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Category: Observer

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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Making a list, checking it twice for the minister

Canadian federal agriculture and agri-food minister Marie-Claude Bibeau wants to talk about Canada’s first-ever food policy with agricultural media. The policy’s been in the works since public consultations were held in 2017, but we all know how much the world has changed since then. The question is – will the policy help build a more competitive and sustainable agri-food for Canadians? Photo: highriveronline.com

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Food affordability is top of mind with Canadians

Food availability hasn’t been a problem for most Canadians, even during the first wave of the COVID-19 when many other essentials vanished from store shelves. But food affordability continues to be a challenge, especially for those now struggling on reduced wages. Canadians pay less for groceries than most other nations, and farmers aren’t making a bundle. Manufacturers need to share what they’re doing to try to keep food prices down. Image: favpng.com

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Ag in the Classroom goes virtual

AgScape, as Ag in the Classroom is called in Ontario, tripled its student reach in 2019, but still has more requests for lessons from teachers than it can fulfill. Moving on-line as they’ve done in 2020 will help, but there’s still far too many students who won’t get the chance to hear about the science behind this multi-billion industry in Ontario, the successful steps it’s taken toward environmental sustainability, and the tremendous range of skilled career opportunities it offers. Photo: agscape.ca

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Keep your foot on the gas

Culinary giant Anita Stewart’s passing last week was a huge loss for all Canadians, and especially for our food producers. Anita was considered the champion of the local food movement in this country and she’d want us to continue to advocate on behalf of Canadian food . Photo: Guelph Today

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Flurry of investment supports ag future

Agriculture suffers from a shortage of skilled labour, so it’s good to see investments into initiatives such as Conestoga’s College’s 16-week Agricultural Equipment Operator pilot program, the Olds College Smart Agriculture Applied Research Program and Assiniboine College’s agricultural training program. Worker shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic underlined how much we need to step up efforts to create a reliable, accessible agri-food workforce.

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Second pandemic wave heats up pressure on food support

As COVID-19 cases increase, food banks are worried they won’t have adequate stocks for workers laid-off for a second time. Even keeping supermarket shelves stocked at reasonable prices is complicated business in Canada’s multifaceted agri-food industry. But’s there’s one thing we can all agree on. Nothing trumps access to safe, quality food for our families.

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Urban Cowboy

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

OWEN ROBERTS

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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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