(Rural Roots Canada) – Grain growers faced many challenges in 2020.

The Chair of the Grain Growers of Canada, Andre Harpe, says the year had a tough start as many farmers had to deal with crops still in the field from last year.

“We had acres and acres of canola in the field; that was even before we could start planting this year’s season or this year’s crop,” Harpe said.

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He is quick to add, though, that he is a farmer, and that’s what he signed up for and wants to do.

The grain farmer from Valhalla Centre, Alberta, says it’s the issues that extend past our control and borders that keep him up at night.

In 2020, we’ve seen trade disputes, rail strikes, and blockades. We have vessels waiting at the port because of delayed shipments and grain being held up on trains.”

He says some of these problems were made worse by COVID-19, and some are just as old as time.

“They all have something in common, though they put at risk our ability to feed our country, and they limit the potential for our agricultural sector at a time when we can least afford it.”

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Harpe says the organization is focused on communicating to their policymakers and legislators that the sector is ready to step up.

“We just need our government to work with us to realize our massive potential.”

Harpe says they have three areas where they need government support, so farmers across the country can maximize their potential.

These areas are prioritizing and enforcing current free trade agreements. We need to modernize regulations preventing innovation in agricultural research and to recognize our efforts in addressing climate change.”

Harpe says if they can achieve these specific goals, they will be well-positioned to drive the economic recovery.

“This pandemic has taught us what we can do that we can all exceed when we work together, and farmers are ready to do our part.”