Fields on Wheels 2023 - Hero

Food and agricultural supply chains are facing difficult adjustments following the pandemic. Interest rates have risen to counter inflation, and commodity markets have been hit with external shocks. The impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine may be easing, but oil prices remain uncertain and food inflation is a national concern. Workers are seeking higher wages to deal with price inflation and the pending renewal of their mortgages.

Adding to these macroeconomic effects is the need to address climate change. Transport costs are rising as carbon taxes are passed through the supply chain, while unusual weather continues to create surprises, like a drought in Panama. Slower traffic volume through this canal affects many shipping patterns.

The 28th Annual Fields on Wheels conference brings together experts to discuss various aspects of the agri-food supply chain. The morning begins with a discussion of food price inflation, and the longer-term impacts of climate change. Efforts to reduce carbon emissions impact agriculture directly and indirectly. The need for alternative fuels is spurring the use of oilseed crops for industrial use. At the same time, agriculture is being asked to greatly reduce its consumption of fossil fuels, and regarding fertilizer use.

In the afternoon, the webinar turns to modal issues. Agricultural trucking is highlighted and a new means for reducing the costs of freight transactions is presented. Subsequently, attention is turned to the eastern grain corridor. The importance of the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence River came to national attention with the recent labour dispute. Like many aspects of transportation, the significance of the Seaway is visible when it stops working. This panel explores its role as an important export corridor for the grain industry and future challenges.


Webinar details

Post-pandemic Supply Chain Adjustments

Thursday, December 14, 2023 - 9 am to 3:30 pm CST


  Welcome from the University of Manitoba
Dr. Bruno Silvestre, Dean, I.H. Asper School of Business
9:05   Food Inflation and Climate Change Implications

Session Chair: Barry E. Prentice, Director, Transport Institute

"The Drivers of Food Inflation and Implications for Supply Chain Resilience."
Michael Von Massow, Professor, University of Guelph

"From Seed to Plate: Navigating the Produce Supply Chain."
Pamela Kolochuk, CEO, Peak of the Market.

"Climate Change and U.S. Agricultural Exports: How Future Weather Patterns Will Impact U.S. Competitiveness"
Thibault Denamiel, Research Associate, Scholl Chair in International Business

11:00   Sustainable Aviation Fuels

Session Chair: Hedley Auld, CN Rail (retired)

"Canadian Clean Fuels Policy: Current Status and Future Developments"
Fred Ghatala, Director, Carbon and Sustainability of Advanced Biofuels Canada

"Oilseed Processing Overview"
Chris Vervaet, Executive Director, Canadian Oilseed Processors Association


Stretch and bend break

12:20 Noon-hour Talk  

Session Chair: Barry E. Prentice, Director, Transport Institute

"A farmer's view of Canada's climate change policy."
Gunter Jochum, President, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association


Agriculture and Food Trucking

Session Chair: Narendra Malalgoda, Assistant Professor, Transport Institute

"Animal Transport Advancement"
Bill Rempel, CEO, Steve's Livestock Transport

"Reducing the transaction costs of booking truck freight"
Daniel Santos, CEO, Evotrux

2:00   Eastern Grain Corridor Panel

Session Chair: Derek Brewin, Head, Dept. Ag. Business and Ag. Economics

"Grain Transportation on the St. Lawrence Seaway and to Eastern Canada"
Mark Hemmes, President, Quorum Corporation

Chris Heikkinen, CEO, Port of Thunder Bay

Frank Dahan, Director of Transport Services and Global Fuel Strategy,CSL Group

Bruce Hodgson, Director, Market Development, Highway H2O

4:00   Concluding comments