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Federal Government Invests in Canadian Livestock Health

From: Food in Canada

Guelph, Ont. – Canada’s federal government is supporting livestock health with an investment of $1.31 million.

In a statement, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) says the investment was made to the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC) “to help ensure the safe transportation of livestock, develop emergency management tools for the livestock industry and improve animal care assessments.”

Jennifer MacTavish, the chair of the CAHC, says in the statement that the organization appreciates the support. She adds that the funding will help “develop Canada’s Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals and affiliated animal care assurance programs.”

The CAHC is a non-profit organization serving Canada’s farmed animal industry. The organization is a partnership of cross-sectorial organizations, all recognizing a shared responsibility for an effective animal health system.

The investment will be divided between four projects, as noted in the statement, including:

  • Up to $223,929 to develop a new livestock transport on-line certification program that will simplify, standardize and provide an opportunity for truckers, shippers and receivers to more easily access the training necessary to improve handling practices.
  • Up to $160,713 to update the Transportation Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals during transport.
  • Up to $813,200 to develop an emergency management plan for the Canadian livestock industry to help mitigate, to respond to, and to recover from major hazard emergencies.
  • Up to $112,180 to revise the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s animal care assessment program to meet the new Code of Practice for hatching eggs, breeders, chickens and turkeys. The project will strengthen the poultry industry’s capacity to respond to ever increasing demand by markets to demonstrate effective animal care standards.

Ontario’s Supports Conestoga Meat Packers

From: Food in Canada

Breslau, Ont. – Conestoga Meat Packers has received a financial boost from the province of Ontario. In a statement, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced that it is investing $5.3 million to help the company “boost productivity and expand its pork processing capacity by 86 per cent.” The investment is expected to create 170 new jobs at the facility in Breslau.

“Our government is proud to support the continued growth of Ontario’s food processing sector, an important driver of our economy,” said Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of Agriculture, in the statement. “This support will help Conestoga Meat Packers increase its productivity, enhance competitiveness and create good jobs in Waterloo Region.” Conestoga Meat began processing farm-fresh pork in 1982. Today it is Ontario’s second-largest pork processor and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Progressive Pork Producers Co-operative Inc., a co-op of 157 southwestern Ontario hog producers. The government investment was made through Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund. With the funding Conestoga Meat “will purchase leading-edge equipment that will almost double its meat processing capacity.”

For more information on the Conestoga Meat Packers, check out their website: www.conestogameats.com

Precision Cutting: Handtmann’s INOTEC WT99-iT Series  

From: Food in Canada

Handtmann says its new generation of INOTEC WT99-iT Link Cutter was recently honoured with a design award from Germany’s International Forum Design GmbH located in Hannover. In a statement, Handtmann says the design institution selected the INOTEC WT99-iT Link Cutter from more than 5,000 applicants from 59 countries. The features that stood out were its “hygienic design and dynamic precision performance with proven technology that has been upgraded from previous generations in every critical area affecting sanitation, performance, reliability and simplicity of use,” says the company.

The new iT generation link cutters, explains the statement, comply “with all of the hygiene, sanitation and ergonomics requirements and are meeting all of the demands for efficiency and reliability in the heavy duty working environments of modern processors.” In fact, the company says the iT series “is a model for modern food processing equipment design with simple controls, rounded edges, many ergonomic features, free access to all elements for maintenance and cleaning, and faster speeds made possible by even more precise cutting.” The INOTEC series link cutters work with all sausage types with extremely high precision at speeds up to 1,800 cuts per minute, says the statement.

To learn more about INOTEC link cutters, go to: www.handtmann.ca/inotec

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show 2017

From: Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show 

Now in its 24th year, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show features 750 exhibitors showcasing the latest in agricultural science, technology and innovation through interactive displays, demonstrations and exhibits.  As a business-to-business show dedicated solely to agricultural products, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show delivers agricultural advancements that will help Canadian farmers continue to produce high-quality and safe food competitively. 

The Outdoor Farm Show is running from September 12-14 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at Canada’s Outdoor Park in Woodstock, Ontario. 

Make sure you come visit Tri-Mach Group of Companies at the Outdoor Farm Show this year. We are located at the ACMPR Exhibit in booth C4. Found out what’s new in custom machining, robotic automation and sanitary equipment design from Tri-Mach Group Inc. and Advance Millwrights Inc. 

For more information on the Farm Show or to view the exhibitor map, go to: www.outdoorfarmshow.com

Building the Ontario Beef Brand 

From: BLOCKtalk Magazine 

According to BLOCKtalk Magazine, “2017 will mark an exciting year for the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) as the organization makes a significant shift in the role they play in the development and implementation of regional marketing initiatives throughout Ontario”. BLOCKtalk discusses the strong demand for Ontario beef in the consumer market and how we must bridge the gap between farmers, processors and urban customers when paying for local beef products. 

Click here to learn more about the BFO and how they are reaching out to their consumers. 

 

 

 

Challenges & Opportunities for the Meat Sector

From: International Food & Meat

According to International Food & Meat, historically, price, taste and convenience have been the consumers’ principal drivers. Now the food industry is looking more and more at product attributes, such as place and method of production, provenance and background story, care of the local economy, animal and worker welfare, environmental impact and overall sustainability. International Food & Meat Magazine highlights some of the key points about the protein economy from David Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing, Imperial College as well as many other challenges the meat sector will face in the future.

IFPT/Conestoga Offers a New Program Targeted to Food Manufacturing Leaders

From: BLOCKtalk Magazine 

In the fall of 2016, Conestoga College, through the Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT), launched a new graduate certificate program called, “Operations Leadership in Food Manufacturing”. This one-year, full-time program at Conestoga College is designed for students who want to be prepared for an advanced supervisory career in the food manufacturing industry.

Tri-Mach Group, in partnership with Conestoga, built and installed three full processing lines for the IFPT facility in 2012. These processing lines included: a Vegetable line, a Baking line, and a Liquid Processing line. Tri-Mach Group is happy to hear that the IFPT facility is becoming a success in training graduate students in: quality, food safety, maintenance, operations, procurement, and planning.

Click here to find out the best practices and tools that students are learning from this new and innovative program at Conestoga College.

No animal required, but would people eat artificial meat?

From: FoodProcessing.com

Futurists tell us that we will be eating in vitro meat (IVM) – meat grown in a laboratory rather than on a farm – within five to 10 years.

IVM was first investigated in the early years of this century and since then, criticisms of farm animal product systems, particularly intensive ones, have escalated. 

They include the excessive use of land, energy and water resources; local and global pollution; poor animal welfare; a contribution to climate change; and unhealthy eating habits and disease in humans.

At the same time, human (and livestock) population growth continues, farming land is requisitioned for urban expansion and meat consumption per person is rising.

So we want a new source of meat – or do we?

Reaction to artificial meat

Growing meat artificially, under laboratory-type conditions, is not possible on a large scale. But people’s concerns about eating IVM have rarely been explored.

In a recent survey, published this month in PLOS One, we investigated the views of people in the United States, a country with one of the largest appetites for meat and an equally large appetite for adopting new technologies.

A total of 673 people responded to the survey, done online via Amazon Mechanical Turk, in which they were given information about IVM and asked questions about their attitudes to it.

Although most people (65%), and particularly males, were willing to try IVM, only about a third said they would use it regularly or as a replacement for farmed meat.

But many people were undecided: 26 per cent were unsure if they would use it as a replacement for farmed meat and 31 per cent unsure if they would eat it regularly. This suggests there is scope to persuade consumers that they should convert to IVM if a suitable product is available. As an indication of this potential, 53 per cent said it was seen as preferable to soy substitutes.

The pros and cons of IVM

The biggest concerns were about IVM’s taste and lack of appeal, particularly in the case of meats seen as healthy, such as fish and chicken, where only two-thirds of people that normally at them said that they would if it was produced by in vitro methods.

In contrast, 72 per cent of people who normally eat beef and pig products would still do so if they were produced as IVM. Interestingly, about 4 per cent of people said they would try IVM products of horse, dog or cat – despite these being meats they would not currently eat.

The perceived advantages of IVM were that it was environmentally and animal-welfare friendly, ethical, and less likely to carry diseases. It could increase the proportion of happy animals on Earth if it replaced intensive farm animal production. By happy, we mean well nourished, comfortable, healthy, free from pain, and able to perform.

The disadvantages were that IVM was perceived as unnatural, potentially less tasty and likely to have a negative impact on farmers, by putting them out of business.

The IVM consumer

So who would be most likely to use IVM, and hence dictate the focus of advertisers’ pitch?

Gender was the biggest predicting factor with men more likely on average to say they would try IVM, whereas women were less sure. Men also had more positive views of its benefits.

Recognizing that meat-eating men are often viewed as more masculine, it is not clear whether this prevailing attitude would change if men converted to eating IVM.

Those with liberal political views rather than conservative ones were also much more receptive to the idea, confirming their more progressive viewpoints generally, as well as their traditionally stronger focus on fairness and avoiding harm to others.

Vegetarians and vegans were more likely to support the benefits of IVM but least likely to try it. People who ate little meat were also more supportive, compared with big meat eaters.

IVM on the menu

While a reasonably large proportion of the sample reported willingness to try IVM in the future, there appears to be hesitation around the idea of incorporating it into a daily diet.

Resistance came primarily from practical concerns, such as taste and price. But these are factors that are largely under the control of the manufacturers.

The concerns – about taste, price and impact on farmers – could all be effectively dealt with if there was sufficient financial advantage in producing IVM.

As tissue engineering techniques improve, culturing meat in vitro also brings the opportunity to introduce health-promoting ingredients, such as polyunsaturated fats, more easily than in living animals.

Another commonly cited concern was the perception that the product was unnatural. This may be similar to people’s concerns about genetically-modified (GM) foods – some of those who oppose GM foods are moral absolutists who would not be influenced by any argument in favour.

By expressing concern about the naturalness of IVM, some people were suggesting that there are fundamental issues that would cause them to reject it.

But with a little investigation into the processing and production of some meat products today, they might soften their attitudes toward IVM.

If IVM doesn’t take your fancy, lab-grown leather is actively being developed by a company that was dissuaded from producing IVM because it thought only 40 per cent of people would even try it.

That was back in 2012 and now our survey has found that 65 per cent of people surveyed in the U.S. said they would definitely or probably try IVM. So maybe people are becoming more responsive to the idea as opposition to conventional animal farming grows.

Although ours was a relatively small survey in a developed country (with a huge appetite for meat), one can speculate that people in developing countries might be less concerned about issues like taste and natural appeal of IVM. They might view it as a valuable source of protein they would not otherwise get.

Perhaps the futurists are right and IVM will be what fills our dinner plates in the near future.

Alberta economy will grow modestly in 2017 – and energy sector won’t fuel it, analysts say

From: CBC News

Alberta’s economy will return to modest growth in 2017, but it won’t be fueled by the energy sector, according to ATB Financial’s latest outlook.

The report forecasts GDP growth of 2.2 per cent this year – led by agriculture, argri-food, and tourism – after a 2.7 per cent contraction in 2016.

“Tourism could experience another record-setting year thanks to a relatively weak dollar, greater tourism from Asia and Canada’s 150th celebrations,” ATB Financial said in a release Wednesday.

The report says hog prices have improved slightly, and wheat and canola prices have perked up recently. Farmers can expect a decent year for profits if the weather cooperates.

“Even greater optimism and potential exists in agri-food and food processing,” the report said.

Earlier this month, the Conference Board of Canada predicted Alberta would lead the country with real GDP growth of 2.8 per cent in 2017.

Major investment in Lethbridge

A plan by Cavendish Farms to build a $350-million frozen potato processing plant in Lethbridge – the largest private investment in that city’s history – is a big part of that optimism, the report says.

Other small food processing businesses, micro-breweries and distilleries are also fueling growth.

“This remains a bright spot for economic diversity and job creation,” the reports said.

The outlook is less certain for Alberta cattle ranchers. Forced culls and quarantines due to an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis have hit cattle ranchers hard, and future contracts for live cattle are 15 per cent less than 2016 and well below record highs reached in 2015, the report says.

Higher oil prices, Ottawa’s approval of two pipeline projects and the resuscitation of Keystone XL have revived some optimism in the petroleum sector, the report says.

‘Era of modest growth’

And while the petroleum industry is starting 2017 in better shape relative to the past few years, unemployment could remain close to eight or nine per cent until the second half of 2017.

The price of WTI benchmark oil is expected to remain in the $50 US to $60 US range, but growth in energy sector investment is still expected to be soft, said ATB Financial chief economist Todd Hirsch.

“The projected growth in our GDP represents an end to the 2015-16 recession – but it ushers in an era of modest growth,” he said.

“It will stand in contrast to the high-growth period of 2010-14 when the economy expanded by four to five per cent annually.”

Strong house prices

Construction spending is expected to be sluggish in 2017, especially in the commercial sector, partly due to the surplus of office real estate coming on to the market in Calgary.

This could be offset by increases in government building projects as promised federal and provincial infrastructure capital spending plans come online, the report says.

With a glut of unabsorbed housing on the market and at least another six months of inter-provincial out-migration expected, new home construction will likely fall slightly in 2017.

However, housing prices in Calgary and Edmonton should remain steady as confidence grows, the report said.

And despite the economic downturn, house prices in Calgary have even edged up, the report said. In January, the average price of a detached house in Calgary was $544,230 – 3.4 per cent higher than January 2015. 

Maple Leaf Foods acquires U.S. veggie protein company for US $140M

From: Canadian Manufacturing

Maple Leaf Foods has announced it will acquire an American company that makes plant-based protein foods for US $140 million and any related costs.

Maple Leaf says it has signed a definitive agreement to buy Lightlife Foods Inc., which makes vegetarian deli meets, chicken, beef, sausages and other meatless foods.

President and CEO Michael McCain said in a statement that consumers are looking for alternative protein sources and this growing market is one of Maple Leaf’s strategic growth platforms.

Lightlife’s management will continue to run the Turners Falls, Mass.- headquartered company, which will operate as a subsidiary of Maple Leaf.

The deal is subject to a U.S. regulatory review and is expected to close in March.