Recent History – 2005
By Gary Rusak — October 27, 2005
With the harvest behind them, local grain producers can only hope that the world commodity prices will begin to rise.
“They are really low, in real terms the lowest ever,” said Jim Smolik, a local producer and president of the Grain Growers of Canada. Smolik said on Wednesday that most of the crop in the south Peace is off the fields.
“Generally speaking about this time the bulk of the crop is off,” he said. “There are little pockets here and there that are having a little more trouble. There are a few guys here and there that have bits and pieces. The north Peace is a little further behind than we are. It is to do with the weather, but also not all farmers have grain dryers. That will make a huge difference whether they would have all their crops off or not.”
However, the real crunch for producers will come when they start to look at this year’s balance sheet. With basement prices and penthouse input costs, the news is not good.
“It’s everything,” he said. “The huge world surplus, the fantastic crop generally speaking across Canada — that and the lack of new export demand, especially for Canola, and the increasing costs are sort of a double, triple, quadruple whammy.”
However, Smolik, whose work with the Grain Growers of Canada demands that he be up to date with world trade developments, said that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for Canadian producers.
“The U.S. has presented and I understand Europe is going to be looking at a possible reduction of subsidies,” he said explaining that the reduction could help to level the international playing field for local producers. “They haven’t announced anything yet, but it’s something.”
Smolik is looking towards the next round of world trade meetings in Hong Kong in mid-December with a keen eye.
“It is just critical for us that it comes to a positive conclusion at the Hong Kong round,” he said.
He added that he hopes that Canada will speak up for its producers at the bargaining table.
“The disappointing thing from my point of view is that Canada doesn’t have a strong position,” he said. “They are trying to be the boy scout. Understandably we try to work with other countries, but as a producer in Canada you would hope you would have a strong position that will address all the different interests.”