By Lilian Schaer
Elora, Ontario – New data capture technology is making traceability and food safety risk management easier for Canadian beef, dairy, bison, goat and sheep farmers.
Go360 bioTrack, an initiative of AgSights, offers expanded data collection and management capabilities. It helps farmers track everything from livestock inventory numbers and animal movements to pedigree, reproduction, health, and body condition scoring information.
“We are using technology to take away headaches for people by making traceability and record-keeping simple,” explains AgSights General Manager Mike McMorris. “The latest version offers a lower cost entry point and some big improvements in terms of functionality.”
The base version that simply helps farmers keep track of their cattle inventory numbers is free. A small monthly subscription fee allows for tracking of animal movements from farm to farm or from farm to market, an increasingly mandatory requirement for Canadian livestock farmers. Continue reading
By Jeanine Moyer
Harriston ON – Harriston Packing Company Ltd. is a testament to the old adage that the customer is always right.
As the small town family business celebrates 50 years this year, second generation co-owner Mark Oelschlagel says listening to his customers has been the key to growth, especially in recent years. Over the past decade, local food trends and changing customer buying habits have shaped a new direction for the meat processing and retail company.
Today, the family business located in Harriston, ON is stronger than ever. Oelschlagel continues adjusting the company business model to keep up with his customers, and his results are paying off.
“Direct-to-customer wholesale and retail sales have grown six times in the past ten years,” says Oelschlagel, who is also seeing the trend extend to custom processing for farmers as farm gate sales increase. Continue reading
By Jeanine Moyer
Sharbot Lake, ON – Five years ago, Mike Mckenzie set out to make delicious food.
His distinguished taste for salami and smoked meats, combined with his drive to acquire meat-making skills led to the creation of Seed to Sausage, a meat processing, retail and distribution company in Sharbot Lake, a small Frontenac County village north of Kingston.
Mckenzie follows his own suite of guidelines – to make the most delicious food he can, prioritize quality and consistency, source certified humanely raised meat and local products, and use as few additives as possible. These business and product requirements have quickly become the recipe to success for Seed to Sausage.
Building the business took time. Before settling in Eastern Ontario, Mckenzie’s travels and love of meat saw him sampling salami wherever he went, refining his taste and preferences. Continue reading
This week’s story comes to us from the Agricultural Adaptation Council.
By Lilian Schaer
Toronto – A not-for-profit food business incubator in Toronto is helping entrepreneurs get their fledgling food companies off the ground.
Food Starter offers food prep, processing, packaging and storage facilities to industry entrants at a reduced rate, as well as courses to teach entrepreneurs about key aspects of the food industry, like food safety, regulatory compliance, labelling, accounting, marketing, business management and human resources.
The Toronto Food Business Incubator partnered with the City of Toronto to access funding from Growing Forward 2 to develop and launch Food Starter in November 2015.
“A lot of people here are good at recipes but don’t know about all the other things needed to run a food business,” explains Carlos Correia, Food Starter’s Facility Manager. “We cover all aspects of business development to give them information they didn’t know existed but would be road block to keep them from moving forward.” Continue reading
Rob and Maryjo Tait of Celtic Ridge Farms
By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario
Dutton – Ontario beef farmers are taking ‘local’ online to reach new customers.
Farm to City, a new marketing model with a web-based ordering system, is opening up direct-to-customer marketing opportunities for beef farmers such as Rob and Maryjo Tait, of Celtic Ridge Farms.
The young farm family recently launched the online ordering system and was thrilled by the response from customers.
“We knew our farm meat products needed an online presence,” said Rob. “Our customers are shopping, researching and sharing their food experiences online. The Farm to City online model is attracting new customers and opening up new opportunities for us.” Continue reading