Cows cannot reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions

It’s true that cattle produce greenhouse gas, but not as much as they’re often blamed for. And there’s help on the way to reduce that even further. Feed supplements are now on the market that will reduce the gas emissions, and many more dietary alternatives will soon be available. Image:

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Governments need a solid plan to support agriculture

Every five years, the federal government sets out a national agri-food policy framework. It’s like a roadmap with priorities – and the next one is due in 2023. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses says the framework needs to enable Canadian agri-businesses to become more competitive in world markets. But first, they say, the sector faces other challenges that need governments’ immediate attention. Image:

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Gliding through calving season: That’s the answer

Anne and Barry Wasko are Saskatchewan beef ranchers who practice a blend of old approaches and new technology to protect the future of their grasslands and their new-born calves. Chef James McFarland of the University of Saskatchewan shares the Wasko’s’s conservation credo and says that learning more about the food you cook and consume is a matter of sustainability.

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Cattle help head off wildfires before they get started

Six British Columbia beef farmers are working with municipalities there local groups to graze their animals on crown land close to Kelowna and Cranbrook. It’s a novel way to remove underbrush that can quickly fuel wildfires. UBC residence chef Johnny Bridge also thinks creatively about B.C. beef. He marries it with a layer of roasted root vegetable for a burger that looks as amazing as it tastes.

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Beefing up pastures sustainably: that’s Brylee Ferme

Quebec cattle producer Brian Maloney continually moves his grazing cattle to give the pastures time to regenerate naturally. It’s a long term strategy to maintain good grazing land. Sustainably produced foods are equally important to executive chefs like the University of Waterloo’s Javier Alarco. Why’s that? When asked what makes his beef koftas taste so good, “it’s all about the ingredients,” he says.

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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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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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