Will grain farming follow same corporate ownership path as hog production?

Not all KAP members are as sanguine about farming’s future as its president Doug Chorney or Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn.

Lowe Farm-area farmer Butch Harder warned changes to the Canada Grain Act weaken grain farmers. With foreigners buying farmland and the government cutting safety net programs, grain farming is being corporatized, he warned.

“I think we really need to learn from what’s happening in the hog industry,” Harder told Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn after he addressed KAP’s annual meeting.

“We need to look at that model and the same thing could potentially happen in the grain industry.

“You don’t have to look very far down the road. A lot of our producers in this room and otherwise will merely be working for some large corporation and those family farms you’re so euphoric for are gone. And we’re really not addressing that problem.

“It’s called corporate agriculture and that’s where we’re headed.”

Kostyshyn said opportunities lie in developing new markets for the growing population, which the new Growing Forward 2 federal-provincial agreement will focus on.

“Producers these days do not want to farm with money coming through the mail,” Kostyshyn said repeating one of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s favourite lines.

It’s unlikely grain farming will be taken over by non-family farm corporations because family farms as so efficient, World Farmers Organization president Robert Carlson told reporters later.

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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