GFO campaign expands across eastern Canada

Atlantic and Quebec farmers also call for help after large American subsidies

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Grain Farmers of Ontario has enlisted grain farmers in Quebec and Atlantic Canada in its campaign to raise awareness about American farm subsidies.

Grains and oilseeds farmers in the United States will this year receive $32 billion in direct subsidies from the Trump government.

A new advertisement, running across eastern Canada, points out the $32 billion in subsidies for American grain farmers, along with the fact that Trump imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel. In contrast to the lack of movement on grain industry subsidies, the Canadian government managed to convince the Americans to remove the tariffs.

“Grain and oilseed farmers are united, and we want the public to better understand that while President Trump is protecting his farmers, Canada may lose many of its farms because we can’t compete,” said Markus Haerle, chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Down the road, Canada loses its ability to grow its own food, and that’s a dangerous situation for all Canadians.”

Grain prices have risen over the past several weeks as weather shocks in the United States, increased buying of U.S. crops by China and a Sept. 30 report from the USDA dramatically lowering estimates of corn and soybean stocks have moved grains prices higher.

Whether the price of grain is rising or not, the $32 billion puts American farmers at a competitive advantage over Canadian farmers.

The U.S. aid package not only helps U.S. farmers manage lower prices, but it also gives them funds to invest in their operations, says Christian Overbeek, chair of the Producteurs de grains du Québec.

Costs of inputs for grain crops are increasing and “there’s no relief in sight”, said Roy Culberson, chair of the Atlantic Grains Council.

The new advertisement follows in the bleak tone of the Grain Farmers of Ontario campaign which has run through much of 2020 and will continue to run on radio and digital platforms. The latest ad can be seen here. GFO has been looking for changes to federal-provincial business risk management programs.

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