Home > AgriLink > Scoops




From a news release

The federal government has announced a $25-million Agricultural Clean Technology Program to help the agricultural sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the development and adoption of clean technologies.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay visited an innovative farm in St-Eugene, Ont. on Monday to announce the three-year investment program.

"This investment will help Canadian farmers stay on the cutting edge of clean technology by targeting developments in bio-products and precision agriculture,” said MacAulay. “Our government has made both agriculture and clean technology a priority for growth in our economy. This new program will contribute to Canada's place as a world leader in agricultural clean technology, helping farmers to develop new and efficient uses of energy, while also protecting our environmental resources and mitigating climate change."

Provinces and territories are eligible to apply for federal funding through this program, and are encouraged to work with industry on projects that focus on precision agriculture and/or bio-products. The program will launch on April 1, 2018, and a program guide will be available in the coming weeks.

Bio-products are renewable products from agricultural waste and outputs. Precision agriculture is a farming practice that uses data gathering technologies to guide targeted farm management actions that improve the sustainability, efficiency and productivity of agricultural operations.

In addition to the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, Natural Resources Canada will provide $155 million for clean technology research and development and demonstration projects, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will invest $20 million to assist Canada's fisheries and aquaculture industries in improving their environmental performance.



From a news release

The federal government is investing $760,000 to help the Canadian seed industry improve and enhance the certification of seed crops, identify and assess risk and opportunities facing the industry, and expand seed trade in global markets.

The Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA) will receive $499,814 to better understand the risk and opportunities within the seed system and develop options for the future. CSGA will receive an additional $203,400 to modernize seed production standards and guidelines.

The Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) will receive $65,154 to help build Canadian seed innovation and trade and break down barriers to trade.

"The Canadian Seed Growers' Association is grateful to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) for the AgriMarketing funds which will ensure Canada retains its strong reputation as a leader in seed certification through the modernization of official seed crop regulations,” said Doug Miller, Managing Director of Certification and Technology Services, Canadian Seed Growers' Association.

Miller noted that the contribution supports the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project, an industry-led collaboration which will draft a proposal for a next-generation seed system for Canada. The Seed Synergy Partners include the Canadian Seed Growers' Association, the Canadian Seed Trade Association, the Canadian Seed Institute, the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada, the Canadian Plant Technology Agency, and CropLife Canada.

“By supporting the seed industry, (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) is demonstrating support for what we believe in: A growing, innovative, profitable and internationally competitive Canadian agricultural sector supported by seed quality assurance and genetic traceability."

Dave Carey, Executive Director, Canadian Seed Trade Association said the funding will help the group to be engaged on the global level by attending international meetings of the International Plant Protection Convention, the International Seed Federation and the Seed Association of the Americas.

“A strong Canadian presence abroad is key for helping our members expand market access and work through non-tariff trade barriers,” added Carey. “The funding also allows us to work with experts on projects that provide our members with the tools they need to increase their exports."

The federal funding, which comes from the Growing Forward 2 programs, was announced at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show on March 14 by Mike Bossio, Member of Parliament for Hastings – Lennox and Addington, on behalf of Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.



Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Louis Roesch, OFA Director

March 22 is World Water Day. Designated by the United Nations, the day is about focusing attention on the importance of water in our daily lives and on a global scale. For the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), water is about more than just a day, it’s an essential part of agriculture, our environment, and our responsibilities.

This year, OFA is celebrating World Water Day by recognizing the collaborative efforts the Ontario agri-food industry is taking to improve water quality in the Great Lakes. From grassroots and member initiatives to industry and government partnerships, there’s a lot work being done to improve our waterways.

Ontario farmers share the responsibility and are part of the solution to improving water quality, including the 4R Nutrient Stewardship to use the right source at the right rate, the right time and the right place. Best Management Practices are guiding principles in farm management and new drainage techniques are being tested to reduce nutrient loss.

OFA is active in several water projects, representing the interests of our farming members and the agri-food sector. The Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) supports activities in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds and the Lake Huron southeast shores watershed by assisting farmers with a farmland health check-up, farmland health incentive program and priority watershed projects. As one of many agricultural organizations working in partnership through Grow Ontario Together (GOT), OFA is helping reduce phosphorus entering the Great Lakes watershed. OFA also partners with the Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative, a group focused on the science of reducing phosphorus and improving water quality through effective agricultural land management and drainage solutions.

Partnerships, collaborations and working groups have been established across the province between the agri-food sector and provincial and federal governments, and OFA is proud to be a part of these. It’s our job to make sure farmers have the tools they need to improve on-farm nutrient management practices including support, incentives and proper regulations.

Farmers have an important role to play in the sustainability, water quality and maintaining the health of our waterways and Great Lakes. World Water Day serves to remind us that we all rely on our natural water resources and share the responsibility to preserve them.



Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario Commentary
By Marie Versteeg, CFFO Manager of Executive Board & Committees

This past week was Agricultural Safety Week in Canada. Ag Safety Week is supported by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA), which works to raise awareness of on-farm risks and provide resources to help farmers improve farm safety.

This year’s focus has been on seniors. Senior farmers are so experienced, they could do the work in their sleep. But according to statistics from Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR), from 2003-2012, the number of agriculture-related fatalities was highest for older adults, aged 60 to 69.

It’s easy to become complacent when performing routine tasks, no matter how old you are. But seniors often face an additional risk by expecting to perform the same demanding duties they did at a younger age.

Stress and mental distraction also increase the risk of physical injury. Here is where seniors have a critical role to play in improving on-farm safety. According to a report by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, if seniors take the lead by promoting mental health and wellness, younger farmers are much more likely to follow suit.

Mental health among farmers has garnered a lot of public attention recently. It’s no wonder, when studies show that “stress, anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion and burnout are all higher among farmers than among other groups.” Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton’s recent research on mental health among famers has brought the critical nature of this issue to light locally.

Now, Jones-Bitton, a professor at the University of Guelph, is working with partners to equip agricultural service providers, like animal nutritionists, veterinarians and agronomists, to identify and respond to mental health issues among producers.

Producers are much more likely to turn to service providers, who understand farming, than to seek help from professionally trained counsellors. In response, Jones-Bitton’s team is working with stakeholders to launch a mental health literacy program this summer. The pilot project is aimed at service providers and is designed to equip them to identify producers who are struggling with mental health and to have effective conversations with them. It’s like a Mental Health First Aid course geared toward the specific needs of farmers.

This is an important step in a larger plan for reducing stigma and equipping Canadian farmers with mental health literacy and stronger support.

Agricultural Safety Week is a good reminder to review farm safety—including mental health and wellness—on your own farm before the busy season of spring planting hits. Please check out the resources available to you at agsafetyweek.ca, including resources on How to Support Seniors and Conducting a Job Safety Analysis. You can also visit the CFFO’s online advice centre for information on mental health support for farmers.

We wish everyone a safe and healthy farming season ahead.



By Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Ontario consumers are thirsty for more hard apple cider, and the province’s apple sector is poised to deliver. But first, researchers are profiling consumer preference to be sure the industry serves up cider that hits the spot.

The project developed in response to research needs identified in the 2016 Cider Research and Innovation Strategy is a partnership with the Ontario Craft Cider Association and the Ontario Apple Growers. The strategy aims to see seven million litres of Ontario craft cider come to market by 2020.

“Our work is about developing a better understanding of who the cider consumer is, and the sensory, flavour and taste profiles they’re looking for in a cider,” says Amy Bowen, Research Director, Consumer Insights at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland).

Bowen used Vineland’s trained sensory panel to develop a lexicon of 22 sensory attributes to describe taste, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and colour of hard apple ciders. The same panel then applied those attributes to 50 cider brands currently available to consumers through the LCBO and Ontario cideries.

Next, 228 cider-drinking consumers rated their liking for a subset of those 50 ciders, and described each one using a provided list of terms. They also completed a questionnaire about consumption and purchase habits.

“We identified two main segments of consumers, one that was driven by sweet, fruit-forward flavour profiles, and another panel that was driven by less sweet, balanced, and more complex flavours,” Bowen says.

She notes there are significant differences in flavour and ingredients in domestic and imported ciders available to consumers through the LCBO.

Craft ciders are made from 100 per cent Ontario apples, while others are made in Canada using apple concentrate, and some imported ciders contain little fruit juice at all (less than 20 per cent).

Interestingly, two of three top-rated ciders tasted by study participants are not among the top five-selling cider brands at the LCBO.

“We want to develop ciders using 100 per cent Ontario apples that meet a sensory profile that consumers respond to,” she says. “If someone is looking for an apple cider, and they want a dry one or a sweet one, understanding those profiles allows us to be flexible in using mixes of apples that are well adapted to our industry.”

But if the industry is going to meet its growth targets, an additional 16,000 tonnes of apples – or 1.45 million trees – will be required. Work is underway to determine which apple varieties meet the climate, yield and taste profiles ideal to growing the cider industry.

“We need to think strategically,” Bowen says. “It’s a big, long-term investment to put an apple orchard in the ground. There’s a huge opportunity to look at how the apple variety mix aligns and meets the needs of this growing industry, to keep it profitable and flavourful.”

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.