GET THE LATEST NEWS FROM GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO
On the Road
Grain Farmers of Ontario had a busy month on the road in March. In addition to the March Classic, staff and directors met with farmers at the London Farm Show (March 5-7) and the Ottawa Valley Farm Show (March 11-13). Our booth at both events was a great place to connect with farmer-members and discuss issues and concerns about the upcoming growing season. Representatives from Grain Farmers of Ontario also attended the Commodity Classic in Texas to meet with and learn from our American counterparts in the grain industry and discuss regulatory issues and international trade. •
Canada – Korea FTA Opens New Opportunities for Ontario Grain
Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased with the announcement that Canada and the Republic of Korea have concluded negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement. We encourage the government to ratify this agreement as quickly as possible so that Ontario farmers may begin to see the benefits of this agreement.
The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will create market opportunities for Ontario’s corn, soybean, and wheat farmers that were previously unattainable. This Agreement specifically opens new market opportunities for our Identity Preserved soybeans, and removes trade barriers currently limiting our corn, soybean, and wheat exports.
One of the groups involved in the discussions leading up to the Canada-Korea FTA has been the Canadian Soybean Exporters’ Association (CSEA). Canada exported more than 17,000 metric tonnes to Korea in 2013; but as this only accounted for four percent of their total imports, there is the potential for significant market share increase within this new FTA.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is encouraged by the conclusion of these negotiations and strongly supports the work of all involved towards the ratification of the Canada-Korea FTA. •
Careers in Agriculture
Grain Farmers of Ontario, in partnership with Ontario Agri-Food Education, hosted ‘Careers in Agriculture’ at the Ontario Science Centre in March for 430 Grade 10 careers students from schools in the Greater Toronto Area. It was hosted by Adamo Ruggiero, an actor from the popular television show Degrassi: the next generation, and featured a video welcome from Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario and Minister of Agriculture.
It was an eye-opening event for students who weren’t familiar with the wide-ranging career opportunities that exist within the agriculture sector. 50,000 jobs will need to be filled within agriculture over the next few years. Students heard from professionals in environmental science, technology, business and communications; and learned about the use of robotics and plant science.
Steve Redmond, Certified Crop Advisor, talked about precision agriculture and demonstrated the use of Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAVs) to scout fields. Kimberley VanOverloop, a Renewable Energy Technician from the University of Guelph, explained how her background in microbiology led to developing on-farm renewable energy. Dwight Gerling, a Commodity Trader at DG Global, showcased how a commerce degree can be applied to agriculture. And Kim Timmer, Manager of Stakeholder Relations for CleanFarms, showcased how communications can be combined with environmental advocacy with agriculture.
You can review the Twitter conversation about Careers in Agriculture with the hashtag #CareersinAg. •
Grain Farmers of Ontario Approves New Research Projects
Grain Farmers of Ontario has announced funding for new research projects. The projects were chosen from 50 responses to the call for proposals issued in November 2013.
The Research Committee, consisting of three Directors and four Delegates, reviewed and discussed all proposals over two days. Eleven projects were provided full funding. These approved projects will start in 2014 and continue over the next two to four years. In an effort to expand our contribution to research in corn, soybeans, and wheat, an additional 11 projects were provided with partial funding and Grain Farmers of Ontario is pursuing matching dollars through Growing Forward 2 for these projects.
Information about these new projects will be communicated in the Bottom Line weekly e-newsletter and the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine as results become available. To subscribe to the Bottom Line visit www.gfo.ca/media/thebottomline.aspx. •
by Philip Shaw
Sometimes unexpected events come along that affect everything. When Russian troops moved into the Crimean region of Ukraine in March, grain markets advanced on nervousness regarding possible interruptions of supply. Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat and to a lesser extent corn and military action in this area is very serious. Wheat and corn markets have responded with unexpected rallies.
At the same time, the corn demand renaissance continues. Noncommercial investment demand has come back strong in the grain markets. These funds were net short going into the January USDA report, but as of March 10, are long in corn, soybeans and wheat. The key looking ahead is the USDA March 31 Prospective Plantings report, which always serves as a market flashpoint. •