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“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.

______________________________________________________________________

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.

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Are you starting or growing a food business?dscf3272

Learn how you as a producer or small processor can access new market channels at these one day workshops. Topics include market channel opportunities, basics of food regulations, costing and pricing your products for success, food packaging and labelling, getting your product listed, and food trends: consumer and industry expectations.

For more information and to register visit: www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/facts/sellingfoodwkshop.htm

Other dates and locations planned are Renfrew, March 7, Smiths Falls, March 8, Huron county, and Middlesex county (dates TBD). Information on these workshops will be added to the OMAFRA website shortly.

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The clinical signs of Senecavirus A can resemble some swine vesicular foreign animal diseases. If clinical signs are seen at border crossings, this can prevent export and if clinical signs are seen at abattoirs (cull sows or market hogs), this can result in temporary shutdown of processing.

The following document has been prepared by Swine Health Ontario and can assist you in identifying the clinical signs associated with Senecavirus A and provide recommended actions if clinical signs are seen.

final-sv-screen-doc-producers

 

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Cooler temperatures are on the way, and it is important to review your biosecurity practices and procedures on farm.  Whether it is PED or other pathogens, ensuring strict on-farm biosecurity protocols will help you prevent infection and keep your pigs healthy.

Proper biosecurity measures should include protocols that address animal, supply and personnel movements. Take the time to review the policies and procedures with staff, highlighting the importance of biosecurity for your herd.

Set up Controlled and Restricted Access zones on your property, and make sure they are well signed to prevent non-authorized entry.

When it comes to farm access, all vehicles should be clean and free from manure. If a vehicle has been at another farm site, make sure it is washed properly before arriving. This is especially true for trucks and trailers. Ensure clothing and footwear coming on site is clean and has not been on other farms, and make use of a visitor log book to track who has been on your property and when.

At a minimum, set up and use a Danish Entry or other comparable system with a hand wash station for any personnel movement in and out of the barn. Designated boots and clothing should be available and used. Where possible, make use of a shower in/shower out system. Do not wear barn clothing or boots outside.

When bringing in supplies and equipment take appropriate precautions such as disinfection and removal from shipping boxes where appropriate. Ensure you have an effective rodent and pest control program in place, and use screens for bird control. Do not allow pets in barns as they can also be a vector for disease transfer.

Although the cold and snow are fast approaching, don’t let your biosecurity guard down. Be vigilant and keep your herd protected and healthy!

 

Detailed information on biosecurity practices and procedures can be found on the OMAFRA livestock website at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/swine/health.html.

Biosecurity ‘STOP’ signs and visitor log books can be ordered by contacting the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

For more information, contact:
Laura Eastwood, Ph.D
Swine Specialist, OMAFRA
laura.eastwood@ontario.ca
519-271-6280

 

stop-biosecure-area

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When: Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Where: Shakespeare Community Centre, Shakespeare, ON

Registration: Ontario Pork, 655 Southgate Drive, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5G6

Attention: Kim Coyle Fax: 519‐826‐3442 Phone: 1‐877‐424‐1300 E‐mail:ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca

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From Statistics Canada the Daily, August 18:

“As of July 1, there were 7,035 hog farms in Canada, up 0.1% from the same date a year earlier. These farms reported 1.2 million sows and gilts, up 0.7% from July 1, 2015.

Canada exported 2.9 million hogs in the first half of 2016, down 0.1% from the same period in 2015. There was continued strong demand for hogs in the United States. According to the most recent US data, hog inventories reached their highest June 1 level in over 50 years, up 2.0% from June 1, 2015. Hog slaughter in the US was 1% higher in the first six months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

Hog slaughter increased in Canada in the first six months of 2016, up 1.3% from the same period in 2015 to 10.6 million head.

The January-to-June 2016 pig crop was 14.4 million head, up 2.2% from the same period in 2015.”

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On Sept. 6th and 7th, 2016 OMAFRA, along with Ontario Pork and Swine Innovation Porc, will host a Group Sow Housing Seminar. Two different seminars will present group sow housing options with practical solutions to the challenges of different systems, along with potential opportunities associated with group housing. Both days will feature a discussion panel and exhibitor space.

Day 1 – Sept 6th, 4 pm until 8:30 pm
The day 1 evening program is designed for producers who already have group housing systems in place. We will provide ample opportunities for discussions amongst producers, and will focus not only on how to handle some of the challenges producers encounter, but on the potential opportunities that are available to producers within these systems.

Day 2 – Sept 7th, 9 am until 5:30 pm
The day 2 program is designed for producers who are looking at group sow housing options. This full day program will provide practical information from a wide variety of speakers. Should you renovate or build new? What will you do with your sows during a renovation? What are producers doing across Canada? How can you capture added potential through Nutrition? What technologies are coming down the line?

The registration brochure with full program can be found below or by visiting http://www.groupsowhousing.com/producer-events/

Pre-registration is required by Aug 26th, 2016. 

To Pre-register, contact:
Carrie Parsons
carrie.parsons@ontario.ca
519-271-0119
For more information, please contact:
Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA Swine Specialist
laura.eastwood@ontario.ca
519-271-6280

2016 Group Sow Housing Seminar Brochure – Electronic Final

Brochure Image

 

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