Windsor

Farmer says Ontario producers have been 'tested to the extreme' this year

Ontario farmer Mark McLean says 2019 has been one of the most stressful agricultural years he's experienced in his 25 years in the industry.

'It's been a trying year,' says Mark McLean

A field cultivator breaks up the ground on a farm near Ripley, Ont. (Twitter)

Ontario farmer Mark McLean says 2019 has been one of the most stressful agricultural years he's experienced in his 25 years in the industry.

Between an exceptionally cold winter, a wet spring and a relatively dry summer, McLean said farmers have been "tested to the extreme" by this year's weather. 

McLean mainly grows wheat, soybeans and corn. He said the majority of corn crops in Ontario likely haven't reached maturity. 

"We're going to run into some corn issues again this year, quality-wise," McLean said. 

And as Ontario prepares itself for cooler temperatures and the eventual onset of winter, McLean said farming is only going to become more difficult. 

"A couple of guys were saying we should move Thanksgiving back, then we could maybe enjoy it, because a lot of farmers are [working] soybeans over the Thanksgiving weekend," he said. "I said, 'You either get Thanksgiving or you get Christmas off, you don't get both."

McLean added that many farmers are still in the process of harvesting soybean crops. 

"We were late getting it in [the ground]," he said. "We had some variable yield, but I think some guys came out on top of that … And other places, like our area, we were below average on the yield."

According to McLean, farming challenges grow each year and farmers need to continually adapt to changing circumstances, adding he and his colleagues are taking greater efforts to maintain their mental wellness. 

"There's a tension in the air, there's an issue that everybody is somewhat stressed by, and whether you're a large farmer or a small farmer or work for a farmer, everybody suffers … and it's something we have to be aware [of]," he said.

"As we get into the dull days of fall and then coming into winter with the weather changing, that's going to maybe affect people a little differently if things get tougher."

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