This year farmers have two opportunities to win the Robert L. Ross Memorial Scholarship to attend the Canadian Total Excellence in Agricultural Management (CTEAM) program.
Canadian agriculture representatives today announced February 16, 2017 will be Canada’s Agriculture Day – a time to celebrate and draw a closer connection between Canadians, our food and the people who produce it.
With 50 per cent of Canadians unsure about whether our food system is going in the right direction, new research and an initiative unveiled today aims to set benchmarks for success in communicating with Canadians about our food and farming.
Tax season may be over, but to have a big impact on the bottom line you really need to be thinking about and planning for your taxes throughout the year.
June 7, 2016 – 4-H Canada and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) are proud to announce the extension of FCC funding to 4-H Canada until 2019. FCC’s annual 4-H Canada funding commitment of $250,000 supports national, provincial and club level programs and initiatives, including the popular FCC 4-H Club Fund. The announcement was made at 4-H Canada’s Annual General Meeting on Friday, June 3, 2016.
4-H Canada and FCC have much in common, particularly their efforts to foster a thriving agricultural community in Canada, and their partnership over the past 25 years is one of pride for both organizations. 4-H Canada’s goal of helping young Canadians “Learn To Do By Doing” in a safe, inclusive and fun environment has been supported greatly by FCC throughout the life of the FCC 4-H Club Fund and other funding initiatives.
For Canada’s leading agriculture lender, nurturing responsible, caring and contributing young people who are committed to positively impacting their communities across Canada is a win-win outcome.
“FCC believes in building partnerships that make our industry stronger,” says Todd Klink, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at FCC. “We are proud to partner with 4-H Canada in strengthening the bond between this industry and young people, since the future of Canadian agriculture depends on our ability to nurture skilled, knowledgeable and forward-thinking future leaders.”
“We are grateful for the support that our partner FCC has contributed to the 4-H movement in Canada for the past quarter century,” says 4-H Canada CEO, Shannon Benner. “As one of our longest standing partners, FCC’s generous contributions towards building youth leaders have had a powerful and long-lasting impact for 4-H clubs across Canada. The positive outcomes and tangible benefits can be seen across the country.”
The partnership between 4-H Canada and FCC helps to create opportunities for agricultural and rural youth. FCC’s continued involvement with organizations furthering positive dialogue around agriculture, such as Agriculture More Than Ever (www.agriculturemorethanever.ca) and other initiatives, provides youth in programs such as 4-H with the resources and opportunities to take pride in being part of such an important industry and dynamic community. With FCC’s ongoing support of 4-H Canada through the FCC 4-H Club Fund, and with exciting new initiatives like Canada’s Agriculture Day (February 16, 2017), the future of agriculture in Canada looks bright.
For more information on the FCC 4-H Club Fund, please visit: http://www.4-h-canada.ca/fcc4hclubfund
A list of the 2015 FCC 4-H Club Fund recipients is available here: https://4-h-canada.ca/sites/default/files/fcc_4-h_club_fund_recipients_2015.pdf
June 3, 2016 - Ontarions are encouraged to help celebrate Local Food Week (June 6-12) with a visit to an Ontario farmers' market. Local farmers' markets provide an opportunity to taste and enjoy the delicious food grown in Ontario and meet the many people who grow it.
Early-season crops are ready to kick off this local food season: rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries, beets, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach peppers, green onions, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and possibly carrots are available to enjoy. Complementing the selection of early-season produce is an array of preserves, jams and jellies, fresh-baked goods, botanicals, honey, maple syrup, VQA wines, meat and eggs.
"June is the start of the outdoor farmers' market season in Ontario," says Farmers' Markets Ontario executive director, Robert Chorney. "Farmers' Markets Ontario, celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, represents more than 180 farmers' markets across the province, offering consumers direct access to fresh foods produced nearby, at the peak of their freshness and flavour and puts them in touch with the hard-working farmers who produce the food."
"Farmers' markets in Ontario not only bring city people and country people together, they bring neighbours together and foster a sense of community," adds Chorney. "They're also fun places to be and a wonderful way to teach kids where the food they eat really comes from."
An estimated 37,000 families in Ontario are engaged in farming, many of whom have been inspected by Farmers' Markets Ontario and have been cleared to identify themselves as authentic MyPick® Verified Local Farmers® vs. vendors who buy their produce–much of it imported–at food terminals. "MyPick® farmers are the real deal," says Chorney. "They're the true heroes of Ontario's farmers' markets."
For more information about Local Food Week, visit loveontfood.ca and use #loveONTfood to follow what's happening. To find a farmers' market near you, visit www.farmersmarketsontario.com
June 3, 2016 - This year farmers have two opportunities to win the Robert L. Ross Memorial Scholarship to attend the Canadian Total Excellence in Agricultural Management (CTEAM) program.
CTEAM is run by Agri-food Management Excellence. During the program, farmers learn detailed financial, marketing and human relations management skills, using their own operation as a case study.
Robert (Bob) Ross was instrumental in guiding the CTEAM program, inspiring and encouraging farm management excellence across Canada through his leadership and passion for the agricultural community. Bob fought a courageous battle with cancer, passing in March 2014.
As a tribute to his passion, leadership and legacy, Agri-Food Management Excellence, Farm Management Canada, Family Farms Group and the Ross Family, along with an additional private contributor this year, established the Robert L. Ross Memorial Scholarship program, rewarding two farmers with the opportunity to participate in the CTEAM program and continue on a path towards excellence, as inspired by Canada’s leading experts and a one-of-a-kind support network of peers and colleagues.
This year there will be two scholarships of $8250 (CDN), which are to be applied towards CTEAM tuition and travel. The successful applicants can choose to attend CTEAM starting in January 2017.
Applicants must be more than 21 years of age and possess passion and devotion to excellence in farm business management. See the application for a complete list of requirements.
The deadline for scholarship applications is Sept. 15, 2016. Applications can be downloaded at www.agrifoodtraining.com.
June 2, 2016 - Tax season may be over, but to have a big impact on the bottom line you really need to be thinking about and planning for your taxes throughout the year.
Whether you're running a farm by yourself or a large corporation with a team of partners, tax planning has to be an integral part of your day-to-day operations. If you're not taking steps year-round to minimize the amount you'll eventually have to pay in taxes, then you're costing your business huge amounts of money that you’ll never get back. That's cutting directly into your profits.
There's a way to avoid that problem, however: keep your taxes in mind all year long. Listed below are just 4 ways that you can keep active in regards to minimizing tax costs during your regular operations. Consider at least a couple of these options and you'll more money in your pocket come next tax season.
1. Look into research opportunities
There are many tax incentives available to farmers who are interested in doing some work on the government's behalf. For instance, farmers can sign up to allow their crops and livestock to be analyzed or researched, and receive significant tax credits as a result.
If you're looking for one way to save on your farm taxes at the end of the year, consider what incentives the government is currently offering in exchange for research collaboration - you may find that the added work is well worth the investment.
2. You may want to consider income splitting
Often used among Canadian farmers, the process of income splitting refers to individuals who redirect their farm's income to a spouse or children working on the farm. This allows them to take advantage of lower tax brackets, or to claim additional deductions to which they would not be entitled to regularly.
So, if you have family members who pay taxes at a lower rate than you do, you may be able to defer some of your income to them - and then pay much lower rates at the end of the year as a result.
3. Is your farm incorporated?
Another way to save money on your taxes could be to incorporate your farm. In some situations, organizing and registering your farm as its own corporation could pay off in the form of much lower tax rates. However, incorporation isn’t right for everyone, or not right at this time - so investigate the possibility with someone who specializes in farm taxes before making a decision one way or the other.
4. Consider investing in accounting and bookkeeping services
Some of the processes detailed above - such as incorporating your farm, or splitting your income - are quite complicated. Someone busy with the day-to-day maintenance of their farm may not be able to find the time required to investigate whether or not incorporating the farm would be a smart financial move. There are accounting and tax services firms who specialize in farm taxes and can help you make informed financial decisions.
Spending long hours working in the fields or in the barn you also likely don’t have time or even want to do your bookkeeping. This is another task where you can improve your bottom line enlisting the aid of a bookkeeping specialist.
Minimizing taxes and maximizing tax credits is something that all business owners, including farmers, need to do all year long. Looking into just one of these four suggestions could bring some potential tax savings to you and your farm operation over the next year.
FBC is Canada's Farm & Small Business Tax Specialist, providing tax accounting and bookkeeping services to over 20,000 farms and small businesses from Ontario to British Columbia. Our complete financial planning for farm and small business owners takes a long-term approach to address your specific needs at all stages of life and business, minimizing your taxes year after year. Year-round services include tax planning, tax optimization, business consulting and audit protection.
Mar. 29, 2016 - It's that time of year when farmers are busy preparing for seeding and spring work. Regrettably, in the hustle and bustle, there is a risk of serious injury due to fatigue.
The Canadian Census of Agriculture regularly finds that fatigue is a major factor in causing farm-related injuries.
"Too many farmers push themselves, especially during the really busy times," says Kenda Lubeck, farm safety coordinator for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. "But nothing should come before a worker's health and safety."
Fatigue often creeps up on a person, so it may be difficult to recognize the onset. In addition to feeling sleepy and tired, some common symptoms of fatigue include:
- Headaches, dizziness, and blurry vision;
- Slow reflexes and reactions, and poor concentration;
- Feeling irritable, moody, and short tempered; and
- Muscles that are weak/ache.
"We often see safety as being all about equipment and guards" says Lubeck, "but the most important safety tool a person can have is their attitude which ultimately affects their personal safety decisions."
It is important that farmers recognize that they can ward off fatigue by:
- Getting adequate sleep;
- Eating nourishing food;
- Staying hydrated with plenty of water;
- Incorporating some healthy activity into the day's work, such as periodic walks/stretches; and
- Planning for physical and mental demands (e.g. adding workers, and not making critical decisions when weary).
Although the human factor is a significant cause of farm-related hazards, safety is about the choices you make. "It just takes a moment to make a decision that could literally be the difference between life and death."
Feb. 23, 2016 - 4-H Canada and Syngenta Canada are partnering for the third year on Proud to Bee a 4-H'er, an initiative where 4-H club members learn about bees and other pollinators by planting and tending pollinator-friendly gardens in their communities.
Participating 4-H clubs have the opportunity to create pollinator-friendly habitats using Proud to Bee a 4-H'er pollinator-friendly seed packets. This fun activity encourages 4-H members to learn all about the amazing and fascinating work of bees, get outside and enjoy nature, and raise funds for their local clubs. Approximately 80,000 seed packets have been distributed over the first two years of the program and the hope is that 2016 will see the total number move to over 100,000 packets distributed.
Syngenta support for Proud to Bee a 4-H'er is through its Operation Pollinator program, which is focused on research and other initiatives that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and habitat in support of healthy pollinator populations.
4-H clubs that register for the program receive Proud to Bee a 4-H'er pollinator-friendly seed packets, planting instructions and information about pollinator habitats. 4-H'ers can plant the seeds themselves or use them to support activities in their communities. This year, participating 4-H'ers will also have the chance to share their pride in taking part in this initiative by submitting a short video describing why they are #ProudtoBeea4Her. The winners will be chosen through public voting in late-summer 2016, with prizes to be awarded.
Feb. 17, 2016, Ontario – There’s nothing that makes Tyler Vollmershausen happier than sticking a shovel into a field to see what’s happening underground.
Feb. 12, 2016, Ontario – A new group has formed to celebrate the innovation and contribution provided by the agriculture and forestry sectors to the economy of northern and rural Ontario.
The group, Growing Ontario, will increase awareness of the important contributions of forestry and agriculture to the entire province, according to a press release. "By highlighting the history of responsible environmental stewardship, commitment to local municipalities and dedication to innovative solutions that provide sustainable prosperity, Growing Ontario will demonstrate the relevance these sectors have in the lives of Ontarians," the release says.
While farmers and foresters are providing sustainable management of our key natural resources, Growing Ontario will become the voice of their concerns and their achievements. The group will honour the best of these industries, raising awareness for the difficulties they face as well as showcasing the true impact they have on the province.
Initiated by the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and stakeholders from the forestry sector, Growing Ontario brings together voices that represent the interests of 28,000 grain farmers, 50,000 forestry workers and over 120 municipalities that rely on thriving resource sectors to survive. It is further supported by the Rural Ontario Municipal Association, the which represents the interests of rural and northern municipalities.
“Forestry and agriculture represent approximately $30 billion dollars in economic activity in the Province of Ontario and the are foundation of local economies in many community across our province. Foresters and farmers built our province and continue to contribute to it’s success today, and for that reason we felt it was important to work together with these economic sectors to highlight that contribution,” said Al Spacek, president of FONOM and the mayor of Kapuskasing, in the press release.
“In many respects, forestry and agriculture face many of the same pressures and will benefit from working together to raise awareness of our work so that Ontarians have a better understanding of what is actually going on in our forests and fields,” said Mark Brock, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, in the release.
February 3, 2016 - In March 2016, Farm & Food Care Ontario will take an important soil health message to farmers across the Lake Erie and southern Lake Huron watersheds with its Soil Health Road Show.
Funded by the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI), each of the six workshops will include presentations and demonstrations from members of OMAFRA’s soil team. Topics include soil fertility, organic matter and erosion control with a focus on cover crops and conservation tillage.
In each location, a panel of local farmers and crop advisors will also discuss their experiences and offer practical solutions to improving both soil health and water quality in their areas.Farmer participants will also learn more about cost-share opportunities for on-farm environmental projects through the GLASI program. They are also encouraged to bring recent soil test results to the workshop in order to take a deeper look with OMAFRA Soil Team members.
These workshops run from 9:30am to 3:30pm. They are free to the farming community and include lunch.
Space is limited to the first 50 people to register for the following locations:
- Elmwood March 1
- Brodhagen March 2
- Delhi March 3Parkhill March 8
- Thamesville March 9
- Leamington March 10
Dec. 3, 2015 – Mark Brock is the winner of the second annual Robert (Bob) L. Ross scholarship program. The Ontario crop farmer from Staffa, Ont., will receive free tuition to Agri-Food Management Excellence’s CTEAM program as well as up to $4,000 towards travel expenses.
The scholarship is offered by Agri-Food Management Excellence in collaboration with Farm Management Canada, Family Farms Group and the Ross Family.
The scholarship was created in 2014 in memory of Bob Ross, a dairy farmer and passionate farm business consultant from St. Marys, Ontario, who lost his courageous battle with cancer in March 2014.
The scholarship was awarded at the recent Agricultural Excellence Conference in Regina, Sask. Brock farms with his wife Sandi at Shepherd Creek Farms Ltd. where they raise crops and sheep. They crop 1,500 acres of wheat, soybeans, corn, edible beans and hay as well as raise 500 breeding ewes.
Brock is the chair of the board of Grain Farmers of Ontario and has been involved in farm organizations for several years. “I’m very honoured to receive the scholarship knowing how much Bob Ross has contributed to improving the financial skills and awareness for Canadian farm operators,” says Brock.
“This scholarship has allowed financially for Sandi and I to both participate in CTEAM. We hope to come away from the program with a strategic plan and direction for our business built from a solid understanding of our financial situation and an awareness of the business environment in which we operate.”
“The aim of this scholarship is to provide a Canadian farmer with the opportunity to continue on the path of farm management excellence, which Bob Ross was dedicated to,” says Heather Broughton, principal of AME. “We’re excited to have Mark in our next CTEAM class.”
CTEAM is a program of Agri-Food Management Excellence which provides farmers and ranchers training on farm business management. Participants use their own farm data during the program. Eligible applicants must demonstrate a progressive operation and entrepreneurial spirit, passion for the industry, and how the value gained from the program will be used.
Dec. 7, 2015, Hamilton, Ont. – Ontario is investing in a flour milling company to build the province's first greenfield site flour mill in 75 years.
The province is investing $5 million through the Jobs and Prosperity Fund - Food and Beverage Growth Fund to help P&H Milling Group, a division of Parrish & Heimbecker Limited, build a new bulk mill on Pier 10 in Hamilton Harbour, with access to railway, truck and vessel transportation.
The new bulk mill will house efficient state-of-the-art equipment including additional grain and flour storage, according to a press release. The expansion will enable the company to process 25 per cent more grain, and help increase the company's intake of Ontario wheat by over 10 per cent more annually. P&H Milling is investing $40 million toward the new mill.
The project will increase P&H Milling Group's productivity and improve their competitiveness. The investment is expected to create 16 new jobs while retaining more than 200 jobs in Ontario.
Dec. 7, 2015 - A new program from a Winnipeg-based organization will match retired military soldiers with jobs in the country's agriculture sector.
Operation Ag Careers, organized in part by the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR), aims to career-match soldiers retiring from service and entering civilian life with new careers in the agriculture sector – both on and off the farm.
Dec. 7, 2015 - A group of farmers in Newfoundland and Labrador is working to encourage young people to work in the agriculture industry.
Chris Oram, vice chair of the Young Farmer's Forum and a farmer in Wooddale, says that farmers in the province are aging.
He said that the average age is near 64, and farmers across the country are getting older.
Oram said his group is made up of 65 young farmers between the ages of 19 and 40.
Dec. 7, 2015, Paisley, Ont. – Vince and Heather Stutzki of ElmCrest Farms, sheep farmers in Bruce County, have been named this year’s Innovative Farmers of the Year by the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario.
The Stutzkis use a system of rotational grazing, pasture remediation, manure and compost application, double cropping and minimum tillage. By building their soil, their 200 acre farm supports their large flock, and their family.
The Stutzkis moved to their rolling property near Paisley in 1988 and there they raised a daughter and three sons, two of whom bought a farm down the road and farm with their parents. “When we came here the whole place was cropped,” says Vince. He recalls how he and Heather ‘fell into’ raising sheep: “One day, we had ten ewes and a ram that just showed up here because people wanted to get rid of them. We had an old bank barn with a roof that was leaking, the walls were collapsing.”
In Ontario, there are about 4,000 shepherds and the average flock size is about 85. The Stutzkis are part of a loose network of large flock producers, numbering fewer than 50 in the province. They raise 850 sheep on 200 acres and lamb five times a year, shipping every two weeks into a value chain that brings lamb products to Metro shelves. The Stutzkis were early innovators with traceability technology, and give back to their industry through sharing data and mentoring young farmers. Vince is also a past director of the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency Board. For the Stutzkis, managing the risks of a fluctuating global market means creating cost and labour efficiency, and so they have designed their operation and crop rotation to the very last detail.
And when it comes to innovation, they have had to look to other commodities for inspiration. “In the dairy industry, for example, there are lots of systems to look at and get ideas from but in the sheep industry, there’s not many places to look,” says Vince. The Stutzkis have been all across Ontario, Quebec and Michigan to see how others manage their livestock and pasture, and even made a trip to Scotland. They have plans for New Zealand next, as farmers there manage flocks in the tens of thousands of sheep.
The Stutzkis rotate their flock on 36 acres of pasture located on the hilliest section of the property. They have subdivided this into 27 sections and use an innovative Spider fencing system imported from New Zealand to manage flock movement between pastures. Water lines are run to every section and the intensive rotational grazing keeps both the pastures and the sheep healthy.
“Pasture is one of those things that is forgotten,” says Vince, who goes to great lengths to maintain soils in his pasture. The Stutzkis take four acre sections out of pasture on a rotational basis for two years to ‘renovate’ the soil. They use a crop of corn, sorghum sudan grass or mixed grains for the break year and they will graze it, followed the next year by a cover crop they will harvest for forage before planting the area back to grass, which they might even graze again that fall.
On such hilly ground, they never plow and use a light disking if needed. The "renovation" is important not only for thistle and other weed control, but it also breaks the worm cycle, to control parasites and worms that can build up in a pasture that isn’t properly managed. Building soil health builds up pasture health which in turn builds the health of the animals. “There’s quite an art involved in managing the pastures,” says Vince.
Vince and Heather have also had to be innovative with livestock mortality, as there are no deadstock services available for the sheep industry. A few years ago, they constructed a three-bin deadstock composting system behind the barn. The first two areas serve to alternate as the primary intake piles, with the start date marked on each and the third pile is for secondary aeration, at which point nearly everything is broken down. Soybean stubble serves as the substrate, though they use sawdust or corn silage in the winter because it will generate more heat.
The manure storage was built to hold over a year’s capacity in order to give them flexible timing of application. The addition of manure and compost into a diverse rotation has helped to build soils on the Stutzki’s farm.
Vince, Heather and the family are constantly learning, innovating and evaluating as they strive to farm in a difficult industry with limited marketing options and services available. At ElmCrest Farms, necessity is the mother of innovation.
The Stutzki family will be recognized at the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario’s Conference on Feb. 23 and 24, 2016 in London, Ont. More details on the conference are available at www.ifao.com.
Nov. 11, 2015, Guelph, Ont. - The Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture (CYSA) Competition named the winners of the 2015 competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Nov. 7.
- Senior champion: David MacTaggart from Lacombe, Alta.
- Senior second place: Simon Greenough from Newport, N.S.
- Senior third place: Kathryn Ringelberg from Troy, Ont.
- Junior champion: Denesh Peramakumar form Concord, Ont.
- Junior second place: Douglas Archer from Mount Pleasant, Ont.
- Junior third place: Priethu Raveendran from Woodbridge, Ont.
This 31st edition of CYSA welcomed 26 competitors aged 11 to 24 from across Canada who offered their insight and solutions regarding the following topics:
- The biggest challenge facing Canadian agriculture today is . . .
- What role should government play in assisting young people entering farm businesses?
- Here's how our changing climate is affecting Canadian agriculture.
- This Canadian has significantly influenced agriculture.
- The one thing modern Canadian farmers must have is . . .
Each year the renowned public speaking competition is held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. The competition is open to youth ages 11 to 24 with a passion for agriculture whether raised on a farm, in the country or in the city. The topics for 2016 will be:
- What is the impact of public opinion on Canadian farmers?
- How would you explain a GMO to a non-farmer?
- What does the next generation of agriculture bring to the table?
- How can we improve the media's perception of Canadian agriculture?
- Old MacDonald had a farm...But what about Mrs. MacDonald?
For more information about CYSA visit www.cysa-joca.ca.
September 23, 2015 - Ontario beekeepers now have access to a new production insurance plan that will help them manage financial loss from winter bee colony damage.
Production insurance is part of a suite of business risk management programs designed to help farmers manage losses due to events like weather, pests and disease. The costs of these programs are predictable, stable and shared by producers and the provincial and federal governments.
The new Bee Mortality Production Insurance Plan gives participating beekeepers the confidence and security to reinvest in their operations, encouraging greater innovation, profitability and job creation and provides them with the same financial support that beekeepers in other provinces receive.
"The new Bee Mortality Production Insurance plan recognizes the importance of healthy bees to the livelihood of individual beekeepers and the sustainability of the beekeeping industry," says Tibor Szabo, president of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association.
To participate, beekeepers must be registered, operate in accordance with the Bees Act, and implement best practices to ensure bee health. The Bee Mortality Production Insurance Plan will begin November 1, 2015 and will be administered by Agricorp.
The new Bee Mortality Production Insurance Plan is the first production insurance plan developed for a commodity other than crops and perennial plants. The Plan is also part of a broader pollinator health strategy.
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