Policy Positions

Government Programs

Biosecurity

Grain Farmers of Ontario strongly supports the protection of grain farmers from the introduction into Canada of foreign diseases and pests. We believe that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Grain Commission do an outstanding job in this respect. However, Grain Farmers of Ontario does not support the development of a mandatory on-farm biosecurity standard for farmers but encourages the development of an acceptable voluntary program developed in partnership with Ontario’s grain farmers.

Building Permits

In instances where a building permit is required for grain bin construction, Grain Farmers of Ontario recommends the guidelines developed by the Bluewater chapter of building officials be used as the standard for future provincial guidelines. The Bluewater chapter guidelines can be seen here: (coming soon).

Business Risk Management Programming

All Ontario grain farmers must have access to risk management programs that are bankable, predictable and sustainable. This includes a permanent, fully funded Risk Management Program and the full suite of federal business risk management programs. Grain Farmers of Ontario does not support the ongoing cross compliance between the Risk Management Program and Production Insurance, however cross compliance with AgriStability must remain mandatory.

All funds allocated to the safety net budget be used for safety net purposes and not be returned to the government. Government funds allocated for safety net programs should be used only for safety nets, not for research and development.

Canada's Growing Forward suite of agricultural programs (particularly, AgriStability, AgriInsurance, AgriInvest) must be maintained and enhanced.

The position of Grain Farmers of Ontario at this time is that funding for the Growing Forward suite of programs should not be reduced. If there are enhancements to AgriStability, they should be consistent with OACC policy.

Grain Farmers of Ontario does not support discussions about ways to reduce funding for risk management programming in Canada at this time, when the shortfall in business risk management funding to the province of Ontario is estimated at $225 million. Our organization is working with livestock and horticulture commodity groups to find solutions to address this funding shortfall that will enhance not only the current suite of Growing Forward programs but provincial business risk management options as well.

Grain Farmers of Ontario commits to advocate on behalf of Ontario’s grain farmers to ensure federal and provincial risk management programs are accessible to all farmers and provide adequate risk coverage to ensure a sustainable and productive grain industry in Ontario.

Crop Insurance

Production insurance must be inclusive, voluntary, fair, flexible and actuarially sound. All grains represented by Grain Farmers of Ontario should be eligible for crop insurance.

CSA

Under the Ontario fuel regulations, any supplier of either propane or natural gas cannot supply fuel to a crop dryer or burner unless it has a CSA or a TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety Association) certificate. With CSA certification no longer available after January 1, 2013, the only option for Ontario’s grain farmers purchasing, upgrading or replacing on-farm dryers and burners is to go through the TSSA certification process. This certification process occurs after the dryer or burner has been field installed by a supplier.

Grain Farmers of Ontario believes it is important for grain dryers to have access to CSA standards because the TSSA process is time consuming and costly. Grain Farmers of Ontario will work closely with industry and government to develop a CSA standard that will cover smaller dryers that come from the factory preassembled as a complete unit.

Deferred Payments and the Grain Financial Protection Board

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the addition of deferred payments to the practices allowed under the Grains Act. Deferred payment agreements must be voluntary, with payment terms in writing. Grain Farmers of Ontario agrees with the following terms of coverage under Grain Financial Protection:

  • Cash -10 trading days (normal cash sale) = 95%
  • 11 to 45 calendar days = 50%
  • 46 to 90 calendar days = 40%
  • 91 to 135 calendar days = 30%
  • 136 to 180 calendar days = 20%
  • Over 180 calendar days = 0% coverage

Disaster Programs

The Canadian disaster program AgriRecovery is not equitably designed to treat all farmers across the country fairly. Grain Farmers of Ontario will work with the federal government toward reforms to the program’s principles to be inclusive of the types of disasters faced by farmers in Ontario.

Environment

Under review

Growing Forward 2

Grain farmers across Canada should be treated fairly and equitably in the next phase of Growing Forward. Enhancements must be made to programs that will ensure Ontario’s farmers receive the portion of the government investment proportional to the province’s farm gate receipts.

Investments must be made in Research & Innovation that are proportional across Canada and long term in scope so research advancements are not jeopardized by funding uncertainty.

Market development is the key to the future of Canadian agriculture as productivity increases. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports government initiatives that reduce barriers to trade, open new market opportunities for Ontario grain and promote the many positive attributes of our products.

Business risk management programs must remain in place and fully funded to offset the high risk farmers face competing in the world marketplace. Over the long term, coupling enhancements to the current suite of Canadian business risk management programs to ensure on-farm innovation with a strong market development strategy to grow international and domestic market opportunities will allow Ontario’s grain farmers to continue to thrive and the pressure on safety net programs to naturally decline over time.

Safety Nets

Grain and oilseed producers have three basic safety net program needs to insure against risks beyond their control:

  • Weather
  • Market Prices
  • To mitigate the effects of foreign and domestic government policies

Taxation

Grain handling and storage taxation: Grain storage is a vital component of grain production and marketing, and grain storage bins and related equipment currently are taxed at an HST rate of 13%. Production related equipment such as tractors, planters, and combines are zero rate taxable. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports a change to the tax rate to zero for grain handling and storage equipment.

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports bringing our Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) on equipment, such as tractors & combines under the general accounting practices up to the accelerated 50% per year over 2 years.

Wildlife Damage

There are limitations to production insurance when it comes to annual wildlife damage. Generally speaking, wildlife damage to crops is limited to specific areas of fields and very rarely becomes significant enough to trigger a production insurance claim. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the development of a long term solution that will address annual production losses due to wildlife damage through the provincial production insurance program.


International Trade

European Union LMQ Import Quota

The European Union’s ‘low to medium quality’ (LMQ) import quota is 2,982,453 tonnes per calendar year of which Canada’s share is 38,853 tonnes. The LMQ quota has been in place since 2002 and there have only been two years since (2009 and 2010) that Canada has not filled this quota. As Ontario’s wheat yields increase every year, farmers require access to export markets like to European Union to remain competitive. Grain Farmers of Ontario prioritizes increasing this European LMQ quota in order to increase exports to the EU and expand market opportunities for Ontario’s wheat producers.

Japanese Free Trade Agreement

Japan is a critical market for Ontario’s soybean growers. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports all negotiations that will strengthen Canada’s relationship with Japan, including a Free Trade Agreement that will result in market opportunities for Ontario’s grain farmers.

Low Level Presence

Grain Farmers of Ontario will strongly support, and will work closely with all parties concerned, toward the simultaneous establishment of Canadian Low Level Presence tolerances with our key trading partners.

Trade Statement

Grain Farmers of Ontario encourages the Canadian government to continue the positive work to develop new markets and reduce trade barriers for Ontario’s grain farmers. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports free, fair and more open international trade through the establishment of regional/bilateral trade agreements.

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports a fair trading environment that will allow Ontario’s grain farmers to compete on a level playing field in world markets. For this reason, our organization seeks the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers to market access to expand its potential to produce, process and export grain and grain products. Grain Farmers of Ontario also seeks the elimination of all market access impediments, the elimination of escalating and discriminatory tariff regimes.

Trans Pacific Partnership

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the Canadian government’s participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. Ontario’s exports of corn and soybeans to this region from an overall value standpoint are quite significant and growing. It is critical to Ontario’s farmers that Japan be an integral part of the TPP as it is estimated that Canada holds a 38% share of Japan’s food grade market for soybeans.


Research and Technology

Biotechnology

With respect to the introduction of new grain technologies, Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the established Canadian science based regulatory system.

Investment

Investment in research is a long-term strategic initiative of the Grain Farmers of Ontario for the benefit of all barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers. Ontario’s grain farmers have sponsored and participated in decades of practical research that has resulted in economic gains for Ontario farmers. The GFO Research Committee selects and funds projects that target the most important issues in the categories of Crop Utilization and Quality, Breeding and Genetics, Agronomy and Production, and Diseases and Insects.

National Research Priorities

Grain Farmers of Ontario will ensure the priorities of eastern Canadian farmers are a key component of all discussions of national research priorities.

Plant Patents

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the use of patent law to protect intellectual property when the innovation will improve industry competitiveness without compromising farm profitability and access to technology.

Public Research Funding

Grain Farmers of Ontario requires the federal government re-build A-Base funding levels by a minimum of $26 million a year for next 10 years to ensure a solid foundation of capital for crop breeding infrastructure, agronomic research, pest management and grain quality enhancements in Ontario.

Investment in research is a long-term strategic initiative of the GFO for the benefit of all corn, soybean and wheat farmers. A major gap is the short length of a large number of the programs, such as the Growing Forward Suite of Programs which only had three years of funding available once the program was launched. Long-term partnerships allow for a continued research effort in important areas. Many areas of research require a long term commitment from both government and industry in order to make significant progress, and programs that reflect this commitment need to be available.

Grain Farmers of Ontario believes grain farmers require an effective, fully funded public sector breeding program focused on:

  • Developing new genetics and varieties specifically for Ontario’s growing regions and market need
  • Collaborating with private sector breeding programs to maximize efficiency and reach

A public sector breeding program must have adequate technical staff resources, equipment, laboratory space and equipment, operating dollars for supplies to achieve specific research goals over the long term.

Soybean Cyst Nematode

SCN is a significant soybean pest in Ontario, and that many of our farmer-members lose yield to this pest every year. The current regulatory measures have not achieved a defined goal of reduced spread of SCN throughout Ontario and Canada. Increased enforcement of regulations including quarantine measures may be costly for our growers and furthermore, will not prevent the movement of SCN through natural pathways. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the proposed deregulation of SCN in Canada. We expect that this will not increase the threat of yield loss to SCN for our farmer-members, and will not significantly affect market access.

Sustainable Farming Practices

Under review

Trans Fats

Under review

UPOV 91

A viable seed industry in Ontario is important to the competitiveness of Ontario’s grain farmers. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports research and development into creation of new varieties of grain that are important to Ontario’s grain farmers.

Grain Farmers of Ontario believes that Canada must adopt the 1991 revision of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants as established by the International Union for the Protection of new Varieties of Plants (UPOV). Additionally, Grain Farmers of Ontario underscores the importance of supporting the use of quality seed and the right for farmers to save and grow their own seed, as long as this use is within the set of laws and regulations governing the use of seed including the Plant Breeders Rights Act.

Use of Pesticides

Under review

Variety Registration

Grain Farmers of Ontario is in support of a strong, viable performance testing program for corn, wheat and soybeans in Ontario. While this is not a direct component of variety registration, Grain Farmers of Ontario will continue to work with industry to develop enhanced variety performance testing. This includes encouraging the entry of new varieties and hybrids into the Ontario Performance Trials for a minimum of three years in order to achieve a valid assessment of agronomic performance

Further, Grain Farmers of Ontario supports oilseed soybeans being listed with the CFIA Variety Registration Office under ‘Schedule III, Part III’ with no performance or merit information required for registration. Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the continued exemption of food grade soybeans from registration.

Wheat breeding

Under review


Market Development

Bio-based Economy

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the development of new uses for Ontario grown grain through initiatives to develop new bio-based products, including bio-based chemicals, plastics, building and construction materials, automobile manufacturing parts, and consumer goods. Incentives to develop and commercialize these new products should ensure that benefits accrue to farmers.

Biodiesel

As part of the development of a sound business environment for soybean producers in the province of Ontario, Grain Farmers of Ontario promotes the biodiesel industry and any provincial and federal government policies that encourage the use of domestic feedstock.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is requesting the Government of Ontario implement a minimum 2% biodiesel requirement for diesel fuel sold in Ontario to be sourced from provincially produced feedstock

Ethanol

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports and encourages a competitive and successful ethanol industry in Ontario and will take an active role in public and media relations where there is an opportunity to communicate accurate information related to Ontario grain’s role in ethanol and the bio-economy and promote the benefits of Canadian-produced ethanol.

Grain Farmers of Ontario will work cooperatively with like-minded organizations to be informed about emerging technologies that provide opportunities for Ontario corn in the bio-economy.

Investment

The Market Development strategy for attracting investment to Ontario includes building long term consumer awareness of product innovation, identifying potential industry partners and continuously developing and maintaining export market relationships.

Grain Farmers of Ontario works to achieve steady growth by expanding existing and premium markets for our production and encourages novel new uses for Ontario grain.

Grain Farmers of Ontario seeks out and invests license fees annually in market development projects that meet the following criteria for funding:

  • Open new markets for Ontario grains
  • Expand the use of or demand for, Ontario grains
  • Promote Ontario grains as the best choice
  • Increase the value/ premiums of Ontario grains
  • Increase awareness of Ontario grains for domestic and export markets

Seed Treatment

Grain Farmers of Ontario believes Ontario’s farmers should be allowed to take their farm saved seed to an approved seed treatment facility and have the ability to apply all commercially available seed treatments to either soybean seed or cereal seed as long as that seed is being used in a legitimate and lawful manner.

Wheat Marketing

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the continuation of wheat marketing as a service of the organization to our farmer-members including forward contracting and pooling options.


Grain Trade and Negotiating

Grower Requested Own Use (GROU) Program

Grain Farmers of Ontario supports the Grower Requested Own Use program and expanding the list of allowable products for import into Canada by growers.

We will continue to push for a viable program to ensure price discipline and parity with nearby US farmers in the crop protection product marketplace for Ontario’s farmers.

Negotiations – Ontario Soybean Marketing Agreement

Grain Farmers of Ontario will continue to negotiate the Soybean Marketing Agreement on behalf of our members (which outlines the maximum charges for drying and handling) to ensure it is current and relevant and communicate to the membership any situations that may not be covered under said agreement.

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