Grazing Days Prices for 2015/2016

 On the Farm, Policy  Comments Off on Grazing Days Prices for 2015/2016
Mar 132015

Beef Pricing Trends 2013-2015In the last edition of the Grazing Post, we had an article about beef cattle prices being on the rise in recent years. The price of cattle has continued to rise since the last newsletter. The graph on the right (updated weekly through the Beef Farmers of Ontario) shows the price of 600-699 pound heifers (which tend to be about 15 cents a lb more expensive than the 800 lbs heifers we purchase). We purchased at about week 20 last year for $1.75 per lb. Based on this chart, we are guessing that we will be paying about $2.20 per lb for our heifers this year.


The unfortunate part about this cattle price increase is that we too need to increase our prices this year. Last year, we purchased 40 yearling heifers, averaging 800 lbs at $1.75 per lbs for a total of $56,000.


This year we will be purchasing 40 yearling heifers, averaging 800 lbs at $2.20 per lbs for a total of $70400. That is an increase of $14,400. We sell between 310 and 320 lbs of beef per animal for a total of between 12,400 and 12,800 lbs. If all of our other costs remain the same, we would have to increase our prices by $1.13 to $1.16 per pound to cover the increased price of these yearlings. As such we are raising our prices by $1.15 per pound this year, from $8.75 per pound to $9.90 per pound. We realize that this is a 13% increase over last year, but unfortunately we have very little choice. We hope you understand.


Our pricing formula for 2015 works as such: we charge $9.90 per pound of beef to cover our cost of production and wages and then $10 per delivery to cover the cost of packaging, storing, handling and delivery. For example, the half share costs 40 lbs X $9.90/lb + 4 deliveries X $10/delivery = $396 + $40 = $436.

If all goes well, this is the last year that we will be purchasing stockers. The calves that were born on the farm this past summer will be ready to be butchered in the fall of 2016. Our goal is still to peg our annual price increases to Canada’s annual inflation rate.


Beef Pricing Chart 2015

 Posted by at 22:14

Campaign to Stop Bill C-18: the Agricultural Growth Act

 Policy  Comments Off on Campaign to Stop Bill C-18: the Agricultural Growth Act
Mar 082014

For more detailed analysis and other campaign tools please visit

Stop Bill C-18On December 9th, 2013 Bill C-18: the Agricultural Growth Act was tabled in the House of Commons by Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. This is an omnibus bill that if passed would make changes to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, Feeds Act, Fertilizers Act, Seeds Act, Health of Animals Act, Plant Protection Act, Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, Agricultural Marketing Programs Act, and Farm Debt Mediation Act.


Although a few of these changes might well be worth exploring, the National Farmers Union launched a campaign to stop omnibus Bill C-18. Here is a brief overview of the concerns that we have with the legislation:


The bill introduces new Plant Breeders Rights rules. Although seeds cannot be patented, plant breeders can protect the intellectual property of new plant varieties by applying plant breeders rights (similar to copyrights on books).These plant breeders rights allow plant breeders to charge a royalty on the seeds they sell. The plant breeders rights that are in force in Canada now, protect the rights of farmers to save and reuse seeds on their farms. Bill C-18 changes the rules around Plant Breeders Rights and removes the customary right of farmers to save, store, clean and reuse seed on their farms without the express permission of the entity holding the Plant Breeders Rights. If granted, such permission is dependent on the government adopting, on a crop by crop basis, an exemption called the farmers’ privilege which may be time-limited, could be removed at any time by Cabinet and would likely entail payment of royalties to the Plant Breeders Rights holder.


The proponents of these changes to Canada’s Plant Breeders Rights say that the increased royalty revenue on seed (paid by farmers) will allow Plant Breeders (such as Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, Cargill, Glencore International, Syngenta, Bunge, Limagrain and BASF) to invest in their plant breeding programs and develop new varieties.


There is however no guarantee that the increased royalty revenue will actually lead to more investment in developing new varieties – especially if they have a captive market that is restricted in the seed they can save and reuse themselves. Moreover, these changes need to be seen in light of the many budget cuts to public plant breeding programs in Canada that, in the past, have developed many new plant varieties suitable for Canada’s growing conditions—in the public interest. To counter these changes to Plant Breeders Rights, the National Farmers Union has put forward a document called “The Fundamental Principles of a Farmers Seed Act” which outlines the principles needed to foster a strong, healthy, and democratically controlled food system that allows farmers to retain their customary use of seed.


Bill C-18 amends the laws governing such things as veterinary medicines, seeds, feed ingredients and fertilizer additives to allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to use the science of regulators in other jurisdictions instead of its own science when making a decision on approving or licensing new agricultural products.


Although at first glance these changes seem like they would allow a more efficient use of resources, given that the Canadian Government would not have to replicate studies already done in other countries, the challenge arises when we look at things like Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) which was approved (for use in the dairy industry to increase milk production) in the United States, but not in Canada. Similarly, this could foreseeably be used to fast track the introduction of new varieties of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Canada without Canadian authorities needing to prove their safety or their benefit to Canadians. In short, these proposed changes would undermine Canada’s ability to safeguard Canada’s food and agriculture system for the benefit of all Canadians.


Finally there is a fundamental problem with omnibus bills in that they are designed to push through legislation without proper examination or debate. Although there are parts of Bill C-18 that could make improvements to Canada’s food system, it is much more democratic to deal with each of these proposals in separate legislation.


Please join Grazing Days and the National Farmers Union in the Campaign to stop Bill C-18.

Here is what you can do:

  • Contact your MP and other elected representatives and tell them you do not want Bill C‐18 passed.
  • Collect signatures on the NFU’s Right to Save Seed petition and take it to your MP.
  • Join the NFU (as a non-farmer associate member) and/or donate to the NFU’s A Seed Act for Farmers, not Corporations – Stop Bill C‐18 Campaign.Make cheque payable to the National Farmers Union and mail to:  2717 Wentz Ave., Saskatoon, SK / S7K 4B6, or for credit card payment, please call us at (306) 652‐ 9465, or join/donate online at



 Posted by at 03:13