Minogue: Optimism reigns at FCC outlook meeting

Regina — Despite commodity prices down off recent highs, resurgent transportation problems and crop disease issues across the Prairies, farmers heard all good news at Farm Credit Canada’s Ag Outlook 2015 conference here Tuesday.

“The sky’s not falling,” said J.P. Gervais, chief ag economist for Regina-based FCC. Actually, he said, things are pretty good.

If Prairie farmers produce the same size crop in 2015 as they produced in 2014, Gervais said, “we may be looking at net cash incomes actually higher.”

Lower interest rates and relief from high prices for farm labour in the wake of falling oil prices also make for a bright picture for farmers. “It’s actually a pretty good story.”

The weather seems poised to co-operate too. Meteorologist Drew Lerner, president of World Weather Inc., expects a good seeding season.

“The spring will have some precipitation and we may find ourselves with a little bit of a delay, but it will not be something like the last few years.”

In a session on marketing, Mike Jubinville, lead analyst and president of Pro Farmer Canada, told farmers that although there will be some lows, there will also be chances to lock in good prices.

“I think we’ve gone through a once-in-a-generation paradigm shift in terms of grain marketing,” Jubinville said.

In a market that has had a lot of price volatility over the years, he said, “the old highs have become the new lows.”
Farmers who have been worrying about falling commodity prices may feel better after hearing Jubinville’s prediction: “The downtrend has started to exhaust itself.”

— Leeann Minogue is editor of Grainews at Griffin, Sask.

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