GUELPH, ON (December 16, 2019) – Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers today calls on Ontario Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Ernie Hardeman, to be a champion for changes that will make a difference for farmers at the Federal Provincial Territorial (FPT) Ministers meeting on Tuesday. While minor tweaks are being discussed by some as being adequate, significant changes are needed to address the widespread financial challenges Ontario grain and oilseed farmers are facing.
“Farmers need meaningful support immediately not minor tweaks and more reviews,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario “We are urging Minister Hardeman to speak up for farmers and support and promote an increase of 85% coverage to the AgriStability program with the reference margins removed. Reference margins removed without an increase to 85% coverage is meaningless.”
Farmers in the countryside are becoming increasingly concerned that the government is not taking the situation seriously. AgriStability at 85 percent (including the removal of RMLs) is table stakes in comparison to the $28 billion the U.S. has provided its farmers. Farm income has dropped 45 percent in Canada, political decisions have resulted in the loss of the China market, operational costs are increasing, farm foreclosures are a reality, and farmers in Ontario are left with lower quality and smaller yields from a difficult growing season.
This increased funding for AgriStability is one step of programming reform. Grain Farmers of Ontario is also asking the federal government for compensation for farmers who have suffered losses from trade disruptions.