Grain Farmers Rally Over Backlog and the Effect on Consumers

GrainHauling

 

Saskatchewan grain farmers had a record crop last year with 2013 marking the third year in a row for exports from the province so why aren’t they celebrating? Grain farmers from across Canada are rallying together over a backlog of bumper crop due to a transportation crisis that threatens farming income, 2014 crops and our economy. Why should this matter to the general consumer public? It’s like an avalanche effect. Grain-handling systems are falling short, meaning grain bins are over-flowing, not making it to markets and foreign buyers are buying elsewhere.

 

BumperCrop

 

 

The transportation crisis is at the root of the problem causing a near-standstill. If the grain doesn’t make it to market, the farmers don’t earn an income, last years operating costs supported by lenders are in arrears, future crops are at risk for lack of space and lack of funding, grain prices fall and the economy overall suffers greatly because of a backlog in the Canadian railway transportation system. The railway system is the main transportation system grain farmers rely on in order to get their crops to the market. Farmers and government officials have requested leniency from banks however that doesn’t solve the crisis.

 

Cue Government Assistance

 

Government assistance doesn’t always mean financial. In some circumstances when two parties cannot come to an agreement or make any headway, the government may act like a mediator. In this instance the Harper government has stepped in and ordered the Canadian Pacific Railway to move the grain through as a solution to the backlog, fulfill supply and demand and to remain a competitor as a supplier to world markets. Weekly reporting to the government of shipments, grain shipment volume increased and non-compliance penalties of up to $100,000 per day are effective ways to light a fire but does this solve anything?

 

Problem Solved?

Overall this is a step in the right direction but some think it’s a little too late; the damage has been done. In the long term, this intervention shows all parts of the system they can be held responsible to ensure a smooth operation.

 

As a consumer, I ask that you remember the hard work your local farmers put in every day to produce the food you bring to your table whether it’s a grain product, produce or meat. Educate yourself on the gears to our economy that keep it running smooth.

 

Read More:

If you liked this post, read more with Farmers Feed People #WhereFoodComesFrom and How Fresh is Your Food.

 

This post is not sponsored. This is 100% my own opinion and perspective of a farmer.

 

Comments

  1. 1

    MrDisco says

    There is also the immediate problem of the Port of Vancouver trucker’s strike. Goods are not moving and a lot of sectors are starting to feel impact.

    • 2

      says

      Yes you are right. The problem starts here but there are many factors involved to make the whole operation run smoothly. So it seems the government needs to hand out more assistance than realized by most. I’ve read a lot of uneducated comments lately in negativity towards farmers getting any assistance at all; most of the general public will not know all the details and assume it’s just farmers asking for another hand out. Without assistance this system does not continue to run smoothly and the economy will suffer in the end.

  2. 3

    Debbie W says

    I really feel the livelihood of the farmer is in danger. It’s not an easy way to make a living. They don’t ask for assistance because they want to get rich…they need to protect their investment and in some cases, keep their homes.

    • 4

      says

      That’s a great point Debbie! Farmers are proud people; they ask for assistance to keep their operation running. Years like last year with a bumper crop sounds great but if it’s not moved to market prices drop, space becomes limited for future crop and that thought that would be the year to make a good living diminishes. Farming is a hard life but a lifestyle that should have a lot of respect and unfortunately there is a bit of disconnect from food. As in, people go to the store and buy their meals, sometimes already prepared. Life is easy and convenient and not much thought goes beyond that. I’m not sure if you read my other articles on this but they are definitely worth a read, if not for an added point of view. Well, as you can tell I’m a bit passionate about it. lol
      Stacey recently posted..Spinach Cheese Stuffed Pasta ShellsMy Profile

  3. 5

    says

    Great post Stacey! No one ever thinks about the problems that the farmers have to deal with when it comes to the economy or farming in general. You would think that the Government would be trying to fix this situation better than what they are considering that our farmers are what feed us and keep the money coming to Canada with their exports.
    Jason recently posted..Pinata Review from Birthday In A BoxMy Profile

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