Seaway Valley Farmers Energy Co-operative

September 12, 2005 08:01 ET

Seaway Valley Farmers Energy Co-operative Asks Members to Speak out Against Proposed Corn Countervail

CORNWALL, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 12, 2005) - . Seaway is calling upon all of its corn producer members to speak out against the Ontario Corn Producers Association's support of a move to impose steep countervailing duties on U.S. corn imported into Ontario. Seaway'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 or, in lieu of attending, to contact their local delegates to voice disapproval over the OCPA action.

In a complaint to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), the OCPA and corn producer associations in Quebec and Manitoba allege 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 Seaway President Richard Lavigne, "but a stiff countervailing duty on U.S corn will harm the corn producers' best customers in the animal feeding, corn refining, ethanol and distilling industries without providing any permanent solution to the economic disadvantages that plague the industry. Our Board has long supported the idea that the value-added processing of corn by its producers is one way to improve the value of the crop, but the OCPA action on this issue is directly detrimental to that goal and was taken without consultation with or notification to any of the parties that will be most affected by an artificial increase in the cost of corn." The Seaway Board of Directors has approved a resolution calling on the OCPA to withdraw its support of the petition to CBSA.

The imposition of a countervailing duty on U.S. corn imports is widely regarded as disastrous to all Canadian users of corn. Not only ethanol plants and other processors of corn, but all cattle and pork producers will be seriously injured by this action. Any countervailing duties collected will be paid by domestic corn buyers, not by American farmers or the U.S. Treasury.

"The OCPA should be working in tandem with the existing and prospective consumers of its members' corn, many of which are owned in whole or in part by those same members, to ensure that there is a vibrant and profitable corn production sector in Ontario. Supporting a position that is inherently adversarial with its customers and detrimental to their economic success seems to run counter to the reasons that there is an OCPA", said Lavigne.

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, which represents about one half of 1% of late year's US crop. With the implementation of Ontario's ethanol mandate in 2007, five proposed new ethanol plants, including that of Seaway Grain Processors, will require an additional 60 million bushels of corn beyond what Ontario now uses. The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, the trade association that 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

  • Seaway Valley Farmers Energy Co-operative
    Richard Lavigne
    (613) 290-6011