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Program to help Ont. ag stories reach overseas

Program to help Ont. ag stories reach overseas

GFO bringing in reporters from EU and UK

 

By Jonathan Martin
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is bringing ag journalists from Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK) on a tour of the province’s grain production system.

The program aims to push “the sustainability of Ontario grain and the commitment Ontario farmers make to sustainability,”  Nicole MacKellar, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s market manager, told Farms.com.

The reporters will tour both grain and mixed-operation farms, elevators and handling facilities in southern, central and northern Ontario from July 22 to 25 “to give them an overview of what Ontario (ag) production is all about,” she said.

The journalists’ tour will take place alongside an outgoing trade mission to Brussels and the UK, where Canadian ag ambassadors will meet with potential commodity buyers. With the UK’s pending exit from the European Union (EU), McKellar said she sees the meetings as a potentially lucrative relationship-building exercise. The UK imports around 70 per cent of its feed protein, though not much of it is Ontarian.

The EU represents the largest market for Ontario corn exports. Trade between the two economic superpowers increased over the last three years following the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’s provisional implementation in 2016, which eliminated 98 per cent of tariffs between Canada and the EU.

“The EU is one of our biggest grain importers,” MacKellar said. “Right now we’re looking to diversify our export markets a bit in case things with China turn out poorly and the Chinese market is closed to us completely.”

The bulk of Ontario’s soybean shipments has shifted to Chinese markets, since America’s trade war with China has reduced the flow of commodities between the two nations to a trickle.

More information about GFO’s market expansion program will be released once the international journalists have finished their tour and Farms.com will let you know as soon as it’s available.

Photo Credit: Agricultural Adaptation Council

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