Group wants resolution on agricultural business risk management

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So does Ontario’s minister of agriculture, who plans to push the issue at this week’s provincial-federal-territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting

photo: Carol Mitchell


The organizations said they would watch the budget process "very closely".

That might be a committed action with true intended valour, but will it effect positive change that is truly "bankable" for farmers?

I think not.


We have heard same thing for years. She is taking too long time to make her point(less).

An alternative, and completely legitimate, point of view is that, especially among the great many free-trade, and anti-subsidy oriented members of the CFIB itself, our beef and hog farmers would be far better served, not by a RMP program, but by having government reduce its support for both ethanol, and supply management.

Indeed, it's abundantly clear that any farm support program, based on any sort of cost-of-production formula, such as RMP, simply isn't going to ever get any sort of blessing in Ottawa, and therefore, Ontario Ag Minister, Carol Mitchell, is simply "playing to her re-election balcony"

In addition, PM Stephen Harper, as an economist by training, knows full well that ethanol is sucking the life-blood out of the hog and livestock industries, in exactly the same way supply management is sucking dry our chances to be part of the Asia-Pacific trade talks, and the benefits of any resulting trade agreements not just for livestock farmers, but for us all.

Unfortunately, the real truth about Canadian agriculture is the length to which we seem prepared to go to avoid the truth, especially the truth about ourselves.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Hog and cattle markets are in the process of moving to a higher equilibrium level to reflect grain's higher value. Both markets have been sideswiped by a rapid rise in the Canadian dollar but have a significant competitive advantage this year given the extremely low basis levels for grain in Ontario.

The livestock sector got decades of firesale prices on grain that was suppressed by ag subsidies elsewhere. Sorry I am not going to apologize that we in the grain sector are finally making decent returns this year. Despite the rhetoric in the general media that doesn't understand commodity pricing grain price spikes are notoriously short lived. Production increases have supplied most of the feedstock for the ethanol industry and future increases will soon have us awash in grain again.

Free trade exists largely in the text books of academics, freer trade is a worthwhile goal but only neophytes and boy scouts believe that sacrificing supply management and ethanol, the two sectors that have been generating black ink for agriculture would make us collectively better off.

When 7,500 dairy farmers in Quebec, and about 5,000 in Ontario, can, and do, completely thwart the economic well-being of some 30 million of the rest of us, by effectively keeping us out of the Trans-Pacific Trade talks, an observation duly noted by Ian Cumming in this week's Ontario Farmer, then we need more neophytes and boy scouts, not just in primary agriculture, but everywhere.

In addition, too many grain farmers seem to have no comprehension, as noted by Kevin Grier of the George Morris Centre, that ethanol sucks value out of the economy.

The rhetoric in the general media about supply management, and ethanol, being both text-book cases of how protectionism and subsidies cost our economy millions of dollars for the benefit of only a few farmers, none of them hog and livestock producers, is entirely true, and we are just fooling ourselves when we try, as you did, to believe that it isn't the case.

Unfortunately, your posting is exactly what I mean by the lengths to which we, in agriculture, will go to delude outselves that the favouritism only a few of us enjoy, is either good for all of us, or even of benefit to the favoured few in the long-term.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The belief that sacrificing the "black ink" of supply management and ethanol, even though their "black ink" comes from the legislated "black mail" of consumers and taxpayers respectively, won't make us collectively better off, is one of the oldest fallacies in the world of economics, and has been proven to be a fallacy time, and time again, back to, and including, England's experience with the Corn Laws, now almost 200 years ago.

Simply stated, it is undeniable economic fact, borne out by 200 years of well-decumented history, that eliminating legislated economic privelege for a few, which is, by definition, what both supply management and corn ethanol are all about, always has tremendous benefit for the entire economy - yet farmers (and Ministers of Agriculture) seem to be among the those most staunchly denying both economic fact, and economic history.

There may be reasons for government support of both supply management and ethanol, but the belief that you can't make a lot of people better off by eliminating special priveleges for a few, simply isn't one of them, and never will be.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The real truth appears to be that any Minister saying they will strive for a full farm support program has delusions of adequacy.

Reminds me as farmers stopped at the rail crossing. The gate is down, the lights are flashing but there aint no train coming.

But we keep on waiting.

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