Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

April 20, 2007 13:04 ET

AAFC: Minister Strahl Disappointed With CWB Suspension of Barley Price Outlooks and Producer Payment Options

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 20, 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 decision by the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) to suspend barley Pool Return Outlooks (PRO) and Producer Payment Options for the 2007-08 crop year.

"I am disappointed with the CWB's decision to suspend the Pool Return Outlooks and Producer Payment Options for the coming crop year. These are useful business tools for producers, and by suspending them the CWB seems to be trying to punish producers for preferring to have marketing choice.

"It would be better for the CWB to think about how it can work for farmers in a marketing choice environment, not take away valuable services.

"We are moving forward with the intention of making marketing choice a reality for Western Canadian barley farmers by August 1, 2007. We have been listening to farmers. Sixty-two percent of them have said they want change and we are delivering it.

"Producers now see more attractive pricing possibilities under a marketing choice environment. The current outlook for barley prices is very strong and I understand there are difficulties getting farmers to deliver to the CWB pool, which has led the CWB to reduce its PRO for the current crop year.

"Producers need and want clarity but the CWB is injecting uncertainty into the market. For the sake of market security and for the sake of farmers, I urge the CWB to work with us to implement the changes that the majority of barley producers have clearly told us they want."

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