BY THE TIME you read this, the federal election results will be known. At press time, we were in the last throes of the federal election campaign.
As candidates made the rounds promoting their party’s platform, Grain Farmers of Ontario ran an awareness campaign to ensure that no matter who forms the government they are all aware that grain farming in Ontario matters at the national level.
Some people may question why a provincial organization would spend time and resources trying to influence federal policy. But with more than just a cursory look, the answer is clear — federal policy impacts our ability to farm in Ontario. Carbon pricing, Business Risk Management (BRM) programs, and trade agreements all affect our ability to grow and market our crops. Often, decisions about these issues are made by politicians with limited experience within agriculture, who do not understand the regional differences that impact how we grow our crops here in Ontario compared to other provinces. They also may lack an understanding of the economic impact grain farmers have and the environmental practices we utilize.
Our awareness campaign, Grain for Good, focused on the environment and the economy. We asked the candidates in the upcoming federal election to acknowledge the work done by farmers to help Canada achieve its climate change goals, and to be more proactive in supporting grain farmers, so that they are able to continue this hard work without fear of economic losses that would make farming unsustainable.
We want the federal government to see grain farmers as a partner in the post-pandemic economic recovery. We want them to see us as a partner in achieving their climate change goals and provide us with the support and the tools we need to be innovative. Our contributions on both fronts reach beyond the grain value chain and agriculture sector and into the broader communities we are a part of at the local, provincial, and federal levels.
We have asked for a commitment to BRM programs that work for more farmers, a low carbon toolbox for grain farmers that helps Canada achieve climate change goals, and for the government to defend existing markets and find new markets for grains and oilseeds.
It is important that these asks are not forgotten in the weeks and months following the election campaign. Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Board of Directors and government relations staff will continue to strengthen and build relationships with our federal politicians and ensure our issues remain in the forefront. •