Farmers need mental health services just for them

Farmers face a unique set of challenges every day – challenges over which they have little to no control. Weather, disease, commodity prices, the list goes on. Who better to receive targeted mental health programs than those who may need it most, but are least likely to ask. It’s long overdue and we owe them our support.

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Human welfare is the star of food production

We’ve gained a new appreciation for the role of food workers during this pandemic, especially in farm and food processing jobs. Their essential positions are filled mostly by offshore workers and new Canadians, and their plight has become a human welfare issue, not just here but in agriculture abroad. Photo: thestar.com

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New battle emerges against GMO crops

Mexico has decided to ban GMO corn by 2024 and halt the use of the herbicide glyphosate, which gained notoriety as RoundUp. Some farmers there fear production yields will drop, and that they’ll be challenged to find enough corn to stay competitive in the beef export market. And how about impact on corn exporters, like the US? The ripple effect of decisions like this one is huge. Photo: ecowatch.com

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Should temporary migrant workers become permanent citizens?

The 2020 pandemic showed us the critical role of temporary foreign workers in producing Canadian foods, especially our fruits, vegetables and meats. Because we’re so dependent on them to do the work that others won’t, shouldn’t we find a way to offer them a path to more permanent arrangements? Two Canadian senators are trying hard to make that a real possibility.

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Farmland needs to be preserved, not developed

Ontario Premier Doug Ford seems to have done an about-face on agriculture recently with his attempts to limit conservation authorities’ control of the lands within their regions, including the Greenbelt. The provincial government’s focus should be on developing up, not out. Ontario needs that quality farmland to feed the province’s growing population.Image: CTVnews.ca

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This cattle feeder cuts emission equivalent of 13,000 vehicles

Grassland soils can sequester a huge amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2. At Shipwell Cattle Feeders in Taber, Alta., the company’s adaptive multi-paddock grazing system removes the equivalent CO2 emissions of about 13,000 vehicles per year. On a cold winter day in Alberta, Algonquin College executive chef Russell Weir’s pot roasted beef recipe would be warm and welcomed comfort food in Taber, as it is in Ottawa.

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Beef producers manage pastures for a better environment

Much of Ontario’s beef comes from Western Canada, with cattle being shipped across the prairies to mature and be processed. Cattle farmers like the Tapleys of Manitoba know that managed pastures sequester carbon in the soil and grasses, which helps reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Wilfrid Laurier University executive chef Cory Armitage uses Canadian beef with his spicy, aromatic version of beef vindaloo.

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Consumers turning to local producers for dependability

Consumers have turned to homegrown beef and other dependable staples since the pandemic, says Maryjo Tait of Celtic Ridge Farms near Dutton, Ont. Western University executive chef Kristian Crossen says his students and faculty also want dependability in the quality and taste of the meals he prepares. His boneless short ribs, marinated and braised, always score winning marks in those categories.

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Ontario corn-fed producers aim for quality, consistency

About half of Ontario-fed beef cattle are part of an Ontario Corn Fed Beef quality assurance program, that specifies animals be fed a diet of 80 per cent corn. Participating farmers say that makes the meat more tender and juicy. University of Windsor executive chef Paolo Vasapolli loves using Ontario beef in his chianti-stained pappardelle with beef ragu recipe.

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Urban Cowboy

Raising awareness and promoting dialogue about current food and agriculture issues.

OWEN ROBERTS

Headshot of Owen Roberts

Owen Roberts is a faculty member in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications program at the University of Illinois. As an agricultural journalist, he is the past president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists and a lifetime achievement award recipient from the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation.

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