Tag Archive Responsibility

SLWDB Agriculture Labour Focus Group

In November. I had the opportunity to participate in one of Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board’s focus groups to discuss the current and future workforce needs within the agricultural sector.

Harvesting insights, local agriculture employers roll up their sleeves to participate in one of our focus groups to dive deep into discussions about the current and future workforce needs. 

Thank you to all the passionate participants for cultivating insights and contributing to this vital project.

SLWDB December Newsletter


Two Lambton County grain elevators up for sale

Two grain elevators in Lambton County are up for sale. And agriculture leaders fear smaller farmers may bear the brunt of the closure of six southwestern Ontario grain elevators.

The announced closure of the Ontario Grain LP elevators announced by Sollio Agriculture on Sept. 21 will lead to greater transportation costs for farmers, said Lambton Federation of Agriculture President Gary Martin. He is especially concerned for smaller farmers who may not have easy access to semi-tractor trailers like their larger counterparts.

Six locations of Ontario Grain L.P including grain elevators in Dawn-Euphemia at Rutherford, Becher near Wallaceburg, Staples, St. Thomas, Princeton, and Palmerston are closing. While the company is exiting grain marketing in Ontario but Ontario Grain will honour all existing contracts and fulfill its obligations to farm customers, employees and business partners during the transition, the company said as it released the news.

It plans to continue serving clients during the 2022 harvest season at a reduced capacity.

Martin was surprised by the announcement, but had already been fielding calls from affected farmers in Lambton County by Thursday afternoon. The nearest elevators to Florence would be either in Inwood or Thamesville, he said.

The Becher elevator in Wallaceburg is the company’s flagship elevator, says Martin who added it had been rebuilt approximately seven years ago.

Martin is curious to see who buys the grain elevators. The elevators provide grain drying, cleaning as well as storage services for farmers. Ontario Grain will begin a sale process of its assets with prospective buyers. Sollio Agriculture is a major shareholder in Ontario Grains.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture will be discussing the changes made with the Ontario Grain elevators at its October meeting.

~Blake Ellis~
Petrolia Independent


Shopping Local – Learning for Life

The Lambton County Library organized a panel discussion with Allan Calvert (Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce), Gary Martin (Lambton Federation of Agriculture) and Vicky Praill (Tourism Sarnia-Lambton) about shopping local and Q&A session to help you get prepared for making purchases that benefit our community.

Speech by Gary Martin, President of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture

(Check against delivery)

Hi all, my name is Gary Martin, and I’ve been president of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture since January 2020, and I’ve been a director since 2015.

For those not familiar, the Lambton Federation of Agriculture is a non-profit general farm organization in Lambton County who helps and supports farmers dealing with issues relating to their farm operations. We also bridge with the community and other sectors, partners and service providers. We represent approximately 1900 individual operations who farm in Lambton County.

Well before I joined the LFA Board, the LFA started an initiative to provide an avenue for local producers to include their businesses on a Locally Lambton physical map that was distributed widely.

The initial map in 2006 was well received and they produced new versions in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2015.
In 2019, we made the switch to an online (and mobile) version to include new features and increase the ease of accessibility.

The goals of the Locally Lambton map, and brand are still the same:

  • To provide support for the local farmers by connecting consumers to local primary producers;
  • To promote the importance of purchasing local to reduce the environmental footprint of goods;
  • To help Lambton residents increase their vegetable and fruit; and meat and cheese consumption, as well as promote physical activity through Pick-Your-Own farms and local farm-based attractions.

The ultimate goal? To help improve health status for Lambton County residents.

Shopping Local has been a focus of the Locally Lambton initiative from the beginning.

  • In this part of the season, supporting local in our gift-giving, decorating, and feeding our families, supports the agricultural sector directly or indirectly.
  • Purchasing food, flowers, greenery, and gifts directly from our local growers, producers and stores, helps our small business community and in turn allows them to survive the urge for all of us to purchase online from businesses from afar.
  • We have all of these types of vendors on our Locally Lambton Map as well as Farmers’ Markets where they all gather together.

I’d like to remind you that Local food extends beyond just fruits and vegetables.

  • “Local Food” includes a diverse range of commodities from the dairy and deli meat in your fridge, in addition to fruits, and vegetables in your crispers.
  • Other types of foods such as frozen vegetables, jams or canned pickles, beer, wine and ciders are all grown by farmers and processed locally.

We also promote businesses selling decorative items that are produced locally.

I’d like you to check out our “Discover” page at locallylambton.com/discover for suggestions on what you can look for when shopping local, and of course, the Lambton Map on the main page of our website at locallylambton.com.


Shop local to combat rising food prices

The president of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture (LFA) is encouraging residents to shop local in an effort to combat rising food prices.

Earlier this month, the United Nations food agency reported that world food prices reached a 10-year high in September.

Gary Martin said, in general, food prices will be going up across our region. He added that food prices are based on a number of factors farmers can’t control, including consumer demand.

“Most of the food prices are mainly based on population growth, the Canadian dollar, increased distribution centre closures, labour shortages, stuff like that. The farmers keep producing based on whatever they can produce, but food prices are based on other factors that are out of the farmers’ hands.”

Martin said other factors that could drive up prices include a lack of truck drivers and recent droughts in other parts of Canada, leading to less feed for cattle.

“So that’s going to affect the meat prices obviously. Meat prices have all increased, so that’s going to lead to the trend of all food prices increasing as well.”

Martin said it’s important for Sarnia-Lambton residents to buy from area farmers and retailers to help the local economy and to keep the farmers from exiting the market.

He said some technical advances will help combat the issue of rising food prices in the long term.

“Stuff like vertical greenhouses to counteract the weather problems, and smarter equipment and better seed quality, but that’s all going to take time, so I’m not sure what can be done in the short term.”

The Lambton Federation of Agriculture is a non-profit organization that helps supports farmers and issues relating to their farm operations.

~Colin Gowdy~
Blackburn News


September 2020 Today’s Farmer

Feature article in Today’s Farmer

September 2020 Today’s Farmer page 10

September 2020 Today’s Farmer front page