“Why you can’t find heritage poultry” by MARK SCHATZKER in the Globe and Mail:
Two chicken inspectors showed up at a farm in Southern Ontario not long ago. They flashed badges and inspected the premises and, sure enough, they found what they were looking for: chickens. About 100 of them, wandering across open pastures, pecking at bugs, worms and blades of grass.
The inspectors quickly put a stop to all that. They told the farmer to get rid of his chickens or face the consequences. Then they visited other nearby farms, issuing threats of fines (up to $10,000 a day), and leaving more than one Amish farm wife in tears. Continue reading
Voice of the people, speaking in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder — excerpts:
“On Jan. 21, Michael Schmidt of Durham Ontario, the non-quota holding dairy farmer who formed a “cowshare” type of co-operative which allowed its members to own a portion of a dairy cow and receive “raw” or unpasteurized milk and thus circumvent the Canadian law which prohibits the sale of any unpasteurized milk or milk product, was acquitted of all charges.
In the week that followed, the phone calls to our farm started.
We received at least six calls from families unknown to us, wanting to know if they could lease, buy shares or buy and board one of our Jerseys. The quantities requested ranged from 10 litres every second day to one woman who wanted 100 litres a week -milk, butter, cheese and ice cream were on her agenda. We politely refused each request, explaining that to do so would put our quota, and thus our farm, at risk. Everyone swore they would never tell where they got it, but we chose to pass up the opportunity to make extra money. Continue reading
Colin Busby and William Robson discuss possible solutions to the damage caused by supply management to Canada’s food economy. Here’s an excerpt from their opinion piece in the Financial Post, titled “Free up our food supply — phase out farm quotas“:
“Since the early 1970s, “supply management” has subjected Canadian dairy, poultry and egg production to government-mandated cartels. Introduced to increase producer power vis-à-vis intermediaries and consumers, and thus raise farm incomes, supply management supports higher-than-market prices by administering producer prices and restricting farm output through production quotas, while high tariffs prevent food processors and consumers getting alternative supplies from abroad. Continue reading
What, you may wonder, are the government folks up to now. What do they spend their money and time on, when they’re not looking into how to help aspiring raw milk farmers roll out product for a growing niche market? Well, this could be part of the answer. After all, why should airports and the Olympics get all of our security dollars. Obviously someone sees a market for security down on the farm. Here’s an excerpt from the story in today’s Toronto Star, by Joanna Smith, of the Star’s Ottawa Bureau:
Greg Cameri and Jenn McEachern of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory working at Biosecurity Level 4, the highest security available. Photo: CSIRO, from Sydney Morning Herald
“OTTAWA–The Canadian Food Inspection Agency hopes to persuade dairy farmers to adopt new standards to protect cows from disease by appealing to their bottom line.
That could mean showing consumers would be willing to pay more for yogurt or milk if it meant having more confidence in the health of the animal it came from. Continue reading
Here’s an excerpt from a recent story by Nelson Zandbergen in the Eastern Ontario AgriNews, brought to our attention by Bernie Bailey, who’s written about his experiences running one of the last small dairies in the province.
“Dundas couple’s quota assessment battle continues
Will farmers be cowed by latest moves by the DFO? Photo from Dairy Farmers of Ontario website.
CHESTERVILLE — A Kafkaesque battle pitting Ontario’s supply-management bureaucracy against two retired North Dundas Township dairy farmers was replayed last month in front of the same quasi-judicial panel that originally upheld the couple’s claim for $114,500 they lost in a sudden quota policy change.
John and Susanna Cayer had successfully appealed a 15-per-cent clawback or “assessment” on the January 2007 sale of their provincial milk production quota, at the Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Tribunal.
Siding with the Cayers in a March 2008 ruling, the three-person Tribunal had ordered the Dairy Farmers of Ontario — which abruptly imposed the assessment scheme in November 2006 — to reimburse them within 30 days. Continue reading
Michael Schmidt speaks at "Planet in Focus". Photo: Sean Bennell.
The conversation continues on CBCnews.ca, which is now up to 365 comments. Here’s a fascinating exchange between someone who calls himself “James McLaren” and farmer Michael Schmidt himself:
‘This seems to be the most active and intelligent Canadian forum discussing the Michael Schmidt case,’
“Intelligent”, huh? Sigh. Every year plenty of people (probably hundreds) get sick from drinking raw milk. The thing is, because they have this notion that it is somehow more natural than pasteurized milk, and they equate “natural” with “better” they don’t connect the illness to the raw milk consumption: they will think it a case of flu or some other similar illness. This is not surprising because it usually takes a couple days after drinking the contaminated milk before you get sick. Raw milk is NOT, repeat NOT safe to drink. Remember the listeria outbreak? Well, raw milk routinely contains listeria among other bacteria. No matter how clean the cows or milking equipment are kept, there will still be significant bacterial contamination in raw milk; milk is a pretty ideal food for bacteria as well as people. Why are the Dairy Farmers of Ontario so active in prosecuting Schmidt, as well as the other raw milk nuts? Could it be some vast conspiracy? Maybe they just don’t want people to die from drinking their product.” Continue reading