|FROM THE CHAIR
A Q&A with Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Markus Haerle.
With 2019 being an election year, what are Grain Farmers of Ontario’s priorities going to be?
A. It’s important that the federal parties and the members of parliament who get elected have a good understanding of Grain Farmers of Ontario’s priorities. We will announce our official priorities and election asks early this year and we encourage everyone to share them with local candidates throughout 2019. It’s important to let candidates know that agriculture in Ontario is a vital contributor to our country’s economy. Here are some areas we have been focused on:
• Modernizing BRM programs is something we have been working on for years. We want to ensure these programs are there when we need them. The issues from DON show that they are not. We have asked for programs that address the realities of farming today. Work is being done by agriculture ministers at all levels, and we want to see the piloting of our recommendations for BRM programs.
• Opening new markets and maintaining current markets is important for Ontario grains, especially in the face of global trade disruptions. We need the federal government to ratify and execute on trade deals as part of this work and to be nimble in response to the implications from the U.S./China trade war.
• Canada’s next government must see agriculture competitiveness as a priority. We need access to the same products that our competitors have and we need to have an attractive business environment to grow our industry and remain competitive. •
Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca.
GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR DON
The provincial and federal governments will help farmers with high levels of DON in corn by providing special assistance to cover revenue loss. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the governments are opening an application process aimed at covering a portion of eligible farmers’ expenses from testing for DON levels; as well as supporting new projects to help address challenges at different points in the grain sector value chain, such as finding ways to best process or market corn impacted by DON; and partnering with Grain Farmers of Ontario on research and new actions to reduce the frequency and impact of high DON levels, such as finding temporary options to store corn. •
NEW ONTARIO AGRICULTURE TASK FORCE
The Ontario government plans to launch a formal agricultural advisory group led by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, that will provide an important agriculture perspective in policy discussions.
This new task force aligns directly to the election ask that Grain Farmers of Ontario put forth in May 2018: Growth Strategy — Assemble a nimble alliance of industry and government innovators under the leadership of the Premier to devise a growth strategy for the grains and oilseeds sector.
The new task force will meet regularly to discuss issues that impact agriculture, such as trade, and will provide input on crucial future decisions. Industry input will ensure policies and programs foster economic growth and do not impose additional regulatory burden or costs on farmers or agri-food businesses, according to Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement. Grain Farmers of Ontario looks forward to working with the Ontario government and Minister Hardeman to make this task force a success. •
GRAINS IN ACTION
Grain Farmers of Ontario is looking for young farmers to participate in our Grains in Action program January 21 — 24, 2019. The four-day program highlights the grain value chain and encourages participants to become involved in our organization. If you are interested, contact Maegan MacKimmie, firstname.lastname@example.org. •
JANUARY DISTRICT MEETINGS PRIZE GIVEAWAY
All current Grain Farmers of Ontario farmer-members that attend their January District Meeting will receive a Grain Farmers of Ontario license plate cover and have a chance to win one of three getaways:
Grand Prize: Trip for two to the Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida.
1st Runner up prize: Weekend for two at Deerhurst in Huntsville.
2nd Runner up prize: Weekend for two at Hockley Valley Resort near Orangeville.
Three people at each January District Meeting will be picked as finalists and will be entered into the draw for the getaways. All finalists will receive a Grain Farmers of Ontario prize pack. Full contest terms and conditions are available at www.gfo.ca. •
by Philip Shaw
On November 8, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) lowered production for both corn and soybeans. U.S. national corn yield was pegged at 14.626 billion bushels with a national yield of 178.9 bushels per acre. U.S. soybean production was pegged at 4.6 billion bushels with average yield set at 52.1 bushels per acre. The November report confirmed big crops, which have sustained lower prices. However, in early December, news of a thaw in the trade war between the United States and China has grain markets more buoyant, with hopes that China may start buying U.S. soybeans again. •