Guelph, Ont – The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and Les Producteurs de bovins du Québec (PBQ) are calling on federal political party leaders to include, as a first priority in the mandate of the Minister of Agriculture & Agri-Food, a Beef Cattle Investment and Assistance Program to help farmers in Ontario and Quebec mitigate the harm of recent trade and market disruptions. With the approaching federal election, BFO and PBQ are asking all candidates in Ontario and Quebec to raise this issue during the election campaign.
“The loss of key export markets in China and Saudi Arabia, combined with reduced processing capacity in Eastern Canada and market access challenges in the U.S. and the E.U., has created a perfect storm,” says BFO President, Joe Hill. “Beef farmers have incurred losses of more than $180 per animal since the beginning of January, largely as a result of government action and inaction. Collective beef cattle farm losses in the two provinces have exceeded $100 million since the start of the year. On the cattle feeding side alone, the industry is losing more than $2.5 million per week on average, which is simply not sustainable. Something needs to be done.”
“Current trade opportunities should favour the growth of beef production, but in reality, this is not the case. Quebec’s cattle production volume is declining and continues to get worse. The new trade agreements do not currently encourage better farm profitability, quite the contrary,” says Claude Viel, PBQ Chair. “Our sector requires assistance to help mitigate the critical trade and market disruption challenges our farmers are faced with.’’
Governments have staunchly supported the supply managed sectors with billions of dollars to help their farmers offset losses incurred or expected as a result of recent trade agreements and disruptions through direct compensation payments, infrastructure assistance, and quota value protection. The beef sector deserves an equitable level of support and assistance proportionate to the harm beef farmers have received.
BFO and PBQ represent more than 30,000 beef farmers in Ontario and Quebec, who collectively contribute more than $2 billion in GDP to the Canadian economy from primary farm production alone. BFO and PBQ urge all federal candidates in the two provinces to raise the need for beef sector assistance for Ontario and Quebec beef farmers throughout the election campaign.Source : Beef Farmers of Ontario