Absenteeism remains the biggest threat to the agricultural value chain
Since the last update, the Government of Alberta has deemed all farm input businesses as essential services and the Government of Canada has recommended that employees of companies engaged in the production of substances used by the agricultural industry be deemed essential. Input sellers have implemented new protocols to ensure that seed, fertilizers, herbicides, and all other products are making it to farm as normal. Conversations with members confirm that supplies for the spring season are arriving on time, although this is occurring without the normal social interactions.
Still uncertainty around how the supply chain can be further implicated as the crisis to the south, in the USA, starts to become insurmountable.
Grain elevators have been declared an essential service by the Government of Alberta. All companies have implemented new protocols to limit infection possibilities, which is limiting interactions between staff and farmers. Despite this, concerns have not been raised by members regarding difficulties in delivering to country elevators.
The Canadian Grain Commission has invoked their business continuity plan as of March 17, 2020 and is adjusting how their programs and services are delivered. The services of payment protection and binding determination are still available to all producers. All regional services centers are also remaining open with minimal staffing.
At the ports, official inspection and weighting of grain exports is continuing under an adjusted model. This service would normally be performing grading on samples pulled during the process of loading, resulting in the service occurring in tandem with the loading of vessels. As the CGC is limited staffing presence at the terminal, the CGC is now grading composite samples of shipments at the CGC offices once cargo loading is complete. Grain companies continue to work with the adjusted model, although they view the model as reduced service and are concerned if services are reduced further.
On the fertilizer side, Fertilizer Canada has released a statement as follows:
They would like to assure customers that the supply of fertilizer is stable and available throughout the country. Fertilizer Canada members continue to do everything possible to ensure the delivery of products. At this time Fertilizer Canada has been engaging with politicians, bureaucrats, and political staff at both the provincial and federal level, daily. They are very pleased to see that, as a result of these actions, the fertilizer supply chain has been designated as an essential service in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. This is also in addition to positive indications from the federal government that the fertilizer industry would be included in any federal essential workers guidance list. We have also been successful in receiving exemptions from government departments for expiring training certificates, which ensures that our supply chains remain uninterrupted. Fertilizer Canada will continue working with key stakeholders to develop solutions to the challenges faced by the fertilizer industry today and in the months to come.