AIRDRIE, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 30, 2012) - The Western Barley Growers Association (WBGA) welcomes the new era of grain marketing in Western Canada, which begins August 1, 2012 with the end of the CWB single desk. "For the first time in nearly 70 years, farmers across the Prairies will be able to freely market their wheat and barley. That is an historic day in a banner year of change in agriculture," said Doug Robertson, President of the WBGA. "Every farmer I talk to is pleased to have been given their freedom by the Harper Conservatives' Bill C-18. I think none are more pleased than long time farmers who told me they never thought they'd see the day. Now their sons and daughters can do something they were unable to do for most or all of their farming careers - market their own wheat and barley and take advantage of the increased opportunities that are now open to them, just as they do with all their other crops. It's like a weight has been lifted from them."
Bill C-18 was given Royal Assent December 15, 2011 but the monopoly powers of the Canadian Wheat Board officially end on August 1, 2012. This was necessary to allow the system, including the new CWB to get ready for the change.
"I am gratified but not surprised to see the changes to the grains industry since December," said Martin Hall, Vice President of the WBGA. "When we go to grain industry meetings now, the division between producers is gone and we can work more effectively on the important issues that help farmers without always trying to protect the single desk. We're seeing so many more opportunities to build our markets and communities, now that the CWB control over the industry is gone - everything from new futures contracts to a new Barley Council and even new markets that the CWB didn't sell into."
"What is emerging is a real sense of entrepreneurship."
"We are now free to establish agricultural industries that turn our cereals into higher value products, which create jobs for Canadians and help farmers move from being just commodity producers for the lowest price to being part of a higher value product", continued Robertson. "That's good for everyone. We will still need to export, but competition for grain at home means higher export prices too."
Another positive development is that the new CWB is preparing itself for the market environment. "They have been working hard to modernize and offer farmers a real alternative in marketing. The new CWB is well positioned to prove those who thought they'd fail wrong, and as far as the WBGA's concerned, their continued presence is another beneficial market for farmers."
"Everyone I talk to is ready for the future and happy to have their freedom back. August 1 is the first new step into that bright future for Western agriculture."
Western Barley Growers Association is a strong voice for a vibrant, market responsive barley industry in Western Canada.