The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) are not happy with being left off the federal government’s COVID-19 aid package for farmers.
In a statement today Markus Haerle, Chair of GFO clearly says they are not happy, “It was clear that there was no consideration given to grain farmers, despite the fact that grain farmers are the foundation for the domestic food supply system in Canada. Grain farmers need to deliver every day to provide food for animals and to get flour on the grocery store shelves – and we are seeing how difficult that is becoming. We appreciate that this is a “first step,” but this is woefully inadequate and the next step needs to come swiftly and meaningfully. Once again Prime Minister Trudeau is asking grain farmers to risk their businesses and their family income to bear the costs of everyone having enough to eat.”
Late last week the GFO released a survey that showed half of Ontario farmers are worried they will not be able to cover their 2020 planting costs and 90-percent say their net income will be reduced in 2020. The GFO estimates $550-million in losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prices for Ontario grain commodities are in decline. GFO is estimating losses to net income of $135 per acre for corn and $20 per acre to net income for soybeans based on current prices. Additionally, the Futures Prices are depressed and grain farmers could see revenue losses of $550 million if there is not a rebound to pre COVID-19 levels.
After today’s exclusion from the federal aid package, the CEO of the GFO said, “Do not be confused when you see farmers in tractors planting crops. This is not an indication that the grains sector is performing well. Two-thirds of our farmer-members are concerned about their farms‘ ability to survive this downturn. The time to support all of agriculture is now, and our government needs to make grain and oilseed farmers a priority.”
The federal government announced a $252-million aid package for farmers but grain producers were left off the list. Last week the Canadian Federation of Agriculture asked for $2.6-billion in emergency funding for all farmers across Canada.