Blog: The Wheat Sheaf

Value Chain Committed to Ongoing Operations

With the seeding season upcoming, the uncertainty of supply chain operations is front of mind. Crop input retailers, grain elevators, malt houses, grain mills, bakeries, railways, and export ports are concerned about having to reduce their operations should their staff, or the staff of their customers, become ill. All of these businesses are modifying their operations to ensure that they are limiting potential sources of infection, developing protocols to protect staff, and attempting to limit impacts to operations should staff become ill. Our current focus is ensuring that provincial government policies and messaging do not impact the operations of these facilities.

Grain Companies

  • Taking the necessary actions to remain in operation. PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL ELEVATOR REGARDING THEIR SPECIFIC PROTOCOLS.
  • Calling on all levels of governments to deem grain elevators as critical infrastructure.
  • Market demand remains strong, no current concerns.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) 

  • Developing plans to continue operations with lower staffing levels should COVID19 illness become an issue. They are also developing protocols to ensure detection of illness.

Canada Grain Commission

  • Adjustments to how some of their programs and services are delivered so that they can continue to operate.
  • Currently, all services are being provided.


  • Fertilizer Canada has stated that member companies are in a good position to continue to get fertilizer to farms for spring planting and throughout the season, with most having already been delivered to regional warehouses, retailers and farms. Farmers are still advised to begin sourcing their fertilizer in advance to ensure supply.
  • Any disruptions in production or distribution, due to illness, will likely be localized.
  • Members companies have indicated a willingness to collaborate to ensure service throughout the crisis.
  • Seeking changes to hours of work legislation to allow for overtime in order to keep product moving in light of any potential shortages.

Seed Processors 

  • Seeking inclusion in essential service listings.
  • Plants will be posting protocols and mobile signs, asking farmers to remain in vehicles.
  • No reports of closures currently. Any reported closure is likely localized.

Equipment Parts 

  • Operational protocols will vary from dealership to dealership to take necessary precautions to protect farmers. PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL DEALERSHIP
  • As many parts are manufactured in the US and shipped to Canada; all levels of government (including the US) have insured the integrity of the integrated supply chain.
  • Even with enhanced border measures, they remain open to commercial traffic; currently there are no foreseen consequences to part supply but as the COVID situation in the states worsens, there could be future implications.
  • For now, there seems to be a large enough network in Alberta to fill parts orders or cannibalize existing equipment to keep machinery running. 


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