Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

The CFFO Commentary: New Agricultural Opportunities in Bio-Products

By Nathan Stevens

There are some industry leaders that would argue that one of the greatest opportunities for farmers in the next 20 years will be the development of the bio-products sector. At a recent information session held by the Wellington district of the CFFO, Gord Surgeoner of Ontario Agri-food Technologies shared some his insights into the tremendous opportunities that Ontario agriculture has the potential to seize in the very near future.

Before delving into the new opportunities for farmers, Surgeoner assessed the current situation in the food industry. The food industry in North America is growing at the very slow rate of one per cent per year. Moreover, growth in one area of agriculture related to food usually comes at the expense of another type of commodity production. For example, if more chicken is consumed, it may mean that less pork or beef is consumed. In essence, one commodity cannot grow substantially without cannibalizing another part of the industry.

Surgeoner argued that the key for future growth in demand for agricultural products is in developing bio-products in an era of rising fuel costs. When confronted with the assertion by some that we are running out of oil, he adds “at what price?” Canadians can see this most clearly with the development of the Alberta oil sands and offshore drilling in Atlantic Canada, projects that would have been deemed way too costly 50 years ago.

At the right price for oil, the viability of bio-based plastics as a replacement for petroleum based projects becomes very favourable. The possibilities are phenomenal. Just a few examples include foam seating and roof panels for cars, and containers of all shapes and sizes for storing materials and supplies.

This is not to say that developing these industries and technologies isn’t without potential stumbling blocks or unanswered questions. For example, does a soy-based foam cushion smell funny in 40 degree heat? If it doesn’t, then that is great. If it does, then time and energy needs to be poured into finding a solution to the issue.

A whole new world of opportunities is opening up for farmers in this province. There is an opportunity for Ontario farmers to supply renewable bio-products to North America and the world. With the right leadership in place and the right support at the right time, Ontario can be a leader in this emerging industry.

Nathan Stevens is the Research and Policy Advisor for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. It can be heard weekly on CKNX Wingham and CFCO Chatham, Ontario and is archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. The CFFO is supported by 4,200 farm families across Ontario

Views: 46


You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

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

Joint industry statement: movement of seed essential during COVID-19 pandemic

The Canadian seed industry joins the global community in supporting measures to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Thinking Outside the Strip – One-Pass Manure Incorporation and Seedbed Prep with Strip Till

With some out of the box thinking, Ken Hartemink, hog and cash crop producer from St. Thomas, Ontario has mounted a strip tiller to the back of his manure tanker for one-pass manure incorporation and seedbed prep for next year’s corn crop.

To plant green or to plant brown? Rye cover crop termination timing before soybeans

Cereal rye (Secale cereale) has several strengths as a cover crop option.

Home-grown Support for Niagara Health System - Grape Growers of Ontario Meet the Challenge

Grape Growers of Ontario thank all of the frontline support workers for their dedication and support during these unprecedented times. We heard your challenge Premier Ford and today, the Grape Growers of Ontario meet that challenge by strengthening Niagara Health care while calling on our business community to give back.

Practical solutions for seasonal workers critical to getting fruit and vegetable crops planted in time

It’s always been important for us as farmers to get our crops in the ground on time in the spring. But it’s never been more important than it is this year when we are facing the extraordinary circumstance of a global pandemic that has turned all of our lives upside down.

© 2020   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service