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FARMLAND PRICES RISE AGAIN PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 April 2014 09:42
FCC REPORTS RISE IN ONTARIO FARMLAND VALUES
Average farmland values continued to rise nationally in 2013, according to the most recent Farmland Values Report released by Farm Credit Canada (FCC).
The average value of farmland in Ontario increased by 15.9 per cent in 2013. The latest increase is part of a trend that shows farmland values rising in that province since 1988. Ontario farmland values increased by 30.1 per cent in 2012 and 14.3 per cent in 2011.
Low interest rates, growing world food demand and the resulting strong commodity prices in the first half of the year supported the increase.
The annual FCC report provides important information about changes in farmland values across Canada. The average value of Canadian farmland increased by 22.1 per cent in 2013, with the majority of this increase occurring in the first half of the year. This annual change represents the largest increase since FCC began reporting in 1985. The second highest increase was 19.5 per cent in 2012.
Farmland values last decreased in 1992, when they dropped by 2.1 per cent.
Average farmland values remained unchanged in Newfoundland and Labrador and increased in all other provinces. Saskatchewan experienced the highest average increase at 28.5 per cent, yet the average land price in Saskatchewan is still less expensive than in the neighbouring provinces.
“The positive overall health of the agriculture industry during 2013 is reflected in recent land value trends,” said Michael Hoffort, FCC Chief Risk Officer. “It’s an indicator of the industry’s strength, and it’s good news for producers who hold land as an asset. At the same time, it can be a challenge for those who want to buy farmland to expand their operations. There’s often a limited supply of land available for sale and land that’s offered for sale is strongly pursued.”
The two most important drivers of farmland values are crop receipts and interest rates, according to J.P. Gervais, FCC Chief Agricultural Economist. However, he cautions producers not to use the past few profitable years – when crop prices were abnormally high due to the 2012 U.S. drought – as the basis for purchasing more land.
“Recent long-term outlooks for crops suggest world stocks of grains and oilseeds will rebuild, bringing prices closer to their long-term average. Margins will be tighter and eventually interest rates will increase,” he said. “Producers need to look at their operations and ensure they can manage through a number of scenarios when it comes to revenues and expenses.”
Tighter crop margins may also affect the land rental market. Rental rates usually take a little time to adjust downward following lower grain and oilseed prices. Multi-year leases are also gaining in popularity. Yet Gervais expects rental agreements to move over time in the same direction as crop receipts.
“For the next several years, we expect the demand for farmland to slow down, which supports a so-called soft landing scenario,” Gervais said. “We don’t anticipate farmland values to collapse, but we do expect slower increases due to potentially lower crop receipts.”
To see the FCC Farmland Values Report and video, visit www.farmlandvalues.ca.
To learn more about the report, participate in the free FCC webinar on April 23 at Agriwebinar.
For more information, visit www.fcc.ca. Follow Farm Credit Canada on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @FCCagriculture.
FCC REPORTS RISE IN ONTARIO FARMLAND VALUES
Average farmland values continued to rise nationally in 2013, according to the most recent Farmland Values Report released by Farm Credit Canada (FCC).
The average value of farmland in Ontario increased by 15.9 per cent in 2013. The latest increase is part of a trend that shows farmland values rising in that province since 1988. Ontario farmland values increased by 30.1 per cent in 2012 and 14.3 per cent in 2011.
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PIGEON KING PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 March 2014 08:58
Arlen Galbraith, the mastermind behind a plan to raise pigeons that lost millions for 1,000 breeders across North America, including some in Huron County, was sentenced March 18 to seven years in prison.
Operating under the company Pigeon King International, based in Waterloo, Galbraith sold breeding pairs of pigeons at inflated prices, signing contracts with investors under which he promised to buy back the birds they produced at rates that would make their investment profitable. At first the birds were to be sold to other breeders, but later Galbraith said he was planning to build a processing plant to produce pigeons for meat, but the plant was never built.
But after a month-long trial last fall at which Galbraith represented himself without the help of a lawyer, the jury accepted the crown attorney’s contention that the whole thing was a pyramid scheme.
Evidence showed that Galbraith had brought in $42 million from investors over a four-year period. He had paid out $30 million to 394 of the early investors in the scheme, but the contracts he had signed obligated him to pay them a further $350 million in the coming years. To find that much by attracting new investors would have required him to honour contracts for $3 billion, the court was told.
Despite the money he brought in, Galbraith was personally bankrupt and Crown Attorney Lynn Robinson said there was nothing left to compensate the victims of the scheme. “There is no money at the end of the rainbow to give back to these folks,” she told the Waterloo Region Record.
While he had ignored advice from the judge to hire an attorney during the trial, Galbraith did have a lawyer for the sentencing. David North told the court that Galbraith didn’t live a lavish lifestyle or sock away money and that early investors actually made money.
He also pointed out that Galbraith, 67, had lost nearly 40 pounds while in jail since his conviction in December.
While acknowledging the deterioration of Galbraith, Justice Gerry Taylor said the main factor in his seven-year sentence was that Galbraith refuses to admit any wrong-doing.
ARLAN GALBRAITH, THE PIGEON KING SENTENCED TO JAIL
Arlen Galbraith, the mastermind behind a plan to raise pigeons that lost millions for 1,000 breeders across North America, including some in Huron County, was sentenced March 18 to seven years in prison.
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PORK CODE OF PRACTICE PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:39
UPDATED PIG CODE OF PRACTICE ANNOUNCED
After three years of multi-stakeholder consultations and a 60-day public comment period that drew record-setting engagement for both diversity of perspective and number of comments, an updated Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs is official.
“The new Code of Practice is a significant step forward for the Canadian industry,” says Florian Possberg, pork producer and Chair of the Code Development Committee. “It is a step that recognizes the healthy and rigorous debate of a diverse group of stakeholders to constructively address pig welfare in Canada.”
Highlights of the revised Code include a full commitment to adopt loose housing for sows and gilts in all new facilities built after July 1, 2014, new pain control requirements and enhanced environmental enrichment.
The Code of Practice is a product of the National Farm Animal Care Council and the Code Development Committee, a 17-person committee comprising representatives from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, pig producers, scientists, transporters, processors, veterinarians and government.
The Code is available online at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/pigs.
“The Canadian Pork Council and its members are proud of the new Pig Code and the credibility the entire process lends to its creation,” says Jean-Guy Vincent, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council. “The new Code is a source of tremendous pride. It represents our commitment to the animals in our care, the sustainability of our industry, our ability to work collaboratively with a diverse stakeholder group and the leadership we provide to a global industry.”
Financial support for the Code has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The CPC serves as the national voice for hog producers in Canada.  A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, our organization’s purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.◊
UPDATED PIG CODE OF PRACTICE ANNOUNCED
After three years of multi-stakeholder consultations and a 60-day public comment period that drew record-setting engagement for both diversity of perspective and number of comments, an updated Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs is official.
Read more...
 
OVERUSE OF ANITIBIOTICS PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 January 2014 10:20
UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY'S AIDAN HOLLIS ADVOCATES USER FEES ON NON-HUMAN ANTIBIOTICS USE
Citing an overabundance in the use of antibiotics by the agriculture and aquaculture industries that poses a threat to public health, economics professor Aidan Hollis has proposed a solution in the form of user fees on the non-human use of antibiotics.
In a newly released paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Hollis and co-author Ziana Ahmed state that in the United States 80 per cent of the antibiotics in the country are consumed in agriculture and aquaculture for the purpose of increasing food production.
This flood of antibiotics released into the environment – sprayed on fruit trees and fed to the likes of livestock, poultry and salmon, among other uses – has led bacteria to evolve, Hollis writes. Mounting evidence cited in the journal shows resistant pathogens are emerging in the wake of this veritable flood of antibiotics - resulting in an increase in bacteria that is immune to available treatments.
If the problem is left unchecked, this will create a health crisis on a global scale, Hollis says.
Hollis suggest that the predicament could be greatly alleviated by imposing a user fee on the non-human uses of antibiotics, similar to the way in which logging companies pay stumpage fees and oil companies pay royalties.
"Modern medicine relies on antibiotics to kill off bacterial infections," explains Hollis. "This is incredibly important. Without effective antibiotics, any surgery - even minor ones – will become extremely risky. Cancer therapies, similarly, are dependent on the availability of effective antimicrobials. Ordinary infections will kill otherwise healthy people."
Bacteria that can effectively resist antibiotics will thrive, Hollis adds, reproducing rapidly and spreading in various ways.
"It's not just the food we eat," he says. "Bacteria is spread in the environment; it might wind up on a doorknob. You walk away with the bacteria on you and you share it with the next person you come into contact with. If you become infected with resistant bacteria, antibiotics won't provide any relief."
While the vast majority of antibiotic use has gone towards increasing productivity in agriculture, Hollis asserts that most of these applications are of "low value."
"It's about increasing the efficiency of food so you can reduce the amount of grain you feed the cattle," says Hollis. "It's about giving antibiotics to baby chicks because it reduces the likelihood that they're going to get sick when you cram them together in unsanitary conditions.
"These methods are obviously profitable to the farmers, but that doesn't mean it's generating a huge benefit. In fact, the profitability is usually quite marginal.
"The real value of antibiotics is saving people from dying. Everything else is trivial."
While banning the use of antibiotics in food production is challenging, establishing a user fee makes good sense, according to Hollis.
Such a practice would deter the low-value use of antibiotics, with higher costs encouraging farmers to improve their animal management methods and to adopt better substitutes for the drugs, such as vaccinations.
Hollis also suggests that an international treaty could ideally be imposed. "Resistant bacteria do not respect national borders," he says. He adds that such a treaty might have a fair chance of attaining international compliance, as governments tend to be motivated by revenue collection.
Hollis notes that in the U.S., a move has been made to control the non-human use of antibiotics, with the FDA recently seeking voluntary limits on the use of antibiotics for animal growth promotion on farms.
He asks: "Is the Canadian government going to take any action to control the use of antibiotics for food production purposes? Health Canada is trying to monitor the use of antibiotics, but has virtually no control over use."
UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY'S AIDAN HOLLIS ADVOCATES USER FEES ON NON-HUMAN ANTIBIOTICS USE
Citing an overabundance in the use of antibiotics by the agriculture and aquaculture industries that poses a threat to public health, economics professor Aidan Hollis has proposed a solution in the form of user fees on the non-human use of antibiotics.
Read more...
 
PORK PRODUCER NEWS PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 November 2013 10:44
MANDATORY PIG MOVEMENT REPORTING STARTS JULY 1, 2014
The Chair of the Canadian Pork Council’s (CPC) Identification and Traceability Committee expects mandatory movement reporting of pigs to begin in the summer of 2014.
“CPC and its provincial member organizations are preparing for the regulatory amendment to the federal Health of Animals Regulation, which is expected to announce July 1, 2014 as the official coming into force date,” stated Oliver Haan, Chair of CPC’s ID and Traceability Committee.
“CPC’s PigTrace Canada program aims to provide animal health and food safety officials with the best possible information regarding pig identification and movement by requiring anyone handling pigs to report movement information within seven days,” added  Mr. Haan.  “Mandating PigTrace through federal regulation is an important step towards building a successful system that responds quickly to disease outbreaks and food safety emergencies.”
Proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations were first published by the Government of Canada during the summer of 2012. CPC and its partners have since worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on an appropriate timeline to implement the traceability program under federal law. July 1, 2014 sets a reasonable timeframe to allow the CPC and its provincial member organizations to launch the program.
CPC’s Chair, Jean-Guy Vincent, stated that recent discussions at CPC’s fall meeting in Ottawa confirmed that pork industry leaders continue to support the full implementation of traceability through the PigTrace Canada program. Mr. Vincent told members, “CPC has been working on the development of PigTrace since 2002. I’m happy to see how much the program has grown, and am excited that it will soon be implemented right across Canada.”
CPC will initiate a comprehensive outreach campaign on PigTrace in January 2014, once program funding is solidified.  Mr. Haan notes “CPC has developed a variety of movement reporting tools that will allow pork producers to choose the format and technology that works best for them. We are working with federal and provincial governments and our industry partners to make sure program requirements are clear for all stakeholders.”
For more information on PigTrace and producer requirements to report animal movement under the regulations starting July 1, 2014, please visit www.pigtrace.ca
The CPC serves as the national voice for hog producers in Canada. A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, our organization’s purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.
MANDATORY PIG MOVEMENT REPORTING STARTS JULY 1, 2014
The Chair of the Canadian Pork Council’s (CPC) Identification and Traceability Committee expects mandatory movement reporting of pigs to begin in the summer of 2014.
“CPC and its provincial member organizations are preparing for the regulatory amendment to the federal Health of Animals Regulation, which is expected to announce July 1, 2014 as the official coming into force date,” stated Oliver Haan, Chair of CPC’s ID and Traceability Committee.
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