Saskatchewan Wheat Corporation:

Brendaren Farm - January 25, 2001 - By: Edwin Wallace


On Tuesday, January 23/01, Saskatchewan, was once again treated to what seems to have become a monthly "we-really-are-your-friends" appearance by the Saskatchewan Wheat Corporation - SWC. (Formerly the Saskatchewan Wheat POOL) In yet another Regina based "News Conference", this time to talk about the high cost of inputs and how government should come to the aid of farmers, Corporation president, Marvin Weins, with all the gravity he could muster, delivered his lines.




Any of us in the business of farming can talk about high input costs. But such talk, will usually, if not always, include a disparaging remark or three about the Saskatchewan Wheat Corporation's role in the very problem Weins would have us believe he was out to fix.




For instance:


  • The SWC was one of the first major farm organizations to sit down with officials to negotiate away the Crow.

  • It was traditionally one of the grain companies with the highest charges for elevator services.

  • It was the COOPERATIVE that traded in that title and the loyalty of a majority of it's members to become just another poor performer on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

  • It has been among the most aggressive of all the grain companies to close existing, fully functional grain elevators.

  • It is currently the leader of the pack of grain companies, allied with the railways, fighting with the real friend of the farmer, the Canadian Wheat Board, in a jurisdictional dispute over grain transportation.




So what are the results of all this SWC, kindness and concern, directed at the producer?


  • Freight rates have soared to unimaginable levels - even the old enemies of the Crow have a hard time with that.

  • Farmers were forced to consider other, less expensive means of delivering their grain, like siding-loaded Producer Cars (The experiment with short lines continues.).

  • Farmers equity, built up over many years of patronage to the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, was devalued with an unfair assessment of the value of the cooperative's total assets; just to meet the approval of their corporate friends. Some of the more sensitive call that straight theft! All for nothing . . .

  • The SWC shares are in the toilet - under $3 as this is written - with little hope of recovery even to the paltry $12 dollars at which they were first set.

  • The SWC's future now depends on farmers willingness to pay for all those concrete tombstones to replace elevators already paid for - many times over.

  • The Canadian Wheat Board's very existence is threatened by the SWC, other grain companies and the railways acting in concert against it.

  • Farmers are now hauling their grain many more miles over roads which in themselves will cost all people farmers and non-farmers alike a sum we haven't yet imagined.




For those of us who keep track, it is ludicrous to the point of humor - dark as it may be - to hear Weins, advocating a break for farmers especially in fuel costs, when it is his New Age monstrosity that has caused/is causing increased transportation costs.
  Get real Marvin - give up the paycheck and get back to the farm. Nobody can afford you any more!
  I'm Edwin