National food strategy rooted in Elgin


Posted by Ian:

With no clearly defined picture as to what Canada’s agri-industry should look like in the coming decades, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture is taking a lead role in devising a national food strategy. OFA vice-president Mark Wales, who farms near Copenhagen in east Elgin, is a vocal advocate for a clear, defining agricultural template that can be adopted on a national scale.

City Scope conducted a lengthy interview with Mark on March 9 of this year. What follows is the entire unedited version of the phone interview with Mark in Toronto that delved into a national food strategy, a similar undertaking in the U.K., GM foods and other agri-industry topics on the radar.

City Scope: Mark, define for us what has led up to the push for a national food policy.

Mark Wales: There never has been any clear defining, overarching national or even provincial food strategy in this country. Some municipalities, like Vancouver, have a food strategy and I think Manitoba has a bit of one, but those are mainly focused around very local food. But there is nothing overall to say what should Canadian agriculture look like, whom should we be trying to feed, what should we be trying to produce and who should be doing it and under what standards and so on.

There is a myriad of policies but none of them with any overarching vision or strategy. So, that’s what we’re working on here, both in Ontario at the OFA level, and at the national level through the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
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Ethanol undermines Canada hog farm rescue


WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Canada’s rescue plan of the hog industry will fail to save it because the government continues to support ethanol production, the industry’s rival for feed grain supplies, a report by an independent farm research centre said on Wednesday.

The Canadian government said on Saturday it will pay some farmers to stop raising hogs and offer loans to help others restructure. Canada’s hog industry is in crisis, with high feed prices, a buoyant Canadian dollar, fears about H1N1 flu and a U.S. food labelling law making pig farming unprofitable.

A mandate from the Canadian government, starting next year, that oil companies must market fuel with 5 percent renewable content, has spurred rapid expansion of ethanol production. That’s driving up prices of corn and feed wheat, from which ethanol is produced and which farmers feed to cattle and pigs.
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