Saturday, June 30, 2012

Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux Highlights Canadian Government's Commitment to Agriculture Science

LAKEFIELD, Ontario - Marketwire - June 29, 2012 - Today, as part of a regional tour of Southern Ontario, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Pierre Lemieux toured a farm to learn about the adverse effects stable flies have on dairy and beef farms.

"Our Government is always interested in practical science and common sense solutions that can help our farmers grow their profits," said Parliamentary Secretary Lemieux. "Our Government encourages this kind of privately funded research, which directly helps the bottom line of our world-class dairy and beef farmers."

As part of the tour, Mr. Lemieux learned that biting-flies on livestock farms can significantly affect the bottom line of farmers, but that these pests can be controlled. Dr. David Beresford, biology professor at the University of Trent, has been studying the ways of mitigating this problem.

"I am pleased that our Government is interested in practical research. Biting flies, for example, costs the dairy and beef industries in North America $3 billion per year in lost weight and production," remarked Dr. Beresford. "Based on my research, I have been able to slowdown the growth rate of stable flies on farms by 15%, and with further research I hope to halt their population growth entirely."

Mr. Lemieux used the opportunity to highlight the work undertaken by individuals and private industry as well as the significant strategic investments that the government has made in science and innovation. For example, the Agriculture Innovation Program, a two year $50 million investment, helps to get new products, technologies, processes to market, and improve the productivity and competitiveness of Canadian producers and processors.

Dr. Beresford's work on farm pests has been published in the Journal of Dairy Science, Economic Entomology, Journal of Vector Ecology, and Medical and Veterinary Entomology, with his most recent work soon to be released in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Technology and Smart Phones Are Changing Cities, and The Densest Cities Benefit The Most

from by Lloyd Alter - Design / Urban Design

For years, the prevailing wisdom was that the Internet might be bad for cities, as people could essentially do everything, from work to entertainment, from their home in the country. Certainly this is true to a point; I am writing this from a cabin in the woods. In the Financial Times, Simon Kuper notes that in fact, the opposite is happening;

Writing in the Financial Times, Simon Kuper notes that the internet, and the smart phone in particular, are bringing people together.

The internet was perfect for cities. It created new networks that reinforced older urban networks. Patrik Regardh, head of strategic marketing for the mobile-phone operator Ericsson, says urbanites email, phone and use social networks more than people outside cities. After all, they have more contacts, and so they communicate more.

Kuper makes an interesting point about how desktop computers tied people to their desks, and laptops tied them to Starbucks. But the smartphone changes everything.

In short, smartphones are helping make the densest cities the best places to live, as witnessed by property prices in Hong Kong, New York, Paris and London.

More in The Financial Times

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New contest launched Seeking farmers for the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar

GUELPH, Ontario May 22, 2012 – It’s often said that there’s no such thing as a typical farmer – that Ontario’s farm community is comprised of tens of thousands of outstanding farmers. Each farmer could be considered unique for the way they grow their crops, raise their livestock or manage their environmental practices.

Farm & Food Care Ontario is celebrating the heart and entrepreneurial spirit of Ontario’s farmers by launching a new contest to feature a farmer or farm family who is proud and passionate about farming. The winning farmer or farm family will be featured on a page in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar.

The calendar, now entering its eighth year, has featured the faces and stories of almost 160 farmers and farm families since it was expanded to include all types of farmers in 2005. The goal of the project is to break stereotypes about Ontario’s farmers and get some important messages about modern farming to the public. The Faces of Farming Calendar is successful every year as it features compelling and creative photographs to capture the interest of anyone who opens the cover by introducing real farmers and telling their stories. Each year the calendar is distributed to thousands of Ontario media, chefs, grocery stores and politicians and is sold through the Farm & Food Care website, office and local outlets.

Project manager Kelly Daynard said she continues to hear new and unique stories from the participants each year – stories that are captured in the captions that appear below each photo.

“We’re hoping that this contest will identify even more of those stories that should be told – stories that clearly identify the passion farmers have for their careers, their way of life and some of the struggles they’ve often had to overcome to get to where they are today.”

Farmers and farm families are encouraged to enter the contest by submitting both a photo and short essay (400 words or less) describing their farm and their pride in farming by answering the following questions:

...Names and ages of all entrants (as pictured in the photo) ...Address, including county or region, and phone number ...A short description of the farming operation (including types of crops grown, livestock raised, products sold) ...History of the farm – number of generations farming, etc. ...Any other details that make their story unique including community involvement, environmental initiatives, unusual hobbies or backgrounds, etc. ...What makes them the perfect candidate for this project – describe why you and/or your family are proud and passionate about farming.

All entries must be received at the Farm & Food Care office no later than Friday, June 15, 2012 when they will be reviewed by a panel of judges. The winning family will participate in a professional and memorable photo shoot in July, will receive complimentary copies of the calendar and two tickets and accommodation for the 2012 Ontario Harvest Gala and calendar launch on November 1, 2012 in Guelph.

Entries can be emailed to or mailed to 100 Stone Road West, Suite 106, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5L3.