Difficult harvest cannot withstand disruptions.
Guelph, ON (November 19, 2019) – Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province‘s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario‘s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers, today expresses grave concerns with the CN strike and its impact on grain farmers in Ontario. Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu must be more proactive in bringing this dispute to an end before it impacts one of Canada‘s largest economic sectors – agriculture, which is already suffering.
Ontario grain farmers rely on the rail system to transport propane used on farms to dry grain. With the current CN strike action, suppliers are no longer delivering propane for grain dryers. The strike comes at a time when Ontario farmers are dealing with one of the most difficult harvests they have seen in decades. A very wet harvest season with early snow and cold means that farmers are even more reliant on propane-powered grain dryers to condition the crop and get it to market.
“This strike could not have come at a worse time for Ontario grain farmers. We are still seeing the majority of corn in the fields and harvest is progressing incredibly slowly. The corn being harvested is very wet and will require extensive drying to be viable, which requires the use of propane and our access is now cut off,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “This is devastating.”
“The government must understand that we had already anticipated needing twice as much propane this year as a normal year. Farmers cannot harvest the corn as is and store it – that would lead to storage and quality issues. If our farmer-members leave their corn in the fields, they risk significant loss and damage,” Haerle said.
Grain Farmers of Ontario urges the government to explore all other options for propane delivery quickly.