Grain Farmers of Ontario conference theme announces – “Agriculture – Ontario’s Economic Superpower”

GUELPH, ON (February 15, 2011) Grain farmers in Ontario will have lots to celebrate at this year’s GFO March Classic on March 21st. Grain prices, sector growth and optimism are making agriculture a key industry for the province.  Our success has inspired the theme for this year’s conference: ‘Agriculture – Ontario’s Economic Superpower’.

The latest figures from Statistics Canada show that while the total revenue of the manufacturing industry has fallen by 10 percent in Ontario over five years, the agriculture and agri-food sub-section has enjoyed 11 percent growth over the same period.  The January Agriculture Business Barometer from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) indicates optimism levels in the agriculture sector are at a four year high. 

“The information shared from this year’s speakers at the March Classic will build on this success,” says GFO CEO, Barry Senft. “Our vision is to drive our industry to become a global leader and the 21st of March will be the catalyst.”

Global business leaders will present in the afternoon of the GFO March Classic to discuss opportunities and challenges for farmers in a global context.  GFO’s farmer members will learn business strategies and market insight from agribusiness leaders intended to inspire business planning beyond the farm gate.

“Ontario’s farmers are in an ideal economic and social climate right now with higher grain prices, the buy local movement creating niche opportunities and world markets opening through new trade agreements,” says Senft.  “We hope the conference is the launch for major industry growth over the next few years.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Ontario’s grain farmers applaud the defeat of Bill C474

GUELPH, ON (February 11, 2011) – Grain Farmers of Ontario is relieved that Canada’s science-based regulatory system was upheld after bill C474 was defeated in third reading in the House of Commons.

Bill C474 recommended changes to the Seeds Regulations that would require export market analysis to be done before any new GMO technologies pass through the Canadian regulatory process.  In Canada, new GMO traits go through a rigorous evaluation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency before they can be grown– a clear, predictable process evaluating new technologies based on sound science.

“I just returned from a trade mission to Brussels, Belgium with Agriculture Minister Ritz where we asked the EU to take a science-based approach to trade and GM crops,” says Don Kenny, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario.  “This bill would have undermined everything we advocated for.”

Canada exports over 30 million tonnes of grain every year to more than 70 countries worldwide.  The trade revenue to Canada from these exports is over $12 billion.

“The defeat of this bill is a real win for Ontario grain farmers.  It ensures we have access to the technology we need to increase crop yields, lower our costs, protect the environment and be competitive,” says Kenny.  “We are grateful to the many MPs who lead the defeat of this bill including Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Biofuels regulations great news for Ontario’s grain farmers

GUELPH, ON (February 11, 2011)  – The commitment from the government to move forward with the regulations for two percent renewable fuel content in diesel fuel is great news for Ontario’s grain farmers.

This two percent mandate will mean a demand for 500 million litres per year of bio-diesel across Canada that will boost local demand and strengthen prices for soybean and canola farmers.  This will mean more marketing options for our farmers and more jobs for Canadians – a true win-win.

“A conservative estimate of the ethanol industry’s impact on local corn prices is an increase of $0.10 to $0.25 per bushel, depending on the year and location of the farm,” said Don Kenny, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario at the announcement in Hamilton.  “It will be a similar story for soybeans as a result of bio-diesel production.”

Farmers are not the only ones who will benefit from higher grain values as a result of the growth of the biofuels industry.  Income stability for Ontario’s grain farmers becomes money spent in our rural communities.  It also means a stronger, more sustainable provincial economy where 40,000 jobs in the supply chain depend on our production of grain.

A national investment in biodiesel production is not just an economic win for the country, but also has a significantly positive impact on the environment.  The production of crops for biodiesel can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 99 percent compared to fossil fuels.

“Thank you to the Canadian government for the implementation of a Renewable Fuels Strategy that will truly benefit our farmers, our rural communities and all Canadians,” summarized Kenny.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Agriculture – Ontario’s economic superpower

GUELPH, ON (February 4, 2011) The theme for Grain Farmers of Ontario’s (GFO) 2011 March Classic conference is ‘Agriculture – Ontario’s Economic Superpower’.

Ontario corn, soybean, and wheat crops generate over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province. Annually, farm gate receipts result in $2.5 billion alone. 

Agriculture competes with the automotive industry for the top economic driver in Ontario. GFO takes pride in the impact our 28,000 grain farmers make with their production and marketing capabilities.

The March Classic will feature grain buyers from around the world speaking about Ontario grain quality and uses. To join us for this powerful conference, register today at: www.gfo.ca/MarchClassic.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Grain Farmers of Ontario director, Kevin Marriott, receives conservation award

GUELPH, ON (January 31, 2011) – On January 14, at the Lambton Soil and Crop Improvement Association annual meeting, Kevin Marriott was presented the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority’s 2010 Conservation Farmer of the Year Award.

Kevin was chosen for this award because of his exemplary farming practices and community involvement.

Kevin took over the family farm in 1977 and now farms 1100 acres on a rotation of corn, soybeans, and wheat. He was one of the first in Ontario to adopt no-till in 1988 and continues this practice successfully today. He also conducts soil-tests regularly.

Beyond the field, Kevin maintains his machinery, out-buildings, and office space in excellent condition. “Keeping my equipment in good condition and organized ensures safety on my farm and extends the life of my machines,” says Kevin.

Involvement in the community and farm organizations is important to Kevin as well. “As farmers I think we need to take control of our destiny by getting involved with our local municipalities, you really can take hold of government and make a difference,” says Kevin.

GFO congratulates Kevin Marriott, District 3 Director, on this award.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Grain Farmers of Ontario announces March Classic

GUELPH, ON (January 28, 2011)  – Grain Farmers of Ontario has announced the dates and agenda highlights for its annual conference, the March Classic.

“2011 is critical for GFO and this event will be talked about for years to come,” says Barry Senft, CEO of GFO. “We will ask the tough questions to the right people to get the answers farmers need, and network with vital industry and political partners.”

The event will bring together provincial political leaders, including Premier Dalton McGuinty (invited) and PC leader Tim Hudak, for a fireside chat moderated by Seamus O’Regan from Canada AM. Federal MP Pierre Lemieux will also address the crowd. Other guests include Peter Mansbridge, Cal Whewell, and global corn, soybean, and wheat buyers.

The March Classic is being held March 21st, 2011 at the London Convention Center. Speakers will run through the day and an exhibitor hall will be open for networking and business discussions. There will also be a social evening banquet. Registration is now open online at www.gfo.ca/MarchClassic

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Grain Farmers of Ontario participates in EU trade mission

GUELPH, ON (January 28, 2011) – Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Don Kenny recently returned from a two day trade mission in Brussels, Belgium to advocate for a GM tolerance level for future shipments.

The European Union (EU), Canada’s largest export market for soybeans, currently has no tolerance for even minuscule traces of unapproved GM (genetically modified) material in imported grain shipments.   Meetings were held with EU Commissioners, Members of Parliament and key industry representatives to emphasize the importance of supporting science-based trade regulations.

“Canada exported almost a million tonnes of soybeans to the EU in 2009 and the zero tolerance rules are a big threat to future exports,” says Kenny. “Allowing a low-level presence of unapproved GM in future grain shipments would be a great benefit to our soybean farmers.”

2010 was a phenomenal year for soybean production in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba as a record 4.2 million tonnes were produced. Of this production, approximately 2.7 million tonnes will be exported.

“Grain Farmers of Ontario is committed to protecting and expanding our soybean export markets and this trip was an excellent opportunity to discuss this important issue with EU officials,” says Kenny.

Grain Farmers of Ontario was proud to represent our country on this trade mission to the EU and would like to thank Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz for advocating for a low-level tolerance of unapproved GM material in future grain shipments from Canada.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Grain Farmers of Ontario recognizes exceptional spring wheat growers

ORANGEVILLE, ON (January 26, 2011)  – Winners of Grain Farmers of Ontario’s inaugural Spring Wheat Challenge were recognized today at a District meeting in Orangeville. The top three winners of the Western Ontario join their winning counterparts in Eastern Ontario who were awarded their prizes last week.

“We’re very pleased to highlight the accomplishments of these growers,” says Jaye Atkins, Vice President of Strategic Development at GFO. “It’s clear that all competitors are excellent spring wheat growers. The average yield among everyone in the competition was 71.9 bushels per acre.”

The challenge was split into two geographic zones to best reflect the entrants. Winners in both the east and the west received a cash prize of $1,500 for first place. Second place winners took home $750 and third place winners were awarded $500.

The challenge was made possible by a generous and exclusive sponsorship from Bayer CropScience.

The 2010 GFO Spring Wheat Challenge Western Winners are:

1st Place                                Morley Trask, Alma, Sable, 83.72 bu/ac

2nd Place               Bill Nater, Mitchell, Sable, 82.79 bu/ac

3rd Place               Cor Van Gaalen, Clinton, 74.26 bu/ac

Eastern Ontario winners were announced on January 19. Check out the February issue of the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine for information about the winners’ management practices from both Eastern and Western Ontario. For a list of winners from Eastern Ontario, visit www.gfo.ca.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Eastern winners awarded in Grain Farmers of Ontario’s inaugural spring wheat challenge

Elgin, ON (January 19, 2011) – Exceptional wheat growers were recognized at a GFO District meeting today in Elgin, Ontario. The top three winners from Eastern Ontario were awarded prizes this afternoon for their big win in GFO’s first ever Spring Wheat Challenge.

“This new challenge was a natural direction for GFO as we’ve had such great success with the Soybean Yield Challenge in past years,” says Jaye Atkins, Vice President of Strategic Development at GFO. “The Spring Wheat Challenge was planned to recognize excellent growers of wheat and to stimulate discussion about this crop.”

The challenge attracted 29 registrants this year. “We’re happy with this participation given that this was the first year of the competition,” says Crosby Devitt, Manager of Research and Market Development at GFO. 

GFO is even happier with the yields. Final entries had to be of milling quality to compete and of those, the average yield was 71.9 bushels per acre. “Although spring wheat is historically challenging to grow, it is clear that success is attainable as demonstrated by these growers,” says Devitt.

The challenge was split into two geographic zones to best reflect the entrants, each of which will receive a cash prize of $1,500 for first place. Second place winners will take home $750 and third place winners will be awarded $500.

The challenge was made possible by a generous and exclusive sponsorship from Bayer CropScience.

The 2010 GFO Spring Wheat Challenge Eastern Winners are:

1st Place                John and Beth Nanne, Pakenham, Sable, 74.52 bu/ac

2nd Place               Jockbrae Farms Ltd, Carlton Place, AC Brio, 71.12 bu/ac

3rd Place               Appaulo Farms Ltd., Carp, 59.42 bu/ac           

The western Ontario winners will be announced at the GFO meeting in Orangeville on January 26, 2011. Check out the February issue of the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine for information about the winners’ management practices.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.

Grain Farmers of Ontario re-launches website

GUELPH, ON (January 10, 2011)  – On January 10th, GFO launched an updated version of www.gfo.ca. With an improved user interface, simplified navigation, and personal interactive elements, the site will better serve farmer members.

Some key improvements are the addition of local weather, price information, and GFO news and events front and center on the homepage. Interactive commodity reports for streamlined data and priority links in the right panel of each page will also help users access the information they need.

The changes are the result of insight gathered from a series of face-to-face interviews with farmer members of different usability levels. These interviews, conducted by third party communications agency Quarry Integrated Communications, provided detailed input on challenges, needs, and priorities of users. Some clear trends and similarities were defined and Quarry worked with GFO to develop an updated site architecture.

The suggestions have now been implemented and GFO is looking forward to further developing the site to become the number one source for grain farming information in Ontario.

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.