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The following material was prepared by the London Swine Conference planning committee.

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“London Swine Conference has become the meeting place for the Ontario Swine industry”

 

London ON, April 6, 2018 – For the 18th year in a row, large numbers of pork producers and industry professionals gathered for the London Swine Conference. The event has come of age as the meeting place for Ontario’s swine sector. A large number of swine producers and staff made up the attendance of 385 on Tuesday and 265 on Wednesday March 27 and 28.

Attendees were encouraged to think beyond the farm gate, with topics related to consumer education, public opposition, retail trends and the future of processing. On-farm topics had producers sharing experiences of bad days, success with niche programs, and management to reduce antimicrobial use. As in the past LSC presented expert knowledge from academics and leaders in the industry, blended with practical on-farm applications.

For the second year, LSC presented the C.F.M.(Kees) de Lange Lecture in Swine Nutrition. Dr. John Patience of Iowa State University delivered a popular session related to swine nutrition. Dr. Patience looked at the many influences impacting nutrition choices for today’s producers. The factors he considered included legislation, regulation, market preferences and changing economics.

The planning committee extends their thanks to Premier Sponsors: Better Pork Magazine, Farm Credit Canada, Total Swine Genetics Inc., and Zantingh Direct Inc. The support of these and over 35 additional industry sponsors make LSC possible. With their support, LSC continues to be a premier education event for the swine industry in Ontario.

Conference proceedings are available online at http://www.londonswineconference.ca along with proceedings from all past conferences.

The London Swine Conference began in 2001, and continues as a joint effort of the University of Guelph, Ontario Pork, the Ontario Pork Industry Council and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Its main aim is to provide a forum for the exchange of credible, science-based information for decision makers and influencers in the pork industry, to encourage the exchange and adoption of knowledge for the betterment of the industry

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For more information:
Sandra McCann, OMAFRA, (519) 482-3333
sandra.mccann@ontario.ca
http://www.londonswineconference.ca

 

 

The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program recognizes outstanding agriculture and agri-food related innovators including producers, processors, and agri-food organizations.

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The objectives of the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program are to:

  • Recognize and encourage innovators in the agri-food sector
  • Foster farm-level innovation
  • Raise awareness about the importance of agri-food innovation and its impact on the Ontario economy

Examples of innovation areas include but are not limited to:

  • improved business practices
  • response to consumer demands (e.g. new production and processing methods, product development)
  • response to expanding consumer tastes (e.g. locally-grown and produced world foods) collaborations (strategic alliances, cross-sector partnerships)
  • environmental stewardship
  • energy and bio-economy
  • health and safety
  • food safety and traceability
  • education and marketing of the agriculture and food industry to society

Submit your application by 11:59 p.m. on May 25, 2018 to be eligible for a chance to receive one of the following awards:

  • Premier’s Award – one, $75,000 award
  • Minister’s Award – one, $50,000 award
  • Leaders in Innovation Award – three, $25,000 awards
  • Provincial award – 45 – $5,000 awards

To read about the more than 575 innovation projects that have been recognized since the program started in 2006 visit Agri-Food Innovation. These include innovations that have:

  • Modified equipment to enhance production
  • Responded to consumer demands by developing a new product
  • Implemented new technology to increase efficiencies

 

For more information, contact:

Darlene Harrietha
Premier’s Award Program Analyst
Email: darlene.harrietha@ontario.ca
Phone: 519-826-4847

course splash screens (2)Are you looking for a convenient option for gaining skills and knowledge in the areas of food safety, traceability and farm business practices?

A series of free online courses is now available for producers, processors and agri-food businesses. These courses will provide foundational information to help you:

  • Reduce risks to your businesses and customers
  • Improve efficiencies
  • Learn more about industry best practices
  • Develop a more competitive edge and access new markets
  • Grow your business

Available courses:

  • Producer: Food Safety Foundations
  • Producer: Worker Practices
  • Producer: Water Use
  • Processor: Food Safety Foundations
  • Processor: Recall
  • Processor: Personnel
  • Processor: Sanitation
  • The Basics of Traceability
  • Producer: Maximizing Your Traceability Investment
  • Processor: Profiting From Traceability
  • Producer: Growing Your Farm Profits

Producers and processors have found the following benefits when taking these online courses:

  • The convenience of doing it on their own time and schedule
  • Interactive exercises, helpful templates and relevant examples
  • Ability to print or refer back to the content again later

How Do I Get Started?

Register for your FREE account today at agandfoodeducation.ca. Then simply log in and begin learning — wherever and whenever it 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.

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

 

 

LSClogoThe 18th London Swine Conference will be happening soon.

View the program and register online at www.londonswineconference.ca

 

This was a hot topic in 2014 and with the warm weather we are having this week its a good reminder.

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We may not be quite experiencing a heat wave yet, but there is sure to be hot weather coming. Anyone caring for livestock needs to be prepared for high temperatures.

OMAFRA has produced a free Heat Stress in Livestock and Poultry app for smartphones that can help determine when livestock are at risk of heat stress on the spot, either in the barn or at time of transport.

By entering the current temperature and relative humidity on your smartphone you can estimate heat stress risks quickly and easily. The app also suggests steps to take to reduce heat stress to maintain feed intake and productivity.

appCheck it out here.

The app is useful in assessing a whether a crisis is imminent, but routine maintenance can help avoid risk too. This would be a good time to clean fans, check that louvers and inlets are moving freely, and clean up the…

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In September 2016, OMAFRA along with Ontario Pork, Prairie Swine Centre and many sponsoring partners put together a 2 day seminar on Group Sow Housing. The event was well received and many producers and industry representatives from Ontario were in attendance.

Presentation slides and transcriptions of the speakers are now available online for you to look through. Whether you missed the event or want to go back and look at some of the materials, everything can be found by visiting the National Sow Housing Conversion Project website at http://www.groupsowhousing.com. This website has a wealth of resources for anyone looking into group sow housing.

 

“That project taught me some important lessons like just because something looks profitable in Excel does not necessarily translate into actual profitability.  That project was an unmitigated disaster from a production standpoint and the timing coincided with a run up in corn values and collapsing hog prices.  As fall turned to winter in 2012, our financial position deteriorated rapidly and losing everything that Mum and Dad had built became a real possibility.  I internalized this, blaming myself entirely for the failure of the project and causing the extra level of vulnerability for my parent’s finances.  I could not sleep nor could I communicate with loved ones as I retreated down the dark path of depression.  My self-hate knew no bounds, I would scream at myself in the barn when I made simple errors, I would be paralyzed in the seat of my car when I got to the barn, dreading actually going in to the building.”  

“Everyone was frustrated and angry about the cows being sick, frustrated about losing money, frustrated that we were failing, but my husband seemed to take the full weight of our troubles onto his shoulders.  If he was in a bad mood, nothing I could say would be able to cheer him up.  He was never angry towards me or the rest of the family, but he would just be so mad some days.  I would worry when something else bad happened, fearing how he would react.  I would put a lot of effort into trying to hide as many problems from him as I could.  I was beginning to feel that I had to constantly be ‘up’ to balance him being so down.  Many days, I wanted to rant and be angry too but I bottled it up not wanting to add to his worry.”

 

These two excerpts are taken from blogs written by Ontario farm families who have bravely shared about their mental health journeys.

Until recently, there wasn’t data about the mental health of Canadian farmers.  Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton and PhD Candidate Briana Hagen of the Ontario Veterinary College are changing that.  During Phase 1 of their project (September 2015 to January 2016), they conducted a nationwide survey on producer stress levels and resilience, with 1,132 farmers responding.  The results showed that approximately 45 percent of farmers surveyed were classified as having high levels of stress, while 58 percent were classified with varying levels of anxiety and 35 percent met the definition for depression.

Evidence of higher than average stress levels among farmers is perhaps unsurprising given the unique patchwork of risks and challenges – drought, pests, disease, extreme weather, volatile prices, pressure to carry on family legacy, etc.  However, these scores were two-to-four times higher than previous studies of farmers in the United Kingdom and Norway using the same scales.  Even more alarming, the results showed that we have a long way to go on the stigmatization of mental health: 40% of farmers said that they would feel uneasy seeking professional help because of what other people might think and one-third said that seeking such help can stigmatize a person’s life.

Dr. Jones-Bitton and Hagen are passionate and committed to transforming these results into action that will leave a positive impact on our industry.  For Phase 2 of the project, they will be conducting one-on-one interviews with producers, industry support staff, government personnel, and veterinarians to discuss their thoughts and experiences with respect to mental wellness and resilience in the agricultural community as well as hear ideas about what resources and support the industry needs.  From these interviews, a mental health literacy training program will be developed specifically for agriculture, along with a mental health emergency response model for times of crisis (i.e. outbreaks, barn fires).

What an opportunity this is to share our stories and be a part of improving mental health in Canadian agriculture!  Please consider making time to participate in this worthwhile project.

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Interviews will take approximately 1 hour and can be scheduled in a location of your convenience between now and early fall.  In appreciation for your time and valuable insight, an honorarium will be provided.  Please contact Briana Hagen (bhagen@uoguelph.ca  or 306-381-8927) or Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton (aqjones@uoguelph.ca or 519-824-4120 ext. 54786) if you are interested in participating.