March 28, 2013
Farmers View “Genetic Roulette”
At their March members meeting Huron NFU local 335 showed the movie “Genetic Roulette” about genetically modified foods. It illustrated how foreign genes are inserted into the genetic code across species barriers. It then explored the animal and human health implications of these practices and the disturbing increase in fertility and autoimmune problems since their large scale introduction into the North American food system.
During the discussion that followed it was suggested foods containing genetically modified crops should be labeled so that people could make informed decisions about what they are eating. They are labeled in Europe. Concerns were also raised about the testing of these foods. It seems that whenever an independent researcher discovers evidence of damage from genetically modified foods they are vilified and efforts made to discredit them rather than investigate their findings.
One of the movie’s key points was that recent feeding trials are finding troubling evidence of serious physical damage to reproductive and digestive organs. These trials are for considerably longer time periods than the research done by the companies promoting genetically modified crops.
In other business, members of the Huron and Bruce NFU Locals will be meeting with MP, Ben Lobb, on Tuesday, April 9 as part of the Day of Action to stop the release of genetically modified Alfalfa. Huron Local President, Tony McQuail said “GM Alfalfa is not needed or wanted by farmers. It will become another glyphosate resistant weed in soy and corn fields.”
For more information contact
Tony McQuail, 519-528-2493 firstname.lastname@example.org
86016 Creek Line, RR # 1, Lucknow, ON N0G 2H0
In response to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) courting municipalities around Southern Ontario for a repository or dump site for all of Canada’s high level radioactive waste Huron County farm groups are sponsoring a public information meeting to learn more about the proposal and its benefits and risks. The Huron National Farmers Union Local 335 and Huron District of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario have invited Brennain Lloyd of North Watch to share information with farmers and the general public in this part of South Western Ontario.
It was hoped that this meeting will give Huron County residents an opportunity to learn more about the proposal by hearing from both the proponents and from critics however the NWMO has not responded to an invitation to send a presenter. Publicly available information from the NWMO will be on display at the meeting.
Brennain Lloyd’s presentation “Deep Trouble: Nuclear Waste Burial in the Great Lakes Basin” will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 9 in the Banquet room at the REACH Centre. There will be an opportunity for questions following the presentation. Since 1988 Northwatch has been addressing sound energy planning, healthy forests, responsible mining, waste reduction, and conservation of our natural resources and environmental assets. Northwatch has worked with residents over the past two decades to prevent northeastern Ontario from becoming the receiving ground for foreign wastes, whether it’s Toronto’s garbage, Ontario’s biomedical waste, Canada’s nuclear reactor fuel waste, or PCB’s from around the world.
Members of the Huron NFU were concerned after attending an NWMO open house that the information provided failed to adequately present the risks of the proposal. They decided to host a meeting with a broader source of information and are pleased that the Huron District CFFO wanted to co-sponsor it. “The decision to put all of Canada’s high level radioactive reactor fuel waste under some of Canada’s best farm land and beside the Great Lakes is one that should be considered very cautiously” said Tony McQuail, Huron NFU President.
For more information Contact
Tony McQuail, 519-528-2493 email@example.com
86016 Creek Line, RR # 1
A special moment occurred during the Huron NFU AGM when Marion Studhalter was presented with the Paul Beingessner Award for Excellence in Writing. There are two annual literary prizes established by the National Farmers Union to honour Paul Beingessner for his rural and agricultural journalism. Beingessner was killed in a tragic farm accident in the spring of 2009. Marion took the prize for the 15 and under age class with her essay “Co-operatives preserve Family Farms, Co-operatives – An Exercise in Democracy.” She described her families experience in the pig business and the pressure on smaller farms which lead them to switch to milking goats and joining the Ontario Goat Cooperative.
Huron President, Tony McQuail, presented Marion with a cheque for $500 from the National Office and Huron Director, Thea Trick, provided a gift basket of local food items from the Huron NFU. Marion lives with her family near Blyth, Ontario.
Other business at the AGM included guest speaker, Brian Luinstra of Huron Geosciences, who gave an informative presentation on climate trends in the Maitland Watershed and South Western Ontario. The charts and graphs were very accessible and indicate that while the area is getting more moisture it is coming in less predictable and more violent rain storms, our winter is shrinking and our summers are getting hotter. Luinstra advised the audience not to have “all your eggs in one basket” and that farmers and others need to think about how to hold water in the landscape and slow it’s movement to the lake.
Ann Slater, Ontario Coordinator for the NFU, gave an update on activities including the work on GM Alfalfa and the successful demonstration held in Kitchener in October. The Ontario NFU also participated in the Growing Forward discussions and the consultations around the Local Food Act promoting policies to support family farms. Slater conducted the election for the 2013 executive. Thea Trick, Matt Eagleson, Johannes Poganatz, John Rodges, Jim Papple, Bruce Penfound and Tony McQuail were selected as directors for the coming year.
The Huron NFU held a young farmer gathering, Sunday, August 19 at Meeting Place Organic Farm. At the start of the session each participant had an opportunity to introduce themselves and their farm activities. This was followed by a discussion of ideas and concerns. The availability of land and the price were seen as challenges to entering farming, and the competition from land speculators and big farms getting bigger affect the rural community. There was also the concern that beginning farmers face challenges getting financing. There was some discussion of FarmLink type programs which help retiring farmers and new farmers connect. As well the experience in the Netherlands of secure long term tenure for tenant farmers was mentioned.
A short tour of the McQuail farm was followed by a potluck meal which included local beef burgers with a bountiful array of salads from the participants’ farms. A highlight of the evening was an opportunity to meet by Skype with National Youth Vice President, Paul Slomp. While it was not the same as having him present, the video capacity allowed for the participants to introduce themselves and then interact with Paul as he spoke about the history of the NFU and current issues like trade deals, local abattoirs, OSPCA, plant breeders’ rights and land grabbing. It was encouraging to participants to learn of the many areas that the NFU is working on. The use of Skype allowed local young farmers to feel more connected to the work of the national organization and have contact with a youth executive representative.
Participants at the Huron Young Farmer Gathering.
From left to right, Tony McQuail, Steven Scott, Bill van Zanten, Anna Poganatz, Johannes Poganatz, Elizabeth Poganatz, Matt Eagleson, Julian D’Cruz, Jim Papple.