Business & Policy
Contingency planning for grain farmers to reduce impact of trade disputes
By Top Crop Manager
The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) issued a statement urging the federal government to be more active in helping farmers maintain their businesses and minimize the effects of ongoing trade disputes with the United States.
Canadian farmers are already feeling the impact of the trade dispute in soybean prices, which are closely linked to U.S. prices and have fallen almost 20 percent since April when China first announced a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans.
GFO is specifically asking the Canadian federal government to establish contingency plans. The U.S. government alloted $12 billion of its trade impact contingency plan directly to farmers.
Currently, a $2 billion contingency fund exists, but it is allotted to Canada’s steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.
In their statement, GFO explained that the Canadian Agriculture Partnership has a $3 billion fund, but it is not provisioned to support farmers and the agriculture industry if there are major price shocks, or if there is a prolonged impact to agriculture as a result of trade issues.
“The grains and oilseeds sector is separate and distinct from the supply managed sector which has been the focus of discussion in trade talks to date. It is our expectation that proportionate consideration and compensation is given to the grains and oilseeds sector if and when it is required,” said Markus Haerle, chair of GFO, in a released statement.
The Grain Farmers of Ontario represents 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers in the province of Ontario.