Standing Up for Ontario Farmers
Governments Assist Those Impacted by Plant Disease
TORONTO - Ontario and the federal government announced steps to help farmers experiencing high levels of deoxynivalenol (DON), a plant disease that impacted Ontario's corn crop this year due to wet weather.
They will provide special assistance to help farmers experiencing revenue loss because of high levels of DON. While the largest portion of Ontario's corn crop remains unaffected, this support will help ease the impact for affected farmers and assist the entire grain sector in better managing challenges caused by this plant disease in the future.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the governments are:
- Opening an application process aimed at covering a portion of eligible farmers' expenses from testing for DON levels.
- Supporting new projects to help address challenges at different points in the grain sector value chain, such as finding ways to best process or market corn impacted by DON.
- Partnering with the Grain Farmers of Ontario on research and new actions to reduce the frequency and impact of high DON levels, including finding temporary options to store corn to improve grain quality.
"We understand the significance of this issue for grain farmers and the agricultural sector at-large," said Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership we are able to act quickly to support grain farmers and help address some of the immediate challenges around testing, storage, and handling, while also looking towards long-term solutions to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of our grain sector."
"Our Government for the People is taking action to support our hard-working farmers and our agriculture sector facing catastrophic challenges caused by the wet weather this fall. This situation is concerning to farmers, to the sector and to me," said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "We want Ontario farmers and others working in our agricultural sector to succeed. That means working to find solutions that will help them get ahead, despite the challenges nature may cause them."
While the largest portion of Ontario's corn crop remains unaffected, the province continues to monitor the scope of the impact and review possible longer-term implications. It is also providing information on best management practices for farmers concerned about the possible impacts of this plant disease on their operations.
"The high DON levels in corn that Ontario farmers are facing is very stressful. Unmarketable corn and very significant discounts coupled with difficult harvest conditions are creating a market and harvest like none we have seen before," said Barry Senft, CEO of the Grain Farmers of Ontario. "Until we know the full extent of this very challenging situation, it's good to see the Canadian and Ontario governments commit to providing funding for some tools to help the sector work through this issue. The recognition of the problem by Minister MacAulay and Minister Hardeman is appreciated."
- Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a toxic substance caused by a fungus that lowers the market value of affected corn and can render it unmarketable at high levels.
- The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) will implement the new targeted cost-share intake under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. More information about the intake for farmers will be available within two weeks on the OSCIA website or by calling OMAFRA at: 1-877-424-1300.
- Farmers whose crops are significantly impacted by high levels of DON may also be eligible for production insurance coverage through Agricorp.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.