Rules and Regulations

La Coop network, it has begun a campaign of information and awareness intended to provide its agronomists with an outline of their new responsibilities, especially as they pertain to the crop protection intervention log and the conditions that will allow them to prescribe the pesticides targeted by the government’s restrictions.  We’ll be ready to provide you with all the support you many need in making your decisions.

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The Forgotten Scandal

NAFTA is among the most significant trade accords yet since it created the largest free-trade zone in the world and groups together more than 480 million people. There are some 1.4 million dollars of products and services exchanged between Canada and the USA every single minute, and that represented $750 billion last year.

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Silos and Culverts

We are living in the information era. There is no longer any need to collect costly home encyclopaedias or even to go to the library to read them: There’s an answer to everything, and it’s really easy, just look it up on the internet. Access to knowledge is no longer a luxury reserved for the elite. Almost everyone can take advantage of it at very little cost. What a breakthrough for humanity!

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FTR Challenge: When the Facts Corroborate the Words

Have you heard about the FTR Challenge “Find, Train and Retain!” Every sector of economic activity is actively involved. The media regularly provides updates on this topic. For example, in early September Radio-Canada Témiscamingue reported that the McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Val-d’Or had to temporarily close its doors for lack of employees. Who would have thought that McDonald’s would one day run short of students to fill its work shifts?

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A Human Chain

Throughout the generations, social animals were able to develop a more refined brain that was better equipped to ensure the survival of their species. Therefore, there is a scientific basis to the cooperative advantage as viewed from an evolutionary perspective: By becoming more intelligent, the act of cooperation contributed to the continuity of our species. And yet… 

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COOP 2.0

What I do want to talk about is the expression 2.0, which has become part of our everyday speech and usually refers to an improved version of a product or service. They say that the Web 2.0 fostered greater communication between users and the creation of social networks; well, that’s kind of what we want to do with La Coop’s network.

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Learning to Trust

One of the best lessons I ever learned since I started with cooperative education is about trust. Throughout the years, I’ve noticed how strong and intelligent groups can be. For example, as a facilitator in cooperative education I learned to curtail my discourse to allow more time for student participation. Obviously this requires some level of letting go, which can sometimes generate a little anxiety.

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Roots

Agriculture undoubtedly thrives through continuity. It therefore needs institutions to support it in the long term.

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The Tractor Files

Sometimes we need to make quick but thoughtful decisions to find the right window. One that will allow us to outplay the opponent in this modern-day chess game between Man and Nature. Going into the fields too early or too late can have serious consequences on our yields and make the difference between a good and a not so good year.

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Cooperative Currencies

We all know about traditional currencies, the type issued by the State that we use to pay our taxes.  But there is also such a thing as cooperative currencies.  In fact, to be more specific, I must add that some authors simply refer to the latter as “community currency.”  However, one of the greatest international currency experts, Bernard Lietaer, prefers to use “cooperative currency,” since these monies invariably all depend on solidarity.

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The Chaos Theory

Have you heard of it? A mathematical theory that was incredibly well popularized by its creator as follows: “A butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could trigger a hurricane in Texas.” Not that I’ve developed a new passion for the mathematical sciences, but I can’t help but wonder: If the butterfly effect can trigger hurricanes, what would happen if an elephant were to be elected to the White House?

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The Good Life

Some questions have plagued mankind since the beginning of time. Questions like what the good life is all about, for example. What does that mean? Is it perhaps a happy and accomplished life that allows a person to develop their talents, to feel useful and to know joy? We all dream of this good life. But what road leads us there? Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist from Harvard University, has studied the question extensively.

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Who Owns the Land?

In Quebec, explained the Climat d’accaparement study, our production season will be prolonged due to global warming, which means more and more investors could turn to our farmland to take advantage of a competitive lead in relation to southern countries. 

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Vision 2020 and Summits

The Vision 2020 project is ongoing and it’s making its way across our cooperatives. As I had mentioned in my most recent editorial, the goal of this project is to ensure the continuity of the cooperative presence throughout Quebec, while better responding to your needs and expectations.

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Economy 2.0

A new economy is emerging, founded on other paradigms that emphasize the importance of ecology and the power and relevance of cooperative exchange modes.

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Doing Things Differently

If you’ve been following the beef market, you’ve certainly noticed a significant drop in prices between September 2015 and March 2016. “Yet, they told us that we’d be getting a good price for another two years!” “I wasn’t expecting this.” “Will it get any better?”

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Location, Location, Location!

Nearly 100 litres of water are necessary to produce one packet of about twenty almonds, these little nut-like fruits are now symbolic of California’s state of drought.

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Change in Continuity

Allow me to introduce myself, I am Ghislain Gervais and I am a poultry and crop farmer from Saint-Guillaume, in central Quebec, and most recently La Coop fédérée’s new president.

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The Awakening

There is very little exaggeration in affirming that it was in a context of relative indifference that WTO members met last December in Nairobi, Kenya for the 10th Ministerial Conference of the Doha round

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Ready for 2016

Our current business environment is changing at an unprecedented speed. The ability to adapt quickly and to be innovative in the ways we operate is no longer a choice but a necessity. 

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Action!

“Cooperation is an antidote to ageing.”  It is a rather shocking image, but it is not without its share of truth. ​

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Good news

The 2015 harvest is finally in and has made quite a few people happy.  In fact, not only was it an early harvest, we were rewarded with several consecutive days of sunny weather.  ​

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How much?

Traceability, environmental protection, animal welfare: consumers are insistent. In addition, they all want to eat healthier. But that’s nothing new. 

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The Magical Mystery Market

The market has proven itself time and time again. It is the meeting place of supply and demand; the market sets prices and, in a most efficient fashion, allows for the exchange of goods and services. 

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With our without!

A few months ago, Prime Minister Harper reminded us that Canada may face difficult choices as it tries to reach a deal in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks. This was an exceptionally clear declaration that unexpectedly turned the focus on the developing mega trade accord.

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The WE generation

Generation Z views the collective “we” as the answer to their quest for meaning and a solution to their problems. Good news for cooperatives!

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The World of Half-Truths

Changes have been occurring faster and faster over the past few decades. Now that information has become so accessible we have to manage its overabundance, its quality and aptness. ​

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Les Mercuriades

I can’t swear to it, but as I write these lines, spring is showing signs that it wants to settle in quickly and finally let us start our season within a reasonable timeframe. Spring has virtually been inexistent and our colleagues who were anxiously waiting for the sap to start flowing were, for the most part, quite disappointed with the 2015 production. 

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Frankenburger

About two years ago, a researcher from the Netherlands invited members of the press to taste the first lab-grown burger. The meat did not come from a farm nor had it been through a slaughterhouse.

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A Complex World

In 2012, Jacques Attali encouraged the cooperative movement to play a larger role in global governance to, as he said, set the foundations “for a community that considers the interests of future generations rather than the juxtaposition of national interests.” Thomas Homer-Dixon has now taken up the challenge and is summoning cooperatives.

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Collision

On its own, the land-grab debate all comes back to the diversification of capital sources in agriculture. In almost all areas of economic activity, external capital input is welcome if not indispensable to pursuing operations. In agriculture, this leads to a collision, a clash of values where economic and ideological stakes are at issue. Not as simple as we might think.

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You Say ''Agriculture'' I Say ''Cattle Farming"

Let’s start with a game. What do you think about the following three affirmations? “Future events become past as soon as they are realized (for example, next month I will talk about the calvings that will happen next week, in the past tense). But we also say that “past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.” Therefore, we can also affirm that future events that will one day occur predict the future. This seems right, doesn’t it? 

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A Quick Trip to Mondragon

In the heart of the Spanish Basque Country, Mondragon Cooperative Corporation’s head office is the picture of prosperity. We are greeted in a small, comfortable cinema room, art fills the walls and a scale model of the Mondragon complex reigns in a vast and luminous hall where we soon gather. Pointing to the model, an employee comments: “This is one of our supermarkets; here is one of our research centres and one of the university’s buildings and over there is one of our plants…” 

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Average without Meaning

It’s become a cliché: It’s the same all over, there are fewer and fewer agricultural businesses, and those that are left are growing in size. 

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Reducing Costs by Increasing Cooperation

Cécile Le Corroller, a Doctor of Economics and an associate fellow with the Centre de recherche en économie et management (France), took a closer look at the potential for innovation with large cooperative enterprises. 

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At the dock

Agriculture has had more than its fair share of accusations. One of the most recent allegations involves its use of a new generation of products to fight crop pests: neonicotinoids.

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75 Years of Inter-Cooperation

As I write these few lines, spring has officially arrived and the weatherman is forecasting -14°C for tomorrow. I’m sure you’ve all noticed that global warming caused some pretty strange situations over the past winter. 

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It's in our nature

We’ve been witness to some fascinating research on plant biology over the past thirty years and it has challenged our beliefs. We are scarcely beginning to objectively integrate the astonishing results that come from this research. We hold animals and particularly humans so far above all others that we may have neglected taking a closer look at the remarkable mechanisms arising from the plant world. And yet…

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Blinders

I, your humble servant, was watching RDI Économie on a cold winter evening as they were interviewing an IRIS (Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques) research expert, who had just published a book titled Dépossession [dispossession]. The book condemns Québec’s economic model for having failed at its objective of allowing Quebeckers to benefit from the land’s resources. The volume devotes one whole chapter to agriculture. Sigh. 

 

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Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great Holiday season and have taken some time to enjoy this festive period with family and friends and were able to take your mind off serious issues if only for a few days. 

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