Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Farm Groups on the Canadian Prairies Want Ottawa to Penalize Railways for Grain Shipment Backlog

Winnipeg Free Press

Prairie farm groups frustrated by delays in shipping grain this fall want the federal government to do more to penalize rail companies that don't deliver crops in a timely way. Details here.

Surplus grain stored on 
Manitoba field. PLT stock photo.

3 comments:

PLT said...

No one would begrudge our farmers a bumper crop. Yet this surplus is a stark reminder of our industrial system of agriculture which relies heavily on export markets and inputs of expensive and polluting fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers.

In her book, "Consumed. Food for a Finite Planet," Canadian author Sarah Elton chronicles the history of small farmers in developing countries being forced off the land and into urban slums by floods of cheap, imported food coming from overseas.

The push to "modernize" the developing world has actually seen tens of thousands of poor farmers in India commit suicide. In their efforts to adapt to these new methods, they've incurred heavy debts, trying to pay for the expensive inputs needed for patented seeds and GMO crops. Tragically, many took their own lives by drinking the very pesticides which, instead of making their lives better, drove them to despair and suicide.

Obviously, things aren't that serious here in Canada. Still, a culture which favours larger, wealthier producers over smaller, more sustainable ones remains firmly entrenched here.

And, given that modern agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change, which - because of more frequent and severe droughts and floods, is casting a long and ominous shadow over our very ability to produce food for the future, time is running out. So new ways of growing our food are not just just desirable. They are essential.

PLT said...

According to a new, leaked report from the IPCC, reported ini the New York Times, "Benefits from global warming may be seen in some areas, like northern lands that are now marginal for food production. But over all, global warming could reduce agricultural production by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century."

John Fefchak said...

Farm groups want Ottawa to penalize Railways ….are they serious? Then if and when the penalties are proclaimed….and the (farmers) grain transportation costs increase….what will they complain about then. ?
Do they really think such penalty costs would not be passed on?