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Candidates should outline ag plans, says producer group

Agriculture producers want candidates in the federal election campaign to outline their respective plans to address challenges facing the industry, says Jeff Nielsen.
 
“We are just weeks away from choosing a new federal government and we have yet to hear anything concrete regarding trade from any of our major parties or political leaders,” said Nielsen, the president of the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) and an Olds-area farmer.
 
“Whoever wins this election will be inheriting this situation and must have a strategy in place to address it in short order.”
 
A robust and clear strategy for trade is a must for Canada’s export-oriented agriculture industry, he said in a press release issued Thursday.
 
“While China has dominated the headlines, and rightly so, due to their halting of canola, soybeans, beef, and pork products, the market access problems experienced by farmers have extended beyond Canada’s second-largest trading partner,” he said.
 
“GGC members have borne the brunt of the cost associated with halted durum wheat trade with Italy, the shutdown of pulse products shipped into India, and persistent challenges with Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.”
 
Volatility in the export markets is having a “clear and negative impact” on farmers across the county, he said.
 
Canada’s farmers have seen net farm income fall by 45 per cent to $3.9 billion in 2018, the second-consecutive annual drop in income and the lowest reported in eight years, he said.
 
With the challenges now facing the industry, the 2019 harvest “doesn’t offer any cause for optimism,” he said.
 
“Canadian grain farmers need market certainty,” he said. “That means having a federal government who acts aggressively to remove trade barriers that stand in our way and ensures that those with whom we have trade agreements live up to their commitments.
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