Dig Deep Archive

Farmer rebuilds after deadly barn fire

Watch for these dangerous conditions in your barn

Photos from Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan Inc., article by Better Farming staff

In the April edition of Better Farming, the Aalbers family of Rosslyn shared their experiences in rebuilding their dairy operation after a fire destroyed their barn and herd. The fire marshal’s investigator ruled the blaze accidental, “which means electrical,” Peter Aalbers said.

Expanding waste-free agriculture

Reflections from an innovative ag recycler

By Jennifer Jackson

Bale wrap was a problem for Lynn Leavitt, a farmer in Prince Edward County. The bigger problem for Leavitt: the fact that there was no solution – no place to get the wrap processed and no system to get the wrap from the farm to the processor.

Expanding waste-free agriculture

AIM Environmental group processes city waste into farm valuable fertilizer

By Jennifer Jackson

Organic waste is an inevitable product on many farms. Whether it be manure for the garden or lawn, for example, we often see urban residents finding use for this organic farm waste. An environmental company, however, also shows how farmers can benefit from the waste of city dwellers.

Better Farming catches up with Jeff Leal

Reporter Jennifer Jackson asks Minister Leal about his expanded responsibilities

Jeff Leal’s cabinet role expanded on Jan. 12, 2017, according to a government release. He retains his role as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs but was also appointed Minister Responsible for Small Business. Better Farming reporter Jennifer Jackson asked Leal if Ontario producers should be concerned about his additional responsibilities.


Navigating Ontario’s busy rural roads

Dean Anderson highlights current challenges and tips for safely moving farm equipment on the road

As urban traffic inches closer to some farmers’ fields, farm road safety becomes a growing priority. Farmers have to travel on busy roads to reach their fields and some roads are difficult to navigate with large equipment. Turning off of the road, especially when making a left-hand turn, can be risky. There’s also the risk of rollovers – a risk which can be heightened by soft shoulders and narrow roads.

Taking a crack at hazelnut production

Eastern filbert blight: A history

By Nicholas Van Allen

For many years, hazelnut farming has been confined to the Pacific Northwest – in places like Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia. But, with grower trials now underway in Ontario and new science, Ontario’s hazelnut growers are on the cusp of major industry expansion.

In many ways, the evolution of hazelnut farming has been shaped by the presence of the eastern filbert blight, a canker disease which infects hazelnut trees.

Hydrating from the bottom up

Tracking trends in national agricultural irrigation

By Jim Algie


Agricultural water use in Canada has varied widely in recent years mainly because of fluctuations in rainfall, Statistics Canada’s analysis and survey work shows.


The federal agency conducts agricultural water surveys as part of its Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program. Data for the 2016 survey is scheduled for release in September 2017, a statement on the Statistics Canada website says.

Rural schools on the chopping block

Tracking the effects on rural communities and the efforts of local residents


Photos by Jim Algie


The Ontario Ministry of Education is currently engaging in accommodation reviews and school system adjustments – many of which seem to target the province’s rural schools. According to estimates from the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures, 500 rural schools face major change – including closure.


Satellite imagery: Multi-use, multi-purpose

Drones and Satellites: match made in the sky

By Jennifer Jackson

Some producers may have a strict preference for either drone or satellite imagery for use on the farm. However, it may not be a choice that needs to be made, some industry experts say. The two technologies vary in their uses and could complement each other well under the right conditions.  

Fast and reliable Internet: are we getting close on the farm?

Better Farming investigates rural Internet access challenges and highlights some of the developments which promise improvements

Across the province, farmers struggle with access to reliable, high-speed Internet. Rural service can be interrupted by wind and precipitation – and plans can be costly.