Human Resources
The Honourable Alan McIsaac recently announced that he is stepping down from his position as Prince Edward Island’s minister of Agriculture and Fisheries effective immediately. He will continue to serve as a member of the Legislative Assembly for District 5, Vernon River-Stratford.

McIsaac was first elected in October 2007. Following re-election in 2011 he was appointed minister of Education and Early Childhood Development and minister of Justice and Public Safety and attorney general. During that time he served as the vice-chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC). He was appointed minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in 2015.

Robert Henderson, MLA for O’Leary-Inverness, will be the new minister of Agriculture and Fisheries for P.E.I.  and was sworn into the new position on January 10.
Published in Corporate News
A pilot project connecting Prince Edward Islanders in need of jobs with work on farms has had an added bonus.

The Harvest and Prosper Project ended in December, but some of the participants have been offered full-time employment this winter, helping fill a void on P.E.I. farms.

The Harvest and Prosper project helped newcomers, people on social assistance or disability support, to find short-term work in the agriculture industry without affecting any benefits they were receiving. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
In a watershed moment for agriculture in Manitoba, the five commodity groups that in May of this year began exploring an amalgamation are pleased to release a summary report highlighting the potential path towards a new, grassroots and farmer-driven organization.

The release of this report launches a consultation period for farmer members of the organizations to become involved in the process.

“Commodity groups need to be farmer-driven. They need to be run by their grassroots,” says Myron Krahn, President of Manitoba Corn Growers Association. “This report shows how amalgamating would not only maintain our connection to farmers from across Manitoba, but also how it would improve it. From better research capability to a greater potential to leverage research investments, we’ll have more impact as an amalgamated group. Together we can be better.”

The potential board structure, governance structure, core functions, legal process and timeline of this potential amalgamation are all laid out in this summary report, which changed and adapted as the steering committee received feedback from their farmer members over the past few months.

The report is the result of nine months of meetings between board and staff representatives from Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, Manitoba Flax Growers, the National Sunflower Association of Canada, Manitoba Corn Growers and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers and Rob Hannam of the consulting firm Synthesis Agri-Food Network. It serves as a roadmap, the destination of which is a farmer-driven, grassroots organization that will reduce overlap, increase impact and deliver more value to Manitoba farmers.

Regional meetings and presentations are planned for January 2018 so that farmers across the province have an opportunity to hear the proposed plan and ask questions, in-person.

Dates and Locations for meetings and presentations are as follows:
  • St. Jean Farm Days presentation Jan. 10 at 1pm
  • Dauphin, MB meeting Jan. 11 at 1pm
  • Stonewall, MB meeting Jan. 12 at 10am
  • Brandon Ag Days presentation Jan. 16 at 3pm
In addition, this report will be discussed at each involved commodity group’s Annual General Meeting, which will be held during the CropConnect conference on February 14 and 15, 2018.

Manitoba farmers who grow the crops represented in this amalgamation process are encouraged to get involved and “have your say.” The report will be available at the following temporary website set up for this consultation period: www.mbcrops.ca. Feedback from farmer members is welcome and encouraged through email directly to Rob Hannam at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

RELATED: Manitoba commodity groups develop amalgamation roadmap
Published in Corporate News
The Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 board of directors. The election for the new board took place at the 22nd Annual General Meeting held on December 7, 2017 in Guelph, Ont.

The AAC’s 64 member organizations annually elect 16 directors to serve on the AAC board. They are joined by two, non-voting, liaisons from the federal and provincial government. The AAC board has approved over $276 million in federal and provincial funding to support over 3,450 projects since 1995. READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Ron Davidson has officially been selected as the new executive director of Soy Canada. The association’s board of birectors recently announced that Davidson will start in the new role in Soy Canada’s Ottawa office beginning November 1st, taking over from interim executive director, Dale Adolphe.

“We are thrilled to have Ron as the new head of the association,” said Mark Huston, chair of Soy Canada. “Ron has a tremendous understanding of domestic and international regulatory environments and their impact on agriculture policy in Canada. The breadth of experience he brings with him will help advance the strategic direction of Soy Canada and the soybean sector, while delivering on the issues and priorities central to our mandate.”

Davidson has held multiple senior positions in professional organizations in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, he has served as the senior vice-president, international trade and public affairs with the Canadian Meat Council.

Davidson was previously the chief liaison officer, governmental affairs with the Canadian Wheat Board and has extensive international and diplomatic experience working for the Government of Canada in various diplomatic postings including Canada’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Yemen; Consul General of Canada in Brazil; and other senior diplomatic positions in Japan, France and the U.S. Davidson also held senior roles in both the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture.

“I am very honoured by the opportunity to join Soy Canada at this exciting moment in the evolution of this country’s soybean industry,” said Davidson. “Soy Canada has proposed ambitious, but achievable goals for the next decade and I look forward to participation in the development of an inclusive value chain roadmap for the conversion of today’s visionary aspirations into realized achievements of the future.”

Over the coming weeks Davidson will be working with the Soy Canada board of directors and association staff on a transition process. With a full-time leader now in place, Soy Canada looks forward to continuing its work to facilitate industry co-operation and represent the industry on domestic and international issues affecting the growth and development of the sector.
Published in Corporate News
The Scoular Company recently announced that Bryan Wurscher has joined Scoular's senior leadership team as vice president, division manager and general manager of the company's special crops business. He is reporting to CEO Paul Maass and working from Scoular's office in Minneapolis, Minn.

Wurscher will oversee all aspects of the company's operation that sources and processes special crops in Canada and U.S. for use around the world. Scoular's special crops offering includes various pulses (lentils, whole and split peas, edible beans, and chickpeas) as well as canary seed, flaxseed, and sunflower seed.

"Bryan is a strong leader, and I'm thrilled to have him bring 20-plus years of diverse experience and talent to this critical role," said Maass.

Wurscher came to Scoular from Cargill where he most recently served as President and Managing Director Cocoa & Chocolate, Cargill North America. Wurscher joined Cargill in 1995 and held a variety of general management, commercial, merchandising and business development roles with Cargill's Trade and Structured Finance, Sugar, Corn Milling and Cocoa & Chocolate businesses. His roles included assignments in the United States, Singapore and Mexico.
Published in Corporate News
Harvest and Prosper is a program supported jointly by the Prince Edward Island government and provincial industry groups, that helps to meet the agriculture sector’s workforce demands during its busy harvest season. It has opportunities for up to 50 newcomers and social assistance and disability support clients, and also coaches and mentors participants to overcome future barriers to employment.

“There are great jobs available in farming, with the sector employing over 3,800 people in peak periods,” says Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Alan McIsaac. “With seven agricultural operations participating, Harvest and Prosper fills a real need for farmers during this busy season.” READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Ceres Global Ag Corp. announced that Chief Financial Officer Mark Kucala has stepped down from his position but will stay on with the company as treasury, risk and process improvement manager. Replacing Mr. Kucala as CFO is Kyle Egbert who previously served as Ceres' vice president finance.

"For nearly a decade, Mark has been a stalwart supporter of our business," said Robert Day, Ceres' President and Chief Executive Officer. "Throughout his tenure, he has helped Ceres navigate through many changes and significant growth, including the development of our Northgate infrastructure, reaching more than 110 million bushels handled and doubling of revenues. Going forward, Mark will continue to provide leadership and support in the areas he is most passionate about; treasury and banking relationships, risk processes and procedures, and operations systems and reporting."

Mr. Day continued, "Replacing Mark as CFO is Kyle Egbert who recently joined the company as vice president finance. Kyle has deep knowledge of our industry through previous positions held with Royal Dutch Shell in commodity trading, along with a depth of experience in financial reporting, valuation and controls and compliance. Kyle will assume responsibility for helping guide Ceres into the future and we wholeheartedly welcome him to the senior management team."

The appointment of Mr. Egbert to the role of chief financial officer for Ceres was effective October 1, 2017.
Published in Corporate News
It’s a good time to be entering Ontario’s agriculture and food industry because there are jobs galore.

In fact, there are currently four jobs for every graduate of the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), according to a new report.

“It’s a sector that has to grow no matter what, because people have to eat,” said OAC dean Rene Van Acker. “But it’s also a sector that has a chronic challenge in attracting people.”

Commissioned by OAC, the employment study titled Planning for Tomorrow 2.0 reveals that the agriculture and food industry is thriving but there aren’t enough qualified people to fill all the jobs.

Based on a survey of 123 Ontario employers in the sector, the report provides a snapshot of hiring trends and demands in agriculture and food. The new survey updates a report from five years earlier that found there were three jobs for every graduate of an OAC undergraduate program.

As a national and international leader in agriculture and food, U of G provides a majority of the graduates for this sector in the province, said Van Acker.

He said OAC wanted to update its survey to accurately gauge job demand and see where to focus recruitment efforts and enhance programs.

“It’s great news for students entering and coming out of the programs because of the tremendous demand for their skills and the many opportunities for them. On the other side, it remains a challenge for us at the University to help the sector find the people they need to grow.”

Not only did the report reveal an increase from three to four jobs available for every graduate, but it also found employers predicting even more jobs over the next five years.

With job availability on the rise, OAC is putting more aggressive strategies in place to meet demand. Enrollment in OAC’s programs has grown each year over the past seven years, but not fast enough, said Van Acker.

“We have work to do among potential students to let them know that this sector has great career opportunities, and that employers are looking specifically for people coming out of our programs.”

The college is pursuing new initiatives to inform students about growth prospects in the high-tech food and agriculture sector, said Van Acker.

“You don’t have to grow up on a farm to work in agriculture. There are all sorts of careers in the sector, and with many of them you can work in urban centres and live an urban lifestyle.”

Ippolito Group, one of North America’s leading produce companies based in Burlington, Ont., is exploring automated food processing approaches that require significant technical expertise, said Robert March, chief operating officer.

“We recently utilized U of G people for a project that involved incorporating cutting-edge technology into our production line, and we will be looking to U of G graduates for future projects as well,” said March. “U of G is where we will be sourcing our brainpower.”

Food processors and growers, input suppliers, financial institutions and government agencies were among those surveyed in the report funded by the OAC Dean’s Office, OAC Alumni Foundation, Farm Credit Canada and RBC Royal Bank.

In an effort to promote and grow its programs, OAC plans to strengthen liaison efforts with schools and connect with food companies to create programs geared to the industry, said Van Acker.

“We are so excited about this sector because we know it and understand it. We want to transplant that excitement into young people who are looking for opportunities because there is so much opportunity here.”

Among the survey’s specific findings:
  • 44 per cent of food employers and 56 per cent of agriculture employers project a general increase in the average number of new hires over the next five years.
  • 77 per cent of food employers and 79 per cent of agriculture employers state a preference for formal training in food and agriculture graduates.
  • 50 per cent of food employers and 57 per cent of agriculture employers state that more than half of their employees require or have post-secondary education.
  • 51 per cent of food employers and 67 per cent of agriculture employers report difficulties in finding recruits.
More details on the findings can be found on the OAC website: http://www.uoguelph.ca/oac/about/planning-tomorrow-20
Published in Corporate News
SG Ceresco (Ceresco), a Canadian leader in soybean processing, is being sold to Quebec interests. The company is owned by co-founders Thierry Gripon and Mireille Raymond, and the closing of the transaction is subject to certain customary closing conditions.

Purchasers Transit BD and Alain Létourneau Holdings will continue the company’s export sales activities in food grade soybeans, as well selling non-GMO soybean seeds to Canadian farmers. Thierry Gripon will remain as leader of the international soybean sales team and Mireille Raymond will be responsible for operational management until a new General Manager is in place.

"We are very pleased to have concluded this transaction with the founders of the company. Ceresco has a significant international development potential and we are very enthusiastic about further developing this Quebec jewel," says Transit BD shareholder Pierre Dagenais.

"Ceresco possesses an excellent customer base of soybean producers with whom we can build the future. We are particularly pleased to continue the work of the founders who have built this fine company over the last 30 years," adds Alain Létourneau.

Ceresco’s Thierry Gripon states: "We are convinced that the new group of shareholders will be successful in carrying out projects and the future destiny of the company. We have put in place a strong management team that will support the new owners. We are particularly proud to have built this beautiful company with our employees, soybean producers and international customers. We both pass on, Mireille and I, a wonderful project that we have successfully completed."
Published in Corporate News
In response to the Federal Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Agricultural Ministers' commitment to a comprehensive review of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs over the coming year, several agricultural organizations have formalized their structure and plans as the AgGrowth Coalition. The Coalition has committed to advocacy efforts and policy research to position industry as a trusted, authoritative partner in this critical review process.

At a recent meeting in Toronto the Coalition discussed and agreed to a strategy for the path forward in ensuring meaningful participation of industry in the BRM review. Members committed time and resources to guarantee that agriculture has a significant voice in shaping the next generation of farming policy and programs.

To that end, the AgGrowth Coalition is pleased to announce the coalition's Chair, Mark Brock and Vice Chair, Jeff Nielsen. Mark Brock is Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario and an active corn, soybean, and wheat farmer. Jeff Nielsen is President of Grain Growers of Canada and grows canola, wheat and barley in Central Alberta.

Additionally, the AgGrowth Coalition is undertaking an independent research and policy process – it is the expectation that this will be done in partnership with FPT governments.

"Modern farming is a smart global business supporting strong communities across the country with sustainable practices. It's time to modernize our agriculture programs, reflect the risks that are part of this reality and support the opportunities in front of us," says Mark Brock, Chair of AgGrowth. "This is a rare opportunity to improve agriculture policy and programs to enhance the economic, environmental, and social contributions of farming in Canada."

In cooperation with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and the Canadian Pork Council, AgGrowth is committed to undertake research and policy development to actively support the BRM review process.

"The AgGrowth coalition has created an industry business risk management committee to conduct research and analysis, develop policy positions and ultimately present options for improvement from a farmer perspective," said vice-Chair Jeff Nielsen. "We would like to do this in partnership with government."
Published in Corporate News
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) recently held an AgriWorkforce Roundtable to discuss challenges and possible solutions to address the critical agricultural labour shortage in Canada.
Published in Business Management
Canadians now have access to a new level of personal emergency assistance and peace of mind, backed by an organization known for its expertise in finding and caring for critically ill and injured patients.
Published in Corporate News
Choosing a successor is no easy task. While various family members may have ideas about who’s entitled to inherit the farm, the current owners may have very different ideas about who has the skills to keep the farm going in the long run. 

Throw blended families and in-laws into the mix and the question of succession may not have any clear-cut answers. And, in some instances, the best successor may come from outside the family. How does one decide? | READ MORE

Published in Corporate News
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has announced an investment of up to $780,040 to 4-H Canada to host the 2017 Global 4-H Network Summit.
Published in Corporate News
The number of students studying in agriculture or ag-related programs continues to grow, as Statistics Canada data reveals there were a total of 12,168 students enrolled in these programs in 2014, a 2.7-per-cent increase from the previous year and a 16.6-per-cent overall increase from 2009-10.
Published in Corporate News
Sept. 15, 2016 - When we talk about safety, we often talk about immediate consequences. For example, getting too close to a running power take off can result in immediate, and often catastrophic consequences. It’s important to talk about preventing these life-altering incidents, but it’s also important to talk about how exposure to things in your environment can affect your health, weeks, months or even years down the road.

We make decisions daily that can affect our future selves. We’ve all taken a minute to either thank or criticize our past selves for things we’ve done or not done. Why not set yourself for a healthy future?

There are environmental exposures that occur on and off the farm that can affect our hearing, our respiratory function, and our bones and joints This advice isn’t meant to capture all of these hazards, but is to get you to start thinking about what you’re exposed to.

One of the most wonderful human functions is hearing. The boom of a well-placed slap shot, the hum of a finely-tuned engine, and the pure laughter of a baby are all small joys that we enjoy when our hearing is optimal. Unfortunately, many people experience hearing loss due to noise exposure. This loss is entirely preventable. (If you’ve already lost some hearing – you can retain what you have.) But you have to make a commitment to make some changes. Here are some easy tips to protect your hearing:

  • Recognize when you are being exposed to excessive noise. This isn’t always easy, sometimes you might not expect a task to be noisy, but if you can’t carry on a conversation with someone three feet away without yelling, it’s a good idea to remedy the situation
  • Control excessive noise. Maybe you need a new muffler on that equipment?
  • Create a noise barrier. Close the window to your truck or tractor
  • Select the quietest tool or equipment to do the job.
  • Lastly, select the best and most effective hearing protection for you. Ear plugs and ear muffs work only if you use them consistently and correctly.
Breathing is a good thing. On this, everyone can agree. Keeping our respiratory health in tip-top shape means being aware of the hazards that occur on the farm. Unfortunately, farmers and farm workers have the potential to be exposed to a tremendous variety of respiratory hazards. Some of the most common respiratory hazards include: grain dust, crop protection residues, waste and waste byproducts from insects and animals, and exhaust and fumes from equipment and tools. The health consequences from exposure to these respiratory hazards is long and complicated and varies in severity from mild to catastrophic. Keep these tips in mind:
  • Decrease the generation of dusts and gases by improving management procedures or through engineering controls. An example would be reducing the distance the grain falls when unloading. A short fall means less dust.
  • Remove any contaminants that are in the air. Have good ventilation!
  • Use the right kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job. Make sure the PPE fits, is comfortable and most importantly, wear it! (And replace it once it becomes dirty or worn.)
(These tips do not take into account confined spaces which are very hazardous and require extensive training and equipment to enter safely.)

Creaky bones, sore knees and hip and achy backs are all too common in the farming community. Farmers start out young and strong, but eventually all that repetitive lifting, kneeling, stooping, twisting and shoveling catches up resulting in conditions like arthritis, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis, muscle inflammation and chronic pain.
  • Try to vary your posture, especially when bending over or when your hands are over your head.
  • Practice good lift hygiene. Lift properly and keep the load close to your body. Ask for help for heavy loads or use a mechanical solution.
  • Use well-maintained, proper tools for the task. Let the tool do the work, not your body.
  • Limit your exposure to vibrations. On older tractors, use vibration-dampening seat cushions. Take breaks from equipment that causes your body to vibrate.
It’s easy to forget that each thing that we do can affect our health in the future. Reminding ourselves that although we may not immediately feel the effects of bad decisions, it can damage our health and vitality in the future.

For more information about farm health and safety, please visit www.casa-acsa.ca.
Published in Corporate News
Sept. 9, 2016 - Augers and the dangers associated with grain are well-known hazards during harvest. Protocol for safely working around these elements should be outlined and communicated with co-workers to minimize or eliminate the risk of injuries. When using an auger, one person should be designated as being in charge of the task, and be sure that the equipment is periodically inspected during operation. While the auger is running:
  • Observe work area restrictions
  • Keep all safety shields and devices in place
  • Make certain everyone is clear before operating or moving the machine
  • Keep hands, feet, hair and clothing away from moving parts
  • Shut off and lock out power to adjust, service, or clean the equipment
“Grain handling entrapments can happen very quickly,” says Nicole Hornett, farm safety coordinator, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Flowing grain can draw a person down within seconds. High capacity equipment, such as wagons paired with large diameter augers, can be extremely efficient at unloading grain. Flowing grain can pull children and adults down quicker than one thinks they can react.”

The best way to reduce the risk of grain entrapment is to eliminate the situation. Farm workers, however, are exposed to some risks. To reduce risk, follow these guidelines:
  • Consider all alternate methods to free up grain before resorting to entering a wagon or bin. Bin entry should be the last resort.
  • Lock out power to all types of grain handling equipment - disconnect power and place locks over operating switches
  • Always use the buddy system when you are unloading or loading grain - quickly stopping an auger could mean the difference between an entrapment or a fatal engulfment
  • Never enter a bin when grain is caked or spoiled - mouldy, wet grain clumps and, as it is unloaded, a large air pocket can form just below the surface creating a ‘grain bridge’ that can collapse at any time
“Make this year’s harvest season one where everyone gets home safe and healthy at the end of each work day,” says Hornett. “Whether it is shift work with an extended team of farm hands or a few family members, make the plan work for safety. With all the potential hazards during fall work, it takes some discussion and planning to ensure everyone is on the same path to a safe and bountiful harvest.”
Published in Machinery
August 17, 2016 - "I can’t. I don’t want to. You can’t make me."

Coming from a child, talking about a math problem or a difficult chore, adults would accuse them of having a negative attitude. But children are not the only ones that can suffer from a negative attitude. Could a negative attitude be preventing you from having a safe farm?

Having a safe farm is a priority for almost all farmers. But is this just all talk? According to an survey conducted by Farm Credit Canada, 75 per cent of farmers feel the work on their operation is done safely most of the time, however more than 40 per cent of the same respondents have reported a personal injury, family member injury or employee injury on their operation. This begs the question: if most work is being done safely, why are people still getting hurt?

Time, money, old habits - these are common responses when asked what obstacles to improving safety are. However, a negative attitude towards safety can impact job performance and increases the chance of getting injured. One of the biggest negative attitudes when it comes to safety is “accidents happen”, or “it was a freak tragedy”. These statements are simply untrue.

Recognizing that accidents are not only predictable but preventable as well, is the first step in having a good attitude around safety and injury prevention. Sometimes it might be uncomfortable or time consuming to think about safety and injury prevention, but those inconveniences are minor when it comes to preventing an injury or even a fatality.

When it comes to day to day attitudes, first, avoid becoming fatigued or overly hungry or thirsty. No human does their best under these conditions. Being tired can slow down your reaction time and can influence your decision making skills. Being hungry, well, that can just make you irritable, easily annoyed and even reckless. Addressing basic needs like rest, food and drink can go a long way in maintaining a good attitude.

Another negative attitude that can affect your farm and your safety is complacency. After performing a job many times without a problem, you may believe you’re experienced enough to skip steps. That’s exactly when an injury can happen. It’s important to follow your established safety procedures each and every time you perform a task.

Emotions are good and normal. It’s okay to be upset or angry at a situation. But it’s not okay if you let those emotions get in the way of performing your task correctly. Being angry or upset can lead people into being reckless or in making hasty decisions. Take the time to calm down, or to figure out a solution before performing your task. Sometimes, a task can be frustrating. We’ve all been in the position where, no matter what you do, nothing you do seems to go right. This can be annoying, frustrating and infuriating! Walk away, calm down and then restart. This goes for everything from fixing machinery to sorting calves. Take a moment (it doesn’t have to be hours) to take a few deep breaths. Regroup. And restart.

Lastly, ask for help! You aren’t in this life alone. Many people including agri-retailers, medical professionals, family members, neighbours and friends are there for you. We all need help sometimes. It can be as simple as asking for clarification on a new crop protection product from your local ag rep or as complex as dealing with a health crisis. Not knowing, or feeling overwhelmed is totally okay, just ask for help when you need it.

Maintaining a positive attitude will help reinforce the importance of doing farm work safely. Having a good attitude about farm safety costs no dollars, but it is an investment in time and in thinking and that investment can pay off in spades in having an injury-free farm.

For more information about farm safety, visit www.casa-acsa.ca.
Published in Corporate News
August 12, 2016 - Owning a farm or other business is much more than a way to make a living; it is a way of life. Everyone involved in business knows there are occasionally some very stressful times. During busy seasons or critical production periods, it is normal to be faced with time constraints and work pressures. If you are also faced with major financial issues, these pressures can be multiplied many times over.

Unfortunately, at times, these demands can put everyone involved in the business under a great deal of stress. With so many potential challenges (many of which are out of your control), it is important to identify practical ways of coping.

Before learning to manage this stress, it is critical to be able to identify it in yourself and in others. By identifying it, you can then take action to reduce it. Some strategies to help manage this stress are outlined in this Factsheet.
Admitting you are stressed about family or business isn't a sign of weakness - admitting it is the first step towards handling it.

Signs of stress
Stress manifests itself in different ways in different people. Below are some of the more common signs; the list is not meant to be comprehensive. They can be organized into four categories.

Behavioural indicators
  • resentment
  •  "using" people
  •  irregular personal care
  •  isolation
  •  active protesting
  •  staying in bed all day
Physical signs
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • eating too much or too little
  • excessive drinking
  • excessive smoking
  • stomach cramps
  • child/spouse abuse
  • high blood pressure
  • teeth grinding
  • diarrhea/constipation
  • head/back/neck pain
Emotional indicators
  • frustration
  • anger
  • bitterness
  • shouting/screaming
  • crying
  • withdrawal
  • depression
  • guilt
  • nervousness
  • mood swings
  • worrying
Psychological signs
  • negative attitude
  • feeling worthless
  • feeling a failure
  • fear of people
  • hopelessness
  • forgetfulness
Strategies to manage stress
Managing stress takes daily practice, discipline and a deliberate effort. You need to understand how to manage your stress, how to accept the uncontrollable factors and work on the ones you can control. You must develop strategies that work for you.

Attitude
Your reaction or attitude towards a particular event or situation is a major factor in reducing stress. For example, if a loved one is late, and you immediately jump to the conclusion that they've had an accident, you will experience more stress than if you assume they are just running behind.

  • Controllable vs. uncontrollable - Know the difference between what you can and cannot control. Take action to change what you can. Accept the rest. Ask yourself: "What will happen if I ignore this?"
  • Look for the light - Most situations can be viewed from several different angles. Most of the time it is possible to put a positive spin on a stressful situation. Adopt a winning attitude.
  • Approach a situation as a challenge, not a crisis - Stop worrying and start problem solving. Problem solving is the proactive approach to finding solutions to controllable problems.
  • Give yourself credit - Set realistic daily goals and then rejoice in what you accomplish each day. Don't dwell on what you didn't get done.
  • Be proactive rather than reactive - When you look at a situation, take charge and become involved - don't sit on the sideline.
Events
Many businesses have many stressors all at once. Here are some hints to manage various events and situations.

  • Don't procrastinate - Plan ahead and get things done. Before equipment is needed for next season, replace worn parts, change the oil (if necessary) and do regular maintenance. When buildings are empty, clean up and do repairs. Plan ahead financially - including provision for unexpected cash requirements.
  • Practise time management and set priorities - List what you want to get done in a day or a week. Rank your plans from 1 to 3, starting with the most urgent. Start with the "1's" and work through your list. If the "3's" don't get done, they were not that important in the first place. Always expect the unexpected and make contingency plans.
  • Prioritize stressors - Decide which stressors you want to deal with and which ones you do not. Giving some priority to stressors will help you spend your energy wisely.
  • Say no - Many people find it hard to turn down a request because they do not want to be viewed negatively as a "non-participant" or "difficult." How-ever, sometimes you just have to refuse extra commit-ments because you do not have the time. You can still help by offering an alternate suggestion.
  • Take the engineer's approach - Engineers are trained to break big projects into smaller, more manageable parts. As each step is finished, celebrate the accomplishments.
Source and reaction
If you seriously want to ease stress, determine the source, then manage your reaction.
  • Listen to your body - Pay attention to physical, mental and emotional signs of distress, such as fatigue, carelessness, aches and pains. Change your pace or activities.
  • Take care of your physical and mental self - Get adequate rest, nutrition and exercise. Well-nourished, rested people withstand stress better. Those who work in a physical environment, such as construction or farming, contend they get enough exercise at work. However, by adding walking, dancing or running, for example, you increase your pulse rate and bring fresh oxygen to your muscles. Stress is reduced in the process.
  • Work off your anger -Redirect any built-up anger into something positive, such as chores. Later, after the initial anger has passed, formulate your anger into words. Pinpointing the real feelings that led to the anger will help resolve not only the immediate difficulty, but other problems as well.
  • Take relaxation breaks - Several times a day, take three deep breaths, hold, tense and relax each part of your body. Let your mind wander, where you imagine yourself in some restful spot for a few minutes.
  • Balance work and play - Plan time for activities that give pleasure and provide balance.
  • Talk it out - Find someone to talk to about your worries and frustrations. Get professional help when needed. There are times when everyone can benefit from mental health agencies, crisis hot lines or private counsellors.
  • Stop worrying about what others think - If you worry too much about your image in the community, you'll come to question everything you do - How does it look to the neighbours? This increases stress when things are not going well. Remember others are more concerned about their own image than yours.
  • Look for your own positive feedback - Running a business can be very rewarding, but at times there is very little feedback. Find those things that give you positive feedback. Enjoy it when you are paid a compliment.
  • Develop a support network - Sometimes it is difficult to reach out and ask for help, especially if your finances are the core issue. Talk to your spouse, partner and family. When appropriate, your friends and neigh-bours can provide a tremendous support network. Sharing ideas, concerns and working out solutions together will help you feel less isolated.
  • Look for the humour in everything you do -Laughter is good medicine. Positive thoughts and humour will help maintain perspective when you tackle serious problems.
Conclusion
It is important to realize that not everyone sees a situation the same way. What is stressful to one person may not be for another. Individuals must be sensitive to this reality and try to understand others' reactions.

Furthermore, there are times when professional help may be required. It is important to understand that if the situation is serious, it is time to consider professional assistance.

It is useful to remember that most stressful situations will pass. Although it can be very hard at the time, focus on the good and enjoyable times.To access financial and business information and services, visit our website at www.ontario.ca/agbusiness.

References
Coping with Farming Pressure. Home Economics Section, Manitoba Agriculture. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 1999.

Making the Most of Your Stress. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. 1991.

Managing Stress: Keeping the Pieces Together. Home Economics Section, Manitoba Agriculture. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 1999.

Network Supports. Challenges Newsletter, Manitoba Agriculture. May 1999.

This document is intended as general information and not as specific advice concerning individual situations. The Government of Ontario assumes no responsibility towards persons using it as such. In certain circumstances, professional help may be required. It is important to understand that if the situation is serious, professional assistance should be sought.
Published in Corporate News
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