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December 2021
A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Season’s greetings!

As the year winds down, we have been meeting with key members of parliament to address the ongoing supply chain issues across North America that have been affecting fruit and vegetable growers. We know this is a top priority for the sector, and are working hard to push the government to deliver solutions.

We have also been focussed on supporting growers that have been facing other significant challenges. For those in British Columbia affected by the floods, we have made sure to share all information that has come our way and remain available to work with the federal government as needed. 
 
On the other side of the country, we have been working with the Canadian Potato Council and the PEI Potato Board to accommodate solutions for our PEI potato growers who cannot export their potato crops to the United States. Through multiple meetings with Ministers, MPs, and key officials, we are committed to helping to find a workable solution. We were pleased to show our support in person on Parliament Hill to advocate on the sector’s behalf along with many other industry members, growers and government officials. 

I would also like to remind you that we will be celebrating our Centennial during our annual general meeting March 7-10, 2022. For more information please visit our website. While we are certainly monitoring the health situation very closely and will be ready to adjust as needed, for now we are still planning for an in-person event. I look forward to seeing you there! 

Finally, I hope you all find some time to celebrate the holiday season with your friends and family. 

Merry Christmas!

 


Rebecca Lee
Executive Director
Canadian Horticultural Council 

 
IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES
Research successes through Agricultural Innovations

Every year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) shares some of the highlights of its research successes through Agricultural Innovations. They search through their latest and most innovative work to bring you the best stories about how their ground-breaking research is leading the way in:
  • increasing agricultural productivity;
  • enhancing environmental performance;
  • improving attributes for food and non-food uses; and
  • addressing threats to the value chain.
Check out the latest issue here
Canadian Corrugated and Containerboard Association (CCCA) Humble Box videos strike gold!

The CCCA has launched a series of videos to educate Canadians about the industry and products in a humorous and engaging style. The videos, available at www.cccabox.org, have already had more than one million views. They have also received two Gold awards: one from the the International Creative Summit Awards and the other from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). These awards recognize global excellence from both groups for a corporate story that included design, advertising, video, website, mobile and social achievements.

If you haven’t already, watch them now at www.cccabox.org.

 
United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) 2021 updates

Check out the latest updates from the UNFSS 2021 including farewell reflections from Special Envoy Agnes Kalibata, New 'Food Systems Coordination Hub', coalitions to transform our food systems and more. 

Read the latest updates here
 
GET TO KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY

Stefan Larrass

Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association 

 

Stefan Larrass has over ten years of experience in the industry. During his previous position as Senior Policy Advisor at Ontario Pork, he was responsible for advising producers and the association board of any changes in government programs, policies and regulations, and for developing industry responses to policy consultations that could lead to better outcomes for producers. He also draws on over five years of experience working in OMAFRA’s division responsible for provincial agricultural policy. His work there covered a range of agricultural issues including business risk management programs and policies that make it easier to sell and buy food locally in Ontario.  

During his high school and university summers, Stefan worked as a farm hand in the Pelham area, working in a local apple orchard, and growing a variety of crops including strawberries, raspberries and garlic.

Tell us about your job - what do you do day to day and what are your long-term goals? Much of my day to day work is with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, working with the team there and with farm leaders like Ken Forth and Mike Chromczak to support growers’ access to safety net programs and labour.I  feel there is an irreversible trend in society and government towards wanting a greater sense of “accountability” which often just means more red tape and/or cut-backs of farm supports. My long term goal is to help growers win the side of the debate against red tape and cut backs, and to secure policies that support domestic food production. 
 
Why did you choose to work in this industry? I felt like I could contribute. Especially when I saw how much growers are affected by government rules and programs on a regular basis and how frustrating changes in these policies can be. I got the sense that growers appreciate having dedicated industry people that take on some of these challenges with government or at least help make sense of them because government sometimes has a knack for making things more convoluted and confusing than they need to be.
 
What do you most respect/admire about Canadian growers? Definitely their capacity for juggling a ton of balls in the air at the same time and their ability to make decisions even with imperfect information. I guess it comes with the territory of farming. But it was really impressive during the pandemic, where growers not only had to do all their usual things, but had to keep up with constantly changing conditions, rules and policies from three levels of government. And they did this with the constant cloud of possible COVID outbreaks and government inspections hanging over their heads. I admire that kind of mental toughness.
 
How has the pandemic affected your organization? I would say our ability to interact with government officials and with other industry people, like association staff and board leadership has been largely unaffected, since those face-to-face discussions still happen – they’re just on a computer screen now, e.g. using Zoom, instead of in person. What’s been tough though is the lack of in person industry events where we get to hear directly from growers and about the issues keeping them up at night. We try getting some of that through surveys, but people are tired of those, and it’s just not the same as talking to people in person. 
 
How well equipped is Canada’s suite of BRM programs to support growers over the long term (especially given current challenges in BC due to weather and in PEI due to potato wart)? Situations like the flooding in BC and the potato wart will always require some level of customized programs to help deal with the situation. I don’t think we can ever build a BRM program that covers every unique situation. So additional local support will remain essential in these cases. But we also need additional BRM support at the national level. Many of our growers don’t have access to crop insurance and the current AgriStability 70% trigger level is about as fair as if Employment Insurance only paid “regular” people for job losses that last longer than 15 weeks (30% of a year). Addressing these gaps is my priority and that of the CHC BRM working group which has been a pleasure and honour to work with over the past two years almost now.
 

What is your favourite dish with Canadian fruit and vegetables? Other than fries? It would probably be a cauliflower and broccoli bake covered with a thick layer of cheese. And German apple cake using Cortland apples for dessert.

 
UPCOMING EVENTS AND DEADLINES
Register now for the Canadian Horticultural Council’s 2022 Annual General Meeting

The 2022 AGM will be held March 7-10, 2022 and will be an opportunity for leaders in fruit and vegetable production, business, and federal government to come together to discuss priority issues and decide on a course of action for addressing these issues in the coming year. 

This event will also be about celebrating significant milestones as we mark our 100th anniversary!

On the AGM website page, you will find information on accommodations, registration and sponsorship opportunities.

 
Farm Transition Appreciation Day - January 11!
 
Farm Management Canada, Farm Credit Canada, BDO and the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors are pleased to announce the 2nd annual Farm Transition Appreciation Day (FTADay) is taking place on January 11, 2022. 
 
Over the next 10 years, 75% of farms will change hands, yet according to the Agricultural Census, only 8% of Canada’s farmers have a written transition plan.
 
FTADay was created to acknowledge farm transition is a complex process, and to encourage and celebrate progress. FTADay is one day of the year when we can come together to share stories, advice and encourage farmers throughout their farm transition journey through a national social media campaign and learning events across Canada.
 
Farmers, organizations and agribusinesses across the country are encouraged to share their farm transition success stories, tips, resources and tools to create a coast-to-coast buzz around farm transition and encourage Canada’s farmers to continue their transition journey. Make sure to use #FTADay in your social media posts to be part of the conversation on January 11th!
IN THE NEWS
Robots – Outstanding in the Field

Killing weeds with robotics

The Sprout: P.E.I. premier asks Ottawa to lift potato ban

P.E.I. farmers give away potatoes in Ottawa to raise awareness about trade ban

P.E.I. potato farm reps hand out spuds in Ottawa to highlight export ban to U.S.

P.E.I. farmers raise awareness of potato wart plight while on Parliament Hill

Federal and B.C. representatives work on recovery programs in wake of floods
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