FROM THE CHAIR
A Q&A with Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Markus Haerle.
What was the most difficult part of 2020 as chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario?
Being the chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, and a director on the Board, can be quite a juggling act.
There can be large time commitments in terms of relationship building in government, industry, and media that take you away from your operations.
We made a number of big decisions that set the stage for the year just as the world shifted because of the COVID-19 pandemic and we needed to rethink and react quickly in every area of the organization and on our priorities — business risk management, carbon tax, public trust, and trade, just to name a few.
2020 turned into a chaotic year where your internet connection started to matter more than any other piece of your business life. The shift to virtual could have pressed pause on a number of our tactics, but we doubled down and continued to move forward. The virtual workload was significant and created new issues in work-life balance for everyone, so it is not just me that felt it, but I truly believe that we have shown great perseverance and leadership during COVID-19 and in our commitment to the work we do. •
Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca.
INVESTMENT IN FIELD CROPS
The University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus has received $6.5 million for the construction of the new Field Crop Services Building from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Annually, Grain Farmers of Ontario invests approximately $500,000 into research projects based out of Ridgetown, leveraging a further $1 million in additional industry and government funding. The applied research outcomes from the Ridgetown Campus are critical for the competitiveness of Ontario’s grain farmers, and the new Field Crop Services Building is important infrastructure to enable these outcomes.
Construction is underway at the new Field Crop Services Building with an expected completion targeted for spring 2022. •
2020 DON SURVEY RESULTS
The 2020 Ontario Grain Corn Ear Mould and Deoxynivalenol (DON) Mycotoxin survey results were released in October. The survey found 89 per cent of samples tested low — less than 2.0 ppm for DON – which is in line with long term survey averages. Despite this finding, farmers should still remain vigilant and understand management options in fields with higher DON concentrations.
This yearly survey is conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) field crop specialists in collaboration with Grain Farmers of Ontario and members of the Ontario Agri-Business Association.
For more information, watch our GrainTALK webinar with Ben Rosser, OMAFRA corn specialist, available at www.gfo.ca/graintalk. •
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Go online to www.gfo.ca and click on the button to subscribe. •
SUPPORTING THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19
The Ontario government continues to work together with businesses and the manufacturing sector to expand production of domestic PPE to ensure preparedness, both now and for the future. To support the fight against COVID-19, Greenfield Global is investing a total of $75 million at their facility in Johnstown, Ontario to produce the medical-grade alcohol critical to making hand sanitizers used by Ontario individuals, families, and front-line workers. The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million through the Ontario Together Fund in support of this project.
Ontario’s corn farmers play a critical role in supplying the feedstock necessary to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizers and Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased to see this investment being made. •
by Philip Shaw
The big news in the October 9 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report was a cut in 2020 – 2021 soybean stocks, plunging 170 million bushels from the USDA September estimate to 290 million bushels. In addition to that, USDA trimmed soybean production to 4.268 billion bushels. This is still based on a record soybean yield of 51.9 bushels per acre. Old crop corn ending stocks 2019 – 2020 were reduced by 258 million bushels down to 1.995 billion bushels. Yield was adjusted down to 178.4 bushels per acre from 178.5 bushels per acre in September. Harvested acreage was down 1 million acres from September.
Ontario grain prices are much higher than envisioned earlier this summer as the futures market has rallied significantly. The Canadian dollar continues to trade in the 75 – 76 cent U.S. range. •
2021 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS
Grain Farmers of Ontario will host all 2021 January District Grain Committee Meetings online. The Board of Directors has approved this change in meeting format to ensure the health and safety of all farmer-members and staff as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The date of your district meeting has been confirmed and is noted below. Please go to www.gfo.ca to register to receive the link to your meeting.
The Annual District Meetings are called to elect voting delegates for the coming year. Directors will be elected in odd-numbered districts to serve a two-year term.
Updates on our organization and grain industry issues are also provided at these meetings.
Farmer-members interested in putting their name forward as a delegate are encouraged to contact their district director ahead of their local meeting.
Information is subject to change. Check www.gfo.ca for updated information. •