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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 April/May 2024


Jeff Harrison, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario


A Q&A with Jeff Harrison, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario.

What are some of your priorities as you begin your term as chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario?

Chairing the Grain Farmers of Ontario Board of Directors is a huge honour and privilege. My goal is to continue what I’ve done throughout my years as a delegate, District chair, and director — to do whatever I can to help make things better for Ontario farmers. I appreciate that the Board had the confidence in me to lead them through the next year and to do what I can to make the industry stronger for our farmer-members.

I think it is important to point out that many of the biggest wins of the Board have often been warding off potential challenges for farmers before they get to the farm gate. Being proactive by meeting with industry stakeholders, the value chain, and the government to advocate for the best outcome for farmer-members is something that we will continue to do.

Looking ahead, I want to ensure the organization is well-positioned and prepared for future federal, provincial, and municipal elections. I want Ontario agriculture issues to be front and center at all levels of government, and I want our Board and farmer-members to have the tools and knowledge to be engaged, involved, and empowered to advocate on behalf of the agriculture industry.

I look forward to working with the Board, delegates, and Grain Farmers of Ontario staff to advance the grain and oilseed sector over the coming year and into the future.

Do you have a question for the chair? Email •


At the February Board of Directors meeting, Jeff Harrison, director for District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings) was elected chair; Julie Maw, director for District 3 (Lambton) and Josh Boersen, director for District 9 (Perth) were elected as vice chairs; and Steve Twynstra, director for District 4 (Middlesex) was elected as executive member. Directors returning to the Board are Brendan Byrne, District 1 (Essex), Gus Ternoey, District 2 (Kent), Scott Persall, District 5 (Elgin, Norfolk), Jeff Barlow, District 6 (Haldimand, Brant, Hamilton, Niagara), Angela Zilke, District 7 (Waterloo, Oxford), Keith Black, District 8 (Huron), Steve Lake, District 10 (Grey, Bruce, Wellington), Leo Blydorp, District 11 (Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York), Lloyd Crowe, District 13 (Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa), Scott Fife, District 14 (Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry), and Chuck Amyot, District 15 (Northern Ontario). •


In February, 2024, Brendan Byrne, Grain Farmers of Ontario director of District 1 (Essex) and CEO Crosby Devitt participated in a trade mission to Mexico, led by Minister Lisa Thompson of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. The delegation included representatives from across the grain value chain, including millers, bakeries, exporters, and farmers. The trade mission built upon relationships that have been stewarded by Cereals Canada.

Scott Persall, director of District 5 (Elgin, Norfolk) and Dana Dickerson, manager of market development and sustainability, took part in a Soy Canada trade mission to Thailand and Japan in February 2024. They met with hundreds of customers in both countries alongside Soy Canada and exporters working to further develop business in the region, and received great feedback on the quality of Canadian soy and opportunities to grow Canada’s market share. •


The Ontario Corn Committee (OCC) has released its OCC Hybrid Performance for DON 2023 report. Hybrid susceptibility is one of the greatest factors influencing DON accumulation in corn (second only to weather), and the greatest factor that can be controlled by agronomic practices (Hooker and Schaafsma, 2005). Ontario growers can reduce DON risks through hybrid selection and management and have asked for DON hybrid testing for many years. For the full report and more visit •


Grain Farmers of Ontario hosted an Ontario Grain Farm Research Forum on February 20 and 21, 2024, in London, Ontario. The Forum brought together farmers, agronomists, government, industry, and research partners from across the province to engage in discussions about how to address issues facing Ontario farmers through novel research approaches. Specific topics covered included nutrient management with a focus on nitrogen, precision field management, and systems approaches to crop management.

With sessions that focused on on-farm trials, collaborative project design, knowledge transfer best practices, and research case studies, attendees had the opportunity to learn from colleagues, brainstorm ways to advance research initiatives, and discuss ways to work together to build a collaborative approach to agronomic research in Ontario.

Grain Farmers of Ontario extends thanks to the Forum partners: University of Guelph with funding from the Office of Research, Ontario Agricultural College, Department of Plant Agriculture, and Ridgetown Campus; Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association; and Fertilizer Canada. •


Grains in Action participants hit the road in February to tour end-use facilities that use Ontario-grown barley, corn, oats, soybeans, and wheat and to learn more about the Ontario grain industry and Grain Farmers of Ontario. Thirty young farmers from across the province participated in the program, touring facilities including Pride Seeds, Cargill, Sylvite, Harrow Research Centre,
J.P. Wiser’s Distillery, ADM, IGPC, Ingredion, Arva Flour Mill, and Wallenstein Feed.

Grains in Action is a four-day program for young farmers to gain knowledge about the end uses of the grains they grow. Participants also learn about the role of Grain Farmers of Ontario within the grain industry and how they can become active members within the organization. It is an opportunity for new experiences, building relationships, and professional growth.

The 2025 Grains in Action program will feature a tour of end-use facilities in eastern Ontario. For more information on the program, visit •


In February, 2024, Grain Farmers of Ontario partnered with Syngenta to sponsor Talk Today, a mental wellness program developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). At 17 OHL home games, attendees from across the province heard about the connection that mental health brings to all of us — from the rink to the farm to everyone’s homes, mental health connects us, and there is strength in talking about it.

The sponsorship of the program included pre-game events with farmers to discuss mental wellness programs, an in-game activation, social media campaigns, and in-game videos and call outs in Peterborough, London, Owen Sound, Windsor, Kingston, Sarnia, Oshawa, Kitchener, Ottawa, and Niagara. •


Attendees at the 2024 Grain Farmers of Ontario Annual District Meetings were entered in a prize draw for door prizes; three winners from each District Meeting were then entered into a Grand Prize Draw for a $2,500 CAA Travel Gift Card, plus one-year Premier CAA membership and two runner-up prizes of a staycation package.

Congratulations to the grand prize winner, Kevin Lynch, from District 4 (Middlesex), and runner-up prize winners, Eric Mann, from District 12 (Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings) and John Wiles from District 9 (Perth). •


With the spring planting season underway, be sure to check out the weekly field observations report from Laura Ferrier, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s agronomist, who brings you weekly updates about field conditions across the province, tips and advice relevant to the season’s conditions, and updates from agronomy partners. The field updates can be found at www. or in the weekly GrainTalk e-newsletter delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. To subscribe to the GrainTalk e-newsletter, visit •


By Philip Shaw

In the February 2024 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, all American 2023 production numbers were kept the same from January. With dry weather affecting some parts of South America, the USDA reduced Brazilian soybean production to 156 million metric tonnes (MMTs). Brazil’s corn production was reduced to 127 MMTs. Private firms and Brazil’s Conab have much lower numbers. Despite that, prices have fallen, and Brazilian cash soybeans at the ports are much cheaper than U.S. Gulf bids.

In Ontario, the open winter has created unusual opportunities, with some February fieldwork being done in the deep southwest of Ontario. Cash prices have moved south with the futures prices. The Canadian dollar fluttering in the 73/74 cents U.S. level continues to add stimulus to Ontario cash grain prices. •


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