Mary Van den Broek Grant of Cardigan Feed Services says Islanders can expect an increase in the price of many meats by this time next year due to extreme weather across the continent in 2019.
“Within nine to 12 months I can actually see a spike coming in food prices,” Ms Van den Broek Grant said. “I just want to give consumers a little heads-up.”
Cardigan Feed Services has been in Ms Van den Broek Grant’s family for almost 60 years. She said in that time, the price of different types of feed have been increasing but this year has been different so far. Due to a number of abnormal and extreme weather events, various types of crops that Cardigan Feed buys have seen large increases in the price per metric tonne.
Acquiring the product to begin with has become a laborious task this season, she said.
“I don’t worry about selling (feed product), I worry about buying,” Ms Van den Broek said. “It takes so much more effort to keep that supply chain open.”
One of the businesses sources crops is Alberta.
A mid-September frost and snowfall halted harvesting in the western province. The frost killed many crops while the snowfall flattened crops making them difficult to harvest after the snow melted. Wheat, oats, barley and soybean are grown in Alberta.
In North and South Dakota, another area where Cardigan Feed sources product, there was a large amount of wet weather late in the summer followed by an early fall. This combination caused many crops to become diseased and all of this happening before an early October snow storm blew through the Prairie States.
Other factors affecting supply were weather events in western Canada combined with post-tropical storm Dorian in the Maritimes.
Ms Van den Broek Grant said she had to exhaust her list of suppliers due to many not being able to fill the feed mill’s needs.
“I’ve had to dust off my supplier book because I haven’t used it in 10 years,” Ms Van den Broek Grant said. “In 40 years of working in this position, I’ve never had such a difficult time accessing product.”
All of these factors affect the business’ bottom line but her eye turns to the younger generations.
“I think of millennials. They’ve never had to go through food shortages before,” Ms Van den Broek Grant said.
She added that food supplies would still be present in grocery stores but she can see “the grocery cart going up in price quite a bit next year.”
Ms Van den Broek couldn’t speculate that this year’s feed price jump is a sign of things to come. However, she said if the trend continues next year and if the Canadian government is able to reopen trading with China, it could bring serious ramifications to food prices on the Island.
“The feed industry translates directly into the food industry,” she said.