Happy cows don’t make headlines

Schaus Land & Cattle Company feedlot near Alliston ON Another undercover video of farm animal abuse – this time on a BC dairy farm – means another black eye for farmers in the media.

Those of us in farming know these terrible incidents are by far the exception and not the norm – but the many millions who see or read the bad news stories don’t.

What never makes headlines are the thousands of Canadian farmers who do the right things every day when it comes to raising their livestock.

I had the chance to visit one such farmer recently (whose barn is pictured above) as part of the Farm & Food Care annual media tour for food writers, bloggers and culinary professionals. Continue reading Happy cows don’t make headlines

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Buying beef directly from farmers

buying local beef

buying local beefThe strength of the local food movement and the potential of an untapped urban market keen to buy high quality beef direct from farmers are behind a new marketing initiative underway by Beef Farmers of Ontario.

Farm to City Marketing is based on the popular community-supported agriculture (CSA) model that has been successful for vegetable producers, said BFO Policy Advisor Katie Dettman in a presentation at the annual general meeting of the Agricultural Adaptation Council last December. Continue reading Buying beef directly from farmers

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Young farmers talk about raising veal

Tom and Paul Oudshoorn are veal farmers in Ontario

Tom and Paul Oudshoorn are veal farmers in OntarioThey’re young, they’re educated and they’re passionate about their future as veal farmers in Ontario.

Tom Oudshoorn and his brother Paul raise about 2,000 grain-fed veal calves on their home farm in the Auburn area near Goderich and on a second farm near Kincardine, where Paul now lives. Continue reading Young farmers talk about raising veal

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Certified hay protects endangered birds

Many of Ontario’s species at risk – such as grassland birds – make their homes in farmers’ fields.

In honour of Earth Day this week, here’s a glimpse at a program that lets rural landowners do their part to protect those species.

Attempts to protect habitats for grassland birds can be a hard sell to farmers, especially if it involves taking existing fields out of production.

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), however, is hoping for a more positive response to a project that it has just launched to expand habitat areas for endangered grassland bird species like the Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.

That’s because it involves bringing former farmland back into agricultural production by linking non-farming landowners with local farmers who are interested in growing hay for horse or other livestock owners who want later-cut hay. Continue reading Certified hay protects endangered birds

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Social media changing Canadian beef promotions

Ask if it is Canadian Beef

BIC_logoMore beef check-off dollars are going into social media than ever before – and it’s proven to be a very effective strategy for boosting consumer awareness and driving loyalty to Canadian beef.

That’s according to Heather Travis, Canada Beef’s Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications, who’s been a long time champion of social media and has made the organization a leader amongst Canadian farm groups when it comes to using new media tools. Continue reading Social media changing Canadian beef promotions

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