Farmers Matter, a Canadian group created by Ontario pork and beef farmers from Perth County, Ontario, brought together several hundred producers and politicians late November to discuss ways to improve the local and international swine & beef business playing field.
“We want to earn our living from the marketplace,” said Kolkman [Gerald Kolkman, president of the Perth County Pork Producers], adding changes at both the federal and provincial levels are needed to put a stop to four years of losses for pork producers.
The focus of the meeting was to discuss improving food safety; overcoming provincial policy which distorts the flow of goods between provinces; supporting farmers who face short-term risk with fluctuating currency; and improving support for new farmers.
Kolkman said there are inter-provincial discrepancies which put Ontario producers at a disadvantage, particularly now while farmers, with a strong Canadian dollar, are experiencing low export sales. Farmers here need the tools to mitigate short-term risks, he added, pointing to Quebec, whose farmers are partially protected through a price insurance program, as an example of the divide in policy that exists across the country.
With the holiday season coming up, please take some time to thank the many farmers, ranchers, chefs, growers, artisans, bakers, friends and family who help bring/make food as part of the social center piece.
Sometimes the simplest expression of gratitude are the most profound. This Thanksgiving season, we encourage you to use social media to show just how thankful you are for the food we enjoy every day. In doing so, we will also be thanking those many people and industries who bring food to our tables.
Whole Foods highlights through a 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system how animals are raised before being purchased by consumers. Global Animal Partnership (GAP), developers of Whole Foods' rating system, seeks to achieve higher welfare for farm animals by building partnerships, working in collaboration with farmers, ranchers, food retail, and animal science experts.
Whole Foods Market harbors the same hopes for its chickens that many parents do for their kids: That they'll get plenty of fresh air, live at home until they reach maturity and avoid gaining weight so fast that they can't walk.
While Whole Foods Market was the driving force behind developing the standards, GAP Executive Director Miyun Park believes they will move well beyond the chain, spurring "massive improvements in the way animals are raised in this country."
Dr. Robert Wisner, University Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University, has published an in depth report on the corn and soybean availability for biofuels in 2011.
Corn use for fuel ethanol production has become the second largest source of demand for the U.S. crop, with total corn use for this purpose expected to be only about 10% less than its use for livestock and poultry feeding in the year ahead.
He offers several points that those in animal production and crop production need to keep in mind:
Corn supplies will be tight and some rationing of demand likely will be needed in the year ahead.
With the very small reserve supplies of corn that are expected at the end of August 2011, more corn acres almost certainly will be needed next year to meet continuing demand growth.
In the year ahead, we anticipate further ethanol expansion, but at a much slower pace than in recent years as the industry approaches a “blend wall”.
With low stocks, corn prices have the potential to be very volatile.