China Implements Ban On Viterra Canola

A second Canadian company has now had its licence to sell Canola into China revoked.

This time action is being taken against Viterra another major handler of canola.

Earlier this month Richardson International had its license to sell Canola into China revoked.

The Chinese saying they were revoking the permit as a result of concerns over pests found in canola shipments.

Jim Everson, President of the Canadian Canola Council told us last week that Canada was seeing very limited sales of canola seed into China.

He says its clear importers in China are demonstrating an unwillingness to buy Canadian Canola.

Agricultural Trade Remains A Top Priority For The Province

Agricultural trade and trade issues is a key priority for the Provincial Government.

Saskatchewan’s top trading markets are the U-S, China, India, Japan, and Mexico.

Legislative Secretary for Trade and Export Development Everett Hindley had an opportunity to meet with the Consul General of Japan Mr. Kobayashi.

He notes Japan is a key market for the Province in 2017 exports to Japan were valued at $1.1 billion dollars with Agri-food exports accounting for about 99% of that.

“Saskatchewan is Japan’s leading supplier of wheat and canola seed – wheat at about 69% and Canola 52% of their total imports.   We also account for 62% of Japan’s mustard and 32% of its oat imports and we’re also the exclusive exporter of canaryseed to Japan.”

Hindley is optimistic that we’ll see even greater trade opportunities with Japan as a result of the recently signed CPTPP agreement.

Agricultural trade issues with China remain on Hindley’s radar.

It appears importers in China are demonstrating an unwillingness to buy Canadian Canola is a key concern for producers here.

China is one of Saskatchewan’s top export markets and canola is one of our key exports.

Hindley says they’ve been urging the Federal Government to turn the heat up on this one.

“This is a serious, serious concern for Saskatchewan producers in particular for our economy because as I said exports are so key for our province. It impacts us as a Provincial Government in terms of our economy but it impacts producers cropping decisions and you know at this time of the year it’s something that makes it very difficult for them.”

Canada's Agriculture Minister said last week that China has agreed to meet with Canadian scientists to discuss the canola dispute.

Canola Seed Shipments To China Remain A Concern

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is expressing grave concerns over news that we are now seeing very limited sales of canola seed into China.

APAS Vice President Ian Boxall says he’s very concerned noting our policymakers need to be doing everything they can to clear this up.

 “Canola’s a $25 billion dollar industry to Canada and it employs hundreds of thousands of people. This doesn’t just affect me and other producers and rural Canada, this is an economic driver in all of Canada. The Canola sector’s as large as the automotive sector and people need to understand that.”

Boxall says with producers just weeks away from planting the 2019 crop, a trade issue with our largest Canola seed customer is very disturbing.

He admits there’s always a concern that the situation could impact other commodities.

“They’re a buyer of lots of our commodities and we need to ensure that market access is there for producers. You piggyback this on the back of a billion dollar loss last year from pulses and a reduction in overall farm income it’s very worrisome.”

Boxall says this is the time when our elected officials need to step up and use every possible avenue to resolve these very serious issues.

Challenges Persist For Canola Seed Exports To China

The Canadian Canola Council of Canada is seeing very limited sales of canola seed into China right now.

Many feel China’s concerns over shipping issues with Richardson International are politically motivated and relate back to the arrest of a Huawei executive.

Jim Everson, President of the Canadian Canola Council says its clear importers in China are demonstrating an unwillingness to buy Canadian Canola.

“We have this current situation that we have to deal with but we’re very confident in the quality of canola on the international market and our ability to be a quality, reliable supplier. We would certainly hope that producers would be confident in Canola going forward.”

He says China is an important market and accounts for about 40% of all canola seed, oil, and meal exports.

 “Our seed exports to China last year were $2.7 billion dollars so it’s a strong seed market for Canada very valuable market for Canadian Canola farmers and the industry. That’s why there’s a level of concern for this issue. I’d hasten to say that we think the foundations of our trade with China are very strong.”

He says while the Federal Government has responded very quickly to Chinese concerns they want to see them intensify their efforts to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Everson says Canadian Canola is of the highest quality because of our world-class quality assurance systems.

Cattle Markets Improving

Prices seem to be turning around on the cattle markets.

Brian Perillat is the Manager and Senior Analyst at Canfax.

"On the feeder cattle side we've seen a bit of spring pressure over the last couple months. There seems to be some stability there, seeing some improvement in the markets in general. We've seen certainly some more interest in calves, anything destined for the grass markets certainly picked up on five and six weight steers, probably hitting some of their highest prices of the year."

Perillat adds feed grain costs continue to rise, which works against feedlot profitability.

He notes calving season is right around the corner for many producers.

"Now with guys pushing calving seasons back, the bulk of the cows probably avoided the cold weather," said Perillat. "Certainly some producers have gone through it. Hopefully, we don't have the issues we had last year with the cull cows or tough calving conditions. Keeping cow numbers at bay, we've certainly seen a little bit of strength here over the last couple of weeks too. Cull cow prices have moved up and more cows closer to that 90 cent range, which is near the highest point it's been at this year."

He notes producers are continuing to keep a close watch on the Canadian dollar, which is sitting around the 75 cent mark.

China Agrees To Meet With Canadian Scientists

There has been some movement this week from China in regards to the stopping of canola seed shipments from Winnipeg-based Richardson International.

Canada's Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau explained.

"They have finally agreed this week, our Canadian scientists will have further discussions to understand really the issue, what they have found. This is great that China has agreed to have this science-based discussion," she said.

China revoked Richardson's canola shipping permit, stating they found hazardous organisms in canola shipments from the Canadian company.

Former Conservative Ag Minister Concerned Over Canola Shipments

Gerry Ritz believes the Trudeau government should be doing more when it comes to clearing up the canola situation with China.

The Former Conservative Agriculture Minister recently received an honorary life membership with the Canola Council of Canada. 

Ritz says it was a real honor and a humbling experience and encouraged the group to never stop lobbying, the job is never done.

He notes the situation with China and canola export permits from Richardson International is pure politics and at issue is the Huawei debacle.

“It needs to be the Prime Minister himself making the call to the leadership over there. It means the Ministers of Trade, Foreign Affairs, and Agriculture are on planes and landing in China, in Beijing putting on a full court press. Working with big buyers like COFCO and others that can put pressure back through their own government. They’re all politically connected and it just means getting that work done on the ground.”

Ritz compares the current situation to how his government handled the issue with China over Blackleg.

“You know we had a SWAT team headed by a guy named Freddy Gorrell. Fred was on a plane that very same day into China lining up meetings for me to be there some three days later so that we hit the ground running.   During that time frame, we put Agriculture Canada staff in the embassies and consulates around the world so that they knew the files, not someone from global affairs or foreign affairs as they call it now. We also put together a scientific working group of Agriculture Canada scientists, Canola Council Scientists and Chinese scientists that came to Winnipeg and looked at the science and the work we were doing here. That needs to happen again.”

Ritz says it’s all about choices and keeping the pressure on the government of the day regardless of the political stripe to make sure they don’t forget about Agriculture - the third largest driver of the Canadian Economy.

Positive Feedback On Saskatchewan Budget

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is generally satisfied with the direction of the 2019 Saskatchewan Budget.

President Todd Lewis says he’s pleased with the funding for the agricultural programs.

“There’s continued funding for our Business Risk Management programs, they could always be improved but we appreciate the funding that does come for them. You know certainly the announcement last week for the $5 million dollars for establishing c and d’s (conservation and development areas) in the province as they pertain to water management that’s another important piece that will go a long way to licensing our waterworks and moving water properly within the province.”

Lewis says they also appreciate the Province’s continued commitment to funding research and development in the agriculture sector.

The livestock industry was watching the budget closely.

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association is pleased to see some of the program funding coming through.

Past Chair Ryan Brierbach says he would give the Provincial Budget an A, but adds they definitely have some ideas on what we can do when the economy does strengthen.

The SCA was happy to see the province committing funds for the previously announced crop insurance enhancements.

More money was allocated in the budget for the higher coverage of hay and pasture acres, as well as the newly announced corn rainfall insurance.

He notes they were also happy to see enhancements for the Verified Beef Production Plus program.

“They’ve set up the Best Management Practices and some of the funding that is available through that. Where if you’re certified and audited you get a higher level of funding, that should help encourage producers to sign up.”

He says there’s definitely a couple of positives there and no new taxes is a positive when you’re looking at a government that’s trying to balance a budget under an economy that’s not real strong.

It's a Balanced Budget for Saskatchewan

Premier Scott Moe’s government delivered a balanced budget with a surplus of 34.4 million dollars; it’s the first time the Province has had a budget surplus in three years.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer says the budget contains no new taxes or tax increases while achieving a balanced budget that is affordable and sustainable, now and in the years ahead.

Agriculture Minister David Marit says they’re very excited about it especially with no new tax hikes.

He says the Agriculture budget will see a 3.3 % increase or a little over $12 million dollars noting enhancements in crop insurance.

“Forage and pasture coverage we’ve upped that and offered producers a couple of different offers in that. We’ve increased corn coverage on that side of it, so we’re excited about that. Also, we’ve extended the dates for cereal fall seeded from September 15 to September 30.”

Marit notes the increase in the agriculture budget is being spent in a variety of ways to improve programs adding there’s increased funding for the Rat Control program which is delivered by SARM.

“We gave them an increase in the Rat Control program of $350 thousand which is something that their members had asked for and they asked us also for it. Obviously, we’re concerned about the rat population. We’ve seen some very good reductions in the last four or five years with that program and we want to continue to see those reductions.”

He adds the province is also committed to agricultural research noting in the global markets it’s important to stay focused on research, noting this year’s research budget is just under $32 million.

Marit says overall it’s a strong budget for the Province of Saskatchewan and it’s balanced.

Federal Budget Given A Failing Grade

The Trudeau Government had promised to deliver a balanced budget at the end of their four-year term but instead increased the national debt projecting a $19.8 billion dollar deficit.

Opposition Conservatives have been calling on the Federal Government to control spending.

Randy Hoback, the Conservative MP and Deputy Shadow Critic for the International Trade Committee says the Trudeau government’s budget is a failure.

“They’re spending a lot of money to try to cover up what’s going on in the SNC Lavalin case. Reality is they're providing a lot of gifts and a lot of things right now that we’re going to have to pay for next year and the years after when the increases in taxes take effect.”

He notes as it relates to agriculture there was money there for supply management money that was there when we (the Conservatives) were in government.

“When we did our trade deals we already agreed to supply management that we would give them compensation to help offset the losses they’d have in the marketplace due to the new trade agreements. They (Liberals) actually just now put it into the budget which really isn’t any new money it’s just basically re-iterating what we had already committed to previously. When you look at for grain farmers and other sectors there’s really not a lot in there except some talk about we’re going to look at how we do farm transitions to avoid taxation without jeopardizing the tax system."

He says they’ve tried to rehash some old things and make them look new.

“It’s fairly weak when it comes to Agriculture, but I guess it’s better than last time because last budget Agriculture wasn’t even mentioned.”

He wonders if they (Liberal’s) even have an understanding of what farming is.

“In fact, in the Trade Committee when we were talking about canola, we actually had to bring some canola to the committee to show them what it actually looked like.”

He says the reality is they don’t understand agriculture. So they’re doing things from Ottawa without talking to people who are actually at the farm gate, and they create a whole pile of mistakes when they do that.

“A good example of that is this goof up with the fuel at card locks. Anybody in agriculture knows that fuel at card locks is purple fuel, purple diesel and should be carbon tax exempt. So, how they would miss that one is beyond us.”

More Ag News

China Implements Ban On Viterra Canola

A second Canadian company has now had its licence to sell Canola into China revoked. This time action is being taken against Viterra another major handler of canola. Earlier this month Richardson…

Agricultural Trade Remains A Top Priority For The Province

Agricultural trade and trade issues is a key priority for the Provincial Government. Saskatchewan’s top trading markets are the U-S, China, India, Japan, and Mexico. Legislative Secretary for Trade…

Canola Seed Shipments To China Remain A Concern

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is expressing grave concerns over news that we are now seeing very limited sales of canola seed into China. APAS Vice President Ian Boxall says…

Challenges Persist For Canola Seed Exports To China

The Canadian Canola Council of Canada is seeing very limited sales of canola seed into China right now. Many feel China’s concerns over shipping issues with Richardson International are politically…

Cattle Markets Improving

Prices seem to be turning around on the cattle markets. Brian Perillat is the Manager and Senior Analyst at Canfax. "On the feeder cattle side we've seen a bit of spring pressure over the last couple…

China Agrees To Meet With Canadian Scientists

There has been some movement this week from China in regards to the stopping of canola seed shipments from Winnipeg-based Richardson International. Canada's Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau…

Former Conservative Ag Minister Concerned Over Canola Shipments

Gerry Ritz believes the Trudeau government should be doing more when it comes to clearing up the canola situation with China. The Former Conservative Agriculture Minister recently received an…

Positive Feedback On Saskatchewan Budget

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan is generally satisfied with the direction of the 2019 Saskatchewan Budget. President Todd Lewis says he’s pleased with the funding for the…

It's a Balanced Budget for Saskatchewan

Premier Scott Moe’s government delivered a balanced budget with a surplus of 34.4 million dollars; it’s the first time the Province has had a budget surplus in three years. Finance Minister Donna…

Federal Budget Given A Failing Grade

The Trudeau Government had promised to deliver a balanced budget at the end of their four-year term but instead increased the national debt projecting a $19.8 billion dollar deficit. Opposition…

DiscoverWeyburn.com is Weyburn's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Login