Bee health and neonicotinoids – a smoking gun?
Ontario’s government thinks so, but several national organizations disagree
Bees are crucial to the Canadian horticultural industry as they pollinate a multitude of crops, everything from cranberries to cucurbits. Here, a bee hunkers down into an
apple blossom at The Big R Apple Farm near Brampton, Ontario. Photo by David Bianchi.
2015 winner of the
Award of Merit is . . .
Page 4
Focus: Ontario Fruit
and Vegetable
B section
P.M. 40012319
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Like bees, farmers have been
set on ‘vibrate’ this winter. But
it’s not to keep warm. Rather they
are intensely debating how best to
support bee health and respond to
the Ontario government’s plan to
restrict neonicotinoid-treated
seeds for corn and soybeans.
While horticultural pesticides are
currently not affected by this
proposal, growers have reason to
be concerned by the policy
The government’s
“aspirational” objective is to
reduce acres planted with neonic
insecticide-treated seed by 80 per
cent by 2017. Given 2014 acreage
statistics and farmers’ usage of
these seeds, the legislation, if
enacted, would affect 3.6 million
Grain and oilseed farmers
would have to prove the existence
of soil-borne pests to have access
to treated seed and seek verification of their risk assessment by
third-party reviewers. The
Ontario government’s target is to
reduce bee mortality to 15 per
cent by 2020. It plans to have
new rules in place by July 1,
“This is one of the most
frustrating issues of the day
because the Ontario government
is proposing to legislate the use
of federally registered and
regulated pesticides,” says Brian
Gilroy, second vice-chair of the
Canadian Horticultural Council
and an apple grower near
Meaford, Ontario. “The Pest
Management Regulatory Agency
is reviewing the neonicotinoid
pesticide file as fast as it can and
will be reporting later this year.”
Gilroy is also a member of the
National Bee Health Roundtable,
a broad stakeholder group that
was formalized last fall under the
auspices of Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada. With almost
40 members, this group includes
everyone from Grain Growers of
Canada, the Canadian Seed Trade
Association and CropLife Canada
to Canadian Association of
Professional Apiculturists,
Canadian Organic Growers and
the Canadian Honey Council.
As Gilroy points out, the
roundtable’s go-forward strategy
on bee health is nuanced and
broader than just neonicotinoids.
Its first focus is varroa mites, a
sucking parasite of bees that can
debilitate the entire colony over
winter. The target is a mite count
below five per cent at all times,
with less than one per cent mites
in the spring and fall. The second
focus is pesticides, both inside
and outside the hive.
“We recognize that bee health
is an important component to the
growth of other commodities,”
says Rod Scarlett, co-chair of the
roundtable and executive director
of the Canadian Honey Council.
He points out there are two
industries to consider. One is
honey production and the other is
pollination services. About 40 per
cent of bee colonies in Canada
are used for pollination. In fact,
pollination services are growing
with cranberry and blueberry production expanding on both eastern and western coasts, he says.
Members of the roundtable
have concluded that bee health is
complex with many variables
such as bee nutrition, hive
management, viruses, disease and
genetics. They reason that
reducing pesticides as a solution
to bee mortality is not a holistic
“With so many variables
involved, we look to the Pest
Management Regulatory Agency
(PMRA) to guide us through the
science,” says Scarlett. “We need
a neutral party.”
All parties in the debate about
bee health cite their science. But
the science is not static. The
PMRA reported late last fall that
Ontario bee mortality incidents in
2014 were 70 per cent lower than
in 2013 and that three beekeepers
accounted for a majority of the
reported incidents.
Part of the roundtable’s role
has been to urge further research.
One project underway is a national bee census that does not rely
on self-reporting.
Half Your Plate
program launches to
In mid-January, the Canadian
Produce Marketing Association and
its partners launched Half Your
Plate, a new healthy eating initiative, across Canada. Half Your
Plate empowers Canadians of all
ages to eat more fruits and veggies
to improve their health while providing simple and practical ways to
add a variety of produce to every
meal and snack. After a successful
launch on social media last
summer, Half Your Plate is now
making its way onto produce
packaging and into retail stores
across Canada.
CPMA. “That also translates when
you’re at the grocery store. Half
your cart should be fruit and
veggies, and having retailers promote the campaign re-emphasizes
the importance of making healthier
choices at the store.”
Although Canadians are
becoming more conscious of what
they eat, studies show that the average person only consumes 3.5-4.5
servings of fruits and vegetables
every day. Yet Canada’s Food
Guide recommends that adults get
seven to 10 servings per day,
depending on gender. Half Your
Plate encourages people to take it
one meal at a time, analyzing the
make-up of their plate rather than
specific servings that can be
confusing to many.
The Half Your Plate campaign
was developed in collaboration
with health partners the Canadian
Cancer Society, the Canadian
Public Health Association, and the
Heart and Stroke Foundation.
OPMA lobbies for
PACA-like trust
“Rather than having people
count servings or worry about
serving size, our messaging is that
at every meal, make half your plate
fruit and vegetables. By the end of
the day, you’ll have your
recommended number of servings,”
said Ron Lemaire, president,
On January 8, the Ontario
Produce Marketing Association
(OPMA) met with the federal minister of finance, Hon. Joe Oliver, to
lobby for a deemed trust, similar to
the PACA trust currently in place
in the United States. OPMA chair
Steve Bamford, OPMA president
Ian MacKenzie and Luc Mougeot,
Dispute Resolution Corporation
briefed the minister on the merits
of the Perishable Agricultural
Commodities Act (PACA).
This meeting reinforces efforts
with a number of MPs on
Parliament Hill last November.
Once again, they emphasized the
need for financial protection in the
event buyers become insolvent or
The key elements of the industry’s proposal are:
1. Sellers maintain an ownership
interest in their products until paid.
A deemed trust is established at the
time of sale.
2. The deemed trust is composed of
the product, plus any cash or
accounts receivable stemming from
the sale of that product.
3. The funds contained in the trust
are applied to unpaid produce sellers where the buyer is insolvent or
While government would create
the legal mechanisms for industry,
a limited statutory deemed trust for
the fresh fruit and vegetable sector
would require no government funding or need for any government
As an added benefit, establishing a deemed statutory trust would
potentially prompt the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
to reinstate Canada’s preferential
access to their dispute resolution
system for produce suppliers under
PACA which was revoked on
October 1, 2014.
Register for CPMA
by Feb 20
This 90th edition of the
Canadian Produce Marketing
Association Convention and Trade
Show will be held in Montreal
from April 15-17. The deadline for
early bird registration and almost
$200 savings is February 20. Go
to: www.convention.cpma.ca/
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Grower’s Association has a new
chair of the board of directors.
Carrot and onion grower, Jason
Verkaik, Carron Farms, Bradford,
Ontario was elected at the recent
156th annual general meeting.
Joining him are three newly
elected directors: Kenny Forth
(fresh vegetables); Neil Reimer
(asparagus) and Bill George Jr.
(grapes). Returning directors are
Norm Charbonneau (small fruits
and berries); Charles Stevens
(apples); Ken Van Torre (ginseng); Don Taylor and Jan
VanderHout (greenhouse); Mac James (potatoes); John Thwaites
(tender fruit).
The Chemtura Golden Apple Award was presented to Leslie
Huffman, OMAFRA’s apple specialist who is retiring at the end of
February. Based out of Harrow, Ontario, she has made significant
contributions to the industry as it has transformed to high-density
plantings. (see page A4 for more details).
The OFVGA Industry Award of
Merit was presented to Art Smith,
former CEO of the organization for
his decades of service to both the
Grape Growers of Ontario and the
OFVGA. (see page A4 for more
Right: Ray Duc (L), outgoing
chair of the OFVGA, presents the
Photo by Herb Sherwood
Award of Merit to Art Smith.
Ian MacKenzie, president of the Ontario Produce Marketing
Association, has announced plans to retire December 31, 2015. He
has been with the association since 1994, leaving briefly in 1998 to
become general manager of the Ontario Apple Marketing
Commission, but returning in 2002. A search committee has been
Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO) has a new executive director in
Norm Beal. Most recently, he’s been the president of FBO’s board
of directors. He’s also the owner-operator of Peninsula Ridge Estates
Winery in Beamsville and a long-standing board member of the
Wine Council of Ontario. Steve Peters leaves the organization to
consult in the private sector. In other changes, Isobel Dopta is
promoted to the role of chief operating officer.
Margaret Appleby, IPM system specialist, based in Brighton,
Ontario will be retiring end of May. She grew apples with her father
for 23 years before joining OMAFRA in 1992.
Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario elected its 2015 roster of
directors. Two new directors are Mark Wales and John Hambly.
The board is completed by: Tom Miedema (chair); Mark Srokosz,
Henk Droogendyk, Don Almas, Ken Collins, Domenic Riga,
Mary Shabatura and Charles Welsh.
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Peter Quiring, president and owner of Nature Fresh Farms, based in
Leamington, Ontario, plans to build a new 175-acre greenhouse
facility in Delta, west of Toledo, Ohio. He cited local infrastructure
as a key factor as well as proximity to North Star Bluescope Steel to
take advantage of waste heat and CO2.
Paola Guarnieri, former director of marketing and communications
for the Ontario Produce Marketing Association, has been appointed
to a three-year term on the board of directors for the Ontario Food
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Thanks to Beamsville, Ontario tree
fruit grower Torrie Warner for
pointing out the error on page 21 of
the January issue. The first photo in
the “Identify these flowers” quiz was
incorrectly identified. The correct
answer is nectarines.
Bee health and neonicotinoids
from neonicotinoids at the levels
anticipated to be present in the
Canadian environment continue
to be acceptable.”
The Canadian Seed Trade
Association (CSTA) supports this
methodical approach. Two years
before legislation was
contemplated, the seed companies
realized there was unintended
dust becoming air-borne from
vacuum-style planters. “In less
than a calendar year, the industry
replaced talc powder with a
wax-based lubricant on the seed,”
explains David Baute, CSTA
president. This product reduces
the amount of active ingredient
released in treated seed dust during planting by 65 per cent.
In 2015, he says there will be a
broad offering by all seed
companies of both insecticidetreated and fungicide-only corn
and soybean seeds. In addition,
deflector kits will be widely
available for farmers to aim any
potential dust to the ground.
These non-regulatory steps are
more in keeping with how the
agricultural industry has always
worked together. Best management practices for farmers as well
as beekeepers could go a long
way to reversing the spike in bee
mortalities that was recorded in
2012. Despite this industry
collaboration, the provincial
government is determined to
It’s a burdensome proposal
that worries commercial
beekeeper Hugh Simpson, Osprey
Bluffs Honey Company,
Feversham, Ontario. Laws
sometimes have unintended
consequences. If corn and
soybean growers can no longer
use neonic-treated seeds to
prevent pest damage, they will
suffer yield losses.
industry in peril
Costco posts early
Peeler nominated for
Fruit Logistica top
Cranberry industry
bleeding red ink
Russia’s embargo of
European fruits and vegetables
has injured an already weakened
greenhouse industry. A
McKinsey & Company report
warns that half of the Dutch
greenhouse growers are unable
to pay their bills, with another 15
per cent struggling to reinvest.
Production from Spain and
Morocco is increasing about two
to six per cent per year, while
consumption is increasing only
one to two per cent per year in
major markets.
Structurally, about 15
European buyers purchase 84 per
cent of the produce in a highly
competitive market.
The industry is now debating
whether it can better coordinate
market intelligence, brand Dutch
produce and increase transparency on price and volume.
Costco has launched an online
presence on Alibaba’s Tmall in
China, experimenting with a
low-risk model of entry to more
than one billion consumers. To
date, the grocer has no physical
stores in the country. It posted
$6.4 million in sales in its first
month of imported food and
healthcare products in October
2014. During China’s Singles
Day shopping event in
November, it posted $3.5
With online operations in the
U.S., U.K., Canada and Mexico,
Costco is testing new models for
delivery. For example, it’s
partnered with Google Express to
offer same-day delivery in the
Fruit Logistica, the world’s
top trade fair in horticulture gets
underway this month in Berlin.
One of the 10 top nominees for
innovation is German company
Hepro founded by mechanical
engineers Siegfried Hennemeier
and Christoph Protte. They are
known as peeling technology
specialists, having made their
name with an asparagus peeler.
A universal peeling machine
for long vegetables such as
carrots, cucumbers, white
radishes and salsify is now up for
consideration as 2015 innovation
of the year.
Global company
now branding its
seed varieties
Research from the following studies, all funded by the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs, is expected to contribute to deeper understanding.
• The effects of sub-lethal
neonicotinoid exposure on brain
state and behavior of honey bee
• The interaction of clothiandin
with Varroa destructor and
deformed wing virus and their
effect on the health of brood and
adult honeybees
• Sub-lethal effects of neonicotinoids on queen fertility and drone
sperm viability
Anticipating the results from
such seminal research, the agricultural industry – grain and
oilseed growers, seed companies,
manufacturers – feels that the
Ontario government is rushing to
legislation before its own science
is complete. At the national level,
the PMRA’s website says there
are outstanding questions and is
“reviewing the emerging body of
scientific and monitoring data to
assess whether risks to pollinators
“When a tool breaks, farmers
tend to invent a solution,” says
Simpson. “Those growers may
resort to growing more corn and
soybeans to make up the yield
difference. More monoculture is
not good. More foliar treatments
in soybeans are worse for the
“Not enough scientific work
has been done to see what the
effect of reduced neonicotinoids
has on bee health,” Simpson
continues. “I’m sure that neonics
are harmful to bees and that a
direct relationship exists if the
bee comes in contact with the
right dosage. But is it reasonable
to name neonics as the cause of
huge bee mortality statistics in
Ontario when there are so many
other factors that play an
important role. I advocate for an
industry-led, bee health strategy
that involves commercial
stakeholders who have bee health
as their objective and are willing
to collaborate and compromise to
go forward.”
Source: FreshPlaza.com
De Ruiter Seeds has
abandoned its policy of releasing
numbered varieties. Anyone
outside the close circle of the
greenhouse industry would not
know that DR9544TH is a
beefsteak tomato.
In 2015, several new varieties
are to be introduced according to
Nico van Vliet. Expect a middle
vine-, cocktail, plum- and
beefsteak variety in the tomato
category. In peppers, look for a
new red and a new yellow
variety as well as a new
cucumber variety.
Source: FreshPlaza.com
The U.S. Department of
Agriculture is buying 68 million
pounds of cranberries – about
eight per cent of the 2014 crop –
at a cost of $55 million to soften
the impact of an abundant
That’s welcome news for
Wisconsin where more than 60
per cent of the U.S. cranberry
crop is harvested. Other states
such as Massachusetts, Oregon,
New Jersey and Washington may
have trouble competing due to
lack of modernization, size and
Wisconsin’s cranberry
growers added to the glut in 2013
with more than 6 million barrels
despite carryover inventory. The
2014 forecast is for state
production to dip to 5.4 million
Source: FreshPlaza.com
Source: FreshPlaza.com
Former OFVGA CEO Art Smith wins Industry Award of Merit
The recently retired CEO of
the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Growers’ Association (OFVGA)
was recognized for his longstanding commitment and contributions to the industry.
Art Smith, who led the organization from 2003 until mid-2014,
was presented with the Industry
Award of Merit at the OFVGA
annual banquet January 13.
“Art has been a tireless advocate on behalf of Ontario’s fruit
and vegetable growers for
decades, first as a grower and
board member, and then as a
senior staff member of several
horticultural organizations,” says
OFVGA chair Ray Duc. “It is an
honour for me to present this
award to such a deserving individual who has been responsible
for supporting and enabling so
many of our industry’s successes.”
Smith was born and raised on
a tender fruit farm in the Niagara
Region that has been in the Smith
family for more than 100 years;
his niece Jennifer, who runs the
farm today with her father and
son, is the 10th generation.
After graduating from the
University of Guelph in 1973, he
returned to the home farm before
starting his own grape vineyard
on the bench of the Niagara
He was a member, director and
eventually chair of the Grape
Growers of Ontario (GGO), as
well as holding the position of
executive director prior to joining
the OFVGA. During his time as
GGO chair, Smith played a key
role in the development of the
Grape and Wine Adjustment
Program, which helped the grape
and wine industry become competitive in the global market place
following the introduction of the
North American Free Trade
As CEO of the OFVGA, Smith
moved the organization to a
strong financial position, and in
2005, led implementation of a
policy that saw the OFVGA pay
membership dues for all of its
member organizations to the
Canadian Horticultural Council.
This has helped create a stronger
voice for horticulture at the
national level.
In recent years, the OFVGA
created a research and promotion
fund that has returned more than
$1 million in container tolls to the
OFVGA member organizations.
Smith was also instrumental in
heading lobby efforts that have
led to ad-hoc payments of more
than $200 million to fruit and
vegetable growers from successive Ontario governments over
the last decade, including the
Self-Directed Risk Management
(SDRM) program.
The Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers’ Association
is the voice of Ontario’s fruit,
vegetable, and greenhouse
farmers on issues affecting the
edible horticulture sector.
Art Smith, former CEO of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Growers’ Association, is pictured here with the former Ontario
agriculture minister Ted McMeekin. Photo by Denis Cahill.
Ontario apple specialist receives Golden Apple Award
Leslie Huffman is the 2014
recipient of the Chemtura Golden
Apple Award. Huffman is the
apple specialist with the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The
award was presented at the annual
banquet of the Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers Association in
Niagara Falls on January 13.
“Throughout her career, Leslie
has shown extraordinary
commitment and dedication to the
advancement of Ontario’s apple
industry and to supporting
“Retailers will
w continue to inves
v t in
innovative technologies to mee
m t the
changing needs
of consume
- Deloitte Report: The food value chain - A challen
for the next centu
ury © 2013
Learning and Innovation go hand in hand.
nd The arrogance of success
ccess is to think
that what you did yesterday will be suffficient for tomorrow.” - William Pollard
Innovation is so very hard to accomplish, but so easy
to spot. The art and genius of taking an
established product or process and successfully re-inventing it for the better makes history and
fortunes. For the fresh produce industry, innovation is not just an aspiration, but an expectation.
Surging consumer demands, changing regulatory
y environments, and competition are just a few of the
forces driving innovation in our industry. As Cana
ada’s largest gathering of the entire fresh produce
supply chain, the 90th CPMA Convention and Trad
de Show will showcase innovation as no other event
can. By nettworking
ith our exhibit
hibitors and
d your peers,
or ttaking
iin our program of sessions,
you will
walk away with ideas for innovations that will help
p to expand your business from coast to coast. It will
all happen in Canada’s capital for joie de vivre, Mo
ontréal, Quebec from April 15-17, 2015.
Registration opens online in
January 2015.
The Chemtura Golden Apple award is presented by Cathy
McKay (L) and Charles Stevens (R) to Ontario apple specialist
Leslie Huffman. Photo by Herb Sherwood.
growers whenever they have
needed her,” says Charles
Stevens, chair of the Ontario
Apple Growers (OAG). “She’s
involved in many different facets
of our industry and has played a
key role in many education and
research initiatives.”
Huffman grew up on a mixed
farm near Harrow, Ontario and
graduated from the University of
Guelph with a degree in
horticultural science. She joined
OMAFRA in 1981 as fruit and
vegetable extension horticulturalist for Kent and Essex counties,
and became the ministry’s weed
management specialist for
horticultural crops in 1996, where
she helped oversee the
registration of approximately 60
herbicides for fruit crops. She’s
been the provincial apple
specialist since 2008.
Huffman is co-editor of Hort
Matters and editor of the Ontario
Orchard Network Newsletter, and
is active on many industry
committees, including the
International Fruit Tree
Association (IFTA) research
committee and working closely
with counterparts and experts in
Michigan and New York State.
She has helped co-ordinate and
co-chair the apple program at the
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Convention for many years, and
has been instrumental in
establishing and running the
annual Sweet and Craft Cider
Competitions at the convention.
“Leslie has worked very
closely with staff and board of the
Ontario Apple Growers over the
years, including helping to plan
and lead our annual summer
orchard tours and working on
various research initiatives as part
of the OAG research committee,”
adds Stevens. “She’s also active
with grower groups in her area
and in the local community.”
Leslie and her husband Doug
Balsillie operate a fruit farm near
Harrow with their four daughters.
The Chemtura Golden Apple
Award is presented annually to a
recipient who has made
outstanding contributions to the
Ontario apple industry. The
Ontario Apple Growers represents
the province’s commercial apple
Visit www.onapples.com.
Ontario farmers have option to join AgriStability in 2015
Mark Wales, safety nets chair for the
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’
Association, reminds farmers that the
AgriStability program is not mandatory for
enrolment in the Self-Directed Risk
Management (SDRM) program for 2015.
For details see below.
Risk Management Program update
OMAFRA is removing AgriStability as a
requirement for SDRM starting with the
2015 program year. Commodity groups
requested the requirement be removed so
farmers from both the Risk Management
Program (RMP) and SDRM have more
flexibility in choosing options that best
meet their needs.
What’s changed?
• Starting in 2015, SDRM customers can
choose if they want AgriStability coverage.
As it is no longer an eligibility requirement, producers will need to consider what
programs best suit the needs of their farm.
SDRM payments are not offset against
production insurance claims. For more
details about how the program works, visit
www.agricorp.com. $100 million in
annual funding continues to be available
for the RMP and SDRM programs.
Different Business Risk Management
programs cover different risks
The National Agricultural Policy
Agreement, Growing Forward 2, offers
farmers a comprehensive suite of programs
to protect against severe market volatility
and disasters. The programs under the
All sectors of the agricultural/horticultural industry, including players at all levels
from inputs to farm production to purchasing and processing, are benefiting
from a specially tailored-for-ag training
seminar in negotiation (alternate dispute
resolution) and collaboration.
Tony Hogervorst, a vegetable grower
near Watford, Ontario attended this
training some years ago as a representative for vegetable growers for processing. “It has made a world of difference
for me as a negotiator on behalf of others, and in my own operation,” says
Hogervorst, who markets his own produce to wholesale, retail, and especially
to processing, in Ontario, and the U.S.,
and has imported from the U.S. and
Hogervorst felt so strongly about the
benefits of this training that he formed a
business called WESTPHALIAN WAY,
and has purchased the course three
times so far, to make it available to anyone from seed to shelf in the Agri-Food
industry. The instructor is a world class
trainer, working with a highly recognized law firm in Toronto that specializes in Alternate Dispute Resolution.
To this point, participants have included
seed salesmen, a veterinarian, greenhouse growers, fruit and vegetable
growers, growers of cash crop destined
for seed, feed, food, fuel and fibre, and
directors and staff from grower groups
and marketing boards (Grain Farmers
and Dairy Farmers of Ontario).
Protects against
Large margin declines
Small margin declines
Production Insurance
Yield reduction and crop loss
Livestock and G&O
Adverse market conditions
Losses or expenses
• Participation in all programs ensures you
have maximized coverage for your farm.
Different programs cover different risks,
giving you comprehensive protection.
How AgriStability can help
• AgriStability is an important part of a
comprehensive suite of programs.
AgriStability protects you from large
declines in your farming income caused by
production loss, increased costs or market
A year ago, a severe ice storm coated
this blueberry acreage at Wilmot
Orchards. Photo courtesy of Charles
Growing Forward 2 agreement are in place
until 2018.
The Ontario government has complemented this suite of programs with the
addition of the RMP and SDRM program.
Together, they work like insurance to help
Ontario producers offset losses caused by
low commodity prices and rising
production costs.
Participants from beyond the farm gate
include representation from grain elevators, processing plants, a major
co-op, and farm structures. This broad
mix of participants makes for interesting
discussion and collaborative learning.
“I am not suggesting that this training is
necessary or justified for everyone. It
comes with a hefty price tag, but the
entrepreneurs, salespeople, and grower
representatives who can really get their
money’s worth by taking this kind of
course know who they are. They are in
positions where they can make their
own difference in what they do, in what
they sell, and in how they sell it.”
“This is not about learning how to dig
your heels in deeper,” says Hogervorst,
“It’s about understanding what matters
to the other party and what can make a
positive difference to the business relationship.” Participants will learn to take
the time to understand the perspective
and reasoning of the other side, to keep
the conversation going, to search for
value where it could not be seen before,
how to get the best deal, and how to
close the deal. As well, very important
preparation skills, and positioning skills
are practiced and critiqued. Each participant walks away with new skills of high
payback potential. To this point, participants have rated the course material
and the trainer very highly.
The next course is scheduled for March
30 to April 1, and will be held at the
Elmhurst Inn at Ingersoll, Ontario, at
AgriStability gives you:
• Whole farm protection. AgriStability
provides coverage for severe margin
declines for some commodities and perils
that are not covered under Production
Insurance. You receive a payment if your
net farming income falls below 70 per cent
of your farm’s recent income.
• Affordable coverage. For a low fee, you
protect your farm against production
losses, adverse market conditions and
increased costs. The annual AgriStability
fee is 0.45 per cent of your fee reference
margin, multiplied by the 70 per cent
coverage level. This works out to be $315
Hwys 401 and 19. If interested, Tony
Hogervorst, or Joanne, can be contacted
at 519-670-0891, or 519-849-6573.
for every $100,000 of reference margin.
• Unique coverage. Your payment is based
on your farm’s current and historical
income directly related to your farm’s
• Payments in times of financial distress.
You can apply to receive an advance on
your estimated AgriStability payment to
help with cash flow.
• Access to other program and credit
options. AgriStability may make you
eligible for other programs like the
Advance Payment Program and can give
you access to other credit options.
• Continuous record keeping. Your
business information is easier to maintain
if you are filing on an annual basis.
Producers have until April 30, 2015 to
pay their AgriStability fee without penalty,
submit a new participation form or cancel
their coverage. Agricorp will send
AgriStability information to existing
customers in the winter of 2015.
Details and registration can be accessed
at www.effective-agri-food-negotiation.
eventbrite.ca .
Chair ’s report
I am still waiting for Mother
Nature to give us a perfect growing season. This growing season
was delayed by a cold winter and
cool wet spring. Bud break on
perennial crops was delayed by a
couple weeks and seeding and
planting of annual crops was
pushed back because of cool soils
and excessive rains. The cold
winter had an effect on perennial
crops. The grape crop was
reduced by 40 per cent and tender
fruit was severely damaged in
many areas of the province.
Maybe next year she will deliver
the elusive perfect season.
Political environment
The Liberal government led by
Kathleen Wynne won a strong
mandate from the people of
Ontario. We moved from a
Liberal minority to a Liberal
majority. The Premier completed
her term as our agriculture
minister and handed the reigns to
Jeff Leal, the MPP from
Peterborough. Minister Leal has
made himself accessible. We have
met with him and conveyed our
issues and opportunities for
horticulture in Ontario.
The minimum wage increased
in 2014 to $11.00 an hour. It is
estimated this increase cost
horticulture in Ontario $30
million. We are currently doing
an impact study on this increase
to measure the effect on
horticulture. Along with this
increase, a simple formula for
future increases was implemented. Every year going forward the
minimum wage will increase by
the Consumer Price Index (CPI),
something we lobbied for. We did
not support the politically driven
increase to $11.00 but were
supportive of the new
methodology going forward.
Adding CPI increases to the
minimum wage annually is
predictable and bankable and
most importantly takes out the
threat of radical increases driven
by political agendas.
In an effort to increase the
effectiveness of our lobby efforts
we have hired Maple Leaf
Strategies. This lobby firm has
strong connections to insiders at
Queen’s Park and has a good
sense of the pulse of government.
Maple Leaf Strategies has already
opened many doors for us and has
aligned our lobby strategy with
the direction the government
wants to go. This is a new
approach for the OFVGA and to
date we have been satisfied with
the results. We will continue to
monitor and assess to make sure
we are getting value for your
Pollinator health
The health of pollinators
rapidly became a major issue for
the hort industry in Ontario. The
numbers vary from study to
study, but the numbers show a
major spike in bee mortality over
the winter of 2013-2014.
Acceptable mortality rates of 15
per cent have been surpassed
repeatedly in recent years. The
cause of these spikes is what is in
question. Environmentalists and
some professional beekeeper
associations have placed
responsibility on neonicotinoids.
Although there are many perils
the colonies are subjected to,
government has taken aim at
neonics. In November the
government announced that they
have set a goal to reduce
neonic-treated corn and soybean
acres by 80 per cent. Stakeholder
and public consultations took
place in December. We were
present at many of these
The OFVGA joined a coalition
of commodity groups called Farm
Action Now (FAN). This
coalition was formed to ensure
decisions made by government
that affect agriculture in Ontario
are based on sound science not
emotion. Farm and Food Care is
handling media relations on this
very sensitive issue. The outcome
of this issue will have a major
effect on agriculture in Ontario,
where five million acres of corn
and soybean are planted annually.
The many stakeholders involved
in this issue are very polarized
and it has unfortunately pitted
Publisher: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association
Editor: Karen Davidson, 416-557-6413, [email protected]
Production: Carlie Robertson, ext. 221, [email protected]
Advertising: Herb Sherwood, 519-380-0118,
[email protected]
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The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association is the sole
owner of The Grower. All editorials and opinions expressed in
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contributor, and do not necessarily reflect the view of the association.
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farmer against farmer. Our greatest concern on this issue remains
the health of pollinators in
Ontario as bees are needed to
pollinate more than 120 different
fruit and vegetable crops grown
in Ontario.
Alternative funding
We continue to explore a fairer
mechanism to fund the OFVGA.
Currently, some edible hort
sectors are paying a higher
percentage than others measured
against farm gate sales with some
sectors paying nothing. While
there is a wide range in financial
support from many sectors to the
OFVGA, all hort producers benefit from our efforts. Premier
Wynne directed the Farm
Products Marketing Commission
to set up a committee to work
with us on a solution. Our current
proposal would see hort producers paying a percentage of their
Allowable Net Sales. Progress on
this file has been difficult as
change is never easy. If change is
going to happen it will take the
support of all our commodity
members. We must keep in mind
that we have a stable funding
mechanism, though dated and not
considered fair but that has
proven to be a reliable source of
funding for your organization.
Any change that is made must
leave us with a stable system that
will provide future boards the
money they need to continue the
work of the OFVGA.
The student nutrition programs
continue to grow. The purpose of
these programs is to promote
awareness of fruit and vegetables
among students in Ontario.
Overall benefits from this program will be to promote healthy
eating and to change consumption
patterns. Funding from the
provincial government has steadily increased for these programs;
currently we are receiving $1.1
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 105
Guelph, Ontario N1K 1S5 CANADA
Tel. 519-763-8728 • Fax 519-763-6604
The Grower is printed 12 times a year and sent to all
members of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’
Association who have paid $30.00 (plus G.S.T.) per year for
the paper through their commodity group or container fees.
Others may subscribe as follows by writing to the office:
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Subscribers must submit a claim for missing issues within
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one month. No refunds on subscriptions.
P.M. 40012319
million per school year to deliver
a healthy snack to 36,000 students
in 191 schools. The logistics of
menu planning, procurement and
distribution is not simple; a thank
you and job well done to Alison
Robertson for establishing the
OFVGA as a leader in local food
procurement and distribution.
A spinoff of this initiative is
the Fresh from the Farm fundraising program. In many schools
where chocolate bars were sold as
fundraisers, fruit and vegetable
boxes are now sold to generate
Other initiatives we are currently supporting are the New
World Crops trials at Vineland
and a two-year Wildlife Crop
Predation study headed up by
Susan Fitzgerald and Hugh
The financial position of the
OFVGA remains strong. Overall
growth in the horticultural sector
is offsetting the continued
increase in the use of Reusable
Plastic Containers (RPCs). We
will continue to monitor the
effects of RPCs on our funding,
but at this time it appears they
will not be a threat to our funding
mechanism. From the financial
year ending October 2014, we
will be returning $300,000 to our
commodity members in the form
of a research and marketing
program. The surplus of revenue
over expenses will be distributed
based on financial contributions
made by commodities to the
We are fortunate to have one
of the best staff in the industry. I
would like to thank all of them
for the work they do on behalf of
all edible hort growers in Ontario.
Our staff is a dedicated team that
is results-oriented. Thank you to
Deanna Hutton, Alison
Robertson, Craig Hunter, Lilian
Schaer, Carlie Robertson, Doug
Wilkinson, Herb Sherwood and
Karen Davidson.
This year also brought change
at the OFVGA. June 30th marked
the end of Art Smith’s 11 years as
CEO. The search for a new
Executive Vice President began
shortly after last year’s convention. Thank you Ken Forth, Jason
Verkaik and Don Taylor for the
time spent with me on the hiring
committee and delivering a
successful outcome.
After many hours of reading
resumes and a lengthy interview
process, it was decided to recommend to the Board of Directors
that we hire John Kelly. John fit
all the criteria we were looking
for to take the OFVGA to the
next level. With John, transition
came easily; he had already
worked with many of our
stakeholders and had already
developed many contacts in
Government. Thank you to John
for making this transition easier
than I had anticipated.
With last year’s convention
came a new board of directors.
New to the board was Charles
Stevens, who joined returning
directors Jason Verkaik (Vice
Chair), Mac James, Ken Van
Torre, Norm Charbonneau, Don
Taylor, Jan Vanderhout, John
Thwaites, Mary Shabatura and
Jason Ryder. Thank you to each
and every one of you for your
time and dedication; each of you
brings a unique perspective to the
I have always felt the strength
of the OFVGA comes from the
section chairs. The knowledge
and experience of these chairs
cannot be bought. It comes from
many years of focusing on one
area of a complex industry. Thank
you to Ken Forth (Labour),
Charles Stevens (Crop
Protection), Brian Gilroy
(Property), Harold Schooley
(Research) and Mark Wales
(Safety Nets).
I must also acknowledge
Adrian Huisman for his work as
our representative at the Canadian
Horticultural Council. Adrian has
been integral in stabilizing the
finances and streamlining the
structure of our national partner.
Finally, thank you to my family and staff for their support and
understanding while I spent time
with this organization.
It has truly been an honour to
serve as your chair in 2014.
Crop Protection
Safety Nets
Fruit Director
Veg Director
Jason Verkaik, Bradford
Fresh Vegetable - Other
Tender Fruit
ON Asparagus Grws’. Mkg. Brd.
GGO/Fresh Grape Growers
Fresh Vegetable - Muck
ON. Potato Board
Small Fruit/Berries
ON. Ginseng Growers’
Charles Stevens, Newcastle
Kenny Forth, Lynden
John Thwaites, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Neil Reimer, Vienna
Bill George Jr., Beamsville
Jason Verkaik, Bradford
Mac James, Leamington
Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin
Ken Van Torre, Burford
Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown
Don Taylor, Durham
Charles Stevens, Newcastle
Harold Schooley, Simcoe
Brian Gilroy, Meaford
Ken Forth, Lynden
Mark Wales, Alymer
Murray Porteous, Simcoe
Charlie Hebdo reminds us freedom is under attack
More than ever, the challenge
to the freedom of expression is on
the minds of everyone, following
the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in
France. Extremist activities touch
all aspects of society, including
In agriculture, the challenges
are less overt than guns blazing
and people dying. Violence is not
a focal point, thankfully. But the
messages from agriculture’s enemies, those who want some farmers out of business, are the same:
I am right, and you are wrong.
My approach is right, so you
should change yours. And I bully
you until you do.
I see bullying frequently
online, with people married to
extreme views. Social media has
empowered them, giving them
easily accessible platforms to
relentlessly spout off their opinions.
Some are punks. Others are
white-collar activists who claim
they have a right to express their
opinions, too.
And sure, they do.
But what is their intent: to
share their opinion and stimulate
discussion, or to shut down
conventional agriculture? In many
cases, I say it’s the latter.
Some of them are working the
media, trying to sway thought
that way. Others are putting
pressure on government offices,
trying to bring bureaucrats and
elected officials onside.
Their intentions are not
honourable. They mean to limit
some farmers’ freedom, those
who produce food conventionally
with crop protection products, or
those who engage in animal
agriculture. And they’ll keep
chipping away.
To me, if someone is threatening your livelihood, in an
organized, methodic way, they
are trying to make you a victim.
Maybe they don’t have a loaded
gun, but through their work they
are trying to destroy you and
what you are doing, legally,
admirably, every day, to feed
people – even people like them.
It’s vital not to be intimidated
by bullies, e-trolls and others who
have their own self-interests at
heart. Admittedly, it’s risky, and
it can expose you to some harsh
criticism or worse, as the Charlie
Hebdo tragedy shows.
I don’t know many journalists
who haven’t been subject to some
kind of intimidation -- economic,
physical or psychological -- for
taking a position. Charlie Hebdo
fanned the flames and pushed the
limits when it came to criticizing
extremism. But there’s a huge
difference between criticism, and
inciting hate and violence.
All this really hit home to me
when I was asked, on behalf of
the International Federation of
“It’s vital not to be
intimidated by
bullies, e-trolls and
others who have their
own self-interests at
Agricultural Journalists, to write
an institutional response to the
Charlie Hebdo murders. I said
freedom of expression through
the media is fundamental to
democracy. That freedom is
shaken by the murderous attacks,
which remind us of how
democracy is under constant
threat in our world today, in wartorn nations and peaceful societies alike.
Freedom is also compromised
when activists advance their
causes through scurrilous
activities, intimidation and
bullying. In agriculture, they want
to limit consumers’ freedom of
choice when it comes to food. I
say that’s not their right.
I’m a big proponent of farmers
speaking out, of advocacy and of
standing up to activists.
It’s encouraging that Don
McCabe, recently elected president of the Ontario Federation of
Agriculture, said in his 2015 outlook address in January that the
federation’s advocacy role has
never been more important. But
it’s not just Don, or the federation
proper, who needs to stand up for
farmers. Everyone needs to do
their part.
No one in agriculture is an
island. The restrictive laws that
activists want for modern agriculture will make farming as hard
for organic growers as it is for
conventional growers.
We all have some Charlie
Hebdo in us, and we need to
exercise it – say what’s wrong
when oppression threatens our
democratic rights, be unwilling to
accept extremism in whatever
form, and stand up for the kind of
free world in which we want to
Available fro
For more informatio
on, contact:
Brian Tregunno
Frank Jonkman
(416) 505-0853
(519) 801-5882
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How changing economics are negatively
impacting soil health
When beef cattle graze pasture
and hay lands, it’s good for the
environment. Perennial pastures
build soil organic matter, are less
susceptible to erosion, have
almost no nutrient runoff, and
they create some habitat for birds
and beneficial insects such as
bees and butterflies, thus
increasing biodiversity.
Hay used to be Ontario’s
largest crop. In 1978, hay and
pasture represented 35 per cent of
Ontario’s farmland. By 2011, hay
and pasture were just three per
cent of the farm landscape.
This change has had a
measurable impact on the
socio-economics of rural Ontario.
It is also affecting ground-nesting
birds, small mammals and the
birds that feed on them,
pollinating insects, and the land
itself. During those 33 years, poor
cattle returns have driven a 24 per
cent reduction in beef cattle numbers and increased specialization
in cash crops and vegetable
production. The changing crop
mix has had a dramatic effect on
crop rotation cycles while the
more intensive management of
hay and pasture lands (such as
cutting clover before it flowers)
has removed a once-abundant
seasonal food supply for
Hay is grown as a perennial
crop for three to four years before
it requires tillage and re-seeding.
But as farms have moved to
specialized field or vegetable crop
production systems, hay is no
longer part of the crop rotation
system. This response to
economic forces is having many
unintended consequences on soil
health, including increases in soil
erosion and nutrient runoff issues.
Over the last number of years,
vegetable growers have also
specialized in fewer crops to
remain competitive and supply
their markets. Intensive
production systems have led to
the adoption of short-term crop
rotations with low biodiversity.
Short-term crop rotations have
negative effects on soil fertility,
can increase pest levels, and can
compromise the long-term
sustainability of soil.
Cover crops and crop rotations
are important parts of tomato,
cucumber, potato, snap beans and
cantaloupe production systems,
and must be factored into land
planning considerations. Cover
crops and crop rotations are
important to reduce weed pressure, prevent nutrient leaching
during the non-growing season,
minimize soil erosion by water
and wind and improve soil
microorganism activity. The right
cover crop choice can also help
reduce fertilizer costs in
subsequent years.
At the recent South West
Regional Agricultural Conference
(SWAC) in Ridgetown, producers
were reminded that, under most
conditions, corn, soy and wheat
make a complementary crop
rotation system, giving the best
overall yields while maintaining
soil structure. It was also
suggested that adding red clover
as a cover crop after wheat helps
improve the overall yield of corn
and build soil structure. Many
producers are also exploring
cover crops to improve organic
matter, store nutrients, and reduce
But many producers are short
cycling these rotations with
continuous corn or soy in an
attempt to specialize even further,
with potentially negative
consequences for the
Larger field sizes have made it
easier for water to pick up speed
as it makes its way down slopes,
which increases the potential for
soil erosion and nutrient loss.
Roundup-Ready crops have
integrated well with no-till
production, but no-till doesn’t
always provide enough surface
coverage to stop water movement
on slopes. And without grass
waterways, the system is still
allowing too much phosphorus
and soil to erode.
There is no doubt that farming
operations have changed in
response to economic forces over
the last 25 years. In many ways,
farms are becoming more
successful as agronomy and
marketing skills focus attention
on better, healthier crops using
fewer resources and less energy
than ever before.
The evolution in crop type use
in Ontario has been dramatic in
response to these changing
economic forces, and there is no
going back to the old days. But
we do need to think about our
systems as they evolve. There are
measurable negative
consequences as we shift
agricultural land use practices,
and we must take care to
minimize the negative as we
maximize the positive.
As farmers, we always strive
for improved economic
performance from our farms, but
we must also be very careful to
nurture the soil. It takes a long
time to rebuild what is lost and
you may never regain what is lost
by poor management choices.
Bruce Kelly is environmental
program manager for Farm &
Food Care.
Feb 3-4
The Greenbelt Fund Local Food Symposium, Queen’s
Landing, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Feb 3 – 6
8th North American Strawberry Symposium, Crowne
Plaza Hotel, Ventura, CA
Feb 4-6
Fruit Logistica, Berlin, Germany
Feb 5
New Brunswick Potato Conference & Trade Show, E.
& P. Sénéchal Centre, Grand Falls, NB
Feb 11
Potato Selection Release Open House, Fredericton
Potato Research Centre, Fredericton, NB
Feb 17
Ontario Berry Growers’ Association Annual General
Meeting, Embassy Suites, Niagara Falls, ON
Feb 18 - 19 Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention, ScotiaBank
Centre, Niagara Falls, ON
Feb 19
Ontario Fresh Grape Growers’ Marketing Board
Annual General Meeting, ScotiaBank Centre, Room
206, Niagara Falls, ON
Feb 21-25
International Tree Fruit Association 58th Annual
Conference, Halifax, NS (Honeycrisp Intensive
Workshop, Feb 21)
Feb 24
Growing Fruitful Networks, Amy’s Restaurant,
Strathroy, ON
Feb 24-25
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Annual General
Meeting, Delta Ottawa City Centre, Ottawa, ON
Feb 26
Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services
(FARMS) Annual General Meeting, Delhi, ON
Feb 28
Eco Farm Day, Ramada Inn, Cornwall, ON
Feb 27
27th Annual Cuvee Grand Tasting, Fallsview Casino
Resort, Niagara Falls, ON
Feb 27-28
Organic Alberta Annual Conference, Beaumont, AB
March 3
Ontario Asparagus Grower Information Day, Belgian
Hall, Delhi, ON
March 5
Ontario Potato Conference, Delta Hotel, Guelph, ON
Mar 10 – 12 93rd Canadian Horticultural Council Annual
General Meeting, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac,
Quebec City, QC
Mar 23 – 25 Minor Use Priority Setting Meeting, Gatineau, QC
Mar 24
6th Annual Ontario Hazelnut symposium, Best
Western Hotel, Brantford, ON
March 27
Les Producteurs de Pommes de Terre, Quebec City,
April 8-9
64th Annual Muck Vegetable Growers’ Conference
and Trade Show, Bradford Community Centre,
Bradford, ON
Apr 15 – 17 Canadian Produce Marketing Association Annual
Convention & Trade Show, Palais des congres de
Montreal, Montreal, QC
June 1-7
Ontario Local Food Week
Effective communication with category managers
When developing and growing
relationships with category
managers, communication is a
very important piece to the
puzzle. You need to ensure their
perception of you and your
business is as accurate and
positive as possible. This month
we will discuss some strategies to
make the most out of the time
you get and how to find a few
extra opportunities as you go
through the year.
The first thing you need to
accept is that every category
manager is different. You might
have a preferred method of
communication but to be
effective, you need to understand
their preferred method. You can
determine this a number of ways;
you can ask them, ask other
suppliers who work with them,
try different methods and track
the success. Regardless of how
you do it, the first thing you need
to do is decide which is the best
method of communicating. It is
very possible that a category
manager at one retailer prefers the
phone and the person in the same
role across the street prefers
email. To be effective you need
to communicate with each of
them differently.
In todays world there are many
options, perhaps too many!
Certainly email is a great
method because you are almost
certain they get it and you have a
record if you need it. My only
caution about email is that you do
not over use it. A quick email is
great but when you consider the
person on the other end has 150
vendors all sending ‘a quick
email’ it does add up. They also
get considerable internal and
industry correspondence. My
experience lately, as the volume
of emails continues to increase, is
that if it disappears from the
screen it can be gone for a long
The phone is very important
and is probably most effective for
shorter time line issues or if there
is a conversation required. They
might not always be the
conversation you want to have,
but they need to happen. I have
experienced a few emails back
and forth with a category
manager and you just know it is
going in the wrong direction. You
need to pick up the phone and
talk. Even if you leave a message
the perception of you calling is
that you need to get to the bottom
of a situation as opposed to back
and forth on email. If you do
leave a message, note that in the
email response. You can slide it
in: “the answer to your question
is…and I just left you a message
if you want to discuss it more.”
Short time line issues such as
inventory for ads, food safety or
negotiation can be more effective
on the phone. You need to talk to
them to ensure the issue is being
addressed. I understand you do
not want to call to tell them you
will be short but it is better they
know and you take your lumps up
front. Delaying the inevitable just
makes it worse. They might not
tell you in the heat of the
moment, but they do appreciate
you taking the initiative and
dealing with a problem. A food
safety issue always needs to be
addressed as quickly as possible
so you need to talk to a person.
It is interesting to me to see
suppliers and retailers texting
back and forth. It is true this is
the most immediate form of
communication and if you can get
the relationship to the point
where you can text back and forth
that is a win. I would not assume
on this one, you might want to
ask the question, can I send you a
text? If the answer is yes that is a
positive opening and you now
have a more effective form of
communication. Ten years ago
email was relatively quick and
many prided themselves by
having an empty in box, now the
text is the immediate form of
Using the mail can be effective
to stand out from the crowd. This
can be a great tool to send
information or other relationshipbuilding pieces. I still remember a
mail campaign from Gatorade to
industry people that they executed many years ago. Throughout
the year they sent a package to
people in the industry prior to
several key sports events through
the year. There was something for
Super Bowl, golf balls prior to
the Masters etc. You might not
have that in your budget but a
well thought out direct mail
campaign with three to four
pieces can be very effective to
build the relationship.
One of the biggest frustrations
when communicating with
retailers is the response or lack
thereof. You have to rate the
communication you send and get
a response where needed because
you will not get it from every
thing you send. Be sensitive to
the amount they receive and the
time they have to respond. Get an
answer when you need it but
don’t pester them if you are
simply providing information or
being proactive for something
with a deadline two weeks away.
You will be able to gauge the
relationship you have with the
response you get.
If you don’t get much, you
have work to do. Perhaps the
method you are using is not the
right one. You should also try
different times through the day.
Some category managers are in
the office early and work on
email prior to nine o’clock when
all the meetings start; others work
late after the kids go to bed. Find
the patterns that are most effective. Another consideration is the
tone of your communication.
Some category managers prefer a
very pointed conversation; others
want to talk sports, movies or
family. Use some trial and error
to find the most effective
methods for each one.
The face-to-face time you get
with your category managers is
very important. Next month we
will review how to make the most
of it. If you have found effective
methods of communicating with
retailers it would be great to hear
about them. You can send them
to me at [email protected]
before you are even thinking
about shopping. You had to seek
it out in Target.
Three strikes and they are out.
It is unfortunate for consumers
and suppliers. Good competition
helps and now the mass channel
will be dominated by Walmart. I
find it interesting to ask: Would
Target give Walmart the market
of California? The population is
38 million which is not that much
bigger than Canada. With the
threat of Target gone, Walmart
will really generate more sales
and traffic in Canada and they
will not be challenged by the
current players.
Peter Chapman is a retail
consultant, professional speaker
and the author of A la cart-A
suppliers’ guide to retailers’
priorities. Peter is based in
Halifax NS, where he is the
principal at GPS Business
Solutions. Peter works with
producers and processors to help
them navigate through the retail
environment with the ultimate
goal to get more of their items in
the shopping cart.
[email protected]
Target strikes out in Canada
After a brief salvo into
Canada, Target announced on
January 15 that they will close
their operations in Canada.
Honestly, it blows my mind that
they made the mistakes they did
and that they could not get them
fixed. There were three issues
that caused their demise.
1) Inventory
One of the basics of retail that
Target knows very well in the
U.S is that you need to have what
your customer is looking for on
the shelf. There are choices out
there and when you don’t have
the products the consumers stop
coming in. People will not waste
their time going into stores where
the products they expect are out
of stock.
2) Price image
The items they did manage to get
to the stores were not priced competitively in the categories. Either
they were sourcing items that cost
too much relative to the similar
item at other stores or they were
not price checking and reacting
properly. Likely it was a
combination of both. Regardless,
the value just was not there. The
best reason to visit Target U.S.
was great value on interesting
things. It never happened in
3) Shopping environment
They tried but the stores were
never exciting. Seasonal displays
did not have the treasure hunt
finds that Costco uses as a draw
and what they did have cost too
much. The signage changed for
seasons but the entrance to the
store was very static and there
was nothing to get the consumer
excited about shopping. Walmart
and Loblaw get stuff in your cart
• Ornamental and
Food Crop Protecction
• Water Treatment
Simply Sustainable. Always Effffectivve.
1.860.290.8890 | biosafesystems.com
• Cleaning and Sanitizing
PAGE 10 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Executive vice-president report
Photos by Glenn Lowson
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Growers’ Association is a significant
contributor to its members’ interests. We
work on issues and challenges that growers
face that can have large impacts on
profitability and sustainability. These can
range from government regulations,
industry support, social responsibility and
economic viability.
The OFVGA was very pleased to show
off its new look, supported by a new logo,
website and ancillary materials. A lot of
effort back and forth with the Board has
resulted in a fresh, new branding for the
OFVGA, which has been very favourably
received. Check out www.ofvga.org for the
new look.
Government of Ontario
The year has seen numerous issues really start to impact the sector. One of the
key developments this year was the election of a majority government for the
Province of Ontario. A key challenge for
this government is that the lion’s share of
elected politicians in power comes from
urban jurisdictions, with little or no
knowledge of the agricultural sector, and
certainly less knowledge of those in the
edible horticulture business.
The Premier of Ontario, Kathleen
Wynne, for the first time published her
mandate letters to each of the Ministries
within the provincial government. The
OFVGA sees this as a positive step,
because it informs stakeholders of the
direction of the government, and does
allow for industry to react to each of the
Ministry’s priorities. These mandate
letters have had a substantial impact on
the activities of the OFVGA.
2014 saw the re-amalgamation of the
Ministries of Agriculture and Food and the
Ministry of Rural Affairs. The Minister of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is Jeff
Leal, Member of Provincial Parliament
from Peterborough. Minister Leal has been
quite visible in the agriculture and
horticulture sector, notably spending time
at the Breakfast on the Farm event
organized by Farm & Food Care and held
at Wilmot Orchards near Newcastle.
Minister Leal faces a significant challenge
in cabinet, with many of his colleagues not
understanding the rural dynamic.
This government has many policies and
proposals that will impact how horticulture
producers go about their daily business.
An immediate impact is felt with the
increase in minimum wage, from $10.25 to
$11.00 per hour. While the impact on the
target for this legislation may be positive
(that being the low income earner living in
significantly urban centres), there is a
corresponding negative impact on the
ability of our growers to compete due to
reductions in annual net return.
Similarly, the government of Ontario
has a position to develop a provincially
based pension plan. The Ontario
Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) has an
Associate Minister (Mitzie Hunter)
dedicated to the implementation of this
scheme. The details of this program have
not yet been released, but the suggestion
out there is that this will be a matching
plan, with employees and employers each
contributing 1.9 per cent of the gross earnings into the plan. There is no contribution
to this plan from the government, but there
could be significant administrative costs
associated with the development of a
provincial-only based plan.
The government of Ontario also
changed the Ministry of the Environment
to the Ministry of the Environment and
Climate Change (MOECC) under Minister
Glen Murray. This is significant in that the
government will be placing added
emphasis on those activities and processes
that will contribute to climate change.
Water management will continue to be a
strong focus of the MOECC, and with the
recent algal bloom and subsequent negative
impact on drinking water in the Toledo,
Ohio area, all potential sources of pollutants will be under intense scrutiny.
In November, the MOECC and
OMAFRA jointly released a paper entitled
“Pollinator Health: A Proposal for
Enhancing Pollinator Health and Reducing
the Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides in
Ontario.” While the preliminary targets for
this paper for the use of neonics are the
grains and oilseeds farmers, neonics are
certainly a tool that many in the
horticultural sector use in an Integrated
Pest Management (IPM) strategy. This
paper has galvanized the industry to form a
coalition called FarmActionNow. This
coalition includes Grain Farmers of
Ontario, Seed Corn Growers, Ontario Pork,
Ontario Bean Producers, Ontario Canola
Growers and the OFVGA. Its purpose is to
draw attention to key issues and to ensure
that growers have a strong voice in policy
decisions, with a focus on science-based
regulation. Farm & Food Care has also
been asked to provide communications
support. More information on this can be
found in the Crop Protection Report.
The use of Reusable Plastic Containers
(RPCs) was challenged this year through a
study conducted by Dr. Keith Warriner at
the University of Guelph (which was
corroborated in an independent study from
the University of California) indicating the
presence of bacterial contamination on
“clean” containers. The OFVGA will
continue to follow this work, and clearly
supports the position that provision of safe
fruits and vegetables is a key mandate.
Canadian Horticultural Council
The OFVGA continues to pay
membership fees to the CHC on behalf of
all members who remit container fees. This
is a significant amount of money, and the
OFVGA is a key funder of the national
As a result of the leadership provided
by the CHC Oversight Committee and the
cooperation and support of the staff and the
Board of Directors, the CHC’s financial
position has become more solid. CHC fees
were increased by 17 per cent two years
ago in order to address a chronic underfunding challenge. This year, the increase
in CHC fees (3%) was more in line with
One of the recommendations from the
Oversight Committee was the sale of its
office building and relocation to a more
suitable office condo in Ottawa. The move
to the new location is expected in late
January. As a result, the organization has
been put in a much more favourable
financial position. The Budget Committee
continues to provide financial direction to
the Board.
A key issue culminated in October with
the withdrawal of preferred status under
the Perishable Agricultural Commodities
Act (PACA) for Canadian produce
marketers who sell into the United States.
This has brought new focus to fruits and
vegetables federally. The federal government is being strongly encouraged to
implement a PACA-like trust in response
to the U. S. The CHC, OFVGA and
Canadian Produce Marketing Association
encourage members to speak directly to
their MPs on this issue.
The OFVGA is well represented at the
CHC level. Adrian Huisman and Brian
Gilroy are the two representatives from
Ontario serving on the CHC Board of
Directors. Adrian Huisman chairs the
Budget Committee. Ontario is well
represented at the Standing Committee
level as well. Charles Stevens chairs Crop
Plant Protection and Environment, Brian
Gilroy chairs the Apple Committee, Phil
Tregunno chairs the Tender Fruit
Committee, Ken Forth chairs the Trade and
Marketing Committee, Mark Wales chairs
the Finance and Marketing Committee and
Murray Porteous chairs the Human
Resources Committee with Ken Forth as
vice chair.
Permits to Take Water
This program is in its sixth year, and
over the years has helped many farmers
with their efforts to obtain water-taking
permits. This program is self-funded with
George Shearer being the key deliverer of
this service on behalf of the OFVGA.
Working closely with engineers, both well
and surface water permits are required
through the Ministry of the Environment
and Climate Change when more than
50,000 liters per day are taken. In 2014, 39
projects were conducted providing benefit
to OFVGA members. We expect that this
will remain a revenue-neutral cost centre
within the OFVGA and that the services
for these activities will be done on a
cost-recovery basis. We encourage
members of the OFVGA to contact George
for assistance with their permitting
Northern School Program
The OFVGA and the Ministry of Health
and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) entered
into a partnership several years ago to
introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to
communities in Northern Ontario. When
the program began, it involved 32 schools
in the Porcupine region of northern
Ontario, serving 5,835 students. Since then,
the program has blossomed to more than
191 schools in the Porcupine, Algoma and
Greater Sudbury regions with the communities of Fort Albany, Kashechewan,
Peawanuk, Moosonee, and Attawapiskat
successfully included in the program. Now
with more than 35,000 students, and if you
extend this to their families, more than
100,000 people in the north benefit from
this program. This program provides a
market for Ontario-grown fruits and
vegetables, creating a demand in
communities for improved selection,
variety, and availability of produce. The
co-ordination by the OFVGA has meant
tremendous cost savings in terms of
purchasing and distribution. This is a
Win-Win-Win for the residents of the
north, the OFVGA and the government of
Ontario. Coordinated by Alison
Robertson, it results in very good
relationships with our stakeholders:
government, agriculture, distribution and
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 11
Executive vice-president report
Fresh from the Farm
Crop Protection
The OFVGA supports the Fresh from
the Farm Healthy Fundraising for Ontario
Schools project. The basis of this
fundraiser is to sell fresh Ontario
vegetables and fruit to the community to
raise funds for the schools. In this pilot
program, 19 school boards from Algoma to
Windsor-Essex, participated in this
collaborative initiative between the Ontario
Ministry of Education, the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Growers’ Association, and Dietitians of
Canada. Other school boards are
encouraged to enroll
(see www.freshfromfarm.ca/
home.aspx for more information). This
year, 165,000 pounds of root vegetables
and apples were sold to school
The crop protection sector has been
dominated by the pollinator/neonicotinoid
issue. The Ministry of the Environment
and Climate Change, along with the
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs have issued an aspirational
goal of an 80 per cent reduction in the
acreage of corn and soybeans using this
product as a seed treatment. This is in
response to a purported reduction in the
number of bees within the province of
Ontario. This is a very contentious issue,
with the decisions not being based on all of
the available science, but rather using the
precautionary principle using limited
science. It is very important that members
of the OFVGA have their voices heard on
this matter and they are encouraged to
speak to their local MPP. Other issues
being handled by the OFVGA and the
CHC include harmonization of
requirements across borders, and the
establishment of common maximum
residue limits (MRLs) for products moving
across borders. A Terms of Reference
proposal was sent to the CHC on the
activities of the Crop, Plant Protection and
Environment committee, chaired by
Ontario apple grower Charles Stevens.
The labour file has been dominated by
the minimum wage debate, which was
settled this past year. The government of
Ontario raised the minimum wage from
$10.25 to $11.00 per hour, representing a
7.3 per cent increase. The government has
committed that any future increases in minimum wage will be tied to the Consumer
Price Index (CPI). This will allow for some
predictability and consistency over the
coming years. Early on, there was some
discussion of a unique agricultural
minimum wage, however this is not going
to happen. Instead, the government wants
to speak to the OFVGA about how to keep
the sector competitive and what it can do
to assist.
The province of Ontario has also
announced the creation of the Ontario
Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). The
ORPP is intended to provide a predictable
source of retirement income for those most
at risk of under-saving, particularly
middle-income earners without workplace
pensions. The details of this pension plan
have not been released.
OFVGA has been working hard to
sustain the Seasonal Agricultural Workers
Program (SAWP) which has been running
for 49 years. This program is a model
program for others, as it is run by industry
for industry at reasonable cost. Through
our support of the Foreign Agricultural
Resource Management Services (FARMS),
Ontario growers have access to a
sustainable work force. A key change for
Ontario growers this year is that all
positions must be advertised online through
Service Canada and that there are specific
timelines and requirements to be met.
Other areas in Canada have had this
requirement for several years.
The Property Section of the OFVGA
was active on several fronts. Working with
the Horticultural Value Chain Roundtable,
there are directions on sustainability, consumer focus, and research and innovation.
Water is continuing to be a significant
issue for horticultural producers, and the
long awaited Nutrient Management Act
regulations for the Greenhouse sector is
expected soon. Farm & Food Care has
been working on water projects, which also
include fruit and vegetable wash water,
irrigation, and drainage. The use of predatory birds to help prevent bird damage has
been investigated in 2014. This project will
continue into 2015, with nest boxes for
kestrels being provided to numerous sites.
Because these issues cross several
commodities within the membership of the
OFVGA, these types of projects will
provide value to a wide group within
Safety Nets
OFVGA members receive substantial
financial support each year through the
Self Directed Risk Management program
(SDRM). This support is a direct result of
negotiations conducted by OFVGA. This
coming year, a key advance for SDRM
participants is the removal of the
AgriStability enrolment requirement. For
2015, the SDRM Reference Committee
will work together with government to
fully analyze the administrative
implications of this change. The analysis
will be assessed and a decision made as to
whether any corresponding SDRM
program adjustments are needed prior to
the 2016 program year.
The OFVGA, in conjunction with the
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
(Vineland), conducted a research priorities
meeting at Woodstock. This was to assist
the sector in dealing with limited funding
opportunities from the province of Ontario
and other funding agencies. A report on the
outcomes of this session, along with the
work of an expert panel, will be provided
to the membership in early 2015.
The OFVGA is also committed to
working with Vineland in the development
of a library of genetic information so that it
can be available to people looking for
plants with specific characteristics. This
library was developed from thousands of
individual seeds forced to mutate, growing
them out and identifying individual
characteristics. Using naturally occurring
mutations, Vineland researchers have an
opportunity to use this library to meet the
future needs of the sector. OFVGA
contributed $5000 to this project in 2014.
The OFVGA continues to be in a positive financial position. We were fortunate
to see an increase in the production of
greenhouse vegetables and recovery of the
apple and cherry sector. Some sectors
suffered due to the record cold winter of
2014, including tender fruit and grape
production. We also were fortunate to have
four record months in performance at The
Grower, along with increased revenues
from the money that the OFVGA received
for administration of the Northern School
Program, a percentage of in-kind
contributions on several projects.
Research and Promotion Fund
Consistent with the direction from the
Board of Directors of the OFVGA, and the
2013 Resolution to consider maintaining
the OFVGA Research and Promotion Fund
– contingent on the direction from the
Board motion “to consider it annually
based upon the financial position of the
organization” – I am very pleased to
announce that the Board of Directors of the
OFVGA has voted favourably to reinstate
the Research and Promotion Fund this year
in the amount of $300,000. As in previous
years, this fund will be distributed on a
prorated basis, based upon the amount of
container and membership fees paid in the
Palais des congrès de Montré
April 15-17, 2015
past fiscal year by each sector.
We have many stakeholders who have
supported the OFVGA over the past year.
Deputy Deb Stark is a strong advocate for
the agricultural sector and understands the
issues that we face. Phil Malcolmson has
provided encouragement and advice in this
transition year. Many others within the
OMAFRA staff have worked hard on
issues faced by the OFVGA and appreciate
the impacts of various pieces of legislation
on horticultural production in Ontario.
Foodland Ontario supports all of our
efforts through supporting homegrown
fruits and vegetables.
Agricorp, which delivers the SDRM
program to our members, has provided
excellent input and support. Randy Jackiw
and Mike Vlcek have been very supportive
of our efforts and it is appreciated.
The work of the OFVGA could not be
done without the tireless efforts of the
Section Chairs. The consistency that they
bring to the OFVGA and their hard work is
very much appreciated and has certainly
helped make this transition year as smooth
as possible. Their work has provided the
lobby efforts of the OFVGA a significant
advantage and places the OFVGA in high
regard with the provincial and federal
governments. Our thanks go to Charles
Stevens (Crop Protection), Ken Forth
(Labour), Harold Schooley (Research),
Brian Gilroy (Property) and Mark Wales
(Safety Nets), and also to Adrian Huisman
as our representative on the Canadian
Horticultural Council.
The Board of Directors, as well as the
membership of the OFVGA, have
welcomed me to this new position. They
have been very supportive and have
provided guidance and counsel whenever
needed. I would like to thank them for
their support, and the cohesiveness of the
Board is a key strength of the organization.
I would particularly like to thank Ray Duc,
who has always been available for counsel
and guidance.
The staff of the OFVGA is a first-rate
group of people who are responsible for
the day-in, day-out operation of the organization. It is their diligence, professionalism
and attention to detail that has moved this
organization forward. Tremendous to work
with, they have made my transition into
this position seamless and quick. Thank
you to all of you. It is very much
John Kelly is executive vice-president,
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’
PAGE 12 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Crop protection report
This year (2014) started with a meeting
with Niagara Regional Council on bees
and the use of Neo-nicotinoids (NN) the
first week of January. There was much
discussion, and no further action was taken
at the time. Throughout the year, we were
dealing with the bee issue, up to and
including the last week of the year. We did
join with other affected parties to deal with
the issue, but so much is still up in the air
at year’s end that it will spill over at least
until 2016. We have shown the value of
close contacts and working together on this
file with other affected parties, and this
will be of long-term value going forward.
There were several pesticide files being
dealt with during the year. These include
Thimet (for wireworm especially for
potatoes), Mancozeb, Polyram and Captan
fungicides, and Carbaryl (Sevin) for
thinning. The crux of all of these appears
to be concern related to post-application
worker exposure. We have met with
PMRA staff and had productive meetings,
but the full resolution of the issue is still
not a done deal. Further meetings are
planned in January 2015.
The GROU program has had its share of
ups and downs. Grower utilization of the
program remains low. Companies have
thrown up further roadblocks to prevent
certain actives to be in the program. WE
have nominated a further 15 products for
inclusion in the lists for import, and time
will tell when/if they are approved. There
needs to be improvements made to the
program, but there appears little appetite to
do so in Ottawa.
Part and parcel of the GROU program
was the new legislation to codify the data
protection rules and, to put in place a
Photo by Denis Cahill.
framework to foster generic pesticide
registrations. So far this has NOT worked
well. Consultations have been made, but
the program remains mired in controversy
over what data needs to be paid for, and by
how much. Our comments were taken but
we have not yet seen significant
movement. Until this is resolved, our
prices will remain higher in Canada.
Our annual Minor Use Priority setting
meetings were once again a success for
growers. More than 40 new projects were
selected, and many more joint projects
with the US IR-4 program were also selected later in the year. A new approach to
help bio-pesticide companies to get
registration was tried and time will tell
how successful that becomes.
The next Global Minor Use meeting
was discussed by the planning team while
we all attended the Minor Use meetings. It
will be held in September 2015 in Chicago,
and is the first attempt to set international
priorities and to conduct global work
towards common registrations and MRLs.
This is the future, and we will embrace it
to the extent possible.
The international harmonization of
MRLs is becoming ever more important.
The OFVGA has partnered with Pulse
Canada and others to assemble data to
show the impact in Canada that a lack of
coordinated and common MRLs is having
on trade and production. This has also
helped stimulate more interest at AAFC,
and they have been chairing meetings to
discuss the issue in Canada. Unfortunately,
this has not translated into enhanced
Canadian participation internationally
where these decisions are made. This will
remain a problem until we can exert more
influence. We did contribute to the
CODEX list of priority MRLs needed here,
via PMRA. They have done a much better
job in seeking this input, and we appreciate
that. However, more is needed!
Charles Stevens and I attended the
NAFTA TWG meetings this fall. They
were very different, and better than prior
meetings as they focused on three key
items: MRLs and trade, Minor Uses,
neo-nicotinoids and bee mortalities. They
sought out grower input on all three items.
A highlight was the attendance of Brazil,
Argentina, Peru and Chile observers. They
were quite impressed with the process, and
expressed a desire to have a greater participation in Minor Use than in the past. A
large contingent of Mexican Growers
pressed their government reps very hard on
several issues, including the lack of
registered solutions for invasives such as
spotted winged drosophila. It was a good
and worthwhile meeting to attend.
This year’s IR-4 meetings were
highlighted by a workshop on bacterial
diseases. It was highly appropriate as we
too had a very serious problem with
bacterial diseases this year. Much valuable
information was shared on registration
issues, resistance, and the shortage of
candidate materials to work with. As a
result, another workshop will be convened
at our Minor Use meetings in March 2015.
At the recently held Ontario
Horticulture Research Priority Setting
meeting it was gratifying to see the
confluence of opinion from almost every
commodity sector ranking Pest
Management Research the highest priority.
Although there is only a small research
fund available from OMAFRA, at least the
importance of Pest Management was
highlighted. It can be used to lever funds
from other areas as well.
The year end was again dominated by
the bee issue with the government coming
out with a controversial plan to limit use of
seed treatment on corn and soybeans.
Although horticulture is not seemingly
impacted, yet, we remain vulnerable, and it
is on that basis that we participate to get a
better outcome. No one wants to see
unintended impact from pesticide use, and
we will work hard to prevent that. On the
other hand, we do not want proven
effective and safe products removed from
use without strong argument based on risk
rather than just on hazard assessment.
There is hazard throughout life- it is how
one manages and mitigates the risk from
the use of a hazardous product that allows
good decisions. Horticulture must insist on
sound decision-making and not knee-jerk
reactions based on a whim.
As it is every year, nothing would be
done without the strong input of many
members. We would like to thank the team
at OFVGA, both staff and board members,
for all their endless hours spent on the
Crop Protection file on behalf of all our
Charles Stevens is crop protection chair,
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’
Craig Hunter is crop protection and
research advisor, Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers’ Association.
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 13
Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario (FVGO) report
In 2014, FVGO was once
again able to provide funding for
vegetable crop research deemed
of benefit to the fresh vegetable
sector. This was made possible
through the Research &
Development Funding available
from the container rebates at the
OFVGA. Projects were
submitted to the FVGO and the
following projects were reviewed
and approved.
Survey & Identification for
Carrot Fusarium in Ontario
This project was submitted to
the FVGO by Marion
Paibomesai, Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs. The goal of this project
was to determine the distribution
and severity of Fusarium root and
crown rot in central and southwestern Ontario. To assist with
the development of management
strategies of Ontario carrot growers, it is important to understand
the distribution and severity of
this disease in Ontario carrot
fields across different years,
production styles and soil types.
At this time there were no
management strategies identified
for this disease. Since it is
possible that different species of
Fusarium are found in different
locations in the province, DNA
sequencing will aid in the
identification of the species of
Fusarium affecting carrots in
Ontario, which is important for
developing management
strategies. This project
completion date was October
Vegetable Virus Survey 2014
This project was submitted to
the FVGO by Janice LeBeouf,
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs. The goal
of this project was to survey snap
beans, cucurbits, tomatoes,
peppers, sweet potatoes, cole
crops and carrots for three viral
diseases/sample/crop. Each crop
will be tested for CMV and
tomato spotted wilt viruses since
these viruses have large host
ranges. The third virus tested will
depend on the vegetable crops.
This project completion date was
October 2014.
The FVGO currently has two
projects being funded under the
Ontario Farm Innovation Program
Funding (OFIP).
OFIP #0051 - Innovative
Application Method for
Insecticides to Control Root
Insects on Carrots and
Radishes – Researcher – Mary
Ruth McDonald – University of
OFIP #0050 – Disinfectants and
other treatments as preventative tools for bacterial spot in
tomato transplants –
Researcher – Cheryl Trueman University of Guelph
Ridgetown Campus
This project involves on-farm
demonstrations. The project will
evaluate an innovative method of
applying insecticide to carrots at
seeding. Carrot seeding equipment has been modified to apply
insecticide directly below the
seed at seeding. The technology
has just been developed in
Ontario for use with carrot seeders, but has potential for adaptation to other vegetable crops such
as beets, radishes and direct seeded Brassica crops such as rutabagas and Chinese greens. The project has a completion date of
December 1, 2015.
In 2014 we continued to work
with Jim Chaput at the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs in assisting when
requested with the registration
fees for the Emergency Minor
Use Submissions.
The FVGO Directors also take
The object of this project is to
look at new strategies in the treatment of tomato transplants. She
hopes to evaluate a plant disinfectant (KleenGrow) in addition to
other products such as Actinovate
and Mycostop to determine if a)
the population of Xanthomonas
bacteria on tomato transplants can
be eliminated or reduced, and b)
if we can observe a difference in
the time to the field observation
of bacterial spot symptoms in
transplants (in the greenhouse and
after planting in the field). The
project has a completion date of
December 1, 2015.
part in the conference calls in the
months of November/December
to help set minor use priorities for
Ontario for the upcoming annual
meeting. Mary Shabatura represented FVGO at the 2014
Canadian Minor Use Priority
Workshop in Gatineau, Quebec.
We anticipate that we will continue working in a supportive role
with Jim Chaput on minor use
issues in 2015.
The FVGO was also able to
co-sponsor with several other
organizations on the 2014
Foodland Ontario Fall Harvest
Vegetables Retail Display
Contest which runs each year
from October 1 – Nov 29th.
As FVGO looks forward to
2015 we anticipate working on
additional research projects that
will benefit our members as well
as all fresh market vegetable
growers in Ontario.
Tom Miedema is chair of the
Fresh Vegetable Growers of
PAGE 14 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Property section report
Water continues to be a primary focus of our provincial
government and a very active file for most of our
members. The need to be solution focused and work
co-operatively towards improving water management
continues to be our message to government officials. The
Nutrient Management Act (NMA) is seen as the preferred
water regulatory framework for farming activities
involving nutrients. The greenhouse sector is the first in
horticulture to be regulated under the NMA. As of January
1, 2015, the new Greenhouse Nutrient Feedwater
Regulation will allow the land application of greenhouse
nutrient feedwater (GNF) under the Nutrient Management
Act. The regulation provides eligible greenhouse growers
with a new option to manage GNF in a way that enhances
the protection of the natural environment and supports the
sector's sustainability through a streamlined approval
The Great Lakes Protection Act has been referred to
Standing Committee and there are a number of amendments to be dealt with. The timing on the next phase of
this overarching water act is uncertain but it will impact
farmers. It is estimated that there are 1,920 fruit and
vegetable operations in Ontario that may require an
Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for water
discharge. The need to have best management practices
developed and compliance work supported will be the goal
that we are working towards. The Water Adaption and
Quality Initiative (WAMQI) is a provincially funded
program with three main objectives; to help farmers adopt
water conservation and efficiency practices, prepare for
and better manage extreme or damaging weather events
and better manage nutrients and minimize off site impacts.
Farm and Food Care is coordinating 29 WAMQI research
projects that work to answer related applied research
questions. For a full list of the projects visit the
Environment section at www.farmcare.org.
The Surface Water Specialist position at the OFVGA
continues to provide an invaluable service to farmers and
has completed another year on a cost recovery basis.
Thanks to George Shearer for his help in keeping these
compliance costs as reasonable as possible. For more
details, review his report, contained in your workbook.
As OFVGA’s representative on the Board of Farm and
Food Care I am impressed with how the organization has
managed so many files this past year. The need for
credible information about food and farming has never
been greater as the public’s perception of farming
activities is being influenced by special interest groups
with money. The bee and pollinator health issue has been
huge this year and the focus on the family of insecticides,
neonicotinoids (neonics) has been a concern. There are a
number of people who feel that this is an issue that can be
best resolved without provincial regulations. It is felt that
the bee health issue is much more complex and a
significant number of Ontario beekeepers would list their
priority concerns for bee health as #1) in-hive pest control,
#2) bee disease/virus control, #3) nutrition and #4) pesticide exposure management. Although the focus is currently on corn and soybeans the OFVGA has been very
involved on this issue and I am part of the federal
Pollinator Health Roundtable that was established in 2014.
Public consultations have been taking place on the proposed Ontario Government actions regarding pollinator
health and information is posted on the EBR. Submissions
must be received electronically or by mail by January 25,
2015 to be part of the public record. Farm & Food Care is
currently developing a draft submission to the EBR that
can be used or cited by our members. Link to the EBR
submission website: www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEBExternal/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTIzOTE5&st
Farm and Food Care has released the third edition of
The Real Dirt on Farming with an ambitious goal of helping to engage and educate the public on farming and how
their food is grown. This 50-page magazine has been
circulated to all federal and provincial members of
parliament as well as the public in general. A smaller
digest version will be released soon for broader
distribution as an insert in other publications. An online
version of the publications is also available. The
Environmental Team at Farm and Food Care is very active
in a number of other areas including the Uncontrolled
Electricity Agriculture Working Group and the
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network
(CoCoRaHS). At last report there were just over 100
volunteers in Ontario collecting and submitting daily
precipitation information. More volunteers are needed to
help develop more accurate precipitation mapping and all
the details are available at www.cocorahs.org/canada.
Sustainability is the emerging corporate buzz word that
is gaining traction and something that farmers have been
focused on for some time. I am involved with the
Sustainability Working Group of the Horticulture Value
Chain Roundtable and to date we have developed an
ambitious work plan. A sustainability definition has been
agreed upon and we are working to increase the value
chain’s participation in the committee and develop an
inventory of sustainability tools that can be used by
The OFVGA has taken the lead on a Bird Deterrent
Project which is looking at options to minimize bird
damage to horticultural crops. The Agriculture Wildlife
Strategic Fund has fully funded this three-year project.
In closing I would like to take the opportunity to thank
the hard-working and supportive staff of the OFVGA.
Brian Gilroy is property section chair, Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers’ Association.
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 15
Labour section report
2014 was a different year for the labour
section and Labour Issues Coordinating
Committee (LICC). For the first time in a
long time we were not involved in a legal
action. However, LICC on behalf of the
labour section and agriculture in general
was busy.
Issues continue to arise and have to be
dealt with: vulnerable worker committee,
the MOL tac committee, meetings with the
Ministry of Labour Chief Prevention
Officer for Ontario and dealing with the
WSPS (new name for the conglomerate
which contains the farm safety association). So far, most have at least listened to
the story of agriculture and labour issues,
but we must be ever vigilant. Labour
section and LICC’s Ken Linington, we are
a great team working together. We are on
top of these issues and will continue to
watchdog these issues.
Much has been made of the TWP
reform. For the record, there are more than
500 job categories in the TWP. The
Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
(SAWP) is one and the AgStream is the
other under this umbrella of the TWP.
Reform did not happen to these two
programs with a couple of exceptions:
• SAWP – the changes that happened to
the SAWP are that we must advertise in
the National Job Bank and one other place
before placing an order
• AGSTREAM – has gone from total
availability of a worker for 48 months to
24 months
And one other thing that affects all
TWP including SAWP and AgStream is
the integrity office. The agreement you
sign in your LMIA application must be
followed! If you are found to be noncompliant you may be fined and in severe
circumstances, suspended for one year to
forever from any TWP including SAWP.
Folks, play by the rules!!
Minimum wage
FARMS and CANAG travel
OFVGA and LICC had many meetings
with MOL and the Premier to no avail: 7.5
per cent increase in minimum wage.
FARMS and CANAG continue to serve
you, the growers of Ontario. Our aim is to
place workers and employers together at
the right time, as efficiently as possible.
In 2013, there were problems in the
Jamaican program. On the invitation of the
Temporary Worker Program (TWP)
Ministry of Labour of Jamaica and sanctioned by FARMS’ Board of Directors, the
FARMS General Manager, Sue Williams
spent approximately 12 weeks in the
Ministry of Labour in Kingston, Jamaica.
The process in Jamaica now is efficient
and streamlined. Our General Manager
went way beyond the call of duty on this
one – we did not want a repeat of the fall
of 2013. 2014 worked much smoother and
we believe it will be much better in 2015.
Special thanks to Ministry of Labour,
Minister Kellier, and Permanent Secretary
Alvin MacIntosh for their assistance in
repairing this program and of course to Sue
Williams for her work and dedication to
the program.
This type of work could only be
accomplished because you, the growers,
have the foresight to continue to support a
structure that was developed 28 years ago
by you and for you: FARMS.
The SAWP processing now takes
longer. You need to advertise for at least
two weeks and then submit your order at
least 14 weeks prior to when work starts.
Most of the extra time is the elevated
security measures that now take place in
the Caribbean and Mexico. Background
checks MUST be cleared or no visa. This
is not only Canada – ever since 9/11,
access to most countries is under
heightened scrutiny. There are no
The SAWP is in your hands, treat it right
like most of you do and it will last a long
time. Currently our federal government,
including most cabinet ministers, are
totally in favour of SAWP. We cannot
afford to have its reputation tarnished.
Guard it!!
Groups continue to attack this program
with half-truths, out-of-context remarks,
self-absorbed persons – yes, including academics. We must continue to tell our
story, and continue to make this program
the success you have made it! Thanks to
all of you!
We all have many people to thank; it
will never be enough but here it goes:
OFVGA staff and Board of Directors;
FARMS & CANAG Travel staff and
Board of Directors; Ken Linington, our
Senior Policy Advisory at LICC; and YOU
the growers, who continue to support the
Labour Section of the OFVGA. It has
been my pleasure to work with and represent you this past year. Thank you.
Ken Forth is labour section chair, Ontario
Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association,
LICC chair, president of FARMS.
LaHave Natural Farms Haskap Berry 2014 Update
Did you try a fresh Haskap Berry or product in 2014? If
the answer is no, then you do not know what you have
been missing!
1. What is a Haskap or Honeyberry?
These berries have been treasured and loved in Russia
and Japan for centuries. A freshly picked Haskap Berry
produces a full sensory explosion in the mouth–tart, yet
sweet, robust and complex–it leaves the taster with a
beautiful wine-like finish.
It has three very distinct advantages over other fruits or
berries. Firstly, the berries unique and sensuous taste.
Secondly its natural deep-blue colour, and thirdly, and
perhaps most importantly, it provides remarkable health
Haskap berries were known by the ancient Ainu people
of Japan as the “berry of long life and good eyesight.” It
contains extremely high levels of Vitamin C, Potassium,
phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and other antioxidants.
Recent research shows that Haskap berries have nearly
three times the number of antioxidants as wild blueberries.
2. Are you interested in buying Haskap plants or
creating an orchard?
LaHave Natural Farms has scoured the world looking
for complimentary varieties of Haskap or Honeyberries.
We are pleased to be able to offer not only the University
of Saskatchewan varieties, but also tried and tested
LaHave Haskapa varieties with their origins in Eastern
Europe and mixed Russian varieties from the US.
We are happy to announce that we have teamed up with
and are continuing to work very closely with Berries
Unlimited, located in Arkansas, to bring our customers
many of their new and exciting Russian Honeyberry
For further information on our 19 varieties, plant sales
or help in creating and maintaining a healthy Haskap
orchard. Please get in touch with Lynn Pettypiece by email
or phone. We are here to ensure your new orchard is berry
3. Our 2014 exciting haskapa Branded Products News
We have taken a passionate approach to our branding
by combining the berry's benefits with exceptional
packaging to create an exciting buzz. This year we are
proud to announce that our range of Haskap Berry ‘haskapa’ branded products are now available in over 20 Sobeys
stores across Nova Scotia. The number of stores is
expected to increase to over 50 stores in Atlantic Canada
by Spring 2015.
“Sobeys’ focus on quality and promoting locally-made
products means that they are the perfect partner to help
bring the ‘haskapa’ range of Haskap products to a wider
audience in Atlantic Canada”. Says Liam Tayler,
Commercial Director of ‘haskapa’.
Stephen Read, Buy Local Specialist for Sobeys Atlantic
is equally excited about the launch, noting “Sobeys is
proud to support local businesses – as we have for over
107 years now. And we’re excited about this partnership
with a great Nova Scotia company, ‘haskapa’. Working
with Liam and the team and supporting them in their
success is a win-win. We get a great locally-made product
that we know our customers will love, and we help
‘haskapa’ grow its business.”
Sobeys Bedford Chef, Scott Morash, created some
beautiful Haskap dishes and cocktails (with the aid of the
NSLC), and is discovering exciting ways to use the
‘haskapa’ products in his exquisite dishes. “The ‘haskapa’
products have been an integral part of the menus of many
of HRM’s most discerning restaurants for more than a year
now,” he says. “As a chef, I am looking forward to
working with these premium products to create some
unique dishes with a local flair and showcasing them to
our customers.”
In addition to the signature ‘haskapa’ Juice, Sobeys will
also carry Haskap products such as jam, jalapeño relish
and chutney. For more information on our haskapa
branded products, please go to our www.haskapa.com
4. So What does 2015 bring?
“We have no plans to slow down, due to its fastgrowing popularity, we intend to triple production levels
in 2015.” The company is also stirring up much
excitement in the juice world. Last year, the company first
hit the headlines at Germany’s prestigious World Juice
Awards, where LaHave’s Haskap juice won ‘Best New
There is also accumulating scientific evidence that
bioactive compounds such as antioxidants found in berries
have significant potential health benefits. Researchers at
Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture have just
announced their intention to examine the anticancer
activity of Haskap bioactives after being awarded a grant
from the Cancer Research Training Program (CRTP).
We would like to thank all our plant growers and
haskapa fans for all their support in 2014 and look forward
to meeting old and new faces at our orchards in the
coming year.
For plant sales and orchard inquiries please contact
Lynn Pettypiece at [email protected]
LaHave Natural Farms,
1776 Northfield Road, P.O Box 86,
Blockhouse, Nova Scotia BOJ 1E0.
P: 902 527 2139
F: 902 482 3429
PAGE 16 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Research report
I serve as your representative
on the board of directors of
Ontario Agri-Food Technologies
and for the past three years I have
had the honour of chairing that
board. This past year has been a
challenging one to recruit a
replacement for retiring President
Dr. Gord Surgeoner. In
September, 2014, OAFT passed
the leadership torch from
Surgeoner to Dr. Tyler Whale.
Gord has been a dynamic force in
OAFT’s mission to engage
agri-food businesses in
commercializing new technologies. Tyler is experienced in the
field of bringing innovation to
commercial use and his skill set is
an excellent addition to that
In recognition of the contribution that Gord has made to the
agri-food industry in Ontario, he
was inducted into the Agricultural
Hall of Fame in the summer of
2014. It is an honour that is
To see the wide variety of
technologies that OAFT becomes
involved with, visit Game
Changers in Agriculture at
www.Biotalk.ca .
Research priorities
The OMAFRA Research
Advisory Network (ORAN) puts
out a report every year that lists
research priorities for plant
science research. These become
the foundation for the OMAFRA
research agenda and are the basis
of research under the
OMAFRA/U of G Agreement.
In 2010 commodity priorities
were requested from industry and
Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre (Vineland) was
commissioned to collate these
into a report for ORAN. We did
this again in early 2013 and again
in late 2014, on these occasions
physically meeting in Woodstock.
It’s not done every season
because things don’t change that
quickly but we do have
opportunity to make input every
year. For example, last spring Art
Smith and I met with Vineland
and suggested we bring labour
efficiency priorities to the top
because of the wage increases we
We have asked for and
received from producers both
short and long-term priorities,
although you are a lot better with
the short-term picture. OMAFRA
asked us to include commodities
not included under the aegis of
OVFGA (apiculture, maple syrup,
mushrooms, processing v
egetables and most recently sugar
beets). It results in a very long list
of research needs. Too long we’re
told, prioritize it. This list is then
further distilled to about one
eighth of its original number by
an expert panel convened later for
that purpose.
The industry expectation from
this is that everyone’s needs will
be addressed – and if not all of
them, at least one or some of
them. That doesn’t happen. This
has brought a good deal of
dissatisfaction to the process as
you can imagine. Working in the
forefront of this, and doing what
they have been commissioned to
do, Vineland has had to take the
brunt of this as we fire shots at
the messenger.
The real issue of course is the
challenge of condensing
everyone’s top needs to a short
priority list when they are derived
from the whole broad scope of
edible horticulture. Doing this to
the satisfaction of even most, if
not all concerned, is nigh on
impossible. The industry
previously accepted that research
needs should be succinct, focused
and prioritized, but is beginning
to recognize the futility in an
exercise that distils their inputs
out of sight. I fear that in future
we will get less industry
cooperation and participation and
have already been told by some
that it is a waste of their time.
The present priority setting
process itself is flawed in some
ways and this became very
apparent during our last session.
OFVGA and Vineland met
after this session to see what
changes could be made:
1. Pest management is always the
dominant topic and a common
need across all hort crops.
Nothing new about this, I first
noted it in my research report of
2003. It is where we invest our
first research dollar. We have to
or we’re not in business. It burns
up the majority of our research
priority list leaving little room for
longer term, innovative projects.
When we condense the combined
industry priority list, many of
these needs fall off and are lost.
This creates winners and losers in
an area that is harmful to the
industry. There is a good example
of this in the last ORAN report
that excluded pest management
research for all fruit crops. In
future all individual needs will be
captured into one over-arching
pest management priority. This
does not mean all pest issues will
be addressed. It is left to individual groups to find a researcher,
develop a project and make the
case to a funding agency.
Collaboration between industry
stakeholders and your researchers
is crucial here. Work together so
that well-written, scientifically
sound proposals are submitted.
2. With pest management a
given, we now have room to
address other issues. Some of
these might be productionoriented, but it is hoped that
thought will be put into
considering the value chain
perspective. That would include
factors that address product
quality, consistency, differentiation and factors affecting price.
3. The most glaring inequity in
the present process is defining
“Field Vegetables” as a single
category. Many, many crops are
lumped together here and given
just five priorities – the same as
single categories such as maple
syrup, apiculture, mushrooms and
sugar beets, not to mention
apples, grapes, ginseng, asparagus
and potatoes. To address this
imbalance, it is proposed to subdivide field vegetables into ‘Bulb
and Root Vegetables,’ ‘Leafy
Vegetables’ and ‘Fruiting
Vegetables,’ each with their own
list of research needs.
Ontario horticulture’s research
priorities should address both
research for changing times and
research that drives change. Most
of the available research dollars
can easily be spent just addressing changing times. Change in
pest dynamics and pest control
products; change in cropping
systems, nutrient and water
requirements; change in quality,
food safety and traceability
parameters; and change in
environmental considerations for
air, water, soil, wildlife, etc.
We become focused on problem solving, scrambling to keep
up with change. We do it to stay
in business. And so, we do most
of our problem solving in the
context of higher yield, better
quality, and more efficiency.
If we are to be the masters of
our own destiny, some of our
research priorities and dollars will
need to drive change rather than
react to it. Some of our research
needs to be “outside the box”
innovation that drives change:
change that will differentiate our
product in the marketplace and
make it more valuable for a
period of time; change that gets
us out of the commodity price rut,
like a new variety, a qualityimproving storage regime,
innovative packaging; change that
drives profitability and growth.
Research funding
The reason to prioritize, of
course, is to be smart about
spending scarce financial
resources. In my Research Report
of 2003 it was observed that fixed
funding and increasing overhead
costs were diminishing our
research capability. Still
happening, isn’t it?
Research funding is cause for
concern for most commodity
groups. We are trying to solve our
production problems with too few
dollars while trying to develop
long-term technology to put us
ahead of the game. And the ratio
of industry dollars needed to
match program funding dollars
keeps going up. But the
OMAFRA/U of G research
funding agreement is not the only
game in town. The following is a
list of the sources of available
Federal programs
• Agri-Innovation Program
• Agri-Marketing Program
• Canadian Agricultural
Adaptation Program
Genome Canada
• periodic calls with a
genomics focus
• Discovery Grants
• Industrial Research
Assistance Program (IRAP)
Provincial programs
Agricultural Adaptation
• Growing Forward 2 for
Organizations, Collaborations,
Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Affairs
• U of G partnership
• KTT (Knowledge Translation
and Transfer)
• New Directions
Ministry of Research and
• Ontario Research Fund
Ontario Centres of Excellence
• several programs available
Ontario Soil and Crop
Improvement Association
• Growing Forward 2 for
As you can see, these funds
are “directed” in ways that
achieve outcomes in desired
areas. Funding is “directed” to
genomics, basic discovery
research, Knowledge Translation
and Transfer, to marketing and to
innovation. If any of these
directions fit your intentions, you
need to avail yourselves of the
In a perfect world,
governments would fund
innovative research (a very good
investment of public money).
Industry would fund problem
solving, putting-out-fires,
production research. It doesn’t
seem to work that way.
The current weakness of
agri-food value chains continues
to inhibit our research funding
capability. The relationship
between producers and retailers is
adversarial in nature with no
process for fair price determination or sharing of the consumer
food dollar. It is not enough to
compete with global prices.
Arbitrary fees are imposed for
arbitrary reasons, and few dare
speak about it.
Producers continue to remain
powerless price-takers operating
below, or at, cost of production.
How can things change? What
value chain models will put
participants back in control of
their destiny?
Models in which producers get
research and development dollars
from the marketplace.
The research payback
The Business Development
Bank of Canada predicts that
“health mania” along with “Made
in Canada” (buy local?) are the
two major “game changing”
trends that will dominate the food
scene for the foreseeable future.
Agriculture is one of Ontario’s
largest and most important industries, contributing more than $5
billion to the provincial economy
annually. Add in the technical
supply and value-added chains to
farm production and the net value
to the economy is more than $15
billion. Fruits and vegetables
necessary for good nutrition and
health provide jobs and income to
thousands of people in the production, processing, wholesaling
and retailing of fruit and
vegetable products. We have 100
million customers a day’s haul
from our farms. To the benefit of
all, thriving agricultural businesses contribute to the attractiveness
of Ontario, encouraging tourism
and recreation and enhancing the
A few years ago a Deloitte
study pegged the return on
investment of public money put
into agricultural research at 20:1.
Perhaps we should recalculate the
value of our research investment
in view of the opportunities in
these game changing trends.
I would like to thank Art
Smith for the guidance he has
given me during his tenure. I
enjoyed it all. I look forward to
working with John Kelly given
the opportunity. It has been a
pleasure to serve as your
Research Chair for the past year.
Harold Schooley is research
chair, Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers’ Association.
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 17
Small fruit and berries report
1. Create a funding formula and
funding mechanism we can all
work with.
This year had many
challenges. In case you have
forgotten: aphids, anthracnose, a
cool and wet summer, an increase
in the minimum wage, loss of an
Ontario plant propagator and on
top of all that, we as an
organization have been struggling
to find an acceptable method for
stable funding. That issue is going
to determine if we as an industry
will have an effective voice to
defend our interests.
There are many issues to
consider when trying to change
the funding mechanism of an
organization. Right now we use a
flat fee, which assumes funding
sources to supplement the
income, such as plant royalties,
government programs, plant sales
from the T/C lab, and check-off
from plant sales. With the loss of
an Ontario plant propagator, it
puts everything but the membership and government programs in
jeopardy as there are not really
sufficient funds to run an
organization and provide services
for the membership.
The people making the
decisions in Toronto that are
going to affect the future of
agriculture are not making them
on the basis of benefit to
agriculture. Their decisions are
reflecting the special interest
groups that got them elected. To
list a few of the contentious
issues: neonics, minimum wage
increases, and a continuous move
toward over-regulation.
But not only do we have the
burden of these issues, we also
have our own production issues
such as Spotted Wing Drosophila
and viruses.
So it is time that we, the berry
industry, take hold of the problem
and find a way to fund our
organization and unite the
industry under one strong,
well-funded grower group.
The big issues we have to deal
with are uniting organizations,
not dividing. Then we all have to
come to the table to solve the
issues of mistrust. The blueberry
growers may be right that we
don't have the funding mechanism
right or funding level, but those
can be solved. I think we have to
make this work. We have to be
sure the funding mechanism is
right to be sure the organization is
around and we can pay the people
we need to represent us.
The central issue we have to
settle is the funding of the berry
organization. The further the
agendas of the special interest
groups diverge from ours, the
more commitment and money it
will take to represent our
industry. So we have to have stable funding.
My feeling is we as berry
growers and blueberry growers
have to unite in one strong voice:
2. Create a board structure that
will fairly represent all interests.
3. But mostly, all of us have to be
active in the new organization.
So when we see our industry
lobby groups struggle for funding
and participation, we should all
ask ourselves "how can I serve?"
Thanks for letting me represent you for another year.
Photo by Glenn Lowson
Norman Charbonneau is small
fruit and berries director, Ontario
Fruit and Vegetable Growers’
PAGE 18 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Safety nets report
Photo courtesy Charles Stevens
After one of the harshest winters in many years, we had a late
cool spring followed by a cool
wet summer and not much of a
fall. This challenged many crops
and some performed well and
others did not. Some varieties of
apples and other tree fruits were
killed outright by the severe winter weather as were some varieties and locations of grapes.
Once again, the weather has
shown the need for continued
improvement and investment in
well-designed and practical crop
insurance programs.
vegetable growers with the late
spring and wetter than normal
summer. This carried over into
the fresh vegetable program as
well. This year saw grower participation up from 91 producers in
2013 to 104 producers in 2014
with more acres insured as well.
Production insurance for all
crops will pay out between $50
and $145 million depending on
how bad the field corn yields are.
This is not a record payout year
and the program is in a healthy
position. Most of the field corn
will be harvested by Christmas,
however there are serious yield
and quality challenges.
Photo by Glenn Lowson
were below $40 million, which is
reflective of overall better grain
and livestock prices in 2013 and
the reduced coverage levels that
began for the 2013 program year.
As well, there are just over
15,000 growers enrolled in
AgriStability in Ontario for 2013
whereas there were over 16,000
enrolled in 2012. The new program does not cover grower losses until your production margin
drops below 70 per cent of your
reference margin, and then it only
covers 70 per cent of your loss,
not 85 per cent as was the case
for 2013, and is seeing some drop
in enrollment as well.
2014 saw the second year that
our program and the five RMP
programs were limited to the
$100 million cap. As of early
December, many growers had
still not submitted their deposits
and withdrawal requests, but we
appear to be on track to use our
allocation of $23 million out of
the $100 million total. When
looking at the statistics for last
year, 279 growers opted out of
SDRM, but stayed in
Production insurance
There were substantial claims
and challenges for processing
With more than 91 per cent of
files processed for 2013 by
October 31, program payouts
This program was cut as well
to only allowing government to
match one per cent of a producer’s Allowable Net Sales (ANS)
he Haasskap Berry.
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Growing Forward 2 non-BRM
We are nearing the end of year
two of GF2 and innovation funds
continue to roll out and the
process continues to improve as
growers better understand the
What's new?
In late November, Minister
Leal approved the industry
request that growers no longer
have to be enrolled in
AgriStability in order to be eligible for SDRM or any of the RMP
programs. This will be in place
for the 2015 program year. For
SDRM there will be no changes
for 2015 while we evaluate the
extra administration costs for
growers who opt out of
AgriStability but stay in SDRM.
These growers may see a reduction in the level of ANS matching
for 2016 and we will advise well
ahead of time. This change in
requirement will mean growers
will no longer see a claw back of
SDRM payment if they had an
AgriStability claim. However,
they will no longer have an
AgriStability claim in the event of
crop loss.
Over this winter at CHC and
OFVGA we will be seeking
grower input on three upcoming
1. What does horticulture want
from the 2015 federal election?
2. The mid-term GF2 program
review will be taking place
immediately after the federal
election and what changes would
we want to see for the remainder
of GF2?
3. In 2016 governments will be
working on the design for GF3 so
what would we want to see in this
program for 2018 to 2023?
I am sure that comments
including full funding for SDRM
and reinstate the cuts to
AgriStability and AgriInvest will
be heard during this process.
We will of course continue to
seek improvements to our crop
insurance programs.
Another topic that may surface
during the spring budget process
is discussion around bringing in a
Carbon Tax by the province.
Given the recent drop in oil prices
and this government’s desire to
do something about climate
change, I am willing to predict
that we will see something in the
budget. All reports are that it
worked out well in B.C. which
will add further reason to do it
here. There are pros and cons to
this course of action and the
OFVGA board will likely have
some lively discussion.
Another issue that will move
forward in 2015 is the proposed
ORPP (Ontario Retirement
Pension Plan). The legislation
came to the legislature but details
continue to be scarce. This will
fundamentally be a payroll tax of
1.9 per cent with no production
benefit. Some of the unknown
areas include whether off-shore
employees will be covered and
whether the same deduction
exemption thresholds as CPP will
be used.
To conclude, we are now seeing the full effects of safety net
program cuts and the need to roll
them back. The 2015 federal election will be decided in Ontario
and we will have an opportunity
to influence the results. New concepts such as the ORPP and a carbon tax will keep us busy trying
to get the best results for Ontario
Mark Wales is safety nets chair,
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Growers’ Association.
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 19
PAGE 20 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Black plastic: is there a viable organic
mulch alternative?
Black plastic mulch is widely
used in the production of specialty vegetable crops due to its
effectiveness as a weed barrier,
capability to conserve soil
moisture and ability to warm soil
temperatures in spring. Although
it is permitted in organic
production, the question of using
a product which creates nonbiodegradable waste is of concern
to many organic producers. Early
forms of biodegradable films
were developed to address this
concern, however due to poor
performance in early years and
restrictions on starch-based feed
stocks (e.g. Genetically Modified
Organism starch) by organic
regulations, many producers
continue to use plastic mulch.
The quality of biodegradable
films has improved in recent
years but growers and researchers
are still exploring other options
for organic farms, including
organic no-till systems, in order
to find management strategies
that benefit the whole biological
Research supporting organic
no-till options for vegetable crops
is still in early development. The
system is termed ‘no-till’ but it
should be clarified that it is
actually a rotation based on
reduced tillage and the use of
cover crops to build soil health
and manage weeds. The Rodale
Institute located in Pennsylvania,
U.S. outlines three fundamentals
of organic no-till: “1) soil biology
powers the system, 2) cover crops
are a source of fertility and weed
management, and 3) tillage is
limited and best described as rotational tillage.” (Feeser et al.,
2014). In 2009, the Rodale
Institute received funding to study
alternative no-till options to black
plastic mulch in vegetable crop
production systems. Results from
their three-year study (20102012), including replicated trials
and on-farm experiences, are
summarised in a free resource
entitled “Beyond Black Plastic:
Cover Crops and Organic No-Till
for Vegetable Crops” and is
available on their website at
The treatments investigated
during the study were based on
cover crops which were terminated with one of three methods: a)
tilled one month prior to application of black plastic mulch; b) use
of a roller-crimper; or, c) mowed.
Tomatoes were the representative
vegetable crop used in the
replicated studies. Figure 1 outlines the nine mulch and termination treatments used in the study.
Data on weed biomass, tomato
yields (total and marketable),
cover crops (biomass, carbon
input and nitrogen input), soil
moisture, soil temperature and
other parameters were collected
in each of the three years of the
study. Weed biomass and tomato
yields will be the focus in the
remainder of this article.
Weed Biomass
Weed biomass was recorded
four weeks after tomato planting
in each of the three years. Data
recorded in 2010 and 2012 were
taken in the planting bed and in
paths between beds, whereas data
recorded in 2011 were only taken
in the planting bed. Variable
results were observed across the
three years, possibly due to
differences in data collection
Tomato yields were recorded
once or twice per week as harvest
dictated through the growing
season. Only total yields were
recorded in 2010 and the highest
yields were obtained in rolled and
mowed treatments of all organic
mulch types.
In 2011 and 2012, total yields
and marketable yields were
recorded. Marketable yields of
tomatoes were approximately 20
per cent lower than total yields in
the 2011 growing season. The
highest marketable yields were
obtained in black plastic mulch
treatments followed by the
rye/vetch mixture that had been
rolled or mowed. Marketable
yield in the rye/vetch mixture
(rolled or mowed) was approximately 70 per cent of the black
plastic mulch marketable yield.
In 2012, severe late blight
reduced marketable yield to 23
per cent of total yield across most
treatments. Vetch treatments ter-
and therefore a longer term analysis should be considered for
organic mulch treatments.
Initial outcomes from this study
suggest that organic mulch
mixtures (e.g. vetch/rye mixture)
terminated through rolling may
provide a reasonable alternative
to black plastic mulch for weed
management in most years.
In order to obtain acceptable
weed control, the Rodale report
suggests using cover crops that
produce 6.5-9 tonnes of dry
matter per hectare in order to
have enough biomass for weed
suppression after termination.
Additionally, cover crops with a
carbon-nitrogen ratio of 20:1 or
higher should be considered as
they will break down more
slowly, thus providing longer
weed suppression through the
growing season.
Feeser, J., Zinati, G., and Moyer,
J. 2014. Beyond Black Plastic:
Figure 1 (from Feeser et al., 2014): Cover crop treatments used for organic no-till vegetable crop
study consisting of vetch cv. ‘Purple Bounty’ planted at 39 kg/ha; rye cv. ‘Aroostook’ planted at 188
kg/ha; and rye-vetch mix planted at 106 kg/ha (78 kg rye:28 kg vetch).
methods as well as environmental
effects. Overall, the black plastic
mulch treatments were the most
consistent in suppressing weeds.
However, the rye/vetch mix and
individual rye and vetch cover
crops terminated with rolling
performed better than the cover
crop treatments terminated with
minated by rolling or mowing
exhibited the lowest yields of all
treatments. No significant
differences were observed
between the other treatments.
cover crops and organic no-till for
vegetable production.
Pennsylvania, USA: Rodale
Evan Elford is OMAFRA’s new
crop development specialist.
Results were variable over the
three years of this initial study
Exploring value-added opportunities course
Ever wondered about turning your fruit
into jam? Ever dreamed about making
gourmet ready-to-eat meals with your
Take the free Exploring Value Added
Opportunities course, offered by the
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), to learn whether
adding value to your products and services
is right for your business.
Course Description
Course Dates and Times
Course Testimonial
Participants will learn how to generate
ideas for value-added opportunities, assess
an idea’s business potential, identify and
manage risk and develop a plan to execute
their idea.
The course is being delivered through
three, one-hour interactive webinars.
These sessions are taking place on
February 24, March 3, and March 10 (all
Tuesdays) from 12-1 pm. To participate in
this free learning opportunity, you will
need Internet and phone access.
Pre-registration is also required.
“Sessions were dynamic and engaging. We
were also very impressed with the sheer
quantity of good information offered to us.
Thank you!” A past course participant.
Learn more or register at:
Farm & Food Care Ontario pesticide survey, 2014
A reminder for Ontario farmers that the
deadline for filling in the Farm & Food
Care Ontario Pesticide Survey is February
13, 2015.
This information is very useful for:
• understanding trends in pesticide use,
• identifying potential needs of farmers
• identifying research needs.
All Ontario farmers who grew any
conventional or organic crops in 2014 can
fill out the anonymous survey at:
Thank you for your cooperation. Farm
& Food Care will also accept mail-in, fax
or email returns of the survey.
For more information contact:
Bruce Kelly, Environmental Program Lead
Farm & Food Care Ontario
[email protected] or (519)837-1326
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 21
Field vegetable program at Ontario Fruit
and Vegetable Convention
The Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention will be held on February 18-19, 2015 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Information about the conference can be found at http://www.ofvc.ca/.
Registration information for the convention is at http://www.ofvc.ca/pricingA.html.
Vegetable Session - Wednesday, February 18 (morning)
New Research on Rust
Elaine Roddy, OMAFRA
Tomato diseases
Cheryl Trueman, University of
Guelph, Ridgetown Campus
Integrating Contans into white mold man- Alex Stone, Oregon State University
agement systems on vegetable farms
Vegetable Session - Wednesday, February 18 (morning)
• Drop in to speak with researchers, OMAFRA specialists and other key
industry resources.
• Come with your own ideas or questions and explore a wide array new
opportunities and key business decisions
Sweet Corn Session - Wednesday, February 18 (afternoon)
Bacterial leaf spot pumpkins/squash
Cheryl Trueman, University of
Guelph, Ridgetown
New control tactics for changing insect
pressure in sweet corn
Tony Shelton, Cornell University
Problem weeds workshop
Dave Bilyea, University of Guelph,
Photo by Glenn Lowson
Next generation IPM – a webinar series
for field vegetable growers
The webinars will run on Mondays from noon until 1
pm. It is the perfect opportunity to grab some lunch, log
onto the computer and access some new ideas as you plan
for 2015. Great information without the travel!
To attend any of the webinars, simply register by
calling: 1-877-424-1300 or email
[email protected] with a list of the dates you
would like to attend.
January 26th
Tomato Late Blight Update
Why we are seeing late blight every year? How the pathogen is changing? Fungicide efficacy, management practices,
and more.
February 2nd
Bacterial Diseases – Beyond Copper
Janice LeBoeuf, OMAFRA
The vegetable industry has struggled with bacterial diseases for decades, with no silver bullet in sight. Relying on copper bactericides alone is not the answer, but what other management practices will help?
February 9th
Growing Watermelons in Ontario – production and pest management
Explore the causes of various soil diseases, hollow heart and other important production issues for watermelon growers.
February 23rd
Cover Crop Selection for Vegetable Growers
Laura Van Eerd, University of Guelph –
Uncertain how you can fit a cover crop into your rotation? Wondering which one to use? Questioning if the economics Ridgetown Campus
really do pay off? This is the session for you!
March 2nd
White Mould of Vegetable Crops
Learn how to look for symptoms and signs of white mould in different vegetable crops. Tips on management based on
newer research will be discussed.
About The Speakers
OMAFRA in Ridgetown. Her focus is on field tomato,
pepper, eggplant, table beet and sugarbeet production.
Meg McGrath is an associate professor at the Long Island
Horticultural Research & Extension Center in Riverhead,
NY. The goal of her research program is to improve the
management of important diseases of vegetable crops.
Elaine Roddy is a vegetable crops specialist with
OMAFRA in Ridgetown. She specializes in sweet corn,
legume vegetables, cucurbits and asparagus crops.
Janice LeBoeuf is a vegetable crops specialist with
Laura VanEerd is an associate professor at the University
Quality Seed
Quality Service
Meg McGrath, Cornell University
Elaine Roddy, OMAFRA
Marion Paibomesai, OMAFRA
of Guelph – Ridgetown Campus. Her research program
focuses on vegetable crop production systems looking at
soil fertility, crop rotation, and cover crops.
Marion Paibomesai is a vegetable crops specialist with
OMAFRA in Guelph. Crops of interest include root, bulb,
leafy and brassica vegetables.
Quality Information
~ Quality Seed Since 1881 ~
Henry Zomer
Jim Robinson
Rob Hovius
Paul Banks
Leah Erickson
Marc André
Laberge (QC)
Caralampides (QC)
PAGE 22 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Putting a spotlight on farm families
Each year, Farm & Food Care opens the
Faces of Farming calendar contest to
Ontario farmers and families. One winner
will be chosen from the applicants. Each
year, the calendar is distributed to
thousands of Ontario media, grocery retail
outlets and politicians and is sold through
the Farm & Food Care office.
The winning family, pairing or
individual will participate in either a spring
or summer photo shoot, and will receive
complimentary copies of the calendar plus
two tickets and accommodation for the
2015 Ontario Harvest Gala and calendar
launch later this fall.
Farmers or farm families are
encouraged to enter the contest by submitting both an informal family photo and
short essay (400 words or less) describing
their family. Candidates must make their
primary income from agriculture. Their
Last year’s winning entry came from the Howe family of Aylmer who grow strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelons, squash, pumpkins, beans and other vegetables.
Their three-generation family photo appears in the 2015 edition of the calendar.
essays must include the following:
• Names and ages of all family members
• Address including county or region of
• A description of the farming operation
including types of crops grown and/or
livestock raised
• History of the farm – number of
generations farming, etc.
• Any other details that make their story
unique including community involvement,
environmental initiatives, unusual hobbies,
• Why they’d like to appear in the Faces of
Farming calendar.
Entries can be emailed to
[email protected] or mailed to
100 Stone Road West, Suite 106, Guelph,
Ontario, N1G 5L3. Applications will be
accepted until March 16.
Research dollars granted for
Ontario processing tomatoes
The Ontario Tomato Research Institute
(OTRI) has received $214,682 in federal
AgriInnovation funding to increase yields and
develop new varieties of tomatoes that are
better adapted to domestic growing
conditions and market needs.
“This project provides the building blocks
for the development of varieties ideally suited
to the Ontario industry,” said Phil Richards,
OTRI chair. “OTRI recognizes the
importance of this project for the long term
viability of the Ontario processing tomato
industry and it is extremely gratifying that the
federal government has seen this value also.”
Photo right: (L-R) Steve Loewen,
Ridgetown College tomato researcher; MP
Dave Van Kesteren for Chatham-KentEssex; Phil Richards, chair of the Ontario
Tomato Research Institute.
Looking to the Middle East for blueberry sales
The British Columbia
Blueberry Council is set to
exhibit at Gulfood in February,
following the success of their first
appearance at the Dubai trade
show in 2014. As the world’s
largest food and beverage
industry trade show, Gulfood
presents the council with a unique
opportunity to explore new
markets for British Columbia’s
naturally sweet and healthy
“In 2014, British Columbia’s
800 blueberry growers produced
69 million kilograms of blueberries,” said Debbie Etsell, executive director of the B.C. Blueberry
Council. “Canadians consume
around half of those berries, but
with such strong production,
we’re able to export blueberries in
many different formats to international markets around the globe.”
As in 2014, the council will
again exhibit at Gulfood
(February 8 - 12) as part of the
AgriFood Canada pavilion in
Sheik Saeed Hall 1, stand S1M43.The show attracts 85,000
trade-only visitors from 170
different countries, with more
than 4,200 companies represented
over five days.
“Attending last year allowed
us to measure the amount of
interest and demand for
blueberries from Middle Eastern
markets, but also meet with
potential customers from India,
other parts of Asia and Europe,”
said Etsell. “As a result, we now
have some of our export-ready
packers and processors working
with agents based in the Gulf
region to bring British Columbia
blueberries to this market. We’re
looking forward to seeing some
of the representatives we met last
year, and connecting them with
suppliers that can fulfil their
requests, whether they’re looking
for blueberries in fresh, frozen,
dried, powdered, juice or puréed
The BC Blueberry Council
works closely with government
trade offices at both a provincial
and federal level, making the
most of opportunities to take part
in trade missions, delegations and
shows such as Gulfood. Other
international missions planned for
2015 include Fruit Logistica and
Anuga in Europe, FoodEx in
Japan, and Fruit Logistica Asia in
Hong Kong.
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 23
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011
P.O. Box 43 • Virgil, Ontario • L0S 1T0 • 905-468-3297
4000 Jordan Road • Jordan Station, ON • 905-562-8825
Supplying Fruit and Vegetable Growers with:
• Baskets
• Masters
• Fertilizer
• Vineyard Trellis Supplies
• Berry Boxes
• Waxed Cartons
• Crop Protection Material
& Fittings
for Water Systems
• PVC, ABS, Poly, Copper
• Stainless, Brass, Steel
Product Lines
• Drip & Micro Irrigation
• Septic & Sewer
• Drainage & Culverts
• Berkeley Water Pumps
Winona Concrete
& Pipe Products Ltd.
489 Main St. W., Grimsby, ON. L3M 1T4
[email protected]
Phone (905) 945-8515
Fax: (905) 945-1149
or call toll-free
classified ads
call the classified
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
Reliable Refrigeration Systems
One-Piece and Portable Skid-Mount Systems, HydroCoolers, Medical and Process Chillers, Blast Freezers,
Vacuum Coolers, Refrigerated Dehumidifiers.
Custom Built Designs • Domestic and International Markets
1-866-748-7786 www.kooljet.com
Visit our website to view our complete line
BAG Supp
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offering a wide range of high quality:
MARCH 2015
Net Mesh Bags:
Mesh Bags:
Mosquito Vented Ba
Choice of Mesh Ba
Colours & P
Pallet Net Wrap:
upplies Ltd.
TM Design registered to Bag Su
Design No. 4015611
Handy Bags:
pplies Ltd.
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Bulk Bags:
We are located at 38 North Point Estates, Stratford, Ontario, N5A 8C3
[email protected]
Tel: 1 519 271 204
40/5393 Fax: 1 519 271 53
Crop Protection
Book by February 13.
Herb Sherwood
PAGE 24 –– FEBRUARY 2015
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011
** All Turbo-Mist parts in stock - 7 days/week in season
** Seppi flail mulchers for grass and prunings
** Perfect rotary mowers & heavy duty flail mowers
(519) 599-3058 [email protected] Clarksburg, ON
[email protected]
have been
YOU to the rest,
call the
"V" spreaders
[email protected]
519 599 2299
• 1 used Sfoggia 6 Row
• 3 point Hitch complete
with 4 drive wheels / with
or without tray carriers
• Complete watering
system with 3 tanks
Excellent Condition
800 acers transplanted
in total.
Call for additional info.
Don Chapman
• Greenhouse and Field Soil Fumigation
• Custom made equipment for bedding, fumigation,
mulch laying, planting, solid tarp applicators and
equipment rentals
• Black mulch plastic - Embossed and U.V. treated
• Perforated Tunnels - Clear & white
• Wire hoops, row cover, mesh cloth field cover& drip
1738 Seacliff Drive Kingsville, ON N9Y 2M6
(cell) 519-919-1738
Gerry Loeters for
Royal LePage,
RCR Realty.
PH. 519-765-4217
Cell. 519-773-6460
Mary Washington
148 acre property with 85 acres of apple orchard. Located in
Norfolk County on St-John’s Road. Great variety of apples in
excellent production 2014 production appr. 2500 bins.
Completely renovated home and 3 mobile homes for
seasonal labour. Also approximately 100 wooden bins
included. Also 2 ponds and a very good producing gaswell
with licence on property Appr. 30 acres of bush with many
mature trees.
Asking price $1.450.000.00
Sandy Shore Farms Ltd.
(519) 875­3382
[email protected]
For Sale: Mechanical
Transplanters Model 1000 for
planting through plastic mulch.
3 units, excellent. $1000 each.
Call 519-259-3242
If you have a
rural route
please update
with your
civic address
to ensure
Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers
Annual Meeting 2015
Saturday March 7, 2015 - 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
At Parks Blueberries
14815 Longwoods Rd,
Bothwell ON
Please reply by March 1
if you plan to attend
Please reply to
[email protected]
call the circulation
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 25
To advertise phone: 519-380-0118 • 866-898-8488 x 218 • Fax: 519-380-0011
• Certified Strawberry Plants & Raspberry Canes
• All popular varieties available
• Grown under the Nova Scotia Certification program.
Plants shipped across North America.
Contact us for a FREE brochure!
982 North Bishop Road, Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada B4N 3V7
Ph: (902) 678-4497 Fax: (902) 678-0067
Email: [email protected]
Wide variety selection for retail sales and
commercial cut flower production
Catalogue available upon request or
visit our website at www.lmbolle.com
L.M. Bolle & Sons
813083 Baseline Norwich, ON
(519) 468-2090 Fax 468-2099
email: [email protected]
Jersey Giant
If you have a
rural route
please update
with your
civic address
to ensure
Wrightland Farm
RR 1 • 1000 Ridge Rd.
Harrow, ON N0R 1G0
Providing quality
apple trees for 40 years.
Bench graft
Sleeping budded eye
9 month bench
1 year old whip
1 year old feathered
KNIP tree
2 year old tall feathered
(instant orchard)
Brian Van Brenk
31760 Erin Line
Fingal ON, Canada N0L 1K0
[email protected]
call the circulation
department at
866-898-8488 ext 221
Keith: 519-738-6120
Fax: 519-738-3358
(Niagara) Limited
Howard A. Colcuc
Nursery Manager
R.R. #4 Creek Road
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. L0S 1J0
Tel: (905) 262-4971
Fax: (905) 262-4404
[email protected]
Producers of Quality stock for 46 years. Grown under the
Nova Scotia Certification Program. Shipping across North America.
Contact us for more information and a free brochure
7295 Hwy 221
Centreville, N.S. B0P 1J0
ph. 902-678-7519 fax: 902-678-5924
Email: [email protected]
Exclusive grower of select grafted nut trees and minor fruits.
Cultivars are tested in our own experimental orchards.
Choose from Persian and black walnut, heartnut, butternut,
chestnut, hazel, pecan, hickory, gingko, pine nut, mulberry,
persimmon, pawpaw, fig & more.
Proprietor Ernie Grimo
979 Lakeshore Rd, RR 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON Canada L0S 1J0
Tel.: (905) YEH-NUTS (934-6887)
E-mail: [email protected]
Fax: (905) YEL-NUTS (935-6887) Catalogue Site: www.grimonut.com
• Banana Fingerlings
• Red Thumb
• Rose Finn Apple
Old Favourites
Yukon Gold
Dark Red Norland
Irish Cobbler
Russian Blue
Dakota Pearl
Gold Rush
Cal White
Dark Red Chieftain
Adirondike Red
Adirondike Blue
Yukon Gem
AC Chaleur
Newer Varieties
All seed is C.F.I.A. i
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email: [email protected]
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PAGE 26 –– FEBRUARY 2015
Resolutions needed for 2015
I had the chance this fall to
ride in the combine one night
with my neighbour. It has been a
welcome opportunity that I have
had over the years, but not every
year because sometimes the corn
is there in the morning when I set
out for the office, and all gone by
day’s end when I get back home.
When we first moved out here, it
was a long day of planting and an
equally long one for harvest on
the farm behind our home. Now it
is but a few hours of planting and
about eight hours on the combine.
Add in a few hours to lightly disc
down residue and one pass with
fertilizer and herbicide, and that is
the sum total of time that anyone
besides me is on the land in a
year. I always seek permission
before entering private land, and
renewed that request again this
year. The response was gratifying
-- “no problem but I reserve the
right to ask what you saw!”
In the course of our conversations, we covered a lot of ground
(and a lot of corn acres too).
Modern farmers get their information from a wide array of
sources and I was just one more
source. It came as no surprise to
me to find how current the conversation could be on every topic.
Interesting, too, were the insights
that come from a long career on
the farm and with various farm
organizations. The only complaint
that came forth was that it was a
long way down the ladder to be
the ‘night guy’ on the combine
instead of taking the cushier route
that he could have given himself,
as farm manager. In fact, he was
being protective of his sons and
farm help by taking on the possibly more stressful and dangerous
job himself. It can be a long, boring, and thankless job at the best
of times, and to have a rider for
some of those hours is a treat -even a chatty one like me! In my
mind’s eye it would be tougher,
albeit safer, to have taken on one
of the other two positions -- to
ride alone like the driver of the
grain buggy or the semi driver
hauling grain to the dryer.
In the course of our talk, we
chatted about many local farmers
no longer with us and various historical events in our careers. We
talked about the local municipal
situations that at times are hard to
understand. Of course we chatted
about the bee/neo-nic situation.
His slant was quite interesting.
Their farm operation may have a
seed cost (my figures) of about
half a million dollars. With that
much on the line, they do not
want to do anything to jeopardize
that annual investment. Likewise,
as they are also growers of horticultural crops, they have an abiding interest in a strong bee population. They have been IPM practitioners for a long time -- for the
crops that have a program. Their
farm is always looking for the
very best options available, and
quick to adopt new practices. I
suspect they mirror most other
growers in that regard. If an IPM
program for grain soil insects was
available, they would be early
adopters. Perhaps it is this ‘oversight’ that government never
developed such a program
(because a cheap and very effective seed treatment did the job so
effectively) that has contributed
to the current issue being debated
In the month since that combine ride, I have pondered how
growers actually feel when they
get “bad news” from government,
or banks, or from their families
and friends. Again, I suspect they
react exactly like anyone else, be
they from the city or from a rural
area. Issues that could have an
effect on their farm environment
may have an immediate impact
on them and their families as
well. The difference is that
because farmers live closer to the
environment, they understand it
better, probably see the early
warning signs sooner, and deal
with it more immediately. Maybe
their reactions are more thoughtout than those of city folk, and
maybe they ponder the options
for longer because they have
combine time or tractor time to
do so.
When a farmer makes a pronouncement on an issue, it is usually well thought out, and insightful. This compares to many socalled pronouncements in major
media that are inciteful, poorly
thought out, and full of invective
to elicit a response. I guess I
would prefer the farmers’ opinions and options over those in big
city media any day!
As we enter the New Year, I
remain ever hopeful that the nagging issues from last year will be
resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. 2014 was NOT a good year
for many, nor for me on a personal front. Sometimes it seems that
it is only you that faces the loss
of close friends and family- often
to cancer these days, but it also
includes those dealing with other
serious health issues and family
woes far beyond anything one
would want to deal with. The loss
of close colleagues who have
retired and moved on seems to
accelerate every year; at this
year’s end there have been an
unseemly number who have gone.
Some days one feels very
alone out there.
This year I received more negative response to things I wrote
than the sum total from all the
rest of the years of columns put
together. Either I didn’t make my
point well enough, or I struck a
chord because I wasn’t afraid to
speak my mind. In either case, the
attaboys still win, and I prefer to
focus on them instead.
There are still a lot of issues to
be resolved, and more coming at
us. Some days I would rather be
the ‘night shift’ on the combine.
But not yet!
Crop Protection Advisory Committee meets
The Canadian Horticultural
Council’s Crop Protection
Advisory Committee (CPAC) met
with key regulators in Ottawa in
early December. Members
planned for committee meetings
for the coming year with repre-
sentatives from the Pest
Management Regulatory Agency
(PMRA) and Pest Management
Centre (PMC). Importantly, they
met with Dr. Richard Aucoin,
PMRA executive director and his
staff to discuss the status of the
Growers Requested Own Use
(GROU) program and potential
improvements, the need for
enhanced collaboration in product
re-evaluations, next steps for the
NAFTA TWG and next steps
relating to pollinators both at the
federal and Ontario level.
Dr. Manjeet Sethi (PMC) and
his team updated their activities
regarding the Vineland lab, budget, joint projects and laboratory
capacity. Additional discussion
centred on the Invasive Alien
Species Coordination Group, and
the status of the next Global
Minor Use Meeting.
Source: Canadian Horticultural
Trusted, proven control.
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FEBRUARY 2015 –– PAGE 27
New Nealta miticide controls
key mite pests
BASF Canada Inc. (BASF) has been
granted registration for Nealta miticide for
control of all lifestages, including eggs, of
European red mites, two-spotted spider
mites and McDaniel spider mites.
“Nealta’s unique mode of action will
provide growers with excellent control of
all stages of mites, even eggs, combined
with full safety for bees and other
beneficial insects. Nealta will not only
reinvigorate growers’ mite control
programs, but also fit perfectly into their
IPM strategies,” says Scott Hodgins, brand
manager for horticultural products with
The Pest Management
Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
recently announced the approval
of several URMULE registrations
for Coragen insecticide for
control/suppression of several
Lepidopteran pests of peanuts,
artichokes and the green onion
subgroup in Canada. Coragen
insecticide was already labeled
for management of a number of
insect pests on a wide variety of
crops in Canada.
The following is provided as
an abbreviated, general outline
only. Users should consult the
complete label before using
Coragen insecticide.
Coragen insecticide should be
used in an integrated pest
management program and in
rotation with other management
strategies to adequately manage
resistance. Coragen insecticide is
toxic to aquatic organisms and
non-target beneficial insects. Do
not contaminate aquatic habitats
when spraying or when cleaning
and rinsing spray equipment or
containers. Chlorantraniliprole is
persistent and may carryover. It is
recommended that any products
containing chlorantraniliprole not
be used in areas treated with this
product during the previous
season. The use of this chemical
may result in contamination of
groundwater particularly in areas
where soil is permeable.
For a copy of the new minor
use label contact your local crop
specialist, regional supply outlet
or visit the PMRA label site
Jim Chaput is minor use
coordinator, OMAFRA, Guelph
Nealta is the first Group 25 insecticide
to be registered in North America. In
preparation for its introduction, Nealta has
been extensively tested across both Canada
and the U.S. by both public and private
researchers and has produced excellent
Nealta is registered for use on pome
fruit, grapes, strawberries and tomatoes
and uses a single rate to control all pests.
For more information visit
Source: BASF news release
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Protect your fruit and vegetable crops with:
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PAGE 28 –– FEBRUARY 2015
2,000 + growers and value-chain partners
sharpen strategic plans for 2015
On-line retailing may work for
equipment parts but nothing can
replace the dynamics of a trade
show and convention. Think of
the happenstance introductions,
fresh insights from speakers and
face-to-face encounters with
providers of new products and
services. This is the place to
connect the dots.
This year’s Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Convention (OFVC)
follows a successful recipe of
in-depth, commodity-specific
seminars and an evolving
program of events on the trade
show floor.
What’s new? Take a peek
Photos by Denis Cahill
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
2015 show round up
201 exhibitors have registered, including 38 first-timers. “This is the largest number of exhibiting companies ever for the OFVC,” says Glenna Cairnie, OFVC executive coordinator. She suggests that latest
updates can be viewed at www.ofvc.ca. For those who tweet, use #OFVC2015 and follow @ofvc1.
Organized by OMAFRA’s Jason Deveau and Hannah Fraser, the
long-standing student poster competition more than doubled in entries
this year to 19.
See exhibitors’ new products for 2015 near the food court.
Thursday, February 19 7:45 am – 9:15 am
Scotiabank Convention Centre
(public café area by the Stanley St entrance)
When purchasing the overall OFVC registration package, register your intention to attend this
complimentary event. Participating buyers include Loblaw, Sobeys and Gordon Food Service. For more
information, contact: Matthew Ecker at [email protected]
Student entries are from University of Guelph, Trent, Brock, Western
as well as Agriculture Canada and OMAFRA. Poster topics span
horticultural issues from “Soil amendments for the management of
Fusarium wilt in spinach” to “Integrated pest management of muck
vegetable crops in the Holland Marsh.”
The top three winning posters receive cash awards of $500, $300 and
$200, generously sponsored by Brock University’s Cool Climate
Oenology and Viticulture Institute.
“The calibre of this competition is not to be missed,” says Deveau.
“All posters are displayed in the Scotiabank Convention Centre atrium
before entering the trade show area.”
Learn more at www.ofvc.ca/posters.html.
Wednesday, February 18 9:20 – noon
Room 204
OMAFRA’s Michael Celetti reviews the fireblight situation in 2014
and hosts guest speakers on prevention, alternative and novel products
for management, and a growers’ panel on frontline orchard
management. (Start time is not a misprint).
Organic Weed Control
Wednesday, February 18 9:30 am – noon
Room 203
Experts from Quebec, Cornell University, OMAFRA and Montana
State University share their best weed management strategies.
Apple Cider Workshop (Sweet and Hard)
Wednesday, February 18 9:30 am – 11 am
Room 206
OMAFRA’s Leslie Huffman chairs session on innovative cider
products, sanitation to improve cider quality, tips to make winning
craft cider and quality factors in cider-making.
Pollinators in Horticulture
Thursday, February 19 2 pm – 4 pm
Room 204
OMAFRA’s Paul Kozak chairs six topics ranging from Ontario
honeybees pollinating Maritime lowbush blueberries and linking
pollinator services to northern Ontario blueberry production, to an
expert panel on pollination in Ontario.
Spotted Wing Drosophila
Thursday, February 19 9:30 am – noon
Room 203
OMAFRA’s berry specialist Pam Fisher chairs a session on pest
monitoring, research updates and how one grower manages this
invasive pest in a pick-your-own operation.
Thursday, February 19 9:30 am – noon
Room 201-202
This informal, drop-in session will connect vegetable growers with
researchers, OMAFRA specialists and other key industry contacts.
We all have a stake in the future
One of the key events for
horticultural producers in Ontario
is the 2015 Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Convention (OFVC).
The value that comes out of this
meeting is beyond what happens
on the trade floor or the sessions.
There is a really good opportunity
to discuss production, challenges
and opportunities, innovation,
strategy and more. The organizers
do a tremendous amount of
preparatory work to make this
event run smoothly and it is a
credit to them that it is a first
class showcase. The Ontario Fruit
and Vegetable Growers’
Association (OFVGA) sees this
as a tremendous venue for our
This is a great example of a
public-private partnership coming
together. Farmers, suppliers and
government work side by side to
deliver exciting new technologies,
training sessions, and networking
and business development
opportunities. The Niagara
Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable
Growers’ Association (NPFVGA)
and Horticultural Crops Ontario
(HCO) should be very pleased
with how this meeting comes
together so well year after year.
The Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs provides a lot of resources
to this meeting, and in particular
coordinates the speakers’ program. Kudos to OFVC president
Matt Peters and OFVC volunteer
committee chair Tony
Sgambelluri and their team for
putting on such a dynamic
So why should you consider
going to the OFVC? There are
tremendous business and learning
opportunities at this show. I am
always keen to walk the floor in
the 80,000 square foot tradeshow.
With around 200 exhibitors, the
diversity of displays, the ability to
do business, and the general buzz
of activity is always exciting to
anyone in the sector. It gives you
the opportunity to speak directly
to suppliers, competitors,
government personnel and
academics. The latest information
on technology, markets, new
cropping opportunities, funding
programs, regulations and new
services can be found here.
The speakers’ program is
always well attended, often overflowing out of the rooms and into
the halls. This is a credit to the
quality of speaker that is
attracted, the topics being useful
and interesting to growers, and
the well organized program. This
is a program that does not shy
away from the issues: water
management, labour, disease,
insect and weed management,
traceability, new innovations in
information technology, new
crops, regulations, business and
end use markets have all been
part of these sessions. The
University of Guelph and the
Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre, both key
participants in Ontario-based horticultural research, have a strong
presence at this convention.
One area I would encourage
growers to participate in is the
“Meet the Buyer” session. This
happens first thing Thursday
morning, and participants are
encouraged to register for this
when doing the full OFVC
registration. There is no additional charge, but it helps organizers
with knowing who wants to
attend, numbers in the session and
gives the buyers an opportunity to
tailor their discussion. Then it
becomes a “speed dating” game,
with short, distinct meetings
between growers and buyers from
the grocery chains and food
I hope that growers and industry speak about the issues that are
affecting them in 2015 in an open
and frank discussion. Certainly
the recent discussions on labour
costs and competitiveness
(including occupational health
and safety, minimum wage, and
the looming Ontario Retirement
Pension Plan – ORPP), the regulatory challenge to neonicotinoid
use, trade negotiations (vis-a-vis
the removal of preferred status for
Canadian producers under the
Perishable Agricultural
Commodities Act – PACA – in
the United States), and changes to
risk management programs will
all find their way to the OFVC.
So will discussions on how to
improve efficiency, costs of
production, how to deal with
natural competitors (eg birds),
working closely with urban
populations and selling product to
With all that happens at the
event, there is a legacy that
occurs as a result of each
meeting. The net revenues raised
at the OFVC are directed back to
the fruit and vegetable industry in
Ontario, either through research
and development, marketing and
other association identified
programs. These are directed at
promoting Ontario product,
through initiatives such as direct
farm-gate sales to in-store display
contests, identifying and
managing challenges to
production (whether it be pests or
plant nutrition) or looking to the
future on what the business of
farming fruits and vegetable will
look like in the future.
The Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Growers’ Association
is very proud to be a gold sponsor
of this event! It provides our
members with an excellent
learning opportunity, exposure to
new technologies, the ability to
speak with suppliers, networking
with people normally outside
their own group, but also to
reconnect with friends and
colleagues in a very open and
friendly manner. We encourage
you to attend and also to come
say hello to our staff at OFVGA
booth # 915!
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Northern Italy’s apple expertise is showcased on ITFA tour
Leslie Huffman: “They are harvesting the light”
If Italy looks like a boot to
you, look up, way up. At the
northern reaches of that fashionable piece of geography, you will
find the South Tyrol – a region
whose history is more German
than Italian. In fact, nestled
around the river valleys are half a
million inhabitants, the majority
of which speak German.
This was the first of many
surprises to Leslie Huffman,
apple specialist for the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), who
toured the region last November.
This is the home of
Gewürztraminer wine and a
favourable place to grow Golden
Delicious apples.
For many Italian apple growers, a farm size of 8.6 acres is the
average. However, they make
every tree count, often harvesting
80 bins to the acre.
“They are harvesting the
light,” says Huffman.
Back in 1969, the South Tyrol
region had only 74 acres of
high-density plantings. Today it
boasts 45,695 acres of richly
patterned quiltwork as seen from
an aerial shot.
Huffman was part of a tour
group organized by Cornell
University’s Terence Robinson
and Italy’s Kurt Werth. Last
November’s study tour was part
of the International Tree Fruit
Association’s calendar. The group
included growers from Quebec,
British Columbia, Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick as well as
the states of Michigan, New
York, Washington and
Pennsylvania. Growers from
India, Brazil, Chile and Mexico
also attended.
All the latest technology – hail
netting, sprinkler irrigation,
platforms -- is employed to
produce immaculate fruiting
walls. Italian researcher Alberto
Dorigoni is getting positive
results using hedgers to reduce
pruning costs. He is also working
on multi-leader trees as a vigour
management tool.
The government’s extension
service works closely with the
growers as do the marketing
cooperatives to produce
high-quality fruit and packouts.
The trend is towards amalgamating cooperatives to reduce costs.
Each farmer is assigned a 10-day
window to deliver. This seemingly impossible goal is easier to
achieve due to different
elevations on the mountains
which means differing maturity
times. Labour from Poland and
eastern Europe help to harvest
fruit from these uniform orchards.
“They’ve replanted these
high-density orchards three times
since expansion,” says Huffman.
“They’re not taking out posts
anymore. They move the wires up
and down. A plow brings fresh
soil to the top.”
The regional packing plant was
impressive with a pre-sort,
storage room that contained 27
bins high. A robotic forklift picks
out the apple bins for washing
and packing. Since every market
requires a different apple and
package, this system tailors a
shipment of Italian Golden
Delicious apples, for example,
going to Africa.
This idyllic region also
harbours a nasty surprise: apple
proliferation phytoplasma (APP).
Observed all over Europe, it’s a
bad disease spread by leafhoppers
during bloom. Economic damage
is due to reduced fruit size,
weight and quality as well as
reduced tree vigour. Up to 30 per
cent tree loss has been recorded
in the area some years.
Huffman’s tour ended in
Bolzano-Bozen for the annual
Interpoma trade show. “This is
the mecca for apple growers,”
says Huffman. “Try to visit once
in your lifetime.”
Back in Ontario, Huffman is
distilling the learnings of her
“mecca” trip as well as a long
career with OMAFRA before
retiring at the end of February.
The trip to Italy has confirmed for
her, that Ontario has a bright
The annual
Interpoma trade show
is the mecca for apple
growers. Try to visit
once in your
~ Leslie Huffman
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“High-density plantings are the
way to go,” she says. The Ontario
Apple Growers have 227 members who steward 15,604 acres.
Another 4,000 acres are estimated
to be smaller farms which
direct-market to consumers.
Huffman encourages more
partnerships with these growers
who have daily conversations
with the public. Why not
introduce new varieties? Or
introduce sweet cider?
Huffman also points out
value-added opportunities for
apples such as baked, dehydrated
and fermented products. She
suggests outreach to health units,
teachers, wellness programs,
bootcamps, personal trainers and
gyms/fitness outlets.
While Huffman will be
chairing the apple session at the
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Convention on February 19 as
one of her last duties, she will
still be on social media. She’s
keeping her Twitter handle:
@aOntAppleLady. An early
adopter of Twitter back in 2010,
she encourages apple farmers to
join social media. It’s a great
channel to start a Slice and Share
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The Honeycrisp variety, at 7.2% of Ontario orchard plantings,
is the sixth most popular variety planted after McIntosh, Gala,
Empire, Northern Spy and Red Delicious.
“Having been an apple farmer
for 40 years has now provided me
with good insight into growing
apples profitably,” said Charles
Stevens, chair of Ontario Apple
Growers (OAG) when he reported
to the January 13 annual general
meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
“For me, the main insight is to
grow apples that the marketplace
wants, both in variety and
quantity and which are not
overproduced. While this may
sound simple, we, as apple
farmers with broad understanding
on how to grow apples, know it is
not simple.”
“Looking to the future, we
need access to the right varieties
and create demand for them.
OAG’s vice-chair and research
chair, Cathy McKay, has worked
diligently with others over the
past few years to create an
environment where leaders across
Canada work together to bring us
the best varieties. I believe that
positive collaborations are taking
place between OAG, Summerland
Varieties Corporation (formerly
PICO), and Vineland Research
and Innovation Centre.”
Following are statistics which
summarize Ontario’s current
apple production trends and
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Agricultural * Commercial * Industrial
Foodland Ontario – What’s coming
up in 2015?
50 Years of Excellent Service
Refrigeration (All Types)
Heating, Air Conditioning
Controlled Atmosphere
After a successful and eventful 2014, Foodland
Ontario is looking forward to even greater things in
the New Year!
There are so many different ways we at Foodland
Ontario promote the good things that grow in our
province. We help connect consumers with farmers
to build people’s understanding of where their food
comes from. Using a variety of marketing initiatives, we encourage consumers across the province
to choose fresh, locally grown food wherever they
shop, be it at the grocery store, farmers’ market, or
directly from a farm.
We kicked off the New Year by distributing our
2015 Foodland Calendar to more than 1,200 grocery
retailers, farmers’ markets and on-farm markets
across the province. From January right through to
December, each month in the calendar includes a
delicious recipe containing Ontario-grown ingredients and links to helpful recipe videos. For those
who market directly to consumers, we will have
new spring, summer and winter recipe brochures.
We’re adding eight new organic cards to our current
roster of 24 commodity-specific recipe cards, and
will have a new recipe brochure to promote Ontario
organic produce. With all of our resources available
in English and French, and free to those who have a
Foodland Ontario licensing agreement, it’s easy to
promote Ontario’s local food.
We will continue to promote local food through
television, radio and our digital and social media
channels and we will also run local food sampling
events at multiple Ontario retail locations. As an
integrated part of the Ontario government’s supports
for our agri-food sector, we are planning promotional activities for Local Food Week (June 1–7) and
Agriculture Week (October 5–11).
This year, more than 1,000 sellers will use the
Foodland Ontario logo to identify their Ontario
food. And you can too! All you need is a Foodland
Ontario licencing agreement. With nine out of ten
consumers recognizing our logo, it’s easy to showcase the great things available right here in the
For more information on the Foodland Ontario
program or how to get a Foodland Ontario licencing
agreement, visit us at www.foodlandontario.ca or
contact Foodland Ontario’s Client Services Officer
Sandra Jones at [email protected] or toll
free at 1-888-466-2372 ext. 5198263947
Sandra Jones is Foodland Ontario’s client services
officer based in Guelph, Ontario.
[email protected]
18 Seapark Drive, St Catharines ON, L2M 6S6
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Show and sell: how social media offers new traction for videos
Match the video style to your target audience
Taken to the extreme, everyone has the capacity to be a
media company. Websites,
Twitter, Instagram and YouTube,
for example, all make it possible
to communicate your unique
story. Each is a powerful channel
reaching different audiences in an
age of limited marketing budgets.
“I personally feel that
everyone has a story and that
everyone’s story is epic,” says
Allyson Reid, Chockablock
Media Inc. “You have an
opportunity to reach not only the
next county, but the next
As a guest speaker at the
Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing
Association’s Summit on
February 19, Reid will be sharing
advice on how to start shooting
video. IPhones take good-quality
video that’s suitable for posting to
Facebook and Twitter accounts. If
you’re an on-farm market with
seasonal specials, then it’s easy to
shoot field harvest and to
showcase the product coming to
Audiences will forgive you if
the camera is a little shaky and
the footage is raw. You’re
dropping the curtain on your
business so the video should feel
authentic and realistic. With a
little on-camera practice, you’ll
feel comfortable explaining
what’s happening in the field or
your business. There’s no expert
better qualified than you to tell
the story.
“Let your audience be the
guide,” she says. For a website,
you may consider a more professional video with a longer length.
The costs are minimal to start
doing your own videos. With an
IPhone, purchase a clip-on lav
microphone for $150. A
handicam costs about $1,000 to
$1,300. Research editing software
through the internet. Or find a
The Automated Vending Machine is designed to reach produce category managers, upholding the
Nature Fresh Farms’ brand of highly sophisticated technology.
digital assistant to edit and post
your video to YouTube. Some
programs offer a transcription of
the video at the same time as you
post YouTube.
“Look to other industries for
inspiration,” says Reid. One of
the most high-profile examples of
a one-person media company is
British food chef Jamie Oliver.
He now has more than a million
subscribers to his FoodTube
About 18 months ago, Paul
Smith of Northern Equipment
Solutions took notice of the
burgeoning video trend and
started making videos on service
calls. His company, based in
Wasaga Beach, Ontario,
specializes in potato, vegetable
and cash crop equipment. With
130 videos now under his belt,
Smith is transitioning to a
Mac-based computer system and
uses IMoviemaker to edit his raw
The videos are posted on his
website but also through his
Twitter account which has close
to 1,700 followers.
“As a service to growers, we
showcase their new equipment
and how it actually works in the
field,” explains Smith. “Through
video, we’re explaining the
infrastructure that’s required for
equipment to work properly but
we’re also promoting the process
to other industry stakeholders. By
no means are all our Twitter
followers, customers.”
Echoing Reid’s statements,
Smith finds a wide following that
reaches beyond Canada to the
United States. As an equipment
specialist, Northern Equipment
Solutions appeals to a broad
range of farmers looking to adopt
and adapt leading-edge technology such as GPS-guided precision
systems. Cash crop farmers may
be intrigued by a carrot harvesting video and then come back to
Purple Top Turnip Harvest 2014 was shot in the Holland Marsh
and made into a YouTube video. It was also highlighted in a
tweet from Northern Equipment Solutions. Target audience?
Growers looking for labour-saving equipment.
I personally feel
that everyone has a
story and that
everyone’s story is
epic. You have an
opportunity to reach
not only the next
county, but the next
~ Allyson Reid,
Media Inc.
the website to find out what’s
new in content.
Last fall, an Illinois corn
customer was close to defaulting
on his contracts, unable to get the
harvest off due to inclement
weather. Large equipment
manufacturers said his only
solution was to buy a new
combine. Rather than a sale,
Northern Equipment provided a
solution. Smith recommended
other growers in U.S. states who
had the right parts. The
interaction resulted from the
networking that happens through
all these social media channels.
Above are two examples of
videos that demonstrate how they
are crafted for specific audiences.
Growers recommend unique produce for farmers’ markets
Butternut squash
Watermelon radish
Yellow watermelons
Heirloom cherry tomatoes
Warty pumpkins
Cindy Bircham, who’s involved
in Our Little Farm near St.
Thomas, Ontario, is interested in
trying a new squash. She thinks it
will be ideal for the CommunitySupported Agriculture (CSA)
boxes distributed to shareholders.
Mature in 85 days, this specialty
butternut squash comes from
Cornell University’s Breeding
Institute. Honeynut Butternut
Squash produces on a compact
and space-saving bush type plant.
The five-inch long fruit weighs
from 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. and has a
sweet and rich flavoured deeporange flesh. The rind starts off a
dark green, turns tan and then a
rich burnt orange colour at full
maturity. It has intermediate
resistance to powdery mildew.
Plant as early as possible due to
long maturity.
This cool-season crop has a globular root attached to thin stems
and waxy green leaves. The
creamy-white exterior has pale
green shoulders, but when the
radish is cut open, striations of
pink and magenta are revealed.
Hence the name: watermelon.
MyPick Market grower Robert
Chesney is well-known for his
Thames River Melons, Innkerkip,
Ontario. He notes that there’s a
resurgence in interest in oldfashioned watermelons with
Vicki’s Veggies is a well-known
vendor at Toronto’s Evergreen
Brickworks. Based in Prince
Edward County, Vicki Emlaw
brings tasty heirloom tomato varieties to market. One of her new
favourites is Jaune de
Chardonne. “It’s yellow and at
two ounces, the size of a golf
ball. And it’s so-o-o beautiful,”
she says. Originally sourced from
Seeds of Diversity, she saved
enough seed to grow out for the
2015 season and also plans to sell
seedlings in her annual spring
sale, May 16 and 17.
Goldsmiths Orchard Market in
Thornbury is thriving under the
new ownership of Brad and
Teresa Oakley and Kyle and
Debby Oakley. Thanks to high
tunnels, they will be planting
market vegetables the first week
of May. Kyle recommends the
Yellow Pear grape tomato with
its unique shape and colour. “It
will look nice in a mix of grape
tomatoes,” he says.
The Red Meat cultivar has a
slightly peppery taste with
almond-sweet notes. These
radishes pair well with fennel,
apples and cheeses such as feta
and chèvre.
Pettinelli and Sons Produce
Company recommended this
radish on Twitter last summer.
Source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds
“Maybe it’s nostalgia, but also for
the flavour,” he says. Sangria is
his cultivar of choice.
Yellow watermelons also sell
well at farmers’ markets with
their yellow flesh and black
seeds. Mature in 75 days, New
Yellow Baby is a diploid-type
watermelon. It’s described in the
seed catalogue as a six pound,
personal-sized melon with tender,
juicy 11-12 per cent brix flesh.
Source: Stokes Seeds
Source: Stokes Seeds
International retail consultant launches
“Food Tourism” book in Canada
If you haven’t heard of
“glamping” then international
retail consultant John Stanley is
coming to the Ontario Farm Fresh
Marketing Association (OFFMA)
seminar on February 18 to
explain why this trend is hot.
Glamorous camping – upgrading
from a tent to a cedar cabin – is a
tourism movement that is the
bulls’ eye target for on-farm
retailers. This urban demographic
is seeking farmers’ markets, taste
tours and agri-entertainment.
Think of lavender tours, apple pie
trails, wine tastings and such.
John Stanley and his wife
Linda are currently launching
“Food Tourism” to explain the
opportunities of this trend. The
book is anticipated to be a
valuable resource for tourist
boards, owners and managers of
retail farm operations, farm
association members and anyone
with an interest in driving
increased visitor numbers to a
region through food tourism.
“Whether you are thinking
about starting an on-farm market
or have been in the industry for a
while, this book is an invaluable
resource,” says Cathy Bartolic,
OFFMA executive director.
“As the lives of the majority
of people become busier with less
green space and nature
surrounding them, farms are
playing an ever increasing role as
a way to get out of the concrete
jungle and re-connect with our
roots, literally. Consumers want
to know how their food is grown,
who is growing it and what it
tastes like right at the source.
Food tourism is not going away.
It is growing stronger with each
Bartolic explains that OFFMA
has been working with John
Stanley for more than a decade.
Because he travels the world
working with various food
tourism businesses, he has his
finger firmly on the pulse of the
OFFMA is coordinating a
full-day, pre-convention workshop with John Stanley entitled
‘2020 . . . Will you be a player?
The Future On-Farm Market.’
For those who want specific
direction in a small group
atmosphere, a New Visions
workshop will be offered in
March. All are welcome at any
venue. Pre-registration is
required. Email [email protected]
Another important mention is a
cherry tomato called Blue Smurf.
“It’s like Indigo Rose but tastier,”
she says.
Source: Greta’s Organic Seed
Also recommended is Knuckle
Head warty pumpkins. They are a
medium-sized, 12-16 pound decorative pumpkin. Its green warts
ripen to orange over the harvest
period. Be sure to spray for powdery mildew, says Kyle, to help
prevent damage to the handle.
Source: Siegers Seed Company
Exhibitor gallery
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Exhibitor gallery
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Bitten by fire blight, orchardists look to preventive tactics
Apple growers in Ontario,
Quebec and Nova Scotia learned
a hard lesson in 2014. Fire blight
flourished under warm temperatures and rainy skies, infiltrating
blossoms and re-emerging weeks
later as a bacteria that killed trees.
“Any grower who has
experienced fire blight understands the need to spray,” says
Michael Celetti, OMAFRA plant
pathologist for horticulture. “But
for those growers who have never
had fire blight and ignored the
predictive models, they got
Fire blight is always present,
explains Celetti, but is activated
under certain weather conditions.
The bacteria Erwinia amylovora
oozes out of the trees’ cankers
and then is rain-splashed onto
blossoms. Infection often occurs
during secondary bloom, about
seven to 14 days after petal fall.
Blooms are the primary entry
point to the entire tree. From
there, it’s carried systemically,
tarnishing the branches as if with
fire. If the bacteria reaches the
This Ontario orchard is infected with severe fire blight. Notice
how the trees appear as if they were scorched by fire.
Here, a shoot is infected with the fire blight pathogen. Photos by
Michael Celetti.
roots, the tree dies.
Fortunately, Washington State
University developed a predictive
model for risk assessment called
Cougarblight that’s situation-specific. Celetti runs this computer
model from May 1 until mid-June
and issues a risk assessment for
all apple-growing counties in
Ontario. The program estimates
risk based on temperatures and
rainfall in your area, but also
whether you have never had fire
in high-investment, high-density
orchards. Celetti is chairing a fire
blight session at the Ontario Fruit
and Vegetable Convention on
Wednesday, February 18. He will
be joined by other experts including:
blight, a neighbour has fire blight
or whether fire blight visited your
orchard last year.
The predictive forecast was
very accurate in 2014, even
though symptoms were not
observed during the bloom
period. “Science worked last year,
even though we were questioning
it,” says Celetti.
Fire blight is a sporadic
scourge that’s devastating to any
orchard but hits particularly hard
• George Sundin, Michigan State
University – Fire Blight
Management Begins with
• David Rosenberger, Cornell
University – Fire Blight in my
Orchard: Now What?
• Antonet Svircev, Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada –
Alternative and Novel Products
for Managing Fire Blight
• Grower Perspective: My
Experience Managing Fire Blight
(Cathy McKay, Murray Porteous,
Lindsay Pink, Paul Frankis)
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Ontario schedule of noxious weeds changes
Weeds added to the Schedule of Noxious Weeds
common crupina
serrated tussock
wild chervil
jointed goatgrass
smooth bedstraw
wild parsnip
tansy ragwort
woolly cupgrass
Weeds removed from the Schedule of Noxious Weeds
Willd parsnip
black-seeded proso millet
nodding thistle spp.
tuberous vetchling
goat’s beard spp.
Russian thistle
yellow rocket
Johnson grass
Scotch thistle
wild carrot
Effective January 1, 2015, the
following nine weeds were added
to the Schedule of Noxious
Weeds (a regulation under the
Weed Control Act).
These non-native weeds were
added to minimize their
interference to agriculture.
In addition, effective January 1,
2015, the following nine weeds
were removed from the
The weeds are being removed
because they are no longer
considered significant threats to
agriculture and can be managed
through modern management
practices. These changes will
help support pollinators.
About the Schedule of Noxious
The Schedule of Noxious
Weeds identifies weeds that can
seriously damage agricultural
land, crops or livestock. If these
weeds are growing in a location
that negatively impacts agriculture or horticulture, then they
must be destroyed. If you feel
that your agricultural or horticultural land is being negatively
impacted by noxious weeds, contact your local Weed Inspector.
Contact Us
Learn about Schedule and
weed management options at:
ontario.ca/by7q or 877-424-1300.
When you find something that works, you stick with it. Arysta LifeScience is proud to offer some off the most
trusted names in crop protection for the hortticulture market, along with some relatively new names. METTLE®,
a Group 3 Fungicide with enhanced systemic activity for powdery mildew control in grapes and stra
And KASUMIN , a highly effective bactericid
de to protect apples and pears from orchard-threatening fi
fire blight,
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wo great products to ad
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Always read and follow label directions. MAESTRO, MAESTRO logo, ELEVA
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trademarks of Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC. SHUTTLE is a registered trademark of Agro-Kanesho Company
. KASUMIN is a trademark of Hokko Chemical Inddustry Co., Ltd. METTLE and
the METTLE logo are trademarks of ISAGRO S.p.A. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation.
©2014 Arysta LifeScience North America Corporation, LLC. CDNH-1301
Mapping a strategy for unpredictable weather
Weather is mercurial but
climate is predictable. How can
growers buffer these day-to-day
challenges and capitalize on the
long-term opportunities?
That’s the science of Tony
Shaw, geography professor at
Brock University. He’s looked at
the major and emerging wine
regions of Ontario for some time
now and concludes:
“Temperatures are increasing for
all months. But it’s the growing
season of April to October that
we’re most interested in with
respect to grape and wine quality.
However, winters still remain a
One of the most useful climatic indices is heat units or growing
degree days (GDD). In the example of Lake Erie North Shore and
the Niagara Region, growing
degree days have increased by
more than 200 GDDs from 1970
to 2012. Under climate change,
the Lake Erie North Shore is
evolving and has proven to be
suitable for red grape varietals
such as Merlot, Cabernet
Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
The North Shore is not a cool
climate area in the true sense
because it can be very warm in
summer. However, it’s the
distribution of heat units that
makes a difference in grapes
ripening to full maturity before
cool fall weather shuts down the
While climate warming has
been proven, it’s no solace for
growers in Prince Edward
County. Due to geography, the
area is a poor candidate for wind
machines to mitigate extreme
winter freezes. Arctic air masses
flow over the area from the north
with no warming effect from
Lake Ontario.
“Total heat units don’t tell the
whole story,” explains Shaw.
“We’re seeing more volatility,
more extreme weather from one
year to the next. And that means
more variation in vintages from
one year to the next as in the
Niagara Region.”
Ontario grape growers and
winemakers are a hardy and
innovative lot themselves.
Attuned to weather year-round,
they are using Brock’s Cool
Climate Oenology and Viticulture
Institute (CCOVI) VineAlert, a
program that measures the cold
hardiness of grapevines and
warns growers when to turn on
their wind machines. As another
tool, CCOVI is also partnering
with Ontario Grape and Wine
Research Inc. (OGWRI) to
produce a best-practices manual
to help growers avoid devastating
injury to grapevines. Some
wineries take the weather in
stride, planting three or four red
varietals to spread the risk of not
all of them reaching full maturity.
Others plant a dozen varieties,
both red and white, with a
strategy of blending to overcome
vintage variation. Still others are
cooperating with wineries in
different regions, buying certain
varieties to complement their
What’s Shaw’s best advice for
the emerging Ontario regions
such as Grey and Northumberland
“I would suggest that the first
step growers should undertake is
to install a comprehensive climate
monitoring system in these areas
to determine the risks of freeze
injury, the growing season
potentials and the locations
ranging from most suitable to
least suitable. From these data, a
range of grape varieties and
rootstocks can then be matched
to the climate and soil attributes
of the areas. However, these are
just the initial first steps in the
assessment process.”
Add Field Manager PRO
t your tool kit
ganizing your field and crrop data is easier
witth the right tools. Use FM PRO Mobile
to enter information on the go, sync it with
Field Manager PRO or 360 on your desktop,
d make decisions based on the most
ofitable scenarios. Ask us how.
fccssoftware.ca/FieldManager | 1- 877-926- 0064
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Exotic pest is threatening common crops
Spotted wing drosophila likes strawberries, blueberries…and grapes
Don’t shoot the messenger.
Virginia Tech’s Doug Pfeiffer is
coming to Ontario to warn about
spotted wing drosophila (SWD)
in grapes. The invasive species is
present in several Canadian
provinces, and to date, has
threatened strawberry and
blueberry growers. However, the
entomologist warns that grape
growers also have cause to be on
In 2014, commercial wineries
in Virginia noted larvae in
crushed grape juice. One grape
grower suffered the loss of
one-third of his crop after initial
infestation led to sour rot. The
entomologist notes that the
insects carry yeasts and bacteria
via wounds left on grape skins by
the females’ serrated ovipositors.
In a university-conducted
spray trial in 2014, results showed
18 per cent of the grapes had
SWD infestation in the
uncontrolled plot. The numbers
were generated by dissecting
clusters. In one grower’s vineyard
of Petit Verdot grapes, two
different results were observed
under the same management. In
one block, 24 per cent of the
grapes were injured and in
another block, there was five per
cent injury. Again, these numbers
were generated by dissecting
grape clusters and making counts
of larvae and damaged berries.
These differing observations are
leading to more questions than
What are the environmental
conditions causing the invasion of
SWD? Are late-ripening, red
grape cultivars such as Petit
Verdot more at risk because other
favoured hosts such as
strawberries have finished
Pfeiffer notes that pyrethroid
insecticides have limited effect in
controlling SWD because they
also wipe out natural predators.
It’s imperative to rotate
insecticides as standard
For cultural control, he advises
harvesting fruit promptly to
liminate breeding sites. This may
conflict with usual harvest
Since 1932
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• Where the pros go for plans and plants.
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practices of leaving grapes on the
vine to meet brix standards. At
the very least, any overripe or
rotten fruit nearby should be
destroyed. In vineyards, pomace
produced during the crushing
process should not be dumped
near the producing vineyard
block. This can become a source
for many SWD.
What’s become worrisome is
that another exotic member of the
drosophilid family has been
identified in Pennsylvania,
Michigan and New England
states. The African fig fly,
Zaprionus indianus, is a
tropical-loving species first
identified in Florida in 2005.
This insect relative appears to be
following the migration of SWD
as it’s been found in vinegar traps
in northern states since 2012.
Since the African fig fly does
not have a large, sharp ovipositor
like SWD females, it appears to
attack only damaged and
over-ripe fruit. As Pfeiffer notes,
it’s not clear whether the African
fruit fly can successfully oviposit
in intact grape berries. This pest
may be acting symbiotically,
Side by side photos of Spotted Wing Drosophila (L) and African
fig fly show the differences between these related species. The
African fig fly is red-brown in colour, with longitudinal white
body stripes, thinly bordered by black.
following the damage made by
For more in-depth information,
come to the Grape Session, Room
207-208, at the Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Convention, February
19. Doug Pfeiffer’s topic –
Spotted Wing Drosophila in
Winegrapes: a bigger issue for
eastern growers than previously
New appassimento chamber set up
to dry grapes
Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre (Vineland) has
partnered with MTX Postharvest
to build grape drying chambers
that will transform the
Appassimento wine industry in
Canada. The first prototype unit,
installed at Kew Vineyards in
Beamsville, Ontario, will be used
to dry the winery’s 2014 grapes.
The Appassimento chamber is
the first modular, self-contained,
controlled-environment system in
North America and features
Vineland’s proprietary ventilation
technology for uniform grape
“The unit, manufactured by
MTX Postharvest, includes
wireless controls,” says Bernard
Goyette, research scientist,
postharvest science at Vineland.
“The novel system allows winemakers to control temperature,
humidity and air flow to create a
customized drying process,
allowing the user to achieve the
desired sugar content (°Brix) and
chemical balance for
Bernard Goyette
This compact unit (2 m high x
3 m wide x 9 m long) can hold up
to 7,200 kg of grapes. It offers
various cooling and drying modes
and cellular/VPN connectivity.
Appassimento is an Old World
drying technique that has been
practised in Italy for more than a
century. The process allows for
enhanced development of
flavours, concentration of sugars
and contributes to more complex
Fax: (905) 468-5676 e-mail: [email protected]
aromas in wines made from high
quality grapes harvested in cool
climate areas with shorter
growing seasons.
In addition to winemaking,
this system has potential
applications for food processing
including postharvest cooling and
sweet potato curing. Standard or
custom units are available to
purchase through MTX
www. vineyardmachines.com
Quality assurance of biocontrol products
Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre has published a
Grower Guide on quality
assurance of biocontrol products.
The guide is compiled by Rose
Buitenhuis, PhD, research
scientist, biological control.
Purpose of Guide
Successful biocontrol
programs depend on a number of
factors, but good quality natural
enemies are fundamental.
However, as living organisms,
biocontrolproducts are subject to
variability caused by various
factors, starting at the insectary
where they are reared through to
the crop where they are released.
Production of biocontrol agents is
a self-regulated industry and
quality assessments by the
end-users are important to provide producers with feedback and
to maintain high quality products.
Biocontrol suppliers are facing
the challenge of producing a
constant and reliable supply of
high quality natural enemies.
Therefore, quality control (QC)
checks are done at the supplier
level to make sure the products
meet certain standards before they
are shipped to the customer.
However, it often takes several
days before the products arrive at
the grower and are released into
the greenhouse. During this time,
uncontrolled packaging, transport
and storage conditions may affect
the quality of the product and
therefore the performance in pest
control. Shipping is probably the
most critical period. Temperature
extremes, condensation from ice
packs, restricted oxygen supply,
unnatural high population densities and long shipping and storage
times are some of the factors that
can adversely affect quality.
Therefore, growers should
open packages upon arrival to
provide a better environment for
the biocontrol agents and to
detect any potential problems
related to shipping conditions (too
Cryptolaemus adult, a predator
of mealybugs. Photo courtesy
of Biobest Canada.
warm, too cold, wet, bad smell).
In an ideal situation, growers
would perform quality checks on
every biocontrol product they
receive as quality will directly
impact efficacy; a shipment of
poor quality can result in failure
to control the target pest. If a
quality issue is detected the
grower can react proactively,
adjusting release rates
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Hop growers aspire to $50 million, Ontario craft beer market
Competition showcases fledgling industry
In last year’s Great Ontario-Hopped Craft Beer Competition,
judge Jeff Stevens examines the fill level of the bottle and checks
for any telltale ring in the neck that would suggest contamination.
Photos by Denis Cahill.
Jason Deveau, competition co-organizer, is pouring into the center
of the glass, not down the side. This creates the head and promotes aroma.
Hops growers can only salivate
over their beers on how to crack
the $50 million craft market that’s
evolved seemingly out of
nowhere. With only 50 acres of
hopyards in the province, there’s
ample opportunity and a learning
curve as tall as their trellises.
2014 was a tough production year
with diseases such as alternaria
and downy mildew.
Determined to overcome
agronomic challenges, growers
are submitting cone samples to
the University of Guelph and
project investigator Mary Ruth
McDonald. Loyalist College will
be offering their lab this winter
for analyzing 100 samples to
better understand Ontario hop
profiles by cultivars. With
science-based analysis, the
industry will benefit by sharing
their baselines with craft brewers
and understanding what numbers
to target for brewing values and
essential oils.
Meanwhile, Jason Deveau and
Evan Elford are helping to
showcase the fledgling industry
through the Great OntarioHopped Craft Beer Competition.
Both employed by the Ontario
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), they
have spearheaded a competition
that’s now in its third year. In
2015, a panel will be judging
samples of locally made beers
created with locally grown hops
in the robust porter style. The
tasting criteria assess aroma,
appearance, flavour, mouthfeel
and overall impressions – a task
that will take 2.5 hours for 10
This is an old-style beer that’s
undergoing a renaissance,
explains Deveau. A couple
centuries ago, British porters used
to fortify themselves on cold, wet
nights with this dark and gritty
According to the entry
requirements, this is a rather
broad style open to brewer
interpretation. It’s distinguished
from stout as lacking a strong
roasted barley character. It differs
from a brown porter in that a
black patent or roasted grain
Jack Sp
a ge
oot system, a thin
at yields.
Jack Sprat is an exciting
pumpkin variety offfering gr
in size and shap
pe and good powdery
w tolerance.
G d Va
antagee will prroovide excellen
ll nt
character is usually present, and it
can be stronger in alcohol. Roast
intensity and malt flavours can
also vary significantly. This style
may or may not have a strong hop
character, and may or may not
have significant fermentation
Last fall, the Liquor Control
Board of Ontario (LCBO) had its
cicerone -- beer expert Crystal
Luxmore – review 11 porters.
Here’s a taste of one of her beer
reviews: “Notes of figs and
prunes with a firm hop centre.”
As one of only 27 certified
cicerones in Canada, her
profession is a sign of the times.
While the United States started
their certification program as
recently as 2008, a Canadian
program was just launched in
2014. In the last five years, the
LCBO reports that Ontario craft
beer sales have risen by nearly
220 per cent from $15.7 million
during its 2009-2010 fiscal year
to $50.2 million in 2013-2014.
With positive trends like these,
it’s not surprising that growers
want to marry fresh beer with
fresh food. That’s exactly what
last year’s winner, Blue Elephant
pub and microbrewer, has done in
Simcoe, Ontario.
This year’s third annual
competition is slated for February
18 at the Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Convention says Evan
Elford for OMAFRA. A media
event will be hosted by Blue
Elephant and Carolinian Hop
Yard at Simcoe, Ontario to
present the Bottomless Cup
Trophy to the 2015 winner. For
more information, go to
Farmers’ Markets Ontario marks milestone of 25 years
There’s lots to celebrate at the
Farmers’ Markets Ontario
symposium at this year’s Ontario
Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
A 25th anniversary is reason
enough to join the seminars on
February 18 and 19, but also note
the metrics of success.
• 171 member farmers’ markets
• more than 300 MyPick Farmers
• 16 million shopper visits to
Ontario markets
• more than $700 million in 2014
• 3 ONroute mini farmers’
markets along highway 401 in
2015 (2 at Trenton, 1 at
“We expect to see eight to 10
new farmers’ markets launched in
2015,” says Bob Chorney,
executive director. “Altogether,
the provincial economic impact is
$2.3 billion.”
One of the guest speakers will
be chef Cindy Bircham who
brings a farm-to-table perspective
from Elgin County. She’s
channeling energy into Our Little
Farm, a joint farming project with
Mark Cosens who grows
vegetables for the St. Thomas
Horton Farmers’ Market and a
budding Community-Supported
Agriculture (CSA) box program.
“I’m not a gardener,” says
Bircham “so the 2014 season was
one big experiment.” What
surprised her the most was
producing more food than
expected and the challenge of
storing produce after harvest.
The learning curve is how much
to grow to serve 100 shareholders
on a weekly basis.
Raising awareness is also an
objective through traditional
(www.ourlittlefarmCSA.ca) and
social media. What she’s learned
is that a mix of printed brochures,
Facebook and events are
required. One recent success is
partnering with the local Heart
and Stroke Foundation at a soup
fundraiser. By supplying the fresh
produce for soups, Bircham can
raise awareness of healthy as well
as local eating.
A mobile, wood-fired oven is
the most recent acquisition from
Maine Wood Heat Company.
Hooked onto a custom-made
trailer, this oven will draw
customers to the farmers’ market
and fundraisers alike. In the
run-up to the Christmas season,
she made sourdough breads,
scones and . . . maple-bacon
butter tarts. Recipe, please?
With a mobile, wood-fired oven, market gardeners Cindy Bircham and Mark Cosens are ready to go
to the 2015 edition of the St. Thomas Horton Farmers’ Market.
FEBRUARY 18 - 19
Vivando SC fungicide to manage powdery mildew
on several new crops
Rate (L/ha)
Maximum apps
per season
Interval (days)
PHI (days)
0.75 – 1.12
14 - 21
0.75 – 1.12
14 - 21
0.75 – 1.12
7 - 14
0.75 – 1.12
The Pest Management
Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
recently announced the approval
of several URMULE registrations
for Vivando fungicide for
control/suppression of powdery
mildew on cucurbits, hops,
cherries, nectarines and peaches
in Canada. Vivando fungicide
was already labeled for
management of powdery mildew
on grapes in Canada.
These minor use projects were
submitted jointly by Agriculture
& Agri-Food Canada’s Pest
Management Centre (AAFCPMC) and US IR-4 as a result of
minor use priorities established
by growers and extension
personnel in Canada and the US.
Management of powdery mildews
has been a priority of producers
of many crops.
The following is provided as
an abbreviated, general outline
only. Users should consult the
complete label before using
Vivando fungicide.
Vivando fungicide can be used
for control or suppression of powdery mildew on the following
crops as outlined in the chart.
Vivando fungicide should be
used in an integrated pest
management program and in
rotation with other management
strategies to adequately manage
resistance. Vivando fungicide is
toxic to aquatic organisms and
non-target terrestrial plants. Do
not contaminate aquatic habitats
when spraying or when cleaning
and rinsing spray equipment or
containers. Metrafenone is
persistent and may carryover. It is
recommended that any products
containing metrafenone not be
used in areas treated with this
product during the previous
Follow all other precautions
and directions for use on the
Vivando fungicide label carefully.
For a copy of the new minor
use label contact your local crop
specialist, regional supply outlet
or visit the PMRA label site
Jim Chaput is minor use
coordinator, OMAFRA, Guelph
Scova Diesel Pumps
Ocmis Hard Hose Reel
Full line of Checchi & Magli
Specialized Planting Equipment from
Checchi & Magli, Sfoggia and Stanhay
PHONE 705-458-4003
[email protected]
Taking advantage of weeds’ weaknesses
Lesson #3. Be observant.
Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes the
questions are complicated and the
answers are simple.”
The simple answer to controlling weeds in an organic production system is “know your
weeds.” If you know what you
are dealing with and manage
based on biology you will have
much more success. Sure there
are at least 14 other production
practices that can help you minimize weeds in organic systems;
but, knowing your enemy will
help you win the war. You can
use weed biology and seed bank
dynamics to your advantage
against your most problematic
weeds. It is time to change the
way we think.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Scientists guesstimate that there
are approximately 100,000,000
weed seeds per hectare of agriculture land. Yes, it is true. Scientists
around the world dug up soil and
counted the number of weed
seeds. The numbers varied from
different countries, but
100,000,000 is a good estimate.
Of those 100,000,000 weed seeds
approximately 1,000,000 emerge
every year. This is why it is very
unlikely that anyone can deplete
the weed seed bank (weed seed
that is dormant in the soil) to
Seed enter the soil from several sources, but most commonly
from weeds that are allowed to
mature on an already occupied
Watch for species shifts in
your fields over time. It’s typical
in agriculture, as it is in everyday
life, that once we get one problem
under control we have somehow
provided the right conditions for
another problem to develop. This
is true with weed control.
“It is not the strongest of the
species that survive, nor the most
intelligent, but the one most
responsive to change,” said
Charles Darwin.
Understanding the strengths
and weaknesses of various weed
species will help you understand
how cropping practices alter
weed-selection pressures.
Understanding this relationship
will provide a starting point to
develop management strategies,
such as fine-tuning your crop
Kristen Obeid, M.Sc., is
OMAFRA’s weed management
program lead – horticulture.
Lesson #1. Do not let your
weeds go to seed.
In general, the amount of seed
produced by agricultural weeds is
astonishingly high, but it can also
vary significantly due to the highgrowth plasticity of most weed
species. Therefore, the actual
amount of seed produced per
individual plant can vary from
nothing to millions, depending on
its growing conditions. Weeds
vary considerably with respect to
the longevity of their seed,
depending upon species, depth of
seed burial, soil type, and level of
disturbance. Many weed species
are noted for the especially
long-lived nature of their seed.
Weed seeds that are currently
germinating are not necessarily
the most abundant in the weed
seed bank. Rather the crop type
and production practice are
providing that particular weed
species with an advantage over
Tried, tested & new
The Canadian
corrugated industry develops creative packaging solutions that are cost
effective, versatile, sustainable and food safe. Corrugated is the food
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Lesson #2. Know your weed
It’s impossible to control a
weed without properly identifying
it or knowing its biology. Only,
then can we understand how to
minimize its spread.
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