FROM THE CHAIR
A Q&A with Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Markus Haerle.
Q. What should we as grain farmers expect from the upcoming election?
A. It’s difficult to predict what the outcome will be. I think we can all agree that no matter what our new federal government looks like, we will continue to have an uphill battle to keep agriculture and grain farming front and centre on the agendas of our leaders. We have been running election ads for the last month, and we are one of the first agriculture organizations in Canada to specifically run election advertising. Our hope with these ads is that they will draw attention to grain farming, but in a positive light — without us resorting to any mudslinging. We focused on the impacts of trade because we do know that trade will continue to be an issue for us for quite some time as political decisions are made without our input, and we feel the most impact from those decisions.
In the run up to this election, we continue to push candidates on the issues of Business Risk Management programs and trade — both the need for more focus on expanding existing markets and finding new ones, and the need for a fund that will help our farmer-members recoup the costs that are a result of trade disputes. I encourage you to ask your local candidates their feelings about agriculture and how they are committing to help our industry if they are elected. • Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca.
GRAINS IN ACTION
Grain Farmers of Ontario is looking for young farmers to participate in the Grains in Action program, January 27 — 30, 2020. Grains in Action features tours at Ontario end-use facilities and presentations from agricultural researchers and Grain Farmers of Ontario staff. If you are interested in attending the program, or would like to recommend a young agriculture leader, contact Mel Reekie at email@example.com or 226-979-5581. •
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 commemorative calendar and have a chance to win one of three getaways:
Grand Prize: Trip for two to the Commodity Classic in San Antonio, TX.
1st Runner up prize: Weekend for two at Deerhurst Resort 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. •
2020 MARCH CLASSIC: MARCH 24, 2020
Grain Farmers of Ontario’ premier event, March Classic, welcomes 700-1000 farmers, agriculture industry, agriculture media and government professionals annually. To celebrate 10 years as an organization and 10 years of March Classics, we are “Marching Ahead”. This year’s theme acknowledges the legacy of work and care we have behind us and how it shapes the future as we continue to work diligently for others, build sustainable businesses and find new ways to produce food in a way that benefits people and the planet. Speakers will include Tyne Morgan, who will host the first Canadian recording of the U.S. Farm Report, and former interim Conservative Party of Canada leader and political policy expert Rona Ambrose.
To register, please visit www.gfo.ca/MarchClassic or call 1 800 265 0550 X308. •
BEST OF CAMA 2019
The Canadian Agri-Marketing Association (CAMA) held their annual Best of CAMA Awards Gala on November 14, 2019 in London, Ontario. Agri-marketers from across Canada joined together to celebrate the best marketing and communications projects from the past year.
With more than 40 categories and 300 entries, Grain Farmers of Ontario is proud to announce we were finalists in several categories, and received two awards, along with a certificate of merit. In the Public Audience category under Company or Producer-Funded Public Relations Campaign Element, we received a certificate of merit for our Crop Up Restaurants and won the category for our Grade 3 Teacher’s Kit. Our second award was in the Industry Relations category under Crisis Communications for our communications around DON in corn. Grain Farmers of Ontario staff is proud of our accomplishments and we thank the CAMA national board along with the CAMA Ontario board, for all their hard work and dedication in putting together this competition and event. We look forward to Best of CAMA 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. •
FIELD TO MARKET EXPANDS TO CANADA
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture has announced its expansion into Canada. The launch of Field to Market Canada offers the food and agricultural value chain a unified program to advance sustainability in North American commodity crop production. Through this expansion, stakeholders across the United States and Canada have access to a streamlined approach to conduct continuous improvement projects in both countries, strengthening the ability for companies to meet their sustainable sourcing objectives and science-based targets.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is proud to be a key supporting organization along with CropLife Canada, Fertilizer Canada and Pulse Canada. Field to Market Canada will leverage existing tools and metrics of the Canadian Field Print Initiative to ensure the program is tailored to locally relevant conditions and built upon prior technical investments from the Canadian agriculture sector. Learn more at www.fieldtomarket.org/canada. •
CANADIAN AGRICULTURAL PARTNERSHIP COST-SHARE FUNDING
Financial support for initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector and increase its competitiveness, prosperity and sustainability is available from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the partnership), a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
The next intake of the partnership is open from January 8 – 25, 2020. The partnership is delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. For more information, visit www.ontariosoilcrop.org/ canadian-agricultural-partnership. •
Grain Farmers of Ontario has made the case to the federal government that carbon taxes should be exempted for farmers who use fuel for dryers and vehicles on their farms, as there is no alternative fuel source and farmers cannot bear the costs of the tax. In late 2017, when the federal government announced the tax, farmers were exempt for vehicles but not for drying; greenhouses were also exempt. After many meetings with government showing how the tax would cost farmers 20% more for natural gas and 6% for propane drying in 2019, they agreed with us that this was onerous. They even told our chair that this was an oversight. An election was called and harvest got underway, but nothing had been done by the federal government to rectify this oversight despite our efforts and the common understanding with government officials on the costs and lack of alternative energy sources for farmers. Harvest 2019 was especially wet and a rail strike caused our farmer-members to spend additional money on drying grain. In some cases farmers had to pay almost double what they would have in another year. The carbon tax on top of the drying costs is an increase that cannot be recouped from the sale of grains. We have issued the facts on the costs with government, raised the alarm bells with in the public, and this will continue to be a priority with Members of Parliament when we meet with them. We will not give up on eliminating this tax on the food system that is being paid for by the farmers who grow it. •
by Philip Shaw
On November 8 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) weighed in with their latest WASDE report. Corn production was reduced to 13.67 billion bushels, based on a U.S. national yield of 167 bushels per acre. U.S. soybean production was pegged at 3.555 billion bushels based on a yield of 46.9 bushels per acre. Corn and soybean harvest continued in the United States as of December 1. Corn harvest was 89% complete and soybean harvest was 95% complete as of December 1, both behind the five-year average.
Snow and cold weather have added greater challenges in Ontario. Both corn and soybean harvest continue in difficult conditions. Basis has been firm, with the Canadian dollar at 75.2 U.S. on December 3. •