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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. 

GrainTALK for November 2018


A Q&A with Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Markus Haerle.

Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario

What is Grain Farmers of Ontario doing to protect grain farmers in the wake of the global trade war?

There doesn’t appear to be an end in sight for the political forces impacting global trade. It’s impossible to predict the effects of the Trump and China tariffs, the $30 billion USDA contingency fund, and the steel tariffs impacting our equipment costs — or even foresee what additional new forces might come about to distort trade.

Farmer-members are calling me to say that they want to see grain and oilseed farm businesses protected the way the government is looking after the steel industry and supply managed farms.

The new Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP) and Business Risk Management (BRM) programming were not set up to manage the impacts from a trade war. We want to be protected if there is a major shock and/or sustained hurt to the industry, and we want to be well positioned to avert or address any crisis in our business created by these political forces.

We as an industry and a country need to be ready to act when distortions impact the grain and oilseed business, whether it is the price of our commodities or our marketplaces.

Canada needs a cohesive contingency plan for the grain and oilseed sector. Early this summer, I raised this issue with the ministers of trade, global affairs and agriculture; and since then, I met with both the federal and provincial ministers of agriculture. We believe contingency planning is a federal government responsibility and we have asked the province to support our request.

Do you have a question for our chair? Email


Grain Farmers of Ontario has released the speaker line up for the March Classic 2019 — Growing Momentum, which will take place on March 19, 2019 in London Ont. This conference will showcase how Canada pushes boundaries and attendees will hear from speakers who are building momentum for Canada, its reputation, and their own businesses. This is a great opportunity for insight into what it takes to continue to grow momentum in a world of cynicism, fanaticism, bad information, and five-second attention spans.

Rick Mercer — Rick Mercer will headline the day. Mercer will offer attendees insight into Canada, connecting its past, present, and future and highlighting its unique place in the world. From celebrating our unsung heroes, to taking a look at the wonderful and weird, to prodding at Canada’s institutions, few people can speak to Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast the way Mercer can. Mercer will take March Classic attendees on a comedic, smart, and sometimes critical journey across Canada and showcase the Growing Momentum that we as Canadians are not only part of, but embody daily.

Jennifer Moss — Happiness is not just a state of being. It’s a goal and there are scientifically backed habits that people can form in the workplace to increase happiness. Jennifer Moss, the co-founder of Plasticity Labs will discuss her ground-breaking work on the power of happiness. Moss will take March Classic attendees through a process by which people build habits and how to create routines that will boost the success of habits. She will teach attendees about rewiring negative habits and provide insight into training their brains.

Peter MacKay — The Hon. Peter MacKay served as an MP in Canada’s Parliament for 20 years, holding some of the country’s most prestigious appointments. MacKay helped to shape economic and legal policy, traveled the globe, and was responsible for world-changing decisions. As agriculture is immersed in a climate of trade and export uncertainty, MacKay will add an experienced voice as he takes on domestic and international issues drawing from his time as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of National Defence. MacKay will look at current events, the need to keep pushing Canada’s momentum forward, and the impact of global trends.

To sign up for registration notice of the March Classic 2019, please visit •


Have you completed your survey yet? Grain Farmers of Ontario mailed out the 2018 Farmer-member Survey with the September magazine and posted it online at Farmer-members are encouraged to provide their feedback by December 31, 2018 to be entered into a draw for one of three Carrhart jackets. If you fill out your survey online, you will also be eligible for 10 additional prizes.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is again participating in the Fields to Forks campaign by CTV London. Grain Farmers of Ontario partnered with CTV London to raise awareness about agriculture in Ontario. The campaign involves a commercial that airs on TV across London and surrounding areas, three Ask the Experts radio shows on NewsTalk 1290, and news. The video can be viewed online: watch?v=Mu4oNY-DBIY.

For Grain Farmers of Ontario, Fields to Forks provides an inside look at Ontario’s grain farmers. The campaign educates urban audiences on agriculture throughout the province. To learn more about the program visit •


Applications for the 2019 Grains Innovation Fund are currently being reviewed by Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Market Development Committee. The Grains Innovation Fund supports the development of new and expanded products and processes using Ontario grain crops or crop residues. The fund was launched in 2010 and has to date supported 40 projects with over $1 million in funding.

Once reviewed by the committee, eligible applications will be forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. Successful projects are expected to be announced in the new year.

For more information about the Grains Innovation Fund, go to •


The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, has announced details of the Government of Canada’s $70 million investment, over five years, to address significant environmental challenges and hire approximately 75 scientists and science professionals in emerging fields of agricultural science.

$44M is dedicated to hiring the next generation of federal research scientists and science professionals and equipping them with the state-of-the-art tools they need to advance agricultural research, including environmental sampling equipment and analytical instruments.

A new Living Laboratories Initiative was also announced, which includes $10 million to support collaborative research projects with external partners. Living Laboratories are an integrated approach to agricultural research that bring farmers, scientists, and other stakeholders together to codevelop, test, and monitor new practices and technologies on farms.

The remaining $16 million is earmarked to fund collaborative federal research projects focused on priority areas affecting the agriculture sector, such as environmental issues. With these funds, researchers will have the support, for example, to find better nutrient management solutions to ensure the health of our waterways. •


Soy Canada has selected Andrew Jones as the new director of corporate affairs. Raised on a family farm, Jones has 25 years of experience in government relations and communications leadership. As the director of corporate affairs, Jones will be responsible for providing support to the Executive Director in the planning and implementation of the full scope of Soy Canada operations and activities. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a member of Soy Canada. •


Grain Farmers of Ontario is looking for young farmers to participate in the 2019 Grains in Action program, January 21 — 24. Grains in Action is a three-day program featuring tours at Ontario end-use facilities and presentations from agricultural researchers and Grain Farmers of Ontario staff. The program is designed to create a peer network among young agricultural leaders, introduce them to the broader grain industry, and help them learn more about Grain Farmers of Ontario. Our goal is to encourage young farmers to become more actively involved in our organization.

If you are interested in attending the 2019 Grains in Action program, or would like to recommend a young agriculture leader for the program, contact Steve McCabe at or 226-979-5581. •


by Philip Shaw
In the September 12 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop report, U.S. national corn yield was increased 2.9 bushels per acre pushing it up to 181.3 bushels per acre. This increased the production estimate up to 14.8 billion bushels, which is two per cent higher than August and up two per cent from last year. On the soybean side of the ledger the USDA increased U.S. national soybean yield by 1.2 bushels per acre to 52.8 bushels per acre. This will total out at 4.69 billion bushels of soybeans. These record numbers have weighed on prices.

Ontario soybean basis values as of October 1 have increased historically vs. U.S. values, all pertaining to off shore exporting opportunities related to China. Essentially, exporting Canadian soybeans makes more sense and replacing them with cheaper U.S. soybeans. •


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