(August 29, 2011) Maybe it’s time to feel some sympathy for the United States.  But the recent reports about bond rating agency Standard and Poors downgrading the US’s credit rating from triple A status should also cause western farmers some worry about what this may do to the international grain market.  Under normal circumstances cheaper American grain would not be a great concern since the Canadian Wheat Board has made our global market niche supplying high quality wheats and barley.

Of course there is always a “but” in such statements, and the biggest but on our horizon is thanks to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.  He intends to destroy the CWB by removing the single desk.  Without the CWB to capitalize on our quality advantage, premium prices will be taken by private margin traders as they blend our higher quality grain with inferior grains to make more profit for themselves.

Canadians might even find themselves eating inferior US and Eurasian wheat as these same margin traders are able to source cheaper grain to sell to Canadian processors and retailers.  Consumers can watch out for holes in their bread and farmers can watch out for holes in their wallets.  Of course the private margin traders with whom our Agriculture Minister is so friendly can hardly wait.

For a look at why the Canadian Wheat Board is central to our quality control system, read Blair McCann’s article Canada’s image for quality wheat bound to suffer from the August 26 Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper.

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