GUELPH – The Grain Farmers of Ontario are calling on all parliamentarians to step-up action on the supply-chain challenges facing this year’s planting season and the food supply.
GFO is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario‘s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers.
The organization says it’s a critical time for farmers who are greatly concerned by the availability of fertilizer and by escalating input costs as spring planting approaches. GFO warns that farmers are poised to plant their crops to maximize their production, but action needs to be taken immediately by governments to avoid long-term consequences to the food supply system.
What’s planted today will have a direct impact on what grain is available at harvest time to feed people and livestock, the group pointedly notes in an April 5 press release.
GFO emphasizes that policymakers, farmers, and other stakeholders in the agriculture value chain need to work together to respond to the food crisis that is unfolding around the world because of the tragic situation in the Ukraine.
“We are driven to produce as much grain as we can, not only for our own province, but for the world,” GFO chair Brendan Byrne said. “We can’t do this without the full support of our government and industry partners. Farmers need immediate access to input supplies including fertilizer and with fair pricing.”
Farmers are experiencing challenges securing fertilizers and prices are uncertain, with only a few weeks away from planting season there is only a small window right now to get the inputs farmers need in-place to grow a full crop this year, crops that will be more critical than ever given the situation in Ukraine.
“It is important that inputs remain affordable,” Byrne said. “Farmers need to be able to continue the valuable work they do in providing a necessary resource that keeps food on the shelves and our communities fed.”
The group specifically requests government action:
- To ensure needed fertilizer arrives on time: Ontario farmers know that sourcing fertilizer from the affected region is not sustainable and is something that can be fixed going forward with new technology, innovation, and new sources, but this is not something that can be addressed in the time frame farmers have right now. Grain farmers are asking the federal government to use everything they have in their toolbox to help make sure fertilizer arrives in time for planting.
- To ensure fair market prices: supply chain issues have created volatile markets and price escalations at a time when grain farmers need consistency to produce the grains needed to feed Ontario, Canada, and the world. Grain farmers are urging the government to employ common sense solutions that would increase the availability of fertilizer products and provide needed relief.
- Financial supports: During the pandemic, farmers went to work in their operations each day despite uncertainty and a host of new challenges. Grain farmers need to know the government has their back. Financial supports need to be explored as there is nothing within the current Business Risk Management suite that will provide the support that farmers may need if worst case scenarios are realized on prices for fertilizer and fuel.