NFU District 1, Region 1 Newsletter March 12, 2019

Hello to all NFU Members in District 1, Region 1:

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It is time to connect with you all by means of this newsletter to let you know what the NFU has been doing in the past few months.   Late in 2019 a good number of NFU members from P. E. I. attended the 50th Anniversary Convention of the NFU which was held in Winnipeg – the place where the Founding Convention took place.  This anniversary convention was a time to look back at the past achievements of the organization over the last fifty years and to develop a vision for our  continued involvement in the agricultural scene well into the future.  We were particularly glad to have Urban and Mary Laughlin attend the Convention once again.   Urban was presented with a lovely plaque in recognition of his contribution to the NFU as well as recognition of the fact he had attended all fifty National Conventions as well as the Founding Convention.  He is the only person in Canada to hold this record.   Congratulations, Urban,  and many thanks to you and Mary for all the work you have done.  Thanks too to Reg Phelan for all the work he has done for many years on the National Board.  Thanks to Stella Shepard for all her support during Reg’s involvement.  Byron Petrie is our new National Board Member.

District Convention  –   Our District Convention this year will take place on Tuesday, March 31, 2020    at the Milton Community Hall.  Storm date will be the following Thursday.  Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting starting at 10:00 a.m.  Our guest speaker will be the National NFU Women’s President, Coral Sproule who will be speaking on climate change.  The Minister of Agriculture will also be invited to speak as well as a number of other individuals.  Resolutions will be considered and elections will take place for District officials.  Assistance for child care is available.  Watch for more convention details in another newsletter.  Continue reading

Talking about Species at Risk

A researcher named Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown, Environmental Studies, from the University of Prince Edward Island is looking for participants in a study about young farmers’ perspectives on environmental conservation and Species at Risk on Prince Edward Island (PEI).

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Barn Swallows are at risk in PEI (see Island Nature Trust for more information).

Specifically, she is looking for any farmer on PEI between the ages of 18 and 50. Knowledge about Species at Risk is not necessary for participation in the study.

The aim of the research is to better understand the role that young farmers are playing, or can play, in protection of the environment and species at risk on PEI. This will provide important information to guide the development of policy and educational programs about Species at Risk on PEI.

Your participation would involve participating in a face-to-face interview with Angela Costello, UPEI Student Research Assistant. The interview will ask questions about your awareness and knowledge about Species at Risk on PEI and your perspective on their protection. The interview will take approximately 30 – 45 minutes to complete, at a location and time that best suits you. Your participation will be anonymous. In other words, your personal identity will not be revealed. Those who participate in an interview will have the option of having their name included in a draw for a $100 gift card from an agricultural supply store of their choice.

These interviews would take place from December 2019 – March 2020.

If you would like to participate in this study, please contact, Angela Costello, acostello@upei.ca OR would like more information about the study, please contact Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown, 902-620-5066 or hcpbrown@upei.ca.

NFU announces new report: Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis 

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The National Farmers Union has just released Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis: A Transformative Strategy for Canadian Farmers and Food Systems. The report examines in depth the impacts of climate change on agriculture in Canada, as well as the opportunities that agriculture provides to become part of the solution. The report presents a balanced analysis that considers both the impacts of the climate crisis on agriculture and the realities of the vulnerable financial situation of farm families.

 

Key conclusions include:

  • The climate crisis is a threat to Canadian farms, but also an opportunity to re-orient our farms to become more integrated, life-sustaining and community-sustaining.
  • The farm crisis and the climate crisis share many of the same causes, and many of the same solutions.
  • The climate crisis will increasingly impact the ability of Canadian farms to produce food. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.
  • Priority must be placed on incentivizing low-input, low-emission agricultural approaches.

In Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis: A Transformative Strategy for Canadian Farmers and Food Systems, the NFU makes the case that we must immediately embark on a pursuit of sustainable practices to make farms and the food system more resilient to climate change that is already locked in, while reducing our GHG emissions to mitigate further climate change. The report argues that a climate-friendly food system can be designed to increase farm income.

Using, and paying for ever-larger quantities of fertilizers, fuels, chemicals, plastics, and other inputs have increased emissions and at the same time lowered farmers’ net incomes. Between 1985 and 2018, input costs consumed more than 95% of farm revenue and left farmers with just 5%. The amount farmers pay annually in interest to banks and other lenders roughly equals the amount paid to farmers via farm-support programs each year. In effect, taxpayers are covering farmers’ interest bills, transferring tens of billions of dollars to banks and other lenders. Thus, the report argues that a low-emission food system will necessarily be a low-input food system that increases farm profitability.

According to Katie Ward, President of the National Farmers Union: “Both the climate crisis and the farm crisis are so complex that no single report can provide all the answers. This report, however, does have many answers — some of which could be implemented right away. Others provide a starting point to opening up the climate conversation in the agricultural sector. Options that will work for different geographic locations, soil types, or types of farms will be explored, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The NFU’s proposal is that we must increase soil carbon levels and embark on an emission-reduction strategies simultaneously.”

2019 National Convention – November 24-27

November 24 –  27 2019

Fifty years ago, the National Farmers Union held its very first national convention in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This year, we’ll be back to celebrate our achievements, honour the members whose dedication and wisdom helped us achieve so much, pass on the lessons we’ve learned along the way, and help shape our vision for our next fifty years on the front lines of agriculture.

Dates: November 24 evening, November 25 – 27 all day
Times: Nov. 24 pre-Convention social, registration and book launch 7 – 10 PM
Nov 25 – 27 Registration opens 8 AM
Nov 25 – Public Event – Avi Lewis keynote speaker 7 PM
Nov 26 – Banquet and Dance 6:30 PM – midnight (banquet tickets available in advance or at Convention desk until noon)
Location: Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park, 1405 St. Matthews Ave., Winnipeg.
Registration is in advance or at the door (Meals are not included in registration fees) Click here for advance registration and banquet tickets.

Hotel rooms at Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park,  Convention Room Rates: $119 (plus taxes) Single King bed or Double Queen beds (Parking included). Call: 1-204-775-8791 Ext. 5 (direct to hotel) or Email: shepner@canadinns.com Use room block #371730

Certified Organic Beef Producers at Macphail Homestead October 25

The Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation is pleased to announce that the owners of the PEI’s only certified organic beef farm will be presenting the 8th annual George McRobie Lecture at the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead, Orwell on Friday, October 25.  The McRobie speakers are Mike and Evelyn Lafortune owners of the Dexter Cattle Company, North Milton. 

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a reception offering a soup with biscuit ($6) and a cash bar, followed by the Lecture at 7 p.m. The title of the lecture is “Dexters – Climate Change Warriors“. 

The Lafortunes will share their practical experience as beef producers, marketers and organic producers.   Their philosophy of sustainability is focused on a holistic management approach with their Dexter cattle and the environment. Mike and Evelyn will speak about how the business decisions they make directly impact their own farm while contributing to their broader community and an enhanced local economy.  They recognize the opportunity on PEI for consumers to live close to where their food is produced.

Dexter cattle are a heritage dual purpose breed originating in Ireland. They are the smallest of the European cattle breeds. They stand at only 92 cm-107 cm at the shoulder and weigh on average 300 -350 kg.  

This special lecture series is named in honour of Dr. George McRobie.  Dr. McRobie was one of the world’s leading proponents of sustainable agriculture and appropriate small-scale technology. He was a close friend and colleague of the radical economist E.F. Schumacher, whose landmark book ‘Small Is Beautiful’ made such an impact in the latter part of the 20th century.

The Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead is located at 271 Macphail Park Road, Orwell.  Admission to the lecture is by donation.