Dig Deep Archive

Double duty: Working on and off the farm

An Oxford County beef farmer shares tips on successfully managing a heavy workload

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

John Mason stays busy year-round with his construction company, marathon training and coaching – in addition to working on his family’s beef farm.

His parents Martin and Liz own a 100-acre farm in Oxford County. John has a few cows on the farm and puts in some sweat equity.

Rural Ontario debates green energy reforms

One county moves toward full reliance on renewable energy

By Jim Algie
Better Farming

Oxford County has adopted plans to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 for eight municipalities within this mainly rural and heavily agricultural region.

Are two varieties better than one?

Researcher highlights the benefits and difficulties of multi-variety planting for soybeans.

By Lauren Arva
Staff Writer
Better Farming

The multi-variety technology for soybeans is fundamentally sound, says Andrew Klopfenstein, senior research associate engineer at Ohio State University.

“We’ve had very few mechanical issues with any of the technology we’ve tested,” he says to Better Farming. “There’s tons of potential.”

The process of multi-variety planting for soybeans is very similar to that of corn, he explains.

Trade wars take toll on livestock producers

While American pork producers appreciate the USDA’s aid package, they would prefer more market opportunities and trade resolutions

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Canadian livestock producers are caught in the crossfire of ongoing trade disputes between the United States and some of its trading partners.

Producers are forced “to make business decisions on how they manage their operations and act accordingly,” said Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

Harvesting new apple opportunities

Vineland researchers search for the perfect match of apple varieties to meet Ontario consumers’ cider preferences

By Jim Algie

Hard cider taste tests at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre near St. Catharines show clear consumer preference for sweet fruity flavours over drier tannic ones, said Dr. Amy Bowen, research director of consumer insights at the centre, in a recent interview.

Committed to producing and consuming local food

Unlocking the growth of Ontario’s local food sector

by Jim Algie

Systemic barriers remain to the full development of Ontario’s local food potential, several observers say.

Barriers highlighted during a series of recent Better Farming interviews include: challenges of access to capital, lack of co-ordinated distribution and the centralized purchasing habits of large, institutional food buyers such as hospitals.

Open source + open mind = endless opportunities

DIY precision ag projects can improve operation efficiency. Asking questions and starting small can help get producers started.

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Producers can take lead roles in digitizing and automating their operations, thanks to the introduction of open source software into the ag industry and the sophistication of electronic devices.

Committed to producing local food

Weighing the data on direct marketing in Ontario

by Jim Algie

Among all Canadian provinces, Ontario had the largest number of farms reporting direct marketing, the 2016 census of agriculture said.

A total of 7,474 Ontario farms sold directly to consumers through such methods as farm gate stands, farmers markets and you-pick enterprises, Statistics Canada’s June 2017 “Growing Opportunity Through Innovation in Agriculture” article said.

Financing Ontario’s agri-food growth

Non-profit fund launches to support local food sector

by Jim Algie

A new capital pool for Ontario’s local food producers and related businesses seeks to solve at least one financial challenge facing entrepreneurs in the sector, said Sally Miller, Local Food and Farm Co-ops project manager.

Seeking the authority to manage waste

Communities creatively repurpose closed landfill sites

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer

Once rural landfills reach their capacities, communities can collaborate to repurpose these sites.

“Some places have successfully used landfills to create new local features, like parks,” Dr. Dianne Saxe, the environmental commissioner of Ontario, told Better Farming.