Pressure mounts for Canadian dairy producers to show they’re the best

More dairy products (especially cheese) labelled Product of USA could show up in Canadian supermarkets shortly. It’s the result of a recent US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement ruling that said Canada has been unfairly keeping American dairy out of this country’s retail food market. Now it will be up to Canadian consumers to decide what they put in their shopping carts. Photo:

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Negative messages about agriculture hurt mid-size farms

Mid-size farms, like middle class families are declining in numbers. They’re giving way to smaller, specialized operations where food is more expensive to produce. That’s unfortunate because mid-size farms have been the stalwarts of Canada’s food production system – efficient,
competitive and environmentally sustainable.

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You’ll hear more from young farmers in the new year

Farmers have a lot of credibility with the public. And as the New Year advances, you can expect to see more of them in the media, communicating with consumers about how they produce food. Kudos to Ottawa and to the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council for their participation in this effort. Image:

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Lettuce fight the pandemic with chewing gum

Lowly lettuce never gets much mention when we talk about healthy eating. But that may be about to change. Scientists have grown lettuce with proteins that can neutralize the COVID-virus, and they’ve incorporated it into chewing gum. Could that mean this least-likely vegetable will rocket to the front of the pack, with a whole new importance? Image:

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Rising costs need ministers’ attention now

Statistics Canada just released figures showing the Farm Product Price Index increased nearly 25 percent in September 2021, compared to the same month last year.
Canadian agriculture ministers have their work cut out for them to mitigate issues such as labour shortages and supply chain interruptions that are contributing to these runaway costs throughout the industry.

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Farmers angry about relentless consolidations and food prices

Consumer spending reaches a peak around the holidays, so although we spend more, we’re also increasingly conscious of money going out the door. We’re turning an eye towards food prices, and so are farmers. Their costs are skyrocketing, and they point the finger at the mega multinationals that now control food production supply chains, giving them fewer options to operate profitably. Image:

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Publish your rural story in the people’s archive

Ontario’s rural residents have stories unique to living life ‘in the country’. Now there’s a chance to read and share those experiences in a new, online space called the People’s Archive of Rural Ontario, thanks to a University of Guelph professor and the Rural Ontario Institute. Image:

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All hands on deck to promote agriculture, old and new

Urban agriculture is small-scale commercial farming, bringing food production to consumers’ doorsteps. Durham College has just received a $5 million gift to create a centre for sustainable urban agriculture. Strategic partnerships with the University of Guelph could multiply its impact for both urban and rural farming.

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Most Canadians still think of farmers in plaid. So what?

Global warming and environmental issues made the ‘top five’ list (for the first time) of Canadian consumer concerns about food production, according to a national survey. Food company profits and consumer affordability were up there too. The food industry would do well to better explain rising food costs, and the link between profits and sustainability. Image:

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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.

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