Editorial: We are one year old

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Happy birthday to us! Thank you for the vast amount of support and encouragement we’ve received at Farmtario during our first year. We couldn’t have done it without our readers, advertisers and supporters.

A bit more than a year ago, Farmtario’s parent company, Glacier FarmMedia had an audacious idea: Create a whole new media organization for the Ontario farming sector.

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Glacier FarmMedia owns agriculture publications across Western Canada and in Quebec. It owns national publications Country Guide, Canadian Cattlemen and AgDealer. It also owns Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. So it had a foothold in Ontario.

But the long-term business gap was in Ontario and so the decision was made to launch Farmtario. We are independent of any organization or other general farm publication in the Ontario market.

The Ontario market is competitive with several other players, but no one had created something new for decades. There was no agriculture media organization that seamlessly fused digital and print publishing to give farmers information where they wanted it, when they wanted it.

We set out to do that, and to bring the fine tradition of top quality journalism that Glacier FarmMedia brings to the rest of the country.

So where are we now?

We think we’ve fulfilled our first year goals.

Farmtario publishes a daily email newsletter with a steadily growing readership. It gives readers the latest in breaking agriculture news, along with content from other Farmtario news sources in news, crops, livestock, markets and machinery. There’s no other daily news source for farmers like it.

We’ve won awards for our website from the Canadian Farm Writers Federation and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards — which encompasses all online publishing, not just farming.

We’re also proud of our newspaper, arriving every two weeks in farmers’ mailboxes. We aimed to create a newspaper unlike pretty much any paper on the market — farming or otherwise. You may not notice it if you’re not a word nerd, but we use navigation cues taken from online innovators in our print publication. We’ve designed a unique cover format. We think our brilliant graphic designers make our words and graphics look pretty great. We use some of the best editors in the business to keep our copy clean and crisp.

The bottom line is we hope that you have a better reading experience with Farmtario than you are used to with other publications.

We hope you’ve noticed from our coverage that we believe there’s a role for us in helping farmers to interpret the vast amount of technology heading their way. We also aim to provide a voice for young people in the agriculture sector, and to be their partner as they grow their businesses.

We have active social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’re especially proud of the following we’ve built on Instagram.

What’s next for Farmtario? With your support and help we’ll continue to grow, both in our online and print products. Watch for more projects working together with our sister company Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, as together we work to get the most insightful information to farmers so they can make the best decisions for their farm.

It’s been a pretty great year and an exciting opportunity. Let me know what you think about how we’re doing.


The Second Great Processing Tomato War has begun

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission — the organization that sets rules for agriculture product marketing — has a history of pushing sectors to freer marketing, with more success in some sectors than others.

I don’t think many hog producers want to go back to single desk selling through the pork board. Those fundamental changes to the market happened in the early 2000s. Changes to open up direct contracting for hogs was a timely innovation in that sector – although it did hasten the concentration and growth in farm size.

An attempt to open up marketing for grape growers never really got very far after significant pushback from grape growers. That sector has done just fine.

Now the OFPMC and the agriculture minister are taking a second run at the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers board and its powers to negotiate pricing on behalf of growers. Over the past two years, the OFPMC and the government have stripped the processing vegetable growers halfway down to the bare bones and built it up again. That didn’t appear to be enough for some in the sector who chafe at having to negotiate a price with all producers. The fight is gearing up again, after producers thought they had already been through one war. I don’t think the powerful interests arrayed against them should dismiss their resolve.

About the author

Editor

John Greig

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig

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