Andy Walker

***The proposal from Health Canada to put a front of package label on ground beef warning it could be high in saturated fat is causing a fair amount of concern within the beef industry. Both producers and processors have been arguing, I think rightly so, it lumps a product that is an affordable source of protein that has a relatively high nutrition value for many consumers with ultra-processed foods that contain little nutritional value. Most consumers are likely aware there is saturated fat in hamburger and may think the fat content has risen when they see the labels while, in fact, only the label will have changed. As Russ Mallard of Atlantic Beef Products Inc points out production protocols put in place throughout the industry over the past several years actually means today's hamburger is leaner than was the case five or ten years ago. No other major beef producing country uses such a label so Canada could also be at a competitive disadvantage.

***I had the opportunity to chat with Adam MacLean from the Department of Agriculture and Land about a three year project the department is doing with growers of some high value crops like the high bush blueberries at Lorne Valley Ranch to conduct plant sap analysis at least once a month to help determine plant nutrition. While the samples are sent to a laboratory in the Netherlands since this analysis technique is relatively new, the turnaround time has been relatively quick, Ranch manager Earl MacCormac having the information quickly allows the operation to make adjustments quickly to improve production. MacLean is planning a workshop June 17 at the Emerald Recreation Centre starting at 12 noon with visiting agrologist Nathan Harmon and producers of all commodities are invited to learn more.

***While it is disappointing the poultry shows at fairs and exhibitions across the province will be cancelled this summer due to the threat of avian influenza, provincial veterinarian Dr. Jill Wood made the right call in pulling the plug. While the disease has been found in wild birds in the province, there have been no cases in small or commercial flocks as of this writing. That is despite the fact the disease has shown up in the other three Atlantic Provinces. It is certainly an unwelcome development as the fairs try to return to some degree of normalcy following two years of cancellations or scaled back events due to COVID, but it is a necessary one to help protect the poultry industry.

***As dairy producers on PEI and across Canada find themselves facing rising input costs due dramatic hikes in the price of fuel, fertilizer and feed, they have taken the rare step of asking the Canadian Dairy Commission for a rise in farm gate prices that, if granted. would come into effect in September. Normally, the price is set early in the year based on the production costs in the preceding year, but the industry is arguing the rapid rise in input costs due in part to the conflict in the Ukraine has made those figures meaningless. As Gordon MacBeath of Dairy Farmers of PEI points out, producers have no input into the cost at the retail level.

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