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Give your company a competitive edge – take free eLearning courses to learn more about industry best practices and to be more competitive in the marketplace!

Access the new Food Safety and Traceability eLearning courses online on the Agriculture and Food Education in Ontario online learning system through the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus.

The new Traceability eLearning courses show how good practices can:

  • maximize productivity, improve business efficiency, reduce costs and improve business processes
  • be used to increase competitive advantage by accessing new markets
  • improve supply chain management

The new Food Safety eLearning courses will help you to:

  • identify food safety hazards that can occur in your operation
  • understand best practices and develop programs to control these hazards
  • decrease the likelihood of food safety hazards that can lead to a foodborne illness outbreak or product recall

Visit the University of Guelph website to register for a FREE account. Then simply log in and begin learning – wherever and whenever is convenient for you! Accessible versions of the courses are available. For more information, contact the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus at rcagfood@uoguelph.ca or 519-674-1500 ext. 63295.

Do you prefer classroom-based learning? Food Safety and Traceability courses and workshops are still offered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). Visit their website for the dates and locations of upcoming in-person opportunities.

Online course development was funded through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that encourages innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector.

Save your old tires and help make dreams come true!

The 8th annual Tire Take Back event will be held from May 23 to June 4, 2017. OFA members can drop off their used tires for free at any participating Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) location across the province.

This 13 day event, organized by Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) and Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS), in association with Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), helps support the work of The Sunshine Foundation of Canada.

Over the last seven years, Ontarians have helped raise $1,060,306 through the collection of 458,185 tires as part of the annual Tire Take Back events.  See more at: http://rethinktires.ca/tiretakeback/#sthash.aPQ4VApA.dpuf

  • Start stockpiling your used tires
  • Find a participating OARA location near you
  • Drop off your tires for free from May 23 – June 4, 2017

If you have approximatley 50 or more tires on your property that you would like to recycle, please click here to contact one of the participating OTS Haulers.

For more details, visit rethinktires.ca/tiretakeback.

Looking for information on enrichment for pigs?  Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA Swine Specialist has written a helpful article Enrichment for Pigs that summarizes  ‘Section 1.8 Enrichment’ from the Code of Practice.

penning with pig toys attachedDSCF5988

The agri-food sector has always been innovative in running businesses, adapting practices and collaborating to compete in the world economy. To help spur and to celebrate this innovative spirit, the Government of Ontario created the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program.

Have you developed and implemented a unique product or process that helps foster innovation in Ontario’s agriculture and food sector? Apply and you could be eligible to receive one of these awards:

  • Premier’s Award (one award valued at $75,000)
  • Minister’s Award (one award valued at $50,000)
  • Leaders in Innovation Awards (three awards valued at $25,000 each)
  • Provincial Awards (45 awards valued at $5,000 each)

Primary producers/farmers, processors and agri-food organizations are invited to apply. You can apply with a range of innovative projects, including projects that have shown innovation in environmental stewardship and bio-energy. Some examples of previous environmental project award winners:

  • In 2009, Leamington Area Drip Irrigation won the top level Premier’s Award for their project to improve water efficiency on 13 partner farms. The final pipeline is 36 kilometres long and the system can precisely monitor the amount of water being delivered from Lake Erie to 2,500 acres of tomatoes in the Leamington area.
  • Truly Green won an award in 2014 for their system that uses by-products from a neighbouring ethanol plant to make their greenhouses carbon neutral.
  • Van Arkel Farms won an award in 2016 for their soil health projects. Some of their innovations include experimenting with different cover crops for soil protection and rapid sequestration of nutrients, pioneering a reduced tillage system and developing a custom manure injector that decreases runoff and minimized soil disturbance.

There are many different areas and projects that could qualify beyond environmental stewardship. Download the 2017 Program Guidebook and Application Form at ontario.ca/agrifoodinnovation. The guidebook gives ideas for different innovative areas and projects, but applicants are not limited to this list. Read about past Premier’s Award winners at ontario.ca/agrifoodinnovation for more project ideas.

Apply today for a chance to be a Premier’s Award winner! Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2017. You can find submission information in the guidebook.

Contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or email premiersagrifoodinnovationaward@ontario.ca for more information.

If you couldn’t attend this year’s London Swine Conference “Where Research Meets Production” check out the proceedings available online at www.londonswineconference.ca.

We’re excited to let you know about the latest updates that we made to the Agricultural Information Atlas (AIA). What is the AIA? It’s the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) free, easy-to-use online tool that can help you to:

  • Develop nutrient management strategies and plans.
  • Plan tile drainage for your farm.
  • Develop a farm sketch for Pest Assessment Reports and Bee Yard Registration and other government programs, including the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI).

So, what are the changes?

The AIA is now housed on a new platform. If you are a current user of the AIA, you’ll need to update your bookmarks to the new URL so you can find the AIA quickly and easily. Better yet, the AIA is now mobile-friendly. Open it up on your phone or tablet for quick access while you’re in the field or on the go.

Our updates include new features and tools, such as:

  • The ability to add your own user data, such as GPS points or shape files.
  • Auto-population of 911 addresses.
  • The removal of the “Label Map” function, and an added “export markup” function (i.e. text and graphics) that allows you to save and bring data back in again at another time
  • Right-clicking on the map will give you quick and easy access to GPS co-ordinates, basic markup tools and other functions.
  • 2015 southwestern Ontario imagery data.

We’ve also added a Farm Fire Safety Sketch template in the “Create Map” section. You can use the template to develop a sketch of your farm showing features like fire risk areas, utility shut-off points, water sources, livestock barns and access routes for emergency vehicles. This sketch can be shared with local first responders to have on-hand in case of a fire or another emergency. Visit the Farm Fire and Emergency Sketch web page for help with making a sketch for your operation.

Most of the changes we made were based on user feedback. Let us know what you think about the updates and new features at omafra.gis@ontario.ca so that we can continue to improve the AIA.

Need help with the AIA? Our Help page answers some common questions. You can also contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

agmap
ontario.ca/agmaps

 

budgetsNew for 2017

  • Switchgrass and non-GMO corn budgets have been added.
  • Machinery costs updated with 2015 Ontario Custom Farmwork Rates.
  • Straw yields updated from Ontario Cereal Crops Committee Performance Trials results.

Available online (English and French) and in print via ServiceOntario