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Events (January 1st - March 31st):

SouthWest Agricultural Conference - Thunder Bay Satellite Location
January 6, 2016, 9:00am-5:00pm
Rosslyn Library, Rosslyn Road
For more info: Christina Mol at cmol@lakeheadu.ca or
(807) 629-2947

Northwestern Ontario Forum for Food
January 19, 2016, all-day event
Victoria Inn Hotel & Conference Centre, 555 Arthur Street West
This one-day conference features discussions and networking designated to promote farm-to-table food. Participants from different communities will be in attendance to build relationships among stakeholders in Northwestern Ontario. Everyone welcome!
Registration and info: www.nwofoodforum.ca

Beef Farmers of Thunder Bay Annual Meeting & Dinner
January 20, 2016, dinner at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:30pm
Murillo Hall, 4569 Oliver Road
Please RSVP for dinner before January 13.
For more info or to RSVP: Carol at (807) 625-0030 or camaki@tbaytel.net

Slate River Plowing Match General Meeting
February 8, 2016 at 8:00pm
Kakabeka Hotel dining room, 756 Hwy 11/17, Kakabeka Falls
Come out to renew your memberships or purchase one for only $10 at the door. Let's reflect on what makes this event a great one!
For more info: Tom Loghrin at tomlo@tbaytel.net or www.slateriverplowingmatch.ca

Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op "Meet the Producer" Event & Dinner
February 16, 2016 from 4:00-5:30pm (setup anytime after 2pm), 99 Scott Street (Agricultural Centre, Dryden)
Dinner at 6:30pm, Best Western PLUS Dryden Hotel and Conference Centre (349 Government Street, Dryden)
This exclusive CLFC Producer only event is a great way to have your farm or business showcased! Get to know your customers at our "Meet the Producer" event! Tables are FREE. Afterwards, join us for dinner and mingle with other local producers. Contact and/or reserve your space: Jen at jen@cloverbeltlocalfoodcoop.com, www.cloverbeltlocalfoodcoop.com Cloverbeltlogo

Ontario Pesticide Education Program Training Course
March 7, 2016 (Thunder Bay)
This course is given in Thunder Bay, Emo and Dyden locations and is also available online.
To register and for more info: 1-800-652-8573

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Course
March 8, 2016, 8:00am
Murillo Community Hall (4569 Oliver Road)
As of August 31, 2016, Ontario Regulation 63/09 of the Pesticides Act requires persons to successfully complete this course to become certified to purchase/utilize Class 12 pesticides for corn and soybeans. More information is available at www.ipmcertified.ca
To register: 1-866-225-9020

Thunder Bay Spring Farm Conference
March 29-31, 2016
Kakabeka Legion, 4556 Trans-Canada Hwy
Come out to enjoy the many exhibitors, guest speakers, a hot buffet, prizes and more!
Contact: Christina Mol at cmol@lakeheadu.ca or (807) 629-2947

Savoury Onion Scones

With the passing holiday season, something on the lighter side may just be what you're looking for. Baked fresh, these scones are a warm treat for those cold winter days. Add a little butter and cheese or enjoy with a hot bowl of soup. Either way, utilizing local ingredients will ensure for both a tasty and healthy treat!

1 Ontario onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
2 cups biscuit mix (or try Brule Creek's scone mix!)
½ cup shredded Old Cheddar (or try Thunder Oak's Old Gouda!)
½ tsp coarse black pepper
½ cup Ontario milk (try Slate River Dairy!)

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine onion and butter; microwave on high (100%) power for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in biscuit mix, cheese and pepper. Stir in milk (just enough to make soft dough). Knead on lightly floured surface several times. Pat or roll dough into a ½ inch thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges on non-stick baking sheet and bake in 450 degrees F (230C) oven 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Source: www.ontario.ca/foodland/recipes


Rural Heritage Days Makes Its Debut
Submitted by Tom Loghrin

The 83rd Annual Slate River Plowing Match was presented as a part of Rural Heritage Days for the first time this past fall. The two-day event was held at the usual plowing match location on Hwy 130, just west of Thunder Bay. It took place on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 11 and all day Saturday, Sept. 12.

Plowing remained the heart of activities. OPA (Ontario Plowmen’s Association) Judge Wayne Downie from the Hamilton area hosted a well received plowman’s clinic on Friday afternoon and judged the competitive plowing classes on Saturday. Wayne enjoyed the event and has requested to return next year. Fred Boulter earned the overall Grand Championship for plowing.

As the new name suggests, many other things related to agricultural life and history were part of the event. The Blekkenhorst families ran harvest demonstrations periodically throughout the two days. Barley was cut with a binder, stooked and threshed; the thresher was driven with a 1920s era tractor. The binder, tractor and threshing machine were all McCormick-Deering machines. The barley was also ground into flour suitable for animal feed. The dynamometer, although not directly related to harvesting, was popular among many tractor owners who seized the opportunity to check their horsepower.

Leo and Art Blekkenhorst cut the barley

Tractor rodeo was back and provided good fun for participants and spectators on Friday evening, Saturday morning and later on Saturday afternoon. Wagon backing, the Kerchner string game, the tandem lift & carry and several more contests tested the operator’s speed and driving skill. Drivers were good sports throughout and even supported the egg and spoon race. When the fun ended, Jason Blekkenhorst won the rodeo trophy.

The antique tractors were the biggest showing and variety in recent memory; the tractor parade on Saturday afternoon was a big one with almost 50 tractors entered. Best original was John Hanna’s 1963 John Deere 5010 and the oldest running tractor was Hemke Vanderzwaag’s 1920 Fordson.

Oldest tractor
Hemke Vanderzwaag drove the oldest running tractor, a 1920 Fordson.

Around the grounds, Thunder Bay Cattlemen’s Association, Kakabeka Tired Iron Club, Founders' Museum and antique car clubs had well attended displays and demonstrations. As usual, when the weather is good, the BMO volunteers were busy at the gate processing over 500 spectators on Saturday.

The support of more than 80 local businesses, led by Thunder Bay Co-operative Farm Supplies and Bank of Montreal, made the match possible.

For more information visit www.slateriverplowingmatch.ca.

Breukelman Potato Farm Receives Honours
By Miranda Bolt

This past fall, at the Slate River Plowing Match Rural Heritage Days, Breukelman Potato Farm was presented with a very important award. Chosen as one of the Top 10 Farming Families in Ontario, they were recognized by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Ontario Plowman's Association.

The BMO Ontario Farm Family Awards were created to recognize the achievements of farm families across Ontario. The Breukelman's were also awarded this achievement at the September 26th International Plowing Match and Expo in Finch, Ontario, receiving a 2015 Ontario Farm Family gate sign.

Family farms in our region are certainly something to be proud of. Thunder Bay and area is unique in where it is located, and our entire community thrives when we support our local producers. A big congratulations to the Breukelman family on this great achievement!


Strengthening Agricultural/Urban Relationships in Our Area
By Miranda Bolt, source: www.tbfoodstrategy.ca

Recently, our city expanded its horizons in how it utilizes locally grown food available in our region. This past September, a partnership between the City of Thunder Bay and Belluz Farms in Slate River helped forge a new way in which we can all help support local agriculture. A group of residents from three Homes for the Aged visited Belluz Farm to better understand how their fresh foods is grown, some of which will now appear on the menus of each location. A few of these fresh foods include carrots, beets, cabbage and onions, which Belluz can now efficiently wash, package and store thanks to new equipment.

Belluz Farms recently received some help from the Greenbelt Fund and Ontario Government, allowing for assistance in this area. Kevin Belluz of Belluz Farms highlighted that their new equipment helps house high-demand crops and assist with the harvest. Because of better storage options, they are able to produce more and serve the community in ways such as providing food for these three Homes for the Aged.

Putting focus on our local growers is important. Farms like Belluz not only rely on this for their income, but support in this area gives back to our community as a whole. Choosing local products and services keeps money within our region through supporting local businesses while lessening environmental impact. Locally grown food is often picked in its prime, ensuring the produce is in a much higher nutrient state. It's healthier, tastier and provides a sense of satisfaction.

The Thunder Bay Local Food Strategy has been committed to creating a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system within the region of Thunder Bay, assisting our area in local food access, infrastructure, production and more. Through implementing partnerships between local growers like Belluz Farms and our city, the Thunder Bay Local Food Strategy aims to generate long-term strategic relationships that contributes to economical and ecological well-being of the City of Thunder Bay and area.

For more information, please visit www.tbfoodstrategy.ca

Photo: www.bluesnowimaging.com

TBARS Introduces New Board of Directors
Submitted by Andrew Brekveld, edited by Miranda Bolt

Recently, Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station (TBARS) received a new board of directors. This group of individuals hopes to secure the future of TBARS as it stands now. TBARS' mission statement is as follows: To help and commit to the establishment, operation, promotion and transfer of agricultural research for the further development and diversification of the agricultural industry. TBARS welcomes these members as a new group of representatives who will carry out what the future holds in store for the research station.

Kevin Belluz, B.Sc.
Kevin is a third-generation owner of Belluz Farms in Slate River. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Plant Biology, while working in Alberta and England shortly after at a horticulture supply company. In 2003, he took over the family farm. His family is focused on producing fruits and vegetables for the local market with the help of over 50 local employees at peak season.

Bernie Kamphof
Bernie has been an active member of Thunder Bay's agricultural community for over 20 years. He has served on many boards and committees including the Thunder Bay District Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Thunder Bay Cooperative Farm Supplies, Thunder Bay Dairy Producers, Thunder Bay Christian Farmers, and the Thunder Bay Federation of Agriculture. Currently, Bernie is active in his second term as a Councillor for the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, as co-chair of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy and the Agricultural Representative on the Lakehead Source Water Protection Committee. Bernie is a third-generation owner of his family's dairy and crop farm, and continues to invest in new technology and practices through his livestock and crops. Through these changes, he makes his business more sustainable for the environment and secures his farm's long-term financial success.

Andrew Brekveld
Andrew, son to a first-generation Thunder Bay dairy farmer, is currently involved on the farm at home and hopes to one day become a farm owner himself. He is a recent graduate of the University of Guelph-Kemptville Campus' Agriculture Diploma Program and has also worked at many different farms over the years. In the past, he has served on many committees including the Oliver Agricultural Society, Kemptville College Royal Education Committee, Thunder Bay Steps to Leadership Steering Committee, and currently serves as a director of Thunder Bay District Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Andrew strives to take advantage of new research and learning opportunities in order to apply this knowledge to the family farm at home.

Arnold Breukelman- Arnold was born and raised in Thunder Bay and currently serves on the board of Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Association. Other boards and committees he has previously served or is presently serving include Thunder Bay Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Thunder Bay Cooperative Farm Supplies, and Oliver Paipoonge Committee of Adjustment. Arnold and his brother Dan are in partnership on Breukelman's Potato Farm. Breukelman's specializes in quality potatoes but also grows barley, wheat, and rye grass. Together, their families grow, wash, store, grade and pack the potatoes, then deliver them to local grocery stores. They also do custom work, including combining and delivery of minerals and machinery. 

Dennis Ellchook- Dennis is the owner of Sunrise Farms, a 500 + acre cow/calf and crop farm in Murillo, Ontario. Along with this, he works as a mechanic at Narvi’s Truck and Auto Service. In the past he has served on the boards of the Thunder Bay Federation of Agriculture and Thunder Bay and District Cattleman’s Association. Dennis uses resources like the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station to attain a better understanding of what's happening in his farm’s soil and what forages can he can grow in it.

Ewa Gulbinowicz- Ewa has been a volunteer for the Sister City Advising Committee since 2010. She is a graduate of the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Lakehead University, and has taken additional marketing and IT courses at Confederation College. She has also earned a 1-year diploma in Business and Human Resources at Confederation College. Additionally, she is a graduate of a Civil Engineering course in Poland. Ewa has run her own hobby food manufacturing business for over 3 years, having worked within this industry for over 20 years. Her other skill sets include not-for-profit organizations, assisting businesses to better operate through implementing better business planning, and overall business management. She utilizes her strong IT and information systems knowledge throughout these areas. Since 2013, Ewa has worked as an Executive Director for CCA and as an agent for United Way.

Fritz Jaspers- Fritz, along with his two sons, operates a dairy farm while managing approximately 1000 acres of crops. Additionally, he provides custom work for other farmers in the area. He has served as a chairman on both the Thunder Bay Milk Producer Committee and Thunder Bay Co-operative Farm Supplies. Fritz brings experience to this board as he has been a previous board member for a three-year term.

Shannon Vanlenthe- Shannon and her husband Dan have a 5-acre vegetable production, greenhouse and pastured pork operation in South Gillies, Ontario. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Forest Conservation from Lakehead University. Shannon is currently on the Board of Directors for the Thunder Bay Country Market, and is an advocate for local farming through her love of gardening.


Will TBARS be Operational in 2016 and Beyond?
Submitted by Dr. Tarlok Singh Sahota CCA

We hope so! TBARA Board had decided to close TBARS on March 31, 2015 due to lack of adequate funds. At that time, Sustainability Study of TBARS was still going on. Before closure however, we were allowed by the NOHFC to use leftover funds from the previous project at the end of March 31, 2015. As a result, TBARA Board decided to keep TBARS operational until December 31, 2015, even though staff was reduced in number and we were without a technician. The Lord helped Blaine Tomeck and myself by sending some volunteers to work at TBARS (details in TBARS Annual Report 2015). Consequently, we were able to pull through the season and complete the report in time. I was also able to earn some additional dollars which helped us to hire an intern in mid-September. The earned dollars and savings (including saving in labour due to volunteers) left us with some balance for 2016 and I was told by TBARA Board last month that I could continue until March 31, 2016.

In early 2015 after TBARA decided to close TBARS, I made contacts and met with a few key persons at Lakehead University (LU) through colleagues and friends in the university for LU-TBARS alliance and the continuity of TBARS. These meetings resulted in the visit of Dr. Andrew Dean (Vice President of Research, Economic Development and Innovation) and Brian Stevenson, President of LU, to TBARS in August 2015. Back in summer 2012, TBARA Board had authorized Bill Mauro, MPP of Thunder Bay-Atikokan to pursue alliance of TBARS with LU. This was also one of the recommendations in TBARS Sustainability Study by Dr. Glenn Coulter, Integrity Intellectual Property Inc. Calgary, Alberta. Though Dr. Stevenson didn’t make any commitment then, he was impressed by TBARS and appeared to be positive about TBARS-LU alliance. The main hurdle in that was the funding issue, because as I understand from my colleagues in LU, there had been cuts in the funding to the university as well.

In September this year, Bruce Forrest and Bernie Kamphof, then President and Director TBARA, and I met Bill Mauro to impress upon him the outstanding productivity of TBARS and the need of its continuity in the interest of the consistent economic development of the northern agricultural communities. Apart from farmers, researchers and extension specialists, the good work done at TBARS is also recognized and supported by public at large and the media. Mauro assured us to talk to Dr. Stevenson and also advised us to submit another funding proposal to NOHFC. I had already scheduled meetings with officials from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and FedNor. My colleagues in both the organizations have been very supportive of TBARS and me. My ideas/logic and the project title “Maximizing Economic Yields” was accepted by the two organizations and I was advised to submit Phase 1 Applications, which I did last month. Once Phase 1 Applications are approved (I am hopeful), I will have to write and submit Phase 2 Applications. Approval of Phase 1 applications or submission of Phase 2 applications is no guarantee of funding. However, the Lord has made me a man with an optimistic and positive attitude. I believe that “optimism spells growth”. When the first decision was made to close TBARS in March 31, 2015, any one in my place would have been writing job applications, but I continued making efforts for the continuity of TBARS (reference my meetings with LU officials; in between I was also able to rope in NWO Innovation Centre for these meetings).

As in the past, I was invited by Bill Mauro to his open house on December 4, 2015. There was no time for detailed talks, though it was clear that Mauro was sincerely trying for continuity of TBARS. However, he regretted that the outcome of his efforts was unlikely to be seen by the end of this month/year.

I am very appreciative of the support to TBARS from all corners, including two of our very capable ministers from Thunder Bay, enterprising farmers and farm organizations, farming related businesses, TBARA Board, general public, and the media. I believe there are also some colleagues and well-wishers who have been trying for sustainability of agricultural research in Northern Ontario in general and TBARS in particular. As usual, I am optimistic and will keep trying!

Wish you all Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

For more information on TBARS and its work for the agricultural community, visit the website at www.tbars.net.

Advertising with TBFA
If your business and its customers are associated with the agriculture industry, consider advertising with TBFA! Rates are as follows:
Directory Ad- Farms which are members of TBFA pay only a single one-time fee to have their products and information listed on Directory page. Easy reference for our site viewers! ($20)
Business Ad- Send on your business card & information for posting on the Home page, direct & accessible to our site viewers! ($100/year)
Please request our web page ad form to advertise with us, or contact Brenda at burkedairyfarms@xplornet.com

Our Supporters

Funding for this project was provided in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Adaptation Council’s CanAdvance Program, Farm Credit Canada, Food Security Research Network and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
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A Season of Rest in Thunder Bay & Area...

Winter months have arrived in our area. Here in the northwest, we expect snow and colder temperatures will be upon us soon. Many of our producers and farmers know that winter fields bearing crops year after year need time to rest to replenish and prepare for next year's season. Livestock is fed from the bounty harvested this past fall. Freezers are full and pantries filled with sweet jams and canned vegetables of a great growing year. Looking back, producers and growers within the community can take time to enjoy the fruits of their labour. A time of rest has come to our area.


Passport to Safety: Is a national safety test, certification and transcript program for workers. The Passport verifies a basic level of workplace health and safety knowledge to help workers become smarter and safer around the places they work.
Passport to Safety is currently offering a Passport to Farm Safety Course. Click here for more info!

Agriculture Economic Impact Study
Click here to read more

Your source to information related to farming in our Northern Ontario setting!
This recently launched website has a host of links, info and tips: www.farmnorth.com

Website Updates
Thunder Bay Federation of Agriculture updates this website four times per year. Information for our next update should be in by March 25th, with our next update posted by March 31st.
If you would like to advertise in our business directory or our events calendar, contact miranda@tbfarminfo.org

farm in the fall

Teaching Resources

Have questions about agriculture? want to get the real facts about farming? Check out the resources available through Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. website. www.oafe.org

The Thunder Bay Dairy Educator is available to teachers for presentations on dairy farming and dairy goodness. Contact your Thunder Bay Dairy Educator today for your FREE visit! Trudy Reid-935-3224 or reidridgefarm@rogers.com

Local Farm Weather

Job Opportunities
Co-operative learning students and farm hands
Co-operative learning students and farm hands are always needed in the area. If you are interested in such an opportunity, please call Peter Aalbers at 939-1644 or e-mail him at peter@tbfarminfo.org.


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