Grain Growers Call for ‘Meaningful’ Government Support Amid Trade Disputes

Canadian grain growers are asking for help from their own government after the White House signaled it is prepared to provide further aid to American producers to ease trade-related price pain.

In a statement Tuesday, Grain Growers of Canada called on Ottawa to make “meaningful changes to the AgriStability Program to ensure it is a bankable, predictable, simple and scalable program,” including coverage for margin losses below 85% and removal of the reference margin limit. Further, the organization said the government’s previously announced change to the Advance Program Payment - which increased the interest-free loan portion from to $500,000 from $100,000 - should not just be limited to canola, and extended to all other commodities as well.

“The time has come for the Canadian government to aggressively defend the interests of Canada’s agriculture sector in China and around the world,” said GGC Chair, Jeff Nielsen from his farm in Olds, AB. “This is a non-partisan issue and Canadian farmers need government support to ensure that we are well positioned to weather this storm.”

Canadian farmers have suffered in the wake of the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, a battle that has sent Chicago soybean futures – upon which Canadian prices are based – sharply lower. Farmers on this side of the border are also struggling as political tensions between Canada and China have crimped Canadian canola exports to China and sent those prices lower as well. Industry and government officials have confirmed as well that Chinese importers are reluctant to sign contracts for other Canadian agricultural products given the uncertainty in the market.

Meanwhile, in addition to Chinese disruption, the loss of the Indian pulse market and Italian durum market has further added to the long list of trade-related risks facing Canadian producers.

The U.S. government earlier this week announced $15 billion in aid to help farmers whose products may be targeted with Chinese tariffs amid the deepening trade war. This marks the second round of assistance, after the $12 billion plan last August to compensate American farmers for lost sales and low prices as a result of trade disputes with China and other countries.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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