Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

January 17, 2008 14:49 ET

Minister Ritz Brings Together Canadian Wheat Board and Barley Industry

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 17, 2008) - The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, announced today that he will be calling on the Canadian Wheat Board to meet with industry groups, producers, grain handlers and malting companies with the aim of discussing the future of the barley industry. The meeting is set to take place on January 29, 2008 in Ottawa and will focus on finding ways to move toward marketing choice for barley growers.

"There is obviously a major gap between what producers and the industry want and where the Canadian Wheat Board insists on going," said Minister Ritz. "It's high time the CWB stops fighting with producers and gets in a room with them to start hammering out real options for marketing choice."

The Minister is calling for the meeting following widespread criticism of the CWB's recent announcement of the CashPlus program. Grower groups, grain handlers and malting companies have rejected the program as a half-measure falling far short of true marketing choice.

"The CWB has obviously ignored industry in putting this program together," said the Minister. "Had they listened to growers and industry groups, they would have known that this alternative is unworkable. Now the CWB is forcing the program on the industry by refusing to sell new-crop malting barley to maltsters until they sign on to the new program."

Industry groups have advised the Minister that they have sent repeated requests to the Canadian Wheat Board for such a meeting which have gone unanswered.

"That is unacceptable and the Government will ensure farmers are heard," concluded Minister Ritz. "It is time the CWB really listens and starts to put farmer and industry interests ahead of their own. This meeting will be a perfect opportunity to do so."

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Todd MacKay
    Director of Communications