Further disappointment surrounding Bill C-474

Grain Farmers of Ontario struggles with bill passing second reading

GUELPH, ON (April 15, 2010) – Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is greatly disappointed with the result of the second reading of bill C-474 last night. The bill passed last evening with 153 voting in favour and 134 opposed. The bill now goes to the Agriculture Standing Committee for review.

Bill C-474 calls for an amendment to the Seeds Regulations to require that an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted. The effect of this bill will be to introduce non science-based criteria to Canada’s evaluation and approval process for biotech seeds. A move in this direction would represent a serious and dangerous departure from a science based regulatory approach – an approach that has served farmers well in defending Canada’s ability to export agricultural production to other countries.

“A move to depart from a science-based regulatory approach would be an open invitation for other countries to impose non-science based trade barriers on Canada’s grain exports” said Barry Senft, CEO of GFO.

Bill C-474 would eliminate advantages now enjoyed by Ontario farmers and consumers by introducing unpredictable factors into the regulatory process. The bill could indefinitely delay all future approvals on the basis that there may be one country somewhere that would not accept genetically modified crops.

A coalition of farm groups, including GFO, opposed to bill C-474 will take the time prior to their testimony at the Agriculture Standing Committee to build a strong case against the bill and to ensure farmers from across Canada are represented on the issue.

Farmers are encouraged to contact GFO for more information and arrange a meeting with their local MP to discuss the impact this issue will have on Ontario farmers. 

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Corn, wheat, and soy: not just for dinner!

Explore the uses of these renewable resources at the Grains in Your Life exhibit!

TORONTO, ON (November 4, 2010) – Corn, wheat and soy not only have a place at your dinner table, these amazing crops can be found within everyday products like household insulation, carpet and kitchen countertops. Grain Farmers of Ontario invites you to visit the Grains in Your Life exhibit, an innovative presentation at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the International Plowing Match, to learn more. The exhibit offers an opportunity for visitors to explore how these environmentally-friendly, sustainable grain products are used at home, at work, and on the road.

Grain Farmers of Ontario has partnered with Pioneer Hi-Bred and Greenfield Ethanol to create this unique exhibit featuring grain-based structural and design components within four unique vignettes. The exhibit’s living room, office, kitchen and garage vignettes will contain, everything from No-VOC paints and varnishes, adhesives, household insulation, kitchen cabinets, countertop, carpet, subfloors, sofas, wallpaper and fabrics that feature corn, wheat and soy components.

Grains like corn and soy are processed into bio-fuels and used as a sustainable replacement to petroleum products in a myriad of commercial applications. As Ontario is one of Canada’s top producers of corn, wheat and soybeans, these products are an innovative, grown-in-Ontario and renewable source of food, bio-products and fuel.  “From the farm right through the value chain, these grains support Ontario’s emerging bio-economy,” says Erin Fletcher, Manager, Public Affairs and Communications, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

The use of corn, wheat and soy as a rapidly renewable alternative to chemicals also helps drive the development of cleaner, greener, eco-friendly products. “What’s astounding is that many consumers aren’t aware of the harmful VOC’s emitted by everyday household goods. Grains in Your Life is about starting that conversation and providing accessible alternatives,” continues Fletcher.

The Grains in Your Life will be showcased at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the International Plowing Match. The International Plowing Match is held in St. Thomas between September 21 and 25, and is a premier international event held annually in Ontario to promote the agricultural and rural lifestyles. The Royal Winter Fair is hosted in Toronto between November 6 and 15, and typically attracts more than 326,000 urban and rural visitors. Grain in your Life has been made possible by incredible partnerships with leading-edge Canadian companies using corn, wheat and soy within their environmentally-friendly products:  AllSteel, Wolf-Gordon, Polar Spray, CallRich Eco-Services, Umbrella Cabinetry, Columbia Forest Products, Green Living Flooring, Sherwin Williams, Durra, Herman Miller, Future Fine Furniture, Latitude Countertops, RW Doors and Mohawk Flooring. The interior design was provided by Bennett Design.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Dale Petrie, Vice President of Strategic Development, leaves Grain Farmers of Ontario

GUELPH, ON (March 22, 2010) – Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) announced today that Dale Petrie has decided to step down from his position as Vice President of Strategic Development, effective March 26, 2010.

Dale has been instrumental in working through the transition from the three boards to GFO and focusing the organization on adding value to producers. “Dale has been a great asset during the merging of our three boards,” says Barry Senft, CEO at GFO. “His contributions and commitment to the process were greatly appreciated.”

Dale came to GFO from the Ontario Soybean Growers where he joined the organization as General Manager in September 2007. Dale recently assumed the role of Vice President of Strategic Development at GFO – an area of the organization that includes market development, research and innovation, and public affairs and communication.

These ongoing tasks will be managed by GFO staff. A replacement has not been named but the process to fill the position will commence immediately.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Newly formed Grain Farmers of Ontario focused on the future at inaugural March conference

GUELPH, ON (March 15, 2010) – Grain Farmers from across Ontario gathered in London Ontario on March 8th and 9th for the inaugural conference of the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO).  Farmers met to discuss mutual issues of importance, debate policy resolutions and hear from keynote speakers on topics related to the future of farming.

For the immediate future, the direction from delegates through 4 separate resolutions, is to pursue a permanent, fully funded Risk Management Program in Ontario supported by both levels of government.  The Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Carol Mitchell, spoke at the banquet Monday night supporting our endeavors by recognizing the current suite of business risk management are not meeting the needs of producers and that she is carrying that message to her colleagues at the provincial Cabinet table and has carried it to the federal Minister of Agriculture on behalf of Ontario farmers.

The urgency for stability in the agricultural sector through programs like the RMP was underscored when keynote speakers Diane Francis, Editor-at-Large for the National Post and Jay Ingram, Host of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, forecasted uncertainty ahead both for the world economy and the environment.  Cal Whewell, financial expert for FC Stone also has concerns about the future including commodity prices and the Canadian dollar.  When asked about the Canadian dollar Cal advised, “if you’re in the camp of $85 plus or $100 crude oil then you probably better prepare yourself for a par Canadian dollar”.

Despite the broad challenges identified for the year ahead, Grain Farmers of Ontario is excited about the opportunities for farmers especially in the areas of research and market development.  Barry Senft outlined some of GFO’s plans for 2010 including an investment of over $3.6 million in grain research through industry, government and farm partnerships and recent collaborations with industry to expand the domestic market opportunities for ethanol, wheat and soy-based bio-products.

Don Kenny, Chair of GFO, is positive about his first conference experience as Chair saying, “the real value of the conference was the guidance we received from our delegates and the conversations we will continue to have with our members as a result of the learning from today.”

All of the information from the conference including speaker presentations and resolutions are available on our website at www.gfo.ca and click on March Conference under Events.  

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Trent research funds total $4.25 million

GUELPH, ON (March 4, 2010)GFO was the first to offer support for Trent University’s Center for Knowledge in the Environment pledging $500,000 for biomaterials research and development. A powerful domino effect has resulted from this initial funding with government and private contributions now in excess of $4.25 million.

Most recently, Dr. Suresh Narine, the champion of this initiative, was awarded one of two $1.25 million Ontario Research Chairs in Green Chemistry and Engineering by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) Ontario Research Chairs Selection Panel.  As Ontario Research Chair, Dr. Narine will receive funding of $250,000 a year for five years from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

GFO holds two seats on the Trent University Biomaterials Research Advisory Council (RAC) to provide direction on future research projects. GFO will also be allocated a percentage of any commercialization royalties resulting from these projects. All money received from royalties will be reinvested in biomaterial research and development.

The Trent program will have a big pay-off for soybean growers. “A key focus of the research is to establish new markets for soybean oil, particularly in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and lubricant industries” says Dale Petrie, VP Strategic Development at GFO. “Through segmentation of specialty-trait soybeans, value and demand for specific oil profiles will increase, leading to identity preserved (IP) premiums in the price per bushel.” 

The current operating money for the program is more than eight times the initial GFO funding. GFO congratulates Trent University and Dr. Narine for this accomplishment and is excited to learn new, innovative uses for soybean based bio-products.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Grain Farmers of Ontario and Weetabix partner to promote awareness of Ontario wheat

GUELPH, ON (March 2, 2010) – Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) and Weetabix have joined forces to increase awareness of Ontario wheat. The initiative is in line with regional marketing efforts for Ontario foods, encouraging more residents and businesses to buy locally grown products.

Weetabix is a 100% Ontario grown and manufactured product. 25% of the wheat used comes directly from Northumberland County where their Cobourg manufacturing plant is located. Of particular importance, the cereal provides an excellent market for Ontario spring wheat.

“We have been a strong supporter of local farmers since 1978. Whenever possible, Weetabix will continue to use crops grown close to home to provide Canadian consumers with healthy, whole grain cereal choices,” says Jeff Bakker, VP of Finance for Weetabix Canada.

Many promotional initiatives have already been implemented. From November to January, the company ran a multi-media promotion across the Greater Toronto Area, including in-store sampling events, radio and billboard advertising, and branding the people-powered 'Eco-Cabs' in downtown Toronto. Additional initiatives are in development and will be revealed over the upcoming months.

“The collaboration between GFO and Weetabix will increase awareness, and ideally consumption, of mostly Ontario spring wheat and some winter wheat. We foresee great opportunities resulting from this partnership in the future,” says Barry Senft, Chief Executive Officer of GFO.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Grain Farmers of Ontario conference

Members of the media are invited to join more than 300 grain and oilseed farmers at Grain Farmers of Ontario’s March Conference on March 9, 2010 at the London Convention Centre in London, Ontario.

Highlights include:

  • Keynote speakers Minister Mitchell, Diane Francis and Jay Ingram

  • Research Exhibit Area

  • Exhibitors' Hall, with more than 40 booths

To reserve your media kit (including complimentary lunch ticket) please contact Claire Cowan or Erin Fletcher by Friday, March 5, 2010.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Grain Farmers of Ontario board elects first executive

GUELPH, ON (February 19, 2010) – The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is pleased to announce the executive has been elected from the 2010 Board of Directors.

Don Kenny, the elected representative from District 13 – Prince Edward, Lennox-Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew and Ottawa – will be GFO’s first elected Chair.  Don farms 1,300 acres in the Ottawa-Carleton area of the province. 

The Vice Chair, from District 10 – Grey, Bruce, Wellington – is Henry Van Ankum, a cash crop farmer in Alma with 1,200 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat.  Mark Huston from District 2 in Kent will be the 2nd Vice Chair for 2010.  Mark has an 1,100 acre family farm in Thamesville, as well as 1,100 finishing pigs.  The Executive Member on our first GFO elected board will be Kevin Marriott from District 3 in Lambton.  Kevin farms 1,100 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Petrolia.

“The new Grain Farmers of Ontario executive and full board are looking forward to a productive year that will include strategic planning and policy development along with the establishment of each one of our committees,” says GFO’s new Chair, Don Kenny.

The 2010 Elected Grain Farmers of Ontario Board of Directors:

District 1 – Essex

Leo Guilbeault

District 2 – Kent

Mark Huston

District 3 – Lambton

Kevin Marriott

District 4 – Middlesex

Joe Thomson

District 5 – Elgin, Norfolk

Jeff Davis

District 6 – Haldimand, Brant, Hamilton, Niagara

Kim Turnbull

District 7 – Waterloo, Oxford

Fred Wagner

District 8 – Huron

Larry Lynn

District 9 – Perth

Mark Brock

District 10 – Grey, Bruce, Wellington

Henry Van Ankum

District 11 – Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York

John Morrison

District 12 – Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings

Joe Hickson

District 13 – Prince Edward, Lennox Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa

Don Kenny

District 14 – Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry

Arden Schneckenburger

District 15 – Northern Ontario

Kevin Runnalls

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Grain Farmers of Ontario: officially Ontario’s new marketing board

Guelph, OntarioOntario’s corn, soybean and wheat farmers will have a strong and unified voice in the province beginning January 1, 2010 with the inauguration of Grain Farmers of Ontario.

An interim board of directors will be appointed by the province to oversee the GFO’s operations until the completion of regional elections in early February.  The elected board of directors for Grain Farmers of Ontario will be in place by early March 2010 and will focus initially on policy development and business planning.

“GFO will ensure our members have a strong voice on provincial and national issues as well as offering programs and services that add value to their businesses,” says Barry Senft, CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario.  

GFO will build upon the strength of our farmer members and our heritage organizations to take a leadership role in marketing, market development and advocacy.  The new organization will work with farmers to get the most out of their high quality crops through innovative research and policy development.

For GFO to be successful right out of the gate, it is important for all members to shape and direct the organization by participating in the upcoming January meetings and elections.  There will be an opportunity for dialogue with executive staff and to elect the political leaders of GFO at these meetings to ensure the organization is built from the ground up.  Check the website at www.gfo.ca or the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine for regional meeting dates.

This merger of Ontario’s corn, soybean and wheat organizations will position GFO as the largest provincial commodity board representing 28,000 farmers and five million acres of farmland that generate $2.2 billion in farm gate receipts, over $9 billion in economic output and 40,000 jobs.

The soy house lands in Acton

November 18, 2009 (Acton, ON) – What do household insulation, mattress foam and kitchen cabinets all have in common?  Soybeans! Yes Soybeans. The Soy House, the feature exhibit at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair enabled visitors to experience how soy can be used as an environmentally-friendly, sustainable replacement to petroleum oil in many household products. The house demonstrates the emerging soy market in Ontario and showcases the complete soybean value chain, from agricultural roots to people’s homes. By partnering with Quality Homes and Habitat for Humanity Halton, the first-ever Soy House has landed in Acton for a Habitat partner family to call home.

The commercial uses of soy are made possible by separating soybeans into two distinct and equally useful parts.  When crushed, 80 percent of the bean becomes high protein soy meal, which is used for human and animal consumption, while the remaining 20 percent becomes soy oil, which can be used as bio-fuels and as a sustainable replacement to petroleum oil. “The use of soy as a renewable alternative to petrochemicals enables the development of a wide array of greener, eco-friendly products for consumers,” said Dale Petrie, Director of Strategic Development and Innovation, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

A deserving Habitat family will benefit from living in the Soy House, which will have lower energy costs and features soy-based structural components, thereby reducing harmful off-gases, in everything from No-VOC paints and varnishes, adhesives, household insulation, kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures. “The partnership with Habitat for Humanity Halton was a natural fit as we showcase the benefits of using soy. Ontario soybean farmers and our partners are committed to volunteering with Habitat to complete the house, ensuring the partner family is able to move in as early as possible” continues Petrie.

“Ontario soybean farmers’ unique partnership with Habitat for Humanity Halton and Quality Homes has helped provide another family in the Halton region with a safe, decent, affordable place to live,” says Lynn Fergusson, Interim Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Halton. “This unique partnership is proof of what can be done when passion, dedication and resources are pooled together, to truly make a difference in the community.”

“Quality Homes is proud to have partnered with Ontario’s soybean farmers to bring The Soy House to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and to Habitat for Humanity Halton,” says Howard Sher, Executive Vice-President, Quality Homes. “As custom home builders, we are always looking for new and innovative products and suppliers. The project has certainly introduced us to a range of environmentally-friendly, soy-based companies.”

Over the coming weeks all partners with join the selected family in completing the remaining work in order turn over the keys to their new home.