May 27, 2024
LO Growers Group Newsletter - May 2024

1. Growers Nursery Tour registration opening in a couple weeks

August 29 is the date nursery tour. We will be focusing on water management, with confirmed hosts Connon (Newmarket), Brookdale Treeland Nurseries (Schomberg), and Sheridan Nurseries (Glen Williams). Watch for a direct email with the registration link coming soon.

2. Box Tree Moth update from Cassie Russell

BTM development in the landscape is ahead of schedule and we’ve already found our first pupae in Niagara. Management window for the first larval period is closing (or over for some areas as the larvae are preparing to pupate and no longer feeding). Ensure you are scouting your boxwood and directing management when the larvae are still small (under an inch long) before they stop feeding and get ready to pupate. We expect the first flight period to be earlier this year (and some overlapping of generations) — traps MUST be set out by now! Please send your trap capture data to Cassie. Her student is going to be tracking flight periods per region and the more data we have, the better. Check out the ONnurserycrops Blog for more info on BTM management.

3. Spotted Lanternfly update from Cassie Russell

Any growers who would like to host an SLF trap should reach out to Cassie right away. Traps will be going up first week of June and come down in October. Kendra (Cassie's student) and Dawson (the LO nursery scout) will be available to help check and change them through the summer, but growers/farm managers will have to check them between September and October. Checks are done every other week and traps are only changed if they are damaged or need to be replaced.

We’re prioritizing high risk introduction areas around farms: that includes shipping areas where you may have a lot of vehicle traffic or if you’re next to any other shipping businesses, transportation corridors or tourism attractions. Traps must go on a large tree: ideally tree of heaven, black walnut, maples, oaks or other trees that may be growing among wild grape vines.

4. Building Code changes

Several changes have come up over the last few months that could impact farms with greenhouse structures:
  • The province of Ontario has updated the Ontario Building Code to align with the National Building Code of Canada and in doing so, has changed the requirements for snow and wind load to heated greenhouse structures. The changes likely mean an increase in materials costs (increased steel, primarily) of up to 25% starting in 2025. The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance (FCO and OGVG) have taken the lead in communicating their concerns with the province, but we are in the loop on these discussions.
  • Landscape Ontario submitted a comment on the National Fire Code changes to fire protection of fabrics used in farm buildings, including greenhouse energy and shade curtains. We are hopeful that the Code Committee takes our comments seriously. Grower organizations across Canada have worked closely together to submit aligned recommendations.
  • Mercury lighting. If your facility has high pressure sodium lamps, note that all products containing mercury must be phased out by January 2029. As there are limited options available to replace HPS lighting, greenhouse associations in Canada are working to compile evidence and submit a request for an extension to the Government of Canada.

5. Immigration Canada

The Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has made some recommendations to improve the current foreign worker programs (TFW and SAWP), but do not recommend a major overhaul of the migrant worker program. Read the full report and  key recommendations in the report. Below is a summary:
  • To create an independent Migrant Work Commission,
  • To create sector or region-specific work permits, phasing out employer-specific work permits within 3 years,
  • To improve access to permanent residency in Canada for migrant workers,
  • Coordinate enforcement and compliance to avoid duplication,
  • Ensuring access to health care for migrant workers,
  • Improving the quality of data collection related to migrant workers,

6. CNLA Update from Jamie Aalbers

BTM Regulation changes in the United States:
USDA-APHIS posted an updated federal order expanding quarantine areas in MI, OH, NY and MA, AND allowing movement of boxwood from those areas from facilities with approved compliance agreements.

Although this does not change anything for Ontario growers yet, it does set the stage for the use of compliance agreements or pest modules for moving boxwood from quarantine areas to non-quarantine areas internationally too.

The Summer Semi-Annual BTM Meeting at Cultivate will take place Monday, July 15, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. in Room D282 of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. If you are at Cultivate, please attend. Leading up to that and at the meeting the BTM Task Force will continue to advocate for using similar criteria to move the remaining prohibited Canadian grown boxwood into U.S. markets.

AgriMarketing Program:
The AgriMarketing program for growers is accepting applicants now for the year 2 and 3 of the grant program. If you are interested in participating, please respond by June 7, 2024.

Read the following carefully to ensure you will be able to complete the following activities and reporting for this 2-year program. The program runs from:
  • April 1, 2024 - March 31, 2025 - Year 2
  • April 1, 2025 - March 31, 2026 - Year 3
  • Confirm you will participate in trade shows in the USA that support the development of increasing exports of Canadian grown nursery products. e.g. MANTS, Cultivate, ProGreen Expo, FarWest, etc. Exhibiting and/or meeting with potential new customers at the show are eligible activities.
  • You will be required to provide two reports outlining deliverables related to: Export development, trade shows and trade missions, by the ends of March 31, 2025 for Year 2 and March 31, 2026 for Year 3. The goal is to increase export sales, and consumer and business confidence in the U.S. market.
    • Deliverables and data source requirements:
      • Outgoing Mission
        • Number of buyers reached (names and companies visited)
        • Number of new prospects
        • Value of estimated sales (CAD$)
      • Trade Show
        • Number of buyers reached (trade show reports and media/industry news)
        • Number of new prospects
        • Value of estimated sales (CAD$)
  • Note: Grant funds per farm depend on number of growers participating contracts and more details on the program will follow the week of June 10, 2024
If you have any questions please reach out to Nicole and Jamie. Please include both in your response.
This report is provided by LO’s Grower Technical Analyst, Jeanine West.
Please contact Jeanine for more information: or 1-705-796-8812.
We need your feedback! If there are items you wish us to include in these updates, please let Jeanine know.