By Connor Lynch
REGINA — Canadian agriculture can’t expect better commodity prices in 2018, but a low and steady dollar should balance the scales on the budget sheet.
Farmers hoping for out-of-this-world good news will be disappointed; for the rest, 2018 promises to be a steady-as-she-goes type of year with a few possible hiccups, according to Farm Credit Canada’s latest economic forecast.
Here’s the trends FCC identified for farmers to watch as the New Year unfolds.
Significant investment in processing can be expected, which is good news for Canadian producers. “The ability to add value to farm products will continue to strengthen Canadian agriculture,” said FCC president J.P. Gervais in a release.
The balance sheet will be facing positive and negative pressure from a couple of familiar places. Commodity prices are unlikely to increase, though the dollar will hold at around 80 cents. Farmland prices will continue to rise, but the rate of increase will slow.
Wages are expected to climb worldwide, and that’s more good news for farmers. As wages in the international marketplace increase, it will give “consumers more income to spend on food,” Gervais said.
In particular, market growth in China could be a boon for producers, especially livestock farmers. China’s demand for animal-based proteins continues to rise faster than its ability to supply itself, creating opportunities for export.
Meanwhile, farmers will have to continue to hold their collective breath on international trade deals such as NAFTA and the TPP.
The Toronto Dominion Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada both predict another year of strong economic growth for Ontario, though both anticipate the rate will slow from previous years.