Governments try to soften blow from ‘catastrophic’ disease
BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL
Staff A joint federal and provincial government initiative announced last week will help farmers affected by high levels of deoxynivalenol (DON), a disease that impacted Ontario’s corn crop this year.
The plan is under the umbrella of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.
Both governments are opening an application process aimed at covering a portion of eligible farmers’ DON testing-related expenses.
They are also supporting new projects to help address challenges at different points in the grain sector value chain, such as establishing ways to best process or market corn impacted by DON.
In addition, Ottawa and Queen’s Park are partnering with the Grain Farmers of Ontario “on research and new actions to reduce the frequency and impact of high DON levels, including finding temporary options to store corn to improve grain quality.”
Barry Senft, CEO of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, called the “high DON levels in corn” that the province’s farmers are experienc- ing “very stressful,” adding that it is contributing to “a market and harvest like none we have seen before.”
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), while pointing out that the “largest portion of Ontario’s corn crop remains unaffected” by DON, also stated that the province “continues to monitor the scope of the impact and review longer-term implications.” Deoxynivalenol is a vomitoxin produced by a type of fungus that infects a number of grains, including corn, wheat and barley. If ingested, animal feed made from DON-infected grain can cause major health issues for livestock, while farmers can also suffer serious medical problems if the mould is inhaled. From a financial standpoint, ethanol producers and distilleries can’t sell byproducts from the infected corn – whose kernels typically bear a pinkish hue – so they won’t pay as high a price for it. Ontario, the grain industry is dealing with the highest levels of DON in corn that it has ever seen.
“We are pleased to see the recognition from the federal and provincial governments that this is a unique situation that could have broad impact on the economy and farmers. Although we have yet to see all the end results, we know that the current DON situation is catastrophic for some of our farmers,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario, who operates a farm near St-Isidore. “We see this funding announcement as the first step toward finding solutions to the problem, and not just as a band aid to a huge issue. We look forward to working more closely with the provincial and federal governments to define next steps for supporting farmers dealing with this issue,” said Mr. Haerle. He also reminded the governments that there are other issues and programs that need to be taken into consideration, especially those that will help farmers with cash flow, as they face large losses in revenue and need to keep their businesses stable.
Grinch popular theme
The Christmas season has begun! It was that wonderful time of the year for Lancaster’s annual Santa Claus parade. The weather was beautiful; the floats were full of imagination and creativity. The theme this year was Christmas movies and the Grinch was a popular trend. My personal favourite was the Polar Express. There was the train, the smoke, the kids, the hobo and even the ticket master! For each of the floats you could see the hard work done to make the movie scenes come alive.
The awards are as follows: first École de L’Ange Gardien, second the Williamstown Fair, third the South Lancaster Gang, fourth the Optimist Club, fifth Knights of Columbus. Community Spirit went to the Char Lan Skating Club, Air Cadets and Glengarry Tree Service. The Lancaster Pizzeria treated the crowd by handing out 80 pieces of pizza. Nice touch!
Saturday evening, the Lancaster Fire Department had its Christmas party at the Lancaster Legion. There were a couple of awards handed out. Gary Hicks Volunteer Fireman of the Year, Kevin Vivarais received a plaque for his 25-year service with the department and Blake McDonell received a plaque for his 20 years of service. Congratulations.
St. Andrew’s Church
December 2, the congregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, South Lancaster, welcomed into the church family, by Sacrament of Baptism, Tessa Elizabeth, daughter of Donald and Cynthia MacLachlan and little sister to Clinton and Noal. A large number of family members and friends were present to witness this important occasion in Tessa’s life. Following the service a reception was held at the MacLachlan farm. The Sacrament of Holy Communion was also celebrated with 112 members and adherents taking part.
Rev. MacMillan welcomed into the church, by Transfer of Membership, Lynn Hendrie, Gladys Lockhart, Anna and Kevin Russell and by Act of Session Rheal Legroulx. Following worship a lovely lunch was served in the church hall by Joan Lapointe, Kathleen MacEwan, and Guelda MacRae.
December 9, the Sunday School children of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church will present their annual Christmas Pageant to the congregation. Recitations, special music and a play entitled, “The Crippled Lamb” will be performed. Following the service a luncheon will be held in the church hall and gifts and treat bags will be presented to every child present. This promises to be a fun and upbeat service. A warm welcome is extended to the community to join us. For more information contact Rev. MacMillan at 613-931-2545.
Salem United Church in Summerstown will holding its annual Christmas tea this Saturday from 1-4 p.m. There will also be a bake sale. For more information call 613-931-1468.
McCuaig and Tammy Kenny. Happy birthday everyone. A special birthday wish to Estelle Brazeau, another retired Lancaster Public School teacher, who turned 95 years young!
Fire Chief David Roberston was unable to attend Saturday’s festivities as he and his wife Sonya, brought their son Callum to Kingston for a tour of Queen’s. Time just keeps flying! I also had the chance to catch up with Peter Vanderburg on the weekend. His son Dillan is in his third year at McMaster University, studying Optometry.
Speaking about what kids are up to, I used to mention a few kids on a regular basis in my column, so where are all those kids now? Laughlin Franklin graduated from Algonquin College and is now working for HC Matcon as a field engineer, in Ottawa. Braden Willet works for Scott Kinloch. Ross Craig is in third year at Colgate University majoring in Environmental Studies. Michael Moffat works for Cornwall Electric and has taken on Tristan as a roommate! Elizabeth O’Connor is still singing! She was the winner of Cornwall’s Ribfest Idol competition, and is a regular karaoke singer at La Maison. While she moonlights as a singer she also works at WalMart Logistics. Taylor Rohr-she is a third-year student at Bishop’s University studying Secondary Education and social studies, with aspirations to go teach in Japan. Sarah Sweeny is working as a PSW at two health care facilities and is going to school for the nursing pro- gram. Megan Willet is working at WalMart Logistics and has plans to go to school next September to become a firefighter. Ina Desgroseilliers bought her first home with her boyfriend Brad Richer and is studying to become a Personal Support Worker. Our houses were full; now on to the age of empty nesting.
TOP FLOAT: This colourful entry by École élémentaire catholique de l’Ange Gardien of North Lancaster was the best float in the Lancaster Santa Claus parade Saturday.