NEWS BITES THAT MATTER
Wheat straw-reinforced plastic
Environmentally friendly wheat straw-reinforced plastic will debut in the 2010 Ford Flex, making Ford Motor Company the first automaker to develop and use wheat straw in its plastics. The natural fibre-based plastic contains 20 percent wheat straw bio-filler and will be found in the Flex’s third-row interior storage bins.
This application alone reduces petroleum usage by about 20,000 pounds per year, reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 pounds per year and represents a smart, sustainable usage for wheat straw.
Ford researchers were approached with the wheat straw-based plastics formulation by the University of Waterloo as part of the Ontario BioCar Initiative – a multi-university effort between Waterloo, the University of Guelph, University of Toronto and University of Windsor. •
Nominations open for Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer
Nominations are now open for the 2010 Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program. Nominees may be individuals or couples who derive a minimum of two-thirds of their gross revenue from farming and are under the age of 40 as of January 1, 2010.
Celebrating its 30th year, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program is an annual competition to recognize young farmers who exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture, and rural Canada. Demonstrating leadership in the agricultural industry, nominees are judged according to the following criteria:
- Progress made in their agriculture career
- Environmental and safety practices
- Crop and livestock production history
- Financial and management practices
- Contributions to the well-being of their community, province, nation
The 2010 winner will be selected at the Ontario regional event being held at the Ramada Inn in Belleville from April 2 to 4. They will then represent Ontario at the National Awards Program, to be held in Victoria in December, 2010.
Nomination forms can be downloaded from the OOYF website at www.oyfontario.ca and must be received by December 15, 2009. •
EI?benefits for self-employed
Farmers will soon be eligible for employment insurance (EI) benefits, announced the Federal Government early in November. The announcement affects all Canadians who are self-employed, giving them access to EI benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits.
However, there are some questions as to whether the new Fairness for the Self-Employed Act meets farmers’ needs. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is warning farmers to do the math to see if this is in fact a benefit. If excessive premiums into the EI system are necessary without matching benefits, the new Act may not help farmers. The farm group is waiting to see the numbers of premiums and benefits at various age ranges before they will recommend it to their members. •