Major updates to Grain Farmers of Ontario SellSmart App in 2016

Ontario Grain Farmer readers are already very familiar with SellSmart, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s grain pricing app; users of the app will be pleased to know that a major update is coming this summer with some new features and improved functionality.

SellSmart was designed six years ago to assist farmers in Ontario in selling their corn, soy, and wheat by providing delayed futures pricing data from CBOT and adjusted cash prices for grain elevators across Ontario. A lot has changed since then – both for Grain Farmers of Ontario, which now also represents barley and oat growers – and in the world of mobile apps. SellSmart has been re-built from the ground up to meet new standards for accessibility and responsiveness. We have improved the user interface and added support for US dollar pricing; most importantly, the app will now be able to handle barley and oat pricing (although at this time pricing data is limited).

The new version of SellSmart is set for release in June 2016 for iOS, Android, and the BlackBerry BB10 operating system. Users with older BlackBerry devices will still have access to the old version of the app.

If you don’t already use SellSmart, you can download it now for iOSAndroid, or BlackBerry. You will be able to upgrade it for free when the new version is released.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

The Grains in Action Experience

Blog post by Natalie Walt, Grains in Action 2016 participant

Over four days in February, I had the opportunity to spend time with 30 peers from assorted backgrounds from across the grain industry. We toured Southwestern Ontario learning about the grain production process and how it moves from farm to fork or a variety of other end uses.

We were given in-depth tours and presentations at Ontario grain elevators, port terminals, an ethanol plant, and a flour mill. I currently work in agribusiness in grain merchandising, so the information presented was highly relevant to understanding how my role fits into the bigger picture of the grain industry.

Most interesting to me was the flour mill in Cambridge, owned by Parrish & Heimbecker. We were given a top-down tour of the 200 year old mill, explaining the processes the kernels of wheat go through in order to be ground into a usable product for industrial, retail, and food service customers. I also learned about the various market classes of wheat within Ontario. Each of these classes have a unique set of traits that affect their milling characteristics Some are great for cakes and pastries, while others are more suited for crackers and flatbreads.

The most entertaining stop of the tour was undoubtedly Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. in Windsor. Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore took us through a fascinating and lively presentation on the history of whisky and how Canadian farmers contributed to the rise in popularity of this beverage. He explained how Canadian grains are perfectly blended to create a flavour profile that is unique from other countries’ version of this drink.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Use of Manipulator on the 2016 Ontario Wheat Crop

Joint statement from Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Agri Business Association

GUELPH, ON (February 19, 2016) – Over the past several weeks, Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA) have been involved in a broad industry discussion regarding the serious implications of using Manipulator™ (chlormequat chloride) as a growth regulator on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop. With particular emphasis on the fact that Manipulator™ has not yet received approval for use in the United States, OABA and Grain Farmers of Ontario have liaised with Ontario flour millers, wheat exporters, and Engage Agro (the Canadian distributor for Manipulator™) to discuss the implications of using this product on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop.

It is essential that all industry supply chain participants (including growers, ag-retailers, country grain elevators, terminal grain elevators, feed mills, flour mills, etc.) are fully aware of the following facts.

  • Manipulator™ is a plant growth regulator for use in wheat.
  • Manipulator™ is approved for use in Canada and the European Union on cereals, but approval has NOT yet been obtained for use of the product in the United States.
  • Without product approval, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently has a zero tolerance for any residues of the product (active ingredient).
  • Many Ontario country and terminal grain elevators have already established policies confirming that they will not be accepting wheat that has been treated with Manipulator™. OABA encourages all OABA ag-retail, grain elevator, and feed manufacturing members to communicate the seriousness of this situation with wheat growing customers.
  • Ontario flour millers (P&H Milling Group, ADM Milling, and Ardent Mills) have formally issued letters to suppliers that they will not accept wheat that has been treated with Manipulator™ (chlormequat chloride).
  • Grain Farmers of Ontario encourages Ontario farmers NOT to use Manipulator™ on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop due to the inherent market risk.

OABA and Grain Farmers of Ontario recommend that ag-retailers and grain elevators communicate with wheat growers the serious consequences associated with the application of Manipulator™ on the 2016 wheat crop, and that all members of the wheat supply chain ensure that Manipulator™ is NOT used on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Letter to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

January 15, 2016

Dear Dr. Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner,

I am writing you on behalf of the 28,000 grain and oilseed farmers that Grain Farmers of Ontario represents. We would like to request a meeting in the next couple of weeks to provide you with an overview of our industry and information about the commitment to the environment and stewardship practiced by our farmer-members.

We would also like to specifically address the comments we have seen in the media this week from your office. We firmly believe in education and collaboration. It is easy to have misconceptions – the best way to ensure that we understand your priorities for the environment and our business, as well as for you to understand our sector, is to sit down and share ideas and information.

Ontario grain and oilseed farmers grow barley, corn, oats, soybeans, and wheat and the end products made from our crops are used to feed people, provide environmentally sustainable alternatives to products traditionally produced from fossil fuels, and feed animals. The grain farming sector is a major contributor to the Ontario economy and the environment in many very positive ways. Grain farmers are stewards of both their productive and non-productive farmland. There are many wetlands and other environmentally beneficial spaces created by farmers and there are a number of ways that both farmland and farmers contribute to a sustainable Ontario environment.

I have been travelling across the province over the past week and farmers from all regions are alarmed by comments they have read in the media about coloured diesel, coming from your office. Agriculture consumes only three percent of all diesel used in Ontario. The amount of diesel used by grain farmers has steadily declined over the years as the result of improved efficiencies in farming practices (reducing machinery passes on fields) and improved fuel efficiencies in farm vehicles and machinery. The road tax exemption for coloured diesel has been in place for farmers across North America for many years, because farm machinery is not intended for use on roads. It is also important to note that Ontario grain farmers are price takers, as grain is traded on a global market – we compete directly with US farmers in the Great Lakes Basin who have significantly lower production costs.

The road tax exemption is important for Ontario grain farmers, as well as many other sectors of agriculture across the province. I look forward to discussing this, and more, with you in the near future.

Debra Conlon from our office will be in touch to schedule a meeting.

Sincerely,

Mark Brock
Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.