|Improving the Analyst User Experience
Darren Shock, Economic Development Specialist, OMAFRA
Data plays a number of
effective economic development
. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs - in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) - has offered Ontario's economic development community access to a full range of data to support regional analysis, strategic planning, and monitoring in a free, user-friendly tool called 'Analyst' since 2013.
The Ontario Small Urban Municipal Conference and Trade Show
The Town of Goderich is hosting the 63rd Annual Ontario Small Urban Municipal Conference and Trade Show, May 4 - 6, 2016.
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs staff will be presenting its Downtown Revitalization program. If downtown revitalization is a priority in your community, join our staff to learn about the tools available to assist with improving the physical, economic, and social well-being of your community's traditional downtown core.
This interactive, hour-long session will provide an overview of OMAFRA's Downtown Revitalization program and the newly revised First Impressions Community Exchange program, while providing the necessary background needed to identify the best approaches to initiating and sustaining a revitalization program in your community.
The Keynote speaker at the conference is
Greg Johnson, The Tornado Hunter
Greg is known for capturing nature's most beautiful and deadly displays of severe weather. One of North America's top professional storm chasers and severe weather experts, his mission is to inspire others to pursue their own passions, while sharing and teaching the lessons he's learned from going after his.
For draft agenda and registration please check out the
Effective Organizations: Managing Issues
Is your organization facing so many issues, that it doesn't know how to tackle them all? Has your organization been asked by its members to deal with an issue and isn't sure where to start? Should it get involved at all?
If your organization faces these types of situations and questions, then this Factsheet may be useful. It explains five key steps that your organization should follow to effectively sort out, address and resolve issues:
- Identifying the issue/s
- Ranking their importance
- Analyzing the situation and the positions of stakeholders
- Identifying specific needs and possible outcomes
- Deciding the most appropriate action
Note: These steps may be adapted to better address "internal" administration issues like funding. However, the examples used refer to "external" industry or community issues which relate to an organization's mandate.
|Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program - Claim Requirements
Gary Sliworsky, Agriculture Development Advisor, OMAFRA
Generating more than $5.2 billion in direct sales annually (not including value added or further processing), the livestock industry is an important contributor to the strength of Ontario's economy.
One of the challenges with raising livestock in rural and remote areas is predation by wildlife.
The Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program compensates producers for livestock losses incurred as a result of predation. Municipalities appoint Livestock Valuers to inspect and prepare a report on any livestock losses from wildlife. In unincorporated areas of Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Agriculture Development Advisor does this.
In preparation for making a claim, producers are encouraged to:
- Provide photographic evidence that demonstrate predation and not simply scavenging. Producers should take photos as soon as possible after finding a carcass. Photos of the animal, its wounds and the area around the carcass should be taken and provided to the Livestock Valuer when investigating a claim.
- Protect the carcass from scavenging and deterioration from the elements. This may involve putting a tarp over the carcass and lime on and around the scene to dissuade animals from scavenging. Do not move the carcass. If there is no carcass present, a claim can't be made. No body, no crime.
- Know the age and the estimated weight of each animal.
- Understand the market value of the livestock and where this value was obtained (e.g. Beef Farmers of Ontario market report, sales barn receipt, individual producer sales receipt).
Having this information available allows the report to be processed in a timely manner.
Producers must also demonstrate that reasonable care is being taken to guard the animals from predation. OMAFRA Agriculture Development Advisors (ADAs) work with producers and municipalities to reduce the risk of predation by providing information on options such as: the use of guard dogs, perimeter fencing, and lighting.
The contribution of livestock producers to Ontario's economy is significant. The Ontario Wildlife Compensation Program allows producers to farm with the confidence that if the unfortunate loss of an animal happens from wildlife attacks, society assists in sharing the loss.
The Many Benefits of Using Windbreaks
Although we had a mild winter this year, Ontario winters are typically cold and bring a lot of snow. Plan ahead and plant a windbreak before next winter - windbreaks are an effective way to trap snow and prevent snow build-up around driveways and laneways, buildings, farmyards and other high-use areas. For you, this means:
- Potential savings in fuel costs
- Reduction in the wear and tear of your plowing equipment
- Less money and time spent on clearing snow from your property
- Easy access to your livestock
- Safer travel along rural roads
- Reduced heating costs of up to 30 per cent
Windbreaks have year-round benefits, too.
||Thinning a windbreak using a staggered pattern.
When planted around field crops, feedlots, livestock buildings, pastures and calving areas, windbreaks reduce wind speeds and will:
- Increase crop yields and reduce soil erosion
- Lower animal stress and improve animal health
- Increase feed efficiency
- Protect the working environment in and around livestock areas
Windbreak maintenance tips
Trees are dormant in winter and early spring, so now is a great
time to assess the health of your trees and to determine if maintenance is needed. Regular maintenance will increase the effectiveness of your windbreak,
creating a more effective shelter zone on the downwind side of the windbreak. Thinning and pruning practices differ by windbreak type and tree species.
Planting a windbreak
Spring is the best time to plant a windbreak. Before planting:
- Determine your planting objectives
- Conduct a site visit with an expert
- Develop a planting plan that considers the information from the site visit and your planting objectives
- Prepare the planting site and order your trees
For help with planning and maintaining a windbreak, contact your
local conservation authority
. They may be able to visit your planned windbreak site and help you with your planting plan, site preparation, choices of tree species, and appropriate spacing and planting, as well as windbreak maintenance.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has many resources to help
you with windbreak planning. Visit
to watch four windbreak videos on planning, planting, maintenance and farmer windbreak success stories. Our free Best Management Practices book, "
Establishing Tree Cover
," provides a
step-by-step guide for planning and planting a windbreak and includes maintenance tips. Contact OMAFRA's Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or
for more information.
Heavy Equipment and Soil Compaction
Can large tires and low inflation pressures solve all your problems?
Producers view soil compaction as a prevalent problem - a problem to be avoided, if possible. There are several main theories on how to avoid or manage soil compaction.
- Confine traffic to permanent lanes within the field in order to provide traffic-free zones for crop production,
- Avoid wheel traffic on wet soils which are susceptible to compaction, use equipment with lower axle weights,
- Increase the size of the "foot print" by employing radial tires, larger tires, more tires, or tracks, and
- Reduce tire inflation pressures.
Considerable effort has been taken on the part of equipment manufacturers to do two of these, by increasing tire size and reducing inflation pressures. This lowers ground contact pressures so there is less soil rutting and compaction.
New Spring = New Season:
Make it More Sustainable
Nick Betts, Business Management Specialist, OMAFRA
Sustainability is a holistic, long-term approach to business. It maximizes the economic and environmental stability, equity, and health of the farm, business, and family.
A sustainable approach to farming is more than talking about environmental actions or maximizing profits.
Sustainability focuses on business processes and practices, rather than a specific food, fibre, or feed output. It integrates economic, environmental and societal values to create a Triple Bottom Line (i.e. understanding and accounting for three "bottom lines": economic, social, and environment, instead of simply looking at a cash flow analysis for actions in your operations). This is very different from a purely profit-driven approach, where businesses benefit economically, but often at the expense of the environment and society.
Sustainable Agriculture is...
"The efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural product, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of the farmers, their employees and local communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species." (Sustainable Agricultural Initiative Platform, 2010)