Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is a producer-run organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing a viable and competitive Ontario veal industry through
innovation, marketing, advocacy and education.

Funding announced for new veal cattle research project

VFO Partnering with University of Guelph on meloxicam depletion study 

Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is pleased to announce the recent approval of funding for a new research project that will see the organization partner with the University of Guelph on a study related to safe use of a pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication with dairy calves for grain-fed veal production.
This study of the use of meloxicam will receive funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) under the Animal Health-Applied Research, Pilot Projects and Demonstrations project category. Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is approved for use as an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic (pain relief) in cattle in Canada and marketed as Metacam™ by Boehringer Ingelheim.
“We want to ensure the best care for our animals. This project will give us insight into managing their health needs and minimizing risks to food safety. Through the Partnership, our government is pleased to support such important research to benefit animal welfare,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Currently, meloxicam’s product label carries a warning “not to use in veal calves” as a withdrawal interval (i.e. time after last treatment with drug before the animal may be safely processed for food) has not been established in pre-ruminating calves. Therefore, the use of meloxicam in veal cattle is considered “extra label.”
The primary goal of the project is to establish a withdrawal interval for veal cattle.

2018 Healthy Calf Conference sells out after reaching record attendance

Practical, take-home tips resonate with conference participants

Guelph, ON – With nearly 550 attendees and one sold out location, the 2018 Building the Foundation: Dairy and Veal Healthy Calf Conference (HCC) brought innovative ideas to producers across Ontario on November 27th in Stratford and November 29th in Maxville, and at a special “Vet Night” event exclusively for bovine veterinarians. Expert speakers offered advice on all aspects of calf management, including health, housing, welfare, feeding, and behaviour. The excellent networking among attendees, experts, and exhibitors is a hallmark of HCC, and this year was no different. Each attendee left with practical tips they could implement during that evening’s chores.

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Veal Farmers of Ontario Board of Directors: CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

The Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) Board of Directors is seeking interested veal producers to get involved in our organization. Your input into the future direction of the organization is vital to maintaining a strong and active voice for the VFO. All voting producer members of VFO, with their membership in good standing, are eligible for nomination. VFO Board members are provided a meeting per diem of $250/day and reimbursement for travel expenses. Directors actively participate in approximately seven to nine Board meetings per year (in person and conference calls) held at our offices in Guelph.  Directors work on behalf of the Ontario dairy calf/veal sectors on projects, issues and initiatives that benefit the membership of the organization.

Interested candidates must complete a self-nomination form found here and submit by no later than January 31st, 2019 for review by the Nominating Committee.  There will be no nominations from the floor accepted.  Elections, if required, will take place at the VFO Annual General Meeting & Producer Education Day on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

For more information please contact:

Healthy Calf Conference Stratford sold out!

Thank you to our supporters! For the first time ever, the Building the Foundation: Dairy and Veal Healthy Calf Conference (HCC) has sold out at the Stratford location, a week ahead of the conference!
After selling 280 tickets, we are unfortunately unable to accept any additional registrations for the Stratford location on November 27th. This event is at capacity and no walk-ins will be accepted. Only those who have pre-registered will be accepted.
The number of progressive calf managers in Ontario has continued to grow, along with the Healthy Calf Conference, year after year. HCC’s loyal fan base has helped us hit record sales this year, demonstrating that calf care is key to a profitable dairy or veal farm.
There will be a waitlist for those who still want tickets to the Stratford location. Please provide your name and contact information here. If a ticket becomes available, we will contact those on our waiting list on a first-come, first-serve basis.
There is still time to register for the Maxville location on November 29th. Participants can expect the same great conference at this location. If you can’t make it to Maxville, you can purchase the proceedings of the conference here.

Quality concerns with the 2018 corn harvest – Is DON a concern for veal production?

Ontario is facing a severe outbreak of in DON in corn this fall. Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a vomitoxin which is a type of mycotoxin (toxin produced by mould) produced by fungus that infects grains, including corn. Due to the very wet summer and harvest season, corn in Ontario has been found to have unusually high levels of DON, with corn from some areas of the province more affected than others.

Most years, crops have about three parts per million (ppm) of vomitoxin. This year, routine testing has found levels up to 37 ppm. An October 2018 OMAFRA survey found more than 25% of samples had over 5 ppm.

License Fee Reminder 

In order to assist those who have not yet remitted their dairy bob calves purchases from private treaty or dealer sales VFO mailed out a Monthly License Fee Remittance Worksheet to assist in calculating remittances from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
Please take the time to fill that worksheet out if you are not currently remitting on a regular basis. As a reminder, Regulation 58/15 (i) requires any person who receives veal cattle to deduct the money payable for the veal cattle any license fees payable to the local board by the person from whom the veal cattle is received and to forward the license fees to the local board. (“Bob calves” are considered veal cattle).
If you have not already sent in your Form 1 identifying you as a veal producer please do so. They can be emailed, faxed or sent by regular mail to the office.
If you require additional assistance with remittance, please contact the office.

Registration open for the Healthy Calf Conference

Practical and simple on-farm management changes to improve the health and welfare of dairy and veal calves are the focus of this year’s Healthy Calf Conference.

“We asked calf raisers what some of the biggest issues are that they’re facing and they told us that feeding, health and housing top the list – so we’ve got a great line up  of speakers this year that will address all of those topics,” says Kendra Keels, Director of Industry Development with Veal Farmers of Ontario.

Dr. Michael Ballou, a professor of nutritional immunology at Texas Tech University, headlines the program with a presentation on the art of calf nutrition and how feeding calves a proper diet can help minimize or prevent common problems like respiratory disease and scours.

A new addition to the Healthy Calf Conference is a calf care panel. Ontario calf managers Jayne Dietrich of Character Dairy Genetics, and Laura Shuurman with Joe Loewith & Sons Ltd  will offer virtual tours of their operations and share their tips for reducing calf mortality and raising high production animals.

The University of Guelph’s Dr. Trevor DeVries will address the why, when and how of group housing calves, and Dr. Dave Renaud, a consultant and University of Guelph assistant professor, will discuss how managing calf health and working with a herd veterinarian can ensure future profitability of a dairy herd.

“Our program is designed to offer relevant, easy to use information that conference participants can take back to implement on-farm right away,” says Keels.

The Healthy Calf Conference, which also includes a calf-focused trade show, will be held on November 27 at the Best Western Plus Arden Park Hotel in Stratford, and again on November 29 at the Maxville & District Sports Complex in Maxville, from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm. Cost is $90 per person until November 1 and $100 after that date. A student rate of $40 is also available. A hot buffet lunch, proceedings, and calf care resources are included. The first 90 producers to register also receive a free 3.7L Caf-Tel Bottle – perfectly sized for colostrum feeding!


Click here to see the speaker lineup

Click here for sponsorship information.

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Ontario Goat departs from Livestock Alliance

VFO and OG partnership wraps up by year-end

GUELPH, ON– Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) and Ontario Goat (OG) jointly announced the departure of OG from the Livestock Alliance partnership, and as a result, the dissolution of the Livestock Alliance, by the end of 2018.

“OG as an organization will still exist but our capacity to function as a member of the Livestock Alliance will wind up and be completed by the end of 2018,” stated Dirk Boogerd, OG President.  “It is important to OG that we are able to meet our responsibilities as part of the partnership that has shown us so much support and value over the years, and at this time, we are unable to do that.”

Despite the best efforts of OG to try and bring the Ontario goat industry together with a united voice, the sector remains divided.  With two failed attempts to become a recognized commodity organization that would see the implementation of stable funding, the volunteer board of OG is left with no other choice but to wind up its partnership with VFO.

“While we still firmly believe in the concept of the Livestock Alliance and what it can do for our members, the reality is that in order for it to work effectively, all partners must have stable funding so that costs are shared equitably on a consistent and ongoing basis,” stated Tom Kroesbergen, VFO Chair.

OG entered into the Livestock Alliance partnership in July 2009 with the goal of building organizational capacity so that Ontario’s goat farmers had a representative voice within the industry and with government.  Through the sharing of office space and staff resources, OG was able to leverage funding for a number of important projects, fund new research and facilitate industry development over the past nine years.  “The impact that OG has had on our industry over the past several years is significant.  The lack of producer representation at all levels and work on behalf of all meat, dairy and fibre producers in Ontario will be felt,” stated Boogerd.

Boogerd explains that after the second failed attempt to become organized, OG went out to its members with a flat rate annual membership fee as a result of member feedback.  However, support for this initiative has been underwhelming and has left OG without the financial resources necessary to continue its partnership with VFO.

“There is no question that Ontario’s goat producers recognize the need for investment in our industry so we can continue to grow, develop, and take advantage of new opportunities, but there is an incompatibility with what we need and how much producers are willing or able to invest to make sure our voice is heard,” explained Boogerd.  “Over the past nine years, OG has become a resource for producers, industry partners, and government.  We have built lasting relationships, but OG does not have the financial resources required to continue responding to their requests for producer input, assistance and support,” he added.

“We have appreciated all of the efforts of the OG Board members and while we are disappointed with the outcome, we respect their decision to depart the partnership on good terms as they assess their current needs and resources.  Moving forward, our dedicated staff will focus solely on a number of key VFO priorities and issues that will benefit the veal industry,” added Kroesbergen.

“The transition will take place over the coming months as we work to resolve some of the joint initiatives and projects between the two organizations,” explained Jennifer Haley, Executive Director.  Haley also explained that some of the Livestock Alliance initiatives will remain as status quo until the end of the year, while other OG specific initiatives have been suspended.  Effective immediately, there are no staff resources being allocated to goat projects or issues.

OG remains a non-profit agricultural organization in good standing recognized under the Agricultural & Horticultural Organizations Act with voluntary  membership and a voluntary board comprised of producers elected by their peers.  “As we work through this transition, we will have a better idea of what the role of OG will be in the future,” stated Boogerd.

Click here to download this news release.

Veal Production in Ontario