GUELPH, ON (Dec. 18, 2019) – Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province‘s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario‘s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers is disillusioned by the lack of action for non-supply managed farmers by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture at their meeting on Tuesday in Ottawa.
After years of review to determine changes that will be meaningful, the Ministers of Agriculture once again provided lip service to the problems facing grain farmers in Ontario. The Agriculture Ministers announced yet another review rather than providing real solutions, while at the same time said they would provide full support for losses, that have yet to even occur, for those farmers in the supply managed sector.
“Non supply managed farms have been the hardest hit by worldwide trade wars and depressed prices, yet the Ministers of Agriculture announce money for supply managed farmers and consultations for the rest of us,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Supply managed farmers have not even experienced the hurt and they have already received a cheque from the federal government. Our farmer-members are incurring sustained losses and the only promise they have is more meetings.”
We need compensation for our farmers to address the acute issues from trade disruptions, and farmers need BRM programming in place as a back stop for recovery once the markets are right.
“We are one of the largest sectors in Ontario and we are given platitudes and no action,” added Haerle, “We need Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, to be true advocates for Ontario farmers with the federal government.”
Backgrounder on grain farmer challenges in 2019:
Grain farmers in Ontario are facing unparalleled risks to their business and need better BRM programs in place now, not later:
- The harvest and planting seasons have been terrible. Farmers are combining corn in snow-covered fields.
- The corn that has been harvested is wet and needs drying, but there is an additional carbon tax on food production when it comes to certain fuels and now farmers are looking at an additional $8,000 per year in carbon tax for food production operations.
- There are soybeans still in the field and whether they will even be viable is in question.
- Soybean farmers are losing $44 an acre after production costs and China is still blocking all shipments.
- Additional markets are being flooded by U.S. grain and Ontario grain is losing ground.
- Farm income has decreased by 45 percent, according to Statistics Canada.
The impact of grain farming in Ontario
- 75,000 jobs are created because of grain farming (this does not include retail positions).
- Grain farming contributes to $18 billion in economic input to the province.
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.