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Animal Welfare Strategic
Ontario Goes Organic: How to Access Canada’s
Growing Billion Dollar Market for Organic Food
Rod MacRae, PhD, Mark Juhasz, Julia Langer and Ralph Martin,
World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada
widespread distribution and consultation. Please provide comments to Rod
Ontario is missing out on a major market opportunity for farmers –
organic farming processing and food distribution. This report sets out
a 15-elements plan to boost organic production to 10% of agricultural
acreage within 15 years and to capture about 50% of Ontario’s organic
consumption, up from the currently estimated 15%. In addition to financial
benefits, Ontario would experience significant environmental improvements.
Most of the elements of this plan have been successfully tested elsewhere
and could be adapted to Ontario conditions.
Development and Implementation of this report
This report was inspired by the National Organic Strategic Plan (NOSP)
and discussions with a few individuals connected to the Ontario provincial
government. World Wildlife Fund – Canada (WWF) and the Organic Agriculture
Centre of Canada (OACC) decided to collaborate on the development of a
detailed Ontario plan, using a process consistent with that used for the
NOSP. In this process, a draft plan is prepared by a small group, and
then progressively revised as feedback is received from a wide range of
interested parties. Following several rounds of revisions, an approach
to implementation is developed that usually involves many organizations.
Phase I (January to April):
Several preliminary drafts were prepared and circulated internally. The
first full version (v3) was completed in late April and posted on the
OACC web site. Emails announcing the draft and location were widely circulated.
Phase II (May to June):
Meetings held with many organizations with an interest in the content
and possible role in implementation. A considerable volume of written
and oral feedback has been received. The plan is now being revised to
integrate all the suggestions for improvement.
Phase III (July to August):
Version 4 (v4) will be posted on the OACC web site, with another round
of email announcements. Following further feedback, another version will
Phase IV (Sept forward):
The final version, with a step-wise plan for implementation, will be released
Main revisions to the report (from version
3 to version 4)
- Timeline for implementation extended from 10
to 15 years
- 5 and 15 year targets established
- Strategic implementation divided into 2 phases,
Phase I for first 5 years, Phase II for the following 10 years
- Strategies reorganized to reflect the phased
- Most strategic elements revised, particularly
coordination, support for new farmers, training, marketing board supports,
animation of non-retail distribution, processor supports and support
for cooperative development
- A few strategic elements eliminated, a few
new ones added
- Existing organic farms more fully integrated
into the strategies
- Discussion of processor targets and impacts
- Better linkages made to existing initiatives
- A preliminary analysis of regional opportunities
within Ontario undertaken
Up-dated Full Report
New, up-dated !! Individual
sections of report (PDFs)
Background information – introductory notes on spreadsheets
We present here the detailed analysis in support of our report.
With each spreadsheet, we provide some details on the methods used to
do the calculations, plus each spreadsheet contains more detailed sources
The main report also contains links to each spreadsheet:
This spreadsheet provides analysis to determine:
- each crop’s contribution to the overall
- the number of animal head to be converted
- the number of acres to be converted to organic
- an estimate of the overall number of farms
to be converted
General notes on calculations (see notes in spreadsheet for specific
details on individual commodities)
Crops – chosen based on data available on organic
production. Specialty crops are excluded from the analysis because of
insufficient data. Data on wheat, corn and hay/pasture had to be disaggregated,
based on conventional ratios and information from Hugh Martin, Organic
Crop Production Programme Lead at OMAFRA. Organic vegetable production
data is limited, so all vegetables have to be reported together, except
potatoes. Fruit production analysis is based on availability of organic
Animals - chosen based on data available on organic
production. Specialty, smaller volume animal production and aquaculture
are excluded from the analysis because of insufficient data.
- Conventional crop and animal production –
taken from OMAFRA statistics, 2004 (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/stats/welcome.html)
unless otherwise noted.
- 5 and 15 year targets –
we started from the targets set out in the National Organic Strategic
These were modified to reflect Ontario conventional and organic production
realities and to balance crop and animal production.
- Target acres and head – calculated by
multiplying conventional acres (animal head) by the target percentage
for organic conversion
- Current organic production, organic head, and
current organic farms – based on 2003 data provided by Macey (Macey,
A. 2004. “Certified Organic”: the state of the Canadian
organic market in 2003. Report to AAFC, Ottawa. Sept. 2004) unless updated
with 2004 data provided by Macey (Report of the Organic Research Advisory
Committee, 2004, prepared by Hugh Martin, Committee Chair, OMAF) or
- Acres (and head) to be converted – calculated
by subtracting current organic acres (head) from 15-year target acres
- Size range targeted – to estimate how
many farms would be required to convert to a specific commodity production,
we estimate the current size of an average organic operation. Where
that information is not available, we use conventional averages. We
also take account of the size dispersal of operations in conventional
production, under the assumption that most converting operations will
not be in the largest size classes.
- Estimated additional numbers of farms converting
– calculated by dividing acres (head) to convert by the average
size of an operation.
- Calculating number of addition farms required
to convert – we found that in the 2001 Census of Agriculture,
when adding up farms reporting crops in each commodity studied and comparing
that to the total number of farms, the ratio was 2.5. In other words,
each farm reported on average 2.5 of the studied crops. We assumed the
number would be higher in organic production, since these operations
are usually more diversified, so divided the total of all farms required
by 3 to come up with our estimate. We did not add animal production
estimates since we assume that all organic farms would report crops.
- One weakness of this analysis is that we are
unable to account for dynamic changes in crop rotations. Organic farmers
usually diversify and employ longer-course rotations. This would cause
shifts in the relationships between different crops for which we could
not account in this study. In this sense, our study assumes that organic
farmers keep producing what they did as conventional producers.
This spreadsheet shows the detailed calculations on nitrogen, phosphorus
and potassium fertilizer saved and reduced input costs for farms converting.
- We assume that all acres would have been fertilized
prior to organic conversion.
- Conventional fertilizer application rates are
taking from OMAFRA recommendations, focusing on mid-range soil test
results, loam soils, and mid-range yield objectives, unless otherwise
- Fertilizer prices are taken from the Ontario
Farm Input Monitoring Project, Ridgetown College, Oct. 5, 2005
- The N price is an average of ammonium nitrate,
anhydrous ammonia, urea and nitrogen solution.
- The P price is an average of MAP, DAP, and triple
- The K price is for muriate of potash 60%.
This spreadsheet provides the detailed calculations of pesticide applications
avoided (in kg active ingredient) and the input savings for farms converted.
- Pesticide use data come from McGee, B. et al.
2004. Survey Of Pesticide Use In Ontario,
- 2003 Estimates of Pesticides Used on Field
Crops, Fruit and Vegetable Crops, and Other Agricultural Crops
- Not all pesticides are accounted for in this
survey, but the main ones are. As such, the estimates provided here
likely underestimate pesticide savings.
- Adjustments were made to vegetable and fruit
production use totals by subtracting Bt, Copper Hydroxide and Sulfur
from the savings, as these actives are permitted in organic production.
Use patterns of these materials would likely be different as organic
farmers have limitation on their use of copper and sulfur, but we are
unable to account for this in the estimates, so assume that the same
levels would be used in organic production.
- Pesticide costs are provided on a use weighted
basis, using data from the Ontario Farm Input Monitoring Project Survey
# 4 - October 5, 2005 Economics and Business Section, Ridgetown College
- Since not all pesticides are listed in that
survey, we used the ones available which generally accounted for 80%
of the AI applied, except for fruits and vegetables where they accounted
for more like 66%. We assumed that closely related products where the
same price if they were not separately listed. The estimate of pesticide
costs in vegetables is high due to the cost of rimsulfuron use in sweet
This spreadsheet provides details on our calculations for the Transition
Risk Offset Programme and Payments for Environmental Services (section
5.6 in the main report).
- Transition year – we report payments for
each of the three years of required transition, except in animal production
for which the period on farm is less than three years.
- Yield decline – estimates derived from
the literature and expert opinion. See Appendix 2 of the main report
- Average 5-year yield and prices – 2000-2004
averages taken from OMAFRA statistics, unless otherwise reported.
- Government payment – at 10% of the gross
revenue loss associated with the yield decline. We assume there are
no transitional product premiums available.
- Avoided cost payment – this figure derives
from table 1 of the main report. The pasture payment accounts only for
reductions in GHG externalities. These payments only apply to crop acres.
- Net payments – assumes a 30% reduction
in safety net payouts, 12% of which is payable by the provincial government.
This spreadsheet summarizes all the expenditures proposed in section
5 of the main report. These estimates were derived from implementation
in other jurisdictions and from communication by the authors with organizations
and agencies implementing these and related proposals. The distribution
of costs by year is usually an average or a graduated increase with a
fixed formula, since uptake of programmes is difficult to predict at this
This analysis was carried out to estimate the amount of sub-therapeutic
medication that would not be consumed in animal feed resulting from the
transition to organic production of beef, swine, and chicken (broilers)
only as these were the commodities for which sufficient data could be
Little data is available on consumption of medications in feed, so we
used the method contained from a study carried out in the US: Benbrook,
C. et al., 2003. Hogging it: estimates of antimicrobial abuse in livestock.
Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC.
The first part of the analysis required a comparison of sub-therapeutic
antibiotics approved in both Canada and the US. For this, we used the
Benbrook et al. study and Title 21--Food And Drugs, Chapter I--Food And
Drug Administration, Department Of Health And Human Services Part 558--New
Animal Drugs For Use In Animal Feeds (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/21cfr558_99.html)
and compared it to Canada’s Compendium of Medicated Ingredients
Brochures (CMIB) (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/feebet/mib/mibtoce.shtml).
The comparison was frequently straightforward, as the list of approved
materials is slowly being harmonized. However, some medications are approved
in the US, but not in Canada or they are approved as a slightly different
formulation, or on different animals or at different growth stages, or
they are approved at different doses or for different lengths of time.
For these, we made the following assumptions:
- We eliminated from our analysis any medication
approved in the US but not in Canada,
- We eliminated from the analysis any medication
/ growth stage combination that is not approved in Canada; the largest
discrepancies occurred in the broiler analysis, so this is likely the
weakest (but also likely most conservative) estimate
- When it appeared that a slightly different
formulation was used in Canada, we considered the Canadian medication
equivalent to the US formulation
- No veal, pregnant animals or breeding stock
were included in our analysis, so no medications used exclusively on
those animals were included
- We substituted Canadian doses for US doses where
- When multiple dose options are provided in the
CMIB, we used those most related to weight gain and efficiency, not
options for treatment of acute conditions; if there was more than one
option related to weight gain and efficiency, we chose the one closest
to US use patterns
- We did not include medications that appear
to be approved in Canada but not in the US, since we had no data on
percent of animals treated to support an analysis
See the notes in the spreadsheet for particular notations on the US –
To carry out the calculations, we worked from Tables B-1, B-2 and B-3
in the appendices of the Benbrook et al. report. We used their estimates
of percentage of animals treated, which assumes that treatment patterns
between the two countries are consistent. Since there is no public Canadian
data on treatment patterns, we do not now how accurate this assumption
is. We used their estimates of average days on feed unless there was information
in the CMIB that indicated a shorter period was required in Canada. We
used their estimates of feed intake for swine and broilers. In a few cases
for beef, the Canadian doses were reported in ways that required we multiply
them by average daily feed intake for a particular growth stage, so used
standard animal production guides of feed intake to determine those. We
substituted the number of animals converted to organic for their numbers.
Other assumptions relative to the Benbrook et al analysis:
- We assumed no mortalities
- We left out of the broiler analysis those combinations
for which the majority of medications are not approved in Canada
- Because the size ranges used to different growth
stages were sometimes different than those employed in the US, we did
not include medications used in Canada that extended beyond US categories