RealAgristudies has been tracking farmer sentiment on key issues since the launch of the Canadian Farmer Sentiment Index in September, 2022. Every two months, the sentiment survey is sent out to the RealAgristudies Insights panel members to gauge their feeling on several different aspects of their farm’s outlook, their outlook for the industry as a whole, and the level of confidence they have in both provincial and federal governments.
Since we started the Canadian Farmer Sentiment Index in September there has been movement in quite a number of the issues except for one. Each survey, we have asked producers how they would rate the federal government’s ability to support the agriculture industry.
The group of producers that say the federal government is doing an excellent job is just two percent. That number was set in September, and again in November and once again in January.
In January, the index rating was 25 (see below) which is by far the lowest measurement of all the questions answered by the panel of respondents. It has increased, though, since September’s rating of 21 due to producers moving from “the government is doing a poor job” to “the government is doing an average job.” It’s hardly a roaring endorsement.
This week we saw the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to farmers at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture meeting and state that the fertilizer emission reduction would be voluntary and not mandatory. Does this promise move the needle? We will find out in the March study.
In February, we asked farmers to choose the two issues/policies they wish the federal government would focus on.
While the list below is not exhaustive, nearly 400 votes point to research based on merit (in opposition of what Agriculture and Agri-Food has been phasing in), removing the fertilizer tariff (the federal government has made it clear it will not), and working on new trade deals and securing market access as priority areas.
It does make one wonder what it would take for this rating to change. Is there a policy or statement that could be made to change the way farmers view the federal governments support of the industry? As I speak to audiences across Canada and ask them this question, I often hear back, “a Conservative government.”
To be fair I am not sure the Conservative provinces are faring as well as you might think. We asked farmers the same question around support relative to their provincial government, and, overall, farmers rated provincial government support at 87 in January which is still a negative sentiment (anything under 100 is negative).
Want to be a part of the next Canadian Farmer Sentiment Index? The first step is to join the RealAgristudies Insights Panel. Find more here.