The Government of Canada planted seed money in Prince Edward County that could help grain and oilseeds farmers over the long haul.
Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis announced his government was investing over $300,000 in a pair of projects funded through the AgriRisk Initiatives under the Growing Forward 2 agreement, a five-year, $3-billion federal and provincial policy framework programs designed in part to help farmers manage risk due to severe market volatility and disaster situations.
The investment included up to $197,400 to Soy Canada to develop a profile of the soybean industry, including the current and potential risks producers face, both short and long term.
In another project, up to $158,310 was provided to the Grain Farmers of Ontario for a feasibility study concerning revenue declines not currently covered under the current suite of business risk management programs.
Ellis made the announcements at an annual GFO mid-summer gathering at Reynolds Brothers Farms just north of Picton Wednesday evening and said in the Prince Edward County and Canada, grain farmers are helping drive the economy.
In Ontario alone, the sector created $3.5 billion in farm gate receipts, $2 billion in exports and supplied 40,000 jobs to the provincial economy.
Ellis said it is estimated that one of every two bushels of grain grown in Canada goes beyond its shores and exports are the name of the game.
“That’s why we are proud to have tabled legislation to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans Pacific Partnership which is projected to expand agricultural exports by $1.4 billion,” Ellis said. “Today’s announcement is about opening new markets abroad and managing risk back at home. We are working with the grain and oilseed industry to develop and research new risk management tools and programs for farm businesses.”
The MP stated the announcement was good for the province’s farmers, good for the agribusinesses that support them and, ultimately good for Canada and the economy.
“We need a strong farm business industry to drive the economy and feed the world,” Ellis said.
Both GFO and Soy Canada representatives were on hand Wednesday to thank the Ellis and the Government of Canada for funding that will allow their organizations to better serve its respective memberships.
Markus Haerle, a St. Isidore, Ont. grain farmer and the GFO chair, explained the organization embarked on an AgriRisk project last year to determine which business risk management polices would work best for members.
Grain crops are at the mercy of weather, pests and global market fluctuations and depressions.
And Haerle said this uncertainty can make it difficult to take advantages of opportunity and invest in the future of the farming industry.
“The funding allows GFO to further study risk management practices as an essential and understand the both the problems and the farmers prospective on business risk management,” Haerle said, adding part of the previous phase of the project was a comprehensive survey of the group membership.
It’s Haerle’s belief that current risk management suite of programs are due for a refresh anyway and the federally funded revenue risk management project is an important step to help define the issues of modern farming as well as explore updated and new programs that will work for today’s grain and oilseeds farmers in the same way crop insurance works.”
SoyCanada executive director Ron Davidson said the soybean industry was a Canadian agriculture success story.
The value chain organization that works with the soybean sector from research and seed developers to farmers to crushers to exporters and affiliated industries now represents Canadian producers that have risen to third place in Canada in terms of acreage and farm gate receipts among the entire grains and oilseeds sector.
Although soybean production in Canada increased by 131 per cent during the past decade, the continued success of the sector is directly contingent upon overcoming a series of significant challenges according to Davidson.
The Agri-Risk Assessment and Mitigation Report not only identified and catalogued eleven notable threats, the clear ranking of the potential magnitude of each risk provides a solid benchmark for determining the future allocation of sector resources.
Among the two top risks that were identified and are being examined further are international trade negotiations and protein content.
“When you add up all the risks and opportunities, its total exceeds over $1 billion and that’s why this initiative is so important to the future of the industry,” Davidson said. “We have to address the risks at home and abroad and we are fortunate to have a government to work with to address those risks.”