass legislation and tackle rural crime

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Given the growing concern about rural crime across Western Canada, provincial government officials are pushing for legislation updates to better protect farmers and other rural residents. Below, we recap the recent developments in each province.

Rising interest in specialty grain

While a niche market exists for these crops, farmers and plant breeders face several hurdles

By Jim Algie

Farmers considering niche grain production for emerging artisanal markets operate within what one close observer calls “an informal seed system” that generally lacks supply and reliable data about productive varieties.