By Katie Gibb for the Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association
Glenn and Deb Harrison, who run a broiler chicken operation outside of Uxbridge, are pleased to talk about how recent changes to the lighting used in their barns has resulted in many benefits apart from energy savings alone. Last year, the couple participated in a cost-share program called Farming Power, which provided farm businesses with funding to improve on-farm energy efficiency in the Greenbelt.

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April 8, 2014 (Guelph) – A total of 28 projects have been selected by a review committee from 43 eligible applications for funding of approximately $1.5 million from the Water Adaptation Management and Quality Initiative (WAMQI) over the coming year.

Funding is provided through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The program is administered by Farm & Food Care Ontario.

This applied research and demonstration program will encourage demonstration and pilot projects that showcase innovative technologies and solutions for agricultural water conservation and efficiency. The initiative will also support projects that demonstrate efficient use of nutrients and nutrient management related to water quality. Projects have been chosen that support farm water quality and water quantity objectives and that will benefit Ontario agricultural producers and organizations.

Bruce Kelly, Environmental Program Lead at Farm & Food Care Ontario said that he was pleased with the scope and diversity of the applications submitted this year. Said Kelly, “WAMQI builds on the successful Water Resource Adaptation and Management Initiative last year and will further our efforts to improve agricultural water use efficiency and better our understanding of managing agricultural nutrients.”

Successful WAMQI applicants and projects approved for funding can be found at

Posted in Environmental Sustainability, Farmers and the Land, Farming in Ontario, Research and Innovation, Water Quality and Conservation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

By Jeanine Moyer

Becky Smollett is shown with two of her Ontario popcorn products

(Cambridge) – Have you ever heard of a popcorn farmer? We’ve got them right here in Ontario, and a new local business is bringing customers the flavour and healthy goodness of whole grain popcorn sourced directly from the farm. From Farm to Table, located in Cambridge, ON, is marketing fresh, seasoned Ontario popcorn across Canada to school children and snackers of all ages.

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By Jeanine Moyer

Doug Thompson shows the wireless Tap Track monitoring system designed to identify problems in his maple sap lines.

(Hilton Beach) – What do you get when you combine the centuries old tradition of making maple syrup with today’s modern farmer? Innovation and savvy marketing. That’s the approach Doug Thompson of Thompson’s Maple Syrup in Hilton Beach, ON has taken throughout his more than thirty years of tapping trees and making maple syrup. Continue reading

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By: Patricia Grotenhuis, 6th generation farmer

Corn stalks stand in a no-till field during winter

Winter winds howl and snow is so deep in the fields we can barely see the fence posts in places. The tractors and equipment (other than the snow blower and the tractor that runs it) are tucked away in the shed. Field work seems a long way off, but it is always on the minds of farmers.

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Posted in Crops, Farmers and the Land, Farming in Ontario, Soil Conservation, Sustainability of Farming | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Water’s Edge Transformation Program (WET) available for Lake Simcoe area farmers

Guest post

Guelph, ON- The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is currently accepting applications for the Water’s Edge Transformation program (WET). The program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and is available to farm businesses located along a watercourse in the Lake Simcoe, Severn Sound and Nottawasaga Watersheds. Continue reading

Posted in Environmental Sustainability, Farmers and the Land, Farming in Ontario, Soil Conservation, Sustainability of Farming, Water Quality and Conservation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

By: Patricia Grotenhuis, sixth generation farmer

Darda Sales loves the sense of freedom swimming gives her

Former Paralympic swimmer and current National Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team player Darda Sales is active, athletic and confident.  She is also an amputee from a farming-related incident.

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By Patricia Grotenhuis

Cheryl, Ainsley, Evelyn and Adam Garniss, grain farmers from Wingham

Wingham – When Cheryl Garniss left her family’s farm to study geography and environmental studies at Trent University she was considering a career in law, but her love of farming brought her back to agriculture.

After graduating, Cheryl first worked in agronomy at a crop supply centre, and later became manager there.  Since then, she and her husband, Adam, have moved to her husband’s family’s farm.  Cheryl loves what being a farmer has to offer, and the opportunity to have the whole family working together. Continue reading

Posted in Agricultural Advocacy, Crops, Farm families, Farmers and the Land, Farming in Ontario | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

ETOBICOKE, ON, Feb. 18, 2014 /CNW/ – Ontario farmers returned more than 114,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides and over 4,400 kilograms of animal health medications for safe disposal in 2013. The combined collection program was made possible through a unique partnership between CleanFARMS – a national industry-led agricultural waste stewardship organization – and the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI). Continue reading

Posted in Crop Protection, Crops, Environmental Sustainability, Farmers and the Land, Farming in Ontario, Livestock Farming | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Guest blog by Katie Pratt

Reprinted with permission from Originally posted on February 13, 2014)

Today, Dr. Oz uncovered the “global conspiracy” surrounding GMOs.  I usually avoid these types of sensationalized “investigative” reports because they are nothing more than a regurgitation of biased studies, “expert” testimony supporting the biased studies and absolutely no exploration of another side to the story.  However, this blog is not a commentary on sensational journalism.

It also isn’t meant to attack the character of Dr. Oz or the producers of his show. I don’t know them.  They could be really nice people just doing their jobs.  They don’t know me either, but I kinda wish they did because I could have helped them clarify some of the pseudo facts they presented during their segment on “Stealth GMOs”.

Dr. Oz began his rant against genetically modified organisms by describing a tomato that can withstand frosty temperatures because its DNA has been modified with a gene from a fish.

Clarification: In the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, the company DNA Plant Technology used DNA from the fish, winter flounder, and inserted it into the DNA of a tomato in order to make the fruit frost-tolerant. This “fish tomato” never went into field testing or made it to market.  Yet, Dr. Oz viewers were left to contemplate a picture of a bin of tomatoes labeled gmo and a bin labeled non-gmo.  No tomato in your grocery store is a gmo.  Only eight crops with genetically modified varieties are commercially available to farmers – corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, papaya, sugar beets, and squash.

Then Dr. Oz switches the topic from gmos to the use of pesticides.  He gives his own example of how plant scientists “improved Mother Nature” by making seeds resistant to pesticides.  But then, alas, insects became resistant to these gm-crops and farmers had to apply even more pesticide.

To read the rest of this blog visit

Posted in Biotechnology, Crop Protection, Environmental Sustainability, Farm families, Farmers and the Land, Feeding the world | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment