There’s a longstanding debate over whether or not the Canadian Wheat Board extracts a premium for the wheat, durum and barley it sells into world markets. Beyond the price question, another issue that irks a lot of growers is when the CWB doesn’t take all the production offered. That is happening again this year with durum. The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association has issued a news release pointing out that only 74 per cent of the durum tonnage offered by growers has been accepted in the current crop year. Farmers were purchasing crop inputs for the 2008 crop in the fall of 2007. Now they have to wait until December of 2010 to receive full payment for that crop. Carried over durum will also create storage issues as the new crop is harvested. The Wheat Growers say the decision on whether or not to hold inventory should be left in the hands of farmers. They shouldn’t be compelled to hold over grain. As the world’s biggest durum exporter, the CWB is probably trying to support price levels by not pushing all the durum offered into the marketplace. There should be a way to achieve that goal while still giving individual producers the ability to make their own decisions on how much of their crop to market. Even at a discounted price, some producers would still opt to deliver more than 74 per cent of their durum. I’m Kevin Hursh.

Kevin Hursh, PAg, CAC