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Grain groups request immediate meeting with federal ministers to discuss propane stoppage


The Grain Farmers of Ontario and Grain Growers of Quebec have sent a request to meet with Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture, and Marc Garneau, minister of transport, to address the urgent need to resume the delivery of propane.

Propane supplies in Eastern Canada have been dwindling since Canadian National Railway (CN) workers went on strike due to concerns of long working hours and dangerous working conditions. Eastern Canada depends on rail to transport propane, with 85 per cent of Quebec’s supply of propane delivered by rail.

“We need to sit down with the ministers of agriculture and transport immediately to determine how grain farmers can access propane today,” said Markus Haerle, chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Farmers cannot wait for days for this propane stoppage, we need solutions today — the viability of our crops depend on it.”

The CN strike comes at a time when 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 as it comes off of the field. The weather this crop season leaves much of the majority of farmers still harvesting and the need for propane to dry crops is today to avoid significant loss and damage.

“Our farmers need propane to dry their corn as it comes off of the field. We need the government‘s help now to find solutions right away to this propane stoppage facing every one of our grain farmers,” said Christian Overbeek, president of the Grain Growers of Quebec, in a media release.

Both groups are asking their members to contact their local Members of Parliament to let them know their particular situation.