SASKATOON, Dec. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Early indications in the ProjectN seed
capital drive are that farmers are overwhelmingly committed to the idea
of farmer-owned fertilizer manufacturing. Farm leaders are speaking up
about the opportunity for farmers to gain a return on investment to
offset the high cost of fertilizer through participation as an owner.
"Farmers are clearly ready to invest and engage up the value chain,"
said FNA Fertilizer Limited Partnership ("FNA FLP") spokesperson and
farm leader Bob Friesen.
The enthusiasm for the project is impressive. In six weeks over 5,000
seed capital units of FNA FLP have been sold to farmers wanting to
participate. Farmers have attended over 60 public town hall meetings in
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Québec,
speaking directly with FNA FLP representatives, and visiting the www.ProjectN.ca website. "It's important that interested farmers that have not yet
committed to making an investment review the opportunity soon, because
we are fast moving to a point where there may no longer be room for
additional participants to get involved," added Friesen.
"The reasons farmers have given for this staunch support are that
they're looking for a more permanent solution in reducing fertilizer
costs — they recognize that to truly accrue benefits from the value
chain they need to participate in ownership — and because they see
fertilizer prices tracking corn prices rather than being based on cost
of production." stated Friesen.
Farm leader and Canadian Federation of Agriculture President, Ron
Bonnett, believes that farmers can benefit from engaging up the value
chain. "The chance for farmers to participate as an owner in the
manufacturing of one of their primary input costs makes a lot of
sense," said Bonnett. "This kind of a project helps farmers get a piece
of a very profitable industry - you've got to look out for yourself as
a producer. We've heard for years that farmers should participate more
in the value chain, and I believe it's a great strategy, given the
increasing importance for farmers to be more competitive," continued
Other farm leaders see this as a rare opportunity. Agricultural
Producers Association of Saskatchewan President, Norm Hall, is one of
those. "It's great to see someone provide the leadership by
facilitating a farmer owned fertilizer manufacturing project. It's not
every day that a large number of farmers have the chance to become
owners in the manufacturing of something they use on their farm like
seed, fertilizer, chemical or equipment", said Hall. "We'll be
supplying ourselves, so we don't have to worry about something
happening to the market for the product."
Friesen stressed the importance of getting as many farmers to purchase
seed capital units as possible. "The more farmers that participate, the
better. We want to maximize farmer involvement so as many farmers as
possible can benefit."
He also noted the importance of understanding that the strategy for the
project is not to destroy the retail price of fertilizer or to compete
at the retail level. "This is about supply security, bringing the price
of fertilizer closer to wholesale prices at the farm gate for farmer
investors, and about trying to give farmers a return on investment. Why
not get fair pricing and an investment return at the end of the year
through ownership from producing something you're using anyway?"
"Many farmers are now seeing input costs as being a greater obstacle to
profitability than market prices, and it's nice to see farmers join
forces to change the industry environment from a situation where
fertilizer companies increase the price 'because they can' to farmers
owning fertilizer manufacturing 'because they can,'" said Friesen.
Friesen encouraged farmers to find out more and get involved by
contacting the FNA office, visiting www.ProjectN.ca or attending or seeking out one of the FNA FLP public town hall
meetings. "We've held a lot of town hall meetings already, but if
there's a group of farmers that would like a presentation, we'll be
there," said Friesen.
In conjunction with organizing initial farmer investment and
participation, work is currently being done on financing, strategic
partnering and other key project components, moving FNA FLP into a
suitable position for a substantive farmer equity phase to begin in the
Farmers of North America is a farmers' business alliance with the
mission of "Improving Farm Profitability."
FNA Fertilizer Limited Partnership is a separate legal entity designed
to align farmers together to build a fertilizer plant.
SOURCE: Farmers of North America
For further information:
Bob Friesen, FNA FLP Spokesperson & FNA VP Government Affairs | (613) 230-2222 / (613) 852-9711 | www.ProjectN.ca
Cathi O'Neill, FNA & FNA FLP Media Co-ordinator | (306) 665-4537 | www.ProjectN.ca