Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

The CFA advocates on behalf of farmers for increased marketplace power

By Laurent Pellerin, CFA President

One of the concerns faced by Canadian farmers is the continual battle against larger influences within the agri-food value chain. Whether it is dealing with a few very large producers of fertilizers, large multinational organizations purchasing grain, or large government agencies mandating constant changes to a farmer's operating environment, primary agriculture producers are constantly facing an erosion of their profit margins. The margins frequently fall well below the cost of production. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) strives to advocate on behalf of farmers to the federal government to create and enable policies regain their marketplace power.

The creation of co-operatives has been an organizational structure that has served farmers for many years in many different production systems. In Canada, there are 1300 agricultural co-operatives, employing 36,000 people, in businesses as varied as input supply and farm insurance to processing and marketing of bio-fuels. These co-ops generate over $19 billion per year in revenue and channel some $1.6 billion producer re-investment in the industry and rural communities. One of the main difficulties in establishing a farmer cooperative is in locating the appropriate capital necessary to fund expansions and develop products and production systems for new markets and opportunities.

The CFA has been working with the Canadian Cooperatives Association on a Cooperative Investment Plan, where a significant portion of a farmer's contribution to a cooperative could be offset with a tax deduction, thereby providing an incentive for continued funding of the institution. This would be structured as a tax-incentive for investing capital into co-operatives, and has proven to be very successful in Quebec. For a relatively low cost to the government, this program would see hundreds of millions of dollars invested into agricultural co-operatives across Canada.

One way in which government has partnered with farmers is in the legislation and support of collective marketing boards. These boards, such as those legislated for dairy and poultry products, have proven to be very resilient to global market upheavals and have consistently returned solid revenue streams to farmers. While such a model is not ideal for every commodity, the supply managed collective marketing system is a vital tool for products that might otherwise be highly volatile. One needs only look at the difficulties experienced within the dairy industry south of the border to gain an understanding of the value of such a farmer empowerment system here.

One of the greatest influences on the operating environment of a farmer, next to the weather and commodity markets, is dealing with the regulatory burden. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Grain Commission, and numerous commodity-specific, regional, and provincial regulatory bodies affect the ability for a farmer to eke out a profit from his or her operation. By banding together in a powerful farm organization, an organization such as the CFA can provide a united voice for farmers and push back against intrusive government demands on farmers. To accomplish this, farmers much empower their local or commodity-specific farm organization to meet their needs and communicate them to the national audience. The CFA will argue the position of Canadian farmers directly to the responsible departments on your behalf. Individually, regulatory authorities can walk all over the small farmer, but when faced with a united group they are forced to listen.

The use of a membership-based volume-purchasing organzations, such as the Farmers of North America, have emerged in an attempt to help mitigate some of the input cost pressures facing farmers. This model has proven successful in the consumer sector, with the prominence of large membership-based club stores, and many farmers have indicated their appreciation for such an approach applied to input purchases. The uptake of the FNA service has been significant and growing every year, with members in every province except Newfoundland, and is a testament to farmers' desire to continually reduce their operating costs and become more efficient.

While FNA has proven effective for many farmers, it is limited in its ability to address consolidation within large fertilizer producers. The recent attempted merger of Agrium and CF Industries, and discussions of the possible sale of Potash Corp to large foreign interests, is yet another example of multinational consolidation designed to extract further gains from farmers. This challenge can be met with increased use of collective purchasing bodies, such as through cooperatives and companies like FNA, and also through the use of regulation. To that end, the CFA will continue to push the Competition Bureau of Canada investigate cartel-like behaviour within the fertilizer industry and demand the government act in the interests of farmers across the country.

Finally, the domestic consumer is one of Canadian agriculture's most important markets. While competing countries have invested heavily in promoting domestically-produced food and marketing it to their own consumers, Canada has played a much more relaxed position. Even though both the CFA and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have released surveys showing that Canadian consumers prefer Canadian products, turning this desire into increased sales of Canadian products has been difficult. One of the reasons is that there is no cohesive marketing campaign supported by a proper labelling system for items that a grown and processed in Canada. While the 'Product of Canada' labelling guidelines had zero requirements for domestically-grown ingredients, the government's changes to a 98% requirement were simply unworkable for virtually all of the agri-food industry. However, the CFA, along with other partners, has been pushing for a change to guidelines that would see a reduction to 85%, allowing many products grown and processed in Canada would be able to proudly carry the label. Additionally, if the government sponsored a domestic branding and marketing campaign, the CFA believes many new and exciting opportunities would emerge for Canadian farmers and agri-food companies.
About the Canadian Federation of Agriculture

Founded in 1935 to provide Canada's farmers with a single voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the country's largest farmers' organization. Its members include provincial general farm organizations, national and inter-provincial commodity organizations, and cooperatives from every province. Through its members, CFA represents over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families.

Views: 74

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

the story is a bit long, what I like to say is
united we stand divided we fall.
a general problem in our agriculture community is the that we work to much on our our own and lack trust of others.
I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
Thomas Carlyle


But Agriculture Canada and the Minister of Finance are banking on it. If farmers don't collectively try to research and learn their rights we are doomed to form policies that will negatively impact us all.
Increased marketplace power....is a good concept for producers.

It is easy to talk about but very difficult when it comes to global commodities.

There are some examples in Ontario - Dairy, Poultry Marketing Boards....

Joe

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Makes $5 Million Investment in Priority Research Areas

Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) has invested over $5 million into pulse research projects to improve productivity and reduce threats to pulse crop production.  Under the recently announced Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) AgriScience Program Clusters Component, SPG will leverage grower levy dollar investment with over $21 million of Government and other industry partner funding for the Pulse Cluster.  A complete list of projects, including researchers, and SPG’s investment can be seen below.  Selection of Early Maturing Dry Bean Germplasm and Cultivars for Sustainability and Improved Productivity Under Irrigation, Dr. Parthiba Balasubramanian, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) – $50,417   Breed for Top-Performing Field Pea Varieties and Develop SNP-based Markers for Marker-Assisted Selection for Grain and Protein Yield Maturity, Standability, and Seed Size, Dr. Dengjin Bing, AAFC – $166,000  Large Root Systems in Pulses for Drought Tolerance, Carbon Sequestra

Barley Ending Stocks Expected Heavier; Wheat, Oats Lighter

Agriculture Canada is forecasting heavier barley stocks at the end of the 2023-24 crop year, but lighter inventories of wheat and oats. In its latest monthly supply-demand estimates on Friday, Ag Canada pegged barley ending stocks for the current marketing year at 1 million tonnes, up 250,000 from the January estimate and above the previous year’s 709,000 tonnes. If accurate, it would be the heaviest barley ending stocks since 2017-18 at 1.24 million tonnes. All the increase in the ending stocks estimate is due to a reduction in feed, waste, and dockage, which fell to 5.34 million tonnes from 5.59 million for both January and 2022-23. Ag Canada’s February supply-demand update reflects the Statistics Canada grain stocks report released earlier this month, which pegged national barley stocks as of Dec. 31, 2023 at 5.5 million tonnes, up 6% from a year earlier and 10% above the average, despite a smaller 2023-24 supply. The stocks report implied total domestic use of barley in the

Reduction of Advance Payment Program Interest-Free Portion raises concerns

The recent decision to reduce the interest-free portion of the Advance Payment Program (APP) from $350,000 to $100,000 has reverberated throughout the agricultural community, causing widespread apprehension among farmers and ranchers across Canada. The Advance Payment Program, a federal loan guarantee initiative, has long been a crucial lifeline for agricultural producers, offering them reliable access to low-cost cash advances to manage cash flow and navigate the uncertainties inherent in agriculture. However, the drastic reduction in the interest-free portion has heightened the financial concerns and uncertainty among farmers.Ian Boxall, president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), voiced concern over the decision.  “It’s been three years since the APP interest-free portion was at $100,000, and interest rates have skyrocketed, grain prices have dramatically declined, and input prices have remained high. The program needs to reflect the current realiti

An Ounce of Prevention

Vaccines are an important tool to help minimize preweaning calf illness and death early in life, reduce the risk of reproductive failure in the breeding herd and help improve colostrum’s ability to protect next year’s calf crop when it hits the ground. Vaccine technology, programs and practices are constantly evolving. All the options can be confusing, but more options can also make it easier to customize and combine those options in a way that optimally protect your herd against the diseases that are most important to you. Dr. Cheryl Waldner and coworkers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine studied vaccination practices from coast-to-coast in 2020 (“Vaccine use in Canadian cow-calf herds and opportunities for improvement”; DOI 10.3389/fvets.2023.1235942). What They Did Cow-calf producers from BC (6), Alberta (38), Saskatchewan (27), Manitoba (18), Ontario (20), New Brunswick (2) and Nova Scotia (2) were surveyed about which vaccines they used and when they were using them

Labour gap in Canadian ag growing

The Canadian ag sector will need as many people to work as there are in Red Deer, Alta.

© 2024   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service