Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

April 03, 2007 16:47 ET

AAFC: Minister Strahl Calls on CWB to Respect the Will of Farmers

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - April 3, 2007) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today issued the following statement regarding the position of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) on the barley plebiscite and marketing choice.

"Of the 29,000 barley growers who participated in the plebiscite, a majority of 62 percent voted in favour of moving to marketing choice. It is incumbent on me as Minister to respect their wishes and move in this direction. If the Canadian Wheat Board truly represents farmers, then it should respect their will.

"The plebiscite questions that were asked were very similar to those the CWB has been asking producers for years about marketing barley. In its producer survey, the Board asked farmers to pick between retaining the single desk, opening up the market to competition between the CWB and other buyers, and removing the CWB from the process entirely. Last year, two-thirds of farmers surveyed wanted more competition.

"I would encourage the Board to look carefully at the large number of farmers who want to market their own product as well as those who want to continue to market through them.

"The Government believes that the CWB has many advantages that it could leverage into an attractive marketing option for producers. The CWB continues to have a loyal base of producers who will want to market their grain through the Board and I am confident they will provide the CWB with a large volume of grain to sell on their behalf.

"We now have a mandate from farmers to move to marketing choice, to provide Western Canadian grain growers with the freedom to choose how they market their barley. It is the Government's intention to make marketing choice a reality by August 1, 2007 - in time for the coming crop year.

"I encourage the CWB to work with the Government in a way that serves the interests and the clearly expressed desire of Western Canada's barley producers."

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Minister Strahl's Office
    Conrad Bellehumeur
    Director of Communications