Grain Farmers of Ontario outlines priorities ahead of federal election

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the next federal election is set to take place September 20th, 2021.

With such a tight timeline, it’s anticipated that producer and policy groups will announce priorities in short order.

First out of the gate is the Grain Farmers of Ontario, which unveiled its election asks to federal Canadian election candidates on Monday, August 16.

“These asks are specifically designed to promote the sustainability of grain farming in Ontario for the future and to ensure that farmers can continue to do the important work they do to provide safe healthy food and help the environment,” says Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “It is vital that candidates in this federal election recognize the value that Ontario grain farmers bring to this country and that they work with us to protect the planet, our local communities, and the healthy food we grow.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario has three asks of candidates and the new federal government:

Business Risk Management programs that work for more farmers:

  • Current programs, such as AgriStability, which support farmers in times of crisis, are inadequate and need to be improved to protect grain farming families in years where farm economic sustainability is dramatically impacted.

A low carbon tool box for grain farmers that helps Canada achieve net zero objectives, including:

  • Proven fossil fuel alternatives for drying grain
  • Until those alternatives exist, grain farmers require an exemption on the carbon pricing on fuel and the promised retroactive rebate on carbon pricing paid to date on fuel for grain drying.
  • Carbon offset market that works for grain farmers
  • Clean Fuels Regulation that keeps grains competitive and builds a growing market for Ontario corn and soybeans
  • Carbon in fertilizer reduction targets based on science
  • Environmental actions in the 4Rs program should be part of the measurement.

Defend existing markets and find new markets for grains and oilseeds

  • Ontario grains need a level playing field: with grains imported into Canada that receive massive subsidies and aren’t subject to carbon pricing, and for Ontario grains in global markets with global competition
  • UK/Canada trade agreement that allows for continued tariff-free access for grains
  • China’s defacto ban on Canada‘s soybean imports removed.

“This is the time for candidates to show leadership and their commitment to science-based and evidence-based decision making to ensure the most sustainable, and the most effective, climate change policy and path forward,” says Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Working with farmers and supporting these asks is acknowledging the importance of sustainable farming and the farm economy that supports this country.”

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