Food for Thought Newsletter

Brought to you by Canadian Federation of Agriculture, representing over 200,000 farmers and farm families across Canada
An update from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Welcome to the Food for Thought newsletter!

As part of our Food for Thought campaign, you signed up to receive further emails and updates on Canadian farmers and agriculture.

This is the 3rd issue, giving an update on some serious issues related to droughts and floods, as well as an introduction into some of the lesser-known agriculture sectors in Canada, such as sugar beet farmers and horses!

On behalf of CFA, we'd like to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season!

A French version of this newsletter will be released next week.
Crises in Canadian Agriculture
Drought, Floods and Hay West
Over 2021, Canada has had two major extreme weather events which have had devastating impacts on Canadian farmers.

In the Prairie provinces, a severe drought has made it impossible for farmers to grow hay, which they normally use to feed their animals throughout the Winter and into late Spring. Without feed for their animals, many farmers have been forced to sell their animals early or cull their herds due to lack of feed.

In response to this, CFA developed the Hay West 2021 initiative, which ships hay from farmers Eastern and Central Canada to drought-stricken farmers in the west. Farmers who were lucky enough to have bountiful hay harvests have come together to send their surplus to those in the West.

On December 15th, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced up to $4 million in funding for the Hay West program. CFA is very appreciative of this funding and is still seeking corporate donations as the need for hay in the Prairies is great.

The recent flooding events in British Columbia have also had a devastating impact on farmers, with the damages still being assessed. CFA will be assisting these farmers in any way it can.

Canadian Agriculture in 2021

Sugar Beets - The Hidden industry | Canadian Turkey | Horses in Agriculture, Recreation and Sport | Agriculture Spotlight: British Columbia | Global Agriculture at COP 26
Sugar Beets - The Hidden Industry

It’s something that everyone has in their kitchen – a staple ingredient that brings life to your desserts, sweetness to your coffee, a golden colour to your baking, and the fluffiness to your bread. And yet, despite the importance of this ingredient to our everyday lives, its origins often go unnoticed.

So where does sugar come from? While most people associate sucrose with sugar cane plants and warm-weather countries, Canada is also a proud producer of this sweet product. But being in the North means our sugar isn’t grown from cane.
Instead, it comes from the root of a special plant: the sugar beet.
Canadian turkey – a great choice for the holidays and every day

Canadian turkey farmers are proud to provide consumers with access to safe and high-quality Canadian turkey products year-round. For generations turkey farmers have worked on their family farms to build sustainable operations and farm practises.

Across Canada, over 520 turkey farmers work together under supply management to produce the turkey that Canadians enjoy. Supply management allows turkey farmers to match what they grow with what Canadians need and want. The turkey industry in Canada generates $4.0 billion in economic activity annually, supporting over 16,000 jobs across rural and urban centres. 
Horses in Agriculture, Recreation and Sport

The horse has come a long way since being domesticated by mankind. Early in our evolution horses were important to providing fast transportation to mankind. They helped to speed up migration, trade, and communication between cultures. They helped languages and cultures spread around the world. As well, they helped people do work, from plowing fields to hauling goods.

Horses have had an incredible role in shaping our world. Horses in Canada are primarily employed as active components of commercial businesses. As other livestock in Canada are kept primarily for food production (e.g., poultry, dairy and beef cattle, and hogs), there is often the perception that equines are recreational or companion animals, rather than livestock. Active equines can be employed in variety of ways from riding lessons, to therapy and assisted learning.
Agricultural Spotlight: British Columbia

When you think of British Columbia, activities like surfing on the Pacific Ocean, or skiing down snowy mountains probably come to mind. But in the province’s fertile valleys and rolling foothills, there is another activity that is worth celebrating: our abundance of agriculture!

There are over 26,000 dedicated farmers and ranchers across B.C. who grow and raise everything from chickens to cherries, and tomatoes to tulips. BC Agriculture Council knows that farms are an essential part of healthy, vibrant, local communities and shares all about local food and farmers through We Heart Local BC. Follow along for recipes, in-season foods and to get to know our local farmers and ranchers.
Global Agriculture at COP 26: How agriculture can make the shift from large emitter to a natural climate solutions provider 

As stewards of the land who look to protect it for future generations, farmers are deeply invested in lowering their emissions, and strive to become a net-carbonsink through sustainable technologies and practices. But, like all ambitious goals, this will require support, infrastructure and immense collaboration to achieve.

This is not true of just Canadian farmers, but farmers all across the world. Producing food is a truly essential service, and climate change has made that more difficult, unpredictable and costly. We recognize that at this moment agriculture is a large emitter, but we also know our industry has the unique ability to become a natural-climate-solutions provider and be a powerful ally in the fight against climate change.

Below you can find some of the key highlights from agriculture and COP 26, including interesting panels on important topics.
Upcoming Events in Canadian Agriculture
CFA Annual General Meeting

CFA has begun preparations for its Annual General Meeting, which will be held from February 23-24, 2022. This event brings farm eladers from all across the country to decide the priorities of the sector for the coming year.

It also features interesting panels on important topics, and keynote speakers from each major political party.