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Nice story and picture Andrew.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/07/06/f-farming-growing-se...

The story appears well rounded with generalities without any extreme statements.

Totally unlike another story.... a farm story that appeared in a Sun Media paper.. on the front page no less... written by Mr. John Miner.

The headline read "Farmers win, consumers lose." 'AGRICULTURE: Corn value jumps more than 35% in three weeks on commodity exchange'

 

The headline gave the instant flavour of the writer's slant.

Beside the picture is a chart that compares grain prices on Chicago Board of Trade July futures prices on June 8 and then July 5/12.

Mr. Miner gave his version on current conditions and pricing for select commodities.  He cites the huge price increase posted on the CBT but completely omits to mention the negative basis. 

He leads readers to believe farmers can just cash in on CBT high values and ignores realities of marketing.

He quotes Kevin Grier, a market analyst with the Guelph-based George Morris Centre think-tank, saying "Corn is the benchmark for everything," and elaborates on that statement by Grier saying "If Heinz doesn't offer enough on tomatoes farmers can say, 'Screw you, I will grow corn this year'

Miner neglects to state that there are select few farmers in Ontario with infrastructure, knowledge and appropriate land to grow a crop like tomatoes.  Few farmers are offered tomato contracts so quoting Grier in that context is a distortion of reality..... using Grier's statement is kinda like..... I own books, does that qualify me for a Teacher Contract?  Using Grier's analogy as "Front page news" is demeaning to all Ontario farmers.

Miner discusses the relationship between weather conditions and the ripple effects on commodity pricing but totally ignores the fact that agricultural commodities are traded as financial derivatives, used as a class asset by financial institutions for speculators.  These are shadow financial tools used in the hope to profit in the variances of market pricing.

Traders reacting to weather information are speculating with agricultural commodities causing inflationary pressure and artificially increasing demand through derivative contracts.  One just need look at Goldman Sachs in 2008 with the "agricultural commodity price bubble".

 

It's unfortunate that a Sun Media paper chooses to publish such obviously biased stories, as front page news, printing selective facts to selective dimensions in agriculture. 

The question is .... why?

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Hi Joanne,

I agree, Miner is trying to paint farmers as the bad guys and we are happy with a drought....I am not sure how we educate these business writers who are trying to sensationalize the situation to sell papers.

 

Here is the link to the story for everyone else to read.

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/2012/07/08/farmers-win-consumers-lose

 

 

 

I really don't know why Mr. Miner submitted his views in such a manner. 

One would think a creditable journalist would /should give a full, fair and proper presentation of the facts.

More stunning, are Kevin Grier's comments.  For a market analyst with the Guelph-based George Morris Centre to reportedly quote farmers to a potential contractor... 'Screw you, I will grow corn this year' (as reported in the paper).

It reflects poorly on the GMC.

Farmers might have a problem on their hands with the media ... but it appears the GMC is not being helpful either.

As the writer of the article under attack I would like to make a few points.

No doubt you realize reporters do not write the headlines, which may have given an impression of bias in the story.

My purpose in writing this piece was to point out to our largely urban readership that due to extreme weather conditions in key growing regions there had been a significant rise in prices for a vital commodity, that this could be good news for some farmers in our region and bad news for others, and that this could eventually result in higher food costs.

There certainly was no intention to paint farmers as bad guys. You might want to know that the photograph accompanying the article was shot on my farm and that in addition to being directly involved in agricultural production, from commercial sheep production to garlic,  I have worked as a farm journalist for magazines and newspapers. The bias I do have is that agriculture is important and it is important for urban residents to understand what is happening to their rural neighbours and food supply.

First, we should welcome you, Mr. Miner to the site.

But may I point out the obvious? 

In your defense you open with the statement.. "As the writer of the article under attack..."

It appears that you have sensationalized a simple dialogue concerning your front page article hence reinforcing Mr. Dale's sentiments.    You most certainly are not under attack.

There is no evidence of aggression, hostilities, abuse or verbal assaults.

We understand that reporters might not write headlines but when one reads your article, the headline appears to sum up the evidence you present to the urban readers.

As an example you wrote "for livestock producers, the soaring corn prices immediately add to their costs-expenses that eventually will be added to consumer food bills".  That is a blanket statement.   We would like to point out just a couple things about that line.... as food production is a very convoluted topic.

Not all livestock producers buy corn.  Corn is not the only feed available for livestock.  Livestock producers do not have Cost of Production price protection.  

When you posted select CBoT grain prices with front page billing.... it gave a distinct impression farmers are receiving a 35% increase.  As there was absolutely no mention in the article concerning the basis, can you say that the prices you quote represents a full and fair presentation of grain pricing facts?

Most agricultural related stories in the past appear to have a common and reoccurring theme.  The stories usually state one of 4 things.

It's too hot.

It's too cold.

It's too wet.

It's too dry.

.... with accompanying speculation in respect to one of the above.

Weather, it would appear, is just another excuse to absolve grain traders in their pursuit of profit taking in the derivative markets.

The story was long on grain farmers, their perceived price increase and the pain that you assured the consumer will endure......but short on other players in the CBoT futures markets with their profit taking.


John Miner said:

As the writer of the article under attack I would like to make a few points.

No doubt you realize reporters do not write the headlines, which may have given an impression of bias in the story.

My purpose in writing this piece was to point out to our largely urban readership that due to extreme weather conditions in key growing regions there had been a significant rise in prices for a vital commodity, that this could be good news for some farmers in our region and bad news for others, and that this could eventually result in higher food costs.

There certainly was no intention to paint farmers as bad guys. You might want to know that the photograph accompanying the article was shot on my farm and that in addition to being directly involved in agricultural production, from commercial sheep production to garlic,  I have worked as a farm journalist for magazines and newspapers. The bias I do have is that agriculture is important and it is important for urban residents to understand what is happening to their rural neighbours and food supply.

Facts don't seem to support media story hype Drought Drives Up Food Prices....portrayed to consumers....

 

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