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Union Farmer Quarterly: Spring 2016

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Contents:

  • Message from the Editorial Advisory Committee
  • Message from the President
  • Message from the Women's President
  • Message from the NFU Youth President
  • Regional Reports
  • Meet your new Board members

Convention Panel Reports:

  • Soil Health is Key – Lessening farmers' impact on water
  • Critical Issues for New Farmers – the challenge of accessing capital and land - NFU youth

Articles:

Union Farmer Newsletter - March 2016

PDF version

Contents:

  • Rebuilding Canada’s agricultural institutions in the public interest for sustainable, prosperous family farms:
    NFU Submission to Federal Pre‐Budget Consultation, February 2016
  • Atrazine Review ̶ NFU calls for precautionary approach
  • Strengthening Supply Management: Defending Canadian control of our market space and advancing food sovereignty
  • 2016 Census of Agriculture is on the horizon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFU endorses MoVE Campaign for Migrant Workers’ Rights

(March 31, 2016 - Kingston, ON) - The National Farmers Union (NFU) has endorsed the Mobility, Voice and Equality for Migrant Workers (MoVE) Campaign organized by the Coalition for Migrant Workers Rights - Canada. The NFU joins in the call for regulatory changes so that migrant workers can more easily move between jobs, thereby improving working and living conditions for Canadian born and migrant workers. The campaign is also seeking a transition from tied work permits to open work permits, the removal of time limits on work permits and restrictions on Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) including a 4-year time-limit on workers ability to stay and permanent resident immigration status upon arrival for migrant workers.
 

OP ED - Bottling Canada’s Food Policies – What the debate over ketchup says about the future of farming

by Emery Huszka

Florence, Ontario - I’ve been watching with interest the recent social media splash made over French’s ketchup. It highlights what the National Farmers Union (NFU) has been talking about for years – food sovereignty matters. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about where their food comes from. As farmers, we’d be stupid not to sit up and notice this trend.

In case you somehow missed the hubbub, retail giant Loblaws threatened to drop French’s ketchup, while keeping Heinz. The tomato paste for French’s is being produced in Leamington, Ontario at the factory and with the tomatoes that Heinz dropped in 2014 when it moved its ketchup production out of Canada. Canadian consumers used social media to voice their displeasure loud and clear, and Loblaws reversed their decision.

NFU Calls for Immediate Action to Stop GM alfalfa seed sales in Canada

(March 24, 2016) - The National Farmers Union (NFU) has written to Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay asking him to take immediate action to stop Monsanto licensee, Forage Genetics International, (FGI) from selling genetically modified (GM) alfalfa seed in Canada this spring. The NFU also asked the Minister to put border controls in place to prevent importation of contaminated conventional alfalfa seed from the USA.
 
“The NFU has seen a letter from FGI which says the company may start selling genetically modified alfalfa seed in Eastern Canada for spring planting,” said Jan Slomp, NFU President. “This would be a disaster for farmers because, once it has been planted, there would be no way to stop the GM trait from spreading to organic and conventional farms and crops.

Letter to Minister - Urgent Action needed to stop GM alfalfa seed sales

March 24, 2016
 
Hon.  Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 9A6
 
 
Dear Minister MacAulay,
 
Re: Urgent Action needed to stop sale of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa seed in Canada and to bring in border controls to prevent importation of contaminated conventional alfalfa seed
 
It has come to our attention that the Monsanto licensee, Forage Genetics International (FGI), has signalled it may begin selling genetically modified alfalfa seed in Eastern Canada in April 2016.

NFU Recommendations for Solving Canada’s Grain Transportation Problems

 
The following was sent to Transport Minister Marc Garneau on March 23, 2016:
 
The transportation of prairie grain by rail is a critical element in Canada’s economy. The consequences of its success or failure are measured in the billions of dollars annually. The costs of dysfunction are inordinately borne by farmers who are forced to accept lower prices for their product and pay higher storage, freight and demurrage costs to get it to market. Grain companies are margin traders. Their profits depend not on the actual price of grain, but on the difference between the price they pay farmers for the grain and the price they obtain when selling it to the end-user.

Federal Budget - The NFU’s Recommendations

The Federal Budget will be tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016. The National Farmers Union (NFU) presented its recommendations to the House of Commons Finance Committee during its pre-budget consultation process.

Emery Huszka New NFU-O President and Region 3 Coordinator

(March 15, 2016, Guelph, ON) - Emery Huszka of Florence, Ontario was chosen as the new National Farmers Union - Ontario President, NFU National Board member, and NFU Region 3 Coordinator at the Annual General Meeting held March 5 in Kingston, Ontario
 
As membership continues to grow, the NFU-O is focused on sharing its core values with both rural and urban populations, highlighting the need for strong rural communities and sustainable local economies, prioritizing issues affecting farmers and promoting the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of family farms and rural communities. “We may not agree on all issues, but we will engage thoughtfully and take action constructively,” notes Huszka. “We are known for asking hard questions, and I intend to continue on that path.”
 

Letter to PM about meeting Paris Agreement commitments

March 14, 2016
 
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6
 
 
Dear Prime Minister:
 
RE: Meeting Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments in tackling climate change and transitioning to a low carbon economy
 
The National Farmers Union (NFU) supports Canada’s commitment to undertake action to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
 
Farmers are on the front lines of climate change, as we are among those who most depend upon a favourable climate and w