It’s estimated that over the next 10 years, 75 per cent of farms will change hands, yet only eight per cent of farmers have a written transition plan, according to Farm Management Canada. Farm Credit Canada is offering resources to assist in that process. 

While Prime Minister Trudeau has announced the halt of Canadian flights to Mexico and the Caribbean effective January 31, Agriculture Minister Bibeau reassures growers that chartered flights with temporary foreign workers will proceed under current safety protocols. They are considered essential to Canada’s food security. 

RELATED NEWS

Wish Farms expands operations to Oxnard California

The Plant City, Florida grower of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries has expanded operations to Oxnard, California. The Frontera strawberry variety will be grown there.

Fire destroys Washington Potato Company dehydration plant

A dehydration plant owned by the Washington Potato Company was destroyed in a major fire on January 21. It’s located 90 miles southwest of Spokane.

Pharr International Bridge to expand

The crossing between Reynosa, Mexico and Pharr, Texas is expanding to accommodate $35 billion in trade and more in the years to come. It’s the number one crossing in the U.S for produce. More than 10 per cent of the crossings are in high-value berries.

International blueberry coalition formed

In a new twist, some of America’s largest blueberry growers are insisting that there is no injury to the industry when most imports arrive outside the domestic growing season of late April to early September. The coalition went public a week before the U.S. International Trade Commission looks at the case on January 12.

Blueberry alliance formed in U.S.

The American Blueberry Growers Alliance has been established to seek relief from rising imports. While Peru and Mexico are said to be the main irritants, Canada is also caught up in the International Trade Commission investigation.  

Leading businesses, NGOs and governments unite behind 2025 targets to making packaging waste a thing of the past. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association is one of more than 35 partners. 

Based in Kingsville, Ontario, Red Sun Farms has announced completion of 27 high-tech greenhouse acres at its home base. More greenhouse acres are on track for the winter season in Mexico. And more cold storage facilities are being built in Pharr, Texas. 

More than $3.6 million of Ontario funding will be targeted to 12 projects through the Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative. One project is to test cost effectiveness of anti-viral coating to treat tools and surfaces with hopes of reducing spread of human and plant viruses. 

RELATED NEWS

NutriAg launches SiliCalMax

NutriAg is introducing newly registered SiliCalMax, a silicon and calcium foliar fertilizer for both fruit and vegetable crops.

Artificial intelligence is coming to greenhouse vegetables operations

Smart algorithms can optimize and steer climate, irrigation and energy in daily operations of greenhouses. A January 28 webinar delves into how artificial intelligence can reduce dependency on human expertise in controlled environments. 

Telus launches agriculture division

Telus Corporation, a Canadian telecom company, has announced its acquisitions of several data management and analytics companies to come under the umbrella of Telus Agriculture.   

Ecoation partners with robotic arm developer

Ecoation is partnering with Kinova, a Canadian-based global leader in professional robotics. It’s a step forward in identifying pests and diseases in greenhouses.

Nobel Prize winners for chemistry discovered genetic scissors

Two scientists – one in Germany, one in the United States – are winning global accolades for their development of a method of genome editing. They are Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna.  

 

RELATED NEWS

The perfect storm in accessing crop protection products

In recent years, the mergers of global crop protection companies promised robust R & D pipelines.  But the reality is that fewer products and label extensions will come to horticulture. That’s because there’s a bottleneck of reduced trial capacity at the Pest Management Centre says apple grower Charles Stevens, Newcastle, ON. 

 

Pressure testing your financial health

John Molenhuis, business analysis and cost-of-production specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) worked with the grape, tender fruit and apple groups for years, updating baseline measurements every five years that compare the average of the group to the top 25. 

Wired for launch

Events by invitation-only became the norm in 2020 as the pandemic curbed in-person contact. The impacts of COVID-19 on research, new product launches and extension efforts will be felt for years to come. 

Hardest harvest reveals hard truths and even harder questions

Dejected workers gather to tear down the brittle leaves of a cucumber crop that perished after Nature Fresh Farms was shut down by public health authorities on June 30, 2020. In a recent short documentary, the story is told how 199 asymptomatic workers tested positive for COVID-19 but no one was ever hospitalized. The devastating effects of losing 7.8 million pounds of produce aren’t just economic but emotional as guest workers have testified. 

Growing live, virtually

Meetups are increasingly scarce. That’s why technology transfer is challenged in the age of COVID-19. Ontario vegetable crop specialist, Travis Cranmer and his colleagues are using new platforms to reach garlic growers Ian and Nathan Teetzel near Exeter, Ontario.

A new TV consumer campaign for Prince Edward Island potatoes bakes in children’s humour. It’s a timely promotion with more meals cooked at home.

RELATED NEWS

Charles Stevens identifies challenges for accessing crop protection products

Charles Stevens, chair, crop protection section, OFVGA, discusses the restricted capacity at the Pest Management Centre to conduct toxicological trials needed to register crop protection products.

Steve Funk explains MNPs Risk Management Projector

Steve Funk, director of agriculture risk management resources for MNP, discusses business risk management and interconnected government, crop insurance and private insurance programs.

Bob Tosh with MNP shares insight on transitioning wealth

Karen Davidson, editor of The Grower, talked to Bob Tosh, MNP, to find out how this accounting company offers more than tax planning and accounting.

Scott Hodgins crystal balls the future of crop protection research

Scott Hodgins has been in the crop protection business for 20 years and shares his thoughts on the impacts of COVID-19 on research for horticulture.

John Ketler shares the hard truths of a greenhouse shutdown

The Grower, goes 'Behind the Scenes' of the December cover story titled Hardest Harvest and speaks with John Ketler, vice-president, Nature Fresh Farms.

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FEATURES

  • Pigweed Species Identification Guide available

    This resource provides excellent pictures and describes key features to identify the six different species found in Ontario: waterhemp, redroot pigweed, green pigweed, tumble pigweed, smooth pigweed and prostrate pigweed.  

  • Merivon fungicide is registered

    BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions has received registration for Merivon fungicide. It can be used to address key diseases such as black rot and bitter rot in apples, and Septoria leaf spot and botrytis gray mold in blueberries. 

  • Pigweed Species Identification Guide

    Currently in Ontario the Pigweed family have confirmed resistance to 6 of the 8 Herbicide Groups where resistance occurs. Browse or download the latest version of the Pigweed Species Identification Guide.

  • Online grower pesticide safety courses offered

    The Ontario Pesticide Education Program courses focus on product information, health and environmental risk management, pesticide application and pesticide safety practices. Growers can work through the course at their own pace. 

  • OFVGA elects 2021 board

    Bill George Jr. is re-elected for a third one-year term as chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association at the 162nd annual general meeting – held virtually for the first time.   

  • FARMS and CanAg Travel Service honoured for pandemic efforts

    The Niagara Peninsula fruit and vegetable growers are honouring the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Service and CanAg Travel Service for their 2020 pandemic efforts. The Award of Merit cites extraordinary efforts in managing travel logistics for about 20,000 seasonal agricultural workers arriving in Ontario and advocacy efforts to secure federal quarantine funding.  

  • Ontario welcomes tree fruit specialist

    Erika DeBrouwer has joined the horticulture crops unit, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. She will be based in Simcoe.

  • Robert Van Der Geest
    Nature Fresh Farms hires manager for Mexican greenhouse

    Robert Van Der Geest becomes general manager for Nature Fresh Farms Mexico  leading operations of a 15-acre pepper greenhouse in the central region of the country. Another 15 acres are under construction. 

Recent News

Financial protection needed in face of bankruptcies

The changing business landscape – with bankruptcies looming in the restaurant and institutional sectors – may finally persuade the federal government to consider financial protection legislation.  Similar to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act in the U.S., legislation would protect produce sellers if they’ve sold to a business that goes bankrupt.

BC tree fruit growers need bridge financing

British Columbia’s 350 tree fruit growers are facing unprecedented challenges, not the least of which are an increase of minimum wage rates to $15.25 per hour as of June 1 and hurdles in accessing labour for the 2021 season.  A Tree Fruit Stabilization Initiative is underway with the provincial government, with hopes for a draft plan by end of July. 

Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month kicks off

Canada’s ag minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has announced $1.6 million over two years to fund Agriculture in the Classroom Canada. The initiative launches Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month, now in its 10th year. 

Seed potato survey due by March 15

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a needs assessment survey to modernize seed regulations, including seed potatoes. Deadline is March 15. 

Register for Canadian Horticultural Council AGM

Horticulture Strong - Reflect. Adapt. Persevere. That’s the theme of this year’s 99th annual general meeting of the Canadian Horticultural Council to be held virtually on March 16 and 17th.

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OUR COLUMNISTS

Bill studied horticulture at the University ...
Chris Duyvelshoff, is OFVGA's crop protection ...
Gordon Stock is OFVGA's senior policy advisor ...
Owen Roberts is a journalist and a columnist ...
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