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.