L-R:  Matthias Oppenlaender, chair Grape Growers of Ontario, Michèle Bosc, Paul Bosc Sr., Amélie Boury and Miguel Fongalvo from Chateau des Charmes at an Award of Merit ceremony, April 2017.  Photo courtesy Grape Growers of Ontario.

Niagara’s grape and wine industry is mourning the untimely passing of Michèle Bosc, the vice-president of marketing and administration for Chateau des Charmes winery. Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the trail-blazing winery had just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018.  

Growing energy demand by Windsor-Essex greenhouses is expected to exceed capacity, according to a report by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). The good news is that upgrades are underway.

Twelve blueberry growers from Holland, Germany and Belgium have struck a deal to innovate in smart farming and robotic harvesting. The blueberry deal is one of five clusters under the Innoveins umbrella. 

The fact that China is buying American-grown rice signals a slight thaw in relations in the trade war that has hit agriculture hard in the American heartland. If tariffs can be eliminated on other agricultural crops, that’s good news for horticulture too. 

Leaders today aren’t so much about Command and Control as they are about floating ideas and inspiring others. Berry grower Tom Heeman does just that in both farm and association roles. 

Risk management is a priority for fresh vegetable growers, whether that’s in new equipment or crop insurance. Broccoli grower Kenny Forth reviewed the results of his new Plant Tape transplanting system at the recent annual general meeting of Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario. 

Oleen Smethurst, Costco Wholesale Canada, visits with grape grower John Thwaites, (L) and Mike Ecker, Vineland Growers’ Cooperative at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

It’s not too early to mark 2019 calendars. Canada Agriculture Day is February 12. Oleen Smethurst, assistant vice-president for produce procurement at Costco, is one of the headline speakers. 

The Ontario Potato Board held its annual general meeting on December 5. It represents 130 growers of 34,000 acres. The new 2019 chair is Shawn Brenn, Brenn-B Farms, Waterdown, Ontario. 

(L-R) Alex and Jordan McKay, Willowtree Farms, Port Perry, Ontario and Jinel and Craig Ference, Double F Farms, Kirriemuir, Alberta are the 2018 Outstanding Young Farmers for Canada.

This year’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ national recognition event culminated with awards on November 30 in Winnipeg.  Fruit and vegetable growers. brothers Alex and Jordan McKay, were honoured for their diversification at Willowtree Farms, Port Perry. Ontario. Jinel and Craig Ference, Double F Farms, Kirriemuir, Alberta got the Western Canadian nod for cropping 10,000 acres, managing an8,000-head feedlot and overseeing 4,000 mother cows. 

Retiring Ken Linington is surrounded by appreciative growers. L-R: Barb Hipple, Brett Schuyler, Ken Linington, Kai Wiens, Kyle Ardiel

Last day in a long career was November 30, 2018 for Ken Linington, policy advisor for Labour Issues Coordinating Committee. True to form, he attended a seminar “Labour Resources for Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers” on his second-last day and shared his extensive experience with growers.