cong thuc choi baccarat_Macau trực tuyến Baccarat_web/trang cá độ bóng đá hợp pháp

FARM NOTES: Conflicting standards, rustlers, strong man flexes muscle at farm show

By Tom Henry

That clanking noise at the recent foodie’s conference wasn’t someone’s smart phone slipping from their Dockers but rather my jaw hitting the floor. The speaker, the sustainability officer for a seafood company that supplies high-end restaurants, was touting the benefits of an emerging technique for raising fish. Land-based aquaculture, as it is called, raises fish in huge indoor tanks, and recycles water, thus sidestepping the alleged problems—manure nutrient overload, contact between wild and farm fish—of raising fish such as salmon in ocean net pens.

With land-based aquaculture, the speaker said, the fish are raised in a highly controlled environment. Disease management and feed conversion are much improved. Fish density can be up to three times that of ocean net pens. Efficiency is increased and with none of the so-called downfalls of traditional fish farming.


Those of us engaged in livestock farming are judging our own performance and, increasingly, being judged, by an almost exactly opposite set of standards. The more room we give our chickens, pigs and cattle, the better. Pasture-raised is better than barn-raised. Farrowing crates are bad, group housing is good. The much celebrated heritage breeds have feed conversion rates that are inferior to modern breeds.

There’s more. While one of the greatest criticisms of open-ocean, net-based aquaculture is that the farmed fish may infect wild fish with sea lice or some other parasite or disease (all the more reason to move the farmed fish into tanks, so it is argued), there is not only no equivalent concern for free ranging livestock (the transfer of Johne’s disease between tame goats and wild deer, for example) but the worry is quite the opposite—that wildlife will infect our livestock.

In short, while the future of consumer-friendly fish farming lies in confinement and control and efficiency, the future of consumer-friendly livestock is headed for less confinement, less control and less efficiency.

Can I speak to who is in charge? I’m confused.

* *? *

A friend tells me that skyrocketing beef prices have lead to an increase in cattle rustling and/or fear of cattle rustling, especially on the Prairies. In less than an hour a thief with a bucket of grain and a livestock trailer could be off with tens of thousands of dollars of cattle.

Since ear tags are easy to remove there is a move to return to old fashioned branding. That won’t sit well with the animal welfare groups who have worked with ranchers to move away from branding, but with big money at stake, especially after over a decade of low prices, producers can’t be blamed for wanting to reduce their risks.

* * *

Small Farm Canada isn’t usually the right forum to air publishing-type matters, but the recent actions of Glacier Media have such a bearing on farmers that it warrants an exception.

Glacier, owners of a flock of farm publications, including the venerable and rightly celebrated The Western Producer, and of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Ontario, are launching a new farm show, called Ag in Motion, in Saskatchewan this summer (see Events listing, p 8).

The usual spirit of these shows is that all exhibitors are welcome (based on their willingness to pay, of course). The idea is that show visitors will get a chance to see, test, poke and, in the case of publications like SFC, look at products they may not have seen before.

A farm show is where the whole farm community gets together.

But when contacted about exhibiting at the new show, Glacier told us that only Glacier-owned publications would have access; no non-Glacier publications are to be allowed to exhibit. It really doesn’t matter to us if we can or can’t attend the new show, nor is our? absence a critical loss for show guests (as would be the case if the food vendors didn’t show). But what about the little regional publications whose circulation can rise and fall depending on their participation at farm shows?

It is a bit scary when the largest ag media publisher in the country decides to flex their muscle and block out everyone else.

Did I say scary? Make that unseemly.

Come on, guys. Let everyone in.

We’ll buy you an ice cream.