Tomato farmers get no raise, arbitrator rules
Food processors like Heinz, Del Monte, SunBrite will pay the same or less for tomatoes than they did last year
Tomato farmers won't be getting a raise this year. In some cases, they may suffer a pay cut.
The price for some is lower than last year.
Contract talks between tomato farmers and food processors went to arbitration after the two sides couldn't negotiate a price.
The arbitrator ruled that prices either remain the same or decrease in some cases.
The ruling was "very disappointing" to farmer Walter Brown.
Brown, from Leamington, was part of the team negotiating with Del Monte, SunBrite and Heinz.
Brown said tomato prices are now below what they were 10 years ago.
He's concerned for the future of growing tomatoes in Ontario.
"I'm sure that there's growers in Ontario that are going to start having a look at this and wondering whether they want to stay in growing such an intense and highly capitalized crop," he said. "It's something that happens slowly, but this definitely could be a turning point in the long-term industry."
Farmers were looking for an increase in price after a bumper crop of tomatoes last year. Food processors wanted prices to remain steady.
Del Monte and Heinz both told CBC News they are pleased with the contracts.