Farm groups call for return to orderly grain marketing
Published on: March 14, 2016 | Last Updated: March 14, 2016 4:06 PM CST
Grain cars are lined up at the sidings at the Viterra Grain terminal east of Pilot Butte in 2014. Some farm groups are calling for the restoration of the Canadian Wheat Board to co-ordinate logistics for the grain transportation system. Bryan Schlosser / Regina Leader-Post
A coalition of farm groups is calling for the return of orderly marketing of grain, claiming the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board by the Harper government in 2012 has cost western farmers $6.5 billion over the past two years, the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA) said in a news release Monday.
About 40 farmers from the Raymore area met Sunday and passed a resolution calling for “the establishment of orderly marketing of grain in Western Canada.” Kyle Korneychuk, spokesperson for the CWBA, a pro-CWB farm group, noted this is the second farm meeting in as many months calling for the restoration orderly marketing of western wheat and barley.
Some trade experts have argued that the CWB could not be re-established under our trade agreements, like NAFTA, because it would infringe on the existing rights of foreign companies doing business in Canada.
But Korneychuk said the federal Liberal government has indicated it wants to renegotiate parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiated by the former Conservative government. Presumably that means that the federal government could bring back the CWB’s single-desk marketing authority, he said.
Or the three Prairie provinces and B.C. could resurrect the single desk CWB, which had a legislated monopoly on the export sale of western wheat and barley. “We could do it provincially,” Korneychuk, a former elected director of the CWB. “We don’t need the feds involved.”
Korneychuk added western farmers are now “feeling the loss of orderly marketing in their pocketbooks,” which has been borne out by studies showing that farmers lost about $6.5 billion dollars in two years.
During the grain transportation backlog in 2013-14, Richard Gray, an agricultural economist with the University of Saskatchewan, estimated western farmers lost about $5.1 billion in lost sales and income due to the failure of the railways and grain companies to deliver the record harvest to export markets.
Over $1 billion was lost due to the fact that with the orderly marketing system prairie farmers received over 90 per cent of the port price, but without the single-desk prairie farmers are only receiving between 40 to 60 per cent of the port price for their wheat, according to the CWBA.
“Farmers lost $6.5 billion,” Korneychuk said. “That’s not chump change.”
Korneychuk said the single-desk CWB was the “economic lynch pin,” which ensured the efficient movement and reliable delivery of high quality-assured grain to customers and guaranteeing that farmers received the premiums customers paid.
Director of Research and Policy
National Farmers Union
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Fax (306) 664-6226
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