(Regina, May 14, 2012)  Last week’s announcement by Alliance Grain Traders delaying a Regina pasta plant comes as no surprise said Bill Gehl, Chairperson of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance.

Last fall the pasta plant was announced with much fanfare and the presence of Prime Minister Harper and his Agriculture Minister who contended it was evidence their legislation ending the single desk Wheat Board had stimulated value adding.

“Obviously the management of Alliance Grain Traders has now done its due diligence and discovered what grain farmers have known for decades – any kind of enterprise in the west faces brutal transportation economics simply because we are so far from any significant markets,” Gehl said.

“They may have even discovered that with the loss of the Wheat Board’s single desk, small processors face an even bigger challenge.  Our Wheat Board had a policy of treating all processors equally so large processors could not obtain volume discounts from farmers and push out smaller operations,” explained Gehl, “and now that fairness will end with the single desk.”

“Many are starting to regret listening to ideologically driven politicians like Ritz and Harper.  Last October a major Canadian company, Legumex Walker Inc. announced its new $110 million US canola crushing plant is to be located in Washington State to be closer to markets.  At the time, we pointed out the Wheat Board has nothing to do with canola, so this ought to have been a red flag to Alliance Grain Traders’ management and those who believed our Wheat Board inhibited value adding on the prairies.  However neither the Prime Minister or the Agriculture Minister listened and now Alliance Grain Traders has learned the PM has no magic wand that can change the fact we produce grain behind a wall of mountain ranges and huge land distances to ocean ports.

“For small grain processors like Alliance Grain Traders to survive they need the fairness our single desk Wheat Board brought to the market place.  Without it both farmers and processors lose” Gehl concluded.

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