February 14, 2020 ( Guelph, ON ) – Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers today urges all sides to work to a quick resolution of the current rail blockages that are part of the pipeline protests. CN Rail has just announced that they are progressively shutting down their Eastern Canada operations until the pipeline protest blockages stop.
Once again rail issues are set to impact Ontario grain farmers negatively with rail stoppages in Eastern Canada that will result in necessary resources, including food-grade grain, feed grain and fuel grain not being shipped in a timely way, if at all.
“These rail stoppages are unacceptable. As farmers, we have dealt with one of the wettest harvests on record, with a rail stoppage that almost crippled our industry, with a growing amount of carbon tax on food production, with price instability for our crops, with markets closed to us due to trade disputes and rash politically motivated decisions, with increased competition from the U.S. into our traditional export markets, and with outdated programs to help farmers remain sustainable,” said Markus Haerle, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “How much more can our farmers be asked to cope with, with issue issues of no fault of their own.
“Frankly, the system is breaking and we cannot bear more delays and restricted access to essential services, such as rail for transporting grain. Ontario, and Canada, need farmers to be able to produce food – not just for our own families and communities, but to bring billions of dollars into our economy. We want to see a resolution to these blockages and shutdowns.”
The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supporters have been blocking rail lines in protest of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project for more than a week, as the pipeline crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in BC.
“After the CN rail strike in December, Grain Farmers of Ontario called on the government and industry to have rail declared an essential service. Now, we are looking at the same issues – lack of transport for essential products and negative impacts on agriculture – Canada’s leading economical industry,” said Barry Senft, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario.
Victoria Berry, Communications
Markus Haerle, Chair