Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

The CFFO Commentary: The Pile of Reports on Canada’s Agricultural Potential Grows Higher

Plans for national or provincial food strategies have become hot commodities in recent years. In addition to the CFFO’s Goals for an Ontario Food Strategy, other farm groups and think-tanks have either issued reports or are in the development stages.

A new report from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute is the latest foray into this marketplace of ideas. Entitled Canada’s Agri-Food Destination, the report highlights growing problems for Canadian agriculture. In addition to falling behind in food exports, the report notes that Canada is now seeing food imports rise, all at a time when great market opportunities are arising at home and around the globe.

At the heart of Canada’s problems, a paraphrase of the report would suggest, is an antiquated set of short-term strategies to help farmers, processors and sellers create growth in their industry. Instead, the report argues that success will only come from a long-term planning strategy that views the entire industry as a “system” that needs coordination and integration regarding its various parts.

The Institute’s Report also creates some ambitious targets. It says that if appropriate changes are pursued, Canada’s agri-food sector could see substantial growth by 2025. It sees the dollar value of Canadian agri-food exports doubling to $75 billion, domestic production and supply of Canadian food rising to 75 per cent from the current 68 per cent, and to have over 75 per cent of the entire sector relying on biomaterials and biofuels to help develop revenue or reduce costs.

Although the positive tone of the Institute’s report is to be commended, I’m sure that I can find more than one farmer who casts a jaundiced eye towards the goal of ramping up exports. Some people have long memories of both positive and negative experiences in supplying export markets and will want to see sustainable opportunities. And farmers have also had a long history of being wary of talk about integrating into systems that may or may not give them adequate clout in the marketplace. But the Institute’s interest in promoting a strategy for agriculture is bang on, despite my quibbles.

Given the increase in the number of reports calling for either provincial or national food strategies, it’s evident that the status quo isn’t delivering on what many people see as Canada’s potential for food production and profitability. Maybe the cumulative weight of all those reports and strategies will eventually convince enough politicians that we can move forward to make an already good agricultural system into one that is even better.


John Clement is the General Manager of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, Ontario and is archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,200 family farmers across Ontario.

Views: 15

Comment

You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

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