Taking Advantage Of Strong Crop, Livestock Markets

CANADA - A University of Manitoba agricultural economist is advising farmers who rely on exports to take advantage of strong grain and livestock markets as one way of protecting themselves against the rising value of the Canadian dollar, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 20 April 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

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Since last fall the value of the Canadian dollar has faced continued upward pressure and it currently sits above par at $1.04 US.

Dr Brian Oleson, an agricultural economics professor with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, notes Canada is very export-oriented when it comes to agriculture and, with the exception of the supply managed industries, the impact of the strong dollar really hurts.

Dr Brian Oleson-University of Manitoba

Agricultural producers and exporters in general in the short term can use the forward currency markets and short-term hedges with regard to hedging or protecting expected sales in the short term.

By short-term I mean maybe a year out.

In the long-term it's very very hard to protect against that currency, you pretty well have to live with what those currency values are going to be.

Looking at the farm situation, and this goes for both crops and livestock.

Both crops and livestock are in incredibly good situations right now and so perhaps the biggest hedge is to take advantage of these high prices in terms both crop and livestock.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the Canadian dollar is very very tightly tied to expectations and realities in terms of interest and inflation.

Sooner or later inflation is going to rear its ugly head and interest rates are going to snap up and so farmers may very well consider to try to blend their debt between floating and fixed rates as they move forward.

Dr Oleson acknowledges the strong Canadian dollar hurts but luckily prices are very good so, although we get less for our agricultural exports, we're not noticing it in the way we might have otherwise.

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