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Tuesday, 16 August 2011 15:36

Meeting demonstrates major support for CWB status quo

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By Ryan Dahlman
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Judging by the standing ovation for the work done by some of the pro-single desk directors of the Canadian Wheat Board, it appeared those in attendance at the CWB meeting were in favour of maintaining the status quo when it comes to the structure and operation of the agriculture marketing organization.


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District 6 director Cam Goff, District 4's Bill Woods and District 3's Stewart Wells listen intently to a question.


An estimated 300+ farmers and interested parties packed Higdon Hall at the Medicine Hat Stampede and Exhibition grounds to take in the Farmer Meeting: Is this the Right Move?


The federal government has decided to change federal legislation which currently has in place a rule that western Canadian farmers can only sell their wheat, durum and barley to the CWB. They want farmers to have the freedom of choice on whether or not to sell to the CWB.


Supporters of the status quo for the CWB say any kind of change will hurt the CWB's ability to get the most money as possible and don't want to be bothered with having to sell the grain themselves or don't want a private company selling it.


According to the CWB's website farmers "sell their wheat and barley together through the CWB, their sole selling agent or as it is commonly referred to as single desk. This helps ensure farmers get the highest overall returns as they have an effective "monopoly" on these sales (i.e. no competing sellers of western Canadian wheat)."


CWB board of directors' chairman Allen Oberg, District 3 (southern Alberta and southwest Sask.)'s Stewart Wells, District 4 (Eston) Bill Woods, District 6's Cam Goff all made presentations during the meeting. A marketer and economist with the CWB also explained why single desk selling was more beneficial overall as compared to being in the open market.


While it definitely was a pro-single desk selling crowd, as the standing ovation and the question/comments relayed by farmers at the open microphones were any indication, there still were those smaller number of farmers who wanted to have an opportunity on the open market.


Producers from Lethbridge, Picture Butte, Medicine Hat and Vulcan all expressed their support for the federal government's plan of doing away with legislation requiring farmers to sell through the CWB.

Read more of what farmers had to say both pro and con towards their feelings of the wheat board in this week's edition of Prairie Post.

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Producer Rod Lemire spoke up at the meeting in Medicine Hat.

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