Government assistance to help Ontario farmers deal with DON in corn

The Ontario and federal governments have announced steps to help farmers experiencing revenue loss because of high levels of deoxynivalenol (DON) in their corn crops.

While the largest portion of Ontario’s corn crop remains unaffected, the government partners say this support will help ease the impact for effected farmers. It will also assist the entire grain sector in better managing challenges caused by this plant disease in the future.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), the governments will:

  • Open an application process aimed at covering a portion of eligible farmers’ expenses from testing for DON levels.
  • Support new projects to help address challenges at different points in the grain sector value chain, such as finding ways to best process or market corn impacted by DON.
  • Partner with the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) on research and new actions to reduce the frequency and impact of high DON levels, including finding temporary options to store corn to improve grain quality.

“The high DON levels in corn that Ontario farmers are facing is very stressful,” says GFO CEO, Barry Senft, in a news release. “Unmarketable corn and very significant discounts coupled with difficult harvest conditions are creating a market and harvest like none we have seen before.”

As the full extent of the damage done to the corn crop is still unknown, Senft says it’s good to see both levels of governments step up and provide funding in the meantime.

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) will implement the new targeted cost-share intake under CAP. More information about the intake for farmers will be available within two weeks on the OSCIA website.

“This situation is concerning to farmers, to the sector and to me,” says Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We want Ontario farmers and others working in our agricultural sector to succeed. That means working to find solutions that will help them get ahead, despite the challenges nature may cause them.”

Farmers whose crops are significantly impacted by high levels of DON may also be eligible for production insurance coverage through Agricorp.

CAP is a five-year, $3 billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors.

 

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