NFU is Critical of Agricultural Trade

Sometimes when you are trying to get a point across you stretch the fabric of reality to invoke thought.  Many speakers and writers do this everyday in order to make a point.  Well I think the NFU has crossed the line this week as Darrin Qualman made statements regarding Canada€™s focus on trade to better agriculture in the long term.

€œWorld Trade Organization agreements have been harmful to Canadian agriculture according to the National Farmers Union.  Director of research Darrin Qualman argues our country places too much emphasis on foreign trade.—Darrin Qualman”

Canada is a nation that needs exports in order to survive long term due to the abundance of arable land and lack of population.  Not focusing on trade to become self-sustainable in food is like the US trying to become self-sustainable in oil.  It sounds great but is virtually impossible.  We cannot allow ourselves to dream that we are going to go back to a time where one out of four people farmed.  I would advise that it is foolish to think that making farming operations in Canada smaller is the ideal scenario for Canadian agriculture.  I also want to note that the same goes for creating a system where there are 4 farms in Canada.  Somewhere in the middle is sustainability for farmers across the country.  This sustainability includes domestic use and international trade. 

“Rather than looking at maximizing foreign trade, he argues we need to create a system that provides consumers with food that has been produced locally, using sustainable practices.—Darrin Qualman”

Not focusing on trade would devastate the already hurt beef industry.  Saying no to trade on the beef industry would affectively cut our fat cattle production in half.  Cutting the cattle industry in half would decimate many communities across Canada whether they include small 50 head cow calf operations and 10,0
00 head feedlots.
  Another vantage point is to look at grain farming.  If there was not a focus on trade what we do with all the durum that is grown in Canada.  Or what about malt barley exports? 

If we are going to have debates on how to fix agriculture lets at least be serious and have a conversation that is within the realities of today not dreaming of a return to the 1800€™s. 

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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