Ag Canada predicts farmers net income will drop.
A lot of farmers may have a tough row to hoe this year.
Agriculture Canada is predicting that net income for farmers across Canada is expected to total just 291 million dollars -- a staggering 91 per cent drop from last year.
The agency says the global recession has left producers facing lower consumer demand for their products -- red meats in particular.
Greg Marshall -- the President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan -- says the forecast is disappointing.
Marshall says nobody likes to see their income shrink -- but he adds it's not a big surprise given the increase in input costs and lower commodity prices.
The head of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association says he's cautiously optimistic producers are ``going to round this corner'' at some point.
Travis Toews says things should improve as North America continues to emerge from the recession.
Ontario Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell has ordered the pork industry to complete details of a new marketing plan by Dec. 4 of this year.
The result will be more open marketing of hogs.
Now farmers will have two choices -- they can sell pigs through an intermediary such as the Ontario Pork Producers Marketing Board, or directly to processors.
Ontario Pork loses its power to review all buyer and seller contracts.
Under the new plan, the marketing board will review buyer and sell contracts only when requested by either party, and the pork board retains the power to collect and share price data.
Ontario Pork will no longer exist as it is known says Mitchell.
She has ordered the board to administratively separate its marketing side from its regulatory side to eliminate any potential conflict of interest.
The federal government has announced it's spending two million dollars on a project that will monitor the movement of animals and agricultural products between Eastern and Western Canada.
Gerry Ritz, the federal agriculture minister, says the funding for the Canadian Animal Health Coalition will be spent on an initiative in Manitoba called the West Hawk Lake Zoning Initiative.
The facility, which is near the Manitoba-Ontario boundary, has the ability to track and control the movement of livestock or products in an emergency situation.
Vic Toews, a Manitoba MP, says the facility is considered a control point because it's on the only main highway and rail line connecting Eastern and Western Canada.
Ritz says the project will help to prevent and contain animal diseases.
A federal agency is predicting that farm exports will plunge by 12 per cent this year.
Export Development Canada says there could be a two per cent increase next year.
Peter Hall, chief economist at the agency, says trade barriers are playing a part in the expected decline this year.
He says canola exports are facing a potentially significant hurdle.
Chinese officials have recently confirmed that shipments of canola that have traces of blackleg disease will be barred from entering the country.
There's also a U-S restriction against importation of salmonella-infected canola meal shipments.
The agri-food sector accounts for about 37 per cent of Saskatchewan's exports.
The federal government has introduced proposed legislation that would reform rules governing the Canadian Wheat Board.
If passed, it would change the voting rules during board elections.
Farmers who produce at least 40 tonnes of grain, or who have the ability to produce that much through crop-sharing agreements, would only be allowed to vote for elected board positions.
Gerry Ritz, the minister of agriculture, says the legislation would also streamline the process required to deliver payments to producers.
Right now, payments must be scrutinized by several government departments.
The legislation aims to chop one department, the Treasury Board, out of that payment loop.