Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

November 09, 2011 15:12 ET

Marketing Freedom Will Unleash Business Opportunities for Alberta Wheat and Barley Industry

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2011) - The Alberta wheat and barley industry are well positioned to tap new business opportunities as soon as the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act is passed. In his remarks to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce today, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz reiterated that marketing freedom will not only give wheat and barley farmers the ability to make their own business decisions, but that it will also trigger more economic benefits for the entire grain value chain and Alberta economy.

"Our Government intends to bring marketing freedom to Alberta wheat and barley farmers by August of next year," said Minister Ritz. "An open grain market will attract investment, encourage innovation, and create value-added jobs, not only building a stronger farm gate but also a stronger economy in Alberta."

The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act will give Western Canadian farmers the right to sell their wheat, durum and barley as they choose, whether that's individually or through a voluntary Canadian Wheat Board. Last week, the legislative committee passed the bill sending it back to the House of Commons for Third Reading.

"A top priority for our Government is the economy, in which agriculture plays a vital role," said Minister Ritz. "The western Canadian grain industry already contributes significantly to the national economy, but the true economic potential and entrepreneurial energy of the sector will be unleashed once Western wheat and barley farmers have marketing freedom."

Minister Ritz urged Directors of the Canadian Wheat Board to work cooperatively in the best interests of all farmers and CWB staff by focusing more time and resources on making sure the voluntary wheat board has the best possible opportunity to succeed.

Working with Western Canadian grain farmers, their organizations and provincial partners, the Harper Government is leading an orderly transition to market freedom which includes a voluntary Canadian Wheat Board as part of an open and competitive grain market.

The Alberta agriculture and food industry brought $9 billion to the farm gate in total farm cash receipts last year. The industry generated $6.7 billion in exports and employed 70, 000 Albertans.

Further to the Crop Logistics Working Group announcement on Monday, Minister Ritz today announced the organizations invited to participate in the Working Group (Background information attached).


Crop Logistics Working Group

A Crop Logistics Working Group has been established to allow the agriculture sector opportunity to input into the Rail Freight Service Review implementation process, to address any logistics issues related to the grain supply change in the transition to marketing freedom, and to provide a forum for other transportation-related issues.

The transition to marketing freedom for wheat and barley crops will change grain transportation in Western Canada and the implementation of the Rail Freight Service Review initiatives will support this transition.

On March 18, 2011 the Government announced its response to the Rail Freight Service Review, which was launched to address issues with rail freight service, raised by users of the rail supply chain.

The Crop Logistics Working Group will be co-chaired by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Deputy Minister John Knubley and Gordon Bacon, the Chief Executive Officer of Pulse Canada.

The role and objectives of the new working group will be:

  • To allow agriculture stakeholders to exchange views about issues and support the Transport Canada facilitation process flowing from the Rail Freight Service Review;
  • To provide a forum for stakeholders to exchange information and views about any transportation and supply chain issues that MAY ARISE from the transition to marketing freedom for wheat and barley;
  • To allow stakeholders to exchange information and develop views on performance measurement along the supply chain; and
  • To provide a forum for agriculture stakeholders to exchange information and views on other supply chain logistics issues.

The following organizations have been asked to participate:

Canadian Grain Commission
Grain Growers of Canada
Canadian Wheat Board
Canadian Special Crops Association
Pulse Canada
Canadian Canola Growers Association
Keystone Agricultural Producers
Producer Car Shippers of Canada
Saskatchewan Shortline Railway Association
Western Grain Elevator Association
Inland Terminal Association of Canada
Alberta Barley Commission
Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities

Contact Information

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

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