Veal farmers applaud new legislation protecting Ontario producers 

Ontario Government takes steps to better protect farmers, livestock and our food supply 

Guelph, Ontario, December 3, 2019–Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) was pleased to join Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman at Queen’s Park yesterday to announce and introduce new legislation that will, if passed, better protect farmers and their animals. VFO congratulates the Minister on taking this decisive and necessary action to protect the province’s food supply.

“The Minister has listened to the concerns from across the supply chain and is taking meaningful steps to protect our farmers, our livestock and our food supply,” says VFO Chair Tom Kroesbergen. “The threat of on-farm trespassing has caused enormous stress for our farmers, and we appreciate the attention the Minister has given to the seriousness of this issue,” he adds.

The Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 attempts to address the unique risks and challenges posed by unwanted visitors and trespassing onto a farm or food processing facility, including risks to the safety of farmers, their families, and employees, exposure of animals to stress and disease, and the introduction on contaminants into our food supply. The health and safety of farmers and their livestock are integral components of the proposed legislation.

The act incorporates stiffer penalties for those convicted of trespassing, including escalating fines for first and multiple offences, allowing courts to consider additional factors that may result in an increased fine, and ordering restitution for damages to livestock or theft. It also offers additional protection for farmers against civil liability from those injured while contravening the act and rendering consent to enter the premises invalid if it was obtained under duress or false pretenses.

VFO would like to thank Minister Hardeman for bringing this important legislation forward, following extensive consultations with industry stakeholders this fall. “VFO has been actively engaged on this issue on behalf of our members and will continue to work with the Minister and his staff in order to protect our farm families and their businesses,” stated Jennifer Haley, Executive Director.

Read the full release here.

VFO Licence fees set to increase November 1, 2019

Expansion of consumer marketing programs will drive demand for Ontario veal

Guelph, Ontario, October 24, 2019–Effective November 1, 2019, Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) licence fees will increase by $1.50 to $5.50 per head.

The VFO thanks their members for the overwhelming support shown at the 2019 Annual General Meeting to mirror the implementation timelines and licence fee/check-off level increase planned by Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO). VFO has worked with BFO to ensure simultaneous implementation of both the VFO licence fee increase and the BFO check-off increase to reduce confusion in the cattle marketplace and ensure compliance with all shared industry partners.

“Licence fees are an investment in our industry, and the VFO Board is sensitive to the current and very real financial challenges veal producers are experiencing with prices and bringing veal cattle to market,” says Tom Kroesbergen, Chair, VFO. “VFO has not increased licence fees since its inception on April 1, 2015, and these funds will be applied directly towards expanding marketing and consumer relations efforts in order to create more opportunities to grow the Ontario veal marketshare,” he continues.

Expanding marketing initiatives such as the popular Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich contest and campaign, retail and consumer engagement strategies, culinary education programming, consumer marketing and awareness, research, and export market development, will create more opportunities to grow demand for Ontario veal.

“With increased demand for finished Ontario veal cattle, producers should expect more stabilized markets for quality male dairy calves, benefiting all members of the supply chain,” explains Pascal Bouilly, Vice-Chair, VFO. “Together, we will build a proactive and engaged dairy calf and veal industry in Ontario,” he adds.

The VFO Board of Directors, as a regulated marketing board, has the authority to raise (or lower) licence fees as outlined in the Farm Products Marketing Act and Ontario Regulation 58/15 Veal Cattle Marketing without the approval of their voting members.

More information about how your licence fees work for you can be found here.

View the full release here.

Updated veal Cost of Production tool launched

Guelph, Ontario, September 19, 2019 –The Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is pleased to announce that the Cost of Production (COP) tool, developed by the VFO and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), is now available on their websites.

The COP tool, created in an Excel format, will help producers calculate their annual costs and use them for planning. It has been designed to accommodate multiple production systems, including growing to finishing, starting with preconditioned calves, or a combination of both. The COP tool is a revision of the previous tool, last updated in 2008, and allows producers to input their own data.

“With the current and very real financial challenges veal producers are experiencing with prices and bringing veal cattle to market, the VFO Board of Directors identified updating the COP tool as a priority for our industry to help our producers,” said Jennifer Haley, Executive Director, VFO.

The update began in the fall of 2018. As part of the initiative, a focus group was convened to provide technical information on typical production practices used in the veal industry. A Working Committee was charged with guiding the project, and the VFO Board of Directors reviewed that the correct information was captured in the COP formula for veal, and that it accurately reflected production systems in place in Ontario.

The COP tool also identifies key risk factors for veal production and the range of possible outcomes, which can help in planning for ways to manage and mitigate them. The Ontario veal sector does not have COP data on file, which continues to be a challenge for the industry.

“Looking at costs in this tool will help farmers make sure they’re paying attention to all aspects of their operation when identifying areas for cost-savings and evaluating if the time is right for expansion opportunities,” explained Judy Dirksen, VFO Director and member of the Working Committee.

The COP tool can be found on the VFO website and the OMAFRA Ontario Enterprise Budgets website.

View the full release here.

Mississauga’s Kantene Restaurant is now home to Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich 

Sandwich maker places first among 83 nominations

Guelph, Ontario, June 15, 2019 – In a competition that was fueled by the fervour of veal sandwich lovers from across this great province, the Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) today recognized Kantene Restaurant in Mississauga, as home to Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich 2019. With more than 80 sandwich makers nominated and three rounds of judging, their win has been well earned.

“Thousands of people in Ontario took the time to nominate their favourite veal sandwich maker,” said Jennifer Haley, Executive Director of the VFO. “We’ve found that the passion of veal sandwich fans is nearly equal to that of our members, who proudly raise grain-fed veal on their family farms. For our farmers, it’s fulfilling to know their hard work is coveted by so many!”

The final event in the sandwich search had the top three makers presenting their best in front of friends and family at The Market Kitchen in Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market. Judging was overseen by John Catucci, host of You Gotta Eat Here! and the new Big Food Bucket List on Food Network Canada, last year’s winners Sian Burns and Dina Marsillo of Kitchener’s Nostra Cucina and Tom Kroesbergen, Chair of the VFO. They were joined by Burlington’s own Melinda Paletta who won her spot at the judges’ table through a contest hosted by the VFO.

“Judging Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich competition is probably the most Italian thing I have done in my life,” said Catucci. “It wasn’t a hardship by any means, but it was a real challenge to select just one winner. Each maker brings their own inspirations and history to this simple combination of Ontario veal and tomato sauce on a bun.”

Rounding out the finalists were California Sandwiches, Claremont in Toronto and Tutti Panini from Richmond Hill. In the end though it was Mississauga’s Kantene Restaurant who earned the title of Ontario’s Best Veal Sandwich 2019.

Chef Harith Darshana creates a spectacular veal sandwich that surprises with bright, fresh flavours. Kantene’s Panko-breaded Ontario veal is a little thicker than most but remains tender with a light crispy coating. Named Veal Supreme, it’s topped with grilled eggplant, melted bocconcini in a fresh tomato-based basil sauce with melted Provolone and crispy Parmesan on a soft bun.

For more about Kantene, visit kantene.com.

View the full release here.

VFO STATEMENT: Veal carcass weight limit increase 

Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is very pleased to share some great news with our members and industry stakeholders concerning an issue we have worked very diligently on–obtaining an increase to the veal carcass weight limit. As of January 15, 2020, the weight limit for a veal carcass has been increased from 180 kg to 190 kg. The VFO, through our collaboration with the Canadian Veal Association (CVA), worked very hard over a very long period of time to make this amendment a reality. Please review this news release from the CVA for more details. It is up to our industry now to use this tool wisely.

What you need to know and why this matters:

  • This amendment now brings the maximum weight limit for a veal carcass from 180 kg to 190 kg and came into effect January 15, 2020.
  • The purpose of the amendment is to provide the Canadian veal industry with the flexibility and opportunity to manage veal carcass weights throughout the supply chain.
  • The extra 10 kg provides a ‘sleeve’ to give both producers and processors some breathing room. If properly managed by everyone, the sleeve can reduce the number of overweight carcasses; and reduce the losses for both the producer and the processor.
  • It is very important that all veal producers target their maximum shipping weights for 180 kg so that there remains some flexibility within the system to manage the veal carcass weights.
  • Veal carcasses that go over the maximum weight limit of 190 kg are deemed ungraded beef carcasses.
  • Processors need to send the appropriate market signals with purchasing ‘right-weighted’ veal cattle.
  • The sleeve is an important tool to help producers and processors manage risk and ensure there is some tolerance in the supply chain if properly managed.

Important changes to the Ontario Beef Cattle Financial Protection Program

Effective January 1, 2019, Agricorp will become the new Delivery Agent of the Ontario Beef Cattle Financial Protection Program and Administrator for the Livestock Financial Protection Board. Due to the logistics of moving the office and files over the Holiday Season, all communication, including but not limited to: Late Payment Reports, Claims to the Fund and Licencing inquiries must be directed to Agricorp effective December 20, 2018.
Phone: 1-888-247-4999
Fax: 519-826-4118
Mail:
Agricorp
1 Stone Rd. West
Box 3660 Stn. Central
Guelph, ON N1H 8M4