Ontario Cattle Feeders Association

September 02, 2005 09:58 ET

Ontario Cattle Feeders Association: Ontario's Livestock Industry Threatened by Trade Action

LONDON, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 2, 2005) - Despite the earlier wishes this year of a "United Voice" for Ontario's agricultural sector, that pipe-dream has all but vanished as both Canada and Ontario's corn producers are pursuing a three-pronged attack again U.S. grain corn imports.

"This action doesn't cause injury to American producers, it could effectively cripple agriculture in Canada because it is short-sighted and DOES NOT address the real issues within our sector," said Doug Calhoun, President of the Ontario Cattle Feeders Association (OCFA). "In fact, as this nation is a NET importer of corn, it will actually cause greater disparity with our American counterparts in the cattle industry. Higher feed costs created by this so-called trade action could put our industry, already struggling to regain its competitive foothold, right back to the same position it was in June of 2003 - looking in from the outside."

Even the threat of countervail on U.S. grain corn and its actions are causing more than a little concern for the rest of Ontario's farmers - because the ramification of one trade action will create a domino effect that many farmers will never recover from.

"One challenge leads to another - it's a long-standing cycle in trade relationships," said Jim Clark, the Executive Director with the OCFA. "At a time when the cattle industry is poised to finally move forward after 30 of the longest months in Canadian agriculture's history, we've got a group that, without consulting ANY interested parties, provides our competitors with further ammunition in their efforts to ban Canadian beef and beef products."

Both Calhoun and Clark indicated that their opposition to this decision by the corn producers has nothing to do with the devastating farm income situation that exists within Canada's boundaries today.

"If this was about fixing a problem that exists regarding farm income, we'd be fully behind it," said Clark. "We need short and long-term solutions to farm income, farm economics, and, more importantly, farmer sustainability. But a trade action resolves none of those issues. We need ALL of agriculture's leadership to take a stand on the real issues confronting our wounded sector, not have a few band-aids being applied that stop the bleeding in one area while another gets amputated."

"Our members are also corn growers and we understand the difficulties confronting a sector that is financed by another country's treasury, but what this action will ultimately do is tilt the working relationship for all other competitive farmers who, because of the actions of a few, could see their industry facing similar trade action against them. There are better ways to resolve this - and consultation rather than confrontation, would have ensured that ALL parties could present a united presence on this rather than the sniping that will now commence," continued Clark.

"Partnerships, alliances, and working relationships formed during our time of crisis have shown that we are all facing similar situations and we should all be pulling in the same direction. This decision isn't about the 'big' business of farming. This decision ultimately decides whether there will be farming. Period."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Cattle Feeders Association
    Jim Clark
    (519) 857-8404