Communications

Grain Growers of Canada call for immediate relief from ‘harvest from hell’

Following a difficult harvest season, Canadian farmers should not be expected to pay increased taxes at a time when they can afford it least

OTTAWA (January 29, 2020) – On behalf of 65,000 Canadian grain, oilseed and pulse producers, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are calling for immediate action to support Canadian farmers who have just been through the harvest from hell.

In the short term, GGC farmer members should be directly reimbursed from the federal government for the millions of extra dollars in carbon tax they have paid to dry their grain.

“The 2019 harvest season has put undue burdens on farmers’ livelihoods and every part of the country has been hit hard,” said GGC chair Jeff Nielsen from his farm in Olds, AB. “Beyond just the crop left in the field, farmers have faced major grain drying expenses, courtesy of the federal carbon tax, to ensure at least some crops make it to market.”

After a difficult 2018, where net farm incomes dropped 45 per cent from the year prior, the trend has only worsened. Our federal government must recognize that farmers should not be faced with an additional tax burden that reduces their competitiveness in the global marketplace. Farmers contribute to environmental sustainability by sequestering carbon, reducing water and input use, and improving soil health. However, with no alternative to fossil fuels to dry grain, the carbon tax fails to recognize farmers’ contribution and instead relies on punitive measures.

GGC is working with member groups to compile data to provide to the Hon. Minister Bibeau to allow her department to find the best way forward. That said, this issue is too important to delay. The government needs to be looking at all available options to offer relief to farm families who are facing mounting costs. This is only a short-term solution, however. Grain drying is an annual requirement for many Canadian farmers. That is why the long-term solution is to fully exempt all fuels used on farming operations.

With a changing climate, there could be future years where significant grain drying is required for farmers to get their grain to market. The simplest solution for both farmers and the government is to completely exempt all fuels used in farming operations. This will avoid the need for any relief measures after events like last year’s harvest. Farmers require a legislative and regulatory environment that recognizes our positive contribution towards the climate solution to ensure a sustainable future for this vital industry.

“These costs are adding up and we cannot continue to pay the price for inaction,” added Nielsen. “A complete exemption for all fuels used on the farm is what farmers ultimately require to avoid these crises in the future and provide farmers with the resources to continue doing what we do best.”

About Grain Growers of Canada
GGC provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. As a farmer-driven association, GGC advocates for the federal government to take decisions that support the competitiveness and profitability of grain growers across Canada.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Member and Partner Engagement
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Growers of Canada disheartened by lacklustre commitments to Canadian farmers at Ottawa meeting

Business risk management programs are essential to Canadian farmers, yet yesterday’s meeting outcomes will provide no effective support for Canadian farmers who face challenges beyond their control.

(Ottawa — December 18, 2019) The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) members are disappointed and frustrated by the outcome of the federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting yesterday in Ottawa.

“Despite all of these pressing challenges facing farmers across the country, the federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers were unwilling to make any changes to the AgriStability program,” says GCC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “This is when farmers need it most and our representatives are providing us with zero support.”

This was the second time this year that Ministers of Agriculture met to discuss the much-needed improvements to the business risk management suite, something that all Canadians farmers rely on. Yet once again, no meaningful changes have been put in place, leaving all Canadian farmers reeling and discouraged.

The disappointing conversation in Ottawa yesterday is a particularly disheartening way to end a year that was already extremely difficult for Canadian farmers. Farmers continue to experience access challenges in key international markets: Canadian canola and soybean are rejected by China, Saudi Arabia is refusing Canadian barley and India has increased tariffs on pulses. Additionally, farmers are feeling the adverse effects of the China/USA trade war. Simply, global markets are no longer reliable; the trade environment is increasingly unpredictable as protectionism rises globally. Additionally, another year of unprecedented rainfall, hail and snow has left acres of product that cannot be harvested. As a result, farm debt is accelerating at a frighteningly unprecedented rate and net farm incomes are projected to fall further than the 45 per cent decrease in 2018.

At this rate, Canadian farmers can’t help but feel bleak about the future, as evidenced by mental health help lines across the country reporting an 80 per cent increase in call volumes compared to previous years.

As it stands, the business risk management suite is incapable of meeting the majority of Canadian farmers’ needs. Changes made to AgriStability in 2013 have resulted in a program that is unresponsive and inadequate. Farmers are dealing with challenges — the majority of which are well beyond their control — in isolation.

“There is a crisis facing farmers across the country. Our representatives should be trying much harder to fix this crisis and support Canadians whose livelihood is at stake,” says Nielsen.

GGC will not walk away and accept this unsatisfactory outcome. “GGC members will be calling on Minister Bibeau to consider other options to provide farmers with immediate support,” says Nielsen. “The reality is that Canadian farmers need support from the government when adversely impacted by trade, political and environmental forces beyond our control. The reality is that currently; we are not getting any essential support.”

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Member and Partner Engagement
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Growers of Canada Statement on Speech from the Throne

OTTAWA (December 6, 2019) – The Grain Growers of Canada Chair Jeff Nielsen today issued the following statement on the Speech from the Throne which was delivered by Governor General Julie Payette Dec. 5.

Yesterday’s Speech from the Throne displayed a concerning lack of understanding of the unique needs of Canada’s export-oriented agriculture producers. This is particularly surprising considering the magnitude of the challenges currently facing farmers in every province across the country.

Farmers are facing times of unprecedented challenge in the international marketplace through trade disruptions due in large part to a rise in protectionism, and here at home with weather volatility and a lack of reliable business risk management programs. The absence of any recognition of the dire circumstances facing farmers today, suggests that our political leaders are not only oblivious the harsh realities facing Canada’s export oriented farmers, they are without a plan to address them. It is our hope that the passing reference to remove additional barriers to domestic and international trade for businesses and farmers will come with a robust plan to expand and diversify trade and support the domestic and global competitiveness of export-oriented farmers.

About Grain Growers of Canada
Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain farmers welcome end to CN rail strike

Crucial that government acts now to ensure that the next time strike action is threatened the entire economy is not held hostage.

OTTAWA (November 26, 2019) – The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are pleased to hear that CN and the Union representing CN workers, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), have reached a tentative deal, which will see workers back on the job as early as this afternoon.

GGC will now be focused on how quickly CN can resume operations, keeping a close eye on how they prioritize the shipment of grain as well as the propane required to dry this year’s crop.

“The last thing we needed coming off of one of the worst harvests on record was any sort of delay getting our products to market and inputs to our farms,” said GGC Vice Chair Markus Haerle from his farm in St. Isidore, ON. “With access challenges in key markets around the world and on-farm profitability at its lowest point in six years, farmers cannot afford any further delays, we have to get grain moving again.”

The backlog which resulted from the week-long strike has added to the some of the biggest challenges that Canadian farmers have faced in years. The loss of major international markets including China and India among others, a terrible growing season and one of the worst harvests on record followed by this recent work stoppage, has made an already difficult situation even worse.

Given the complex nature of the grain transportation system, even this short disruption in rail transportation will have a lingering effect on service for many weeks to come. Farmers need to see grain moving as quickly as possible to avoid cash flow problems. Furthermore, if grain doesn’t start to move to international markets quickly, Canada risks damaging its reputation as a reliable shipper.

GGC is urging CN to prioritize the movement of grain and propane at this most critical time for farmers right across the country. GGC’s eastern members, many of whom rely on propane to dry their crops are concerned about the length of time it will take to get their dryers up and running again. Farmers in the east have been told it could take weeks to get propane to their farming operations. “We cannot afford to wait any longer to harvest our crops, winter is just around the corner and the grain cannot safely go into storage until it has been dried,” added Mr. Haerle. “We know that we have a narrow window before the very cold weather sets in – we have to get grain moving right away.”

Finally, GGC is calling on government to look ahead and put plans in place to ensure that next time a rail strike is threatened, farmers, and the Canadian economy as a whole, cannot be held hostage. We’ve seen the impact of a week-long rail strike and it simply cannot happen again.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

An Open Letter from Canada’s Grain Farmers – Leadership on BRM Programs Needed Now

The following letter was sent to all Federal and Provincial agriculture Ministers across Canada on November 21, 2019 on behalf of all members of Grain Growers of Canada.

Dear Ministers,

The Grain Growers of Canada are calling Canadian Agriculture Ministers to recognize the crisis facing grain farmers across the country and immediately fix the AgriStability program.

The effectiveness of AgriStability was severely reduced in 2013 when significant cuts were made, including a reduction of coverage of reference margins from 85 to 70 per cent, which caused many farmers to withdraw from the program due to its ineffectiveness.

Farmers cannot wait any longer, global trade uncertainty and volatile weather is impacting every single grain farmer across the country this year. Early winter has left farmers with crop in the field unharvested, and the crop that is harvested faces prices that in some cases don’t cover the cost of growing it.

On Dec. 17, 2019, Canada’s agriculture ministers will meet in Ottawa to discuss improvements to Agri-Stability.

GGC members are calling on ministers to restore Agri-Stability to its former levels and thus restore farmers’ confidence in the program. Coverage should be immediately adjusted to cover losses starting at 85 per cent of historical reference margins and Reference Margin Limits should be eliminated. Farmers need this change to be available for the 2019 crop year.

Weather across Canada has left many farmers with low quality grain or grain unable to be harvested.

A hurricane flattened fields in Atlantic Canada – Quebec and Ontario faced unprecedented rainfall during planting and snow-covered fields for harvest – farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the BC Peace country, have had areas of drought, excess rainfall, hail and snow. Crops have been downgraded due to these factors and some may not be harvested at all.

Every major grain commodity is impacted by the global trade uncertainty unfolding around the world from trade wars.

Canola and soybean shipments are being rejected by China, Italy is imposing non-tariff barriers on Canadian durum, India has increased tariffs on pulses and Saudi Arabia is refusing Canadian barley.

Prices for many commodities have been greatly affected

Farmers face the challenge of not breaking even on crop they can sell due to non-trade barriers and the China/US trade war. Add to this the higher costs of drying record amounts of wet grain, which requires propane or natural gas – both subject to the carbon tax.

The stress is impacting farmers

Mental health lines in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes are reporting increases of close to 80% compared to other years.

Grain farmers (grains, oilseeds, pulses) are family owned businesses that support their local economy. Those rural communities also feel the hurt if grain farmers are hurting. This in turn has a negative impact on the Canadian economy as a whole.

If there isn’t immediate action by the Ministers of Agriculture from across Canada at their December 17 meeting, farm failures will occur that will impact all Canadians.

In these days of regional tensions where we are all searching for unity, this is a chance for a win-win for farmers, Canadians and the Federal and Provincial governments. By recognizing the difficult conditions that we face, the government has a unique opportunity to lift up farmers – instead of dividing them.

There is no better time than now to take that step. Let’s do it together.

Jeff Nielsen,
Chair, Grain Growers of Canada

Grain Growers of Canada welcomes new Cabinet

Grain farmers’ key priorities include increased funding of business risk management programs and trade

(Ottawa – November 20, 2019) – Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) would like to congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the appointment of the new Cabinet for the 43rd session of Parliament, as well as Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau who maintains her role as the Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

“We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Minister Bibeau and the Cabinet as a whole over the coming months and years,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “We are ready to carry on the important work of ensuring a competitive environment where Canadian agriculture can survive and thrive.”

The first order of business for Minister Bibeau will be the Dec. 17 Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers’ meeting to discuss desperately needed changes to business risk management programming. GGC, along with the members of the AgGrowth Coalition, have presented clear, industry-endorsed recommendations that will create programs that are effective for farmers across Canada. This is not a time to stand idly by. In last month’s federal election, every single party made a commitment to improve Agri-Stability and provide farmers with resources when they are needed the most. Now, with a minority government in place, there is no better opportunity to demonstrate the political will to work together for the betterment of Canada’s agriculture sector.

Canadian farmers are also pleased to welcome Honourable François-Philippe Champagne as the new Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mary Ng as Minister for Small Business, Export Development and International Trade. Mr. Champagne has a solid understanding of the importance of trade for the Canadian agriculture industry from his time in the Trade Diversification portfolio and Ms. Ng has added Trade to her previous role focused on Small Business and Export Development. GGC urges both Ministers to focus work on re-opening key markets like China and seeing trade deals signed and enforced.

With the strike at CN Rail ongoing, GGC was encouraged to see Marc Garneau maintain his role as Transport Minister. Mr. Garneau has seen the industry suffer through previous rail transportation disruptions and call on him to work with his Cabinet colleagues to get trains moving through whatever means necessary.

Stepping into a new Cabinet role is Jonathan Wilkinson, named the Minister for Environment and Climate Change Canada. As a former resident of Saskatchewan, Mr. Wilkinson will be aware of the important role farmers play in preserving our environment. However, it is important that Mr. Wilkinson recognizes the economic toll that the carbon tax is taking on farmers. GGC calls on Mr. Wilkinson to work with the agriculture industry to find ways to mitigate the impact of the price and reward farmers for the good work they are doing to conserve our land, soil and water.

“This past year has been particularly challenging with escalating trade wars closing key markets, weather disasters impacting harvest and the current rail strike halting the movement of grain,” added Mr. Nielsen “It is crucial that Minister Bibeau pushes her Cabinet colleagues to prioritize the economic impact and the challenges that our sector faces, and demonstrate a willingness to help us navigate towards long-term solutions.”

Regional shifts have made it all the more important to find issues that unite Canadians and the growth potential of Canadian agriculture is one that can do just that. Grain farmers across the country look forward to working with all Ministers and Members of Parliament in this new government.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Canada’s grain farmers urge speedy resolution to CN labour disruption

Reliable rail transportation is vital to agriculture and the economy as a whole

OTTAWA (November 19, 2019) – Grain farmers across Canada are calling on both sides of the Canadian National Railway (CN) labour dispute to work together to find a solution to their issues and get trains moving again. With the vast majority of grain being shipped to market by rail, a reliable transportation system is crucial to Canadian agriculture’s success.

“This strike comes at a terrible time for agriculture,” said Jeff Nielsen, Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) Chair. “Grain farmers from coast to coast are experiencing one of the most challenging harvests in recent memory and international trade disputes have closed some of our most reliable markets. Any delay in shipping will damage our access to hard-won markets that we must cultivate to survive.”

With upwards of 90 per cent of grains being moved by rail, the inability to get grain to market has a significant impact on hard working farm families. If grain doesn’t move, farmers don’t get paid.

With an early winter meaning excess moisture in many crops, farmers across Canada are seeing added costs from grain drying already eating into narrow profit margins. As of today, all propane deliveries to farms in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec have been halted, bringing an already late harvest to a standstill in those areas. Any stoppage of propane deliveries means that grain drying simply can’t happen causing grain spoilage in the bin and the field.

In addition, farmers have been forced to watch profits drop due to crops still in the field degrading in value. Any added loss in profit will not be manageable for many farmers who don’t have reliable, government supported business risk management programs to fall back on.

“Canadian farmers are ready to ship grain but are once again at the mercy of the railways,” said Markus Haerle, GGC Vice-Chair. “We know from the rail backlogs in recent years that any slowdown in service has serious consequences throughout the whole value chain. We are not in a position to weather yet another storm.”

“When one part of the grain handling system is not running, the whole chain shuts down,” added Shane Stokke, GGC Vice-Chair. “We know that CN is aware of the important role they play in the success of our industry and expect both parties to negotiate in good faith and get back to what they do best – getting Canadian products where they need to go.”

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Growers of Canada congratulates elected Liberal minority government

GGC looks forward to working with the Liberal government to fulfill their commitments to Canadian agriculture.

(OTTAWA — October 22, 2019) Grain Growers of Canada (GGC), on behalf of its 65,000 grain farmer members across Canada, would like to congratulate Justin Trudeau and the elected Liberal minority government. GGC looks forward to working together to ensure federal decisions are made with Canadian farmers and their families in mind.

“Grain farmers appreciate Mr. Trudeau and his government’s recognition that the Canadian economy, as a whole, benefits from a strong agriculture sector,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “We are eager to get down to work and ensure that our sector realizes its full growth potential.”

This is a critical time for farmers and for our industry. As we face challenges to our sector, GGC has and will continue to call on the federal government to be a willing partner and demonstrate a commitment to standing up for Canadian agriculture.

During the election cycle, all parties recognized the importance of strong, bankable risk management programs for farmers. The Liberal Party platform has pledged to increase federal support for these programs, which is critical to protect Canadian farmers and their families from risks beyond their control. GGC will advocate for these commitments to be treated with urgency. This is an opportunity for all parties to work together in a collaborative and constructive way on behalf of our agricultural sector.

On the trade front, farmers continue to face significant challenges accessing key markets around the world. A rules-based trading system is needed to ensure that Canadian farmers have fair and predictable access to the international marketplace. This is why GGC was encouraged to see a commitment from the Liberal Party to increase support for the World Trade Organization. Canadian farmers, in particular, have been affected by recent international trade disputes. This commitment, coupled with new investments to promote Canada’s global brand, are a step in the right direction. GGC will continue its work with the federal government to develop a strategy to address the challenges facing Canadian farmers in key markets around the world.

During the campaign, Mr. Trudeau also committed to increase collaboration between Canadian scientists, researchers and innovators in G7 countries and advanced economies. GGC supports a rigorous, science-based, evidence-based and risk-based regulatory system that protects human health and the environment and enables reliable access to crop protection products. As reflected in the Liberal Party platform, this promise of open collaboration is a step toward achieving these objectives while increasing alignment with our trading partners.

“The Liberal government of the past four years had demonstrated measurable progress towards the growth of the agri-food sector,” added Nielsen. “Now, with a renewed mandate, GGC stands ready and willing to work with Mr. Trudeau’s government as they redouble their efforts to help farmers and the industry achieve long-term success.”

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Innovation imperative for grain farmers to produce high-quality product for market

Canada lags behind its competitors when it comes to government support for innovative crop protection methods and plant biotechnologies.

(OTTAWA — October 9, 2019) The federal election is just over two weeks away and the Grain Growers of Canada (GCC) are speaking up to remind Canadian politicians that investment in innovative plant science is essential to the country’s agricultural outputs as well as to its overall economic strength.

Technology and innovation are critical to the work Canadian grain farmers do each day and their use of science-based crop protection methods, plant biotechnologies and gene editing has agricultural, economic and societal benefits.

“Innovation and farming go hand-in-hand,” said GCC Chair Jeff Nielsen from his farm in Olds, AB. “By harnessing innovation and using cutting-edge techniques and practices, Canadian grain farmers can sustainably produce more of the safe, high quality grain that consumers demand.”

An additional $8.3 billion of Canadian crops are grown per year as a direct result of farmers’ use of plant biotechnologies and innovative crop protection products. In fact, biotech crops are more resistant to weeds, insects and diseases and the use of innovative crop protection methods and scientific innovations also lead to increased yield and improved agronomic traits. As a result, this allows for the more efficient use of resources like land, water, and inputs like seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, leading a smaller environmental footprint. Without scientific innovations, Canadian farmers would need to farm 50% more land to grow the same amount of food.

Innovation has trickle-down effects on the Canadian economy and on Canadian society. The plant science industry contributes almost $10 billion to Canada’s GDP each year and is responsible for more than 130,000 jobs in Canada. Innovation also provides economic viability for the next generation of farmers, whose use of biotech crops and new varieties will result in a reliable, profitable yield. Additionally, innovation in farming saves each Canadian family more $4,000 per year and has resulted in healthier, more affordable food.

“Smart science and innovative agricultural methods make good agricultural and economic sense,” added Nielsen. “Not only do they provide economic stability for our farmers, but they also contribute to stability for Canadian families by helping keep food costs low.”

However, when it comes to investment in agriculture innovation, Canada is falling behind. The United States ranks first in the world for its use of biotechnology with access to cutting-edge science and innovations, while, as a result of redundant reviews that lead to regulatory uncertainty, Canadian farmers are being put at a competitive disadvantage relative to our counterparts across the border. All this while Canadian farmers continue to experience net farm income declines. According to Statistics Canada, 2018 was the lowest farm income reported in eight years.

“Political leaders need to ensure Canadian farmers can access the best plant technologies and innovations possible, or Canadian farmers, the Canadian economy and Canadian society will be left behind,” said Nielsen.

It is only by encouraging investment in plan science innovations that Canadian grain farmers can produce the world’s highest quality, most-profitable grains. By establishing clear, predictable requirements for the pre-market assessment of gene-edited crops, we will ensure that Canadian grain farmers have access to the agricultural innovations that will keep them competitive in the global marketplace now and far into the future.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Canadian grain farmers lead the way on climate change

Canada’s political leaders should recognize the important role of grain farmers as stewards of the land.

OTTAWA (September 25, 2019) – With the federal election cycle in full swing, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are urging our national parties and their leaders to recognize the important contributions that our members make to reducing their impact on the environment.

“Agriculture is part of the climate change solution,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen from his farm in Olds, AB. “The land is our livelihood and, as stewards of the land, we are committed to using the best practices possible to protect the environment for all Canadians.”

As our members continue to lead the way, we ask that our next Prime Minister and their leadership team commit to creating conditions that ensure the sustainable success of the agricultural sector.

Among the regulations that need to be amended, GGC members ask that improvements are made to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to ensure that they assume science-based regulations responsive to the needs of the sector. GGC also requests that an increased mandate to encourage renewable fuel content from Canadian crops be issued as a way to create market diversification opportunities – while also realizing reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“We will continue to adopt more efficient methods to use less fuel and protect our valuable crops, however, our government must ensure that all regulations take into account the needs of running a modern grain farm,” said Nielsen.

The fact is that Canada’s grain farmers have adopted several methods to reduce their environmental footprint. These include a reduction in soil tillage in order to conserve moisture and the adoption of precision agriculture technology which maximizes efficiency and requires less fuel. In fact, fewer passes over farm fields has led to an annual reduction of over 170 million litres in on-farm fuel use.

4R nutrient stewardship practices also stand out as an example of an innovative technique widely used by GGC members. These practices have become the standard for proper nutrient management in Canada because of their steadfast principles to using the right fertilizer at the right rate – at the right time and in the right place.

In fact, these practices have been so successful that Canada’s canola growers have committed to utilizing 4R nutrient stewardship practices on 90 per cent of their total acres by 2025. Manitoba’s corn growers have also funded a 4R Fertilizer Managements Survey that engages their members on the current state of fertilizer management practices on Canadian grain corn farms. Other Canadian crops show similar levels of improvement through adherence to 4R and programs to support farmer adoption are being rolled out nationwide.

“Through environmental stewardship we have been successful in boosting Canada’s bottom line while respecting the land that supports us,” added Nielsen. “Initiatives like conservation-tillage and 4R stewardship are critical elements of modern agriculture because they balance the need to grow food more efficiently with the need to reduce GHG emissions.”

The important work in reducing GHG emissions has begun and GGC members are confident that they can make an even bigger difference with a willing partner.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman – Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca