This just in from the Reuters news agency out of Hamburg, Germany: Canadian wheat is now the cheapest in the world. How times change! With the single-desk Canadian Wheat Board farmers sold directly to overseas markets and got premium prices because of reliability of supply, honesty, and guaranteeing the highest quality grain in the world.

Thanks to Ottawa that is all gone now and Canadian sourced wheat is being sold into the Middle East for less than even wheat from nearby Russia.

This comes as no surprise to western farmers, the majority of who supported keeping the farmer-controlled single-desk.

In a related story, three weeks ago an Alberta farmer with durum wheat to sell went to his local foreign-owned elevator and was offered a mere seven dollars and change per bushel. Quite a letdown from prices that were usually more than double that with the farmer-run Wheat Board.
When he said he would wait, the elevator operator said they also had US pricing for durum which would give him twelve dollars a bushel. Not near the Wheat Board pool prices for durum but better.

Of course we know that for the first time in memory durum wheat prices are now higher in the US than in Canada and have been since Minister Ritz announced he was killing the Wheat Board.

For those who were paying attention, we have a very objective source on durum prices. Some years ago the International Trade Commission conducted an inquiry to see if the farmer-controlled Wheat Board was dumping durum wheat into the US.

The inquiry was conducted under international law like a court case. The Wheat Board sales staff were put under oath and cross examined. CWB and private trade sales in the US and from the CWB were subpoenaed and compared along with cross examination by lawyers and experts that cost almost as much per hour as a new combine.

The conclusion by the International Trade Commission was that in the five years of sales they examined the single-desk Wheat Board got premium prices for durum wheat compared to US prices in 59 out of 60 months. In the following years these findings were confirmed by three other similar tribunals.

Thanks to Minister Ritz and his tiny group of core supporters, Canadian hard red spring wheat delivered into the Middle East is now the cheapest in the world. Of course it is not really Canadian wheat any more. Ownership now changes hands to foreign corporations as soon as the Canadian farmer dumps it at the elevator – the companies get the profits by giving farmers lower prices. Thanks Minister Ritz!


  1. I don’t think Harper or Ritz ever really cared one way or the other about farmers or the existence of the Wheat Board. I believe that powerful lobbying from grain companies and a very few farmers took them in the direction they went. This all started well before the Reformers became the government.
    If I was a betting man, I’d bet that when this government falls, Ritz will have a soft landing on the Board of Directors of Cargill or Glencore and Harper will land gently on the Board of Suncore or Transcanada. Before that happens though, they will sell their government owned CWB grain company to another grain company who will eventually shut it down because farmers will not be using it. There is no way that Harper and Ritz will sell it to a farmer organization where there is a potential of building a cooperative large enough to compete in the market. The grain company lobbyists will never allow that.

    • It also boggles my mind as to why a group of people such as farmers, who tend to strongly believe in cooperatives, would ever vote for a government as far right as the Harperites. Yet from what I understand, most farmers vote conservative. Puzzling.

      • Thanks for the comments Dave. Grain farmers are less than two percent of the population and we are spread across the more than 50 prairie ridings. So although it is a secret ballot, it is a mathematical certainly that farmer votes did not win the last election for anybody.

        We do know that when the farmer-controlled Wheat Board held a vote among grain farmers about whether the wanted to keep the Wheat Board single-desk over 60% voted to do so.
        – Ken

    • Andrew Boyle

      Boggles the mind, can’t believe, say it ain’t so, come on boys, you sound like a loser at the dice tables constantly rolling craps and screaming my luck has to change and you roll again and lose. Wake up. That free trade promise of greater profits germinated the seeds of greed and you bought in. Or at least enough of you did; just like the potash crowd from Saskatchewan. Your fore-families knew the game and went with cooperatives, started health care founded a paper like the producer for new and could be trusted and you have let it slip through your fingers. Just like they (manufacturing) did back east with free trade. Now we are all suffering with an environment not fit to be passed down. Some hard choices coming and you’ll be offered some “easy choices” and cash or the chance to make it right and plow thjis mess under and start all over again – your choice

  2. Harper 100% for the death of CWB, we should never forget that fact

  3. You didn’t mention the crazy cost for CGC inspection to ships. It’s now over $1.40 a metric tonne. And just,”oversight”, weigh services after the fact. I did work at the CGC, they dumped most of us 1.5 years ago. That cost allot of money as well. Union contracts. You see. It’s a unregulated world now. Interteck and SGS are involved now. Interteck is run by an ex CGC manager, Debbie Pancowich. Oh well. Good Luck.

    • ken larsen

      Thanks for the insight Gerry. As you say, the private inspection system is more expensive and limited than when it was done by the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) and many of our skilled public servants have been scooped up by the private sector.
      This is an issue farmers and many others have raised several times with Ottawa.

      Taking Police off the beat

      A warning

      Grain safety not assured