Ontario grain farms are an Ontario resource and are poised for growth.
Unlike the manufacturing sectors our grain farmers in Ontario cannot lift up their land and transport it to India or China. This is not a business that can be outsourced – the world needs and wants our unique products and our harvest capacity. Our growth means growth for Ontario and jobs in Ontario. That said, governments cannot take this for granted. Ontario farmers compete in a global economy and the environment government creates around that, needs to take that into consideration.
We need to be competitive to achieve growth and build on our strengths.
It will take a value chain effort, stakeholder commitment and government investments to achieve a sustainable growth in the sector.
To generate growth in the grain sector public and private industry must work together in partnership.
We have identified five key areas for smart growth:
Adequate funding for business risk management program
Investment in a specialized soybean refining facility in Southwestern Ontario
Support for the Processor Retention and Investment Attraction Program (PRIAP)
Sustainable solution to pollinator health and a commitment to a National science based approach
Continued public research investments in longer-term issues facing Ontario farmers so that we may remain competitive with our larger acreage competitors.
These investments will provide the support for towards a goal to achieve 60,000 jobs and $9 billion in revenues in the sector.
Opportunities for partnership
A) Raise the cap for Business Risk Management Program
Business risk management tools are essential for farmers who want to invest in their operations.
The RMP program imposed cap of $100 million dollars, impairs the RMP program from providing price stability in the farm business. This puts at risk investments that generate jobs and growth for the grains and oilseed sector.
As the upward cycle for commodities softens, these risk management tools become increasingly more important. Adequate funding is required for the Ontario Risk Management program for it to effectively produce the intended results.
A commitment to raise the cap $25 million for the next three years will restore the RMP program.
B) Specialized Soybean Refining Facility in Southwestern Ontario
Canada’s first commercial scale specialized soybean oil refinery is planned for development in Sarnia, Ontario. The Canadian Oilseed Innovation Centre (COIC) will make significant economic impacts for the local economy.
Locally grown specialty food grade oil is in sharp demand. This new facility will ‘custom manufacture’ specialized oil that fits demand and produce prototype manufacturing to establish new markets for designer soybean oil.
An investment of $10.89 million in Southwestern Ontario’s Specialized Soybean Refining Plant will result in 78 indirect and direct full time equivalent (FTE) jobs and annual revenues of $26.5 million. The construction of the facility will generate 187 FTE jobs.
C) Three Year Commitment to the Processor Retention and Investment Attraction Program
The Processor Retention and Investment Attraction program proposed by the Alliance of Food Processors will provide capital support for domestic development of Ontario’s current processor base and will attract new investment commitments to the industry and ultimately provide a healthy processing sector grains and oilseed farmers can depend on.
A commitment for a $120 million, three-year processor retention and investment attraction program.
D) Sustainable solution to pollinator health and a commitment to a National science based approach
Grain Farmers in Ontario, are adapting their planting practices to reduce dust exposure during the planting of corn and soybeans including installation of after-market deflectors, using new seed-flow lubricants and instituting safer planting practices to reduce risk to honey bee populations. A recent report from the Conference Board of Canada estimates the impact of a ban on neonicotinoids would be $700 million to the corn and soybean growers.
Government must maintain a commitment to science based decision making on neonicotinoids and continue to support the honey bee industry in achieving its opportunities for growth.
E) Support for basic research
Public research dollars need to be invested and tailored to Ontario farming to maintain our competiveness with our larger acre competitors in the US and other parts of the world. Ontario farmers will continue to access and use the research results of the private industry, these research dollars are primarily focused on larger-acre issues.
Continued public research is needed for longer-term issues facing Ontario farmers so that we may remain competitive with our larger acreage competitors.
Grain Farmers of Ontario represents more than 28 thousands corn, soybean and wheat farmers across Ontario
Over 28 thousand grain farmers from across Ontario make up the membership of Grain Farmers of Ontario. Our farmer members grow and market corn, soybeans and wheat.
The Grains and Oilseed sector is positioned to grow from $6 billion in GDP & 50,000 Jobs
Today, the grains business contributes Over 50 thousand jobs and $6 billion to the Ontario economy annually. Ontario’s agribusiness sector is currently experiencing a time of innovation and investment.
Over the last 30 years, grain and oilseed farms have seen yield improvements and yields are set to steadily increase. Looking at our historical trend and innovations coming on-line we anticipate that we can double our gross output by 2050. The grains and oilseed sector is part of the Ontario food and beverage processing industry is anticipating growth potential by 2020 of 185,000 plus jobs and over $70 billion in revenues and we want to be a part of that growth. With the right approach and investments this rate of increase in production could result in 10 thousand additional jobs created sector in the near term.