Ontario Agriculture

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February 2017 Blog Posts (15)

We're home!

After 7 flights, 2 countries, 5 hotels, 4 different buses and a dozen or more farm visits, we are home again! What an adventure we all shared over the last 12 days. We experienced so much as a class, whether it was learning new leadership skills, to eating crickets, to meeting with fellow Canadians working in Vietnam. We also have a new appreciation for how certain foods are grown – like bananas, coffee, tea, coconuts, rice and pepper (to name a few); foods that many of us enjoy…

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Added by AALP on February 28, 2017 at 5:00am — No Comments

Thai Agri-Tourism

Today we left the big city lights of Bangkok for the countryside. How refreshing to step out of the bus onto Baan Susan Chamchoen Farm and meet the owner Mr Somsak and his wife. With great passion and enthusiasm he toured us through his mixed fruit farm, combining agro tourism with fruit production and 20 value-added products. The King, a great supporter of agriculture, had advised all farmers to diversify. As such, Mr Somsak has a unique intercropping system combining  banana, coconut and…

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Added by AALP on February 26, 2017 at 3:30am — No Comments

Temples and Snakes and Boats...Oh My!

Battling through the chaos and heat of Bangkok, Class 16 spent a full day experiencing some of the interesting sites in the city.

Our first stop of the morning was at the Red Cross Snake Farm, nestled on a 'quieter' side street right in Bangkok. The Snake Farm is a part of the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute and the Thai Red Cross Society. In the early 1900s, one of the King’s daughters died of rabies. At that time, there were facilities around the world that had made…

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Added by AALP on February 25, 2017 at 3:30am — No Comments

Goodbye Vietnam, Hello Bangkok; The Land of Freedom, Buddha, and Heat!

AALP Class 16 had our earliest start so far this trip, heading out of the heart of Hanoi at 6:20 am to the airport to catch our flight to Bangkok, Thailand! Upon arrival, we maneuvered through the chaos of the busy Bangkok airport, reminding us of home and the hustle and bustle of the Toronto airport. We were greeted by our tour guide, North, and headed out on a tour of the city!

North treated us to a bunch of great trivia and facts about the city during our slow slog through…

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Added by AALP on February 24, 2017 at 7:13am — No Comments

Exploring Thien Canh Son Caves

After a great night’s sleep at sea, we got energized for the day ahead with a group Tai Chi lesson on the top deck of the Victory cruise ship. We enjoyed coffee and tea and a light breakfast while we made our way to Thien Canh Son cave, which means mountain landscape in the heavens.

The cave is located on Bai Tu Long Bay and set below a stone cliff. It was…

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Added by AALP on February 23, 2017 at 8:35am — No Comments

A tour through Ha Long Bay

The day started early on the bus on route to Ha Long Bay. In between class discussion on graduation and learning about the skills and attributes of leaders that inspire us, we stopped at a rice paddy and vegetable farm (onions, lettuce, cabbage, Chinese stem mustard, Poi spinach, basil). We were all surprised to learn that the majority of small scale rice farmers are not supporting their families through farming, but have a day to day job, and the rice they produce serves merely to put food…

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Added by AALP on February 22, 2017 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Northern Vietnam - Historic Hanoi

Our first day in Hanoi started early with a tour out of the city and then off to a village to visit a local market and see the gardens where fresh vegetables and fruit are produced for Hanoi. The class excitement  could be felt as the experience was an authentic stop where tourists do not frequent.

After walking through the market looking at fresh meat, vegetables and fruit, we walked along the gardens and took in a breath of agriculture. The gardens were hand tended and well…

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Added by AALP on February 21, 2017 at 5:11am — No Comments

Da Lat offers a wealth of new experiences

On our last day in Da Lat, an early hotel departure involved some classmates taking in the sights and sounds of the open-air market we had lived beside for the last few days, while others followed the health and wellness team with stretches and dancing in the hotel lobby.

Before heading to the airport, we began with a tour of a local supermarket newly built underground. Owned by a Thailand company, this supermarket was very similar to the supermarkets we have in Canada. This…

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Added by AALP on February 20, 2017 at 4:30am — No Comments

Crickets and weasel dung coffee...

What an amazing day we had experiencing the agriculturally rich area of Da Lat.

Our first stop was a family-owned fresh-cut flower farm located just outside of Da Lat. The flowers would be cut early in the morning and would be shipped up to Ho Chi Minh City. The main flowers grown on the farm were roses, lillies, and gerberas.

We then ventured to a cricket farm. They harvest the male crickets when they three months, and leave the females to produce offspring. Crickets…

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Added by AALP on February 19, 2017 at 4:00am — No Comments

Heading to Da Lat

As with all good travel plans, there must be some last-minute changes and February 18th was one of those days with our flight to Da Lat delayed by a few hours. All the better though, as our ever-thoughtful guide for the Ho Chi Minh City component of our trip, Jessica, had several adventures lined up to make use of the extra time. The people who missed out on the cyclo journey through the city the previous day had the chance to take an hour cyclo ride; others took the chance to hang out,…

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Added by AALP on February 18, 2017 at 3:30am — No Comments

Time to explore rural Vietnam

Today was an exciting day! We headed north out of the bustling, vibrant city of Ho Chi Minh and headed towards the Cu Chi region. We were all looking forward to seeing a more rural part of Vietnam. Our travels today took us to a rubber plantation, a hi-tech research park, a worm and cow farm (we'll explain that connection in a bit) and then finished off our day with a history lesson about the Vietnam war while exploring the Cu Chi tunnels.

Our first stop was a 400 ha rubber…

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Added by AALP on February 17, 2017 at 6:15am — No Comments

AALP Class 16 celebrates Canada’s Agriculture Day in Vietnam

Our AALP class woke this morning in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 12 hours ahead of our families and friends at home in Ontario and the inaugural Canada's Agriculture Day.

We are celebrating and sharing our passion and knowledge of Canadian agriculture today with two other Ag…

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Added by AALP on February 16, 2017 at 7:30am — No Comments

"GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!!!!!"

The AALP class 16 arrived at 12pm local time today February 15th, which is 12 hours ahead of our friends, family, and blog followers in Ontario. The enthusiastic travellers spent 20 hours on the airplane and flew over 14,000 kilometres over Sudbury, the arctic circle, Russia, Japan, Taiwan and finally Vietnam.

Our journey to Asia included a planned layover stop in the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The Airport had several amenities for all to enjoy, including a yoga lounge, a…

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Added by AALP on February 15, 2017 at 3:00am — No Comments

The trip begins

The members of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) Class 16 began to arrive at Toronto’s Pearson Airport starting around 8 pm on Monday, February 13th. By 10 pm those who hadn’t travelled ahead were catching up with each other – sharing laughs and letting the anticipation for our international adventure to begin.

Looking at the class, it is incredible to think that just over 18 months ago we were all strangers and now we are close friends looking forward to…

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Added by AALP on February 14, 2017 at 3:00am — 1 Comment

AALP Class 16 Plunges into Conflict Resolution at Seminar 7

The seventh seminar stop on the AALP Class 16 leadership journey took place from January 15 to 17th 2017 at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Niagara Falls. Located on the bustling Fallsview Avenue, the hotel overlooked the breathtaking Canadian and American Falls, and provided a great setting for the full seminar agenda.



Julie Westeinde, from Breakthrough Learning Associates in Ottawa, led the group of twenty-six participants through an all-day workshop on conflict resolution that…

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Added by AALP on February 3, 2017 at 3:24am — No Comments

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Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

WPX 2024: Vantek offers products that can withstand the harsh pig barn environment

Paul Vanberg, founder of Vantek Concrete Restoration and Protection, and Ryan Albright, Product Manager at Vantek Concrete Restoration and Protection, recently spoke to The Pig Site’s Sarah Mikesell at World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Paul, tell me a little bit about Vantek’s product offerings and what you are showcasing at World Pork Expo? The most important thing that I have learned over the 40 years in this industry is that the pig environment is a really tough one. People do not understand how difficult it is to maintain equipment and concrete products and protect their investment in buildings and facilities. What we have done is designed products that can withstand the acids and the wear and tear from the animals in these facilities for years and years. So it’s a worthwhile investment. Our focus has been primarily on concrete restoration of slats, floors, walls and then also the metal surrounding the building on the inside and the exterior. Our focus is maintaining th

Cattle futures drift lower, lean hogs down - CME

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures turned lower on Tuesday, as a lack of fundamental news and limited trading in the cash cattle market had price drifting down from the recent rally, Reuters reported, citing traders. Meanwhile, CME lean hog futures in the nearby and front contracts ended down as funds continued to short the market as a glut of slaughter-ready hogs continued to outweigh the levels of consumer demand, market analysts said. Wholesale prices for US pork have generally turned lower or remained relatively flat, traders said. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday morning priced the pork carcass cutout at $98.98 per hundredweight (cwt), up 4 cents from Monday. Though pork belly prices firmed, loin prices continued to fall, USDA data shows. Consumer frustration over stubbornly high food prices, and ongoing uncertainty when interest rates might ease have been weighing on the pork market for a while, analysts said. New York Federal Reserve Presiden

AASV: Tongue tip fluid sampling for PRRS

Processing fluid has emerged as a sensitive tool for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) monitoring, suggesting the use of tissues as viable specimens. Tongue tip exudate has recently gained attention as a viable postmortem specimen for PRRS monitoring. A study by Mariana Kikuti, DVM, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Minnesota, aimed to determine whether postmortem sampling of suckling pigs allows for the detection of PRRSV and determining the sensitivity of each postmortem specimen studied. Two farrow-to-wean farms undergoing a wild-type PRRS virus that had decided to pursue elimination were conveniently selected. Samples were collected at the farm some 8 and 20 weeks after the outbreak detection. Postmortem sampling of piglets found dead or euthanized was conducted. Postmortem specimens consisted of individual sterile swabs of the nasal, oral, and rectal cavities, tongue tips and blood collected directly from the heart. All specimens were stored and

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