Letters to the editor – July 17, 2014

FOOD AS FUEL

Re: Letter to the Editor, June 19, titled “Feeding the world”

“Meanwhile our farmers need to produce food to feed the billions”.

What are we, hypocrites?

The search for profit must not go unchecked and without challenge for the gluttons who, with costly contributions and blessings of gov-ernment(s) have turned to burning food for fuel, by the manufacturing of ethanol.

And by doing this, squandering the most precious resources of water and grain products for the greedy ambitions of investors, who can merely provide some transitory financial benefits; is to sacrifice our children and families, as victims, to the demands and economic powers of industry.

John Fefchak,
Virden, Man.

GRAIN FARMERS CONCERNED

This letter is in response to the article “Ontario beekeepers drop call for ban on neonics” by Jeffrey Carter (WP, June 5).

Grain Farmers of Ontario has been going, and continues to go, above and beyond to support beekeepers and bee health.

As one of 33 members from government, research institutions, industry, and farm organizations that participated in the Ontario Bee Health Working Group in 2013-14, Grain Farmers of Ontario worked to identify and develop options for action to mitigate risks from neonicotinoid treated seed.

These actions include updated Best Management Practices, a commitment of over $260,000 for new integrated pest management research, the availability of untreated seed for the 2014 crop planting season, use of the Fluency Agent developed by Bayer CropScience, pilot testing of new deflectors to reduce dust, and a pilot program to collect empty seed bags from CLEANfarms.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is also working to improve communication between grain farmers and beekeepers.

Information on best management practices and the fluency agent was offered through several channels to ensure all farmer-members were well informed.

In addition, Grain Farmers of Ontario has developed a new app to improve communication, which is unfortunately at a standstill due to the fact that the Ontario Beekeepers Association will not share data.

The article written by Mr. Carter discounts the reality of the number of serious concerns for bee health including loss of suitable habitat, parasites and disease, invasive species, and adverse weather conditions.

None of these issues can be ig-nored, and a single, straightforward solution may not be possible.

Grain Farmers of Ontario has put a great deal of effort to find a solution to the current bee health issue. It is highly offensive and unprofessional to suggest we have not been, and will not be supportive of the Ontario Beekeepers Association’s new stance before we have been approached.

Mark Huston,
Kent County, Ont.

NOTHING TO HIDE

To A&W and McDonald’s:

I am getting tired by your proclamations which suggest that you are cracking down on us slow-witted ranchers.

First A&W

Your beef is raised without the use of added hormones. My first irk with that statement is the unspoken suggestion that you are using Canadian beef.

Isn’t it true that you buy most if not all your beef from other countries? Isn’t it true that most if not all of the hamburger used in the A & W burger family comes from dairy cows?

And if that is the case, your use of the word beef is a misnomer because there are beef cows and dairy cows so the correct term for you to be using is dairy meat; not beef.

Your statement that your beef is raised without the use of added hormones also suggests that commodity beef (which you cannot afford because of its much higher quality) is somehow less attractive and also suggests that all other beef is raised with hormones, which is not true.

McDonald’s

Sustainable beef pilot.

You are kidding right? Sustainable for whom? Right now with prices where they are it is sustainable for us ranchers.

If you mean sustainable for you, then again, you cannot afford our beef because it is grown to meet the needs of fine dining restaurants, and AAA is simply too fat for your lean paper thin burgers. I am sure I am right when I say you never buy beef of that quality do you?

You are again like A&W, buying cull dairy meat and unwanted trim. Yet somehow you think you have a right to poke your nose in the way we do things even though you may have never lived on a farm, pulled a calf, helped one nurse in a snowstorm … and so on.

Somehow you feel qualified to dictate to us how things should be done, even though I don’t raise any dairy cows for the hamburgers you to sell.

I would imagine that you probably do get a few of my old cull beef cows, but it probably wouldn’t feel right for you to be advertising that little fact. Why don’t you tell the public that you only use rejected tired old cull animals for your “beef”? (er, dairy meat).…

You, promising to work with producers and packers to create practical guidelines on environmental stewardship, animal health and welfare, and food safety is redundant because it was all in place long before you decided to join in the action uninvited.

You are just riding the coattails of others’ work, claiming it to be your own idea just to get a positive consumer opinion.

Cheap and free advertising to promote your own “manufactured” meat product.

If you want everything on the table. I can assure you that we ranchers have nothing to hide. You, however, have been duping the hamburger consumer with falsities that you need to come clean with.

The best place to start cleaning house just may be your own kitchen.

Barb Ward,
Arrowwood, Alta.

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