Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

November 01, 2011 12:58 ET

Future With Marketing Freedom Driving Economic Opportunities

ALIX, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 1, 2011) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was at the site of Rahr Malting's operations today to celebrate the company's plan to expand its barley storage facility – another investment in the future of the Western Canadian economy. Rahr Malting will invest $6 million in new malting barley storage as their first step towards a future without the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board.

"The Harper Government's top priority is the economy, in which agriculture plays a vital role," said Minister Ritz. "That's why our Government intends to bring marketing freedom to Western Canadian wheat and barley farmers. As demonstrated by Rahr Malting's expansion plans, marketing freedom will unlock new value-added investment, creating jobs and more economic growth in Western Canada."

Rahr's investment will triple their storage, increasing it from 400, 000 bushels to 1.2 million bushels. This additional storage will allow Rahr to buy and store more malting barley from farmers, improving efficiency and quality control. For farmers, this investment means less risk of crop spoilage and improved cash flow. Rahr estimates that 20 temporary construction jobs will be created with this project.

Once it receives Royal Assent, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, introduced in Parliament by Minister Ritz on October 18, will give Western Canadian farmers the right to sell their wheat, durum and barley as they choose, whether that's individually or voluntarily through the Canadian Wheat Board. Marketing freedom means that farmers can choose to sell their wheat and barley directly to a processor, a new pasta manufacturer, a flour mill or a malting facility.

"There has been tremendous growth in value-added opportunities for oats, pulses and canola across the Prairies in the past 20 years," said Minister Ritz. "Our Government knows that barley farmers also have what it takes to succeed on the open market."

The grain industry in Western Canada already contributes significantly to the national economy. Canada accounts for almost a third of all malting barley exports and is the sixth largest producer of wheat worldwide, with annual sales of more than $5 billion.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz