Melanie ConsCanadian Farm News

From a news release

The Grain Farmers of Ontario continues to urge the federal government that Canada be more active in helping farmers maintain their businesses in the event of financial loss from trade disputes with the U.S.

GFO has asked the federal government to establish contingency plans to reduce the impact of global trade tensions with the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Trade. The U.S. government recently created a $30 billion fund for trade impact contingency planning and more recently allotted $12 billion of that fund to farmers if it is needed.

“Although we understand that there are many sectors that will be impacted by trade disputes, Canada cannot forget its farmers. The Canadian agri-food industry is responsible for more than 800,000 jobs and contributes over $10 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product. Clearly, the U.S. understands that supporting farmers and helping them run successful businesses in times of hardship is imperative to the economy,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “We strongly urge the federal government to level the playing field for Canada’s farmers.”

Currently, a $2 billion contingency fund exists, but it is allotted to Canada’s steel, aluminum, and manufacturing sectors. 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.

GFO will continue to push for an open discussion with the federal government on contingency planning, and also continues to urge Ministers to identify new markets and new business opportunities on behalf of the Canadian agriculture industry.

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 per cent since April when China first announced a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans.