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Queen’s Park Reception
Grain Farmers of Ontario hosted a reception for members of provincial parliament (MPPs) at Queen’s Park in April. The reception, hosted in partnership with Spirits Canada, was themed ‘Growing Stronger Together.’ During the event, MPPs learned more about the work we are doing to protect pollinators, watched Grain Farmers of Ontario’s latest video on sustainable farming, and heard from chair Mark Brock and CEO Barry Senft. Grain Farmers of Ontario district directors also attended the reception to help highlight the importance of agriculture to our elected officials. MPPs were provided with a Good in Every Grain reusable gift bag that included a bottle of Ontario whisky to remind them of the connections they made at the reception. •
Thank a Grain Farm Family contest
During spring planting in April and May, Grain Farmers of Ontario held the Thank a Grain Farm Family contest. Three winners, chosen from subscribers to the weekly Bottom Line e-newsletter, were provided lunch on their farm. Congratulations to winners Hank and Betty Hoeksema (District 3 Lambton), Robert and Louise Noordegraaf (District 11 Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York), and Ken Judge (District 7 Waterloo, Oxford)! •
New Project Proves Bees Matter to Agriculture
This month, agriculture advocates — including Grain Farmers of Ontario — launched Bees Matter, a campaign dedicated to educating Canadians on the importance of honey bees to agriculture, and the many ways our industry supports these pollinators. With information about honey bees, the food they eat, and the relationship they have with our crops, Bees Matter also offers Canadians the opportunity to receive free seeds to plant their own pollinator gardens and provide nutrition to local colonies just like our fields’ flowering crops. For more information or to receive a free seed kit, visit www.beesmatter.ca. •
Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Government Submissions
Grain Farmers of Ontario is actively representing the views of its farmer-members with the provincial government. Comments were recently submitted on the Ontario Climate Change Discussion Paper and Bill 66 — the Great Lakes Protection Act.
In our comments on climate change, we reminded the government of our sector’s contributions to Ontario’s bio-economy including growing the corn and soybeans for biofuels. Our submission also made it clear that as a trade-sensitive industry, Ontario’s Climate Change policies must be carefully designed to ensure the competitiveness of Ontario’s grains and oilseed farmers.
Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the need to protect and restore the ecological health of the Great Lakes; however, we are concerned that Bill 66 duplicates work already being done. For example, the bill includes targets to reduce algal blooms in Lake Erie, something that is already addressed in the U.S./Canada Water Quality Agreement and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship voluntary program. •
by Philip Shaw
Good planting weather in the U.S. contributed to the general bearishness in grain futures values in mid-May. The May United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report gives us the first good look at new crop ending stocks. With pre-report estimates pegging new crop corn at 1.736 billion bushels and new crop soybeans at 438 million bushels, the tone is being set for lower prices.
In Ontario, corn and soybean planting was in full swing by early May, with Essex County being the hold out because of rain in Ontario’s south. Statistics Canada says Ontario farmers will plant 2.1 million acres of corn, an increase from 2014, and fewer soybeans at 2.9 million acres. Basis values have decreased into May as the Canadian dollar remains stronger at 82.6 U.S. •