KAP News & Media

KAP News and Media

News Releases


April 11, 2014

Grain movement, prices, biosecurity, weigh on farmers' minds

Even though federal grain-movement legislation setting out mandatory capacity and penalties for the railways is close to being passed (Bill C-30), farmers attending  KAP’ s spring General Council meeting today indicated they still have concerns about getting their grain to market.

They called for open running rights, where railways would be required by law to allow other railways – including shortlines and U.S. carriers – to use their lines. This, they said, would give farmers more options when a particular railway could not deliver cars, and would enhance rail capacity.

After it became clear this winter that the majority of the 2013 bumper crop was not being moved by the railways, KAP became a national leader in lobbying the federal government to improve rail service. This ultimately resulted in Bill C-30 which mandates railway capacity and compulsory service-level agreements, as well as reciprocal payments between railways and shippers for non-compliance.

“The railways are denouncing this legislation, but they had the opportunity last June, with Bill C-52, to enter into voluntary service-level agreements with shippers – and they declined to do so,” said KAP president Doug Chorney.

Also at today’s meeting, KAP members expressed their dismay over wide basis margins for grain as a result of the lack of movement and high volumes in the marketplace. The basis margin is the difference between the futures price and the price offered at country elevators. The wider the basis, the lower the price offered to farmers.

Also discussed is a developing fertilizer shortage, where even farmers who pre-booked fertilizer supplies are being told they cannot get them.
KAP members also expressed concern, in light of clubroot and the PED virus recently moving into Manitoba, about biosecurity. They called for KAP to work with the provincial government, municipalities, utility companies, and oil/gas companies to prevent the spread of disease by adhering to biosecurity protocols developed by landowners.

Clubroot is a severe disease that affects canola yields, and PED is a devastating virus that affects baby pigs.

Also raised at the meeting was concern about UPOV ’91, with farmers asking KAP to interpret for them the proposed legislation enhancing plant breeders’ rights. They also want to lobby the federal government to continue research on smaller-acreage crops that are not part of the mandate of the large, private plant breeders.

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For more information:

Doug Chorney, president – 204-785-3626

Val Ominski, communications – 204-697-1140, ext 3

Keystone Agricultural Producers is Manitoba’s largest farm policy organization, representing the interests of all Manitoba farmers.