NFU Briefs 2008
- November 19, 2008
The Farm Crisis and the Cattle Sector: Toward a New Analysis and New Solutions
We have a crisis. We have a need for new thinking. We have a need for bold solutions. There will be resistance. There will be near- hysterical attacks on those who threaten the status quo. But we must prevail. We must reverse course. We must talk about corporate power and captive supply and about the profits of the dominant players. We must restore balance and equity. We must return our family-farm cattle producers to stability and profitability. We must act now. We must succeed. Executive Summary. Full Report.
Where's the beef... plan?
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association has published a response to the NFU cattle report. We invite you to read both the NFU report and the CCA response, and decide for yourself which offers the most penetrating and reliable analysis. In the interests of helping farmers/ranchers make informed decisions, the NFU also challenges the Canadian Cattlemen's Association to provide a link on its website to the NFU cattle report.
Canadian Cattlemen's Response to the NFU report
Click here to link to the CCA website and its response document.
- November 10, 2008
Recommendations by the NFU to New Brunswick elected representatives
This is a hard time for farmers in our province and across the country. New Brunswick farmers are hardworking professionals, many with university degrees and generations of successful family farm management. Yet in 2007, the total net income for NB farms averaged $ -24,746.00 (Statistics Canada Farm Financial Statistics). On most NB farms, this negative income means at least one family member must work another job off-farm to keep the farm alive. How can NB thrive and be sustainable if farmers can’t afford to grow food?
- October 3, 2008:
The National Farmers Union (NFU) welcomes this opportunity to participate in the “Consultation on Small Flock Policy” undertaken by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario.
We welcome the efforts of the CFO over the past year to conduct this pilot project. The CFO has responded to legitimate requests by farmers and farm organizations to address the need for regulations governing small flock exemptions.
The NFU put forward a proposal for small flock exemptions in 2006. In that proposal, the NFU expressed its strong support for supply-managed commodities and the original principles of supply-management. The supply-management system estimates demand, coordinates supply and returns costs of production to family farms. The NFU fully supports collective marketing of farm products so that family farms receive a fair price for their work and investment.
- August, 2008:
The NFU advocates universally-accessible and affordable postal services for rural communities. The possibility of deregulation of Canada Post’s services holds serious implications for the future viability of rural postal services and the communities which depend on those services.
- July 22-25, 2008:
If it is to operate on behalf of family farms in Ontario as an effective single-desk seller, the Ontario Pork Producers Marketing Board must have the marketing power to be able to market pigs in a manner that prevents packers from exploiting their captive supplies.
- June 12, 2008:
Under the following headings we will identify some of the most obvious causes (the problems) of what we see as the death of farming in PEI and the possible solutions:
- Free Trade in Food Has to Go
- The market place is dysfunctional for farmers: a deliberate public policy outcome
- Immediate government action and input are essential
- The fallout from the current farm crisis is irreversible
- June 10, 2008:
Submission to House of Commons Agriculture Committee on the need for support for Ontario tobacco farmers
The National Farmers Union recommends that the federal government implement an immediate plan that treats farmers with dignity and respect and provides for an orderly phase-out of tobacco production, without the hardship of loss of their life’s equity.
- June, 2008:
The National Farmers Union has adopted policy positions on many areas of direct concern to family farmers in Saskatchewan and across Canada. Our policy is the result of democratic debate at annual national conventions on resolutions put forward by grassroots delegates. As a result, the NFU policy on Crop Insurance reflects the wishes of a majority of family farmers in this province and nationally.
- April 16, 2008:
Local Food is a global trend. The movement towards fair and sustainable local food systems is not new, and it is not a fad, but it is experiencing a coming of age around the world. The reasons for this trend are very straightforward. A combination of factors has created a situation where the sustainability of our food production and trading system is highly questionable. These factors include: climate change and peak oil, the farm income crisis, unfair international trade rules, world population growth, parallel epidemics of hunger and obesity, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, soil salinity and erosion, pesticide and fertilizer pollution, and a decline in rural communities around the world. People in Canada and in other countries are legitimately concerned about the future of the food system, and are taking a long, hard, critical look at what measures need to be implemented to ensure sustainability for the present and future generations.
- April 8, 2008:
National Farmers Union Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on 'Product of Canada' Food Labelling Ottawa, Ontario
While the criteria required for labelling food in Canada is extensive and detailed compared to many other countries, the reality is that Canadian consumers do not always have the information they need to make informed choices about the food they are buying.
- March 14, 2008:
Submission by the National Farmers Union to the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation on the Canadian Grain Commission and the issue of potential farmers' liability
In December, 2007, legislation was introduced in the House of Commons which, if passed, will have serious implications for Manitoba’s farmers and the provincial economy. Bill C-39, An Act to Amend the Canada Grain Act, will effectively restructure the Canadian Grain Commission so that its primary mandate is no longer to operate in farmers’ interests, but instead is to function as a facilitator for large grain companies.
- March 6, 2008:
Until recently, a brief description of the farm income crisis went like this: A mother goes to a supermarket to buy a loaf of bread. She puts $1.35 on the counter. The grocery chain, baking company, flour-milling corporation, and grain company together take $1.30. The farmer gets the remaining nickel. Then fertilizer, seed, chemical, fuel, and machinery companies take 6¢ from the farmer’s pocket. Taxpayers make up the missing penny, in the form of subsidies. The farmer’s spouse gets a job in town, to pay for groceries.
Rising grain prices have changed the narrative, slightly. Now, the mother will be made to pay $1.60 for the bread, and the farmer will get a dime. What will be instructive to watch, however, is how those fertilizer, seed, chemical, fuel, and machinery companies position themselves to take 11¢ from the farmer’s pocket— thereby continuing, uninterrupted, the farm income crisis, despite rising grain prices.
- February 5, 2008:
Submission by the National Farmers Union on the Farm Income Crisis and Solutions to the Opportunities in Agriculture Task Force
The current Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), in particular, represents a major concern for our membership. During the past five years since the APF was implemented, there has been a dramatic decline in the viability of family farm operations across the country. Not only have farmgate prices declined for most major commodities, but input prices for machinery, seed, fertilizer and credit have increased while infrastructure and regulatory costs have been downloaded directly onto farmers.
- January, 2008:
If national prosperity and a higher standard of living for a majority of Canadians is to be achieved, the Competition Policy Review Panel must look beyond the flawed assumptions inherent in its consultation paper. It is clear from farmers’ experience, as well as the data from Statistics Canada, that the free trade policies of the past two decades have failed to raise farmers’ standard of living, despite increased exports of farm commodities and rising gross incomes. Farmers’ realized net incomes have not only failed to keep pace with the increased productivity of their farms, they have actually fallen further and further behind. Farm debt has more than doubled since the 1980s, and a majority of farmers across Canada rely on off-farm income to remain afloat financially.
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What is the NFU?
The National Farmers Union is a direct-membership voluntary organization made up of Canadian farm families who share common goals. It is the only farm organization incorporated through an Act of Parliament.
NFU members believe that the problems facing farmers are common problems, and that farmers producing diverse products must work together to advance effective solutions. The NFU works toward the development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Canada.