Value Chain optimistic that they can keep the system moving for inputs and grain flowing
All services along the supply chain are considered essential in Alberta
Businesses that support the food supply chain including assembly yards, livestock auctions, food distribution hubs, feed mills, farm equipment dealerships and suppliers, feed suppliers, food terminals and warehouses, animal slaughter plants and grain elevators, all farm input including fertilizer plants and distribution
You’ve Got To Move It: Efforts Continue to Secure the Flow of Grain
GrainsWest article | Ian Doig
It’s unsettling to even contemplate the possibility of breakdowns occurring within our agricultural system, but the industry is now actively working to avert disaster on a daily basis. Operations may suffer at all levels as people are required to self-isolate because they are sick or have been in contact with someone who is. They may also need to care for their families as childcare becomes unavailable.
When GrainsWestrecently spoke with seed plant operators, they expressed a high level of confidence the 67 Alberta Seed Processors member facilities are well prepared to remain functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association, elevator operators feel the same way. “We’re confident we’re going to keep the system moving and keep grain flowing,” he said on April 6. “We have very good processes in place to allow that to happen.” Failure is unthinkable, he said. “Things are really going to start falling apart globally if we can’t keep grain flowing.”
- All major dealers of equipment parts, such as John Deere, Cervus, UFA and RME are reporting very few issues with delivery times or stock with acquiring machine parts, other than a few weeks of delay in regular lead-time.
- After market and ‘no-name’ suppliers of parts (ie. parts for tracks on gators) may be experiencing supply issues, particularly if parts are coming from Quebec or other regions of Canada or abroad where there may be shutdowns due to COVID19.
- Farmers should keep in mind that parts that are ‘not new’ or ‘common’ may not be on hand at the local level and may be at risk for a shortage or transport delay.
Crop Protection Products
Statement from CropLife Canada – April 8, 2020
CropLife Canada members recognize the pressure that the current situation adds for farmers at this very busy time of year. Seed and early-season pesticides are, for the most part, already within the Canadian supply chain which is fortunate given that famers have been encouraged to place orders and take product shipments earlier than normal. Please note that there are no concerns about supply shortages so farmers should only order what they need.
CropLife Canada members, throughout the supply chain, have implemented a number of COVID-19 contingency plans to ensure that employees are protected and farmers receive essential crop inputs in a timely manner throughout the growing season.
The plant science industry is also looking at what the longer-term impacts of the virus might be and are watching how the pandemic develops in places like India and China, where a significant amount of pesticide manufacturing happens.
Growers are encouraged to be proactive and communicate with ag-retailers to schedule deliveries and pick-ups of crop inputs. Our industry is adhering to public health recommendations regarding physical distancing and hygiene recommendations and adapting how we do business in order to ensure Canada’s farmers get the support they need as they head into the planting season.
Access to seed for the 2020 season
Update from the CSTA: Access to 2020 seed looks good; the future remains less certain (provided by GGC
Seed companies continue to move seed out into the countryside and it should be well positioned for spring seeding. Human resources continues to be the most pressing concern, and some CSTA members have expressed concerns about the shortage of the PPE that is used in seed processing and treatment, etc.
There is also significant concern about “regulatory capacity” – that is the ability for CFIA in particular to sustain necessary business activities, including testing, inspection, certification and permitting. The CSTA has begun to work with their members to better prioritize CFIA services.
I believe I raised this last week, but CSTA members are shifting their thinking to what the long-term impacts of this pandemic will be. For example, the challenges with moving product internationally, including internal controls and the lack of airfreight capacity, may prevent some contra season production from coming back to Canada in time for this year’s growing season. It also appears that most research seasons will have a very limited research field season, if any at all. The impacts of these challenges can be mitigated so an entire year will not be lost, but those are discussions that are only starting. As those discussions start to increase the CSTA will be engaging with their partners to identify how they can work together to limit the long term impacts.
Update from Fertilizer Canada
- Canada’s fertilizer industry has done well in recovering from rail disruptions this winter and generally has normal supplies of fertilizer positioned across the country — for this time of the year — to position product for the beginning of the planting season in late April and early May and ensure additional quantities are available for replenishment throughout the entire planting season.
- Fertilizer and crop inputs are critical shipments for food production. The Canadian border must remain open to the movement of fertilizer in order for farmers to receive their product and meet their Spring Seeding requirements.
- Our member companies are implementing COVID-19 contingency plans at manufacturing plants, storage terminals and agri-retail outlets across the country to protect employees and the public and to ensure farmers get the fertilizer they need in time for seeding.
- Employee absenteeism is a concern across the value chain
- We still have about two months before spring fertilizer application is completed. We would be concerned about restrictive measures that would unduly affect rail, port and truck service, imports or operations at agri-retail.
- Ensuring a successful planting season and good yields at harvest this fall will be critically important to Canada’s economic recovery in the third and fourth quarters of 2020. We will update as we get more information.
- The entire fertilizer supply chain, including manufacturing, transportation, and agri-retail locations must be deemed critical or essential workplaces. The fertilizer industry is essential to the spring planting season’s success, which is also directly related to global food security.