Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative Inc.

Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative Inc.

September 08, 2005 09:59 ET

Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative Asks Members to Speak out Against Proposed Corn Countervail

BRANTFORD, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 8, 2005) - In a letter sent today to its 650 farmer and community members, IGPC is calling upon all of its corn producer members to speak out against the Ontario Corn Producers Association's attempt to impose steep countervailing duties on U.S. corn imported into Ontario. IGPC's Board of Directors has asked its members to turn out in force at the OCPA's semi-annual General Meeting to be held in London at 8:30 A.M. on September 13th at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel.

In its complaint to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), the OCPA claims that Canadian corn farmers are being injured by illegal American subsidies and dumping of U.S. corn into Canada. "Ontario corn farmers are undoubtedly facing tough times," said IGPC Chair Tom Cox, "but a stiff countervailing duty on U.S. corn is a lethal cure to a treatable disease." Commenting on the significant concerns raised by beef and pork producers, as well as by a wide range of corn processors, Cox noted that "eliminating your best customers does not seem to be the most enlightened response to depressed commodity prices."

The unilateral move by the OCPA to impose a countervailing duty on U.S. corn imports, taken without prior consultation with any of the organization's key stakeholders, is widely regarded as disastrous to all Canadian users of corn. Not only ethanol plants and other further-processors of corn, but all cattle and pork producers, will be seriously injured by this action. And any countervailing duties collected will be paid by domestic corn buyers, not by American farmers or the U.S. Treasury.

The OCPA's failure to consult with its agricultural peers has raised further questions about the effectiveness of an organization already under considerable pressure from its own members for its continuing inability to communicate its members' needs to Government. "In a single stroke," said Cox "the OCPA is undermining much of the hard work done over the past years to build a united voice for Ontario agriculture. We are dismayed that the OCPA is using producer check-off dollars to fund this action which runs counter to the interests of both producers and processors and in the long run will not bring any net benefit to Ontario corn farmers."

"The sad reality," Cox added "is that the OCPA's combative approach over the past couple of years has undermined constructive dialogue with Government on appropriate safety nets for corn producers. Now the OCPA is pursuing symbolic trade action against American farmers to deflect criticism of its miserable track record in getting the real support corn farmers need."

Under Ontario's Grain Corn Marketing Act, the OCPA is entitled to collect check-off from all Ontario corn producers. That Act also provides that members can apply for a refund of their check-off fees.

Ontario alone currently imports more than 60 million bushels of U.S. corn each year to supplement the 200 million bushels of locally grown corn needed to supply the domestic processing sector. With the implementation of Ontario's ethanol mandate in 2007, five proposed new ethanol plants, including that of Integrated Grain Processors, will require an additional 60 million bushels of corn beyond what Ontario now produces. The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, which represents the ethanol and biodiesel industry in Canada, has stated that the imposition of a countervailing duty on U.S. corn will effectively halt the development of Canada's ethanol industry, precisely at a time when soaring gas prices make ethanol a better solution than ever.

Contact Information

  • Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative Inc.
    Tom Cox
    IGPC Chair
    (519) 771-4467
    Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative Inc.
    (519) 752-0447 or 1-866-211-0435