Agriculture

Farming and related issues

Recent Posts

Marketing board changes demand farmers, consumers on same page

If famers are not having a hard enough time dealing with this summer’s incredible drought, the Ontario government decided to hurt them some more. Changes to the Farm Products Marketing Act, recently proposed by the Farm Products Marketing Commission, wants to gut the role of one of the marketing boards, effectively wiping out the authority of the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers. This means the body in charge of negotiating price contracts for 14 of the province’s vegetable crops, including carrots, beans and tomatoes, will be completely transformed. Until now, the system has maintained a pretty equitable deal between farmers, processors and retailers. Like all marketing boards, it provides stability of prices, allowing farmers to plan and invest. Continue Reading →

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County needs to back off local food charter

By Robert Washburn

If every household in Northumberland County spent just $10 per week on locally produced food, it would put an extra $16.4 million into the county’s economy each year, says a food advocacy organization. Considering the amount each family spends on groceries weekly, it is not much. But, the impact is profound. Now, the provincial government wants to make every hospital, school, municipality, university, college, long-term care facility and other public institutions promote the use of local food. Let’s hope this will mean these institutions will also be encouraged to purchase local food, not just talk about it. Continue Reading →

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Farmers’s request ignored by county council

By Robert Washburn

Northumberland County farmers got a slap in the face this week as Northumberland County council refused a request to lower taxes on farmland. Currently, local farmers pay 25 per cent of the residential tax rate. It argues municipalities like Durham Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, Ottawa, and North Bay charges less (in most cases 20 per cent). County staff dismissed the request, saying most of the examples given by the federation are cities (urban) rather than rural. Once the rural municipalities in Eastern Ontario were contacted, it turns out the rate is 25 per cent. Continue Reading →

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Farmers brace for hard times, while consumers face skyrocketing prices

By Robert Washburn

The drought in the United States, one of the worst in 50 years, casts a very dark shadow around the world as farmers are being crushed into bankruptcy and destitution. As political leaders south of the border gather to hold their respective party conventions, the stories of these small-scale farmers, who are being pushed out of the only life they have ever known, will be lost in the tightly wound world of political puppetry known as modern national election campaign. Canadian farmers face a different story, one containing mixed messages, but it draws a similar political response from our leaders. Statistics Canada released figures last week announcing record canola production, along with increases in wheat and barley for the prairie farmers. A headline in the Edmonton Journal followed with headlines reflecting the cautious optimism of Alberta farmers as they are working to get the bumper crop into the bins. Continue Reading →

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