Farmers must tap into the bio-energy industry

I went to Kenora to a bio-energy seminar. Wow! There are some really neat things going on in this business.
Now, as farmers, we need to figure out how we can be a part of this industry. We need to find a crop we can grow, turn into a pellet and sell it to the heating industry.
There were a wide variety of speakers, all with some really interesting topics.
Some neat projects are taking place at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. For instance, they are putting up a new “green” energy building, and also will be offering a new course that pertains to this.
Another person spoke of “community heating.” This is where one wood chip burner heats an entire division (i.e., the library as well as a number of homes).
The wood pellet furnace is so big in some places that home have silos (grain bins) to store wood pellets.
Now we need to find an agriculture product that can make it into this industry.
• • •
I had a tele-conference this past week with 4-H Ontario and there are some big changes coming to the program.
It sounds like it will be mandatory for each association to have a judging and speaking competition. It will be more similar to my “kid days of 4-H!”
It was a lot of fun, and the communication skills you pick up from this are with you for the rest of your life. They are a true asset.
The other change 4-H Ontario is considering is to lower the enrolment age from 10 to nine.
I’m not necessarily in favour of this and neither is the rest of the Rainy River District 4-H Association. After all, we find it hard to find topics we can cover now that will be of interest to our entire group that can range from 10-21 years of age.
So time will tell, but we do have the speaking and judging competitions to look forward to.
• • •
The Rainy River Hereford Association held its annual meeting over the weekend. I was in charge of the roast beef (fortunately, my boyfriend/partner stepped to the plate and barbecued for us).
It was a nice evening with lots of great food, and it was nice to have a new director–and new “young” director at that!
Nathan Bujold agreed to let his name stand, so we are happy to have him join us!
• • •
The Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association also held its regular board meeting this past week.
We are planning for our upcoming year, including continuing with our protocol sales and hoping to increase the number of cattle consigned to these sales.
Our buyers are requesting these nice large lots of healthy cattle, so we need to step to the plate and make every effort to provide them.
We also will continue our tag sales.
Please let me know if you would like to order “Rainy River Raised” tags. They are available in all colours and age verification is free!
• • •
I had a young visitor at the agricultural research station this past week! She was only one week old, in fact.
Jessica Teeple stopped in (she was dropping off her résumé for summer work when she is old enough).
What a beautiful little girl. I even think her hair colour was similar to her Auntie Kimmie!
She is the pride and joy of Jeff and Kelly, and first grandchild for Grandma Lisa and third grandchild for Grandma Sue and Grandpa Tom (their first girl, though).
Oh, the happy times they will have with her (they already have been talking about her 4-H steer!)
Even if they have half as much fun as I do with my Maddie and Marlee, they are in for some good times!
• • •
Well, it was another busy, beautiful week in Rainy River District.
We really can’t complain much about this weather. It seems strange to not be dealing with snow, but I don’t mind.
Perhaps Mother Nature is trying to make up for such a short, cool summer.
I certainly hope we don’t pay the price for this nice weather later this winter!
• • •
Any of you who know me, or have been past my house for Christmas, knows how much I like putting lights up. That is my favourite part of Christmas!
I started this task over the weekend. It likely will take me the rest of the week to finish, but I will (I just ignore all the work that I should be doing on the farm).
I always try to add something new each year.
One of my biggest challenges is getting them all hooked up to just a few timers–and running cords all over the place. It is challenging once you start snow plowing but so far, so good on that end of it.
Ontario Hydro loves me at this time of the year.
Drive by in the next couple of weeks and check it out.
As a matter of fact, take an evening drive in the country over the Christmas season. We all seem to like this part!

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