(Raymore, Sask., March 13, 2016) Over 40 farmers from the Raymore, Saskatchewan area met March 13th and passed a resolution calling for “the establishment of orderly marketing of grain in western Canada.”
Kyle Korneychuk, spokesperson for the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance, an independent and non-partisan prairie-wide farm group noted: “This is the second farm meeting in as many months that has called for the orderly marketing of prairie wheat and barley.”
Korneychuk went on to note that “this level of concern is another strong indication to Ottawa that farmers are now feeling the loss of orderly marketing in their pocketbooks and it shows that the study by Dr. Richard Gray of the University of Saskatchewan demonstrating farmers lost about 6.5 billion dollars in the past two years is accurate.”
The meeting heard from economist Erin Weir who now sits as the MP for Regina-Lewvan. He reminded the audience that orderly marketing was an essential market tool for farmers. Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the NDP agriculture critic, identified a number of key issues for agriculture heading for Parliament this session and pledged her party would support orderly marketing.
Bill Gehl, the farmer-elected chair of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission pointed out that no matter how well the Commission did at supporting the creation of valuable wheat varieties, without orderly marketing the traditional values of those varieties are not coming back to farmers.
Wheat Board Alliance organizer and Brookdale, Manitoba grain farmer Andrew Dennis gave a report on the very successful recent visit to Ottawa he, Ken Larsen, Brendan Sigurdson, and Ken Sigurdson completed.
“We met with 14 MPs and two Cabinet Ministers and received a warm welcome and a respectful hearing. Most important, nobody told us they thought our orderly marketing goal was impossible.”
Dennis reminded the meeting that the annual audited statements of the single-desk CWB showed that with the orderly marketing system prairie farmers received over 90% of the port price and now without the single-desk prairie farmers are only receiving between 40-60% of the port price for their wheat. He warned that “if this is going to be the new normal, grain farming in western Canada is going to hit a debt wall sooner rather than later and that will kill off our younger leveraged farmers.”
Stewart Wells, chairperson of the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, gave an update on the current status of the class action regarding the disposition of some of the assets of the dissolved farmer-owned and directed Board. Stewart reported the next court date was set for October 24 of this year.
Kyle Korneychuk observed the single-desk CWB was the economic lynch pin which made prairie grain production viable by ensuring the efficient movement and reliable delivery of high quality-assured grain to customers and guaranteeing that farmers received the premiums customers paid. “To keep those advantages we need to market western grain in an orderly and efficient way through a single-desk selling system” he concluded.
The meeting concluded by unanimously passing the following resolution:
WHEREAS, The loss of the farmer elected, single-desk Canadian Wheat Board has resulted in an increasingly dysfunctional rail system, no grain logistics oversight, a loss of transport efficiency on rail and at sea, reduced grain quality guarantees to other nations, and an overall loss of 6.5 billion dollars in income to farmers over the last two years, which has been devastating to the economy of Western Canada; and
WHEREAS, The ending of the CWB marketing system has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs across Canada including 460 direct good quality jobs in the heart of Winnipeg and a further 1,834 full-time equivalent jobs that were sustained by the CWB’s administrative expenditures;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That this meeting supports the farmers of Western Canada by calling for the establishment of orderly marketing for the selling of grain in western Canada.
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