Reflecting on a milestone Grains Week

Article provided by Grain Growers of Canada

Grain Growers of Canada’s (GGC) annual Grains Week is a three-day event packed with back-to-back meetings with parliamentarians and decision-makers to advocate for agriculture policy solutions. Over 20 dedicated grain farmers from across Canada converged in Ottawa for a series of strategic meetings, including MCA directors Jonothan Hodson, who also sits on the GGC board of directors, and Sally Parsonage.

The week was filled with substantial discussions with nearly 30 key decision-makers in the agricultural sphere, including MPs, senators and top government officials. Discussions were held with prominent leaders, such as Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Leader of the Official Opposition Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and Minister of Rural Economic Development Gudie Hutchings.

“Events like Grains Week offer farmers a chance to speak directly with parliamentarians and decision-makers about issues we are facing on the farm,” Parsonage says. “We also highlight the continuous progress farmers have made towards a sustainable and productive agriculture sector in Canada.”

Our conversations were focused, productive and centered around advancing 10 key policy recommendations crucial for the sustainable growth of agriculture in Canada.

The week also featured a memorable parliamentary reception the following evening where nearly 50 MPs and senators participated, engaging in robust dialogue and forming grassroot connections with the grain growing community. Minister MacAulay’s opening remarks also set the stage for an engaging evening, which was supported by Beer Canada and Spirits Canada. Their partnership beautifully demonstrated the journey of our grain from the fields to the reception tables, emphasizing how our hard-working growers cultivate the quality of the Canadian products we enjoy.

“Grains Week is important to Manitoba farmers because it is an opportunity for MCA and other GGC member organizations to highlight priorities for our grain farming community,” Hodson says.

“Many face-to-face meetings take place with MPs, senators and their staff, who are important contacts that allow for further dialogue on important policy objectives. As a producer representative, we are there to try and relate what effect policies may have on the producers we represent.”

Such meetings and events remain crucial for maintaining direct engagement with policymakers, ensuring the perspectives and needs of grain farmers are heard and make an impact. The positive feedback from our stakeholders in Ottawa stresses the importance of our continued advocacy and presence on Parliament Hill.

“Maintaining a steady presence in Ottawa is key and will ensure that when new policy or ag-related issues arise, decision-makers will have a direct connection with the producers they are impacting,” Parsonage says.

While Canadian agriculture advocacy efforts gain incredible strength from events like Grains Week, it’s important to note that its success was largely due to the dedicated grain farmers who journeyed to Ottawa. We deeply appreciate their participation, which was essential for the impactful meetings held, underscoring the crucial role they play in shaping our agricultural policies.

Let’s maintain this momentum for Grains Week 2025 and ensure our community remains at the forefront of agricultural innovation and policy development!

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