Farmers Eye GROU Policy

The Grower Requested Own Use Import Program (GROU) has become a very valuable tool for farmers.
The Farmers of North America Strategic Agriculture Institute (FNA-STAG) wants to make sure if and
when it becomes regulation that it continues to maximize the potential for farm profitability.
The current draft of the GROU policy that will eventually be considered for regulation has proven this
spring to be very effective for many farmers. As an example, in early April, the price of Pursuit herbicide
in many locations was around $1,200 per 3.8 litre jug. At the end of April, many farmers, including
members of Farmers of North America (FNA), began importing Pursuit through GROU for $635 per 3.8
litre jug. In early May, the manufacturer of Pursuit in Canada, BASF, sent a note to its customers saying
the suggested grower price of Pursuit would be reduced by approximately $355 per jug because of
changing market dynamics. It is estimated that farmers using GROU for Pursuit saved over $3,500,000
in the short window it was used. While Pursuit represented a huge savings for farmers, it was only one of
25 eligible products for farmers.
Bob Friesen, CEO of FNA-STAG, believes that the impact of lowering input costs deserves more
attention. “During farm policy discussions, policy-makers in Canada need to continue to focus on input
costs, building on the competitiveness policy work of the House of Commons Standing Committee on
Agriculture and Agri-Food. Policies like GROU can save farmers millions and this spring is a perfect
example”, he says. “FNA-STAG’s number one concern is farm profitability, and when farmers can save
money through a program like GROU, we need to embrace that and protect it”.
Not only does this example demonstrate the effectiveness of the GROU program, but it demonstrates the
impact farmers can have on the marketplace when they use tools that create competition. “Farmers want
to be able to take control of their own profitability potential and not rely so much on government risk
management programs”, says Virden, Manitoba area farmer Jason Hodson. “With some of the crises in
the industry this spring, such as the low farm income numbers released by AAFC and the more recent
flooding in much of the Prairie Provinces, anything that provides the ability for farmers to take control of
their profitability situation needs to be protected”. He continues, “Furthermore, policies like GROU help
to level the playing field so we can be more competitive in international markets.”
Friesen adds, “now that volumes of imports are increasing under the GROU policy, farmers are afraid
that the pesticide company lobby could very well try to push it to the background just like they did when
the Own Use Import (OUI) policy started to work for farmers”. He warns that, “if the GROU program gets
changed so it doesn’t benefit farmers anymore, you’ll know why”.
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Farmers of North America Strategic Agriculture Institute (FNA-STAG) is a not-for-profit organization with
the single mission of “Improving Farm Profitability.”
For more information contact:
Bob Friesen, CEO: (613) 230-2222 / (613) 852-9711
Jason Hodson: (204) 851-0451