What’s a farmer to do about China and all the uncertainty it has created for the crop farmers are only now seeding?
What can a farmer do?
There’s not much any individual farmer can do, obviously. There’s also not much farm organizations can do. There’s not much provincial governments can do. And China’s making it obvious that there’s not much the federal government can do about it either.
China is throwing a tantrum and it wants everybody to see how mad it is at Canada and how uncomfortable it is to suffer Chinese outrage. Before this is done Canada will be covered with Pablum and probably sporting lots of scratches and bite marks.
Uncertainty is poisonous for business, and this brouhaha with China has injected extreme uncertainty into farmers’ futures. Who will farmers sell their canola to this autumn and winter? Should they seed less? What could they seed in its place?
If they seed canola, are prices likely to stay poor, get worse, or recover with a miraculous China rapprochement?
I ran a couple of Twitter polls recently, trying to gauge what farmers are planning, thinking and feeling about the situation.
The overall results are in the images below. The reality of farming is that every farm is unique and the impacts of the China situation are being uniquely felt and uniquely assessed.
But however farmers feel, they can be counted upon to do one thing this spring: try to grow the best and biggest crop they can. Farmers can’t control much. They certainly can’t control China. But they can can do everything they can to produce a great crop, and they’ll do whatever it takes to achieve that.