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Producers call attention to farm pressures

Early winter has left farmers with crop in the field unharvested
Jeff NielseN is the chairman of Grain Growers of Canada. Submitted photo

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY  - Agriculture producers in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada are facing a crisis situation that must be addressed without delay, said Jeff Nielsen, an Olds-area producer and chairman of the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC).

In an open letter to Canada's agriculture ministers released recently, Nielsen called for immediate government action.

“Farmers cannot wait any longer, global trade uncertainty and volatile weather is impacting every single grain farmer across the country this year,” Nielsen said.

“Early winter has left farmers with crop in the field unharvested, and the crop that is harvested faces prices that in some cases don’t cover the cost of growing it.

“Every major grain commodity is impacted by the global trade uncertainty unfolding around the world from trade wars.”

The GGC represents more than 60,000 producers. It advocates for the agriculture industry with various levels of government.

In his open letter Nielson called on Canadian agriculture ministers to specifically make immediate changes to the AgriStability agriculture support program.

“The effectiveness of AgriStability was severely reduced in 2013 when significant cuts were made, including a reduction of coverage of reference margins from 85 to 70 per cent, which caused many farmers to withdraw from the program due to its ineffectiveness,” he said.

Canada’s agriculture ministers will meet in Ottawa next month to discuss improvements to the program.

The GGC would like to see the ministers “restore AgriStability to its former levels and thus restore farmers’ confidence in the program,” he said.

Coverage should be immediately adjusted to cover losses starting at 85 per cent of historical reference margins and reference margin limits should be eliminated, he said.

“Farmers need this change to be available for the 2019 crop year.

"Weather across Canada has left many farmers with low quality grain or grain unable to be harvested,” he said.

“There is no better time than now to take that step. Let’s do it together.”

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