Farmers will need to protect their own land from development

Premier Ford’s had a reasonable track record of supporting Ontario agriculture – particularly when it comes to research investments aimed at improving productivity. But his election promise of a new highway 413 makes it clear that transportation trumps food production, at least in the GTA. Which leads local farmers to ponder how much longer they can hold onto their land. Image:

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Ottawa trying to help increase diversity in agriculture

Canada’s ethnic make-up continues to change, and there are new market opportunities for non-traditional foods and agricultural products. The federal government has announced funding to five national industry organizations. It will help them encourage the growth of more diverse products and people in Canadian agriculture. Photo:

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Household agriculture keeps Ukraine fed

Many of us took up vegetable gardening during the pandemic, but learned we’d be hard pressed to grow enough to feed ourselves. By contrast, Ukrainians have always raised livestock and crops on plots large and small – knowing it could be a necessity, not a novelty, in times of conflict. Photo:

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Big farms and small farms are growing

Statistics Canada released its 2021 report on farm numbers last week. (The survey is done every five years.) The agency cautions against comparisons with past reports because it has redefined what constitutes a farm. Still, some of the trends since 2016 might surprise you. Image:

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Inflation is hammering everyone including farmers

Farmers enjoy a high ranking in public trust polls, but they could be mistakenly blamed for rising food costs. It’s true that crop prices have been yielding better returns, but skyrocketing fertilizer costs take a big bite out of their profits – causing some farmers to think twice about which crops they can afford to plant.

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It was a good Friday for Ukrainian planting forecasts

In a rare piece of good news last Friday, the Ukrainian agriculture ministry bumped up its estimate of spring crop planting from 13.4 million to 14 million hectares.
But it’s still a drop in the food bucket for more than 800 million people around the world suffering chronic food insecurity, and forecast to worsen this year. Image: AFP, FAO, USDA.

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Emergency plan needed for foreign workers says food sector

Food and Beverage Canada has called on Ottawa for an emergency foreign worker program to help fill dire labour shortages in those sectors. It’s is a chronic and critical issue, but it seems federal politicians may need a reminder from their constituents about just how significant the impact is – not only for agriculture, but for rebuilding the post-COVID Canadian economy. Photo:

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Working together: A winning approach to curbing emissions

When Ottawa committed to cut fertilizer use by 30 per cent as of 2030, farmers balked. As much as they want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fertilizer is essential for current crop production levels. Now Ottawa’s invited their suggestions on new technologies and practices that might just make that target more feasible. Photo:

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Urban Cowboy

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


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. His programs and research papers have been recognized nationally and internationally through awards from the Journal of Applied Communications, the National Agri-Marketing Association, the Association for Communications Excellence, and others.

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