A federal agriculture committee is conducting a study to determine the mental health challenges of Canadian farmers and ranchers.

A 2016 study out of the University of Guelph surveyed one thousand producers and found that farmers are some of the most vulnerable Canadians when it comes to mental health disorders.

NDP Agriculture Critic Alistair MacGregor said it’s not at all surprising that suicide rates among farmers and ranchers are very high, although there isn’t any specific data.

“It’s an industry where they have so many uncertainties, whether it’s weather conditions, pest management, fluctuating commodity prices, or fluctuating costs associated with the inputs of their farms,” said MacGregor. “It’s not like this is a job for them, it’s actually what their life is, you can’t really separate their life from their profession.”

MacGregor said farmers in the supply-managed sectors are better off.

“Farmers in our supply-managed sectors have a little more certainty because of their mechanisms to control how much they produce, but also the price,” said MacGregor. “Farmers, whether it’s chicken, dairy, or eggs, they’re better able to forecast what their income is going to be, rather than others who are reliant on a much more export-driven model.”

MacGregor said some of the trade deals the Trudeau government has signed are opening up some supply-managed sectors to foreign investors.

He mentioned the trade war between the United States and China and said that if we have an oversupply of American products, commodity prices start falling here, in part because the prices are set in the US.