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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 

GFO Newsletter for August 2015


New regulations restricting the sale and use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seeds in Ontario were passed, June 9. They came into effect July 1, 2015. Grain Farmers of Ontario opposes these regulations which are unworkable for farmers and the grain industry and opposes the timelines for implementation which are impractical. Information on the regulations can be found at by clicking on the Pollinator Health link under the Ministry Initiatives on the right hand side of the page.


Grain Farmers of Ontario has commenced legal proceedings against the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to pursue an ‘absurdity test’ of the neonicotinoid regulations. Legally speaking, if you pass a law or legal instrument that as a practical matter just can’t work, it can be deemed ‘absurd’. The application filed in the Ontario Superior Court is asking for an interpretation of the regulations and if they are unworkable. The goal is for the implementation of the regulations to be postponed until May 1, 2016 or ‘such time as the requirements of the Regulation can be reasonably met’.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is also cautioning farmer- members who host beekeepers on their land. In June, all farmer-members were mailed a letter from Mark Brock, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, advising them to seek legal advice and have a signed contract with the beekeeper that protects you and your farm. The letter was accompanied by a legal opinion which reiterated that farmers need to understand the risks they are taking in allowing use of their land.

New data from the Government of Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency shows an 80% in-season bee mortality decrease for the 2015 corn and soybean planting season, compared to 2013. The 2014 season saw a 70% decline in bee mortality, suggesting the federal government’s leadership on neonicotinoids through improved best practices has been successful.

The Government of Ontario’s provincial apiarist, in their 2014 report, suggested measures taken by grain farmers contributed to the reduction in bee mortality. Despite this, farmers remain in the province’s crosshairs while they ignore the self-reported poor hive management practices of beekeepers, which beekeepers believe contributed to higher than normal mortalities in years prior.

Class 16 of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) has been selected. Twenty-seven current and emerging leaders in agriculture, agri-food, and rural sectors will begin their AALP leadership journey on September 20, 2015 at their first seminar in Guelph.

Ten class members are primary producers of fruits and vegetables, field and cash crops, poultry, dairy, hogs, beef, and sheep. Another nine of the group are actively involved in primary agriculture, while also working in the agri-business and agri-food sectors, non-government, and commodity associations, the provincial government, and various agencies. Among the participants is Meghan Burke, manager of communications at Grain Farmers of Ontario.

Crosby Devitt, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s former vice president of strategic development, became the executive director of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) on July 27. The CSTA is the national voice of 130 seed company members engaged in all aspects of seed research, production, and marketing and trade – both domestically and internationally.

by Philip Shaw
Market psychology has changed since early spring as heavy rains over a vast amount of the U.S. Eastern Corn Belt has impacted crop conditions.  For instance, Illinois has had two to three times the normal rainfall that they usually have in June.  Since May 1, Illinois has accumulated 14.7 inches when usually they get 8.4 inches normally.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has maintained U.S. corn acreage at 88.9 million acres at 166.8 bu/acre and soybeans at 85.1 million acres at 46 bu/acre despite the damaging weather. In their August USDA report lower production numbers are expected.

Cash grain prices have risen on this news, buoyed by a lower Canadian dollar.  Daily market intelligence will remain key, especially at a time of volatile futures and Canadian dollar weakness.

Grain Farmers of Ontario wrapped up its distribution of What’s Growing ON? classroom resource kits at the end of the school year in June. During the 2014- 2015 school year, Grain Farmers of Ontario sent kits to over 175 classrooms across the province. Grain Farmers of Ontario’s classroom resource kits include all of the materials necessary to complete lessons and activities designed to help Ontario school children and their families understand the role grains play in the lives of Ontarians. The free package includes a teacher’s resource kit, parent guides including at- home activities, and planting cups, soil wafers, and seeds for the whole class to plant their own crop.

The resource kit has been rebranded for the 2015/2016 school year to fit with the Good In Every Grain campaign. If you know a grade three teacher, tell them to visit to order their classroom resource kit for the upcoming school year. While we are temporarily out of stock, orders will be fulfilled in September.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased to announce the initial payments and the Pool Return Outlook (PRO) for wheat pools managed by the Wheat Marketing team. Initial payments are estimated at 65% of total value of the PRO and should be considered an advanced payment. The PRO, available at Marketing.aspx, is an estimation based on current market conditions of how various classes of wheat could be expected to perform in the marketplace.

Grain Farmers of Ontario’s initial payment prices for 2015 wheat crop:

SWW (Pool A):      $147.00 / mt
HRW (Pool B):       $150.00 / mt
HRS (Pool C):        $164.00 / mt
SRW (Pool E):       $140.00 / mt
HR (Pool F):          $140.00 / mt
Feed (Pool G):      $120.00 / mt

Grain Farmers of Ontario also offers pre-pool contacts which offer an advance above the initial price to bring the value closer to 70% of our cash price. Pre-pool contracts have to be established with Grain Farmers of Ontario no later than August 31. For more information, call 1-800-265-0550.

All farmer-members are invited to attend Grain Farmers of Ontario’s 2015 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, September 15 at the Quality Hotel & Suites in Woodstock. The business portion of the meeting will be held in the morning and all attendees will be given passes to attend Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in the afternoon.

Quality Hotel & Suites
Vansittart Room
580 Bruin Blvd, Woodstock, ON N4V 1E5

8 a.m.    Registration and breakfast
9 a.m.    Meeting starts
Noon      Lunch
1 p.m.    Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show
3 p.m.    Barley and oat welcome reception at
Grain Farmers of Ontario tent (1st Lane)

A limited block of hotel rooms has been arranged. Please call 1-800-265-0550 or go to for details and availability.


Soy Canada held its inaugural annual general meeting (AGM) in Guelph at the end of June. The meeting brought together representatives from across the country and across the value chain including producer associations, exporters, processors, and seed companies.

At the meeting, Harold Albrecht, MP for Kitchener– Conestoga, announced federal funding of just over $358,000 for Soy Canada to help identify new and emerging international markets and demand for Canadian soybean products. This investment will enable Soy Canada to implement a market development strategy, attend international trade shows, and lead missions to raise awareness of Canadian soybeans, concentrating efforts on expanding key markets in China, the United States, Korea, Japan, and Europe.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of Soy Canada and holds two seats on the Board of Directors. Mark Huston, District 2 director, holds the position of chairman for Soy Canada, and Barry Senft, CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario, holds the position of director-at-large. •



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