(Pelly, Sk., February 10, 2015) Kyle Korneychuk, spokesperson for the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA), an independent prairie-wide farm group released the following commentary on the personal attack generated by a January CWBA news release titled “Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Raises Concerns:”

Last month the CWBA issued a news release pointing out that Cereals Canada was made up primarily of big grain and agro-chemical companies whose interests were not the same as farmers and this raised concerns about conflicts of interest between farmers’ profits and those of private grain and agro-chemical companies. We expected some counter argument but did not expect Cereals Canada’s appointed President to respond with an intemperate and personal attack.

The point the CWBA made is that big grain and agro-chemical companies have their own agendas. Those companies do not make billions of dollars of annual profits by leaving money on the table for western farmers, no matter how often farmers are patted on the back and told we are all part of a value chain. As the Manitoba Cooperator’s February 9th Editorial pointed out, these different priorities between farmers and agri-business are not affected by whether there are three farmers from western Canada sitting on the Cereals Canada board, or five as there were a couple of weeks later.

In fact Cereals Canada is a very expensive talking shop to join. We have heard reports that a seat can cost upwards of one-hundred thousand dollars a year. That is a lot of farmers’ money to join an organization that has zero power to enforce farmers’ interests. Cereals Canada has mostly called for farmers to give up more money to supply the agro-chemical companies with research funds or for farmers to give up the genetics we have already paid to develop. There is little value in any of this for farmers. We can do better by using the farmers’ money needed to join Cereals Canada to work on our own research and development that will directly benefit farmers.

In spite of the clichés by Cereals Canada’s Chairperson about every group at that table being “partners” there is no equality among those so-called partners. Most farmers, having seen their grain cheques cut in half this year and who must pay for expensive privately developed seed understand that we have no common interests with these private companies who exist to make as much money as they can from farmers. If Cereals Canada can convince a few farmers that this is also in their interests, so be it. But let’s not pretend things like Cereals Canada will put a single extra penny into western grain farmers’ pockets. The shareholders of private companies have no interest in that, and why should they, now that Ottawa has allowed them to insert themselves between farmers and our former customers?

The colourful insults from Cereals Canada’s appointed President should not divert farmers or the media from these facts.
– 30 –

Comments are closed.