Thursday, September 29, 2016

Swiss organic market access opens

Switzerland and Canada have expanded their markets for products grown and processed to organic standards.

Effective October 1, Switzerland is opening market access to all Canadian organic multi-ingredient processed products.

The arrangement will also recognize Canadian and Swiss organic wine standards as being equivalent.

This expands on an agreement that came into effect in 2012 under which the two countries recognized each other’s organic standards and regulations for agricultural products as equivalent.

The Canadian Food Inpsection Agency says Switzerland's organic market is the eighth-largest organic market in the world valued at $2.66 billion in 2014. It grew by 7.5 per cent from 2013.


Keen demand for artisanal chicken

There is a keen demand for “artisanal chicken” since the marketing board opened the door for selected farmers to produce up to 3,000 birds per year without requiring quota.

Glenn Black of Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island, lobbied relentlessly to persuade the chicken board to allow farmers without quota to raise birds for local customers.

He now reports that he’s sold out for the rest of this year and for 2017 and he’s asking producers to contact him because he has customers eager to buy their birds.

These customers want live birds because they process them to their specifications.

His e-mail is .

The chicken board was stubborn for too long about keeping non-quota holders out of the market, but it has definitely changed its attitude for the better.

Now it has several programs aimed at serving special and niche markets, including non-quota production and an avenue for new processors to get into the market.

The surest route to survival is satisfied customers, and these programs are definitely satisfying a lot of previously-frustrated customers.

Glenn Black deserves a marketing board award for being such an aggressive, annoying and persistent advocate for small-flock producers.

Egg agency wins global award

Egg Farmers of Canada has won the Crystal Egg Award for corporate and social responsibility for the second time in two years.

It received the award recently during the International Egg Commission’s Global Leadership Conference in Kuala Lumpur.

EFC Chairman Peter Clarke says the agency tries to bring social responsibility into all aspects of the organization.

The organization is involved with the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum to help foster the next generation of agricultural leaders, partners with Food Banks Canada, the Breakfast Club of Canada and the International Egg Foundation.

Egg Farmers of Canada first won the Crystal Egg Award in 2014.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Americans enjoy grocery bargains

Intense supermarket competition in regional markets has sent grocery prices spiralling down in the United States.

In Austin, Texas, the Randalls chain slashed prices for boneless beef ribs by 40 percent, to $3.99 a pound.

The H-E-B chain countered at $2.99 a pound.

Albertsons advertised “buy 1 get 1 free” specials on “USDA Choice Petite Sirloin Steak.”

Wal-Mart offered a dozen eggs for $1.14 at its store In North Bergen, New Jersey, but a mile away,  Aldi was selling eggs for 99 cents a dozen.

A year ago, when avian influenza reduced U.S. flocks by tens of millions of hens, prices where $3 or more a dozen.

Food prices have fallen for nine straight months in the U.S. It’s the longest streak of food deflation since 1960 -- with the exception of 2009, when the financial crisis was winding down.

Analysts credit low oil and grain prices, as well as cutthroat competition from discounters. Consumers are winning out; grocery chains, not so much.        

Monday, September 26, 2016

AgScape chooses new leaders

Several new leaders have been elected at AgScape, the new name for Agriculture in the Classroom.

The new chairman is Keith Currie who owns Curriedale Farms in Simcoe County and is an eighth-generation Ontario farmer and currently serves as vice president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

The vice-chairman is Audrie Bouwmeester who is dairy education program manager for Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

The treasurer is Carolyn Hill. She is the financial administrator for the Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg & Chick Commission.

The past chair is Lorie Jocius who has served on the board since 2009. She has been chair for four years.

"We are very pleased to have such strong representation on the AgScape board from across the agri-food sector," says AgScape’s executive director, Colleen Smith.

"As the voice of Agriculture in the Classroom Ontario, we are looking forward to working with this talented group as we move into the next 25 years of service to Ontario's students and the agriculture industry. These are exciting times for AgScape."

The AgScape board also includes two advisors - Catherine Mahler with the Ministry of Education and Helen Scutt with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Three additional community seats on the board are held by Heather Blackwell of Western Fair District, Deb Campbell of Agronomy Advantage and Natalie Walt of Ceres Global Ag Corporation.

Five additional corporate seats are filled by Kathryn Doan of, Peter Hohenadel with The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Mark Kerry with Monsanto Canada Inc., Jennifer Peart with Farm Credit Canada and Meaghan Ryersee with Syngenta Canada Inc.

All board members serve a three-year term. New to the board for 2016/2017 are Mark Kerry, Meaghan Ryersee, Deb Campbell and Natalie Walt.