CanadianWheat Board or Cargill?

Waldeck - Thursday, March 16, 2006 - by:Joyce Neufeld


On Feb 4/06, The Edmonton Journal carried an article titled ‘Sowing Seeds of Change’ in which opponents of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) once again make many false statements. “The change” (open market) “will lead to better prices and returns, access more markets, and a wider window to take advantage of any surge in prices”.



CWB does good

This is completely false. The CWB markets farmer’s grain to over 70 customers and it blends grades when advantageous to producers. Independent studies have shown that CWB has returned premiums of $72 million annually to Barley producers (Schmitz, Gray, Schmitz and Storey, The CWB and Barley Marketing: Price Pooling and Single-Desk Selling, 1997). And, Wheat premiums of $265 million annually to wheat producers (Kraft, Furtan, and Tyrchniewicz, Performance Evaluation of the Canadian Wheat Board, 1996).



to lose

“The Tories campaigned on marketing choice and we expect them to follow through on that commitment” said Blair Rutter, Executive director of Western Canadian Wheat Growers (WCWG). He further states “It’s a change that’s long overdue. Nobody’s getting rich under the current system, and there’s nothing to lose trying something different”.




Guess again Mr. Rutter, farmers have much more to lose. If the CWB loses it’s single desk selling monopoly, farmers will lose their market power to get the best possible prices for their product. They will lose the market development of the CWB (CWB continually shows purchasers of our grains how to best utilize them). We will lose the transparencies of our marketer, we will lose a strong opponent of GM wheat, we will lose blending premiums, we will lose the Canadian Grain Commission that offers undisputed grading to producers, and we will lose the fair allocation of Producer Cars. If farmers give up the CWB’s mandate over wheat or barley marketing, we can’t get it back. Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement says that if we turn over control of (and profits from) wheat or barley marketing to grain companies, we can’t reverse that decision without paying those companies billions in compensation for lost profits-present and future.

 no dual market

Despite what Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, (David Anderson included) and their lapdogs the WCWG say, farmers have one hell of a lot to lose. There is no such thing as a dual market – you either have the CWB marketing our wheat and barley, or we have Cargill, ADM, Louis Dreyfus, and Con Agra, selling the grain and pocketing the profits.

Joyce Neufeld

  Finlayson, David , Sowing the seeds of change, February 4, 2006, The Edmonton Journal, PDF document found on Alberta Liberal web site


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