Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Great time to be a farmer

If there had not been price rises in grains farmers would be in crisis conditions with the increase in costs. As the article mentions those with poor yields are crop failures will not be sharing in the good returns. The Prairie provinces should be buoyed by the good times in the grain markets. Saskatchewan and Alberta are also enjoying a resource boom as well. However, we still do not have winters that are all that balmy but maybe global warming will change all that!

Great time to be a farmer: Analyst
Last Updated: Monday, December 31, 2007 | 8:22 AM CT
CBC News
After years of struggling, many prairie grain farmers had a good 2007.

For producers like Germain Dauk, 2007 was a make-or-break season. Speaking to CBC News from his Naicam area farm, about 100 km east of Saskatoon, Dauk admits he was almost ready to throw in the towel.

Increased costs and poor crops had pushed him further into debt, but rising grain prices have more than offset increased production costs and Dauk said farmers who managed to harvest a decent crop this year are feeling a little more flush.

"It will allow us to catch up for the past five years that we've had losing years and hopefully it will help to offset some of those losses," said Dauk.

The Canadian Wheat Board's Bruce Burnett predicts that the good market conditions will likely continue. He said demand is outstripping supply and that will have a positive effect on the price of grain.

"[It's a] great time to be a farmer," said commodity analyst Larry Weber.

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"Yes, input costs are going up but grain prices are going up almost every week. And we're going to be on the precipice of three to five years of decent farm income."

Despite the rosy forecast, Dauk, who also chairs a roundtable on pulse crops, said farmers can't sit back and simply enjoy this period of high prices.

"We have to use that year collectively as producers, as government, to map out the future to prevent us going through these difficult times again," he said.

Despite the good times, Kelvin Meadows, an official with the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission said there's also a negative side to rising grain prices.

He said the market situation has split farmers into "haves" and "have nots."

Farmers who were fortunate enough to harvest a good crop now have money in the bank and are paying off bills. But those who lost crops because of hail, gophers or adverse weather are hurting, Meadows said.

"Those that didn't [fare well] are now trying to find money for expensive new seeds to be replaced," he explained. "They're looking for money to either buy fertilizer or try to figure out how they're going to buy $600 fertilizer next spring … the stress level has certainly come up."

Analysts are predicting that grain prices will remain high for at least two more years.

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