Communications

Grain Growers of Canada call for rapid ratification of CUSMA

Agreement is key to establishing certainty and growth in North American market for Canada’s grain farmers

OTTAWA (June 19, 2019) – Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is urging both Houses of Parliament to pass legislation and quickly ratify the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) to begin realizing the benefits of this historic agreement.

“Our farmer members across Canada need certainty to invest and grow,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen from his farm near Olds, AB. “This is why Government must pass this legislation before summer break to ensure our North American market access is preserved. The success of Canadian agriculture is not a partisan issue and we urge all parties to work together to see the legislation through”

If the bill to ratify CUSMA, called Bill C-100, is passed this week, it will represent a meaningful upgrade to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for Canadian agriculture by keeping our trade with the United States and Mexico tariff free. The CUSMA will also remove legal barriers that prevent grain grown in the US from being treated equally here – a longstanding request from grain farmers on both sides of the border.

“We need tariff-free access for our export commodities as soon as possible,” continued Mr. Nielsen. “Canadian farmers rely on stable markets to succeed and ratifying the CUSMA will allow us to capitalize on further opportunities for growth with our closest trading partners.”

GGC will continue, in conjunction with our partners within the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA), to advocate for the timely passage of Bill C-100.

About Grain Growers of Canada

GGC provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. As a farmer-driven association, GGC advocates for the federal government to take decisions that support the competitiveness and profitability of grain growers across Canada.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

New Climate Action Incentive Fund has potential to return carbon price dollars to farmers

Grain industry continues to call for recognition of progress in sustainability and exemption for all farm fuels.

OTTAWA (May 30, 2019) – Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) greeted with interest the announcement today by Environment and Climate Change (ECCC) Minister Catherine McKenna of the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF). While the CAIF offers some relief for farmers in the four provinces under the federal backstop, GGC continues to call for the exemption of all stationary and liquid fuels used on farms.

Farm businesses have a large number of fixed costs that are subject to the price on carbon. While farmers appreciate the exemption provided for marked fuels, it is only one piece of the increasingly expensive pie. “As natural price takers, grain farmers are unable to pass along added costs which are the result of the federal price on carbon,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC Chair. “Just this week, Statistics Canada reported significant decreases in farm incomes over the past year and we simply cannot afford to absorb any more costs.”

The Fund is intended to return revenue collected through the carbon price from small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) ($1.5 billion over five years) back to the sector in an effort to help them take climate action and lower their energy costs while remaining competitive.

This will be accomplished through rebates and incentive programs via two program streams.

Of particular interest to grain farmers is the SME Project Stream that is intended to provide funding to support producers in their efforts to increase the energy efficiency of farm equipment. The need to dry grain has become increasingly common as Canada experiences weather variations and unpredictable harvests. While farmers are typically on the leading edge of sustainable technologies, grain drying is one area where financial support could help offset the heavy price tag required to move to the next generation. More information is needed to assess precisely where farmers in the four affected provinces could most benefit from the program.

The second, SME Rebate Stream, does not currently include any typical farm equipment in the list of specified equipment. GGC encourages ECCC to look at opportunities to expand the list to include the equipment and technology that offer farmers and the environment the greatest benefit.

It is unclear exactly how much of the monies will be returned to the grain farming community as, according to the government’s announcement, SME’s make up 98 per cent of Canadian businesses. It can be expected that demand for these program dollars will be very high and no specific agriculture stream has been announced. We would welcome the opportunity to sit on the announced Advisory Committee to ensure a strong agriculture voice.

“GGC appreciates the Minister’s recognition of the significant costs that farmers incur when we invest in energy efficient alternatives,” continued Mr. Nielsen. “We look forward to continuing our work with her staff and officials at ECCC to mitigate the impact of the carbon price on Canada’s agriculture sector.

About Grain Growers of Canada

GGC provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. As a farmer-driven association, GGC advocates for the federal government to take decisions that support the competitiveness and profitability of grain growers across Canada.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Growers of Canada calls on government to provide meaningful support amidst trade disruptions

Immediate calls for action include changes to the AgriStability program and expanding the interest-free portion of Advance Payments Program to all commodities.

OTTAWA (May 14, 2019) – Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) today called on the federal government to develop a strategy to address an increasingly unpredictable trade environment affecting the incomes of grain farmers across Canada. The strategy should recognize that China’s blocking of Canadian canola is politically motivated, which was acknowledged last week by Prime Minister Trudeau.

Yesterday, the United States Government announced $15 billion in aid to help farmers whose products may be targeted with Chinese tariffs amid the deepening trade war. This marks the second round of assistance after the $12 billion plan last August to compensate American farmers for lost sales and low prices as a result of trade disputes with China and other countries. President Trump has also indicated that the government will not hesitate to purchase grains from US farmers for distribution as food aid, further distorting markets.

The escalating trade war between the United States and China is having a significant impact on grain farmers across Canada. In addition to the recent suspension of canola imports from Canada over unproven phytosanitary concerns, soybean prices are dropping and imports to China have slowed to a trickle, reaching levels not seen in a decade. Industry and government officials have confirmed that Chinese importers are reluctant to sign contracts for other Canadian agricultural products given the uncertainty in the market.

“The time has come for the Canadian Government to aggressively defend the interests of Canada’s agriculture sector in China and around the world,” said GGC Chair, Jeff Nielsen from his farm in Olds, AB. “This is a non-partisan issue and Canadian farmers need government support to ensure that we are well positioned to weather this storm.”

GGC is calling for the Government of Canada to develop a strategy to address the increasingly complex and unpredictable trade environment in which Canadian farmers find themselves. As they work towards this goal, GGC is asking the Government to consider ways in which it can support Canadian farmers starting by the immediate implementation of meaningful changes to the AgriStability Program to ensure it is a bankable, predictable, simple and scalable program. This includes coverage for margin losses below 85 per cent and removal of the reference margin limit. These changes can be made under the current Business Risk Management program framework.

While changes to the Advanced Payment Program (APP) may only help farmers manage cash flow issues in the near-term, the increase in the interest-free portion from $100,000 to $500,000 should not be limited to canola. Several commodities are being negatively impacted by the current situation either directly or indirectly and the government needs to open the interest free portion up to all commodities.

“The issues we are seeing with trade into China can no longer be said to be commodity specific,” said GGC Vice Chair Markus Haerle from St. Isidore, ON. “As a soybean farmer I’ve seen my prices plummet and markets close due to the flooding of the market by US product.”

For too long, grain farmers have seen market after market close because of non-tariff barriers to trade. In addition to Chinese disruption, the loss of the Indian pulse market and Italian durum market has added to the long list of risks that farmers are expected to manage – risks that are well beyond their control. Canada’s grain producers appreciate it when the Government stands behind our world-class products – now it is time for them to do everything in their power to keep markets open so the sector can reach its full growth potential.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Growers of Canada welcomes Budget 2019’s commitment to farmer competitiveness

OTTAWA (March 19, 2019) – Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) welcomed initiatives in Budget 2019 that will help make the value-chain more competitive, including the exemption of farm fuel bought at cardlocks from the carbon price, investments in rural broadband, and a commitment to reform the Canada Grain Act and the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).

“We are pleased that the Government continues to respond to concerns raised by farmers,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC Chair. “We wish the Government had gone further and exempted all fuels used in grain farming from the carbon price, but this is another step in the right direction, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Government to get further exemptions for the sector.”

In Budget 2019, the Government has committed to reforming the Canada Grain Act and the operations of the Canadian Grain Commission. GGC has long called for reform of the Act and the CGC and will work with the Government to ensure that the consultations on reform lead to real changes that make it more competitive and more profitable to be a grain farmer in Canada.

GGC was also pleased to see investment of up to $1.7B over 13 years for rural and remote broadband and the commitment to release an agri-food regulatory reform roadmap. These initiatives will make it easier to do business as a grain farmer.

“Grain farmers know they can make their money from the marketplace and we will continue to support all efforts to reduce the cost of doing business in Canada and to expand new markets,” added Mr. Nielsen. “Grain farmers welcome these incremental steps in the right direction.”

Grain farmers also took note of the announcement of the Government’s intention to move forward with a Food Policy. GGC will continue to work with the Government to ensure that the Food Policy reflects the realities of 65,000 grain farmers across Canada.

About Grain Growers of Canada
GGC provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. As a farmer-driven association, GGC advocates for the federal government to take decisions that support the competitiveness and profitability of grain growers across Canada.

Canada’s grain farmers welcome new Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau

Industry offers thanks to outgoing Minister Lawrence MacAulay for his dedication

OTTAWA (March 4, 2019) – The members of Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are pleased to welcome the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau as the new Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), replacing The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay who has moved to the Veteran’s Affairs portfolio.

“Grain farmers appreciate the positive relationship we’ve had with Minister MacAulay over the past three years”, said GGC Chair, Jeff Nielsen. “The Minister’s open door policy for the agriculture industry meant that we could collaborate for real change on behalf of farmers. We look forward to continuing our important work with Minister Bibeau going forward.”

GGC members were in Ottawa last week for National Grain Week where farmers kept the focus on realizing the recommendations outlined in the Economic Strategy Table Report on Agri-Food. Farmers met with a wide range of government representatives including AAFC to discuss a number of concrete actions that government and industry can take to make the sector more competitive, sustainable and innovative.

Among the recommendations outlined in the Report, GGC members are calling on government to work with industry to build: an agile regulatory system that moves at the speed of commerce, state of the art transportation and IT infrastructure, diverse and secure trade relationships, and solid investments in innovation. Realizing these deliverables will boost the competitiveness of agriculture and the Canadian economy as a whole and GGC looks forward to meeting with Minister Bibeau in the coming days to discuss these opportunities.

“I always remind government that agriculture is a good news story in Canada,” continued Mr. Nielsen. “Our industry’s growth potential is immense and, working with government, we can achieve the Report’s target of $85 billion in agri-food exports by 2025.”

About Grain Growers of Canada
GGC provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. As a farmer-driven association, GGC advocates for the federal government to take decisions that support the competitiveness and profitability of grain growers across Canada.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Growers of Canada holds second annual National Grain Week

Grain farmers in Ottawa to discuss achieving the recommendations of the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table

OTTAWA (February 26, 2019) – Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) members from coast to coast are in Ottawa this week to meet with government as part of the second annual National Grain Week which runs from February 26-28. This year’s theme, From Report to Reality, focusses on harnessing the recommendations in the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table Report released in September 2018.

“This Report is an opportunity not to be missed for our industry,” said Jeff Nielsen (Olds, AB), GGC Chair. “We are excited about the future of grain farming in Canada and are ready to work with government to achieve success.”

The Report lays out clear deliverables for government and industry aimed at supporting the growth of agriculture, agri-food and the Canadian economy as a whole. As a naturally innovative industry, agri-food is a growth driver and GGC members have been pleased to see the Government’s recent recognition of that fact.

“It is so important as farmers that we take the time to come to Ottawa and meet directly with government on a regular basis,” said GGC Vice Chair Markus Haerle (St. Isidore, ON). “Our sector has unique needs which focus on trade, innovation, infrastructure, and a strong regulatory environment; all of which are addressed in the EST report.”

The Report is just one in a series of recent reports that acknowledge the agri-food sector’s potential including the Barton Report, Budget 2017, and the Fall Economic Statement from November 2018. The Government has a focus on growing the middle class, and, as key contributors to strong rural economies grain farmers are clear partners in achieving that goal.

In addition to government meetings, National Grains Week includes a Parliamentary reception on Tuesday, February 26th where Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay will deliver remarks.

“Now that Canada is once again in a federal election year it is all the more important that grain farmers are vocal in our needs and advocate for our industry,” added Shane Stokke (Watrous, SK), GGC Vice Chair. “We are proud of what we contribute to the economy and look forward to working with government and our industry partners to ensure that Canada’s grain sector is sustainable and competitive for generations to come.”

About Grain Growers of Canada
GGC provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. As a farmer-driven association, GGC advocates for the federal government to make decisions that support the competitiveness and profitability of grain growers across Canada.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Growers of Canada welcomes new Executive Director

Erin Gowriluk brings extensive experience in agriculture policy

January 7, 2019 (OTTAWA) – Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is pleased to announce that Erin Gowriluk has been named Executive Director, commencing immediately. Based in Ottawa, Ms. Gowriluk will manage GGC’s day-to-day operations as well as advocacy, and policy work on behalf of 65,000 grain farmer members from coast to coast.

“We are delighted that Erin will be joining GGC,” said Chair, Jeff Nielsen. “A strong leader, Erin is already well known and respected in our industry. She will bring a tremendous amount to the role as she implements the new organizational framework developed during our recent year-long strategic review.”

Ms. Gowriluk has an extensive and diverse background in agriculture policy having most recently been with Syngenta Canada. Prior to that, she held senior policy roles with GGC members Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, as well as the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Ms. Gowriluk majored in policy studies within the Bachelor of Arts program at Mount Royal University in Calgary and holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC.

“I appreciate this opportunity to lead Grain Growers and advance federal policy positions on behalf of our members,” said Ms. Gowriluk. “I am proud to join GGC’s strong, almost twenty year history of advocacy and look forward to working collectively and collaboratively towards the achievement of our sector’s full growth potential.”

Ms. Gowriluk can be reached at the Ottawa offices of Grain Growers of Canada at 613-233-9954 ext. 201 or egowriluk@ggc-pgc.ca.

About Grain Growers of Canada
GGC provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. As a farmer-driven association, GGC advocates for the federal government to take decisions that support the competitiveness and profitability of grain growers across Canada.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca

Grain Farmers Applaud Passage of Bill C-49

Bill will help prevent another grain backlog in Western Canada

OTTAWA (May 22, 2018) – Canadian grain farmers are applauding today’s passage of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act. The House of Commons and Senate voted in favour of the Bill, paving the way for it to receive Royal Assent and become law as early as tomorrow.

“Grain farmers have been waiting years for a legislative fix to Canada’s rail transportation system,” said Jeff Nielsen, President of Grain Growers of Canada (GGC). “Bill C-49 will improve the long-term competitiveness of the grain supply chain and it is welcome news that these measures will become law.”

Hard working middle class grain farmers will benefit from measures in the Bill that increase competition and accountability in rail transportation. These measures include the ability to apply reciprocal penalties, use an alternative railway through Long Haul Interswitching, as well as increased data transparency, and protection for soybean farmers through inclusion in the Maximum Revenue Entitlement.

“Grain farmers are pleased to thank Minister Marc Garneau for introducing a strong Bill and all Parliamentarians for supporting the amendments recommended by grain farmers,” said Art Enns, GGC Vice-President. “We look forward to using these new tools during the next crop year and in the future to help prevent another grain backlog across the Prairies.”

GGC will continue to work with the Government and the Canadian Transportation Agency to ensure that the new measures are implemented in a way that delivers meaningful change for grain shippers.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through it’s 13 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca