Programs, Grants & Awards

July 29, 2015 - This year AgCatalyst, an annual conference for agribusiness and food production marketing communicators, is launching its inaugural AgCatalyst Awards to recognize individuals and organizations that are visionary in representing, advocating and advancing agriculture. From now until August 15, 2015, AgCatalyst Awards nominations for individuals, organizations and young "aggies" (ages 14-25) are being accepted at

"As agriculture is entering an unprecedented era, offering both challenges and opportunities, AgCatalyst recognizes the vital role of industry visionaries acting as catalysts for positive change," says Roger Reierson, president and CEO of AdFarm, a marketing communications agency that sponsors the annual event. "The AgCatalyst Awards is a way to showcase those individuals and companies inspiring the way we communicate, connect and produce food for the growing global population."

The AgCatalyst 2015 Awards will be presented at this year's AgCatalyst conference October 19-20, 2015. For award consideration, nominees must:
· Live and work in the United States or Canada
· Have demonstrated a commitment to both:
  o Promoting the positive aspects of agriculture, producers and the industry
  o To making a difference in the world through agricultural activity
· Not be presently employed by RR46

For more information about AgCatalyst or to submit an AgCatalyst Award nomination, please visit


Published in Corporate News

July 16, 2015, Churchbridge, SK - Myles Butt of Provost, Alta. and Deanna Ringelberg of Troy, Ont. are the 2014 recipients of Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) Memorial Scholarships. Myles and Deanna will each receive $1000 to support their post-secondary agricultural studies in Canada.

A fourth generation farmer, Myles Butt is next in line to take over the multi-generational ranching operation his great grandfather began, and where his family grow 3000 acres of crops plus about 700 head of commercial beef cattle. Myles is enrolled in the agriculture program at the University of Saskatchewan, and will start his studies for a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business this fall.

Deanna Ringelberg grew up on a family dairy farm in Ontario, where her family continues to milk a herd of 60 Holstein cows. She has her sights set on the agricultural finance sector, and is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce in Food and Agricultural Business at the University of Guelph, starting her third year of the program this fall.

Since 2009, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) program supports agricultural education for young Canadians through its Memorial Scholarship fund. The OYF Memorial Scholarship was established by the late Martin Streef, recipient of both Ontario's and Canada's OYF awards in 1996. Applicants are asked why they are passionate about agriculture in Canada, as part of the application process.

The award was expanded in 2014 to include two annual scholarships – one to an individual who has completed at least one year of post-secondary study in agriculture, and the other to someone who has completed high school and is enrolling in a post-secondary education in agriculture.

"The agriculture industry has always looked to the next generation for fresh ideas and new approaches to help inspire and drive this vital sector of the Canadian economy," says Jack Thomson, president of Canada's OYF program. "Being able to support two young agriculture students is so energizing and encouraging for our organization. This special OYF Memorial Scholarship extends what we do with our annual recognition program, and gives us another way to support outstanding individuals in our industry."

Myles Butt will be formally presented with his 2014 OYF Memorial Scholarship at the OYF national event in Edmonton in November 2015. Deanna Ringelberg will be formally recognized for her scholarship at the Ontario OYF regional event in March 2016.

The OYF Memorial Scholarship was established by the late Martin Streef – president of Streef Produce Ltd., a family-run fresh fruit and vegetable business in Woodstock Ontario – to help future generations of Canadians pursue their passion for agriculture. He died in April 2008.

Celebrating 35 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015 will be chosen at the National Event in Edmonton, Alberta from November 17-22, 2015.


Published in Corporate News

June 17, 2015 - The Farmland Health Check-Up, the newest installment of the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) suite of programs, is now open. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association has forged a unique partnership with Ontario’s Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) to make the Farmland Health Check-Up available for farmers in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds and the Lake Huron southeast shores watershed.

This program is designed to help farmers identify Best Management Practices that aim to improve the health and sustained productivity of their farm operations as well as the broader health of the Great Lakes. The Farmland Health Check-Up was developed by specialists from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs with assistance from the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Ontario Certified Crop Advisors Association.

The Farmland Health Check-Up provides farmers with a unique opportunity to work with a CCA free of charge. Utilizing the expertise of CCAs, the Farmland Health Check-Up helps farmers assess challenging areas on their farm and identify BMPs that will improve the soil and pollinator health on their operations.

“We can sometimes overlook some of the most critical aspects of our soil health; going through the Check-Up with a local CCA will help bring those crucial areas to the forefront,” says Alan Kruszel, president of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.

Each Farmland Health Check-Up will be conducted by a local CCA, chosen by and at no cost to the producer. In exchange for a Farmland Health Check-Up coupon, a CCA will provide up to three hours of their time to help a farmer located in the eligible areas to complete a Farmland Health Check-Up on-farm assessment for their operation. Farmers will be able to access the coupons online at, by picking up a coupon in store at participating agricultural retail locations across the eligible area, and by clipping the coupon from agricultural print publications. Completing the Check-Up with a CCA is a prerequisite for funding that will become available later in 2015 to help implement eligible BMPs identified during individual Check-Ups.

“Working in partnership with Ontario’s CCAs, the Farmland Health Check-Up has the capacity to make a big impact for many farmers, and an even bigger impact on the health of the watersheds. A pilot project took place in March with a number of CCAs who took the Farmland Health Check-Up to the countryside to test its applicability and the process that’s been put in place. The results were extremely encouraging,” notes Christine Schmalz, environmental programs manager.

“The Ontario Certified Crop Advisor Association is very pleased to be partnering with Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association on this proactive stewardship program. The CCAs involved in the pilot reported it was a great opportunity to talk in-depth with growers about soil health and to jointly look at beneficial stewardship practices that also improve yields,” expresses Susan Fitzgerald, CCA executive director.

The Farmland Health Check-Up will run until January 2018, as annual budgets allow. For more information, please visit our website at any questions, please contact Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association by phone (226-706-8669) or by email ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Funding for GLASI is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Published in Consumer Issues


May 27 2015 - The Ontario government has passed the Agriculture Insurance Act, 2014 which will allow more types of agricultural products to be covered by the province's production insurance program.

Production insurance is part of a suite of business risk management programs designed to help farmers manage losses due to events beyond their control, such as weather, pests and disease. While production insurance is currently available for almost 90 commercially grown crops in Ontario, including grains, oilseeds and certain fruits and vegetables, the new legislation will expand eligibility for the production insurance program for more agricultural products.

The new legislation will help agri-food producers better manage risk, as well as encourage greater innovation, profitability and job creation in the agri-food sector. It also aims to help agri-food producers achieve the financial security they need to support business expansion and meet the Premier's challenge to the sector to double its growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by 2020.

The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.

“Our government is pleased to give a broader range of producers the opportunity to access production insurance," says Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "This legislation will enable producers to manage the multitude of risks they face every day. Ontario is a leader in risk management because tools like production insurance give our farmers the protection they need to safeguard their investments, grow their farms and help meet the Premier’s Agri-Food Growth Challenge.”

The province says the Act will also give it more flexibility to work with industry partners to develop potential future production insurance plans for more sectors like apiculture and pork.

Amy Cronin, Chair of Ontario Pork says that pork producers strongly support Bill 40. “Broadening the scope of production insurance beyond crops is an important piece in supporting a positive business environment for the livestock industry in Ontario. Production insurance can be instrumental in providing stability against risks that are beyond the control of pork farmers.”

In 2013, there were more than 14,000 producers insured under Ontario’s Production Insurance program, representing more than five million acres in crop land.

By allowing more types of products to be covered by production insurance, the province says it is fulfilling a commitment made to farmers under the Growing Forward 2 agreement in 2013.

Published in Business Management

May 22, 2015 - The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) has announced the newest round of cost-share funding through the 2015 Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program (SARFIP).

The 2015 iteration of this program will build on past years, and continue to support agricultural management practices that benefit species at risk in Ontario.

“As farmers, we are in a unique position to directly support species at risk through the management decisions we make,” says Alan Kruszel, President of OSCIA. “Not only do many of the eligible BMPs provide or protect habitat, some also promote sustainable farm practices that enhance farm viability."

To participate in this program, OSCIA says consulting the 2015 SARFIP brochure is the first step; included in the brochure are details of the eligible Best Management Practices, cost-share percentages, and individual project funding caps.

Applications are now being accepted, and funding will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.SARFIP 2015 is open to all agricultural landowners in the province, and offers tiered funding to provide enhanced support.

Improved farm management projects that support SAR are eligible for up to 50 per cent cost-share, to a maximum of $5,000. High impact projects that provide direct support to SAR are eligible for 60 per cent cost-share up to $10,000. For these high impact projects applicants interested in participating in SAR Watch, an advanced engagement and monitoring endeavour, are eligible for 80 per cent cost-share up to $20,000. SAR Watch participants commit to additional project engagement beyond the standards outlined in the program terms and conditions, including a SAR property assessment by a SAR specialist/biologist.

All applicants can access up to $20,000 in cumulative SARFIP cost-share for the 2015 season.

The success of SARFIP in past years can be attributed to the farmers that undertook projects, and who collectively enhanced habitat across Ontario.

“SARFIP works because Ontario’s farmers are making a commitment to improving our shared landscape,” says Andrew Graham, Executive Director of OSCIA.

For more information on eligibility criteria, the application process, and program deadlines, visit the SARFIP page on the OSCIA website at or contact OSCIA directly at 519-826-3035 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Published in Corporate News

May 19, 2015 - The Pollinator Partnership (P2), Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) are pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2015 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award.

The award recognizes farmers and ranchers who have made significant efforts in conserving natural ecosystems, fostering additional pollinator habitat and protecting pollinators on Canadian farms and ranches.

More information about the award, including the nomination form can be found here. Nominations are open until July 24, 2015. Individuals or families in Canada currently implementing pollinator protection measures on their farm or ranch are encouraged to apply.

The recipient of the 2015 award will be recognized during an evening reception at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. on October 21, and will also be featured in various industry publications across Canada.

"We know the farming community is already contributing to conservation efforts on working landscapes. The award is an opportunity to showcase these efforts and share ideas," notes CFA President Ron Bonnett.

"Pollinators are incredibly important to our food supply. A thriving pollinator system and agricultural practices can exist simultaneously - this award and the applications demonstrate that," adds P2 Research Director, Victoria Wojcik.

CFGA Environment Committee Co-Chair, Chad Anderson, added that, "Pollinator habitat is one of many ecosystem services forage and grasslands provide. CFGA is proud to help recognize the farmers and ranchers showing leadership and innovation in good management of those lands."

Download the Nomination Form (English)

Published in Corporate News

May 1, 2015 - Ontario farmers are better able to grow their profits, expand their markets and manage risks with help from the governments of Canada and Ontario under the five-year Growing Forward 2 (GF2) program.

GF2 program updates as of April 1, 2015:

  • Under a single program, all GF2 funding opportunities are now merit-based
  • Cost-share caps per project have been introduced for each eligible project category
  • To be eligible, funding will only apply to invoices dated after a letter approving a funding allocation has been issued by OSCIA.

GF2 provides cost-shared funding for assessment/audit, planning, skills development and training and implementation project categories.

OSCIA is looking to fund projects in six areas of focus:

  • Environment and climate change adaptation
  • Animal and plant health
  • Market development
  • Labour productivity enhancement
  • Assurance systems: food safety, traceability, animal welfare
  • Business and leadership development.

Only the projects with the most impact will be awarded cost-shared funding. Applications can besubmitted during these dates in 2015:

  • May 1 to May 21, 2015
  • August 10 to August 27, 2015
  • November 16 to December 3, 2015 

OSCIA advises farmers to consult the new program guidelines for full details before beginning projects. They are available at New applications will also be available prior to the
opening of the next intake on May 1, 2015.

Producers in the process of making claims for year two projects should get them in by May 15, 2015. The
changes do not apply to previously approved projects.

GF2 is a cost-shared partnership between federal, provincial and territorial governments designed to support an innovative, competitive and profitable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.

Contact John Laidlaw at 519-826-4218 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in Corporate News

Apr. 14, 2015 - Four young Canadians have been selected to attend the second Youth Ag-Summit in Canberra, Australia, in August 2015.

These four Canadian delegates were chosen from nearly 2,000 potential candidates worldwide, based on their position and ideas on the underlying causes of food insecurity and its effect on a growing population.

Attending on behalf of 4-H Canada are Courtney O'Neill (Erinsville, ON) and Andrea Soesbergen (Dundee, QC). They are joined by Brennah McKirdy (Kingston, ON) and Vigneswari Sridharan (Guelph, ON).

The Summit, which is themed "Feeding a Hungry Planet," takes place in Canberra, Australia, on August 24-28, 2015.

One hundred delegates from 33 countries will meet in Canberra to network, hear from guest speakers and participate in debates, discussions, group work and industry tours. The purpose of the Summit is to generate innovative, sustainable and actionable solutions which will be driven by their leadership.

During the Summit, the delegates identify, connect and create ideas to progress agriculture around the world. This collaborative approach aims to leave them with actionable ideas they take back to their home countries to embed into their personal operations and careers.

Visit the website to meet the delegates and for more information on the Youth Ag-Summit.


Published in Corporate News

Mar. 24, 2015 - Pork producers Mike and Amy Cronin of Bluevale, Ontario were chosen as the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for Ontario at a recent OYF event in Ottawa. The event included five farm couples, nominated for the Ontario honours, and special guest Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz brought greetings and congratulations to the honourees.

Mike and Amy have always been passionate about agriculture. They both grew up on family farms in Ontario, and knew their future would be on the farm. As a young married couple, they saw opportunity in the hog industry, starting Cronin Family Farms, and have never looked back.

"Mike and Amy represent everything positive and progressive about family farm businesses in Canada," says Jack Thomson, president of Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers program. "They have thrived in the hog business, despite very challenging times in this sector, by establishing goals, being ahead of the curve on production practices and diversifying to safeguard their business for succession planning."

In 1998, Mike and Amy bought their first farm – an 1,800 farrow to wean hog operation that included 150 acres. Over the years, their business and their family have continued to grow. Their six children are at the heart of everything they do. And they've grown their hog business with Canadian and U.S. operations by expanding their land base and production, always with a keen eye on risk management. Innovation drives many of their decisions, and in 2014 they built the first crate-free farrowing system in North America after researching the newest technology from around the world. Their barn includes a thumb print entry system, electronic sow feeders and video cameras.

Giving back to the community and industry is a high priority for Mike and Amy. Mike is involved in the Huron County Pork Producers, the local parish and as a youth soccer coach for more than 20 years. He was recently invited to be one of two Canadians to join the 21st Century Pork Forum in the U.S. Amy is a school board trustree, vice chair of the local credit union and is on the board of the Catholic Community Foundation of southwestern Ontario. She is the current chair of Ontario Pork and a recently appointed vice-chair of the Growth Steering Committee of Agriculture in Ontario.

Celebrating 35 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015 will be chosen at the National Event in Edmonton, Alberta from November 17-22, 2015.



Published in Business Management

Mar. 24, 2015 - David and Sara Simmons of Pure Holsteins in Little Rapid, NL were chosen as the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for the Atlantic region at a recent OYF event in Moncton, NB. The third generation farm couple will represent their region at the Outstanding Young Farmers national event later this year in Edmonton.

Farming runs deep for David and Sara Simmons. They both grew up on dairy farms, met while studying at Nova Scotia Agricultural College and have a lifelong passion for agriculture as they carry on the family tradition. Their farming operation began in 2008 when they began dairy farming with David's family. In just two years, they took over full management of the 100 cow milking herd. In 2011, they started Pure Holsteins Ltd. that includes a unique succession and business plan. David and Sara lease the barn and quota from David's father and his two uncles, and they manage the cows and production.

"Succession planning can be one of the most challenging topics to address in a family farm business," says Darryl Worsley, National Director, Agriculture, CIBC and national board member of Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers program. "David and Sara have made a very strategic business decision for their family to build a plan for how the farm will transition from one generation to the next. This will help position them for long-term success, and prepare for the next generation of dairy farmers in their family."

Under David and Sara's management, herd productivity has increased from an average of 27 litres per cow per day (3.6 fat) in 2010 to 38 litres (4.12 fat) in 2014. A special emphasis on breeding high quality cows has improved the profitability of cows and offspring. And they recently installed the first robotic milker in Newfoundland.

David and Sara's young daughter (Felicity, 4) has already shown a keen interest in the farm, and they are planning to start a 4-H club in their community for her and other interested children. The Simmons' are proud of their family farm business, and support their community by volunteering on the Deer Lake Agricultural Fall Fair committee. And David is president of the NS/NL Holstein Branch.

Celebrating 35 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015 will be chosen at the National Event in Edmonton, Alberta from November 17-22, 2015.


Published in Business Management

Mar. 5, 2015 - Mark and Cori Pawluk of Pawluk Ag Ventures Ltd. are the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) for Manitoba.

Mark returned to his family farm in 1999 after university and worked together with his parents Brian and Brenda. They farmed side by side until 2011 when Mark's parents retired from active farming, but they continue to be an invaluable resource to Mark and Cori.

The Pawluk's grain farm grew steadily over the years, and today, Mark and Cori farm about 5,700 acres (owned and rented) growing primarily wheat, barley, flax and canola. And the addition of a private elevator and cleaning facility, with direct rail access, has diversified their farm business. The addition of flax processing – for human and pet food – provides dependable year round business for the plant.

When Cori isn't helping on the farm, she works off-farm as a registered psychiatric nurse. Mark and Cori strive for a healthy balance of work, family and leisure, together with their young son Landon and get away camping in the summer and travelling in the winter.

Celebrating 35 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture.

Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2015 will be chosen at the National Event in Edmonton, Alberta from November 17-22, 2015.



Published in Business Management

March 13, 2015 - Two new cost-share programs: the Manure and Biosolids Management Program and the Dust Deflector Program are now available to producers.

These targeted programs are part of the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) - a partnership between the governments of Canada and Ontario to support the adoption of innovative agricultural practices in the Lake Erie basin and the southeast shores of the Lake Huron watershed.

They are geared towards custom manure and/or biosolids applicators working in the area, and to farmers who use vacuum planters.

“What really has us excited about the Manure and Biosolids Management Program is its capacity to have a positive impact across southwestern Ontario,” says Alan Kruszel, President of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.

“Management changes on the land that make more efficient use of these nutrient resources will lead to positive changes in Great Lakes water quality.”The Manure and Biosolids Management Program is targeted specifically at licensed nutrient application technicians or prescribed materials application license holders working in the eligible watersheds. Funding of 75 per cent, up to $25,000 per business is available to help implement one or more Best Management Practices, including modifications to existing equipment to facilitate injection applications and in-crop applications, and to increase the precision of applications.Another key aspect of GLASI - and the focus of the Dust Deflector Program - is mitigating the potential adverse effects on pollinators from the use of insecticide seed treatments from vacuum planters.

“Ontario farmers are concerned about what’s happening with pollinator populations in the province, and this cost-share program provides support for those who are interested in adopting innovative practices,” said Christine Schmalz, Environmental Programs Manager. “This is another opportunity for farmers to demonstrate that they’re taking positive action to maintain pollinator health.

GLASI’s Dust Deflector program allows farmers to apply for 75 per cent cost-share, up to $3,000, for installing dust deflectors on their vacuum planters. The opportunity extends to factory installed, aftermarket, and custom designed on-farm deflectors.Both programs are available until March 31, 2015 and funding is retroactive to April 1, 2014 for activities that took place last season and over the winter.

Applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Those interested in applying are encouraged to move quickly to take advantage of these programs.For more information on eligibility and deadlines for GLASI’s Manure and Biosolids Management Program and the Dust Deflector Program, please visit

For any questions, please contact Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association by phone (226-706-8669) or by email ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

GLASI is part of Growing Forward 2, a comprehensive federal-provincial-territorial framework aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector.

Published in Corporate News

March 9, 2015 - Information regarding a lit of potential field project topics can be found on the OSCIA Grant Blog

The list of potential field project topics is meant to drive a discussion on projects that individual Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) local and regional associations might want to consider.

It has been complied by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Field Crop Unit and others in light of OSCIA's mandate to collaborate on projects more widely for the 2015-2018 funding cycle.

Some of these projects are ongoing while others are new ideas. There is always interest in adding more data and opportunity for collaboration on any of the projects.

If any of these ideas are of interest to your group, please feel free to contact Ian McDonald ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 519-239-3473) who will put you in touch with the right Field Crop Unit contact or supply assistance on protocol and procedures as appropriate.

Please remember the deadline to submit Tier 2 applications is March 31, 2015. This is a competitive process; successful projects will be selected on merit.

The opportunity to submit applications for Tier 1 begins April 1, 2015. Tier 1 is not a merit-based process. Applications for one-year proposed projects will be received throughout the year until the local/regional Association has reached the $1,500 maximum grant, or available funds have been exhausted for the year.

Published in Corporate News

 Dean Glenney, recipient of the 2015 OSCIA Soil Champion Award, receives his trophy from 2014 President, Allan Mol (on right).  Photo by OSCIA.

February 10, 2015 - Every plant and organism has its likes and dislikes, and it’s unlocking those secrets that get you the results. That’s the belief of Haldimand County farmer Dean Glenney.

He cash crops 200 acres near Dunnville on the former dairy farm that’s been in his family for more than 100 years – and his unique approach to growing corn and soybeans using what he calls “fence row farming” has been turning heads in recent years.

It has also won him a slew of awards from Dupont-Pioneer corn yield champion to Halidmand County Farmer of the Year, and now he’s been named the 2015 Soil Champion by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA).

The Soil Champion Award is handed out annually by the OSCIA to recognize leaders in sustainable soil management, and was presented to Glenney at the organization’s annual meeting in London.

An engineer by training with a degree from the University of Guelph, Glenney and wife Vonita spent many years growing fruits and vegetables nearby before returning to the home farm and focusing on cash crops.

“If you sell fruits and vegetables, it has to be perfect or it is junk, so our efficiency and attention to detail comes from the berry farm,” he says.

Over the years, different observations helped form his theory on the benefits of fence row farming, which he started implementing on his farm 20 years ago.

When he was 14, his family moved from a two furrow to a three furrow plow and the extra width meant he was turning over virgin soil when he neared the fence row, soil that looked like it was full of little cubes.

When their plow size went up again to five furrows, they removed some fence rows on their farm to make bigger fields, and Glenney noticed that the corn was two feet higher where the fence row had been than in the rest of the field – but only in the first year.

“The key to recreating the fence row in my fields was planting forever in the same place and making the soil of a fence row every 30 inches across a field,” explains Glenney. “The crop is planted in twin rows into the root ball of the previous year’s crop, always in exactly the same location.”

The crop puts roots down about five feet right through the clay layer, following the old root paths from the year before, and although he admits his corn looks “a bit sick” when it first comes up, Glenney believes it’s that early struggle that actually helps it do better later on in the season.

It took six years to start seeing results, and it was about 14 years ago when he first reached corn yields of 236 bushels per acre. The yields kept creeping upwards, and in 2010, the Glenneys won Pioneer’s Ontario Corn Yield Challenge with an average yield of 271.8 bushels per acre.

This led to him meeting research scientist George Lazarovits, who felt it wasn’t just the healthy soil structure that was responsible for the high yields on the Glenney farm.

“George started doing research here on bacterial colonization and because we don’t disturb the soil, bacteria is being colonized specifically to provide the nutrients that corn needs,” Glenney explains, adding that cultivation makes bacterial colonization more random. “There is 20 years’ worth of crop residue in the ground now.”

“The availability of nutrients is the key,” he believes. “We found only 55 per cent uptake of available nutrients in 60 days on conventionally grown corn on a nearby farm, whereas we found up to 90 per cent uptake on my fence row corn from the soil that was touching the roots.”

Glenney soil tests his fields and uses 215 pounds of nitrogen, 54 pounds of potassium and 70 pounds of phosphorous per acre and reaches yields that are now in the 300 bushel per acre range.

Yields plateaued in 2013 and were actually down in 2014 due to the late start to planting, so now he’s looking at what he might be able to do next.

That includes applying fungicides – Glenney has built a sprayer that will fit into the existing tracks on his fields – as well as using cover crops.

Lazarovits’ research on the Glenney farm is ongoing too, and he’s convinced Glenney to plow a small strip of his field to see how long it will take that soil to recover from being plowed.

An initial barrier to fence row farming was being able to precisely hit the same row over and over again, but the advent of GPS solved that challenge. Next on Glenney’s wish list is to have manufacturers standardized wheel width on farm equipment, but he’s not hopeful of fast change in that area.

“I have to apply lime in the winter because the spreader would run on top of my rows. We should have tramlines that we never get off of,” he says. “Soil structure really is the key, along with bacteria colonization in the soil.”

Glenney’s high yielding corn has led to many speaking engagements in recent years as well as being recipient of various awards, including Farmer of the Year in Haldimand, Haldimand Farm Enterprise of the Year, and National No-Till Association Soil Practitioner of the Year.

“It’s always neat to be recognized, and contests encourage people to do better. It was the yield challenge that started all of this,” he says of all the attention he’s received for his soil management practices.

“Dean Glenney epitomizes what the Soil Champion Award is all about. His efforts have contributed very significantly to understanding the importance of soil life and how it contributes to healthy, resilient, and extremely productive agricultural soils,” says Alan Kruszel, newly appointed President of OSCIA for 2015.

Do you know someone worthy of the title Soil Champion? The submission deadline for the 2016 Award is April 30, 2015.

For the application form and details, visit:


Published in Soil

In its 36th year, the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association will induct seven leaders into the Hall of Fame Gallery at Country Heritage Park in Milton on June 14, 2015.

The 2015 inductees are:

  • Dr. D. Murray Brown, Cambridge, Ont. (1928-2014).  Sponsored by Dr. Clayton Switzer
  • Russell Hume Dow, Bowmanville, Ont. (1932-2010). Sponsored by Dwayne Acres and the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency
  • The Honourable Fletcher S. Thomas, St. Thomas, Ont. (1897-1957). Sponsored by The Honourable Stephen Peters
  • Peter Hannam, Guelph, Ont. (1939- ). Sponsored by the Ontario Federatio of Agriculture
  • Peter Martin Lindley, Ancaster, Ont. (1934- ). Sponsored by OAC '57 and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association
  • Donald Wilbert Lobb, Caledon, Ont. (1939- ).  Sponsored by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
  • Earl Leonard Wagner, Exeter, Ont. (1945- ).  Sponsored by the Hensall District Co-operative and Sylvite

To qualify for this prestigious recognition, Inductees must have demonstrated visionary leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship in the advancement of agriculture in Ontario. They will have left a lasting legacy for the benefit of future generations.

Published in Corporate News

January 23, 2015 - Each year, the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario and BASF Canada recognize an Ontario grower as the Innovative Farmer of the Year. This year the award goes to Wayne Cantelon.  

The Cantelons began zone tillage in the early nineties and haven’t looked back, experimenting and fine-tuning a system that they now use on a large scale across a wide variety of soils in Huron County.

As more acres were added to the farm, the Cantelons had a decision to make: “do we add bigger conventional equipment or do we take a different direction?”  Perhaps taking some lessons from history, they wanted to use less equipment, control soil erosion and be able to manage fertility. But first and foremost, they had to make the economics work. That’s when Becker Farm Equipment (Exeter, Ont.) brought in a Trans-Till demo unit and they tried zone tilling.

Through a bit of experimentation, Wayne was convinced to break away from conventional tillage. In the first five years, he ran a side-by-side comparison and he says that the zone tilled fields did as good as or better than conventional and were generally drier as well. Wayne recalls the first year was the only time the conventional plot pulled ahead and that was because they hadn’t yet found a way to add fertility into the zones. Once they solved that problem, they were sold on it.

Wayne continues, “Conventional might look a bit showier but it didn’t mean anything when the combine went through.”

The Cantelons grow a rotation of corn, soys, white beans and wheat, zone tilling the corn and no-tilling the soys and wheat. They put down P and K in the zones in the fall, follow in the spring with a starter mix of 30-70-20-12S-1Z and later side-dress nitrogen. They built a folding toolbar with coulters to side-dress dry urea every 60 inches. Scott says this is an important part of their program: “It lets us control the amount of nitrogen. We can vary the rate and use almost 20 per cent less that what most would.” More recently, they’ve had success planting oats and radish down with the dry fertilizer in the fall, admitting that it’s not a perfect system because seeding and fertilizer depths don’t jive.

Still, the innovation continues at Cantelon Farms with cover crops. Last September, they tried aerial seeding 200 acres of cereal rye into corn with some success. Though the Cantelons have long put red clover after wheat, this year they have 250 acres into an eight species mix. While Scott plans to zone till his field this fall, Wayne wants to pull zones in the spring and kill off the cover crop just after he’s planted the corn. The rationale is that living roots take up more moisture than dead ones, so they will dry the soil more quickly.

“One thing I’ve noticed on the cover crops,” adds Wayne, “is that when we put something green in our wheat stubble, there’s something about that combination that the worms and the biology must really like. When we come back and do a spring zone, even the wheat stubble is gone.  And the proof is there, you can see all the worm tents.”

Wayne continues, “we really don’t understand what’s going on underneath the ground.” He believes agriculture needs more farm level research to better understand nature’s soil biology. “This isn’t something that you can just bottle up and sell.”

Not wary of sharing trade secrets, both Wayne and Scott keep in touch with others on social media, to spur on their collective understanding.

Published in Cereals

Jan. 21, 2015 - The Manitoba government is establishing a new task force to evaluate existing programs and policies used to help farmers recover from climate-related challenges such as flooding, with the goal of identifying more comprehensive and sustainable programs.

The Agriculture Risk Management Review Task Force will be chaired by Arborg-area farmer Bill Uruski and include five additional members to represent the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, a financial institution, farmers and others with expertise in this area.

Its work will include:
- Holding a series of public consultations to receive input from Manitoba farmers, organizations and other stakeholders;
- Evaluating the effectiveness of current risk management tools, including production insurance, to help manage and recover from climate-related challenges;
- Identifying gaps in existing policies and programs;
- Recommending new options to improve farmers' ability to manage climate-related risks; and
- Identifying ways to shift government support from ad hoc assistance to planned and predictable programs.

Public consultations are expected to begin this spring, and a final report with recommendations to government will be submitted by the end of the year.

Information about the task force's public consultations will be available at and at local MAFRD GO Offices once dates and locations are finalized.



Published in Corporate News

January 12, 2015 – With the new year comes a new calendar, and that means it’s time once again for Farm & Food Care Ontario’s annual Faces of Farming calendar contest.

Each year, Farm & Food Care opens the contest to Ontario farmers and farm families who want to tell their story, and see their faces in homes and workplaces across the province. One winner in total will be chosen from among the applicants.  Applications will be accepted until March 16.

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.

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.

Since it was first published in 2005, the project has featured the faces and stories of almost 140 Ontario farmers and farm families. 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 project’s overall goal is to connect the public with the true faces of Ontario agriculture, while introducing consumers to the farmers who work 365 days each year to provide quality, local Ontario products for our homes.

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 essays must include the following to be considered:

  • Names and ages of all family members
  • Address including county or region of residency
  • 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, etc.
  • Why they’d like to appear in the Faces of Farming calendar.

Entries can be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or mailed to 100 Stone Road West, Suite 106, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5L3.

Published in Corporate News

December 5, 2014 - In a news release issued in early December, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) says it is pleased to see that agriculture is included in the newly released Science and Technology Strategy for Canada. The future success of this large and impactful industry, says the release, is dependent upon a focus on science and innovation. New research is critical to ensuring productivity advances are possible and allows modern agriculture to continue to contribute to the growth of Canada’s economy.
“Agriculture is rooted in science,” says Mark Wales, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council Chair.  Producers have achieved record productivity gains and modern agricultural efficiencies that help the environment due to research and innovation.  Now that agriculture is included within the Science and Technology Strategy, it is recognized as an Industry Canada priority.  This is important for the future of Canadian producers, our agriculture industry, and the future workers we will need for our operations.”  
“Agriculture and agri-food is an exciting career choice and innovation is an important part of the agriculture and agri-food industry,” says Portia Macdonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director of the Council.  “This recognition within the Science and Technology Strategy highlights the high level of skill required for agriculture and agri-food workers today.”
“To take advantage of the productivity gains through science and innovation, more highly skilled workers will be needed,” says Doug Chorney, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council Vice-Chair.  “We have a lot of successes in agriculture and improvement in our modern agriculture production practices is directly connected to technology and research advancements. Access to agriculture labour, however, remains one of the biggest limiting factors to productivity gains for the industry.”
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council conducts labour market research and is responsible for the implementation of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan, a road map for addressing critical labour shortages within the industry.  The report states labour shortages are pervasive across all agriculture and agri-food commodities, affecting current operational success and future growth potential.
“Producers and industry from all regions across the agriculture and agri-food value chain are coming together through the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan to collectively address worker shortages in the industry,” says MacDonald-Dewhirst. “We are working together as industry professionals to showcase that this is an exciting time to work within the agriculture and agri-food industry, a place where research and innovation connect to feed the world and build a better Canada.”

Published in Corporate News

OYF National Winners: From left to right:  Komie Hossini, Bayer CropScience, Jack Thomson, President Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers, Myron & Jill Krahn, National Winner from Carman, Manitoba, Heidi & Andrew Lawless, National Winner from Kinkora, PEI, Jan Kennema, John Deere Ltd., Darryl Worsley, CIBC.

Dec. 2, 2014 - Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for 2014 are grain farmers Myron and Jill Krahn of Carman, Man., and potato farmers Andrew and Heidi Lawless of Kinkora, P.E.I. These two farm families were chosen from seven regional farm couples across Canada, at the OYF annual national event held recently in Quebec City, Que. Special guests at the event included Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Quebec Minister of Agriculture Pierre Paradis and UPA President Marcel Groleau.

A strong entrepreneurial drive, together with a passion for family and farming, are common drivers for both farm couples, who are the newest additions to the family of OYF ambassadors for Canadian agriculture. The Krahn's have realized tremendous growth and diversity in the grain, seed production and seed retail outlet operation they took over from the last generation about 10 years ago. The Lawless's, together with family, operate a large potato operation that includes the first joint venture potato operation on Prince Edward Island.

"Every year, our organization recognizes and welcomes more innovation and more passion with farm families who are helping shape the dynamic future of Canada's agri-food sector," says OYF President Jack Thomson. "The Krahn's and Lawless's are carrying on family operations, taking their sectors to new levels and helping raise the next generation who are experiencing the values this industry is built on. OYF is so proud to showcase their accomplishments."

MB familyMyron and Jill Krahn (left) farm for one simple reason – they love it. After they both completed agriculture degrees from the University of Manitoba, they took over the farm from Myron's parents in 2003. Krahn Agri Farms Ltd. of Carman, Man., has grown into a 3,000-acre grain farm with an independent seed retail arm and new on-site seed treating system. Custom seeding, harvesting and grain drying have been added to round out the diversified farm operation. Taking over the family farm required significant changes to maintain profitability. Myron and Jill have seen their family farm thrive through hard work, determination and dedication. They share their passion and work ethic with their two daughters, Cadence and Keira, and an appreciation for where their food comes from.

Atlantic familyFarming has been part of Andrew and Heidi Lawless' family (right) for the past four generations. In 2007, Andrew and Heidi formed a partnership with Andrew's parents, and today, the partnership farms as Hilltop Produce Ltd. With a four million pound potato storage facility and contracts for an increase to 12 million pounds, they extended their operation to include 400 acres of cereal grains. Most recently, Andrew initiated R&L Farms – a joint venture potato farm operated together with neighbouring potato farmers. Through every part of their operation, Andrew and Heidi value family, a respect for the land, best practices and a strong work ethic. And they are sharing those values with their growing family, Vance, Max and Maeve.

Myron and Jill Krahn from Manitoba, and Andrew and Heidi Lawless from Prince Edward Island were chosen from the seven 2014 regional finalists – that included the following honourees from the other five regions – Bruno Soucy and Hélène St-Pierre (Quebec region), Jason and Amanda O'Connell (Ontario region), Aaron and Adrienne Ivey (Saskatchewan region), Richard and Nicole Brousseau (Alberta region), and Lydia Ryall (British Columbia, Yukon region).

Celebrating 34 years, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer CropScience, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.



Published in Corporate News

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