Food and Beverage Ontario backs changes to province’s processing vegetable regulations

© AgMedia Inc.


Even though it was all about surfing when Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote these lyrics for the 1963 Beach Boys album, "Surfer Girl", the adage is entirely adaptable to business and should be front and centre in the minds of Ontario vegetable growers as they try to comprehend by how much and how quickly their well-ordered world is about to change.

Vegetable growers can either "catch a wave" and be part of what is going to happen to single desk selling of vegetables or they can miss the "wave" entirely and be left behind, watching the "wave" pass them by.

In the neonics kerfluffle, the OFA "caught the wave" and decided to work with government to make the best of what many considered to be a bad deal - the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) did nothing and watched the "wave" roll right over them, effectively drowning GFO's credibility, for years to come, with anybody in any political party at Queens Park.

Vegetable farmers have a chance to "catch a wave" and avoid GFO's horrible political blunder - will they do it?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

There will not doubt be farmers that will take the chance on the "wave" of changes but there will be a greater number of farms that will get caught in the "undertow" and be swept away never to produce again.

Those big multinationals prefer to deal with 100 producers growing 10,000 acres of vegetables than trying to deal with 1000 producers growing the same acreage.

Your rhetoric with a '60s tune does not resonate with the farmer of the future.

The farmer of the present, and definitely the farmer of the future, know how to dignify and emphasize their opinions by signing their name - the above poster does not and, therefore, indicates he/she is as much in the past as anyone expressing the same knee-jerk, NFU-style opinions about multi-national companies.

Furthermore, while the above poster says that big multi-nationals prefer to deal with 100 producers, he/she doesn't seem to understand that the vegetable industry has somewhere just over 400 producers, a far cry from 1,000.

Therefore, the above poster has fallen into his/her own "logic trap" by effectively admitting that direct farmer-to-processor negotiation is the ideal way to go in an industry with only a few-hundred growers.

Why do anonymous posters never read (and/or not understand) what they've written before they push "send"?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Rubbish! OFA opposes the gov't tsunami wave to destroy veg. board.

A few weeks ago, OFA's weekly e-newsletter was a fiery and somewhat-embarrassing opinion piece by vegetable grower and OFA member, David Epp, who vowed to leave the vegetable industry if single desk marketing was ended for vegetable growers.

Epp's piece went all over the fear-mongering and conjecture map and incongruously claimed that vegetable processors would win and lose - in short, Epp appeared to have written this piece in haste, anger and shock and without any proof-reading by anyone at the OFA which normally doesn't allow this sort of article to appear under the OFA heading.

Since then, the OFA seems to have reverted to its traditional role of trying to be the broker of systems and procedures of benefit to all Ontarions, and that means publishing no more fear-mongering and/or fiery opinion pieces penned by disaffected OFA members.

Also since then, cooler heads at the OFA will have no doubt:

(1) seen the claim by Mr. Kamenz that ALL processors support this change
(2) seen the position statement by the food and beverage industry supporting this change
(3) heard privately-expressed opinions from food industry leaders indicating that OFPMC is not wrong in suggesting these changes for the benefit of all Ontarions.

In short, the OFA has a long-standing ability to rise above the fray once the scope and significance of the issue becomes apparent - I fully expect them to do so again and in this case it means that they won't become martyrs for Ontario's vegetable growers.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Yep and to add that OFA and CFFO are looking for a fee increase . Who do ya think approves that ? It is not the members ! So not much of a fight will be fought although they will make it look like they are .

It seems you have use the word Martyr incorrectly . OFA will never be a martyr for any one under it's current state . The way they are backing Gov on every thing tells every one that they are doing what the current Liberals want them to .
Gov essentially is with OFA's approval doing every thing they can to get rid of the little guys . Same as Farm Products . Gov has for years been pushing for fewer and larger .

A Martyr is "a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs." So who in all of this should be considered a Martyr ? It will be the membership who is being lead to believe that they are being represented . One by one they will be picked off . It is clear that OFA never followed through on their belief that science was to be followed with the Gov Neonic regs .

Your book needs to tell you not to twist words and to use them to their true meaning . Do you really think any one on the current board is willing to die for their members or their beliefs ?
Enough said .

You must be willing to bet your farm on that . Just like they were opposed to neonic regulations after they said publicly they were willing to help the gov .
Glad to get my giggle for the day .

Token opposition only. OFA have shown repeatedly that they won't be loudly opposed to anything a Liberal government does.

Food and beverage people say they strongly support the producers in Ontario of all commodities yet they recommend and encourage more imports?

The move by our government, via the face of Kamenz, is about supporting multinational corporations in the bid to take complete control of the "integrity" of "their" products through international harmonization of production standards.

1. The TPP will allow multinational corporations to compete without government (some) imposed barriers.
2. Integrity of agricultural products will be forced to comply with international standards concerning items such as environment and child labour.
3. Without the government acting as an intermediary, processors will deal with producers directly ensuring all their international integrity issues are detailed and recorded for liability insurance.

Multinationals have stepped up their positions to control the integrity of their products and our government has abdicated their responsibilities in regards to the domestic food supply.

The move by Kamenz primarily affects farmers but this shift in government responsibility will affect the domestic consumer down the road.

None of the above three points caused any concern whatsoever in our hog, white bean, edible soybean and wheat sectors subsequent to their de-regulation except, of course, among protectionists, the poorly-educated and/or NFU types who perpetually see multinationals as the ultimate evil.

More to the point, bean and grain dealer, W.G. Thompson & Sons, is now a multi-national and isn't at all "evil" - for example, without the burden of single-desk selling, they gave people who planted Branson wheat seed bought from them, a 20 cent per bushel bonus for the Branson wheat those farmers delivered during the 2016 wheat harvest. I'd say that instead of being bad, the "integrity" of production standards put in place by this company is a good thing.

In addition, when I grow white beans for the Hensall District Co-op under contract, I follow their spraying protocols and it's no big deal because I want them to be able to impress their customers with the due diligence followed and, in turn, pay me more money. The integrity of that "field-to-fork" program is also a good thing and needs no government intervention at all.

The above poster is grasping at straws and using 1950's style "bogey-man" arguments hoping the 1950's will come back - they won't.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

No where did the previous message condemn multinationals as 'evil'. No where in the previous message was there even the slightest suggestion of returning to the 1950's. No where in the previous message was there a suggestion that "integrity" of products was "bad".

The ability of multinationals to control all integrity aspects of their products with recorded traceability to origin of source is the new model.

Fewer farmers doing business with fewer multinationals controlling a larger portion of Ontario food production.

That's the reality!

In the above posting, the statement - "Fewer farmers doing business with fewer multinationals controlling a larger portion of Ontario food production" isn't a complete sentence.

In addition, multi-nationals have nothing to do with anything except in the minds of members of the farm community who inexplicably support the NFU vendetta against multi-nationals.

People would do well to purchase a copy of Strunk and White's 78-page handbook - "The Elements of Style". Mine cost $2.25 when I bought it, as a requirement for one of my courses, at the University of Western Ontario's book store in 1973.

I've used it ever since - anonymous posters on this site would do well to do likewise.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

who really cares if it's not a complete sentence. at least the poster makes good points and doesn't babble endlessly on every subject!!

In the offending posting, the anonymous author used the words "multinational" and "international" three times and yet, in the context of the proposed changes to the way vegetables are marketed in Ontario, neither word means anything whatsoever and each word is used solely for its pejorative connotation in an attempt to deceive gullible and/or poorly-educated readers.

For example, processors buy vegetables and it doesn't matter whether the processor is a local co-op or a US-based conglomerate. The only real difference is that that a conglomerate will have access to more markets than a local co-op meaning that, for all intents and purposes, having multi-national buyers for what one produces is a good thing, a vital point the offending poster studiously and incorrectly ignores.

As for the word "international", the offending poster used it in a way that made it appear to be a bad thing, but if we're going to export vegetables and vegetable products, and that's the reason why the changes were proposed by the OFPMC, we've got to meet international standards and that's also a good thing.

Therefore, contrary to what the above poster claims, the original posting:

(A) didn't make any good points whatsoever
(B) ignored any and all analysis of the export potential and standardization processes inherent in the corporate structure of major international buyers.
(C) spouted and babbled protectionist half-truths, bafflegab and jinogistic, poorly-written jargon (it reads like something written by a low-level government committee) in an attempt to influence gullible readers.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

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