Thursday, August 31, 2023

Drought hampers soybeans

Drought is hampering soybeans in the main production area of the United States “raising concerns about the availability of supplies,” said Robobank.

Scouts participating in the recent Pro Framer Crop Tour found sporadic and highly variable yields for both corn and soybeans, especially across the western corn belt, it said.

Record high temperatures and dry conditions in August have negatively impacted both crops. At this stage of the growing season, yield loss due to ongoing heat stress is a much greater risk for soybeans than for corn.  

The soybean situation compounds a 4.6 decline in acres planted.

In addition to drought and heat stress, sudden death syndrome was widely noticed by scouts, as was white mold.

But in Ontario, soybean fields look exceptionally good this summer.

Soybean oil prices are already high relative to soybean meal, driven by demand for diesel fuel.

Survey reveals some eat a lot of beef

Twelve per cent of Americans account for more than half of the beef consumed, according to an analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Men ate more than women.

Older adults and college graduates are less likely to eat a meat-heavy diet, according to the research published on Wednesday in the journal Nutrients.

Disproportionate beef consumption is defined as eating more than four ounces for every 2,200 calories.

While nearly a third of reported consumption came from cuts of beef such as steak or brisket, six of the top 10 beef sources were mixed dishes such as burgers, soups and pasta, the researchers from Tulane University found.

The survey was of more than 10,000 people who were asked to recall what they had eaten in the previous 24 hours.

Lactalis is world’s largest dairy

Rabobank reported that Lactalis is now the largest dairy business in the world. Its head offices are in France.

Saputo of Montreal ranked 10th and Agropur 15th.

Lactalis has 30 plants in Canada and its brands include Armstrong  and Black Diamond scheese, Astro and Siggis yogourts and Lactancia fresh milks.

Corn borers making a comeback

Farmers should be scouting corn fields to spot corn borer egg masses or stalk damage because new strains resistant to Bt genetics are spreading, says Tracey Baute, field crop entomologist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Scouting is important to know whether preventive measures ought to be taken before next year’s corn crop. It helps to have the scouting done on a community basis because the pest can spread to a wide area.

As for prevention, Baute recommends using a flail mower after harvest to shred stalks close to ground level. That kills the worms before they can overwinter.

Shredding and bury works, she said. Lowering the combine level also helps.

“We need to work as a group. Now we’re working on how to take action more broadly. Even if you see egg masses, know that field needs to be looked at later,” Baute said.


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

UG offers new degree in plant agriculture

The University of Guelph is offering a new degree called a master of plant agriculture.

It differs from already-available master’s degrees in that no academic research or a traditional thesis is required.

It has been designed for employers in the private and public sectors who are looking for professionals with advanced expertise in plant breeding, crop production and plant science, the university said.

“It allows recent graduates and professionals to quickly upgrade their education and training,” the university said.

“The program is expected to attract interest from recent graduates and professionals from across Canada and the world seeking a master’s program that enhances career opportunities in the plant agriculture sector,” thre university said.

Students can study on a full- or part-time basis and to select courses that match specific career goals in breeding and genetics, biochemistry and physiology, or crop production systems for both agronomic and horticultural crops.

Students can complete the program in three or four semesters, allowing international students to be eligible to apply for a post-graduate work permit.

“We are consistently hearing that employers are seeking graduates that have the scientific knowledge as well as the hands-on training in plant and agricultural science,” said Dr. John Cranfield, acting dean of Ontario Agriculture College. 

“Our department has world-class faculty with very strong connections to the sector and access to a network of research stations and state of the art facilities across Ontario,” said Dr. Hugh Earl, chair of the Department of Plant Agriculture. “This will benefit our graduate students as it enhances the opportunities for professional networking and hands on learning.

“Throughout the program, students gain applied skills and refine their critical thinking, develop collaborative problem-solving skills, and apply their knowledge in plant sciences to complex challenges,” Earl said. 

“These are critical skills for future leaders in the plant and agricultural sector.”

An advisory council of agriculture and plant science leaders will help guide program development as well as connect students to employment opportunities.

The first intake of students to the master of plant agriculture is slated for September pending approval from the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance.

It seems more like a community college program than a university degree course.

Biosecurity subsidies for Ontario

The federal and Ontario governments announced they have $7.5 million to spend on enhancing biosecurity in the food chain.

The program expands on $3 million that was earmarked for the pork sector.

This initiative will be available to Ontario businesses such as veterinary clinics, livestock auction barns and commingling facilities, grain elevators, seed treatment facilities, and transportation providers. 

Examples of eligible projects include establishing or improving cleaning practices, creating isolation facilities, constructing wash bays for disinfecting and training to support the mitigation of biosecurity risks in food production.

Swine flu on the increase

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs reports an increase in influenza type A in swine.

The peak number of positive submissions, 22, occurred in June.

“This is one of the highest months for Influenza A detections on record since the beginning of these reports in 2021,,” OMAFRA said.

It is a reportable disease and is of interest because It could spread to humans.


Number of submissions with positive tests for influenza in swine by production type and month, Ontario, January 2023 to June 2023. 

New virus detected in Ontario pigs

Two cases of sapovirus have been detected in pigs in Ontario.

The samples were sent to the Animal Health Laboratory at Guelph and the results were confirmed by a lab at Iowa .

The virus causes diarrhea and atropic enteritis in nursery pigs.

There are no vaccines available for treatment.

In the United States farmers use autogenous vaccines (i.e. home-made ones developed from diseases pigs).

A posting on the Canadian Health Network said “the mixing of bacterial and viral agents in a single autogenous vaccine is not allowed in Canada and the number of viruses that can be included in one autogenous vaccine is limited. 


“With the transfer to loose‐sow housing, producers are requesting that the total number of vaccines given is limited to prevent health and safety concerns for workers that are tasked with vaccinating the same animals’ multiple times. 

“Also, in Canada the approval times to add new isolated viruses like Sapovirus into an already used autogenous vaccine is slow and often will not help in an outbreak case situation.” 

Prairie drought cutting Canadian grain harvest

Statistics Canada is estimating wheat production will decline to the second-lowest total in eight years and 14 per cent than last year.

It calculates a crop of 29.5 million based on data from satellite surveillance and climate up to July 31.

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest wheat exporter and the biggest shipper of canola, which is used largely to produce vegetable oil.

Canola production is estimated at 17.6 million tonnes, down six per cent from last year and the second=lowest in nine years.

Production of spring wheat is estimated to decline by 14.5 per cent to 22.1 million tonnes. Durum’s forecast is down by 28 per cent to 4.3 million tonnes.

Oat production is projected at 2.4 million tonnes, which is less than half as much as last year and the lowest since 1991.

Corn production is estimated to increase by one per cent and soybeans by 2.9 per cent.

Statistics Canada will release new estimates on Sept. 14 using data as of Aug. 31.

Biosecurity subsidies for Ontario


The federal and Ontario governments announced they have $7.5 million to spend on enhancing biosecurity in the food chain.

The program expands on $3 million that was earmarked for the pork sector.

This initiative will be available to Ontario businesses such as veterinary clinics, livestock auction barns and commingling facilities, grain elevators, seed treatment facilities, and transportation providers. 

Examples of eligible projects include establishing or improving cleaning practices, creating isolation facilities, constructing wash bays for disinfecting and training to support the mitigation of biosecurity risks in food production.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Agriculture emissions rising steeply

The National Farmers Union reports that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture have increased by 41 per cent since 1990.

While that’s highlighted in the NFU news release, in the full report prepared by Darrel Qualman, it says compared to last year’s report, nitrous oxide emissions from synthetic nitrogen fertilizer have been reduced by approximately 20 percent between 1990 and 2020 and nitrous oxide emissions from the application of organic nitrogen fertilizers (including manure) and decomposition of crop residues have been reduced by about 40 percent. 

Sequestration of carbon dioxide has increased by 100 to 400 percent, depending on the year, as Environment and Climate Change Canada changed is measuring methods.

Canada has committed to reduce economy-wide GHG emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050.

But in the news release, the NFU said total greenhouse gas  emissions from Canadian agriculture increased from 58.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide  in 1990 to 82.6 million tonnes in 2021.

It also said emissions from nitrogen fertilizers and from fossil fuels both doubled in that same time frame.

The full report also questions the reliability of some of the data the federal government is using, such as the United Nations’ estimate of livestock methane emissions and manure management relating to nitrous oside emissions.

Qualman also notes that beef farming has reduced methane emissions in the last five years, mainly because there are fewer cattle. Dairy cattle emissions have also declined.

But the full report also said  “beef and dairy-related emissions may contribute more than 40 percent of all agricultural emissions in Canada.”

But it goes on to report “quantification of methane sources and sinks entails large uncertainties.

“There is a disconnect between the quantification of emissions tonnages from cattle and the interpretation of those reported emissions. 

“Consider this hypothetical: If the fossil fuel sector was a source only of carbon dioxide but not of methane, then current atmospheric methane concentrations would be much closer to long-term historical levels and therefore methane and cattle might not be seen as contributing to climate change. 

“That said, from many sources, humans have tripled atmospheric concentrations of methane.”

While reduced tillage gets a lot of credit for reducing emissions, Qualman said a bigger factor is the reduction in summerfallow acreage.

He also notes that the federal government is not measuring emissions related to reducing wetlands, mainly across the Prairies.

He also concludes that farmers’ carbon sequestration accounts for only a 22 per cent decrease in the balance of total emissions and that contribution is declining and likely to continue to decline.

In the conclusions in the full report, Qualman wrote that despite all the uncertainties “we have more than enough data and more than enough precision to move forward swiftly, energetically, and courageously to reduce agricultural emissions. 

“Commitments by governments to cut emissions from methane, from fertilizer, and from the economy as a whole provide clear signals that we need to act now and in each coming year to reduce emissions from all agricultural categories.”

The full 43-page report is available at



Bayer strikes deal with Pairwise

Bayer AG has made a deal with Pairwise to gain access to 27 novel traits useful in Bayer’s crop breeding program for shorter corn varieties.

Pairwise is known for introducing the first gene-edited foods to the United States market.

Short-stature corn – with a targeted height of 30 to 40 percent shorter than traditional corn – is seen as important in face of increasingly severe weather events and extreme winds and allows for more precise application of inputs throughout the growing season, Bayer said.

The initial five-year multi-milion-dollar collaboration focused on corn, soy, wheat, cotton and canola aims to reduce crop inputs and yields.

Results of collaborations so far “demonstrated significant commercial value including edited corn phenotypes with a 20 percent increase in kernel row numbers, which could lead to significantly more yield on the same number of acres.

“Another outcome has been edited soy that reduces the severity of Asian soybean rust, potentially reducing the need for fungicides to combat the disease and protecting the potential for higher yields,” Bayer said.


Ford says some Greenbelt land back

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government is looking at returning two parcels of land swapped out of the protected Greenbelt after learning the property owner has listed the land for sale.

He said the land was taken out of the Greenbelt in return for promises home construction would be undertaken, not sold to others.

Ford said in a statement Tuesday he recently learned that the owner of two sites in Ajax, east of Toronto, which were selected as part of the Greenbelt land-swap agreement with the Ontario government had put the land up for sale. 

He said at no point was the intention to sell disclosed to the government’s facilitator during discussions.

“This behaviour goes against everything that our government is doing to bring home ownership into reach for more people. In response, our government is exploring every option available to us, including immediately starting the process to put these sites back into the Greenbelt,” Mr. Ford said.

“To the other property owners, you’re on notice: if you don’t meet our government’s conditions, including showing real progress by year end with a plan to get shovels in the ground by 2025, your land will go back into the Greenbelt.”

Palmer Amaranth sighted in Wellington County

A Palmer Amaranth weed plant has been sighted on the edge of a corn field in Wellington County, reports Mike Cowbrough, weed specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

It’s worrisome because in the United States it has proven resistant to all herbicides, is prolific and sometimes grows to eight feet tall.

It’s not the first time it’s been seen in Ontario.

Provincial specialists previously confirmed one-off appearances in separate spots in Ontario in 1966, 1978 and, most recently, in 2007 near Niagara Falls.

Cowbrough  said “it was only a matter of time” before the weed turned up in Ontario, as it was already in the Ontario-adjacent states of New York and Michigan — and has been seen in all other states bordering the Great Lakes.

A few were seen in Manitoba two years ago.

It looks much like pigweed, but does not have hairy stems.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Fire kills 200 cattle

About 200 cattle died in a barn fire near Arthur.

Chris Harrow, director of fire services for Wellington North and Minto, said the barn could hold more than 400 cattle.

Neighbours helped rescue about 100 of the 300 in the barn.

The barn collapsed. The loss is between $2 and $4 million.

Several fire departments responded.

ASF gene identified

Scientists from Germany and Scotland have pinpointed a gene in the DNA of pigs that is needed for infection by African Swine Fever.

The discovery at the Roslin Institute raises the possibility that gene editing could equip pigs to resist infection. 

ASF has killed more than 200 million pigs worldwide, is a major issue across Asia, and has the potential to cause major outbreaks in Europe and America. 

Canada has been working on plans for coping lest there should be an outbreak here. Canada riisks losing 70 per cent of its industry if an outbreak slams the door on pork and pig exports.

A team of researchers found that the gene, which is involved in the pig immune system, is essential for replication of the ASF virus. 

There is currently no treatment available for ASF, although Viet Nam is testing a vaccine.

Windsor Salt strike is over

Union members have voted in favour of a deal their negotiating team reached with the owners of Windsor Salt, ending a strike that began in February.

It’s a five-year contract with Stone Canyon Industries, owners of Windsor Salt and Morton Salt.

"Determination on the picket line and rock-solid support from local unions and the community at large helped us achieve a contract our members could overwhelmingly support," said Lana Payne, Unifor's national president.

The deal includes wage increases of up to $4.60 per hour and a $3,000 ratification bonus, shift premium increases, and a variety of benefits enhancements.

"We received outstanding support from Windsor residents and union members in our community," Payne added. "From autoworkers to teachers, it really felt like people in Windsor knew what was at stake and they showed up to defend workplace rights and keep picket line morale high."

Essex greenhouse expansion is stalled

Greenhouse expansion in Essex County is stalled by a lack of water and rapidly rising energy costs, prompting investors to consider the United States instead.

 Essex County’s water supply is at capacity and natural gas costs have undergone steep increases.

After seven years of growth, Ontario greenhouse space dedicated to peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes has stalled to a net-zero gain in the past 18 months.

Meanwhile they are being courted by the United States where they are offered perks and where there have been investments in infrastructure.

“The investment into agriculture is going to happen, whether or not we have the infrastructure here,” said Richard Lee, executive director of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers in an interview with the Globe and Mail. “If we don’t, it will go south of the border.”

In 2019, Heritage Farm’s parent company, One Floral, expanded a 10-acre greenhouse into 16 hectares in North Carolina. Now, One Floral is looking to grow its Heritage Farm operation – and while it has bought an extra 73 hectares in Essex County, the company is thinking of investing in the U.S. instead.

“This is where the market should be,” said Jamie Lefaive, general manager at Heritage Farms. “But at the same time, if you can’t make profits to continue to support your business and grow, you have to find alternatives.”

 The area is also a hub for highly specialized industries that focus on the fertilizer and biologicals (pest-controlling bugs) that greenhouses need to function.

With six to seven per cent growth since 2016, greenhouse growers of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes have a farmgate value of more than $1.3-billion, producing 503 million kilograms of produce annually, or the equivalent of 300 truckloads daily.

A study done for the Ontario Greenhouse Growers Marketing board said there is a potential for growth at five per cent per year for the next 10 years.

But it won’t be happening if there’s a lack of water and energy costs remain high.

Natural gas prices have doubled in price since 2016. In Ontario, electricity prices have been steadily rising since 2006. The future of power in the province is also uncertain. Increasing demand on the system could strain the entire grid as early as 2026 and even trigger chronic shortages by 2030, according to an analysis of the entire energy system published by RBC.

“But it’s just one piece of the puzzle,” Mr. Lee said. “You still need water to make sure you can feed the plants.”

There’s also some jealousy that the federal and provincial governments have matched subsidy offers in the United States to land investments in electrical vehicle manufacturing.

Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald said it will take years to plan and build an increase in water supply and will be costly for a community of 30,000.

And there are some mixed feelings about the industry that brings in about 10,000 foreign workers and lights up the night skies. Installing curtains is an extra cost.

Some investors are attracted to the U.S. Department Agriculture’s farm loan program, which gives operating loans to farmers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank or other lender. The money can be used to purchase land, equipment or supplies and to construct buildings or make improvements.

U.S. municipalities will also help businesses with the costs of building roads and putting in natural gas lines. In Ontario, producers are mandated to build and pave the roads that lead to their property, without financial assistance, Lemaire said.

“Agriculture seems to be the last area of focus in many budgets, provincial or federal, especially in the fruit and vegetable side,” he said. 

“We are probably one of the most vital industries in the country relative to ensuring we put healthy foods on the market, yet we’re often seen as an afterthought.”





Friday, August 25, 2023

Nominations open for Excellence awards

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has opened nominations for this year’s Excellence in Agriculture awards.

There are categories for:

• Excellence in Food Processing
• Excellence in Research and Innovation
• Women’s Excellence • Youth Excellence
• Excellence in Agri-Food Education
• Northern Business Excellence
• Indigenous-Owned Business or Community Excellence • Family Farm Excellence
• Agri-Food Promotional Excellence
• Supply Chain Excellence
• Excellence in Agri-Food Talent Recruitment

There is a guidebook and application forms at Excellence in Agriculture Guidebook
Excellence in Agriculture Application 

The deadline is Sept. 14.

Pine Valley Developments fined $93,750


Pine Valley Developments has been fined a total of $93,750 in court in Pembroke for taking aggregate from an unlicensed area.

The charges came after an investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Resources and Forestry.

The ministry is giving the conviction publicity to let the public know that a gravel pit needs to be licensed.

It is also soliciting public help to report unlicensed aggregate extraction to Crime Stoppers.

Deere announces 15 scholarship winners

Four Ontario youths are among 15 who have been awarded John Deere Canada 4-H scholarships.

Caelan DeViller of Lower Wedgeport will be working for a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia,

Amy Bishop of St. Mary’s will be studying for a Bachelor of Science degree at Memorial University in Newfoundland.

Kelsey Lennox of Kenilworth will be studying in French immersion for an honours Bachelor of Arts, Psychology at the University of Ottawa.

Ethan Ringelberg of Troy will be studying to become a motive power technician on heavy duty equipment at Conestoga College.

Another deal in the Windsor Salt strike

 Unifor Locals 240 and 1959 announced Thursday that they have reached a deal with Stone Canyon Industries, the parent company of Windsor Salt.

About 250 employees have been off the job since February 17.

Local 240 represents those in the offices, and Local 1959 represents workers at the Ojibway Mine, plus a separate unit at the evaporation processing fields.

The union members voted down a previous tentative deal and now will vote on this deal.




Thursday, August 24, 2023

Trap set for escaped hog


A trap has been set up to try to capture a hog that escaped while being unloaded at Harriston Packers this week.

It has been roaming through back yards and along the Maitland River bank.

The Wellington Advertiser reported that the Ministry of Natural Resources set a trap near an apple tree the pig frequents to much on windfalls.

Minto director of building and planning services Terry Kuipers said “due to concerns about the pig causing a traffic incident and becoming injured, as well as concerns about damage to property and spread of disease, the MNR set a live trap.”

Russia destroys more Ukfrainian grain

Russian drones struck Ukrainian grain facilities at the Danube River port of Izmail as Russia continues to try to stop grain exports from the Ukraine.

That is having a devastating impact on poor nations and people who have relied on grain from the Ukraine..

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the port's export capacity had been reduced by 15 per cent and that 13,000 metric tons of grain had been destroyed.

Grain facilities in the Odesa region on the Black Sea also came under fire in the eighth wave of attacks on Ukrainian port infrastructure since Russia quit a UN-brokered deal last month that had allowed Kyiv to ship its grain via the Black Sea. 

The Danube River has become Ukraine's main route for exporting grain since the collapse of the deal, which was meant to help tackle a global food crisis, and Izmail is Ukraine's main inland port across the Danube from Romania. 

Kubrakov said the grain that was destroyed had been destined for Egypt and Romania, and that a total of 270,000 tons of grain had now been destroyed in attacks since Russia quit the Black Sea grain deal.

Bacon prices up 130 per cent

Bacon prices have more than doubled in the last six weeks, the steepest increase in recent history, and California’s ban on sow gestation crates is to blame, said Brian Earnest, a market analyst for CoBank.

And he predicts more price increases are coming for retail pork because of California’s Proposition 12 which went into effect July 1.

CoBank said other factors are soft consumer demand for pork and "a murky outlook for U.S. pork exports.”

Massachusetts is also set to implement strict animal welfare rules.

Challenges to both state measures currently are being considered by Congress, with representatives battling over legislative efforts to overturn Prop 12 through the proposed Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act. 

Attorneys general from 16 U.S. states also are asking federal lawmakers to “fix” the California law, which voters approved in 2018.


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Ryan Amato resigns

 Ryan Amato, chief of staff for Ontario Housing Minister Steve Clark, has resigned.

But that’s far from all that should happen in the wake of the report from provincial auditor Bonnie Lysyk into how more than 7,400 acres was removed from the Greenbelt.

Under the traditions of parliamentary democracy, it’s the minister responsible for the scandal who should resign.

But in this case, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said “the buck stops with me” so he should resign.

And the land should be put back into the Greenbelt.

And the proposal to allow up to three severances from rural properties to allow houses to be built should be scrapped, Farmers don’t need a flood of complaints from wealthy city slickers building their dream homes in the country. Nor should that land be taken out of production.

There’s yet another issue here: Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson.

She has been silent, or muzzled, on these major policy initiatives and scandals.

According to Lysyk’s report, staff at her ministry outlined the losses connected to the land taken out of the Greenbelt, including specialty crops and hundreds of acres of the top-ranked soils in the province.

If Thompson knew this, and failed to tell Ford, Clark and cabinet, she is direlect in her duty to Ontario’s agriculture community.

Mark Reeser, vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, has said in a radio interview, that he has lost trust in the Ford government. 

That should obviously include Thompson.

Until now, she has had an outstanding record as a well-informed, hard-working minister of agriculture. She needs to retain that status by resigning as a matter of principle.

China poised to increase pork imports

China is anticipated to increase pork imports by eight per cent next year, said the Foreign Agriculture Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.

But that is still half as much as 2020.

Swine production in China, and the resulting pork products, both are forecast to decline by one per cent in 2024, while live pig imports next year are forecast to grow 20 per cent to 6,000 head in 2024 as the country continues to rebuild its hog herd.

While hog imports are increasing, they are still at historic lows.

China’s production has struggled with low prices for hogs and pork and losses across the industry. Last year many companies were forced to sell their herds and some smaller producers sold in a hurry on their way out of the market altogether.

The average sow inventory in 2023 is expected to be lower than 2022 and is forecast even lower than 2022 and is forecast even lower in 2024. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Investors weigh in on farm subsidies

A group of 32 investors managing $7.3 trillion in assets is lobbying the G20 group of wealthier countries to align agricultural subsidies with their climate and nature goals by the end of the decade.

For Canada, the largest subsidy is supply management for dairy and poultry farmers. 

The group, which includes Britain's biggest asset manager Legal & General Investment Managers and the fund arm of BNP Paribas, issued their first ever call to the countries' finance chiefs ahead of a G20 summit in September in India.

The intervention marks the first time investors have grouped together to tackle global subsidies in this way, they said, and follows a narrower 2021 request to the European Union, amid concern about the risks to investment portfolios of inaction.

A 2021 United Nations report said about 87 per cent of the $540 billion in total annual subsidies to agricultural producers included measures that were price distorting and potentially harmful to nature and human health.

In addition, subsidies caused $4-$6 trillion in damage to nature each year, a landmark 2021 UK report on the economics of biodiversity said.

While a global deal to preserve biodiversity, including reform of subsidies, was struck in December in Montreal, it was crucial that richer countries acted quickly, said Helena Wright, policy director at the FAIRR Initiative, a grouping of investors managing $70 trillion focused on farming issues. 

"Investors are calling on the G20 to lead by example and ensure these commitments are met – to the benefit of the climate and nature."

The World Trade Organization has been trying for decades to reduce farm subsidies because they distort production and trade. Those efforts have largely failed since the Uruguay Round was signed in April, 1994.

Its main achievement was converting subsidies and trade barriers into tariffs, hoping that it would be simpler to make further cuts in the future. That has not happened.