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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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Good gravy! Reclaiming a comfort food favourite

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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Let cooking transport you to other lands

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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Let the wonderful aroma of beef braising fill your home

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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This chef bets on beef for a colourful, aromatic ragu

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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Good things happen when beef meets wheat

Bison that inhabited the Canadian plains were always on the move, grazing as they went and fertilizing their natural pastures with their own manure. Calgary beef farmer Ben Campbell simulates that scenario in a sustainable practice called high intensity rotational grazing. Chefs like Humber College culinary director Jerome D’Souza uses Canadian beef in his wheat and flank steak chili, a tender, nutritious and delicious meal for students on the run.

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Succulent short ribs are long on sustainability

Brewer’s grain mash, a beer-production byproduct, is safe for cattle to consume, easy to digest, and readily available. The owners of First Line Angus near Hagersville, ON point to its high fibre and protein content that helps reduce their feed costs and diverts the mash from landfill. At the University of Waterloo, executive chef Javier Alarco takes the same approach to making the best use of all good ingredients.

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Grandma didn’t make stew that tastes like this

Culinary experts say that every growing region has its own ‘terroir’ – the area’s physical and environmental characteristics that influence the taste of the crops and livestock that grow there. The Francis family of Prince Edward Island believes that’s why PEI beef is such a “secret gem.” University of PEI executive chef David Jenkins agrees, and uses it to create a stew with eclectic flavours students love.

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Campfire-inspired cooking on a campus-wide scale

Family-oriented cattle ranchers look at their land from the perspective of what they’re leaving for their kids, the next generation. That care-taking mindset drives B.C. beef producers Erin Durrell and Jeremy Kishkan, as they focus on low stress and low-impact cattle rearing. Quality production, along with maintaining his home province, is a key consideration of UBC’s sous chef in residence Johnny Bridge, who takes culinary inspiration from memories of beach campfires on the Sunshine Coast.

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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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