(November 14, 2011)  Today a delegation of 24 grain farmers and academics from across the west are travelling to Ottawa to meet with Senators, their staff, and others to inform them how proposed legislation to remove farmer control of the Canadian Wheat Board and eliminate its single desk marketing authority will affect them and their communities.  The group will also stand with their elected CWB Directors at a news conference scheduled for the morning of November 15th.

“I’m very pleased we have a delegation with a wide range of experience, age, and farm backgrounds” said Bill Gehl, chairperson of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance.  “We have farmers here who represent everything from feed barley producers who seldom have permit books, to farmers who invested in producer car loading and short line railways, and mega-farm operations raising durum and wheat.  They all want to make sure the Senators understand the negative implications of this piece of legislation for their farming operations.”

Gehl pointed out several young farmers and academics are also a part of the delegation.  “These people are our future and they know from experience and study that our Wheat Board is still critical for maintaining western Canada’s niche position as the globe’s producer of the highest quality grain in the world.”

Gehl noted many Senators may not be aware of the implications for urban Canadians and local food quality if the proposed legislation is passed.  “We already know processors make use of the lowest cost foreign feed stocks and supplements for cattle feeding, and it is clear the same thing will happen with human food once our Wheat Board is no longer there to ensure domestic processors have equitable access to our high quality wheat and barley.”

Gehl went on to say “we have a delegation which can provide an on-the-ground perspective untainted by the biases of private grain brokers who see this as an opportunity to make more commissions, and Astroturf groups like the Grain Growers of Canada who claim more members than there are grain farmers in western Canada.”

Gehl concluded by observing “we have a farmer controlled democracy at our Canadian Wheat Board.  We will be asking the Senators to hear from farmers across the west by conducting hearings of the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry into this legislation which will over-throw our elected CWB Directors and give our $6 billion dollar a year organization to the five giant multinational corporations which control the rest of the planet’s grain.”

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