Dig Deep Archive

Farming on the Urban Fringe

When farmers’ fields border urban and suburban developments, how can they stand their ground and be good neighbours?

By Jackie Clark

We often talk about agricultural and rural issues as if they’re completely separate from urban living. However, many farmers live and farm close to city centers and heavy residential developments.

With population growth and sprawl ever apparent, farmers across Ontario are faced with the challenges of producing crops and managing livestock on a mosaic landscape.

A Matter of Methane

Possible solutions to lessen methane and other greenhouse gases produced by the agricultural sector

By Kristen Lutz

Methane is back in the hot seat, and agriculture is reminded that it’s a contributor to global climate change. Farmers are very familiar with greenhouse gases (GHG) and their effects on the environment, so what makes this go-around different? New rules have been put in place, allowing farmers to better explore sources of renewable energy. Better Farming spoke to experts in agriculture sustainability to better understand this pressing issue.

Ontario’s farmland: a scarcity story

What happens when demand far outpaces supply?

By Jackie Clark

“We don’t have enough supply. We never have enough farms listed to meet the demand,” Jackie Pepper, a realtor with Just Farms Realty Inc., tells Better Farming. “You cannot buy 50 acres of workable farmland in southwestern Ontario for half a million dollars anymore; that does not exist.”

Possibility & Passion

Farm Credit Canada’s Wilson talks farming.

By Becky Dumais

Starting from the ground up is true on-the-job training. That’s what Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) newly appointed vice-president of operations Perry Wilson did. Literally.

Wilson, who stepped into the role last April after the retirement of John Geurtjens, garnered his early experience in ag, growing up on a hog farm in Oxford County, near Uniondale. Wilson began his career with FCC more than 26 years ago. He has held various leadership roles since 2005.

Genetic Priorities

Cereal breeders in Ontario’s academic and government institutions are building momentum.

By Jackie Clark

Corn and soybeans dominate the landscape in Ontario. However, producers also plant many acres of cereal crops. Winter wheat has grown in popularity in recent years, with 1,036,700 and 1,122,800 acres planted in 2020 and 2021 respectively, according to OMAFRA field crop data.

Farmers fighting climate change

The ag industry knows it can be part of the solution. What support is needed to put climate change mitigation into practice?

By Jackie Clark

Agriculture and climate are inextricably linked.

That fact has been thoroughly debated, explored, and researched. We know that farming activities impact the environment, and the environment dictates the success and challenges of agricultural endeavours.

What’s in a name?

With petitions in place, there could be a ‘beef’ about how regulatory officials label lab-grown meat.

By Becky Dumais

Plant-based science has given us burgers “Beyond Meat” and there’s much research dedicated to bringing cellular cultivated meat, which uses tissue samples from animals, to market. While there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition for consumerism, there’s still the question of how these new products should be labelled – and even the sustainable merit that’s proposed to come with lab-created food options.

A Smoky Situation

Wildfire smoke certainly affects vegetation, but the specific impact on agricultural crops is yet to be fully understood.

By Jackie Clark

In 2021, while many farmers were already dealing with devastating drought and the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mother Nature threw another curveball: wildfires.

Cash Crop Reflections & Projections

Even before the combines have finished rolling in 2021’s crops, producers have started thinking about plans for next season’s corn and soybeans.

By Jackie Clark

2021 will go down in history as another unforgettable year.

Continued disruptions to work and everyday life due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unpredictable, variable weather have presented challenges to growers across Ontario.

Building a More Just Food System

What progress has been made, and what barriers remain to be addressed.

By Jackie Clark

Farmers know that diversity is resilience. Increasing diversity in crop rotations, plant and animal genetics, pest-management approaches, and income streams all contribute to helping individual farms and the broader industry thrive.

So, what about the human element?