Friday, July 21, 2017

Ministers fail to agree on farm supports

The federal and provincial agriculture ministers have failed to reach agreement on a new package of farm support measures.

They have instead called for further consultations on AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriInsurance programs.

They did agree on the importance of science, research and innovation, on the importance of markets and trade, on environmental sustainability and climate change and the need to build a firm foundation for public trust.

Internet sales system created for farmers

Flanagan Foodservices Inc. of Kitchener is offering to help farmers use the internet to sell directly to customers.

The service, called Flanagan Market, started at the end of May and already has 28 farmers signed up, such as Mountainoak Cheese Ltd. of Haysville and Bee Local 416 natural honey of Toronto.

“It’s really trying to promote the whole local aspect and the site connects the farmers and the producers with restaurants that we service across Ontario,” said Barry Reid, Flanagan’s vice-president for sales and marketing.

Flanagan began 40 years ago and now has 550 employees serving about 6,000 restaurants and food distributors across Ontario through an inventory of about 10,000 warehoused products. It has centres in Kitchener, Owen Sound and Sudbury.

Those who want to use the internet service sign up through the website, listing the products they wanat to sell and posting a delivery schedule.

Flanagan then decides whether it wants to list that company; Flanagan has a number of prerequisites, such as companies must be established businesses and food-safety certified.

Mr. Reid says that Flanagan takes a small administration fee for the service.

He said that making money was not the reason fror launching the service; he wants to help farmers to market their products and possibly increase the scope of what Flanagan can offer its customers.

Training centre for hog-farm workers opens

A training centre for hog-farm workers is scheduled to open this fall at the Ridgetown campus of the University of Guelph.

The 6,600-square-foot Swine Education Centre will offer training and education for agriculture and veterinary technology students and farmers.

“This educational facility will allow people to get into the barn and actually experience hands-on training, and allow for the learning about day-to-day operations of our most recent production practices,” says director Ken McEwan.

The $500,000 project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs with 20 per cent support from the Ontario Pork marketing board.

The facility will house up to 150 animals and will be used by about 300 students taking courses such as livestock systems, animal science, pork production and animal health.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Glitches remain for meat exports to Europe

The Canadian Meat Council is hoping for two changes to European regulations to improve pork and beef access under the new free trade agreement.

For pork, it’s a change to allow food-safety labeling to be applied immediately before export and only on boxes destined for the European market.

That will enable packers to continue as usual with cooler storage and packaging for the Canadian and other export markets.

For beef, council spokesman Ron Davidson said it may take longer to address the more difficult issue of clarifying which antibiotics are/are not acceptable for on-farm use for beef destined for Europe, and to gain European acceptance for that list.

Davidson said this issue will likely remain open when Sept. 21, the free-trade implementation date, arrives, meaning packers will have to wait to start exporting.

FCC posts $614-million profit

Farm Credit Canada achieved a profit of $613.8 million in the most recent 2016-17 fiscal year.

It continued its aggressive, competitive lending policy by increasing its lending by $2.6 billion to $31.2 billion. Of that, $3.2 billion went to young farmers, a category for which the FCC doubled its borrowing limit.

The FCC gave away more than $3 million to support community investments and to celebrate Canada’s Agricuture Day and Canadian agriculture.

It continued support for agriculture education and safety through its support for groups, such as 4-H Canada, Ag in the Classroom, industry associations, STARS air ambulance service and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association’s Back to Ag program to help injured farmers and agricultural workers return to work.

Profits are also used to support health and wellness initiatives, such as Agriculture Safety Week and FCC Drive Away Hunger in support of Food Banks Canada.

FCC continues to provide free learning opportunities and economic insights through social media and various publications for all involved with the industry.

The FCC paid a dividend of $268.3 million to the federal government, which backs its portfolio.

That's still peanuts given the multi-billion bailout the feds provided the FCC in the 1980s, also a time when it was an aggressive lender.

About 300 borrowers were offered concessions to make it through tough financial circumstances, such as bad weather.

“Our business is built on strong, caring relationships with our customers and our passion for the industry that feeds the world,” said president and chief executive officer Michael Hoffort in a news release.

The FCC annual public meeting will be held in Regina, Saskatchewan on August 16. A full copy of the report can be found at