Western Grain Elevator Association

Western Grain Elevator Association

April 11, 2006 17:12 ET

The Western Grain Elevator Association: Grain Industry Ready for Future

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - April 11, 2006) - The Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) wants to work directly with farmers and government in the discovery of more profitable and sustainable opportunities for the Western Canadian grain.

As to the issue of whether the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) should evolve, the WGEA is keenly interested in the future of wheat and barley marketing in western Canada, and prepared to accommodate whatever future the government decides upon.

"WGEA members currently market wheat, barley, canola, special crops and other grains and oilseeds into almost 100 countries around the world," stated Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. "We would be prepared for the future if the Government of Canada decides to implement changes to the system."

"The interests of the WGEA and farmers are not in conflict. Our overall objective is to help make the industry more profitable - this includes farmers," continued Sobkowich. "There is a false notion that somehow agricultural policies must take the approach that farmers and grain companies have naturally conflicting objectives, when in fact we cannot be a profitable industry if farmers aren't profitable. We all know that a healthy value-chain includes a profitable producer base."

"Regardless of how the crop is marketed and sold, my members have a job to do," said Sobkowich. "Whether acting as a direct agent of the CWB or in direct partnership with farmers in meeting an end-use customer need, grain companies are looking to handling as much wheat and barley as farmers produce within this competitive marketplace."

WGEA is pleased with the consultative and transparent approach taken thus far by Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Hon. Chuck Strahl. The association gives the Minister high marks for his desire to implement changes for the industry in a holistic manner. The WGEA knows potential changes to Canada's marketing system will be complex and must include a review of the impacts on grain transportation and international trade.

The WGEA is committed to fully participating in the development of the framework for the future. They will ensure farmers have the necessary risk management tools available to them, regardless of what direction we are ultimately headed.

The Western Grain Elevator Association is an association of eight farmer-owned, public and private grain businesses operating in Canada, which collectively handle in excess of 90% of western Canada's bulk grain exports. WGEA members own grain handling facilities throughout the country and at the ports of Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Thunder Bay.

Contact Information

  • The Western Grain Elevator Association
    Wade Sobkowich
    Executive Director
    (204) 942-6835
    (204) 943-4328 (FAX)