The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) has launched a social media, radio, and television campaign to bring awareness to the plight of grain farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ad calls out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government for not doing enough for farmers, in comparison to what U.S. President Donald Trump has done with ad hoc payments, and says that Canada’s food system is breaking. Video imagery includes empty grocery store shelves and long line ups.

The video is posted on GFO’s Facebook page. The reaction has been swift and very mixed. Many farmers feel the tone is overly negative and don’t like the use of scare tactics to convey the message. Others found the comparison to Trump’s policies off-side. Some, however, are glad to see GFO standing up for farmers and taking a tough stance.

Here is some of the reaction from Facebook:

Barb Keith-Badour
This is horrible.
I think it is awful that GFO is using footage of lineups at Costco while claiming food shortages. The lineups are about protecting people and limiting the number of people in the store, and they have nothing to do with food shortages. They certainly aren’t the food lines of the depression or at refugee camps.
There is NO FOOD SHORTAGE in Canada. No one is starving because shelves are empty. There are items not always available, but even that has reduced significantly as people have stopped hoarding.
And having spoken with some farmers in the US, many feel they will never see the money Trump claims to be giving out. I think it is appalling the GFO would even reference Trump, especially since what he says and what he does are two totally different things.
If you have a problem about the lack of support from the Federal government, then make that the message. Don’t sink to the level of US politics and use fake news and fear-mongering because it will NOT get farmers support.
And yes, I AM an Ontario grain farmer and I do NOT support this message
The poor “acting” of “stressed” farmers only makes it look more ridiculous.

Leigh Hudson
I tried to find something positive about this video. I also tried listening to this without watching it to see what kind of vibe I got from it. It is weird, creepy, and gets political real quick. I think we have forgotten who our audience is here and getting the consumer on side with the issues that we have is difficult when meanwhile they don’t even understand the basics. Overall, I would not air this video because it’s a fearmongering video and will raise a lot of eyebrows in the way we are not trying encourage. And really…Don Trump even gets some air in here? Come on. Yes he is providing support for his farmers, but that will be the last thing consumers will think of when they think of Him. We are not short of food, we are short of an effective system.

Deb Lee
This ad is a disgrace full of misleading images and misinformation. You lost me at presenting Donald Trump as a good guy when his trade war has triggered chaos in the farming industry. You’re not going to get much sympathy with this garbage, it makes grain farmers look bad.

Paul Arva
You may like or dislike Mr Trump but at least he is making sure the farms are still working. The money Mr Trudeau is putting out helps but it does not even come close . I remember a quote from Mr Churchill a country that can’t feed itself cannot defend herself. Maybe we should think about that.

Joe Vermunt
Sadly by reading the comments it is not hard to see most don’t understand the issues Grain Farmers in Ontario are facing . I can see where many think the mention/showing of Trump is not good but do you know or understand the pricing of grain and all that affects it ? Do you know the regulations that have to be followed here that imports do not have to adhere to ?

Pat Vandenbogaard
Although I don’t necessarily agree with how some of the messages are portrayed in this video , I do agree with the overall point that the GFO is trying to get across to the government and consumers and that is if farmers continue to shoulder excessive monetary burdens and expenses without receiving any fair value for their products, there will be less and less farmers in Canada and that in turn will create the instability of the food supply chain.And do we really want to count on other countries for our food? As farmers , we do not control how much we will receive for our product and we are always at the mercy of the weather, markets, politics,etc.If we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will? Most people today do not know anything about where their food comes from and what farmers are doing to get that food to their tables. I for one am glad that the GFO is standing up for farmers!

What do you think? Let us know! 

21 thoughts on “Grain Farmers of Ontario ad campaign receives mixed reviews from farmers

  1. The inflammatory language and conjuring up images of societal collapse, are not helpful to anyone. You ad is offensive. Please remove it and apologize for the bad judgement that caused it to be released.

    1. What’s the problem? Dairy farmers have for decades been spinning lies about cross-border retail price equivalency and fear-mongering about empty shelves and/or hormone-laced imports (and implied social collapse) if we get rid of supply management and farmers seem to think their approach is wonderful (even if it is the epitome of nauseating) And, guess what, supply management’s fear-mongering tactics work because we still have supply management. It’s about time grain farmers realized that we’re in a body contact sport and decided to start wearing the “equipment” necessary to compete.

  2. Close to 50 years ago, in the tumult of 1960’s radicalism, Saul Alinsky wrote “Rules for Radicals” which was required reading in my Ivey MBA program and which should be on the desk of every manager and marketer. Nobody cares that farmers give this campaign “mixed reviews” because they aren’t the target audience in the first place. The purpose of the ad is to grab a visceral response from a non-farm audience and it has done just that. From a marketing perspective, this is a great step forward from the groveling and scraping “don’t rock the boat” school of thought that sadly permeates agriculture.

  3. Had the Canadian gov’t addressed the decades old lack of a competitive investment support lobby, I suspect this ad would not have seen the light of day.
    Instead farmers have got the constant government…. yes there is a problem then “Stall, Study, Stall again”. The U.S. “invests” in their farmers, Canada says it too expensive to invest in agriculture with no return on investment.

    Leave Trump out of this. The U.S. has invested nearly $ 50 billion in ag investment for trade injury compensation over several months and this has been going on for decades. Now some commodities wonder why the frustration! Both the CFA and OFA agree that trade injury and lack of adequate covid support need to be addressed now!

  4. Sometimes misleading, other times out and out lies. If ‘Grain Farmers Ca ‘ intends to gain public sympathy they missed the wagon by a country mile!
    I would suggest that they get a country vet with calf pulling experience to attempt to remove they’re head from they’re anal orifice.
    Times are tough for everyone right now, but what an embarrassment to the good men and women who work the fields, to have clowns like this attempt to represent you.

    1. With as little respect as I can muster, Mr. Garrod’s suggestion about country veterinarians has nothing to do with the issue that, in 2019, farmers in most counties in llinois received about $80 (US) in support from just one farm program alone while their competitors, Ontario’s grain farmers, received nothing. This MBA-educated farmer believes this ad to be exactly the type of marketing effort that is warranted and is completely-appropriate. Like always, farmers can either lead, follow or get out-of-the way – GFO has decided to lead and I congratulate them on doing a professional job..

    1. Absolutely right, Merv – one of the best and most appropriate quotes from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is “when you have to shoot, shoot don’t talk” and that is entirely the approach grain farmers need to take and appear to have taken.

  5. The empty shelves and line-ups – okay there is some spin happening. I am guessing we only recognize the spin because its our industry so we know better. My hunch, not much more spin than the next ads placed by other industries to emphasize their perspectives. And its the perspective of the GFO is trying to get across. I like that they are standing up for our Ag Industry and advocating. We farmers are often too quiet and unassuming, and leaving our fate for everyone else to dictate, and in this rapidly transitioning society, economy, and environment, I say stand up for ourselves with a strong (preferably united) voice. We have been and continue to be the steadfast foundation of our communities, economy, and environment.

  6. I am fully in support and admiraion for the work and production of our farmers. This announcement and message was doing okay until TRUMP was brought in…. Keep the American politics out of Ontario as much as possible please don’t quote TRUMP as a role model!

    1. With respect, the reference to Trump was “….even Donald Trump knows…” and this clearly implies that if a buffoon like Trump can figure out that farmers need support, surely our politicians can too. Oh, but silly me, grain farmers are in Southern Ontario, not Quebec and that, in Canada, makes all the difference.

  7. Keeping American politics out of Ontario is a naïve thought bordering on impossible. We have an “integrated N.A. agriculture marketplace” which means there is “no such thing as free trade”, only “government managed trade which includes ag policy including investing in competitive ag support”.

    Ontario has a great producer premium price insurance program called Risk Management Program with participating commodities such as Beef, Veal, Pork, Sheep, as well as, Grains and oilseeds. This program has the potential to mitigate almost 100% of the trade injury support we experience. Unfortunately, the federal government has refused to contribute their 60% share. Margin programs such as AgriStability even at 85% can never level the playing field with competitors targeted commodity specific support programs.

    1. Exactly right, Wayne, we have the “three blind mice” of support programs (1) AgriInvest which has been watered down from 3% matching to 1% (2) AgriStability which has been watered down from an 85% margin to a 70% margin and (3) the feds refusing to participate in RMP. What is it about farmers in most counties in Illinois getting more than $80 (US) per acre in 2019 from just one farm program alone do Canadian politicians (and western Canadian grain farmers) refuse to understand?

      1. Meanwhile, isn’t there a second round of trade injury compensation payments to be made to Dairy farmers. Just saying!

  8. Way to go grain farmers. It is time people start pushing back on the federal governments terrible policies! Don’t back down!!

  9. Brilliant campaign. The federal government is hell bent at destroying Canadian farmers and Canada ultimately. It’s time to fight back.

  10. Cut production, earn more, work less, demand better working conditions and government funded special pension .. look how well it worked for the teachers union ..why not us? Justin says …don’t worry the food supply chain is fine ???? Really ??? good for you grain farmers of Ontario .. I wont be borrowing more to risk losing it all .. NO MORE !

  11. Trump gave nothing to farmers but a lot of lies and bullshit, just like these ads. As an American, I can assure you these ads are are pure garbage and Canadians should ignore them.

  12. As a consumer not connected with farming, I can tell you that the ads are like nails on a chalkboard. With all the negativity surrounding Trump and using his quote that insults Canada as ‘taking advantage of the US as usual’, who thought that this was a good way to educate the consumer about your issues??

    I learned nothing about what the issues are facing our farmers and it garners no sympathy or understanding about the industry and its issues. Frankly, I tune out as soon as I hear the ad. It’s grating and a poorly delivered message – unless your only audience is other grain farmers. It is without exaggeration, the lamest commercial that my radio station currently runs.

  13. This is offensive and uneducated. “Canada was taking advantage of us as usual????” Are you blind or just refusing to see what is going on with the covid infested role model you use in your ad. This is disgusting.

  14. One of the most disgusting ads yet. When I hear it on the radio over and over again I try to shut it off. Listening to his voice and criticizing our country is disgusting. I don’t feel it should be allowed.

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