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From a news release

The Cellulosic Producers Co-op and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture are hosting two information meetings on harvesting corn stover.

The meetings will feature research summaries from ongoing projects that will shed light on agronomic questions.

Get information on what is in your stover, field selection process, how much is removed, how the harvest is done, equipment, aggregation, processing, and studies on field conditions including soil organic matter.

Guest speakers include Dr. Craig Drury, Harrow Research Station, AAFC; Charles Lalonde, OFA co-ordinator for corn stover; and Brian Cofell, Cellulosic Sugar Producers Co-operative.

One meeting will be held Feb. 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre, 565 Richmond Street in Chatham.

The other meeting is set for Feb. 8, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Podolinsky Equipment, 6057 Petrolia Line, Petrolia.

People are asked to confirm their attendance by email to: Charles.lalonde73@gmail.com



From a news release

Food Freedom Day is the day when the average Canadian has earned enough income to pay for his or her grocery bill for the entire year. This year, Food Freedom Day in Canada is Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

To help celebrate the occasion, the Kent Federation of Agriculture is coordinating local food donations to both Salvation Army and Outreach for Hunger in Chatham-Kent.

Local organizations, businesses and farmers are being asked to join the KFA in this initiative.

The group plans to visit the Salvation Army and Outreach for Hunger on Food Freedom Day with some local food products such as meat, fruit and vegetables.

Since the average Canadian has earned enough income in just over a month to pay for their groceries for the entire year, the KFA says the occasion is worth celebrating by sharing our good fortune with those in need.

The KFA is requesting donations of local food products or financial contributions, which will be used to purchase local food products.

If you would like to participate in the Food Freedom Day event, contact the KFA at 519-674-1500 ext. 63595, or email kfa@uoguelph.ca



From United States Department of Agriculture

While winter wheat planted acres are down slightly in the U.S., the area seeded to Soft Red Winter Wheat is up from last year.

The USDA released its estimates for winter wheat planting on Friday (Jan. 12).

In total, the seeded area for 2018 is expected to be 32.6 million acres, down less than 1 per cent from 2017 and down 10 per cent from 2016.

The USDA says this represents the second lowest U.S. acreage on record. Seedings, which began in early September, remained behind the 5-year average seeding pace through early November when seeding was mostly complete.

Soft Red Winter (SRW) wheat seeded area totals 5.98 million acres, up 4 per cent from last year.

The USDA expects acreage increases in most of the SRW growing States, while decreases are expected in the Delta Region, most Northeastern States, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Record low acreage was seeded in
Louisiana, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat seeded area is expected to total 23.1 million acres, down 2 per cent from 2017. Planted acreage is down from last year across most of the growing region.

Also of note, White Winter wheat seeded area totals 3.56 million acres, up 1 per cent from 2017.



By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

Blendtek, an innovative local food ingredient company, is expanding the public palate by making novel and otherwise unique ingredients more accessible– and traceable – for food processors.

With hundreds of ingredients now in their warehouse, Rob Bianchin, vice president of Blendtek, says the goal is to help food manufacturers develop better products using non-traditional ingredients. More specifically, that means using alternative products to adapt to changes in taste, as well as shifting perspectives on nutrition, traceability and environmental sustainability.

“This is really about food innovation and using cutting edge ingredients, technologies and processes to develop more nutritionally dense options and alternatives for consumers,” says Bianchin.

Ingredients range from simple core products like baking soda to more unique alternatives – such as vegan protein blends like a hemp-and-pumpkin protein powder mix that Blendtek formulates onsite. Other ingredients that play a large part in the business include gluten-free flour blends, puffed ancient grain flour blends, high oleic sunflower oil, and brown rice syrup.

Alternatives to common ingredients are investigated for their usefulness and nutritional value by the company’s own food science team, as well as through industry and research analysis. Blendtek’s sales team also helps determine market viability by listening to customer needs, wants, and insights.

With a grant from the Bioenterprise Seed Fund, Bianchin and his business partner Steve Zinger have also obtained food safety and traceability certifications. These include BRC Global Standards, which focus on food quality and consumer safety; Pro-Cert Organic, a North American organic certification; and others related to labour rights, health and safety, the environment, ethical business practices, and more.

“Manufacturers want to know more about the ingredients they are using, as well as potential alternatives, but we do encounter misinformation often. What we want to do is make as much information available [about a product] as we can,” says Bianchin.

By locating the business in Southwestern Ontario, Bianchin and Zinger are able to access both a diverse agricultural market and major sources of food innovation, such as the University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, and the University of Guelph, which runs a food innovation competition in which Bianchin participates as a mentor.

That said, supply issues can still be a reality, even with abundant Canadian crops.

“Pea protein is an interesting product because Canada produces a lot of it, and it’s an excellent alterative ingredient, but it’s all exported before being processed,” says Bianchin. “We need lots of it, but it’s actually hard to find.”

Regardless, he says it’s the diversity in both demand and ingredient availability that continues to drive business. Considering Blendtek has experienced an 85 per cent growth in revenue, and has more than doubled their staff since opening in 2015, the demand for alternative ingredients certainly doesn’t appear to be diminishing.



Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario Commentary
By Brooke Wareing, CFFO Communications Intern

This year marked the 52nd annual Grey Bruce Farmers week. The event was held Jan. 3 to 9 in Elmwood. Grey Bruce Farmers Week started in 1968 and was originally a conference several days long focusing on dairy, beef and crops. The conference has since evolved and is now an annual conference held every year in January, dedicated to providing extensive information on major agricultural commodities. The conference attracts more than 1,300 people to Grey Bruce and features many different speakers and exhibits.

The week features days dedicated to specific commodities such as beef, dairy, goat, sheep, horse and crops and concluded with a day focused on ecological farming. Farmers Week provides a unique experience where farmers can learn about issues that pertain to their specific interests, but also have the option of learning about new commodities as well.

The week started off with Beef Day, where Andrew Campbell presented “The Good and Bad of Reaching Out to Consumers.” His presentation, like many others, provided a unique perspective on modern ag issues and focused on how to effectively communicate the good work of farmers in Ontario.

Other presentations during the week included a speech from Bruce Vandenburg, owner of Mariposa Dairy, who presented on the impacts of CETA; a speech from Jennifer MacTavish, General Manager of the Ontario Sheep Farmers, and many more. Grey Bruce Farmers Week also included panel discussions, such as a producer panel on pasture pork, a sheep fencing panel discussion, and an “In Search of Efficiencies and Higher Productivity” discussion.

CFFO staff representatives attended Dairy Day, which included speakers on a variety of topics and exhibits. Dairy day was a busy conference, with the Elmwood Community Centre hall filled with farmers listening to speakers, touring the exhibits and, of course, socializing. One of the speakers, Dr. Robert Tremblay, offered tips on raising calves, sanitizing bottles, and how to keep dairy cattle herds as healthy as possible.

Ralph Dietrich also spoke during Dairy Day on the industry and how it is performing in current times. Dietrich elaborated on milk demand and how a new processing plant being built in Kingston may open more opportunities for dairy farmers. Lastly, he spoke regarding NAFTA and what changes could look like and how they may impact the dairy industry.

Overall, Grey Bruce Farmers Week is a unique experience that caters to major agricultural commodities and provides extensive day-long sessions. This week-long event is excellent for learning practical and specific knowledge related to your own commodity, but is also a great experience for any farmer that is interested in a new commodity or learning more. If you were unable to attend this year, make sure you mark it on your calendars for next year as this is a great event.



Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Jackie Kelly-Pemberton, OFA Director

Farm Business Registration (FBR) renewal notices are in the mail for all Ontario farmers. That means it’s time for farmers to choose one of three general farm organizations to represent their interests, as part of the annual renewal process.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) knows Ontario farmers have a choice. We are honoured to be the largest general farm organization, through our long history of dedication to serving our members and representing the interests of more than 37,000 Ontario farmers.

OFA is committed to a grassroots approach to farm policy and programs and to our rural communities. Every new and renewing membership in OFA helps us dedicate more resources to achieving better farming and rural community opportunities in Ontario.

An OFA membership also includes access to OFA directors and volunteers that work on behalf of our members to secure sound agricultural and rural policies across Ontario. Dedicated Member Service Representatives are also available to work directly on issues impacting members at local, regional and county levels. All OFA members also have exclusive access to 13 partnering companies that offer special discounts and promotions through OFA’s Benefit Program.

New for 2018 is a slight increase in annual FBR fees. Approved by the government in late 2017, the annual fee increases by $30 to $225 plus HST. This fee is collected by Agricorp each year when farmers register their farm business. Agricorp then forwards the fees to the farm organization chosen by each farmer as part of the FBR process – OFA, the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario and the National Farmers Union – Ontario.

OFA is funded by membership support through FBR fees. Every new and renewing membership helps OFA represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. A membership means you’re among 37,000 other farm businesses who have committed to our mission of Farms and Food Forever. Thank you to all our members for your continued support.