Category Archive Blog

Lunch and Learn: Drains and Trains

Under the Drainage Act, a municipality is responsible for maintaining drainage works after construction.

The costs for maintenance are distributed amongst the landowners in the watershed according to the maintenance clauses contained in the current report.

Duties of the landowner under the Drainage Act

What happens when one of the landowners is a National system of trains and railways and refuses to pay their portion of the maintenance bill of the municipal drain?

Lobbying Efforts:

  • Letter from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, May 2021
  • Letter from the Ontario Minister of Agriculture to CN Rail, December 2021

“Drains are always prorated and everybody pays according to the benefit they get from that drain. When CN just decides that they’re not going to pay and hold up the whole process in the system, it causes a backlog. That’s an issue that AMO (the Association of Municipalities of Ontario) and other organizations have identified.”

Todd Case, Mayor of Warwick Township, February 2023

Rural Ontario Municipal Assoc. Intervenes in Drainage Dispute with CN Rail

ROMA has applied for intervener status because of the negative impact of these actions on rural communities throughout Ontario. According to research gathered by ROMA, at least 30 municipalities – mostly ROMA members – indicated they experienced problems with Drainage Act compliance by CN. 

ROMA’s view is that the matter should be resolved, as with any landowner, through the appeal processes set out in the Drainage Act. If CN wants to make a constitutional argument that it is exempt from the Act, that debate should be heard by the Ontario Superior Court.

News Release, May 2023

ROMA Intervenes on Drainage Act Dispute with Railways

YouTube player
Conversation with ROMA Chair Robin Jones and lawyer Stéphane Émard-Chabot

Share:

Lunch and Learn: 4R Nutrient Stewardship

4R Nutrient (Right Source / Right Rate / Right Time / Right Place®) balances farmer, industry, and government goals to improve on-farm economics, crop productivity, and fertilizer efficiency while benefiting the environment.

In December 2020, the federal government set a voluntary national fertilizer emissions reduction target of 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030. While agriculture must do its part in limiting the impacts of climate change, emission reduction strategies must balance the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer application against farm profitability, economic growth and global food security.

Fertilizer Canada

4R Nutrient Stewardship Video Playlists:


Share:

Lunch and Learn: Nutrient Management

Under the regulations of the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA), a farmer may be required to have one or more of three documents:

  • Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS)
    • Farms of > 5 nutrient units (NUs) that are constructing or expanding a livestock barn or manure storage facility.
  • Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)
    • Nutrient applications in farm fields, crop rotation, tillage, projected yields and other management approaches
  • Non-Agricultural Source Material (NASM) Plan
    • Similar to an NMP but also covers nutrients from off-farm sources

Certification Required:

Who:Certificate Required:
Consultants / PreparersAgricultural Operation Strategy Certificate or Plan Development Certificate (AOSPD)
Farmers who will write their own NMS or NMPAgricultural Operation Planning Certificate (AOP)
Plan Preparers for NASMNASM Plan Development Certificate
BrokersBroker certificate
Owners/managers of nutrient application businessPrescribed Materials Application Business Licence (PMAB)
Technicians who apply nutrientsNutrient Application Technician Licence

Nutrient Management Courses:

AgriSuite can also be used to help farmers write their plans

  • Crop Nutrient calculator to determine crop needs and nutrient removal
  • the Organic Amendment calculator to determine available nutrients from a manure application
  • the Fertilizer calculator to determine inorganic fertilizer applied or blends to meet crop requirements
  • the Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool for Ontario (PLATO) to compare management practices for estimating phosphorus loss from individual fields

AgriSuite Training Video Playlist:


Share:

Lunch and Learn: Supply Management

The goal of Supply Management is to provide efficient producers with fair returns and to provide Canadian consumers with an adequate supply of the product at reasonable prices.

They do this with three mechanisms:

  • Price Controls (Regulated prices)
  • Production Controls (Production quota system)
  • Import Controls (Tariff rate quotas)

Reviewing last weeks’ post, Supply Management boards:

  1. Organize and finance research and promotional projects aimed at stimulating demand for the particular agricultural product.
  2. They are delegated the authority to negotiate prices with processors through negotiated agreements or arbitration.
  3. They also establish prices after an evaluation of market conditions and consultation with buyers.
  4. Additionally, production is regulated with marketing quotas in order to ensure a balance between supply and demand.

This means that Supply Managed dairy:

  • Allots production and marketing quotas to producers.
  • Buys all milk sold off the farm (except contracted export milk) and sells it to dairies and processing plants.
  • Sets prices for fluid and industrial milk based on the target return established by the Canadian Dairy Commission and the provisions of the P6 agreement.
  • Has an agreement with five eastern provinces to pool returns from fluid and industrial milk sales.
  • Negotiates the price of farm-separated cream with processors.
  • Participates in a national program for industrial milk through the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee.

Farmer-level explanation of Dairy Supply Management:

YouTube player

In Canada, the broiler hatching egg, chicken, dairy, egg, and turkey industries operate under national supply management systems. National marketing plans establish the framework for the operation of the systems. These systems are controlled by national bodies and by provincial commodity marketing boards that have been delegated powers by federal and provincial governments.

Supply Management Systems OMAFRA FactSheet

The Debate over Supply Management:

History and Food Sovereignty:

YouTube player
The Case for Supply Management and Fairer Food Systems
YouTube player
Comparing Dairy to other Supply Chains

What changes could be considered:

YouTube player

Share:

Lunch and Learn: Marketing Boards Continued

Reviewing last weeks’ post:

Marketing Boards can be categorized by ‘levels’, each with increasing regulations and authority:

  1. Promotional Boards
  2. Price Negotiating Boards
  3. Price Establishing Boards
  4. Supply Management with marketing quotas

Further description of the ‘levels’, each one builds upon the previous:

  1. Restricted to organizing and financing research and promotional projects aimed at stimulating demand for the particular agricultural product.
  2. Also delegated the authority to negotiate prices with processors through negotiated agreements or arbitration.
  3. Also establishes prices after an evaluation of market conditions and consultation with buyers.
  4. Also establishes prices through negotiated agreements or arbitration but in this case production is regulated with marketing quotas in order to ensure a balance between supply and demand.

Chicken Farmers of Ontario is a Supply Managed industry (Level 4):

YouTube player
50 Years of the Chicken Farmers of Ontario in Supply Management

What it is like on a broiler chicken farm and the process that chicken farmers go through.

YouTube player
Ask A Farmer Podcast: How are broiler chickens raised in Canada?

Share:

Lunch and Learn: Marketing Boards

Few consumers are aware of the system in place which gets the raw materials for food from the farmer to them.

Even fewer still are aware of the number and variety of marketing boards that run the system which exists in Ontario.

The roots of the marketing board system may be traced to the development of the co-operative movement in the early part of this century.

Co-operatives were promoted as a means of enabling producers to band together to improve their strength in the market place.

There has been a recognition, for a very long time, that producers of agricultural products, by reason of their relatively small individual size and large numbers, are at a distinct disadvantage in dealing both with buyers of their products and sellers of their supplies.

Co-operatives were aimed at correcting this perceived inequity.

Through this mechanism, producers could gain the advantage of volume purchasing in buying their inputs and, hopefully, reduce the number of sellers of agricultural raw products, thereby, reducing the ability of dealers, wholesalers and others to play one farmer off against another to drive down farmers’ prices.

A History of Agricultural Marketing Legislation in Ontario

Approximately 60% of the value of all agricultural products produced by Ontario farms is marketed through 22 provincial marketing boards and 3 representative associations.


Marketing Boards can be categorized by ‘levels’, each with increasing regulations and authority:

  1. Promotional Boards
  2. Price Negotiating Boards
  3. Price Establishing Boards
  4. Supply Management with marketing quotas

Promotional Boards are restricted to organizing and financing research and promotional projects aimed at stimulating demand for the particular agricultural product.

For example, the Grain Farmers of Ontario (Level 1) was created in 2008 as a merger of:

  • Ontario Corn Producers’ Association (former Level 1: Promotional Board)
  • Ontario Soybean Growers Marketing Board (former Level 2: Negotiating Board)
  • Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board (former Level 3: Price Establishing Board)
  • and Barley and Oat Growers (Level 1) were added in 2015.

Videos from the Grain Farmers of Ontario (Promotional Board):


Share:

Lunch and Learn: OMAFRA Appeal Tribunal

The Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal is an independent, quasi-judicial appeal body set up to hear appeals concerning matters in the agriculture and food industry.

The Tribunal can hear a multitude of types of appeals under their mandate but the majority of ones heard are Drainage Act appeals.

Drainage Act appeals are allowed in the categories of assessment, benefits and costs, construction and design, legal and procedural, and other appeals in the following bodies:

  • Court of Revision (Municipal)
  • Ontario Drainage Tribunal (Provincial)
  • Drainage Referee (Provincial Court)

Below is a list of the types of Drainage appeals and the body that hears those appeals:

(click to expand)

Assessment Appeals
Benefit-Cost Appeals
Construction-Design Appeals
Legal-Procedure Appeals
Other Appeals

Source: Drainage Act appeals

Share:

Lunch and Learn: Ag Nuisance legislation in other jurisdictions

Nuisances and Normal Farm Practices in Kansas

Land use conflicts are often present in urban, residential and commercial areas. However, they also occur in rural areas.

When Is an Agricultural Activity a Nuisance?
YouTube player
Roger McEowen, interviewed by Greg Akagi, Kansas AG Network / 580 WIBW, April 18, 2022.

State-level Right-to-farm Laws

Every state has enacted a right-to-farm law that is designed to protect existing agricultural operations by giving farmers and ranchers who meet the legal requirements a defense in nuisance suits.

The basic thrust of a particular state’s right-to-farm law is that it is unfair for a person to move to an agricultural area knowing the conditions which might be present and then ask a court to declare a neighboring farm a nuisance.

YouTube player
From RFD-TV Market Day Report, September 15, 2020; uploaded with permission.

Share:

Lunch and Learn: Normal Farm Practices and Permitted Uses

Nuisances and Normal Farm Practices:

Getting Along with the Neighbours

Normal farm practices:

  • Are consistent with proper and accepted customs and standards as established and followed by similar agricultural operations under similar circumstances.
  • Include the use of innovative technology used with advanced management practices
YouTube player
Peter Doris, environmental specialist with OMAFRA talking about nuisances and normal farm practices 

Best Management Practices:


Uses Permitted in Prime Agricultural Areas:

YouTube player
  • an overview of provincial policies and guidance on permitted uses in prime agricultural areas, to inform those new to the topic or to provide a refresher.
  • an opportunity to hear about municipal best practices from municipalities.
  • information on tools that will make it easier to support diversified uses in municipalities.

Balancing Growth and Compatibility:

COP Slides
Slide Deck
Share:

Lunch and Learn: Property Assessment and Taxation

Municipal Property Assessment Video Playlist

Share: