June 28, 2022 PEI Grain Elevator Update

Once again, it seems appropriate to update the P.E.I Grain Elevator Corporation website with current information & in sites as the 2022 planting season, and G.E.C 2021/22 marketing season draws to a close, effective August 1st 2022.

For starters, G.E.C would like to acknowledge the appointment of a new Board chair, Denton Ellis due to the expiry of former chairman Alvin Keenan’s term. Board member Nelson MacKinnon’s term has also expired and their collective in site and leadership has been appreciated over the past six years!

Two new Board members Robert MacDonald and Blair Mac Isaac; both from Eastern P.E.I. have now been appointed. Our website has a specific page focussed on GEC Director Information that has recently been updated. Please check it out!

Now on with the show!

While there has been some planting weather variability (cool and wet) by times, and price volatility is continuing again as this season (2022/23) kicks off, most P.E.I. and Atlantic producers have managed to overcome weather & economic challenges in terms of being able to acquire inputs and, successfully make the required decisions so as to plant their cereals, corn and, soybean crops for the coming year. Hopefully growing conditions will stabilize with optimum heat, moisture and no drought in the days ahead for the current growing season. Also to date, Livestock & Forage producers have been able to harvest an early and what appears to be a high quality forage crop. With margins under assault, yield and quality matters!

The bankruptcy of W.A Grains this past year has reduced Pulse crop marketing opportunities. But our business was able to operate the facility for G.E.C storage in the interim until its asset liquidation has been resolved. Food grade soy production has also been under assault due to a shutdown of the Eastern P.E.I food grade soybean handling and marketing facility formerly managed by Seveta, and based out of Ontario. On the other hand, local feed soy and oil markets remain strong
Crops such as barley, rye and, oats are stable too and along with increasing corn, soybean or wheat production; they enhance feed nutrient decisions, cover cropping and sustainable crop rotations. Our local and regional livestock feed markets remain robust even with high purchased feed costs. Strong demand exists as self-sufficiency in terms of localized food production is encouraged? Occasionally there has been soybean, even barley export opportunities to Quebec despite high freight costs and difficulties in arranging delivery by truck. Transportation and related issues in our region have exacerbated higher inflation rates for us all! And what a year it’s been! Closer to home, the last year has been so chaotic for Island potato growers. While trade and market access issues related to the fresh market and French fries have partially been resolved, seed growers face continued production, trade and, marketing challenges. The P.E.I Grain Elevator Corporation has reached out to the extent that we can to provide access to alternative regional crop production and marketing options and we are in the process of assessing how this will impact our crop volumes for the coming year. As referenced earlier in this document, it is noteworthy that this past year where drought hammered Western wheat growers, Wheat and corn production too; are gaining prominence in our Province.

As growers are aware, PEI’s G.E.C investments in storage and handling have played a significant role in aiding the business to efficiently exceed its previous 5 year average in terms of volume(s) handled/marketed. This trend is expected to continue.

Global Supply chain challenges and food shortages formerly related primarily to C.O.V.I.D-19 have now been further aggravated by Russia’s criminal, unethical and unwarranted assault on Ukraine a significant global food supplier negatively impacting wheat and oilseed supply/shipment and contributing to global food insecurity, commodity price volatility and unprecedented high costs for inputs like fuel and fertilizer along with numerous & dysfunctional transportation networks.

On another front, and acknowledging that our farmers always seek improvements in production and innovation practises where they can, the focus on cover crops, soil health, sustainability, climate change, environmental protection and transparency continues although global domestic food market protection has led to a relaxation of some restrictive protocols especially in global export markets of interest to Canada. Fortunately as a region, we are immune to some of those impacts. But Atlantic Grains Council and G.E.C are working collaboratively and together with the Atlantic Provinces; on behalf of our farmers and with our funding partners on enhancing farmer access to programs like Living Labs, environmental protection and, sustainability as examples. Given that C.A.P funding is up for renewal in 2023, we obviously want to ensure that our crop research is properly aligned with productivity and quality, soil health and related objectives to facilitate and enhance the best management practices already employed or yet to be further upgraded or developed by our farmers, ensuring they get the objective recognition they deserve so if voluntarily, one decides to sell into an International market, our model is seen as world class too! Dialogue and leadership by organizations such as Grain Growers of Canada regarding net 0 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and Soy Canada’s analysis of sustainability modeling are examples of national interventions we also need to follow with respect to the “new” market normal? Providing you with this seasonal update has been a pleasure. Reach out if there are questions? GEC will be more than happy to provide additional information as required!