Market access, building consensus, and Grain Week — a LIVE! Q&A with Erin Gowriluk


The in-person meetings aren’t happening on Parliament Hill, but that doesn’t mean lobbying efforts on behalf of farmers have stopped.

For this episode of RealAg LIVE! host Shaun Haney is joined by Erin Gowriluk, executive director of the Grain Growers of Canada, to recap last week’s Grain Week, how lobbying has changed during COVID-19, what’s top of mind for grain farmers, and more!

Tune in every weekday at 1 pm M/3 pm E for a new LIVE! Q&A!

  • Who are the Grain Growers of Canada?
  • Last week was Grain Week — what’s Grain Week? Put more farmers in front of more politicians more often
  • Usually four days of face-to-face meetings
  • It looked a little different this year
  • BUT! MPs like to hear from farmers
  • Sharing what’s happening on the farm
  • What are some of those key topics? The theme was Growing Back Better, in the sense that agriculture can drive the post-pandemic economic recovery
  • How can we work with government partners to make all that happen?
  • International trade and market access, innovation, and sustainability (challenge pillar)
  • The silver lining to this pandemic — more engagement, MPs, senators and gov’t officials, but the level of engagement was surprisingly high
  • Meetings continue this week and next, because of the virtual platform
  • It’s more efficient in some ways, but also exhausting at times (seven meetings in one day!)
  • Definitely a heightened sense of farming and agriculture’s importance right now
  • Let’s talk the Federal-Provincial-Territorial ministers meeting
  • Grain Growers did get to present to the group yesterday (Monday), about business risk management programs
  • What happens now? Hopefully, consensus to move forward with updates
  • Getting creative with member engagement, but it sure is so much work! Podcasts (hats off to the RealAg team doing this every day)
  • How does GGC talk with provinces? Members
  • Market access: durum, pulses, canola. Works to communicate that trade agreements are implemented and enforced
  • Making sure we have the right people in the right places — also a challenge because of COVID-19
  • Political issues need a political response, and technical issues need a technical response
  • The Barton Report. Where is it at? Are we doing enough to live up to the opportunities?
  • We have identified the problem, but we’ve lacked the political will to move things across the goal line. Why is that?
  • Evidenced based policy, to have access to new tech, farmers need policy to be based on the same (science and evidence)
  • What about the interim UK deal? Read more on that here.
  • What about the Clean Fuel Standard? Will we hear more?

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