As the sun comes up on farmers across Essex County, Ont., it’s not their livestock or crops they check first thing in the morning — it’s the markets.
The tough talk between Canada and the U.S. around NAFTA negotiations is having real-life consequences for those working in the industry every day.
“You’re at everybody else’s whim and whatever they want,” said Henry Denotter, a grain and oilseed farmer in Kingsville, Ont.
Denotter’s farm covers nearly 610 hectares, where he grows everything from soybeans and corn to wheat and rye. But each morning, he looks to the U.S. to see what kind of profits he can expect.
“We can’t set the prices, we’re looking at Chicago everyday to see how grain is doing. And somebody starts a rumour — whether it’s [U.S. President] Donald Trump or China and the market goes down 30 cents, 10 cents, even a penny makes a difference in our end profits.”
Those profits are what keeps Denotter’s equipment running and business afloat, he said, as he has to make payments on machinery just like anyone would on a home or car.
As a grain farmer, Denotter said he is selling on a global stage, not part of Canada’s supply management system of quotas, which control how much its dairy, poultry and egg farmers are allowed to produce.