A weekly report prepared by the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).  If you require further information, regarding this report, call the Elora Resource Centre at 519-846-0941.  Office hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For technical information, call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or visit the OMAFRA Website:


Saturday, January 21 – Farm$mart Agricultural Conference and Beef Symposium – Since its inception in 1998 the leading-edge topics and dynamic speakers assembled by FarmSmart organizers have continued to draw a larger audience with each successive event. Last year’s conference did not disappoint, with over 900 farmers, agri-business representatives, faculty and students gathering at the University of Guelph’s Rozanski Hall in January 2011 for the largest FarmSmart Conference to date. Throughout this year’s daylong event conference delegates will be able to custom design their agenda from the over 50 session topics focusing on business, livestock, field crops, energy and the environment, computer applications, global perspectives and general agricultural themes. Sessions run concurrently through the six time slots, with delegates convening for the afternoon keynote address of special guest speaker Guido Hoener, editor of Top Agrar, Germany’s leading monthly farm magazine (circulation approx. 112,000). 

Other international speakers confirmed include: Ken Ferrie, an independent consultant and co-founder of Crop-Tech Consulting in Illinois; and Virgil Robinson, Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited’s Market Analyst Manager, an outstanding fundamental and technical analyst with over 35 years experiences whose analysis of commodity market activity is highly regarded on the national American speaking circuit. Leland (Lee) Leachman of Leachman Cattle, in Colorado is the keynote speaker for the Beef Symposium, held in conjunction with the FarmSmart Conference, speaking on “The Ten Game Changers for Livestock Production in 2020.” Leachman Cattle is respected worldwide as a leader in objective selection criteria and composite cattle production. The 14th anniversary edition of FarmSmart Conference featuring the Beef Symposium will be held at Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. and the first session is scheduled to begin promptly at 9 a.m. Information and program updates for the conference will be posted online at and on Twitter at The conference is a joint project of the Golden Horseshoe and Heartland Regional Soil and Crop Improvement Associations, in partnership with the Ontario Agricultural College, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and various agri-business partners.


 by Wayne Du, OMAFRA

Hand hygiene is the first and most effective line of defence against the common cold, flu, foodborne illness, and other infectious diseases.  Adherence to proper hand hygiene is proven to prevent food contamination, reduce transmission of causing organisms and overall infections.

Good hand hygiene practices become especially critical to food safety and flu infection during the harvest and flu season. To protect food safety and customers’ health, workers who handle food products must ensure that their hands are frequently and properly washed before contacting the food products and/or food contact surfaces. For example, hands must be washed after using a toilet, touching money or pets, eating and drinking, and/or

contacting any dirty materials that may pose a food safety risk.  A worker hygiene policy should be in place and enforced and hand washing facilities, hand sanitizers or other hand hygiene products must be available and easy to access. For training information and resources, please call 1-877-424-1300 or visit our website:  Food safety questions?  Ask us!


Jan. 13-GFO-District#11 Meeting (Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York)  of the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) at the United Church in Elmvale, starting at 10:30 a.m.  For information call 1-800-265-0550 or Director, John Morrison at 705-435-7598.

Jan. 16 – GFO-District # 7 Meeting (Waterloo/Oxford) of the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) Craigowan Golf Course start at 10:00 a.m.  For information call GFO at: 1-800-265-0550 or Director Fred Wagner at 519-648-2175.

Jan. 25-31 – Centralia Swine Research Update, Kirkton-Woodham Community Centre, Kirkton.  Watch for details at:

Jan.  26-29-Guelph Organic Conference – “Seeds of Co-operation”. The 4-day event includes international speakers, seminars & intro workshops on key topics including, G.E. foods, organic production/certification, changing climates, eco-villages, earth buildings, farmland protection & food security. From producer to consumer, the workshops offer something for everyone. PLUS, there is an Organic Expo/Tasting Fair with 150+ exhibitors (includes 30 food samplers) on Saturday/Sunday, free to the public. For more information:

Jan.  28 – 2nd Annual Ontario Organic Awards/Dinner from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the River Run Centre, 35 Woolwich Street, Guelph.  Cost: $45 general public, $40 students and OCO members.  Contact: or call 519-827-1221. 

Jan. 31-Wellington Farm and Home Safety Association Annual Meeting – Alma Optimist Beef Supper in    Alma Community Hall at 7:00 p.m.  Guest Speaker Eleanor Wood.  Contact: Walter Grose, Secretary at 519-846-9788.

Feb.   8  – Grower Pesticide Safety Course and Separate Exam – 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Elora OMAFRA boardroom.  To register, phone Ontario Pesticide Education Program at 1-800-652-8573.

Feb. 10 Grower Pesticide Safety Course in Mount Forest at 8:45 a.m.  To register, phone the North Wellington Co-op at 519-323-1271.