CELEBRATING 133 YEARS AS CANADA’S PREMIER HORTICULTURAL PUBLICATION
VOLUME 63 NUMBER 01
How to find success in succession planning KAREN DAVIDSON Like a plant, you’re either growing or dying. That philosophy has served Charles and Judi Stevens well as they have invested 35 years building and expanding an apple and blueberry business at Newcastle, Ontario. They are just as vitally involved in passing the success story to the next generation. “At 50 years of age and beyond, it’s natural to be more risk averse,” says Charles Stevens. “But that stage of life is not conducive to the risk-taking that’s necessary for a business to grow.” After several years of tapping the expertise of bankers, accountants, lawyers and government specialists on the topic of succession, Stevens is now exploring an innovative plan for the farm. Two corporations will be formed – one to hold the land, one to hold the business. By keeping possession of the land, Stevens is eligible to continue his industry organizational work. By incorporating the business of Wilmott Orchards, he can sell it at a reasonable price without compromising its viability for the next generation. What’s novel about the plan is that the younger generation consists of his 24-year-old daughter, Courtney, and 22-year-old University of Guelph science grad, Ian Parker. Bringing someone into the operation without a deep agricultural pedigree is
INSIDE Invasive pest challenges wild blueberries Page 4 Retired berry researcher leaves gap Page 7 Focus: food safety and traceability
www.thegrower.org P.M. 40012319
Succession planning is a process that can take years as both financial and emotional aspects are considered. Charles Stevens, 60, and his wife Judi are well on their way to a novel arrangement where their daughter Courtney takes over the marketing aspects and a recent University of Guelph graduate, Ian Parker, learns apple and blueberry management from the ground up. Photo by Courtney Stevens.
becoming more common, but still requires commitment on both sides. “Horticulture is made up of people,” says Stevens, “so human resources skills are imperative along with education and passion. Everything else can be taught.” Parker wasn’t completely unknown to the farm, having worked there as a summer student. It was his volunteer work at the University of Guelph’s organic farm that tweaked his interest. Last April, Parker joined the farm to start his apprenticeship learning every manual job on the farm. From winter pruning to installing a new trellising system for apples, he’s had to show his mettle. Other skills are learning to interact with the Barbadian workers. But one of the hardest is learning how to protect the crop. “I’m trying to learn crop chemistries,” says Parker, who has just returned from the Great Lakes Expo in Michigan. “I think it will take two or three years to
understand the complexities of harvest intervals and tank mixing.” So far, Parker says that the learning process is overwhelming
clearer idea of what to expect, having been raised on the farm. For the last six months, Courtney has been involved in the blueberry business, hiring
Horticulture is made up of people so human resources skills are imperative along with education and passion. Everything else can be taught.” ~ Charles Stevens
but he’s invigorated for the upcoming growing season and renewing his one-year contract. “I think agriculture is overlooked as a profession,” he says. “I feel healthy and mentally stimulated.” Daughter Courtney has a
summer staff, taking inventory and running the on-farm café. “I don’t have a desire to manage the farm, but I want to be involved,” she says. “I would feel comfortable if Ian potentially takes over the management.” The emotions of farm
succession can be the most thorny aspect. Communication on all sides is important in managing expectations. “So far, so good,” reports all parties. “It does no good for me to have six figures in the bank at the age of 100,” says Stevens, who speaks to the legacy of the farm. “We have a brand in Wilmott Orchards with thousands of people coming to the pick-yourown operation. Always have a plan B.” Bryan Boyle appreciates what the Stevens’ family is trying to achieve. After a 35-year career as an OMAFRA ag representative in southwestern Ontario, he’s now coaching farmers on organizational issues and farm succession plans. “The technical aspects are not the biggest risks of farm transfers,” says Boyle, “if you have hired qualified lawyers and accountants. The biggest risk, in my experience, is the people side of the equation.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
PAGE 2 â€“â€“ JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
AT PRESS TIMEâ€Ś Irish company to buy majority share of Oppenheimer Group Total Produce, well-known as a leading marketer of fruits and vegetables in Europe, is poised to buy 65 per cent of the Oppenheimer Group. The transaction is scheduled in two stages, with the first 35 per cent to be acquired this month. Another 30 per cent will be acquired in 2017 according to the companyâ€™s December 17 news release. Headquartered in Vancouver, the Oppenheimer Group provides fresh fruit and vegetable produce to its retail, wholesale and foodservice customers throughout the United States and Canada. The group has a network of growers around the world and operates from a number of locations throughout North America. In 2011, the Oppenheimer Group had Canadian sales of $525 million. Oppenheimer will continue to be managed by its current chairman, president and CEO, John Anderson, and his existing team. Anderson has entered into a longterm service agreement as part of the transaction and will continue to hold 35 per cent of Oppenheimerâ€™s shares after the 2017 transaction. â€œFor Oppenheimer, this could mean an enhanced focus on exports, as well as new opportunities for our current grower family, and potential new alignments in the future,â€? said Anderson. With most of its focus on Europe, Total Produce operates out of 22 countries and had 2011
sales of more than $3.92 billion (U.S.). Total Produce markets more than 280 million cartons of fresh produce annually and employs more than 4,000 people in 100 locations.
Book early for OFVC The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention (OFVC) will be staged at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario for February 20 and 21. At press time, trade show space was 90 per cent sold out, according to Glenna Cairnie, trade show/exhibits administrator.
Walmart expands in Quebec Walmart has opened a new regional office in Laval for Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Retail Navigator columnist Peter Chapman says, â€œThis is a significant point for two reasons: they see Canada as a regional business and it is a sign that a Supercentre will be coming to Atlantic Canada. From its head office in Mississauga, Ontario, Walmart has grown to 367 stores across the country. That number includes 194 Supercentres. By the end of January 2013, Walmart will have opened 38 stores in 12 months. The torrid pace of expansion is attributed, in part, to the entry of Target in Canada.
Cavendish buys potato processor
â€œTrade show response has been fantastic with many new exhibitors and returning exhibitors increasing their booth space,â€? says Cairnie. â€œThe equipment display component will be huge.â€? OFVC is launching awards for the first time for Innovative Product and Innovative Service. For details on all aspects of the convention, go to www.ofvc.ca. Special room rates at $125 will be available at the Embassy Suites Hotel until January 31 or until the block is sold out.
Cavendish Farms is buying the assets of Maple Leaf Potatoes, the frozen potato business of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., including a 142,000 sq. ft. processing facility in Lethbridge, Alberta. The acquisition will enhance Cavendishâ€™s national distribution network in the foodservice and retail sectors in Canada and build a stronger position in the United States, according to Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms. The Lethbridge plant currently produces a variety of highquality products, including frozen French fries and other specialty potato products.
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Doug Van Luyk, a multi-generation onion and carrot farmer, has assumed the chairmanship of the Holland Marsh Growersâ€™ Association. He takes over the role from Alex Makarenko who has served since 2008. Paul Smith returns to the board plus new directors Sam Visser and John Hambly in a recent election. Congratulations to Jim Founk, the 2012 award winner for the Essex County Association Growers in recognition of his 34-year OMAFRA career. Initially, he was involved in grading of fruit and vegetables for processing and tobacco. A key project was modernizing the grading system for tomatoes in Ontario. In later years, he was Ed Verbeke (L) chair of Essex County field service manager Association Growers and Jim Founk. for Essex/Kent/Lambton counties. His retirement years are now spent volunteering for the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners. Congrats to the prairie winners of the 2012 Outstanding Young Farmer award, Vance Lester and Susan Echlin of Living Sky Winery, Perdue, Saskatchewan. Kelowna orchardist Kirpal Boparai resigned his position as president of the B.C. Fruit Growersâ€™ Association in early December amongst controversy that included cancellation of his membership in the Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative for selling fruit independently. Vice-president Jeet Dukhia will fill the chair until growers vote on a new president at the January 28 annual convention. Meanwhile, the Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative has also undergone change. A new board of directors appointed Alan Tyabiji as the new chief executive officer, while removing Gary Schieck from the post, as well as operations manager Rod Vint. Changes in personnel came in a year that saw higher apple prices in B.C. due to the crop failure in eastern Canada. Heather Moyse, Olympic gold medalist, is renewing her contract as brand ambassador for Prince Edward Island potatoes, while competing for spots on both Canadaâ€™s womenâ€™s rugby sevens team as well as Canadaâ€™s womenâ€™s bobsled team. CropLife Canada elected its new executive committee including: chair Kamel Beliazi, Bayer CropScience Canada; past-chair Jim Wispinski, Dow AgroSciences Protection Canada Inc.; first vicechair Ian Grant, Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited; second vice-chair Mike McGuire, Monsanto Inc.; third vice-chair Jay Bradshaw, Syngenta Crop; member at large Fran Burr, Cargill Limited; Monte Kesslering, Viterra; Al Raine, Richardson International Limited; ex-officio Lorne Hepworth, CropLife Canada. The Agricultural Adaptation Council elected its new board in December. Directors are as follows: Chair: John Kikkert, General Farm Interest â€˘ Vice Chair: Kristin Ego MacPhail, Other Industries/Commodities â€˘ Treasurer: Fred Wagner, Grains/Seeds/Oilseeds/Specialty Crops Congrats to Larry McIntosh, president and CEO, Peak of the Market, who was recently decorated with a Queenâ€™s Jubilee Medal. The Peak of the Market has donated more than 18 million pounds of food to the food bank during the past 12 years. Jim Veri, Exeter Produce donated 40,000 tons of rutabaga to New Yorkâ€™s City Harvest, a group that feeds thousands daily. The announcement was made at the New York Produce Show to help survivors of the superstorm Sandy. The Canadian Gift and Tableware Association will be honouring John and Laura Hughes this month as the 2012 CGTA Retailer of Distinction winners. Their retailing prowess at Springridge Farm, Milton, Ontario will be recognized in the January/February 2013 issue of Retail News Magazine as well as at a CGTA gift show event on January 27. The Bank of Montreal, Canadaâ€™s fourth largest bank by assets, has appointed Douglas Porter chief economist. At 52, he replaces the high-profile Sherry Cooper effective February 1. Bloomberg has named him as the best economic forecaster in Canada for the past two years. He is well-known to agriculture as a frequent guest speaker.
JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 3 THE GROWER
How to find success in succession planning CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Here are the three biggest risks to manage: • Matching skills and activities to the role. The old idea of farmers being a jackof-all-trades doesn’t work very well, especially when the new generation has just graduated from university or college. It would be unusual to find a person that relishes the orchard pruning, for example, as well as devising a marketing plan. Some family members prefer the mechanical operational side to the computer-oriented, planning side. The skill sets required today are much broader than even a decade ago. • Managing expectations of stakeholders. Many a farm transfer has failed, even midway through execution, when communications fail to be clear. “We had no idea that our son or daughter wanted that,” says the parents. “If we had known that, we would have walked away.” There is often
surprise when the younger generation admits they want less involvement, not more involvement in the farm. Be clear and direct. • Establishing commitment to change. Regardless of the plan and technical capability to draw up financial statements, there must be commitment for all parties to accept change. The paperwork does not guarantee an acceptance of the role changes and the need to modify words and deeds. It’s possible to accom-
plish the financial paperwork in six months, but it’s more likely to be a one or two-year process for a smooth transition. Farmers are very good at discussing inputs and yields, says Boyle, but not as gifted at people skills. “Although some call these soft skills, I think people skills can be very hard.” Elaine Froese, farm family coach, is another farm succession advisor based in Boissevain, Manitoba who encourages families to discuss the “undiscussabull.”
She starts farm families with an audit sheet that probes for what issues need coaching. They range from conflict resolution skills to honouring the timelines agreed to. On her website www.elainefroese.com, she echoes Bryan Boyle’s approach. • Head issues: need to find understanding "I get it now. I understand what this means." • Heart issues: need to feel good about the decision "I like it. It feels right. I can let go." • Gut issues: need to trust others with change “I trust you. You will not lose the farm.” According to the latest census, the average age of Canadian farmers is 54. Succession planning is one of the biggest issues to face agriculture, with each family facing a unique set of circumstances. No template fits all. That’s why it’s important to kickstart the discussion now, in the optimism of a new year.
FruitTracker evolves The Ontario Tender Fruit Producers have joined with Agricorp and Dragonfly Inc. to develop an integrated tender fruit GIS based information and database management system. Agricorp is currently mapping various tender fruit commodities planted in orchards across Ontario for those producers who have signed up. These maps provide the basis for FruitTracker, an advanced, integrated orchard management system for individual growers. The FruitTracker program, developed by Dragonfly Inc.
is a web-based platform that began as a spray tracking program but has quickly evolved to include tracking modules for chemicals, harvest, storage, packing, shipping and scouting. It incorporates OMAFRA’s Publication 360 data and provides detailed reporting in conjunction with CanadaGAP guidelines. Dragonfly is currently working closely with an enthusiastic focus group, comprised of tender fruit growers, in ensuring these modules are relevant, proficient and built right from the start.
“The Tender Fruit Producers’ Marketing Board is very excited to be working with growers on building an allencompassing data management system for the future of the industry,” says Sarah Marshall. To inquire about signing up, please contact Larissa Osborne at 905-688-0990 ext. 235 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ginseng growers receive funding The Ontario Ginseng Growers’ Association (OGGA) has received $80,000 from the federal government’s AgriMarketing program to help increase sales in the lucrative Asian markets of Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. The funds will be used to continue brand presence at major food and trade shows and to engage mid-size retailers about sourcing Canadian ginseng directly from Canadian growers.
Long recognized for its superior quality, Canadian ginseng has tallied $72.8 million in exports in 2011 with 1.6 million kilograms of roots exported. “The AgriMarketing and Canada Brand initiatives provide an important source of funding and services for the Ontario Ginseng Growers’ Association to access new and existing markets on behalf of our 120 members,” says OGGA executive director, Marvin Karges.
Photo by Glenn Lowson
Watermelon genome decoded
California needs workers
Leaf lettuce trumps iceberg
E. coli washed from spinach
U.S. apple harvest is up
Nature Genetics published the watermelon genome sequence last November, exciting researchers that juicer, sweeter and more disease-resistant fruit may be closer to reality. When watermelons were domesticated, a large portion of disease resistance genes were lost. “Watermelons are an important cash crop and among the top five most consumed fresh fruits; however, cultivated watermelons have a very narrow genetic base, which presents a major bottleneck to its breeding,” says Zhangjun Fei, a plant researcher at Cornell University. The genome sequences of the watermelon are publicly available at the Cucurbit Genomics Database (www.icugi.org) which is maintained by Fei’s group.
A survey conducted by the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) reveals that 61 per cent of respondents reported worker shortages, especially those with labour-intensive crops. To deal with the gap, farmers are offering higher wages, adjusting harvesting and pruning times, relying more on mechanization, and, in some cases, planting fewer acres or cutting the harvest short. “Without the creation of a secure, effective program that allows people from foreign countries to work legally in the United States to harvest crops, we could see continuing or worsening problems, especially for small or midsized farms,” warns Paul Wenger, CFBF president.
California recorded more acres of leaf lettuce than iceberg for the first time in 2012. A tiny sliver of that market is served by the ‘Better Burger’ lettuce, bred to cover a sandwich with frilly leaf and minimal rib. It’s just one example of how innovative growers and packers are differentiating themselves and serving consumer needs. As part of that new lettuce variety search, they are also seeking varieties with more mildew resistance. During months of highest mildew pressure, growers were paying as much as $1,200 U.S. per acre to control mildew. Other diseases such as Furasium and Verticillium are proving problematic as well. Because of strict regulations on chemical controls, new lettuce genetics will become more important.
U.S. scientists are perfecting an ultrasound-chlorine regimen to destroy E. coli pathogens in spinach. “We can reduce the total number of food-borne pathogenic bacteria by more than 99.99 per cent, " said Hao Feng, professor of food science and human nutrition, University of Illinois. The use of ultrasound exposure during chlorine washing offers significantly enhanced microbial safety, says Feng. The USDA is looking for new technologies that can achieve a million-fold reduction in the bacteria. The challenge is to ensure that all leaves receive full ultrasonic treatment. A single leaf is capable of contaminating the package. Feng’s team has achieved similar success using this technique on iceberg and romaine lettuce.
Washington state’s apple growers harvested 130 million boxes, up considerably from the 121 million boxes estimated November 1. Despite summer hail, the tally is 20 million boxes more than the industry has ever produced. The upward trend was particularly steep this year, due to the overall size of the crop, later varieties picking out longer and favourable harvest weather. As of December 3, the Washington industry had shipped 31.7 million boxes of apples from the 2012 crop, compared with 26.5 million during the same period in 2011. Exports so far this season are running 21 per cent ahead of the previous year.
Source: FreshPlaza.com Source: Cornell University Press Office
Source: FreshPlaza.com Source: Nunhems newsletter
PAGE 4 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Protecting the production and export of wild blueberries KAREN DAVIDSON Wild blueberries are unique in that the industry relies on the management of native stands. Although a minimalist approach is taken with management practices, protecting the crops from new invasive pests is proving a daunting task. “We don’t plant, harrow or cultivate,” says Gary Brown, Bragg Lumber Company Ltd. based in Collingwood, Nova Scotia. Brown, the agronomy advisor to farmers in the Atlantic provinces, says that with integrated pest management and other favourable conditions, a total crop in excess of 250 million pounds was harvested in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Maine. Despite a good crop, field prices have remained comparable to last year’s prices. Wild blueberries from Atlantic Canada are exported to more than 30 countries, including markets in Europe and Japan. The foreign buyers emphasize quality, safety and traceability, and in particular the need for wild blueberries to meet the maximum residue limits (MRLs) for their respective countries. “MRLs can be an issue for us,” says Brown, who has just returned from the CropLife Canada conference in Ottawa. “A large portion of our crop is sold overseas and any pesticide we use must meet foreign MRLs.” When Brown was in Ottawa, he met with crop protection company representatives to learn what new chemistries might be in the
Wild blueberry harvest in Nova Scotia pipeline and to encourage label extensions for wild blueberries. Excellent reduced risk agrochemicals are working in British Columbia. But more will be needed to combat new invasive species such as Spotted Wing Drophosila (SWD). The pest was trapped in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia this past year, a signal that higher populations are in the future. For example, student researchers trapped 600 flies in a New Brunswick test plot in 2011 but that number grew to 7,000 flies in 2012. Pressures are expected to be higher in 2013, with research underway as to what economic threshold is needed to spray. The worry for wild blueberry
growers is that export markets may be hindered if they can’t meet the current MRLs set in Europe and those which are expected in Japan by 2014. “It is a continuous challenge to cope with invasive species, MRLs and cost of production,” says Brown. “We need to have more tools in
the toolbox to control these pests.” Under the umbrella of the Canadian Horticultural Council, a Blueberry Working Group is monitoring the issue and encouraging crop protection companies and researchers to screen new products. Delegate, a product manufactured by Dow, appears to be controlling SWD in a number of horticultural crops. “This is a Canada-wide issue,” says Brown. “Other commodities such as canola and pulses are facing the same issue meeting MRLs in foreign countries.” In fact, the issue applies to many other horticultural crops. The wild blueberry industry has been aggressive and proactive in coordinating and funding research. Within the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University, this has resulted in the creation of faculty positions and associated research programs specializing in plant physiology, vegetation management, entomology and precision agriculture. A check-off system is in place and varies from province to province to provide funding for these research programs. “With support from the
Canadian Horticultural Council and the wild blueberry industry standing squarely behind its product, I can go to a crop protection company and say with credibility that we’ll put feet on the ground for research,” says Brown. David Percival, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University, has been active with other research groups in identifying causal organisms and developing management strategies. This has been pivotal in providing producers with the tools to continually increase yields and to remain competitive in an increasingly global economy. Although crop protection products are important, Brown stresses that the industry has been proactive in reducing agrochemical use. The industry wants to take a minimalist approach with as little a carbon and greenhouse-gas footprint as possible. “The Canadian Horticultural Council has been a huge asset to us,” says Brown. “Through the blueberry working group, the spotlight has been shone on an industry that tallies 123,000 acres.”
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CANADIAN HORTICULTURAL COUNCIL
Proposal to repeal standard container legislation On December 13, Keith Kuhl represented the CHC at an Ottawa meeting hosted by AAFC Minister Gerry Ritz , Minister of State (Agriculture) Christian Paradis and CFIA President, George Da Pont, to update on the path forward with the regulatory
process and to further discuss factors, irritants and opportunities for improvement related to overall Canadian industry competitiveness. A primary objective of the session was to listen to industry concerns and position regarding the
proposal to repeal standard container regulations. â€œGovernment is keenly interested in industry suggestions with respect to action which could assist in mitigating the impact of the decision to repeal standard container
regulationsâ€? noted Kuhl. The CHC is developing a comprehensive brief for use with government officials and in the Canada Gazette process.
Market research starts on greenhouse vegetable exports to Asia The CHC and the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), through funding provided by AAFCâ€™s AgriMarketing Program, have recently contracted the George Morris Centre to conduct market research and explore opportunities for Canadian greenhouse vegetables in East Asia. The AgriMarketing Program aims to enhance the marketing capacity and competitiveness of the Canadian agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood sectors. The program helps industry associations to identify market priorities and equip themselves for success in global markets.
The greenhouse vegetable production sector is one of the greatest success stories of Canadian agriculture over the past twenty-five years. The sector has expanded and now exports over $600 million of greenhouse vegetable products annually (including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and lettuce), primarily to the United States. Working with the George Morris Centre, CHC and OGVG hope to gain knowledge and access to new and emerging international markets, mitigating the risk of dependency on the U.S. market. This project is currently underway and will be completed by March 31, 2013.
Plant pest research facilities to consolidate in Summerland, BC In 2014, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) plant pest research activities and expertise will be consolidated at one facility in Summerland, B.C. This will allow for greater science collaboration to support the grapevine and tree fruit industries.
The CFIA's Centre for Plant Health in Sidney, B.C. currently conducts plant pest research, oversees the quarantine of plants following entry into Canada, and provides related plant pest diagnostics. The Centre also maintains a repository of virus-free plant material. Certain high risk activities will continue to remain at the Sidney facility.
This move will ensure the important plant pest research being done by the CFIA is carried out in closer collaboration with AAFC. Representatives from the CFIA are scheduled to make a presentation on the consolidation at the CHC Annual General Meeting in March 2013.
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Short-term research projects don’t make sense for perennial crops KAREN DAVIDSON Last month’s retirement of Adam Dale, a berry scientist at the Simcoe Research Station, should not go unmarked like the silent falling of timber in a forest. The problem is that too many mature oaks have fallen to the axe of university and government cuts. His position is not being replaced by the University of Guelph. “That’s significant,” says Harold Schooley, research chair for the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. “We used to have four berry breeders in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. We’re down to Andrew Jameson in Nova Scotia and by 2016, there will likely be no berry breeders in Canada.” One new strawberry variety will be announced in February and of eight varieties in the pipeline, only a couple might be released in the next few years. After that, there’s an impending cliff, an unknown future for improving berry varieties that flourish in Canada’s temperamental climates. Dale’s legacy will be how he overcame those weather and pest challenges with June-bearing berry varieties that also burst with flavour. As far back as 1986, he stewarded the release of the Governor Simcoe variety, and more recently, the varieties of Summer Dawn and Summer Evening. Just as importantly, he worked with the University of Florida’s
Craig Chandler, (L) University of Florida, worked closely with Adam Dale on day-neutral strawberries for Canada. Craig Chandler on day-neutral strawberries which are now taking off in Canadian markets. Back in the 1980s, no one believed they could be commercially viable. As Dale himself wrote in a 1989 factsheet, still listed on OMAFRA’s website today, dayneutral nursery stock is difficult to propagate as plants produce few runners and need to be started from tissue culture to get the best multiplication rates. Since then, he’s worked on seed-propagated day-neutrals to overcome the issues of vegetative reproduction. To this day, he has trial plots at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Centre in Florida for four months of the year acclimatizing to shorter day-lengths, then transfers the seed to Ontario to be tested in the humid summers. Curiosity led to a discovery not normally associated with berries. When Dale spent a sabbatical in Portugal researching raspberries, he became familiar
with white crowberries, literally a new crop for Canada. “There’s no pull for these crops,” admits Dale. “It takes a champion to push these crops into the marketplace.” What may come to fruition is a hazelnut industry. “This is the one new crop which I can see succeeding because of the pull from the Ferrero Rocher candy factory in Brantford.” Always thinking outside the box, Dale has looked at the possibilities of sea buckthorn, a crop with berries very high in vitamin C content. While male plants don’t set fruit, their nitrogen-fixing capabilities make them good candidates for restoring soil in areas such as mine tailings or other soils contaminated with heavy metals. “Ultimately, the challenge for
Adam Dale, (L) berry researcher, has just retired from the University of Guelph/Simcoe Research Station. He’s pictured here with Harold Schooley, research chair, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. Since 2000, the University of Guelph has lost a net of 20 faculty members in agricultural research. Eleven of these scientists were devoted to horticulture. Photo by Denis Cahill. horticulture is that there’s shortterm funding for perennial crops,” Schooley points out. “The funding is now directed towards projects and not programs.” At the University of Guelph, the chair of the plant agriculture department says that the fate of berry research remains in the hands of industry. “There has been a 40 per cent reduction in teaching budgets at the Ontario Agricultural College in the last five years,” says Peter Pauls. “Those cuts are being realized through attrition of faculty. Collectively, we are open to
industry funding chairs and suggesting new business models to work more closely together.” While Dale will continue in an unpaid capacity with projects at Simcoe, he underscores the potential for horticulture. In Ontario, horticulture represents five per cent of the acreage but 50 per cent of the farmgate value and 80 per cent of the crop species grown. With strawberries grossing $15,000 per acre, the question becomes why a second soybean breeder is being sought and no replacement is on the books for berries.
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JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 7 THE GROWER
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention preview
The poster session attracts the latest reports in horticultural research.
The OFVC is the site of many product launches. Last year, The Cider Keg, based in Vittoria, Ontario tested its Blush Twist sparkling cider to rave reviews.
COMING EVENTS 2013 January 7
Lecture on “The way it was: a history of Ontario’s vegetable and fruit canning industry,” Rittenhouse Hall, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Vineland, ON 2 pm.
Jan 14 – 16 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Annual General Meeting, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Niagara Falls, ON January 15
Ontario Apple Growers Annual General Meeting, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Niagara Falls, ON 8:00 am to 9:45 pm
Jan 11 – 27 Niagara Icewine Festival Jan 21 – 24 Empire State Producers’ Expo, Oncentre, Syracuse, NY January 24
Environmental Sustainability Research Expo, Guelph Legion, Guelph, ON
Jan 24 – 26 Pacific Agricultural Show and Horticultural Growers’ Short Course, Abbotsford, BC Jan 28 – 30 North American Strawberry Growers’ Association and North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association Annual Conference, Doubletree by Hilton Inn, Portland, Oregon Jan 28
B.C. Fruit Growers Association Annual Convention, Penticton Lakeside Resort, Penticton, BC
Jan 29 – 31 Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association Annual Convention, Old Orchard Inn, Wolfville, NS Jan 31 – Feb 3 32nd Annual Guelph Organic Conference & Expo, University Centre, Guelph, ON Feb 1 – 6
North American Direct Farm Marketers Association Conference, Doubletree by Hilton Inn, Portland, Oregon
Fruit Logistica, Berlin, Germany
Feb 5 – 7
Canadian International Farm Show, International Centre, Mississauga, ON
Feb 20, 21
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls, ON
February 20 3rd Annual Ontario Sweet Cider Competition, Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls, ON Feb 23 - Mar 3 6th Annual Conference, International Fruit Tree Association, Intensive Workshop and Tours, Boston, Mass., USA
The 11th annual Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention promises a deep program on February 20 and 21 at the ScotiaBank Centre, Niagara Falls. Wednesday, February 20 Vegetables Winery Climate Change and Dealing with Adverse Weather Beer Competition
Cathy Bartolic, executive director of the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association, has organized an exciting speaker roster for the annual meeting. She’s shown here (right) at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre talking to a grad student last summer.
Cider Cider Competition Tender Fruit Herbs Grapes Berries Farmers' Markets Ontario Direct Farm Marketing Summit Thursday, February 21 Vegetables Airblast 101
Apiculture Health and Safety for Growers Organic Future Challenges and Opportunities Tender Fruit Bomb-proofing your Soil Grapes Apples Farmers' Markets Ontario Direct Farm Marketing Summit
PAGE 8 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
Goodbye 2012, greetings 2013
MAC JAMES CHAIR, OFVGA
2012 was a year of many challenges to the fruit and vegetable industry in Ontario. Spring frosts devastated portions of the fruit and vegetable sector. Random areas of low moisture and excessive heat took its toll on many crops. On a world scale there have not been any major disasters, thus a sufficient or over supply of produce soon puts pressure on prices for some commodites. It seems like fresh produce can be shipped half way around the world over night.
Many of us are glad to see the end of 2012. On the brighter side, looking forward there is always optimism when we start planning for the new year. After many hours of discussion and consultation, we have a new SDRM/RMP program although considerably reduced in value with a cap of $100 million for all of Ontario agriculture. It is there to work with. There will be many new minor use crop protection products available for 2013. Watch for them!
After much lobbying, there is some hope that some of the water issues we are facing may be moved from the Ministry of Environment to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Nutrient Management Act. With the potential increases in production that are appearing on the horizon it is going to take a sharp pencil to remain viable in 2013.
The importance of our labour supply
ART SMITH CEO, OFVGA Sometimes in life things are either taken for granted or simply not thought about, either through complacency or sometimes because we know no different as “It has always been this way.” Many young farmers among us will not remember a time when we did not have access to dependable quantities of farm workers. The older ones most certainly will.
As a kid growing up on a fruit farm I remember all too well the turnover in help that we experienced. I remember my father lamenting that he did not know from one day to the next how many workers would be there to pick fruit. In an industry so heavily dependent on manual labor, consistency and quality of the work force are essential. I remember as well my parents vacationing in Jamaica and upon returning home dad saying: “We have all this work and nobody to do it and they have all those people and no work for them to do.” In 1966, the first offshore labour program took place but it only lasted for one year. It was a time of growing unemployment in Canada, a time of easier access to unemployment insurance. Many folks in Ottawa thought that these on-farm jobs should be filled with workers from areas of high unemployment. Programs were put in place to transport farm workers from the east coast and the north
to the farms in the south. In many ways it made sense but it did not work as satisfactorily as it needed to. In 1968, after much lobby pressure, the offshore program was back, but there were restrictions. The greater problem was the unknown factor as to whether or not the program would survive to see another year. There was an ongoing sense or opinion that these jobs should be used to get people off unemployment -- after all, those numbers were growing and costing tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. This organization and a number of its leading directors lobbied hard over many years to keep the program running. Over time, problems cropped up and farmers were concerned about the cost of running the program and in particular the cost of air transportation. To address the concerns of Ontario fruit and vegetable farmers, the OFVGA created the Foreign Agricultural Resource
Management Services or FARMS in 1987. They celebrated their 25th anniversary this past year. There are approximately 20,000 workers that come into the country under the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program of which about 15,000 come here to our farms in Ontario. It did not happen easily -- it took a lot of lobbying and even more dedication on the part of a number of people. From 1987 to today there has been but three chairmen of FARMS: Gary Cooper, Hector Delanghe and Ken Forth. They have all done a remarkable job as have the various boards and staff. The program started as a concept of a few; they pushed hard and got Ministerial support in a time when the political situation was not in their favour. There were certainly many bumps along the way, but this program -- first seen by some as taking jobs away from Canadians -- has in fact created many, many more both here in Canada and in the host coun-
tries alike. It is one of the best international sponsorship programs going. From its humble beginnings in the mid ‘60s through to today, the program has provided our farmers with a stable core of farm employees. The program is held up internationally as a program that works. It works for our farmers, it works for the men and women that come up here and it works for the host countries. As a farming sector so dependent on labour, I believe we owe this organization a great deal of gratitude. Without this program, without FARMS, our fruit and vegetable sector would be little more than a cottage industry instead of the $1.5 billion dollar sector that it has become today. For what it’s worth, it’s the way I see it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
STAFF Publisher: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Editor: Karen Davidson, 416-252-7337, email@example.com Production: Carlie Robertson, ext. 221, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: Herb Sherwood, 519-380-0118, email@example.com
OFFICE 355 Elmira Road North, Unit 105 Guelph, Ontario N1K 1S5 CANADA Tel. 519-763-8728 • Fax 519-763-6604
The Grower reserves the right to refuse any advertising. Any errors that are the direct result of The Grower will be compensated at our discretion with a correction notice in the next issue. No compensation will be given after the first running of the ad. Client signature is required before insertion. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association is the sole owner of The Grower. All editorials and opinions expressed in The Grower are those of the newspaper’s editorial staff and/or contributor, and do not necessarily reflect the view of the association. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either whole or in part without the prior written consent of the publisher. P.M. 40012319
The Grower is printed 12 times a year and sent to all members of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association who have paid $30.00 (plus G.S.T.) per year for the paper through their commodity group or container fees. Others may subscribe as follows by writing to the office:
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ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2012 MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Chair Vice-Chair Fruit Director Veg Director Director
Mac James, Leamington Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin Jason Ryder, Delhi Jason Verkaik, Bradford
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Apples Fresh Vegetable - Other Tender Fruit ON Asparagus Grws’. Mkg. Brd. GGO/Fresh Grape Growers Fresh Vegetable - Muck ON. Potato Board Small Fruit/Berries ON. Ginseng Growers’ Greenhouse Greenhouse
Brian Gilroy, Meaford Mary Shabatura, Windham Centre Fred Meyers, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Ryder, Delhi Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Verkaik, Bradford Mac James, Leamington Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin Ken Van Torre, Burford Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown Don Taylor, Durham
OFVGA SECTION CHAIRS Crop Protection Research Property Labour Safety Nets CHC
Charles Stevens, Newcastle Harold Schooley, Simcoe Brian Gilroy, Meaford Ken Forth, Lynden Mark Wales, Alymer Murray Porteous, Simcoe
JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 9 THE GROWER
PERSPECTIVE Wine sector has good reason to pop the cork in 2013
OWEN ROBERTS UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH It’s too bad that domestic production disasters in one country lead to export opportunities for others. Without a doubt, in this equation, someone loses and someone else inadvertently gains at their expense. In agriculture, that’s just the way it is, particularly now that we’re firmly ensconced in a global market. A crop or production failure somewhere creates an opening elsewhere. Inevitably, farmers fortunate enough to have a harvest fill the vacuum created by those who don’t. Crop or livestock woes be damned -- people still need to eat. And that’s the way it is this year, in the world of wine. Production woes be damned -people still want to drink. But who will fill their glasses? Weather damage to vineyards in some of the world’s largest wine regions is severe. Italy, Argentina, Spain, New Zealand and Hungary
have all been hit. Production is down 20 per cent in France. Increases have been realized only in Portugal and Greece. That’s impacting the global supply of wine, draining what the sector calls the “wine lake.” And it’s predicted this situation will ultimately raise prices of wine from the affected countries. Corroborating this story is the International Organization of Vine and Wine, an intergovernmental organization which deals with the technical and scientific aspects of viticulture and winemaking. It’s estimating global wine production will fall to its lowest level in nearly 40 years, with production said to be down the equivalent of 1.3 billion bottles. That’s massive. Experts are warning of a wine shortage. Now, shift your thoughts to Canada. Against the murky global backdrop of shortages and failed harvests emerges Ontario, which is wonderfully positioned as the darling of the 2012 global wine crop. In late November, the Grape Growers of Ontario announced its members would realize a record 2012 grape harvest. The Niagararegion based organization reported that the near-perfect hot and dry summer produced some of the highest-quality grapes ever seen. All this, despite a growing season that started with one of the earliest springs in memory and the risk of severe spring frost damage. Ontario was extremely lucky.
Debbie Zimmernam (L) is lauding the Grape Growers of Ontario partnership with LCBO while Curtis Fielding, Grape King, is expecting a stellar 2012 vintage. The 2012 harvest is reported at a record 65,800 tonnes of grapes, valued at more than $88.3 million. And fruit quality continues to exceed all industry standards, say the grape growers. “Our expectations…are high, as we expect a stellar 2012 vintage,” says Curtis Fielding of Fielding Estate Winery in Beamsville, the 2012 Grape King. So besides there being an abundance of Ontario wine, quality
Fruit Logistica announces nominees for Innovation Award 2013 Fruit Logistica, the world’s best known fresh produce forum, has announced its candidates for the Innovation Award. The jury is comprised of experts from production, quality management, wholesale distribution and retail, as well as from the packaging and service sectors. • Tag e.V. Servicebüro, Germany: “Frische ist Leben” – a three year, internationally-based campaign supported by the EU for the generic promotion of the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in Germany under the headline “Fresh is Life” • Abracad Technoworks BV, Netherlands: “High speed counting and packing device” – a fast and flexible feeding system which packs small bags into cartons • Banken Champignons BV, Netherlands: “Mushrooms to combine” – Four different fresh mushroom mixes with recipes for the consumer • Behr AG, Germany: “Schwarzwurzeln/Steckrüben - küchenfertig geschält” – An attractive and convenient presentation of ready to cook black salsify and turnips • Ben-Dor Fruits and Nurseries Ltd., Israel: “Colored Apricots” – A colourful range of new, sweet and juicy apricots with different skin and
flesh colourings • Elbe-Obst Fruchtverarbeitung mbH, Germany: “Apfel-Schiffchen” – Cut dried apple slices produced using a special new technique to maintain crispness and avoid browning • GreenWatt SA, Belgium: “On-site biogas plant turning organic waste into energy” – Small-scale, cost-saving installations suitable for locations such as wholesalemarkets, packhouses etc. • Sofruileg, France: “Nergi” – A sweet tasting berry fruit derived from the kiwi with green flesh and a smooth, thin edible skin • Staay Food Group, Netherlands: “City-Farming” – A production concept for urban locations using LED lighting to grow seedlings in 35 days under safe, controlled conditions • Tozer Seeds Ltd, UK: “Flower SproutTM” – A new, small vegetable with attractive, green and purple frilly leaves, a cross between Brussel sprouts and kale It’s expected that up to 55,000 visitors from 130 countries will vote on the nominees at Fruit Logistica. The winner will be announced on February 8.
should be superb, as well. It's a perfect storm. Grape Growers of Ontario Chair Bill George says this harvest, along with the global wine shortage, has producers optimistic that 2013 will bring more wine lovers than ever to superb Ontario wines.
Publicly, I suspect Mother Nature will get most of the credit for the 2012 Ontario harvest and the grapes that vintners turn into wine. But the reality is there probably wouldn't have been a harvest this year without research and innovation. That’s what helped protect and improve the harvest's quality, at a crucial point -- early warning systems and wind machines buffered Ontario’s vineyards from a killer late spring frost. As well, speaking of warmth, it looks like the chill between growers and the LCBO may finally be easing. In announcing the record harvest, grape growers’ CEO Debbie Zimmerman said producers can thank their ongoing success “in large part to our partnership with the LCBO.” She also cited provincial government foresight in maintaining its per bottle content regulation, the strength in numbers needed to negotiate fair minimum prices with multinational global buyers, as well as the establishment and promotion of Ontario VQA wines. That’s quite a list, and timely, too. Cooperation is essential if the province and the Ontario wine sector is going to take full advantage of the global opportunity being laid at its feet in 2013. It could be awhile before there’s another perfect storm like this.
The Annual “Muck” Conference is moving!!!! NEW LOCATION
61st Annual Muck Vegetable Conference and Trade Show will be located at the . . .
Bradford & District Memorial Community Centre March 28th and 29th 125 Simcoe Street Bradford, ON L3Z2A8 Contact: Matthew Sheppard Phone: (905) 775-3317 Fax: (905) 775-3318 http://www.uoguelph.ca/muckcrop/muckconference.html
PAGE 10 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
Canadians are increasingly positive toward food, farming and farmers in Canada, new study says KELLY DAYNARD Canadians continue to have an increasingly positive impression of Canadian agriculture, with 88 per cent of those polled ranking it positive or neutral, up from 81 per cent in 2009 and 75 per cent in 2006. That’s one of the key findings from the new 2012 Farm and Food Care “Canadian Attitudes Study towards Food and Farming” study.
“Our research shows that although food and farming isn’t a top of mind issue for most Canadians, most have an overall positive impression of our food, how it’s grown and the people who produce it,” says Crystal Mackay, executive director, Farm & Food Care. “Canadians ranked farmers as warmly and favourably as their own family and friends, just slightly above doctors and other medical professionals.”
This year’s research, which builds on previous studies dating back to 2001, was expanded to include gathering public opinion on the five pillars of sustainable food: food safety, environment, farm animal health and welfare, human health and economics/food affordability. Canadians feel they are generally better informed about food and farming than they were even three years ago, and more than
Ron Mandryk offers eggplant and peppers at the farmers' market located at the Ontario Food Terminal. Photo by Glenn Lowson. half of them are interested in learning more. Approximately 70 per cent of Canadians have visited a farm at least once before. Other findings demonstrate that Canadians are concerned about rising costs – including the cost of food – and many try to buy local by purchasing Canadian food products when possible. “This tracking research goes a long way in helping farmers and people in the agri-food business to understand what Canadians believe, both today and in monitoring trends over time, as they relate to the importance of agriculture, interest and what people would like to know more about how their food is produced,” says Mackay. Study highlights include the following: What’s top of mind? • When asked unaided, healthcare and the economy are the top of mind issues facing Canadians. • Canadians are concerned about rising costs, particularly health care costs, food costs, and energy costs. Overall impressions of agriculture and farmers • 56% of Canadians have a very or somewhat positive impression of Canadian agriculture, 32% are neutral. This is an increase from 2009 at 52%, and 41% in 2006. • 61% of Canadians rated farmers with a very warm and favourable impression, at the top with family and friends. Next on the list were doctors/nurses and medical professionals at 54% and grocery stores/food retailers at 46%. • When asked to rank the five pillars of sustainable food, the safety of the food Canadians eat and the overall health of Canadians came out as the top two priorities, followed by food affordability, the environment and farm animal welfare. Knowledge of farming and food • 52% of Canadians know at least a little about farming practices.
That’s an increase from 48% in 2009. • 59% said they want to know more; specifically, about health/safety issues, farm products and farming techniques. • 70% of Canadians have visited a farm at least once before. Surveys were conducted online using Ipsos Reid’s I-Say Online Household Panel in mid-August among 1229 Canadian adults that had no household connection to agriculture. Investment in this project has been provided by several agri-food industry
Our research shows that although food and farming isn’t a top of mind issue for most Canadians, most have an overall positive impression of our food, how it’s grown and the people who produce it.” ~ Crystal Mackay
partners and by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. You can see more comprehensive results from the study on Farm & Food Care’s website. Go to www.farmfoodcare.org and click on the “What’s New” button. Kelly Daynard is the communications manager for Farm & Food Care Ontario.
JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 11 THE GROWER
Supply chain is critical
PETER CHAPMAN The supply chain, representing about 10 per cent of the retailer’s expenses, can have significant impact on sales and store conditions. Retailers include three major areas in supply chain: buying, warehousing and distribution. Remember-- buying is part of the supply chain, not merchandising. Suppliers work with the merchandisers or category managers, however the buyer is in a different part of the business where the actual purchase order is initiated. Obviously they work together but, as retailers move to more central procurement, the buying decisions are made from forecasting systems as opposed to actual category knowledge and experience. Many departments, especially produce, have unique seasonal trends that are very complex with the product origins changing throughout the year. You do not negotiate with the buyers but you can be a tremendous resource to them. Buying too much, too little, or at the wrong time can have a huge impact on the stores and suppliers. After the product is purchased it usually goes into a warehouse. Some product goes direct to the store if it is bulky, high volume for an ad, or date sensitive. Costly to operate, the warehouses and their inventory get a lot of focus within the supply chain. Today, warehouses are extremely automated and it is
common for the people picking the orders to really have no idea where it will be going or what is going there. They are being directed by the system and it is really just a number. Some retailers are considering flow systems by which the product comes from the supplier in store specific amounts and only gets cross-docked as opposed to being entered into inventory. If you go to the Sobeys website, you can see a video of their warehouse in Vaughan, Ontario. The final job for supply chain is to get the product to the store. Retailers are always figuring out how to get more on a truck and send the truck to the store fewer times per week. It is always a tug of war. In departments like produce, we would like to get a truck every day at the store to ensure we have the freshest product. This drives sales and reduces shrink. The supply chain part of the business would prefer to add six pallets of hard lines to the back of the truck to fill the space. They would say we might sell more if we have more and we will probably order it the next day anyway. Trucking efficiencies represent millions of dollars to Walmart. In their simple yet effective business model they strive to "deliver more and drive less." This is a quote directly from the Walmart website: Walmart U.S. Logistics is an industry leader in the development and testing of advanced fleet technology as we work toward our goal of doubling our efficiency by 2015. We’re already 69% more efficient, compared to our 2005 baseline. -Since 2007, the Walmart fleet has delivered 361 million more cases while driving 287 million fewer miles." Many retailers have backhaul programs - they pick up suppliers' products after they deliver to the store. These can be mutually beneficial to reduce costs and deliver sustainability dividends. Re-usable plastic containers
Holiday programs For those of us in the food business, the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year but also one of the most rewarding. It takes a lot of work, planning and execution to succeed during the holidays. I encourage you to get into the stores and check out the different programs that the retailers have implemented. Sobeys have their Inspired program, which is a combination of Compliments items and food preparation ideas. They have a good program with more emphasis on providing information to customers on how to prepare different items. I did not find any revolutionary new items but there is lots of good information in the 56-page magazine that is free. Loblaws have the traditional Insider's Report with more emphasis on President’s Choice items than preparation. There is some innovation here with the cake pops and taking the same concept into hors d’oeuvres as well. I have not tried them yet but the chocolate covered potato chips sound good! Other retailers have similar programs that you should be familiar with. Get into the stores before the good items sell out and try them. Perhaps you could have a tasting session with your employees, they might get some inspiration from your customers and enjoy some time together around the holidays.
(RPCs) are being used or investigated by many retailers. This impacts suppliers, supply chain and retail. Your business should be focused on the three major areas: buying, warehousing and distribution. Make sure to develop good relationships with the buyers. Do not negotiate with them but help them with seasonality, lead-time, data integrity and ad volumes. They are buying what the system tells them to buy. You have experience and a much more narrow focus. Don’t question every order
but, when you know something is wrong, make sure you help them. They are doing it for a reason don’t assume they do not care, just work with them to understand your perspective. If the buyer changes, you might have to go back to the basics. Usually, as soon as you get them trained they will get promoted, so accept that and make it part of your business planning. Learn as much as you can about the warehouse. Any time a tour is offered, take advantage of it. Do not walk around and stare
up at the racking. Look at what is happening and how they are doing it. Is your label on the box easy to read? Do your cases stack properly on the pallet? What can you learn from other suppliers? Many retailers use world leaders as models. Determine what these people do for warehousing chances are it might be coming your way. As a supplier, understand your customer’s supply chain system. This can have a significant impact on your business. Challenge your employees to articulate what your retail customers are doing and the impact it will have on your business. You should do this at least three times per year. There is a lot more to the retailer than just the store! Peter Chapman, a retail food consultant and professional speaker, is principal of GPS Business Solutions, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Peter works with producers and processors to help them navigate through the retail environment with the ultimate goal of getting more items into the shopping cart. firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAGE 12 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
FOCUS: FOOD SAFETY
Post-harvest and in-plant technologies may reduce foodborne illness KAREN DAVIDSON Veg-Pak Produce Limited takes food safety seriously. It must. Up to 10,000 pounds of spinach are washed and packaged every day in its Toronto, Ontario plant. No matter where the spinach originates – Mexico, Texas, New Jersey or Ontario – the end product goes into a Pop-i package. That brand must be protected, not only for the Carnevale family owners but for the entire food chain. “We’ve got a lot of competition from other leafy greens,” says Danny Carnevale, plant manager. “We have been following a HACCP-based program since 2005 to meet the requirements of the major chains. Our commitment to food safety is one of the reasons we have been so successful in this business.” To meet those standards, Taylor McCarthy’s full-time job is quality assurance, taking water samples every hour and making sure that the spinach is in the peracetic acid bath for a minimum of 45 seconds before proceeding to a drum dryer. “This sanitizer has proven to be very effective,” says McCarthy. “We are an industry leader in using this product instead of chlorine. It’s not as corrosive on the stainless steel equipment.” While half of McCarthy’s work day is on the plant floor enforcing hair net rules and proper handwashing, the other half is record-keeping. Procedures and measurements are meticulously recorded for premises inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and for third-party audits. For every new employee, McCarthy is the first stop for training. Leafy greens such as spinach are particularly prone to contamination from E. coli or Salmonella because they are harvested close to soil or exposed to substandard
Veg-Pak Produce Limited has hired Taylor McCarthy to be a full-time quality assurance person inspecting spinach. Every hour, she takes a water sample at a critical control point where the peracetic acid sanitizer comes in contact with the spinach. The Toronto plant handles 10,000 pounds of of spinach daily. Photos by Glenn Lowson. irrigation water, a more common problem in Arizona and California. Infamously, a U.S. outbreak of food-borne illness was traced to organic spinach in 2006 – an event which killed three and sickened 31. Since then, food safety scientists have made a concerted effort to pinpoint management practices that will lessen the risk. “Contamination can’t be removed completely by washing,” states Keith Warriner, University of Guelph’s program director for food safety quality assurance. “We lack effective decontamination strategies post-harvest.” With funding from the University of California-Davis, Warriner is supervising a water recycling trial at the Veg-Pak
Thirty-pound totes of curly leaf spinach from either Mexico, the U.S. or in the summer – Ontario and Quebec – are dumped onto a conveyor by an employee with gloves and a beard net.
Produce plant. A common problem in fresh-produce processing is that water quality deteriorates rapidly with the build-up of organic matter and microbial loading. This can lead to reduced efficacy of sanitizers, as well as cross-contamination. Warriner and his team are looking to refresh and recycle water, not just replace water. The concept is to coagulate organic material in the water, then filter and decontaminate the water as it flows over ultraviolet lights. The science is relatively simple but the task is far more challenging to ramp up from the lab to factoryscale in a cost-effective way. Warriner’s system costs about $10,000 compared to the $100,000 price tag of currently
available water recycling systems. “Water management will be the big buzz word for the next few years,” predicts Warriner. “We need to use less water and clean water better before releasing it.” Other field research is underway at Cornell University, New York using the Geographic Information System (GIS). PhD student Laura Strawn and colleagues are checking produce fields to see if they can predict hot spots for emergence of foodborne pathogens. If they are successful, a more science-based approach will be developed to reduce the chances of bacterial contamination. Farmers may be able to prevent problems by draining standing water or
Inspection workers clothed in lab coats, gloves and hair nets remove any debris or discoloured leaves before the spinach enters a peracetic acid bath for a minimum of 45 seconds.
choosing to plant crops that should be eaten cooked rather than raw. Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella were found more often in water from irrigation taps or streams, while E. coli was equally prevalent across all sample types. Researchers hope to combine this knowledge with GIS-generated, colour-coded maps of any field with a history or prevalence for a pathogen. Because spinach has been in the spotlight for product recalls, researchers are determined to find better management practices. Food safety lessons learned in spinach will be practical elsewhere in horticulture.
A strong food safety culture at the Veg-Pak Produce plant protects the widely known brand of Pop-i spinach.
JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 13 THE GROWER
FOCUS: FOOD SAFETY
How to do a better job in managing crises in fresh produce BEN CHAPMAN, AUDREY KRESKE AND DOUG POWELL Editor’s note: The most recent example of major food-borne illness in Canada is E. coli contaminated beef from XL Foods. Food safety experts in the U.S. offer their perspective on how to do better. Recent outbreaks, especially those with high-profile national stories demonstrate that public confidence in risk management approach can lead to financial impacts. In 2008, U.S. tomato growers, wholesalers, and retailers in Florida lost an estimated $250 million when they could not sell their product after an investigation of possible Salmonella spp., outbreak linked to their product resulting in a national health advisory. Consumer confidence in the safety of tomato products eroded, while food safety practices on farms and throughout the supply chain were called into question. Other producers were also affected by this health advisory and found themselves answering questions about growing conditions, the safety of inputs (including water) handling and distribution of products. Recent fresh produce-related outbreaks have created an environment where commodity groups and producers are even more concerned about managing the fallout after a foodborne incident. Crisis management in the food industry has four phases: • Prevention: Employing a good food safety culture, including staying current on risk factors • Preparation: Proactively planning for a problem and monitoring public discussion risk • Management: Implementing the plan using multiple messages and media • Recovery: Reassessing risk exposure and telling the story of changes Prevention Food safety culture is how an organization or group approaches food safety risks, in thought and in behavior, and is a component of a larger organizational culture. Creating a culture of food safety requires application of the best science with the best management and communication systems. Firm owners and operators need to know the risks associated with their products and how to manage those risks. Having technical staff in place to stay abreast of emerging food safety risks and conduct ongoing evaluations of procedures, supplier requirements and front-line staff practices provides a necessary foundation for a good food safety culture. Preparation Crises will happen. Companies
and tell an interested public about what is known, what is unknown and on what evidence decisions are made. Being available and understanding how media functions are also necessary skills for food industry members.Without recognizing deadlines or telling succinct stories of risk management, individuals risk the chance that others will fill the information vacuum with inaccurate information.
Crises will happen. Companies who understand this, and are prepared to deal with them will survive. Those who are not risk losing their market – and often do.
who understand this, and are prepared to deal with them will survive. Those who are not risk losing their market – and often do. While proactively managing microbiological risks, organizations with a strong culture of food safety also anticipate that outbreaks of foodborne illness may occur despite the use of sound food safety systems. Industries strong in crisis management including, information sharing, monitoring and reactive crisis communication skills, can drastically reduce the impact of deleterious and harmful media if an outbreak arises (Jacob et al., 2011). Being prepared to speak openly speaking about risk reduction strategies and demonstrating risk management practices can reduce financial impacts and allow public trust to be regained quicker than if a firm/industry had not planned. Management An increasing number of consumers seek food safety information from Internet sources, including one in eight Canadian consumers and one in four American consumers. Following 2006 (E.coli O157 in spinach) and 2008 (Salmonella Saintpaul in Serrano peppers) news spread through the Internet in an unprecedented fashion. Producers, processors, retailers and regulators of agricultural commodities must now pay particular attention to evolving discussion and engage in the public discussion while the crisis is occurring. A firm or industry that is not forthcoming with information of who knew what, when, and what decisions were made sets itself up for loss of trust because media and Internet discussion goes towards these questions.
During a crisis it is necessary for a company or industry to talk about the science, discuss risks
Recovery A firm employing the best crisis management practices starts the recovery phase as soon as notification of a problem. Publicly,
producers must address the problem, apologize to affected individuals; and, reach out to the media about risk-reduction changes. It is best to establish a dialogue with groups to demonstrate theorganization’s openness and commitment to public safety and health. Internally a firm plans for reentry to the market, logistics and how new risk-management strategies will impact other business activities. If there was media attention around the crisis event, the one-year anniversary will often garner further coverage. An organization must be able to demonstrate that they have learned something/changed process in response and assess internally whether the same risks to public health exist by asking, “would we have the outbreak again today?” Ben Chapman is assistant professor, food safety extension specialist with North Carolina State University. Along with his colleague Audrey Kreske and Doug Powell, Kansas State University, he gave this talk at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo in December 2011.
PAGE 14 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
FOCUS: FOOD SAFETY
Resources available for on-farm food safety As a follow up to the recent Fresh Vegetables Growers of Ontario’s annual general meeting, OMAFRA’s food safety staff have provided answers to some frequently asked food safety questions and a sample of resources that are available to help with all your food safety business needs. You can find OMAFRA material online at: www.ontario.ca/goodagpractices and for one-on-one help, call the Ministry’s Food Safety Staff at 1877-424-1300.
OMAFRA staff can review your SOPs to make sure you are heading in the right direction. The only thing they can’t do is write them for you. SOPs are your routines and only you know how
Q: I need to write an SOP for cleaning my packing house. Where do I start? A: Every farm has its own routine. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) simply means that you have written instructions for daily, weekly or monthly routines. It provides information on how to perform the job properly and consistently. In farming, the routines are likely similar but each farmer may do them a little differently at different times on different days. That is why it is important to have written instructions that are specific to your farm. OMAFRA can help you write your standard operating practices; the who, what, when and where details of your routines. You can find a template for creating SOPs on the ministry website www.ontario.ca/goodagpractices.
you want them done. Having a written document of your routine directs workers to use the method you feel works best. Otherwise, you leave it up to chance that the employee is doing the activity to your expectation. Q: Do I have to replace the wooden shelves in my agricultural chemical storage with non-porous materials prior to my first CanadaGAP audit? A: No, but there is value in using non-porous materials. CanadaGAP requires that agricultural chemicals are stored in an area that maintains the integrity
of the container and does not pose a risk of contamination. If a chemical spill occurs in the storage area, you will have to record this as a deviation on the CanadaGAP Form R (Deviations & Corrective Actions). This will then require you to identify any materials that may have been contaminated and dispose of them properly (e.g. replace a wood shelf in order to prevent any chemicals that had soaked into the shelf from contaminating other products). Employees would then need to be retrained on proper storage of agricultural chemicals to avoid a reoccurrence in the future. Q: My buyer wants to see microbiological test results of my irrigation pond. How do I sample? A: It’s best to sample directly out of the irrigation line because irrigation water is not homogenous -if you stir up sediment or take samples too close to the edge it can drastically alter your results. Most laboratories will provide a sterile sample container on request. Let the irrigation line water run for several minutes and then take a sample from the end of the drip line or sprinkler head. Refrigerate the sample immediately and transport it to the lab under refrigerated conditions within 24 hours. Ensure that the lab is aware that the sample is
irrigation and not drinking water. Following these steps will ensure a representative sample of your irrigation pond water. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is committed to safe food in Ontario. OMAFRA’s Food Safety staff can help guide you through any food safety program. If you’re
not sure what you need, where to start or who to call; contact the Ministry’s staff at 1-877-4241300, and visit the Ministry’s website at www.ontario.ca/goodagpractices to get your resources today.
When working with retail customers there is nothing worse than saying: “No one has died yet.” Producers and processors who do not take food safety seriously will not be successful in today’s environment. This might have worked in the past but it will not work any more. Employees should report to the leaders in the business to ensure that they are not influenced by people focused on sales or production efficiencies. Challenge your employees to stay current with retailers’ expectations for food safety. Direct your food safety and sales people to update the management team at least twice a year on this topic. The update should include what the retailer is demanding, how your company is doing and also where the retailer is going. These food safety requirements add costs and if you do not prepare properly they will add even more costs. If you do have a food safety issue, make sure that you are up front and honest. Many retailers lived through the Maple Leaf issues with sliced meats. This was a devastating incident and many people across Canada were impacted with loss of life or severe illness. One of the positives to come out of a very terri-
ble situation was that the people working at the highest level of Maple Leaf Foods worked to resolve the situation with the retailers. The recent issues at XL Foods have resulted in finger pointing between industry and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This does not build confidence with retailers or consumers. There are issues that need to be corrected and there is an immediate need for ownership and accountability for all involved. Food safety should keep us up at night because it is a very serious issue. Our ability to provide safe food is a partnership and the only successful partnerships are the ones where all buy into the process and execute it flawlessly. Everyone in the value chain must respect each other’s roles with the ultimate goal being to provide safe food. Peter Chapman, a retail food consultant and professional speaker, is principal of GPS Business Solutions, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Peter works with producers and processors to help them navigate through the retail environment with the ultimate goal of getting more items into the shopping cart. email@example.com.
Food safety keeps retailers up at night PETER CHAPMAN Food safety issues are never positive and they undermine a lot of good work done by a lot of people. Food recalls happen every week. Recently, XL Foods was in the news for many weeks due to E.coli-contaminated beef. When there is a food recall it is the retailer’s store which gets mentioned as often or more that the offending supplier. For branded items, the specific SKU is included but the retail stores also have to be mentioned in the recall and in the media. Retailers have purchased the product in good faith but now are associated with the food safety issue. For perishable products that are not branded, the retailer is
associated even more as the headline will read “spinach or tomatoes from store ABC.” Product recalls cost everyone a lot of money. One factor that can get lost is the cost to the retailer whose first task is to remove any of the product from the store shelf and then to remove it from the distribution system. This is very costly as retailers have already paid to distribute it to the store, put the product on the shelf and then the tasks have to be reversed. Recalls also force retailers to put resources into tasks that do not add anything positive to the shopping experience. Almost every food safety issue can be traced back to an incorrect process or a process that was not followed properly. This is frustrating for retailers who purchase
product in good faith. There is no doubt these breakdowns are not done maliciously, however it is the responsibility of the producer or processor to maintain safe practices. When issues arise, it puts significant strain on the relationship with the retailer and the producer. The retailer’s expectation is that the supplier will take food safety as seriously as they do. This has to be one area where the retailer and the supplier are working effectively together. Knowledge in this area has increased significantly in recent years and there is no excuse for not building internal capabilities. There are many resources available to assist in the development and implementation of food safety programs.
JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 15 THE GROWER
FOCUS: FOOD SAFETY
Royal Assent for the Safe Food for Canadians Act LIANNE WAND Royal Assent was recently given to the Safe Food for Canadians Act [SFCA] (S-11) which will trigger regulations and policy designed to strengthen government’s role in food safety. At recent meetings attended by CPMA, representatives of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) outlined how efforts will move forward with the recent passage of S-11 including the following: • New regulations, which are currently over-prescriptive, will consolidate 12 existing regulations into one (1), be streamlined and gaps in regulated
products will be addressed • The SFCA enables the use of “Incorporation by Reference” which allows reference to other documents (e.g. industry standards) which can be amended without regulatory change to an Act. • Preventative controls will be required by everyone who is licensed (all involved in international and interprovincial trade will require licensing) • Once CFIA have completed a draft of a simplified regulatory framework there will be public consultation – anticipating consultation in Fall 2013 • The “Coming Into Force Date” of the regulations and the Act will be synchronized
the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act” The Act: • implements tougher penalties for activities that put health and safety at risk; • better control over imports; • a more consistent inspection regime across all food commodities; and • strengthening food traceability CPMA is pleased that government’s approach thus far has included the intent to consider and align with the U.S. FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and its regulations, rules and policy wherever possible.
More information: The CFIA webpage entitled Safe Food for Canadians Act states: “The Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates the authorities of the Fish Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and
For the complete content of the above site and other links, including Backgrounders, News Releases etc., please visit the following website: www.inspection.gc.ca
Registration renewal of food facilities CPMA would like to remind all members exporting to, or conducting business in the US, that under Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), registration renewal of food facilities (food for human or animal consumption) is a biennial requirement. Please note the following
important information relative to registration and registration renewal requirements: The following information can be found at the FDA Registration webpage: • New Registration Mandates under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
• Frequently Asked Questions • Sections of the Law Relating to Registration • Guidance and Rules UPDATE: FDA issued a guidance document stating that because there was a delay in FDA’s implementation
of biennial registration renewal for the 2012 cycle, and registration renewal did not become available until October 22, 2012, FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to registration renewals submitted to FDA after December 31, 2012 for a period of 31 days, until January 31, 2013. See Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration (Fifth Edition)1. More information: • As part of the provisions of FSMA all domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture,
process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption (including produce waste sold as feed) in the U.S. must register with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and all registered food facilities, including foreign facilities, are required to submit registration renewals to FDA during the registration renewal period. • Biennial Registration Renewal for Food Facilities began at 12:01 AM on October 22, 2012 and ends December 31, 2012. Lianne Wand is communications director, Canadian Produce Marketing Association.
PAGE 16 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
Spotted Wing Drosophila in Ontario: what did we learn in 2012? PAM FISHER, DENISE BEATON, HANNAH FRASER, OMAFRA, AND ANNE MCDONALD HORST, SWD PROJECT COORDINATOR. Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) was detected in California in 2008 and spread rapidly through the west coast berry producing regions in 2009-2010. It quickly invaded the south-eastern U.S., up the east coast in 20102011 and is also moving throughout Europe. In Ontario SWD was first detected at a single location in 2010, and by the end of 2011, SWD was present in traps in 60 per cent of the sites monitored by OMAFRA . Nevertheless, in 2012, the rapid spread and build-up of SWD in Ontario and neighbouring regions was a shock. In this article, we will briefly outline our SWD monitoring project in 2012 and what we learned. For more details, and a full report, please visit the OMAFRA website at www.ontario.ca/spottedwing . Our project was funded by the Ontario Berry Growers Association with funding from
Growing Forward, a federalprovincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of several Growing Forward programs in Ontario. Apple cider vinegar was donated by the H.J. Heinz Company in Leamington. We also had assistance from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, and many crop consultants, scouts and farmers. We made our own SWD traps using 500 ml deli cups, trimmed with red duct tape and punched with 17 3-mm holes around the rim ( Figure 1). Apple cider vinegar was used as a bait. Traps were placed at 110 sites, at the edges of fields, in wild hosts and within crops of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, specialty berries, tree fruit, grapes and tomatoes. The bait was changed weekly and trap contents were identified by OMAFRA students or at the Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Guelph through our OMAFRA-University of Guelph lab agreement. Results were posted weekly on our SWD website. The first SWD was captured in traps collected on June 29, 2012,
six weeks ahead of last year. By August, SWD had been trapped at 90 per cent of the sites and in all the counties monitored, from Leamington to Ottawa to Barrie and even in New Liskeard. Populations started to increase at the end of raspberry harvest and climbed dramatically into the fall. (Figure 2: SWD trap catches in Ontario 2011 and 2012). In 2012 we found damage in all the berry crops, including raspberries, elderberries, day neutral strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and even some of the specialty berry crops such as goji-berry and sea buckthorn. We reared the first flies from fruit collected around July 11, indicating that damage was occurring in the field at this time. First fruit damage in the field was observed July 25, in both raspberries and blueberries.
Significant damage occurred at some sites before flies were caught in traps. By August 14, damage was easy to find in blueberries, raspberries and fall bearing raspberries where sprays had not been applied. We also reared SWD adults from many, many different wild hosts, such as wild brambles, dogwood, pin cherry, pokeweed, buckthorn, mulberry and nightshade. This indicates that SWD is a landscape-level pest that is all around, not just in susceptible crops. How to manage SWD in 2013: Management of SWD will require expensive and major changes to how you manage your berry
Figure 1: SWD traps used in 2012 berry crops. Monitoring for larvae is more important than monitoring for adults in traps. It will show you how well your pest control program is working. Learn how to do the salt test, as outlined on our website (Go to www.ontario.ca/spottedwing then
Figure 2: SWD trap catches in Ontario 2011 and 2012. crops, and it will also require additional insecticides to control this pest. Insecticides: Plan to protect your fruit from SWD while it is ripening and throughout harvest. In 2012, there were five insecticides registered through the Emergency Use Registration Program that could be used on berry crops. We hope for similar registrations in 2013. Spray strategies for berry crops will be posted on our website. Meanwhile think about how you can improve spray coverage by pruning or trellising blueberries and raspberries this winter. You might need to purchase new spray equipment. Wild hosts: Think about the location of wild hosts around your fields. It is not possible, nor is it a good idea, to rid your land of these wild hosts, but you should know where they are. This will be important for early detection of SWD next year. Frequent harvest: The most important part of an SWD control program is harvesting on a tight schedule. Pick early, clean and often. This is challenging for raspberries and strawberries, and even more difficult in blueberries, but it is really critical. Plan on harvesting every two days in raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Think about the changes which will be required to manage labour and your pickyour-own customers. Monitoring: Learn as much as you can about SWD. Make sure you know what to look for and what the damage looks like in
follow the links to monitoring and then fruit sampling). SWD meetings in 2013 Information for Ontario growers is updated frequently at www.ontario.ca/spottedwing Plan to attend these meetings and conferences to learn about SWD. February 19, 2013, Ontario Berry Growers Association Annual Meeting, Embassy Suites, Niagara Falls • Guest speaker: Nate Nourse February 20-21, 2013: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Conference, Scotiabank Convention Center, Niagara Falls Guest speakers: • Tracy Hueppelsheuser Entomologist, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture • Susanna Acheampong, Entomologist, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture Visit the OMAFRA booth in the trade show for demonstrations on monitoring, trapping and pest identification. For more information and registration, visit www.ofvc.ca March 16, 2013: Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers Association Annual Meeting, Port Elgin Guest speaker: Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University. Contact Bill Parks (chair) at firstname.lastname@example.org March 2013: IPM Technical Update, Date TBA. Contact Margaret Appleby at email@example.com
JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 17 THE GROWER
PAGE 18 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
Strawberry aphids and their management in Ontario strawberry farms Product
RACHEL DE JONG, SUMMER ASSISTANT, AND PAM FISHER, BERRY CROP SPECIALIST, ONTARIO MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS, SIMCOE, ONTARIO The strawberry aphid (Chaetospihon fragaefolii) is one of several aphid species that are found in strawberry fields. Sometimes, aphids cause damage due to the formation of sooty mould, which develops on the honeydew secreted by aphids, and occasionally causes damage to leaves and fruit. More significantly, strawberry aphids can transmit viruses from one strawberry plant to another. Viruses which are spread by the strawberry aphid include strawberry yellow edge virus, strawberry crinkle virus, strawberry mottle virus, and strawberry vein banding virus. When magnified, strawberry aphids can be distinguished from other aphids by the presence of small hairs with knobbed ends all over their body. They are pale green to yellow in colour, and range in size from 0.8-1.1mm for nymphs to 1.3-1.5mm for
Admire 240 F
Rate 850 mL – 1.3 L /ha
Assail 70 WP
adults. Adults have long antennae, as long as, or longer than their body. They prefer to feed on the underside of leaves where they are usually found. To scout for strawberry aphids examine the back of new leaves which have not yet uncurled (Figure 1) . Use a handlens or microscope to confirm the presence of the knobbed hairs, which is characteristic of
Apply as a soil drench when new growth begins in the spring, or shortly after transplanting. Apply to soil in 2,000 L water/ha over the plant row. Maximum number of applications per year = 1.
56-86 grams/ha Apply as a foliar spray. Use the high rate under heavy pressure, and repeat application if necessary.
Thionex 50 W
Apply as a foliar spray in 2000 L of water per hectare. Maximum number of applications per year = 2.
Apply as a foliar spray in 2000 L of water per hectare. Maximum number of applications per year = 2.
(Group 2A) Figure 1: Aphids (species not determined) on new growth of strawberry plant
Thionex EC (Group 2A)
the strawberry aphid. It is important to control strawberry aphids to prevent the spread of viruses from one plant to another. Strawberry aphids are active early in the season, and populations generally peak in May or June in Ontario. Therefore, early season control
is important. Start with an early season application of Admire, followed up if necessary by applications of Assail or Thionex. Do not neglect new plantings. See OMAFRA publication #360 and the product label for complete details.
New detections of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Ontario HANNAH FRASER, ENTOMOLOGYHORTICULTURE PROGRAM LEAD, OMAFRA The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive alien species native to China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. It was introduced to North America in the mid 1990s, and was first detected in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2001. While BMSB is capable of natural spread, the pest is also an excellent hitchhiker and can be moved over large distances in cargo and vehicles. At present it has been found in 39 states, though many of these are simply detections rather than confirmed as established in the field. BMSB has a very broad host range that includes tree fruit, berries, grapes, vegetables, agronomic crops, ornamental trees and ornamental shrubs. Damage results when nymphs and adults feed on either vegetative or fruiting plant parts. Adults overwinter in sheltered areas that may include homes and other heated buildings. As they can aggregate
in very large numbers, the BMSB has become a considerable nuisance pest for home owners where established. Aggregation in artificial structures is not common among stink bugs, and is a behaviour that provides an early warning of where BMSB has become established. Following several homeowner finds from 2010 and 2011, an established population of BMSB was identified by OMAFRA during the summer of 2012 in Hamilton, Ontario. There have been numerous homeowner finds scattered all over Burlington, which most likely indicates BMSB is established there as well. Adults were also collected at two locations in Toronto, and the same homeowner from Newboro who had submitted a specimen in the spring found additional specimens this fall. Despite province-wide surveys in 2011 and 2012, BMSB has not yet been detected in crops. BMSB tend to become established in urban areas first then disperse to agricultural crops. The abundance of suitable landscape hosts and proximity of BMSB populations pose a serious
Figure 1: BMSB adult. Look for two obvious white bands on otherwise dark antennae, inward-pointing white triangles between dark markings along the edge of the abdomen, and a smooth edge along the pronotum or “shoulders.” They are mottled brown-grey dorsally and a have a pale underside. Legs have faint white bands. immediate risk to adjacent agricultural areas in Brant, Halton, Hamilton and Niagara counties. Growers in these areas should be
particularly vigilant about monitoring for BMSB. Malathion 85E has been registered for suppression of BMSB in
berry crops. A national technical working group has been established to prioritize research needs, including potential management solutions. Early detection is important to the long term success of management programs. We need to have a better understanding of where this pest is and how well it is established. There is a monitoring network for this pest and we hope to conduct surveys in 2013/2014; however, we have a better chance of finding pockets of small populations if more people are actively looking. Tracking the distribution and spread is essential. Many of those reporting BMSB indicated they’ve been seeing them for three or four years; they just didn’t realize they were looking at something new. If you think you have found BMSB, contact the Agriculture Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will provide you with instructions on what to do with the sample (Note that high resolution pictures are useful for identification).
Quality Information ~ Quality Seed Since 1881 ~
Henry Zomer (ON/MB/SK) 905-308-4396
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Paul Banks (ON/NS) 905-688-4300
Leah Erickson (BC/AB) 604-957-2359
Marc André Laberge (QC) 514-984-4589
Laura Caralampides (QC) 514-984-0662
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JANUARY 2013 â€“â€“ PAGE 19 THE GROWER
New caneberry production manual from the University of California The University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources is pleased to announce the new Fresh Market Caneberry Production Manual. This caneberry production manual is designed specifically for Western fresh market growers, but has points of interest for eastern growers. Chapters include: â€˘ Plant description â€˘ Flowering and fruit production â€˘ Plant varieties â€˘ Macro-tunnel and field management â€˘ Pest management â€˘ Irrigation, water quality, and fertility â€˘ Training and pollination â€˘ Harvest methods â€˘ Post-harvest handling Manuals are available for $25
January 22-24: Empire State Producers EXPO, OnCenter, Syracuse NY. Day-long berry session Tuesday 1/22/13 and blueberry intensive Wednesday morning 1/23/13. To register: http://nysvga.org/expo/info January 27-30: North American Strawberry Growers Association Annual Meeting, Portland OR. Kevin Schooley, 613-258-4587, email@example.com or www.nasga.org January 28-30: North American Raspberry and Blackberry/Strawberry Growers Association Annual Meeting, Portland OR. More information: 919-542-4037, firstname.lastname@example.org January 29-31: Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Hershey, PA. More information: William Troxell, 717-694-3596, email@example.com or www.mafvc.com. February 19: Ontario Berry Growers Association Annual Meeting, Embassy Suites, Niagara Falls, Ontario firstname.lastname@example.org
in the California online catalog at ucanr.edu/caneberry. Volume discounts may apply. For more information please feel free to contact Marissa Palin, University
of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1-530-7543934. email@example.com. Place an order anytime at http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu
On-farm food safety: receiving inputs When inputs arrive on the farm, it is always a good food safety practice to check that items are not damaged or showing signs of tampering, and that the received items match your order. Mistakes can happen during shipping and using the wrong product or a damaged product can lead to
January 14, 15, 16: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growersâ€™ Association Annual Meeting, The Crowne Plaza Hotel , Niagara Falls, Ontario www.ofvga.org
a food safety risk. After you have confirmed your order, sign and date the invoices, bill of lading or packing slips and keep them on file for future reference or a potential food safety audit. Food safety practices contribute to competitive, productive
and sustainable agri-food business. For more information, visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs website at www.ontario.ca/goodagpractices or call us at 1-877-424-1300.
February 20-21: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Conventionâ€“ Scotiabank Convention Center, Niagara Falls. www.ofvc.ca February 27 â€“ March 1: US Highbush Blueberry Council Spring Meeting, in Savannah, GA. More information: 916-983-0111 or www.blueberry.org March 12-15: Canadian Hort Council Annual General Meeting, Westin- Ottawa. http://www.hortcouncil.ca/ March 16: Ontario Highbush Blueberry Growers Association Annual Meeting. Port Elgin. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org December 4-7: Joint North Carolina Strawberry Growers Association and North American Strawberry Growers Association Conference, Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Durham, North Carolina. email@example.com or www.ncstrawberry.com
2013 20 13 Em EEmpire pire SState tate Pr Producers oduc cers Ex Expo xpo s *ANUARY The 2013 Becker Forum theme is â€œManaging Human Resources in Agriculture: Creative Steps when Public Policy Fails.â€? This day-long session focuses on navigating the new political landscape, addressing current H2A challenges and human resources challenges. The Becker Forum will be hosted at the Doubletree Hotel, East Syracuse, NY. Just off the thruway. (Pre-registration is required.) s *ANUARY The 2013 Expo is three full days of fruit, vegetable, ďŹ‚ower, marketing and labor sessions. Breakouts include labor, tree fruit, berries, ďŹ‚owers, marketing, vine crops, potatoes, and direct marketing. Jim Prevor, â€œThe Perishable Punditâ€? will be this yearâ€™s keynote speaker. And donâ€™t miss Don Frantzâ€™s, The American Maze Company, inspirational talk on making little ideas pay off in a big way during the Direct Marketing session on Thursday, January 24, 2013. s *ANUARY The Expo Trade Show just keeps getting bigger and better! Check out the newest products, services, and specialized equipment for the fruit, vegetable, and direct marketing industries. The trade show will be open all three days in the exhibit. Stop by the trade show Tuesday afternoon for a little â€œTaste of Syracuse.â€? Area restaurants will offer tasting. On Wednesday, be sure not to miss the afternoon complimentary Ice Cream Social.
*OIN US FOR THE %XPO AT THE /NCENTER IN 3YRACUSE
.9 AND THE "ECKER &ORUM HOSTED AT THE $OUBLETREE (OTEL %AST 3YRACUSE 6ISIT OUR .EW WEBSITE TO REGISTER WWWNYSVGAORG AND TO SEE THE COMPLETE PROGRAM LODGING INFORMATION AND DIRECTIONS &OR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWWNYSVGAORG OR EMAIL JMARVIN ROCHESTERRRCOM
January Janu uary 21-24, 21-24, 2013 2 13 20
PAGE 20 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
BITS AND BITES
Five reasons why producers should use social media Farm Credit Canada (FCC) says being active on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook can provide business value to producers and agri-businesses. “Social media is here to stay and it’s a natural fit for the agriculture and agri-food industry,” says Kellie Garrett, Senior VicePresident, Strategy, Knowledge and Reputation. “Since many farms and agri-businesses are located mostly in rural areas across Canada, social media is a convenient tool that makes it easier to build relationships and stay on top of the latest information. Current smart phone technology puts social media right in your pocket, allowing you to maximize your valuable time.” Five reasons producers and agri-businesses should use social media: 1. Stay informed about industry news and trends Most news organizations and many agriculture experts are on Twitter and Facebook. By following or liking their social media accounts, links to the latest articles and videos come to you. 2. Research best practices In social media, distance is mean-
ingless. It has never been quicker or easier to share knowledge and best practices, no matter where your networks and sources are located. 3. Build stronger customer relationships Social media is a great way to find new markets and customers, and strengthen relationships with the customers you already have. You can also ask them what they want from you and your business. 4. Connect with suppliers and service providers The companies that you deal with are likely on social media. Equipment manufacturers and dealers, fertilizer companies, grain handlers and even lenders, including FCC (@FCCagriculture on Twitter), provide news and information to their customers and offer customer support through their social media channels. 5. Promote the agriculture industry The agriculture and agri-food system is Canada’s largest employer and Canada is the fifth largest exporter of agri-food and seafood products in the world. Yet despite a promising future, mispercep-
tions about the industry exist. Social media makes it easy for you to advocate for your industry by engaging in dialogue with others. For example, Agriculture More Than Ever is an industry cause that makes it easy for those in agriculture to share their positive ag stories through social media (www.agriculturemorethanever.ca or on Twitter @AgMoreThanEver). “Start with the most popular social media networks, such as Twitter (www.twitter.com) and Facebook (www.facebook.com),” says Garrett. “You don’t need to tweet or post content every day to realize the benefits. Follow influential people and organizations in the ag industry and try retweeting or sharing posts that interest you. As you follow others and share content, your own following will grow.” Find accounts to follow by
looking at who others follow. For example, on Twitter, FCC has more than 1,300 English and French followers and follows about 200 organizations and individuals who are influential in Canadian agriculture.
OMAFRA specialists to follow: Kristan Callow @weedprofesh Janice LeBoeuf @ontariotomato Leslie Huffman @ontapplelady
JANUARY 2013 â€“â€“ PAGE 21 THE GROWER
BITS AND BITES
Bee Care Center to open in Research Triangle Park Bayer CropScience has announced plans to break ground in February on its North American Bee Care Center, which will serve as a gathering place for researchers, bee experts, students and other visitors to meet regularly with leading Bayer scientists. The Bayer Bee Care Center is dedicated to promoting and protecting bee health so that these hard-working, beneficial insects can continue to provide hive products as well as pollination services. The center is to be located at the Bayer CropScience North America headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and is scheduled for completion in July 2013. The North American Bee Care Center will include: Âˇ Full laboratory and research apiary, as well as honey extraction and workshop space needed to conduct bee health
research and to support a practical apiculture. The research will focus on Integrated Pest Management for the multiple causes affecting bee health, such as parasites, like the Varroa mite, predators, diseases, seasonal management, and environmental stressors Âˇ The active promotion of bee-responsible use of Bayer products along with communication activities worldwide Âˇ State-of-the art meeting, training and presentation facilities for beekeepers, farmers and educators to provide resources and an interactive learning center Bayerâ€™s new North American Bee Care Center is the second established by the company to promote bee health. In 2012, its global Bayer Bee Care Center was established at the joint headquarters campus of Bayer CropScience and Bayer Animal Health in Monheim, Germany.
Seasonal workers saluted in painting The Migrant Worker Community Program (MWCP) has presented the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) with a painting titled The Migrant Worker to honour the financial and moral support they have given over the years. The painting was presented at last fallâ€™s Fiesta Patrias: Celebration of Two Cultures Festival, one of the many events
that MWCP coordinates each year in Leamington, Ontario. The Migrant Worker is by local Leamington artist, Harold Burton and it was selected not only for its obvious affiliation with the local farm industry, but for its deep symbolism of the migrant workers. The image of the migrant worker dominates the painting and the attention to detail the worker is putting into his
work parallels the care and detail the migrant workers put into their work everyday. This work ethic has contributed greatly to the success of the greenhouse industry and the Ontario Greenhouse grower community.
Lorraine Gibson, (L) chair and program supervisor, The Migrant Worker Community Program presents â€œThe Migrant Workerâ€? painting to James Cornies, Ontario Greenhouse Growers Association.
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JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 23 THE GROWER
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PAGE 24 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
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PAGE 26 –– JANUARY 2013 THE GROWER
MINOR USE CRAIG’S COMMENTS
Who negotiates for you?
CRAIG HUNTER OFVGA How does a country manage to negotiate a “Good Deal” when bartering its trade with all the other countries around the world? How can any trade negotiations occur amid the distractions surrounding the delegates? How can the interests that “are not negotiable” be kept off the table when all the other countries demand that they BE on the table? So it is when the Trans Pacific Partnership (Trade) Agreement folks meet WHEN in ‘The City of Sail.’ Auckland New Zealand has one sailboat for every three citizens, plus thousands more that belong to visitors. On top of that, there are literally thousands of interesting sights to see, visit, or explore. The dining opportunities rival Quebec City or some European capitals. How then can the delegates get their job done? The answer is that many of them do NOT expect to get it done! Some of these negotiators have met dozens of times before.
They play the game, live a good life, see much of the world, and know they can always meet again! It is a fact of life that trade is extremely complicated and involves a great many interests (most of which the average Joe could never have thought of) that must be taken into account. The blockbuster deals (like the one the Blue Jays pulled off this winter with Miami) just almost never happen. It is the first time that Canada and Mexico have been invited to attend, so I am sure they have ‘lots to learn’ in catching up to the others for whom this is the 15th meeting. Just as an aside, most of these folks are really nice people in their own right. Its just that they are being asked to accomplish something beyond most peoples’ grasp. Local New Zealand papers are full of local demands, such as that Canada and the U.S. revoke all dairy protection measures or no deal on anything else. They are also leery of the inter-country legal ramifications and cite huge penalties levied against countries under other deals when a partner does not follow the ‘rules.’ There are many other countries involved, and they all have their list of demands and needs. Sounds just like NAFTA only more-so, doesn’t it? It might be interesting if one was allowed inside the actual negotiating sessions. I, for one, would like to see something ‘simple’ like a Pan Pacific version of CODEX be set up
Airblast spayer course open for 25 participants The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be the site of an interactive airblast sprayer course developed by Jason Deveau, OMAFRA’s application technology specialist. It’s scheduled for February 21 from 9:30 am to noon, room 203 of the Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls. Deveau has designed the course to introduce new airblast operators to the basics of spraying, and to refresh seasoned veterans by teaching new technologies and management practices. Upon completing this workshop, participants will be better able to: - Calibrate airblast sprayers - Match sprayer settings to various crops, sizes and growth stages - Optimize spray distribution and quality to achieve the “right” amount of coverage with minimal waste - Diagnose spray coverage using water-sensitive paper Participants will receive the new 2013 Airblast 101 course workbook, which illustrates the most current practices in airblast application. The session is limited to the first 25 participants to ensure an interactive experience. The workshop fee is $25. To register call Nancy Gonsalves: 416 622 9771 ext 2221 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
where all participating countries would agree to one set of residue limits for all pesticides and for all tradable commodities. Since most or all of the countries involved already participate in global reviews of new active ingredients, it would be a very simple step on those ones. A cross-comparison on all the other registered actives is simpler than many realize--it only takes the will to do it. The savings would be great for all countries, and the payback enormous with freer trade movement of food-- a strong political reason to do so. (To say nothing of the political pressure it could put on CODEX to get Europe moving faster than at a snail’s pace!) I suppose the delegates at these meetings only work at the highest levels of detail, and such a ‘concept’ is beneath their working level. Too bad, because agreement on something like this could open more doors for the big deal they are all looking for. Just like when the Blue Jays entered discussions on one player, and ended up in a 12-player swap, so too a trade deal could happen. Am I the only one who wonders who and how country delegates for such talks are chosen? Does agriculture have someone who actually knows what happens on a farm? Do they have a plethora of contacts who actually KNOW the significance and importance of the outcomes of each ‘chess-board move’ that may be happening? What would happen if they made a ‘bad deal’
for our farmers? Would they lose their job, or get promoted for doing a deal? Is ‘ANY’ deal a good deal as far as they are concerned? It is no wonder that our major exporting agriculture commodity groups have representatives here to ‘play the hallways’ and to provide backup information. Even two provinces – British Columbia and Alberta -- have official delegates. All those not here run the risk of being put up as ‘trade-bait’ to help other sectors. The worst part is in not knowing the political motivations of the actual delegates. Only time will tell if anything comes out of the meetings – good or bad. It may be that such meetings should be held in awful places in the dead of winter when they all must stay indoors and not enjoy the distractions. Auckland is such a great place to visit, (and it’s summertime there) I can only hold out hope that only good outcomes arise, but I won’t hold my breath! All of this is a mere happenstance for me, as a result of being asked earlier to make a presentation to a working group of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) working group in another New Zealand town down in the South Island. This group also moves meetings around the globe, to enfranchise all participating countries. It was much more of a ‘working group’ and our discussions revolved around measuring the uptake of
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, and the risk reduction evaluations. Many countries, and especially European ones, have moved bold steps ahead in legislating for IPM to be THE only pest control approach. There were representatives of the organic and bio-dynamic proponents present to add their voices to the discussions, and their needs can be easily encompassed in the IPM approaches. It was interesting to see the varying degrees of IPM uptake, the levels of government support in various countries, and the differing approaches that have been made. I was able to raise a key point about the need for a workable minor use program to provide the tools, be they conventional chemical or biological, which are needed to support these programs. This is even more important as we all face increasing threats of invasive species, or resistant strains of pests we have formerly been able to control. Not all the countries have such a program, and much interest was raised. Our success in these areas stands us in good stead, and we may see more foreign delegates at our March Priority Meetings, looking to see how we do it! As nice as this setting has been, I think Canada should offer to host it next time--in a place like Kapuskasing! There would be few distractions in January and a better chance to force discussions throughout the meetings! What a concept.
JANUARY 2013 –– PAGE 27 THE GROWER
Fungicide label expanded to control diseases on field tomatoes No. apps / and Brassica vegetables Crop(s) Pest Rate (L/ha) PHI year JIM CHAPUT, OMAFRA, MINOR USE COORDINATOR, GUELPH The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of URMULE registrations for Torrent 400SC Fungicide for control of late blight on field tomatoes and suppression of downy mildew on Brassica vegetables,
Ranman 400SC fungicide approved for two new uses The Ranman 400SC fungicide label has expanded once again providing even greater pest protection for vegetable growers. Ranman can now be used for the control of late blight on field tomatoes and the suppression of downy mildew on brassica vegetables after recent Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) approvals. The addition of downy mildew suppression to the product label is also welcome news for brassica crop growers. The disease thrives in wet weather conditions and can significantly reduce crop yield and quality. The contact fungicide, which already has a strong track record of controlling downy mildew in cucurbits, offers excellent rainfastness once dry. David Strilchuk, Canada Country Manager with FMC Corporation, notes there have been a total of seven User Requested Minor Use Label Expansions (URMULE) for Ranman in 2012. These include the control of downy mildew and cottony leak, and the suppression of phytophthora blight on snap and lima beans; the suppression of downy mildew on head and leaf lettuce; and the control of downy mildew on basil (field and greenhouse). “Ranman is quickly becoming a valuable and trusted fungicide for many growers in the horticulture sector,” says Strilchuk adding that the product has demonstrated excellent activity on all stages of oomycetes and related lower fungi (water moulds) in carrots, cucurbits and potatoes in past years. The unique fungicide contains the active ingredient cyazofamid and is the only product in the FRAC Group 21 of cyanoimidazoles. Source: UAP news release
crop group 5 in Canada. The active ingredient cyazofamid was already labeled on potatoes, cucurbits, spinach, basil, lettuce, beans and carrots for several important diseases. These minor use projects were sponsored in 2011 and early 2012 by the minor use office of OMAFRA as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. The minor use label expansions for Torrent 400SC Fungicide are a significant step towards developing an improved pest management toolkit for these diseases in Canada. The following is provided as an abbreviated, general outline
0.1 – 0.2
Brassica vegetables, crop group 5 (includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese broccoli [gai lon], rapini, nappa cabbage, bok choy, gai choy, mustard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, etc) only. Users should consult the complete label before using Torrent 400SC Fungicide. For a copy of the new minor use label for tomatoes contact Janice LeBoeuf, OMAFRA, Ridgetown (519) 674-1699; for Brassica vegetables contact Marion Paibomesai, OMAFRA, Guelph (519) 826-4963 or visit www.engageagro.com
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Grapes worth celebrating PURE PROTECTION LEADS TO PURE PERFECTION
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