Job Posting: Summer Research Assistants for OMAFRA in Simcoe

Organization:                        Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Division/Branch:                   Economic Development Division / Agriculture Development Branch

Position Title:                        Student – Summer Research Assistant

Job Term:                              Temporary (6 positions) up to 14 weeks

Location:                                OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, Simcoe, Ontario (Norfolk County, on the north shore of Lake Erie, 2 hours southwest of Toronto)

Salary:                                    $15.20 / hour based on a 36.25 hour work week

Are you serious about making your mark, getting hands-on work experience and learning more about careers in the Ontario Public Service?  These positions at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Simcoe Resource Centre will provide an excellent opportunity for those interested in a career in horticulture production, research or the agricultural service sector. These positions will provide the opportunity to learn about diseases, insects, and agronomy of the major field horticulture crops and specialty crops grown in the province.


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“Organic Climate Solutions” 2022 Guelph Organic Conference, Jan 24-29

The 2022 Guelph Organic Conference is fast approaching.

This year’s event includes 11 virtual sessions touching on the theme of “Organic Climate Solutions” to help participants “…explore the dynamic ways in which organic farming benefits both farmers and the environment, offering expert insight into how to start, transition, or improve your organic farming system”. The 2022 conference will also feature a virtual tradeshow.

To learn more about the conference, sessions, and tradeshow, and to register, please visit the Guelph Organic Conference website.

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Organic Science Cluster 4: Call for LOI’s Due Feb 4, 2022

The Organic Federation of Canada and the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University are pleased to launch the call for Letters of Intent (LOI) inviting Canadian scientists to submit their research proposals under the fourth Organic Science Cluster (OSC4), that will take place from 2023 to 2028.

This call for LOIs is accompanied by the release of the 2021 Canadian Organic Research Priorities document.

The deadline for LOI submissions is February 4, 2022.

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Information and Resources for Christmas Tree Producers

There are an abundance of excellent resources available on Christmas tree production, selections of which are linked below.

Important note: information originating from sources outside of Ontario should be taken as guidance only. Recommendations with specific quantities (i.e. fertilizer rates) can be very site-specific and may not be optimal for Ontario conditions.

Getting Started

Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario: Thinking about growing Christmas trees?

Cornell University Cooperative Extension: Starting a Christmas Tree Farm in CNY

Landscape Ontario: Tree planting guide – includes site assessment, tree selection, site preparation, tree procurement, installation and management

Michigan State University: Getting Started – includes species selection, site selection, cultural practices, cost of production, marketing options

MSU: Planting fundamentals – includes information on handling nursery stock, planting season, and spacing

MSU: Species selection – includes profiles on popular Christmas trees

PennState Extension: Christmas Tree Operation – Producer video describing the benefits, challenges, and marketing opportunities of a Christmas Tree operation.

PennState Extension: Christmas Tree Production – includes marketing, site selection, production, maintenance, pest management

University of New Hampshire – Establishing the Christmas Tree Plantation

Fertility, Media, Water

OMAFRA Pub 841: Soil, Media, and Water Quality Management

MSU: Nutrition

MSU: Nitrogen Management

Oregon State University: Christmas Tree Nutrient Management Guide

Rutgers University Cooperative Extension: Soil Fertility Recommendations for Christmas Trees

University of Minnesota Extension: Fertilizing evergreens

Pest Management

Products must be registered in Canada and on Christmas trees if you wish to use them. If you are considering using a product not listed in Ontario publications, make sure to check its registration status using PMRA’s Product Label Database. You can also download the app on Google Play or through the Apple Store for easy access.

OMAFRA Pub 840: Crop Protection Guide for Nursery and Landscape Plants

OMAFRA Pub 841: Guide to Nursery and Landscape Plant Production and IPM

OMAFRA Pub 841: Insect and Disease Management

OMAFRA Pub 841: Rodents and Deer

OMAFRA Pub 841: Weed Management

MSU: Identifying weeds in Christmas trees

MSU: Michigan Christmas Tree Pest Management Guide and companion piece MSU: How to use USDA Christmas Tree Pest Manual

MSU: Pest Management – Includes general insecticide application information, and other helpful links

PennState Extension: Christmas Tree Production

USDA Christmas Tree Pest manual (2014)

Marketing and Retail

CTFO: Guide to Successful Retailing – includes planning, location, purchasing, storing, and pricing

MSU: Cost of production

MSU: Four Lessons from COVID-19 for the Future of Christmas Tree Marketing

PennState Extension: Christmas Tree Production – includes marketing principles, risk management, sample budget

University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Christmas Tree Marketing – includes what to do before planting, during growing, and up to and during harvest

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Understanding Wholesale Lavender Essential Oil Terms

Lavender growers must occasionally purchase wholesale lavender essential oils for making value added products to supplement their own supply. However, the terminology used in the advertisements for these oils can be very confusing and misleading. Some of the oils on the market appear to be authentic until you dig deeper and understand the code words used in the industry to hide the fact that they are adulterated, blended with cheap carrier oils, or synthetic. Part of developing a lavender industry in Ontario that is based on local, high quality and authentic ingredients is ensuring that the products produced here are exactly what you say they are, and that begins with ensuring your raw ingredients are listed properly on your ingredient list. Below is breakdown of terms commonly used in the wholesale lavender market.

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Ginseng Pesticide and Research Prioritization Meeting – Dec. 2

The Ginseng Pesticide and Research Prioritization Meeting will continue this year as a Zoom meeting. This is an opportunity to discuss the production issues over the past year, establish research priorities for the coming year and to prioritize products for the minor use system. An update will be provided on products currently in the minor use system and any research applicable to the discussion. Please note, we recognize that some growers are still busy at that time of year, but this is the latest the meeting can be held to meet the deadlines of the minor use system.

When: Thurs., Dec. 2, 2021

Time: 9:00 to approx. 11:00 am

Where: Online via Zoom conferencing

Pre-registration is required to get the link to the meeting. OGGA members have received the Zoom link in an email from OGGA. Anyone else interested in participating can email Sean Westerveld at or Michelle Murphy at and the Zoom link will be sent to you.

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