Saturday, January 21, 2017

Perth beef calf has rabies

A beef calf on a farm north of Listowel has rabies.

The Perth County health unit has issued some quarantine restrictions on the farm to keep human contacts with the herd to a minimum.

It’s the fourth case in Perth County since 2015. The others were a dairy cow, a calf and a skunk.

The ministry is not naming the farm or releasing its address, but the local health unit says it is located in Wallace Ward, just north of Listowel, Ont.

The health unit has been working with the farmer to track down anyone who had contact with the affected calf, in order to recommend vaccination.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ireland has a case of BSE

An 18-year-old cow has been confirmed as infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, better know as BSE or mad cow’s disease.

It is the “atypical form” of the disease which is believed to sometimes spontaneously develop, usually in older animals.

It will not affect Ireland’s beef exports because the world animal health organization has not changed Ireland’s status because of this case.

Weston Jr. takes over

Galen G. Weston has been appointed chief executive officer of George Weston Ltd., a company that his father led for decades before stepping aside last year as part of a staged succession plan at the company that controls the Loblaw grocery business.

Galen, who is 44, has been chairman and chief executive officer at Loblaws since September when his father, now 76, retired.

Galen has also been chairman at George Weston Ltd.

Luc Mongeau has been appointed president of Weston Foods  and Sara Davis, has been appointed president at Loblaws where she was the chief administrative officer.

Paviter Binning – who had been chief executive officer at George Weston Ltd. since March 2016 – has been appointed a special adviser to the Weston family’s private Wittington Investments Ltd.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New humane rules for U.S. organic farmers

The Obama administration enacted new humane-handling rules for organic livestock and poultry producers on its last day in office, Jan 19.

The rules have been in the works since summer, and the last-minute enactment drew criticism from the National Pork Producers Council which also said some of the rules have no basis in science.

On the other hand, animal welfare groups are pleased.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) “commends” the move, calling it an “historic move” and “the first comprehensive set of regulations governing the on-farm treatment of animals ever issued by the federal government.”

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) called the rule a “game-changer for the $40-billion organic market whose consumers often believe that organic farm animals are raised with strong animal welfare standards.”

The National Pork Producers Council, however, called it “another ‘midnight’ regulation” and a “poke in the eye to agriculture.”

Some of the requirements, such as outdoor access, could even put some livestock at risk for contracting certain diseases, the pork council said, also without citing any scientific reports.

USDA is accepting public comments on the rule until Feb. 21, but it went into effect as soon as it was published.


Cucumber deal reached

Cucumber growers for Hartung Brothers Inc. have reached agreement on terms for this year’s hand-harvested crop.

Negotiations continue for machine-harvested cucumbers.

The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers Marketing Board is facing tough negotiations this year following interventions by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission followed by a response from Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal.

Former commission chairman Geri Kamenz called for negotiations about the commission's proposal to take price-bargaining power away from the marketing board.

He cited the persistent decline in the Ontario fruit and vegetable processing sector.

Then Leal intervened to put Kamenz’s proposal on hold and called for further consultations.

That’s where matters still stand with the association representing processors insisting that it wants an end to the marketing board’s involvement in pricing and the board and a broader group of marketing boards and general farm organizations insisting that those powers must remain with the board.

The key crop is tomatoes and there the politics are particularly interesting because Heinz pulled out of Leamington and now a group of former Heinz managers have set up Highbury Canco to continue processing tomatoes at the plant.

Last year Highbury Canco formed a joint venture with a tomato grower and the marketing board objected. That issue ended up before the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Tribunal which ruled that the joint venture can operate in the industry.

The board argued that forming a joint venture undermines minimum pricing and might, therefore, become the industry standard for tomato production for processing.