From the Publisher – Next Update to Crop Protection Canada will be Monday January 5, 2015
• Comments by Minister Leal regarding Pollinator/Neonicotinoid Agricultural Industry Consultation. | Farms.com
“Comments delivered by Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, at this morning’s agricultural stakeholder consultation in Guelph regarding pollinator health and proposed neonicotinoid regulations.
“It’s important that I, as minister, have an opportunity to listen and learn from those who are directly impacted by government decisions. Participating in consultations like this one is an important part of the democratic process.
To reject consultation on the basis that our partners positions are not worthy of consideration is a counterproductive approach that will impair, not enhance, the opportunity to develop and implement common sense approaches to the challenges we face.
Those in the room here today have knowledge on appropriate pesticide use, planting and farming practices and environmental stewardship, all of which are central to this conversation. That is why I want to speak directly to you today.
The issue of pollinator health impacts every Ontarian. The development of public policy is of concern to a wide range of stake holders, both within the agriculture industry and beyond.
The commitment made by our government is balanced, taking into consideration the need to protect pollinators and ensure the viability of crop production. And it incorporates principals that, as Minister of Agriculture, I believe are important.
First, it does not suggest that the scientific examination of this issue is complete. Many of the findings to date require further research and verification. What it does do, however, is take a precautionary response to possible risks associated with the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. I believe this to be appropriate.
Second, it recognizes that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides can be an important tool for producers in certain circumstances, allowing for increased production and a reliable food supply for Ontarians. The policy does not ban its use, nor does it set hard targets, rather it suggests an aspirational goal of 80% to work towards.
Third, it pledges to work with producers to develop an appropriate implementation strategy that is sensitive to the needs of farmers. I’m conscious of how difficult of a challenge this is to those here in the room today, and to many farmers who are still wrapping up their harvest as we speak.
It’s why we need to have a robust and constructive conversation today, to ensure that government implements a realistic and practical system that aspires to our goal to reduce the use of neonic treated seeds.
I cannot stress to you enough how important these consultations are, and that anything said otherwise couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs”
It would be nice if the Ontario Government could reconnect with OPAC – The Ontario Pesticides Advisory Committee. There seems to have been a lack of consultation there for some while.
“Shares in Uralkali soared despite the group noting a potential $1bn hit from a mine accident, as the world’s potash producer lifted its forecast for world potash volumes, and sounded a, relatively, upbeat note on its own output.
Shares in the Russia-based group soared 14.5% in Moscow to 141.50 roubles, their best performance since May 2009, and enough, even at the current devalued rouble rates, to add the equivalent of $850m to its stockmarket value.
The jump was helped in part by a recovery in Moscow shares, which gained more than 4% on average, after a three-hour conference by President Vladimir Putin was seen as offering investors some reassurance on the state of Russia’s economy.
However, Uralkali’s rally, which supported more modest rises in shares in Western rivals such as Canada’s Agrium and Chile’s SQM too, gained extra momentum from upbeat talk on its own performance, and that of the world market.”
“Canada’s biggest dairy processor is set to sell its baked goods business to Canada Bread for $120 million cash.
Montreal-based Saputo’s baked goods business is billed as Canada’s top producer of snack cakes, sold mainly in the Canadian retail market and “on a small scale” in the U.S.
The company’s cakes are sold under the Vachon, hop + go, Hostess and Rondeau umbrella brands, whose brand names include Vachon, Jos Louis, Ah Caramel, Passion Flakie, Granny’s, Big Daddy and May West. The deal also includes one manufacturing plant in Quebec, now employing about 640 people.
“This operation will position Canada Bread for further growth in the country, complementing its current product portfolio and its distribution and manufacturing footprint,” Canada Bread said in a release.
Etoicoke, Ont.-based Canada Bread has been owned since May by Mexican bakery giant Grupo Bimbo, which paid $1.8 billion for the former Maple Leaf Foods subsidiary.”
Grupo Bimbo is a big player in Mexico, but I wonder how the Vachon brand went that far afield.
“For decades, on-farm diversification has been talked about, ruminated on, spit at and swallowed whole. We’ve seen underdogs become successes, and we’ve also seen outrageous failures, even when they had big government backing.
At the same time, economies of scale have propelled non-diversified farms to unbelievable sizes, backed by the five-year bull market in grains.
It all leaves Michael Gertler looking back on his work about diversification with some hard questions. “For decades, specialization and scale has driven agriculture,” says the retired sociology professor from the University of Saskatchewan. “This is economies of size, using the same amount of labour for a lot more output.”
“Nathan Klassen might not have grown up on a farm, but for as long as he can remember, he’s wanted to be a farmer, so in 2011, in the midst of North America’s record-smashing run-up in the price of farmland, he made that dream come true.
Klassen was 24 that year, and he bought his first patch of farming ground. But whether, at 75 acres, you’d call that patch a farm probably depends more on who you are than on any definition you’ll find in a dictionary. For some of his neighbours, 75 acres is more like a big backyard than a working farm.
In the best traditions of agriculture, however, the only opinion that really matters to Klassen is his own, and he’s convinced that he’s on the right path.”
“There’s an app for that!” They’re among the most often heard words in this data-driven world of mobile devices and services. Yet with the launch of app after app, not to mention all the buzz about the Cloud, new questions are cropping up, including several that we might never have thought we’d be asking.
Have we reached a saturation point with apps?
That’s one of the questions. Or, how am I ever going to sort out which are the best apps for me? Or even better, how much time am I going to spend learning about new apps instead of actually getting anything accomplished?
The Apple App Store has more than 1.2 million apps, but there are not that many specifically for agriculture, though I get 1.7M hits in Google searching for iOS agriculture. Still apps are very good at doing a few specific things at a given time. As a project I may try my hand at a Crop Protection Canada app. Business apps are universally used and useful.
“The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) says measures to improve railway accountability are needed to restore confidence in Canada’s grain transportation system.
In its preliminary recommendations to the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review Panel, AWC calls for the mandatory inclusion of reciprocal penalties in Service Level Agreements to ensure rail companies meet their service obligations or face immediate financial consequences.
“AWC has made a conscious decision to focus our lobbying efforts on this issue because we believe it is fundamental to the success of the review process,” says AWC Chair Kent Erickson. “We believe that reciprocal penalties will reduce the need for regulatory interventions and will provide meaningful, long-term solutions to the issues that grain transportation has historically faced.””
“The government’s proposed amendment (Bill C-48) to the Canada Grain Act has Keystone Agricultural Producers asking for more transparency.
Rob Brunel, chair of KAP’s grains, oilseeds and pulses committee says he would like to see producers contribute to the proposed producer payment security fund upfront rather than incurring the cost in the basis price offered later by licensed purchasers.
He’s also asking for an advisory board, with farmer representation, to oversee the fund.
“Producers can have a level of comfort knowing what the fund is, how big it is, and how it’s being used and managed, and what coverage levels may be set,” Brunel explained.”
“Effectiveness of allowing small carriers access to 160 kilometres of large companies’ track debated
The federal government’s decision to broaden railway shipment interswitching rights has prompted a variety of reactions from industry players.
Freight Management Association of Canada president Bob Ballantyne is one of those who likes the increase in interswitching rights to 160 kilo-metres from 30 km.
“It tends to work pretty well and is fairly widely used,” he said.
“This is a surrogate for real competition.”
However, analyst Joseph Schulman of transportation industry consul-tancy firm CPCS denounces the decision.
“This is a large step backwards,” said Schulman.“Interswitching always adds time, adds complexity and adds cost to moving goods.”
“Canada’s largest railway company, Canadian National Railway, exceeded the federally imposed railway revenue cap by nearly $5 million in the 2013-14 crop year.
In a decision handed down today, the Canadian Transportation Agency determined that CN revenues generated by hauling western Canadian grain amounted to $672.1 million in the 2013-14 crop year.
That was $4.981 million above the railway’s maximum revenue entitlement (MRE) of $667.1 million.
CN now has until mid-January to repay that amount, plus a five percent penalty, to the Western Grains Research Foundation, a farmer-directed organization that provides financial support for varietal development and crop research activities.
Canadian Pacific Railway made $623.6 million in 2013-14.
That was about $1.65 million below its maximum revenue entitlement.”
“Farmers and the grain industry once had a keen understanding of the dangers that the monopoly-like railways posed to “market power.”
However, that understanding waned in the decades after the Second World War among those favouring deregulation, Transport Institute analyst Paul Earl told the Fields on Wheels conference Dec. 3.
In fact, concern with railway power almost disappeared in the right-of- centre camp as the anti-CWB monopoly debate grew to a crescendo.
“I don’t remember one serious conversation about market power and the dangers it imposed,” said Earl, a longtime advocate for deregulation and a former researcher for the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
“I was involved for many years, precisely lobbying for deregulation. I fought very hard to deregulate the system because the grain transportation system had done a lot of damage, but I do have to say I do not recall one serious conversation amongst the people who were fighting for deregulation” about the possible power imbalances that could occur if the CWB monopoly was removed.