Soy Canada still optimistic about acreage expansion in Western Canada

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Soy Canada remains optimistic about its lofty goals for soybean acres in Western Canada.

In 2017, the national organization set a target for 10 million acres across the country by 2027, with six million in Western Canada.

In 2021, Prairie acres — mostly in Manitoba — were at 1.4 million, down from 1.8 million in 2016.

Brian Innes, executive director of Soy Canada, says the crop has not been without challenges, with drought conditions plaguing the western provinces over the last few years. However, as highlighted at Soy Canada’s AGM this week — there are reasons to remain optimistic.

“When we look to the future, what we see now is real continued optimism for the genetics that are available for western Canada, yields in Manitoba in [the last] 10 years have been higher than they have been in the last few, but we’re confident that with more moisture and a wetter cycle, that will create more opportunities for more growth, especially in places where — like the black soil zone — there’s more heat, and the genetics are now better adapted to thrive in those areas,” says Innes.

Another issue highlighted at the meeting is the ongoing shipping container crisis. Innes shares that soybean exports account for the highest use of containers compared to any other grain being shipped out of Canada. He says this is a very real problem for the industry, as it seems to be three main companies who are controlling upwards of 80 per cent of the container industry.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut solution in sight, nor does this problem seem to be one where it simply needs time to sort itself out. Innes says their solutions are centred around their relationships with allies who share the same goals.

“The solution that we see is really working with our allies and our partners like Pulse Canada, the Forest Products Association, as well as, the coalition through manufacturers that we’re working with as well, to look at solutions that really bring a competitive framework to shipping lines, so that they’re subject to the same competition rules that that every other business in the Canadian economy is subjected to,” says Innes.

He also shares there are some federal legislative changes that need to be made to ensure smooth sailing and pointed toward the supply chain taskforce. They will be able to do the leg work, and report back on what it is Canadian exporters really need to ensure their products are getting to where they need to be, in the capacity that needs to get there.

Check out the full conversation with Brian Innes, and RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney, below:

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