Rising income will be farmers’ biggest challenge in attracting concessions from all levels of government. Within days of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture issuing a statement about farmers’ economic struggles and frustrations, Statistics Canada released its 2008 farm income report which paints a glowing picture of farmers’ financial state last year. Daily media jumped all over it, and you can’t blame them — income is reported to be up more than 60 per cent compared to 2007.
These polarized positions are bound to confuse the public and politicians, who are watching their pennies more than ever. The farm community needs to address this quickly and remind Canadians farm income has been in the tank for years. It also need to show how much it costs to farm. Researchers in the Economics and Business Group of Ridgetown campus, University of Guelph, have just produced a gem of a document, the Ontario Farm Input Monitoring Project (Survey #1). It lays out the gambit of fuel, fertilizer and crop protection costs, and comes at an opportune time for those trying to put one year’s worth of farm income in perspective.