Proposal to nix processing vegetable growers organization sparks outcry

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Welcome to the world of free trade, aka TPP, and its Investor-state dispute settlement clause.

All marketing boards need to be harmonized to an American standard without government intervention. No collective bargaining powers, no quotas, no guarantees. Thank you Mr. Kamenz for watching farmers backs!

(Mr.) Kamenz will not watch out for you the White bean board found this 4 years ago. He was on a tribunal board back in 2000 and did not watch out for the farmer in the action but did what the government wanted him to do. He should be fired.

For vegetable producers and their organizations be "shocked" by a proposal that a processor would negotiate price and terms directly with a grower:

(A) indicates a mind-set welded in the 1940s and/or welded to NFU-style socialism
(B) ignores the fact that this sort of contracting is what we now once again do, because of producer pressure, with white beans, wheat and hogs.

More to the point, second-hand anecdotal recalls of isolated events from 80 years ago when:

(1) the ultimate in price discovery technology was a party-line phone, assuming one had a phone at all
(2) tort and/or contract law was in its infancy

reflects neither today's e-commerce reality nor society's ability to, by electronic means, shame, discredit and even destroy companies not honouring their contractual obligations.

For a number of years now, I have contracted my wheat and white bean crops directly through the dealer networks and don't miss either the White Bean Board or the Ontario Wheat Board at all - it's time for Ontario's vegetable producers to re-join we wheat, hog and white bean growers in the real world and treat processors as partners rather than as adversaries.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I remember, in my early teens, renting, small amounts of land from a bachelor farmer that lived across the road from me.
I remember thinking how bizarre it was, when growing wheat or white beans, that I was paid, if I recall correctly, in three payments over a period of about a year.
The way crops are sold today, with virtually full control by the owner, is far superior.
Raube Beuerman

Yes, you have full control to sign for a low price or wait and take more full control of having to accept an even lower price.

For example, if one was to go back to 2015, and look at the futures market for oil, they would see the market was not pricing oil at under $30 in Feb 16.
What I do know, is that if a board received the same for crop sold the next year, as they did the previous year, that I would receive less due to fees, which added no value.

Raube Beuerman

Yep, be the first farmer to sign a 2016 white bean contract for $32/cwt, (below Agricorp COP) for 15 cwt then most likely sell the remaining overage for.... on average (most years) far less than Agricorp COP.

Many years ago I went to London to hear a presentation by Conrad Leslie, a noted agricultural analyst and forecaster. Someone stood up and asked Leslie how farmers could possibly make money when the market price was below their cost of production.


thereby squelching the questioner by delivering the basic truth that farmers, poorer-quality ag diploma programs and the above poster inexplicably ignore .

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

While the market may not care about selling below COP, eventually your bank manager and your bank account plus your family will deliver the basic truth that selling below AGRICORP listed COP is NOT SUSTAINABLE! Therefore, when AGRICORP posts the COP number of approx. 33 or 34 dollars per CWT for White Beans and farmers jump at the chance to sign contracts at 32 that to even so called economists is not sustainable. Furthermore, if the overage is commonly sold at an even lower price that definitely is not sustainable.

The focus that farmers put on the need to be paid their cost-of-production is unsustainable nonsense if for no other reason than if we were guaranteed to be paid cost-of-production, that cost would continually ratchet upwards because, as it has in supply management, we'd have little or no incentive to do better.

I repeat again, cost-of-production means NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING to anyone except pedants, NFU supporters and/or graduates of third-rate ag diploma schools.

The only thing that matters is being ready, willing and able to produce something for what the market is willing to pay, and that's something the farm community is horrifyingly-unwilling to learn.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Ah yes, according to Stephen's opinion plus a few others, it is fine and dandy that COP should mean nothing to farmers, yet it is equally fine that COP means everything to buyers who have essentially established a monopoly of the market.
Not withstanding the problematic monopoly of buyers in the world, the other real problem for agriculture is that we still have an oversupply of food in the world, especially in N.A.

If farmers are, according to this anonymous poster(remember that any claims from them are highly suspect), willing to grow beans for $32, a couple of things come to mind.
1) Some farmers are able to profitably grow beans for that price, and 2) Agricorp should review their numbers, and probably lower them.

Raube Beuerman

So under RMP what number is used for the line item of land cost ?
They don't even look at the property taxes that has to be paid . Do tell more when other commodities are transparent with their RMP numbers .

1) It simply proves farmers are price takers not price setters.

Farmers seem to think there is something wrong or bad about being a price taker - that's just another myth in the plethora of economic fallacies completely believed, typically, by poorly-educated farmers:

It's like this, if I don't like the contract price offered by any of the bean dealers for white beans, I don't sign a contract and don't grow white beans that year.

On the other hand, if other posters on this site were to be believed, a marketing board would somehow "force" white bean dealers to pay higher prices, thereby resulting in a huge decline in sales and/or market share to market participants who can, and do, use price as part of the marketing mix - cross border shopping for dairy and poultry products is an excellent example of the folly of "forced" higher prices at the farm gate, yet farmers never seem to learn that being a price setter, especially when it comes to commodities, is its own punishment.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

While "white bean dealers" are the ones offering the contract....the part you conveniently omitted was that the dealer contract price is determined by what a few (as in monopoly) processors set as their take it or leave it offer price to the dealers. By not signing a contract at below COP and growing white beans, you are therefore speculating that the overage price might be higher. You also seem to be suggesting that vegetable grows not sign a low contract price and not grow a crop.

The above posting is myopic and uneducated drivel if for no other reason than the poster's woeful inability to understand the huge difference between monopoly and oligopsony - if Thompson's offer farmers more money for white beans than HDC (both members of an oligopsony), they'll sign more contracts, but why should any of them stick their necks out without a contract with the people who buy from them?

But more importantly, why should anyone feel sorry for some dumb-schluck farmer who grows white beans, or any vegetables, without any contract at all?

Farmers on this site seem to think that the only people in the marketing channel are the companies that buy from farmers and that's nonsense - contracts for so much money and so much quantity start at the consumer and it goes back down the line to the farm gate rather than the other way around (except for the cancerous monstrosity of supply management which believes consumers are there to be bled).

Even though Mr. Beuerman has accurately noted that single desk selling does nothing except add a level of bureaucracy that reduces farmer returns, it also needs to be noted that single desk selling guarantees a level of mediocrity for everyone and denies all participants the opportunity to do better by, and for, themselves - it's all about freedom of choice, do you want to fund a bureaucracy that does nothing but produce mediocrity or do you want to do whatever you can to out-perform mediocrity and pocket all the money yourself?

More to the point, none of the single-desk selling systems that have gone by the wayside in recent years could ensure and/or guarantee a recapture of cost-of-production, however, and by whom, it might be calculated.

Not surprisingly, every anonymous poster in favour of single desk selling on this site seems to be of the opinion that farmers deserve to make money, and that's nonsense - of course if not growing a crop, or growing something else is the best option, then that's what should be done. All the hand-wringing on this site and elsewhere about this matter is as if every vegetable grower on this site has no idea how to utilize a contract and/or even what it is.

The market, every market, simply doesn't care about anyone's cost-of-production, nor should it and that should be, except for anonymous pedants who don't get it and never will, the end of the matter.

Finally, as for the perpetual folderol and flapdoodle about monopsonistic market control, it there was as much profit and/or monopsony in vegetable processing as farmers continually maintain, why aren't there more processors, especially on-farm processors?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Don't have a cow again here, however, lots of discussion in economics class and online economics discussion indicates that a very few processors or manufactures as in an Oligopoly can effectively behave as a Cartel or as in a Monopoly. Not saying this happens in Agriculture markets or processors however there is discussion it can happen in other industries on Planet earth. Boys will be boys you know.

A) One of the reasons I switched to soys from white beans is that, even though the white bean marketing procedure is way better than it once was, it still is not as good as soys presently are.
B) I don't enroll in RMP, which means that I don't qualify for crop insurance. As far as them using your quoted "$32" COP, that figure would change change dramatically if you took away 'cost' influencing factors, like supply management.

Raube Beuerman

I think you have it backwards. You don't have to enroll in RMP to qualify for crop insurance

Just to correct your wrong statement . Crop insurance is needed to enroll in RMP . Rmp is not needed to have crop insurance . So you don't know the basics .

...knew what I meant. That's why they didn't respond.
So typical on this site for anonymous posters to attack on a minor error, but offer no logical argument.
When it comes to the "basics", that starts with signing your name.

Raube Beuerman

I was correct and there was no argument . Why some can't take the truth is a real incite to their personality .

I believe you were to busy trying to get another swing in at Supply Management that you forgot to get your facts straight.

In my younger and more naïve days, I thought the pork board was marketing my hogs for me. I became a director on Ont Pork and realized they were doing nothing but adding another layer of beurucracy.
As an owner of our own packing plant, 3P members found Ont Pork telling us how to pay ourselves...even though they didn't have a cent invested. No company can expect to survive and thrive with some outside force calling the shots.
Carol Mitchell did the right thing by doing away with pork single desk was nothing but a myth anyway.
As far as the wheat board and the bean board...I don't miss either of them either.
D. Linton

Still pixxed about Carol Mitchell with a stroke of a pen doing away with Ontario Pork's single desk selling......benefited very don't see CAW,Unifor,CUPE,ect. being "disbanded " and replaced with advisory kimball

K G Kimball is trying to forget that former Ontario Ag Minister, William A Stewart, formed the Ontario Egg Producers Marketing Board with "a stroke of a pen", a move that has screwed millions of Ontario consumers for over 40 years for the benefit of what are now only several hundred quota-owning, egg farmer millionaires who, in turn, can be, and often are, financial bullies in the farm community, pitting farmers against one another along age and sector lines.

The people who set up single-desk selling were short-sighted, poorly-informed and just-plain wrong because they either had no idea about the consequences of their actions or didn't want to hear about them. Both Steward and former federal ag minister, Eugene Whelan, not only didn't listen to economists when they warned about the risks of single desk selling, particularly when tariffs and quotas were involved, they, especially in Whelan's case, scorned, derided and humiliated them. However, everything the economics discipline warned about, has happened and then some.

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission is, in this case, doing entirely the right thing by, in effect, and quite-appropriately, "piling more dirt" on top of Whelan's and Stewart's graves to make sure their ill-advised ideas about single-desk selling and socialist-style control mechanisms die a well-deserved death.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

If my information is correct, fewer than 10% of North America's private sector workforce is represented by unions and that number is at risk of declining further because of the much-greater productivity of non-unionized workers both here, and abroad.

More to the point, neither Toyota (if I'm right) nor Walmart have unions and aren't likely to get unions any time soon.

Getting rid of single-desk selling at Ontario Pork was a complete no-brainer because it allowed the industry and everybody in it to adopt efficient and productive practices that single desk selling abhorred.

Ontario agriculture, as usual, has it all backwards - instead of praising William A Stewart and Eugene Whelan for bringing in single-desk selling and placing a millstone around the necks of farmers, we should be praising Ag Ministers like Carol Mitchell and organizations like the OFPMC for having the good sense to get rid of it before it caused/causes even more damage than it already had/has.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

It's pretty clear that the comments in support of the commision are coming from people who do not grow processing vegetables under contract in Ontario. Thé OPVG is thé only reason wé still have à profitable business growing vegetables in Ontario.

I raise hogs under contract, without single-desk selling.

Raube Beuerman

Since the Carol Mitchell "deal" its easy too see where pork producer numbers have our annual meeting I asked Doug Ahrens if we have gained anything by doing away with single desk selling, packer contracts and no board owned marketing yards ,his answer" I am not going there ,I was put on the board for a reason" .......just because Dairy & feather have chosen a good system why bash and try too take it away from them?

The above poster, albeit anonymous, has, by the preposterousness of the opinion posted, clearly identified himself/herself to not be a non-supply managed farmer under the age of 40 from Perth, Oxford or Huron Counties.

It's like this, perpetually-anonymous, supply-management loving posters on this site - if you're not surrounded by supply management, your opinion about the harmlessness of the one-sided purchasing power of 200% tariff barriers and the havoc it causes in the farm community, is as worthless as the farm organizations who can't seem to see it either.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

My reply pointed out that the removal of single desk selling has no negative impact on contract growing, if anything its positive due to a level of bureaucracy removed.
You are also ignoring the fact that if the pork board had been granted even more powers, such as supply management, there would be far-less producers than there are now, which also means retail prices would be higher.

Raube Beuerman

While it may not affect the contract grower/custom feeder it may well hurt for those who are looking to enter into the hog market . Used to be that a young guy could start into the industry small and grow but now you have to be huge or nothing . The opportunity to be your own boss and build/expand is all but gone now .

single desk selling in hogs was the best thing we ever had. ask any producer who has been in the business 50 plus years when they could make money every year in the last 50 years before of after single desk selling.

The above poster adopts the same flawed statistical methodology favoured by supply management, the NFU and more recently by the GFO when defending neonics by ignoring any analysis of what would have happened to producer returns if single desk selling had been kept for hogs.

Single desk selling may once have appeared to be useful, but that was before the days of internet price discovery and the ability of producers to assemble pot-loads of virtually-identical hogs that can be delivered to a processing plant at a pre-determined time, and which can, and do, command a premium price in return.

Simply stated, single desk selling denies processors the ability to source the hogs they want, and when they want them and, in turn, denies producers the chance to earn any premium processors might be willing to pay for these hogs.

Or, to look at it in another way, we, in North America are in a free-trade scenario for hogs and if we weren't prepared to match the ability of the two-shift hog processing plant in Logansport, IN to source pot-loads of identical hogs from US (and/or Canadian) producers, we would have lost our competitiveness as well as probably even more of our processing plants and would have seen more pork product imports coming from the US, not less.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So hogs are no longer indexed according to weight , back fat , carcass ? Growers are paid all the same for all hogs with no incentive either . News to me .

Just over 30 years ago, a friend of mine managed a large hog operation in Manitoba which, at the time, if I remember correctly, had single desk selling.

However, every year at Christmas, Canadian hog packing plants shut down longer than US plants because the US doesn't observe the Boxing Day holiday - therefore, my friend's farming operation traditionally ran at least one pot-load of fat hogs into what was then the John Morrell plant in Sioux Falls, SD where the concept of "single-desk" selling was a telephone and the returns on grade and yield in Sioux Falls made Manitoba Pork look like something that came out of the north end of a southbound cow.

Somehow, permission was granted to ship more hogs south in the summertime and because the returns in the US on grade and yield made Manitoba Pork look bad, my friend shipped more (albeit in US-plated hog pots because even then US farmers got grumpy about seeing Manitoba-plated hog pots in front of them at the packing plant) - I was my friend's co-driver when we went to Sioux Falls to review the grade and yield summaries with the Morrell buyer who made it abundantly clear that having a pot-load of virtually identical hogs arrive at a pre-set time was going to earn my friend's company a substantial premium every time, a premium well-worth the 12 hour drive and a return far-above what would have been achieved through Manitoba Pork.

To be fair, however, Morrell was running 1,100 hogs an hour through a century-old, 5-storey plant designed to handle 5-600 per hour and paying its men about $6 per hour at a time when Gainers in Edmonton was on strike over a wage offer of about double that - I've never seen 3,100 men work harder than the employees at Morrell.

Therefore, while rank-and-file Canadian hog farmers were still, in the mid 1980s, smitten with single-desk selling, the writing was on the wall (at least until COOL) for this archaic way of doing business.

Even though anonymous posters on this site belittle anyone who criticizes single desk selling, it, along with any credibility assigned to anonymous opinions, has been dead-in-the-water for over 30 years.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Well now I seem to have stepped on someone's last good nerve by asking a question so I will continue . Are all hogs the same ? Are hogs not basically individuals the same as we humans ? You make it sound like if some fills a barn with all 50 lb weaners they should all go out the same day at the same weight , grade and index the exact same . Not going to happen .
Indexing of hogs is done at the hog processing plant and does affect your price . Single desk selling has nothing to do with it .

No two hogs are exactly the same so a pot load of exactly the same "identical" hogs is not going to happen . As long as we are breeding sows AI or otherwise we will never get to "all identical " . From a dish in a lab maybe .

Not every thing is as you state it is. I remember being at a meeting with an MP who went off at some who questioned his response to a query with Who are you to question me , only to be put in his place by another person at the meeting who was in the know .

There are hundreds of breeds of pigs . Humans started with Adam & Eve . Look at where we are today .

Thank You

Would Mr.Linton fit your description of "any producer", who just recently explained that single desk selling did not benefit him in any way.

Raube Beuerman

While you are right that that "the opportunity be your own boss and build/expand is all but gone now" least for any young guys, I don't believe single desk selling has anything to do with it. From my observations it has more to do with greedy old guys buying up every opportunity before any young guy gets a chance...fueled by government sanctioned things like SM and ethanol.
There are however lots of opportunities that didn't exist under pork single desk selling. There is at least one feed company in Ontario that is offering and encouraging these opportunities...but you do have to do extra things that most of the big established guys don't want to do, but young eager guys are willing and able to do. There are opportunities out there and there are more of them because single desk selling can't interfere.
D. Linton

I have met with the company i am thinking your are refering to i have done the numbers on the organic production with one of their salesman and would I be losing $75 per hog. i have never seen such a worried look on someones face when he actually put real barn feed conversions in a budget. he thanked me for pointing this out to him. so it still comes back to unless you have millions under your pillow then it is very hard to get into farming.

No I was not referring to the organic program...but I do know of a producer and two of his son's that have converted to organic production. That was about 5 years ago and they have made a success out of it.
Your comments are similar to the ones I hear all too often...and I have been guilty of myself. Spending more effort trying to prove it won't work and not figuring how to make it work. I think there is a saying about that I can't recall exactly, but it's something like while your standing on the side of the road trying to explain why it won't work, don't get run over by the guy coming through that has made it work.
D. Linton

Actually it is .... don't get run over by the old guy speeding to the bank with his subsidy cheque before the Gov changes their mind to pay all producers .
The old Ont Pork board screwed young and beginning hog farmers. Shame on those board members .

very rarely have i found that if the numbers don't work on paper they are going to work in the barn. i was truly hoping that it would work because i felt
it would have been a good opportunity. as i'm sure you have found out in your farming career bankers don't look well on negative cash flows on paper. the salesman has already told me one producer was turned down by a bank for this program so i think that says a whole lot about how the numbers worked. i have raised hogs in the past on programs like this so i had exact feed conversions to go by. to date they have no feed conversions from anyone on the program, so until they can prove that it can be done better i have to use numbers that are real not hopeful.

As I stated before, I was not referring to organic hog production and I can think of at least four other examples for young producers that are not organic.
But...since that is where you are taking the discussion, then I don't disagree with your analysis of your situation, and as you say if your feed conversion is such that you would be losing $75 per hog then you know better than I do about your own situation.
However, as I pointed out, my neighbors are successful at it and I'm absolutely sure they are not losing money. They ship thousands of hogs per year to the organic market and have been able to prosper. I also know that thousands of hogs each week are shipped into the organic market, and they are not losing $75 dollars per hog...that's simply not how business works.
Some segments of agriculture simply don't like the organic industry...Some see it as a threat...I admire organic producers and see it as an option, not today but maybe some day.
As I said before, maybe you can't make it work but don't get in the way of those that are actually making it work.
Oh yes, and I have no idea why the bank turned someone you know down to go into organic hog production, but I do know banks have loaned money to others for that purpose. As an aside I remember when the 3P CoOp started and banks didn't want to loan producers money to buy the original shares, yet a few years later they were falling all over them selves to loan money for 3P shares. Times change and no one can say for sure how we'll be producing hogs 5 or 10 years from now.
D. Linton

The pork industry already had a form of Government sanctioned supply management, they just never will admit it.l believed they called it CBSP (cull breeding swine program) and the HFTP (hog farm transition program). They probably would not want to look at it as a subsidy either!
If those conditions return we would probably see something similar again but SM would never be mentioned.

I find it amazing how a proposal affecting processing vegetables has morphed into a rant against supply management and single desk selling. It's like comparing apples and something else that isn't a fruit. To suggest it is the sane thing displays a stunning ignorance of the topic at hand. I have some experience to share, so if interested, continue reading and become better informed. Full disclosure, I am a past Chair of the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers' when Elmer Buchanan was Minister of Ag. I am no longer a grower because the processor chose not to offer me a contract. A number of years later the processing plant in Exeter was closed after being acquired by a U.S. private equity firm. I am a former hog producer and currently a grower of edible beans and wheat.

The Veg Board has, up to this point, had the ability to negotiate minimum prices, terms and conditions of 14 different vegetables for processing. It is important to note that the various processors of these crops sit across the table from grower representatives at negotiation time and have equal opportunity to provide input into price, terms and conditions of sale. If agreement cannot be reached by a mutually agreed upon deadline, the matters in dispute are resolved by final offer arbitration. There is no compromise - one position or the other is accepted. It compels either side to defend its position based on facts. From experience, the Veg Board spends considerable time researching competitive areas, particularly in the U.S. and the Province of Quebec to understand and respect the pressures that the Ontario processors face.
At no time is it in the interest of Ontario growers and their processors to be put into a non-competitive position with regards to raw product pricing.

Crops for processing are grown only if the processor offers the producer a contract. A move to a free market system under the OFPMC proposal implies a freedom to grow or not to grow based on a grower's interpretation of value. He is free to accept the contract but if he rejects it, he more than likely has exited permanently the growing of that crop. He returns only if a processor offers him a contract in a subsequent year. It is the processors decision.

In the cases of sweet corn, green peas, green beans and cucumbers the variety, volume (tonnage or acreage), planting date and harvesting date are controlled by the processor. The grower, aside from planting and weed control, gives up management of those acres to the processor. For these crops the processor either owns or controls the harvesting equipment. If these particular crops are mature, bearing in mind that they are perishable, they will be harvested under even the most deplorable field conditions because of the small window when they are suitable for processing. I have pictures of my green pea harvest one year where skid marks from the belly pans of the harvesters are clearly visible across the field. It took years to return that land to its original condition. For the times when yield is higher than average and more than what was budgeted for by the processor and exceeds its capacity to process in a timely manner the
crop can and will be left behind in the field. There is no alternative market for the excess crop. There is some compensation available through crop insurance and the processors under a by-pass provision negotiated into the contract but it is certainly less than the full value of the excess production.

I struggle to find any similarities between the marketing of processing vegetables in comparison to that of hogs, wheat and white beans. In the latter three it is the producer's decision to participate or not at any time and accept or reject the vagaries of the market place. Entry or exit at any time is the producer's decision.

In summary, it is my opinion that the OFPMC's proposal to rescind the OPVG's ability to negotiate (not price set) and turn it into an advisory committee will only hasten the demise of the processing vegetable industry. If the OFPMC is truly interested in fostering a competitive processing sector it could, once again, get its mandate expanded and use its resources to research the impact that the current electricity pricing policy is having on the entire Ontario economy. That would be time and resources better spent. Attacking the vegetable processing industry will cause more harm than good.
Thank you for taking the time and interest to read my comments.

Keith Strang

While Mr. Strang notes the closure of the vegetable processing plant in Exeter, he doesn't seem to be able to consider to what extent the decision to close the plant was because the owners were hamstrung by having to deal with the inflexible monster known as single-desk selling.

More to the point, Mr. Strang doesn't seem to be able contemplate that:

(A) the vegetable processing plant in Exeter could easily still be open if single-desk selling had long-since been eliminated.
(B) single-desk selling has done more to "attack" the vegetable processing industry than any posting on this site and/or anything contemplated by the OFPMC.
(C) his stories about dealing with the processors are not really that much different than in road maintenance contracting or school bus contracts where it's "winner-take-all" and nothing at all for anybody but the lowest bidder.

Single-desk price setting really is is a relic of the cold war and tail fins on cars and if we want to keep Canadian processors in any industry, whether it's vegetables, hogs, tobacco or anything else inside or outside the agricultural sector, it deserves to be scuttled into the dust bin of history.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Some one who has never grown for or had a contract telling others how it should be . Same for OFPMC . Sad .

While the government is attempting to help lower the processing industries cost of production, in the end, so called "green" energy electricity prices will make our industries very non competitive and drive them to the U.S. where they can buy our dumped surplus green energy power for a small fraction of what Ontarion's pay for it. Sad sad commentary.

Exactly, someone at Queen's Park has figured if we throw the processors a bone and give them the ability to undercut farmers and save money that somehow that will entice them to stay in Ontario but lessening the cost of raw produce is only a fraction of the problems facing the manufacturing and processors in Ontario.If our dollar was not so low compared to the US we might not have any manufacturing in this Province.
As the vegetable and fruit growers downsize and rely on local farmers markets more and more they will turn to corn, beans and wheat like everyone else.
I haven't drove by the Holland Marsh in a number of years but l wouldn't be surprised to see it all in corn or would be a shame.

However, seems a certain accountant would also suggest COP doesn't matter, so why does it suddenly matter that processors COP is important but not the producers COP. There in lies the rub or the double standard as many would suggest.

Apart from the mathematical incongruity of 1,000%, processors are simply facing the fact that the market doesn't care what anyone's cost-of-production might be, including theirs.

That's why, in any good business school, cost-of-production is a rarely, if ever mentioned footnote and something one must adapt and/or modify according to market realities. Only among inadequately-educated farmers is cost-of-production a paramount concept around which the rest of the world (in their minds) must turn

It's still a free market among processors - any one can offer more money than the other guy to farmers but at the risk of squeezing their own profits in the pursuit of market share and can easily bankrupt the company in the process.

For example, in a non-agricultural setting, Ford doesn't care about Wescast's cost-of-production and can, therefore, demand (and get) a price cut on exhaust manifolds year after year. That's why, in non-agricultural settings, if you're not prepared to produce for what the buyer is prepared to pay, you've either got to lower your prices it or get out of business.

In the same vein, Loblaws recently announced it was going to force suppliers to take 1.45% less starting in September, 18 months after Sobeys implemented the same policy.

More to the point, if Sobeys had any ability to price according to the cost-of-production, it wouldn't have recently reported a $1.5 billion annual loss.

Farmers create their own problems by either bidding up the price of land or allowing ethanol and supply management to do it. It's a long-held truism that farmers can't stand prosperity and always rush out to over-capitalize farm assets only to complain about their self-inflicted misfortune when "the music stops".

Stephen Thompson, Clinton, ON

When MS. Wynne was down to old Heinz plant to give new owners a nice cheque I am sure some of the conversation with her was about "vertical integration" as they would like to write "special" contracts for export products,ect. at a reduced price.......low dollar,cut wages and benefits drastically and reduce raw procurement costs and now they are going to do everything Heinz could not afford to achieve.......end result will be fewer producers with large guys making less daollars per unit and smaller guys giving away or scrapping there tomato equipment. Sad. kg kimball

The outrage among vegetable producers is highly-reminiscent of the outrage among corn growers before, during and after the neonics experience and can't help but make one wonder if vegetable producers, like corn farmers, are trying to be "patron saints of lost causes" by deliberately choosing to be on the faint-hope side of the issue.

In neonics, corn farmers never once considered what was responsible public policy - the only thing that mattered was their own pocketbook and vegetable farmers seem to be adopting the same one-sided philosophies and strategies.

Nowhere has any vegetable farmer or vegetable grower organization made any sort of comment about whether the proposed changes would be good for the industry and/or consumers but they have stuck like glue to the sometimes vitriolic script about how bad it would be for growers and that one narrowness can only lead to members of the general public to believe that vegetable growers are either fear-mongering or telling only partial amounts of the truth.

In addition, the outrage among farmers would lead one to believe that the stratified price setting process ends up unduly enriching farmers at the expense of the rest of the food chain, including consumers.

Food processors have just as much access to the Premier and Minister of Agriculture as farmers, and probably even more - there's no reason to believe the haven't been to see the Premier and the Minister to advise them that legislated price setting is a major reason why processors aren't expanding and/or leaving for jurisdictions where they don't face a gauntlet of producer representatives every year - it's an argument any politician would (and probably does) find hard to ignore because no politician wants to see any processing plant of any sort close in their riding.

Finally, vegetable growers should consider that the Grain Farmers of Ontario has no influence at Queens Park with any political party, and won't for the next decade because of their obstructionism about neonics, and, therefore, vegetable farmers should consider both sides of the economic, political and consumer equation before "heading to the bunkers".

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

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