Survey shows grain farmers are concerned

A majority of grain farmers that responded to a recent survey say they cannot compete with the U.S. farmers who receive subsidies.

76 percent of those polled by the Grain Farmers of Ontario say they cannot compete as the subsidies given to U.S. farmers help them sell grain at low costs.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario says that during the start of the pandemic, the U.S. has committed over $30 billion to U.S. farmers driving down grain prices and the poll

The poll was conducted in mid-July and also showed that 55 per cent fear that they won’t be able to cover the cost of production this year.

“This survey clearly indicated that 80 per cent of our farmer members want the Canadian government to level the playing field with U.S. farmers. Ontario grain farmers are not asking for bailouts, they just want risk programs to be properly funded and managed,” said Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Trump’s subsidies are driving down global grain prices, creating an uneven playing field for Ontario grain farmers.”

Other highlights of the survey:
– 4 out of 10 grain farmers in Ontario are expecting a reduction in sales
– 8 out of 10 Ontario grain farmers are asking for support to match the U.S. farmer

GFO Chair Markus Haerle says the the organization supports Ontario’s efforts to improve AgriStability coverage for farmers but that the federal government needs to restore funding that was cut by the former Stephen Harper government.

AgriStability, an existing BRM program, was cut in 2012.

“We appreciate that Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman committed to addressing the shortfall in the Risk Management Program. That’s only half the support that is needed. Farmers need the federal government to commit to restoring the program to levels cut by Stephen Harper’s government so that they can have the risk management tools they need to manage their businesses through this very uncertain time,” added Haerle.

In May of this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $252 million in COVID-19 support for farmers, none of which was earmarked to help grain farmers.

It was said to be the first round of support but the GFO says they still haven’t heard anything further.