ontag

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 […]

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New water storage decreases ground water use

This is the third article in a series this week where we’re profiling Ontario farmers and some of their on-farm environmental improvements – in honour of Earth Day, of course. The hot, dry summer of 2012 was the tipping point for Oxford County farmer Jan Veldhuizen, who was using up to 6,000 gallons (22,700 litres) […]

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Purifiying vineyard waste the natural way

This is the second in a series of stories showcasing the innovative things Ontario farmers are doing on their farms to improve the environment – in honour of Earth Day. Tough new regulations governing vineyard waste management meant the owners of Sixteen Mile Cellar in the Niagara Region had some tough choices to make. Previously, […]

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Community & sustainability at heart of local blueberry farm

This is the week we mark Earth Day, on Tuesday to be exact. Many of us give a bit more thought to the environment this week or do a few extra things to mark this day. And those are all good things. Farmers, in my opinion, have a special relationship with the environment, a stronger […]

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Ontario farm meeting rising demand for locally grown edamame

Demand for edamame, a type of soybean popular in Asia as a snack and vegetable dish, is growing in North America. Most edamame sold here, however, is imported – something that a local Ontario farm family is working hard to change. MacKellar Farms, near the southwestern Ontario town of Alvinston, is Canada’s only commercial supplier […]

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Argentina no longer a global beef powerhouse

This is the final article in a short series about agriculture in Argentina, a country I had a chance to visit as part of the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists conference in 2013. Argentina has traditionally been amongst the world’s leading beef producing nations. Much of its proud rural history is based on cattle, ranching […]

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Biotechnology key to production growth in Argentina

Most of the time what I write about on these pages have to do with food and farming in Canada. This is the second in a series of articles about agriculture in Argentina – a key global competitor for Canada’s farming sector. Public perceptions and consumer attitudes can make some Canadian farmers think twice about […]

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Soy underpins Argentine economy

Most of the time what I write about on these pages have to do with food and farming in Canada. Every once in a while, though, I’m lucky enough to have a chance to experience agriculture in other parts of the world – as I did last month with a fascinating trip to Argentina for […]

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Focus on reducing food waste, not just boosting production

Note: This commentary was originally published in Ontario Farmer, June 25, 2013 edition. June 5th was World Environment Day. I don’t normally pay much attention to these kinds of things – we seem to have a day for everything – but this one got me. The theme of World Environment Day this year was food […]

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Price, not welfare, governs egg buying decisions

About two-thirds of Canadian egg buyers have never bought eggs produced in cage-free facilities. They say they could be motivated to change their buying habits – but price will be the key factor and not hen welfare. That’s according to a study by NPD Group looking at consumer attitudes and demands for cage-free eggs, conducted […]

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Our love affair with smartphones is still growing

My first cell phone made phone calls. And that’s it. There was nothing smart about it. In fact, when you left the digital network urban areas, you had to insert an extra adapter so it would continue to work in then-still analog rural Ontario. The ups and recently mostly downs of homegrown mobile device pioneer […]

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Pilot school program uses Ontario produce to raise funds, promote healthy eating

It’s a new initiative that’s a win for farmers, students and healthy eating. Fresh from the Farm is a pilot program being launched this fall in select school boards that will let students fundraise for their schools by selling Ontario fruits and vegetables. Modeled after a similar program in Manitoba, the Ontario initiative is a […]

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New stream crossing in Niagara vineyard improves fish habitat

Fish are once again flourishing in their natural habitat in a small tributary to Niagara Region’s Sixteen Mile Creek, since an eroded culvert was replaced with a new clear-span bridge crossing. Now, fish can make their way downstream and farmers can easily cross the stream with equipment without endangering the habitat.

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Social media changing Canadian beef promotions

More 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 […]

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Inside an Ontario vegetable greenhouse

Ontario greenhouse vegetables – specifically cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers – are one of our largest local produce crops and one that we an enjoy almost all year round. Most of the vegetable greenhouses are centered in the Leamington and Niagara areas. Earlier this spring I was able to tour one of these operations Flamborough area […]

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