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LeftField Commodity Research provides independent insight and analysis for Canadian grain, oilseed and special crop markets. Our goal is to produce value for clients by drawing together information sources, revealing what is important and presenting solid market insight. Our core business is crop market analysis and economic research projects.

At LeftField, we understand the power of knowledge and data to provide answers or simply to provoke discussion. We sift through many sources of numbers, news, reports and other information and boil it down for clients to improve the efficiency of their decision-making. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we provide ideas and suggestions to help improve clients’ bottom lines. If we don’t accomplish that, we’re not doing our job.

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notes from LeftField

  • If GMO Opponents Win
    I'm starting to fear the GMO opponents are winning the day. As more and more food manufacturers in the US and elsewhere pander to the forces of "marketing" and take advantage of consumer ignorance, the momentum against GMOs is growing. This is despite the complete lack of scientific proof of harm from GMOs. The latest move is Russia's consideration of a ban on GMO production in the entire country. Unfortunately the activists seize on these type of announcements as "proof" of problems with the GMOs and the vicious cycle of misinformation continues to build. So what will happen if this trend continues? Conventional agriculture will be booted to the sidelines and become a niche in itself. For consumers, this would mean a 40% increase in pesticides used on crops, lower yields and more videos of famine in various parts of the world. I hope the activists are okay with this outcome because it's the logical end of their irrational and ideological opposition to GMOs.
  • Farmer Myths
    I've heard a couple of things the last few days that made me downright cranky. The first was a report on CBC radio that said farmers were a dying breed with 75% ready to retire. It was all doom and gloom. I guess the documentary writer hasn't been out to a farmer meeting in that last five years. I've noticed a huge change in the average age in the room, with far more younger people. That's a reason for optimism.

    The other line I just heard recently I've come across many times; farmers are just "price takers". Using this victim mentality is a bit of an insult to the many successful farmers out there. And it's simply not true. Farmers have the ability to select prices over a long timeframe and use risk management tools to improve price performance. They're not victims of the market, they're participants. And besides, which business is able to set prices independently of the market? None. Even Apple has to take market realities into account when it prices its products. The farmers I know are smart enough that the "price taker" label simply doesn't apply.

    End rant
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