Grain Farmers of Ontario Unveils Creative Solutions to DON Crisis Ahead of Minister Meeting

This release was updated on November 16, 2018

Guelph, ON (November 15, 2018) – Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province‘s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario‘s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers, today will provide ideas for action at the industry meeting called by Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to address the high DON in corn crisis in Ontario.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is proposing ideas that will help alleviate farmer-member concerns around testing protocols, cash flow, storage of corn and harvest bottlenecks, new markets for high DON corn, and support for on-farm testing and technology.

“We want to commend Minister Hardeman on his responsiveness to this devastating issue facing our farmers. Farmers are facing an outbreak of DON in corn beyond what we have ever seen,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “The grain value chain in Ontario counts for 40,000 jobs and this issue could impact everyone. Our farmers face major financial losses that could have devastating impacts on their businesses and the businesses of others across the grain industry.”

Creative Solutions

Grain Farmers of Ontario will present the following ideas on Thursdays’s industry meeting:

Storage: A significant number of farmers depend on the grain handling system for storage. The infected corn and late harvest is creating bottlenecks. Grain Farmers of Ontario is prepared to invest $240,000 into a program to purchase grain baggers for temporary storage solutions on the ground as early as next week.

Testing: On Wednesday, Grain Farmers of Ontario approved a $100,000 investment to assist in improving the accuracy and consistency of the corn testing process. This project is expected to start producing results in the next two weeks.

New Markets: Grain Farmers of Ontario is proposing a high DON corn market mission to Western Canada and to parts of the US to explore new markets in the cattle feed industry. Grain Farmers of Ontario is also committing to a market development task force to seek out these new markets. This is in addition to work already underway with ethanol companies to process high DON corn.

On-Farm Testing: Grain Farmers of Ontario is going to explore bringing on-farm testers to farmer-members and expediting the delivery of back-ordered corn screens for cleaners to Ontario.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is working with the Minister on other actions that will help Ontario farmers through this crisis:

  • Providing certainty to farmers about Crop Insurance benefits, including DON limits and salvage benefits as well as the need to leave claims open beyond the current March deadline.
  • Farmers will need some additional assistance from the AgriRecovery program and that process needs to be the initiated with the federal government.
  • Providing relief for cash flow concerns including extending the Commodity Loan‘s Program limit from $120 million to $200 million with increased flexibility in repayment schedules.
  • Initiating the late enrollment opt-in process for the few farmers that could benefit from AgriStability.
  • The development of an emergency intake for CAP programming that could help farmers market this crop.

Contact

Markus Haerle, Chair – 613 229-8336, marhaerle@gmail.com
Victoria Berry, Manager, Communications – 226 820-6641; vberry@gfo.ca

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.