Proud to work in ag

Celebrating Canadian Agriculture Day

Let’s (always) celebrate the food we love.

Top 10 reasons to celebrate Canadian agriculture

The first-ever Canada’s Agriculture Day was a huge success. In 2018, it’s getting bigger and better. And why not? There are so many reasons to celebrate our industry. Here are our top 10.

  1. The ag industry is a major employer. Agriculture employs over two million Canadians – that’s one in eight jobs.
  2. We’re a trading powerhouse. Canada is the world’s fifth largest agriculture exporter with over $50 billion in annual sales.
  3. Family matters. We love ag for the life it gives our kids now and the opportunities it will give them in the future. It’s not just our livelihood, it’s our legacy – 97% of farms are family farms.
  4. Ag plays a major role in our economy. It contributes over $100 billion to Canada’s GDP each year.
  5. We’re proud environmentalists. Ike Skelton once said, “Because of their connections to the land, farmers do more to protect and preserve our environment than almost anyone else.”
  6. We love and care for our animals. We believe in responsible animal care and follow nationally recognized codes of practice for the care and handling of our animals.
  7. Ag is innovative. Thanks to modern farming practices, the average household saves more than $4,000 on food annually – that’s about $60 billion across Canada.
  8. We believe in quality. Canada ranks number one in global food safety.
  9. We’re a trusted industry. A recent Canadian Centre for Food Integrity survey shows that consumers trust farmers more than any other group and 60% want to know more about farming practices.
  10. We love what we do. Agriculture isn’t just our business, it’s our passion and our way of life. So, let’s be proud to share our story, explain where food comes from and how it’s produced, and reach out to those not in the ag industry.

No matter how you look at it, Canadian agriculture is a success story. Let’s get out there and start having ag and food conversations. And let’s celebrate!


Source:

tractor safety

Back to safety basics – operating a tractor

Safe operation of the most used equipment on the farm – the tractor

With a new year comes resolutions. This year, instead of making a resolution to do something you’ve never done before, what if you made a resolution to perform daily tasks properly and safely? Something like operating a tractor?

Tractors are essential to farm operations. From field work to feeding the livestock to cleaning snow, tractors are the most used machine on the farm. Firing up the tractor is pretty routine on the farm and operation seems pretty straightforward. As simple and as commonplace as using these machines are, the fact remains that the majority of agriculture machinery-related fatalities involve tractors. Reminders on basic safety while operating tractors can help everyone stay safe.

Did you know that the majority of deaths on Canadian farms involve a tractor? Runovers and rollovers are the top two ways people are killed on the farm. Unmanned machine runovers account for approximately half of all runover fatalities. This means that half of all runover deaths happen when no one is even driving the machine! Passengers and operators who fall from the machine are also killed in runovers all too frequently.

Bystanders are also in danger of being runover, unfortunately, most killed in bystander runovers are children under the age of nine. Runovers are easy to prevent if basic tractor operating procedures are followed. Before mounting the tractor, walk around the machine to check for obstructions, bystanders and to check the general condition of the tractor. If any systems are faulty, do not use the tractor.

Before starting the tractor, make sure that all controls are in their neutral positions, the parking brake is applied and the clutch and PTO are disengaged. Do not start or operate any of the controls from anywhere other than the seat. Be sure to drive at a speed slow enough to keep control of the tractor, especially over expected hazards like railroad crossings. Do not drive the tractor on ground that may collapse, like near ditches or embankments.

When coming to a stop, make sure you are parked on even ground, disengage the PTO (if connected), and lower any implements that are attached. Be sure to place all controls in the neutral position, apply the parking brake and turn off the engine. Remove the key. Never dismount if the tractor is still moving.

It cannot be stressed enough that tractors are not passenger vehicles. Except for those built with instructional seats, they are built for one person. There are far too many stories of extra riders being killed or injured. Keeping extra riders off the tractor is an easy way to prevent tragedy.

To sum up, watch for bystanders (keep kids in supervised, safe play areas), do not try to start the tractor from anywhere but the operator’s seat, drive cautiously and never, ever allow extra riders. Operating a tractor safely is one New Year’s resolution that will pay off in reduced injuries and fatalities.


Source: Grain News and The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association

Preparing grain bins for harvest

Preparing grain bins for harvest should be done to maintain the quality of grain and to make sure the areas around bins are ready for the busy season ahead. It is also a good time to inspect any mechanical components and clean up around the bin. Simple maintenance and safety rules will make sure we don’t experience any difficulties in the season ahead.

A key reason why people become entrapped in grain is because grain stored in bins is spoiled. Making sure that the bins are ready to be loaded with newly harvested grain reduces the risk of spoilage. If the grain is in good condition, people don’t have to enter the bin, reducing the risk of entrapment. Read more

Heat stress

Heat stress can be a killer on the job site. Outside of the direct consequences such as heat stroke, heat stress can cause incidents due to loss of focus or excessive fatigue on the job.

Heat-related illnesses

Heat cramps

 

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps. Muscles may spasm or spasm involuntarily. Heat cramps can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment or begin a few hours later.

Heat exhaustion

There are two types of heat exhaustion. Read more

Photo

Naahii Ridge students learn about agriculture

February 16 was Canada’s Agriculture Day and the students at Naahii Ridge Public School in Ridgetown, Ontario, had the chance to celebrate the day with many volunteers from the agricultural community.

“Canada’s Ag Day was a great opportunity for us to talk to the students about why the Canadian Ag industry is so important,” says Amy Caron, Communications Specialist for Dow Seeds. “Dow Seeds was very fortunate to work with some great community volunteers to bring that message to the students at Naahii.”

Travis Roodzant from Thompsons Limited – Blacks Lane branch.

Educating children in school

Students from grades 4, 5 and 6 listened to presentations on the importance of the Ag industry and the various career opportunities this sector offers. The students then participated in the “Canada’s Ag Day Trade Show” where they travelled around the gym to various stations to talk to the volunteers about what they do in the Ag industry.

Students had the opportunity to talk to: Cara McCready, a Greenhouse IPM Specialist with OMAFRA who talked about beneficial pests and pest management; Jane Lawton from Chatham-Kent 4H about the organization and how to become involved; Janice Anderson from Pioneer about the importance of Women in Ag; Rob Reid, Dairy Education Center Manager, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, who spoke on what happens in a dairy barn; Grace Jones, a Dow Seeds Territory Sales Rep, spoke on the importance of business and crop planning with farmers; Travis Roodzant from Thompsons Limited talked to the kids about agronomy and the use of drones in that process; Madison Trozzi, a high school senior who completed her co-op in the Dow Seeds Seed Lab showed the science behind ag industry and Eric Bastiaansen, an egg farmer from Thedford talked about how your eggs get from his farm to your grocery store.

Pictured are the Canada Agriculture Day volunteers, left to right: Cara McCready, Travis Roodzant, Grace Jones, Madison Trozzi, Rob Reid, Jane Sawton, Janice Anderson, and Eric Batiaansen. Absent from photo was Cassi Boersma.

Ag Day in Ridgetown, Ontario photo

Students from Grades 1 to 3 didn’t miss out on the festivities. Cassi Boersma, a part time teacher with Naahii and the Farm Safety Coordinator for Ridgetown, spoke to this group of students about the importance of ATV and farm safety.

Other organizations who helped support this event were FCC, Ag in the Classroom and Agriculture More Than Ever.

“We only had a couple of hours to share our stories with these students,” says Caron. “However, there were some great questions and hopefully some great conversations around their dinner table that night.”

Click for more information on Canada’s Agriculture Day.


Source: Ridgetown Independent News – 1 Main Street, Ridgetown, ON (519) 674-5205.

Organic Agronomy Services

Ontario crop retailer takes deeper jump into organics

By John Greig OrganicBIZ.ca.


RobWallbridge

 

One of the biggest challenges for organic crop farmers is to find solid agronomic information and markets that are reliable.

Larger conventional farm retailers have only made cautious steps into the organic market.

Thompsons Limited, however, has been putting more resources and focus on organic crops since July. The Ontario-based crop supply and marketing company has seen potential in the organic market, which makes some sense as it has a long history in marketing specialty crops.

The company hired Rob Wallbridge, a well-known organic consultant and former certifier to lead its greater push into organics. He’s also a Certified Crop Advisor.

“Thompsons has been in the organic grain markets for a number of years,” he says, including sourcing organic soybeans as part of its identity preserved and non-GMO soybean purchasing. “They found a growing demand for other organic crops.”

Thompsons is now buying organic corn, wheat, soybeans and some rye.

In the past Thompsons would have bought organic soybeans from a farmer, but the farmer would have had to find markets for his or her other crops. A more diverse crop rotation is necessary for organic production, and finding reliable markets for all of their organic production has proved challenging and a barrier for some farmers.

He’s very very knowledgeable. He’s farmed, he’s done the whole gammit. – Steve Hartman, organic crops and milk seller

Steve Hartman sells crops and milk organically, including some soybeans in the past to Thompsons in Granton. He says the hiring of Wallbridge shows that Thompson is serious about organics. Read more