Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative
Two grain elevators in Lambton County are up for sale. And agriculture leaders fear smaller farmers may bear the brunt of the closure of six southwestern Ontario grain elevators.
The announced closure of the Ontario Grain LP elevators announced by Sollio Agriculture on Sept. 21 will lead to greater transportation costs for farmers, said Lambton Federation of Agriculture President Gary Martin. He is especially concerned for smaller farmers who may not have easy access to semi-tractor trailers like their larger counterparts.
Six locations of Ontario Grain L.P including grain elevators in Dawn-Euphemia at Rutherford, Becher near Wallaceburg, Staples, St. Thomas, Princeton, and Palmerston are closing. While the company is exiting grain marketing in Ontario but Ontario Grain will honour all existing contracts and fulfill its obligations to farm customers, employees and business partners during the transition, the company said as it released the news.
It plans to continue serving clients during the 2022 harvest season at a reduced capacity.
Martin was surprised by the announcement, but had already been fielding calls from affected farmers in Lambton County by Thursday afternoon. The nearest elevators to Florence would be either in Inwood or Thamesville, he said.
The Becher elevator in Wallaceburg is the company’s flagship elevator, says Martin who added it had been rebuilt approximately seven years ago.
Martin is curious to see who buys the grain elevators. The elevators provide grain drying, cleaning as well as storage services for farmers. Ontario Grain will begin a sale process of its assets with prospective buyers. Sollio Agriculture is a major shareholder in Ontario Grains.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture will be discussing the changes made with the Ontario Grain elevators at its October meeting.