Monday, October 16, 2017

Veggie negotiating protocols outlined

 The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission is proposing a new pricing protocol for the Ontario Processing Vegetables Marketing Board.

The industry has until Dec. 11 to file comments.

The proposal calls for two stages of negotiations.

The first stage would set minimum prices. Tonnages would be based on the previous four-year average.

The processors and the marketing board would also negotiate prices for tonnages greater than the base volume.

The second stage would be between each processing company and its farmer-suppliers.

OPVG would continue to appoint members to each negotiating agency, which negotiate the agreements, but would be required to appoint a minimum number of active growers who contract with a processor for that crop.

Negotiation deadlines would be moved up by three weeks, with a required start date, so that constructive discussions could begin well in advance of deadlines.

The amended regulation would allow either party to a negotiating agency to trigger mandatory conciliation prior to arbitration.

To promote increased consultation with growers during negotiations, growers would be given the power to call a meeting with their negotiating agency representatives prior to arbitration.

If arbitration is required, the arbitrator would have flexibility to make a decision that was not necessarily just one party's final offer in its entirety.

Parties would be required to provide the names of negotiating agency appointees to the Commission ahead of the start of negotiations.

The Commission intends to monitor the implementation of the new regulations and to complete a full review by March 31, 2020.


U.S. targets milk at NAFTA talks

The United States negotiating team has, as expected, put a target on Canada’s new milk pricing for diafiltered milk proteins.

And the Canadian dairy lobby has, also as expected, resisted the U.S. proposals which call for limits on Canadian production.

And late Sunday, the Americans are rumoured to have tabled new demands seeking about a 30 per cent increase in access to the Canadian dairy market and an end to supply management within 10 years.

The access proposal in the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is an increase of 3.2 per cent. President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the TPP.

This demand, as with a number of others put forward by the U.S., has no chance of winning Canadian acceptance.

The background on the milk pricing issue is that the U.S. found a tariff-free loophole for diafiltered milk, which was not produced when the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Agreement were last negotiated.

Canadian processors quickly took advantage of the cheaper millk protein to incorporate it into production of cheeses and yogourts.

Seeing market losses for Canadian-produced milk, the marketing boards, led by Ontario, created a new classification at low enough prices to persuade processors to use it instead of imports from the U.S.

The loss of the new Canadian market prompted strong political reactions in the U.S., and landed the issue on the NAFTA negotiating table.

MacAulay in Rome today

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay is in Rome today to celebrate World Food Day, an event organized by the United Nations and attended by Pope Francis.

MacAulay has been meeting with leaders throughout Europe to promote Canadian exports under the new free trade agreement.

The meetings included sessions with the G7 in Bergamo, Italy, and a series of bilateral meetings with European Union (EU) officials while in Belgium.

The G7 is Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union is also represented within the G7.

The agriculture ministers attending the G7 meetings discussed issues ranging from agricultural risk management practices to food security and migration.

He met with his agriculture counterparts from the EU, Italy and Germany.

In Parma, the Minister conducted market development activities. In Belgium, the Minister met with European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, as well as with EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis.

MacAulay also met with European industry associations, including European Livestock and Meat Trades Union, COCERAL and Fediol, before touring the Port of Antwerp.

CFIA seeks comments on micronutrients

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is proposing to set maximums for fertilizer micronutrients, so is seeking public comment.

On its website it says “to mitigate the risks of over-application, the CFIA regulates micronutrient fertilizers.

“The tolerances will provide clarity for the regulated parties, facilitate compliance verification and enforcement and improve compliance rates in the marketplace.

“The tolerances are based on scientific evidence and modern manufacturing practises, and are in line with international standards.

“Products with micronutrients will continue to require labeling in English and French to inform customers of all safety information.”

This appears to be a reversal of the agency’s decision a few years ago to back off on fertilizer regulations to allow marketers and farmers to try unconventional products.

Friday, October 13, 2017

BASF buying seed, glyphosate businesses

BASF is paying $7 billion US cash to buy substantial seed and glyphosate assets from Bayer so Bayer can complete its purchase of Monsanto.

The deal includes soybean and canola varieties in Canada and some of Bayer/Monsanto’s plant breeding technologies.

Other seed deals may follow as BASF expands its expertise, said BASF’s chief executive officer Kurt Bock on a call with investors.

Pulse exporters to India in limbo – again

Canadian pulse exports to India are in limbo again because 13 days have gone by with no word on whether a fumigation exemption will be renewed.

Canada has argued that fumigating pulse exports is risky and not necessary because of Canada’s cold weather.

The pesticides the Indians want Canadians to use for fumigation are not allowed to be used in Canada.

The Indians have previously banned Canadian pulses over the fumigation issue, but relented to grant special short-term exemptions.

Gord Bacon of Pulse Canada said shipments now en route to India are fine if they were loaded Sept. 30 or earlier.

Those have clearly-spelled-out regulations and the exemption that permits Canadian shippers to forego fumigating their cargoes with methyl bromide still applies — but the rules for product loaded after that are unclear.

“So, any bills of lading from Oct. 1 on, we don’t know, as of today, we don’t know,” he said.

Bacon said he couldn’t say what effect it would have on shippers — whether it might cause them to delay shipments or if it has made it more difficult to execute new sales under the uncertainties that persist.