Posts Tagged ‘Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act’

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Your Crop, Your Choice, Your Future - Government of Canada

With the passage of the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the Government has given Western Canadian grain producers the same freedom to market their crops as their counterparts across the country.

This change to a voluntary Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) will bring new opportunities for producers, and innovation and value-added jobs to the Canadian economy…(learn more)

Wheat Growers Association update on legal action

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Wheat Growers,

Yesterday afternoon, the Wheat Growers were advised by Justice Perlmutter of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench that we would not be granted intervener status in the injunction application brought forward by the 8 ex-directors of the CWB.  As you may recall, we had made a motion for intervener status on December 15 and filed our application the following week.  You may also recall that Justice Perlmutter ruled against the 8 ex-directors on December 16 regarding their application for an emergency injunction.

The 8 ex-directors are seeking to have the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act declared invalid.

In his decision to deny us intervener status, Justice Perlmutter stated that he did not believe the Wheat Growers would be bringing forward any arguments that would not already be advanced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers.  We disagree, however there is no opportunity for appeal.

The Western Grain Elevator Association also applied (on January 6) for intervener status.   Justice Perlmutter has not denied the WGEA status, however in essence, he has ruled that their application was filed too late, and so they too will not be granted status before the case is heard on Jan. 17 and 18 in Winnipeg.   Lawyers for the WGEA will appear in the courtroom on those dates, however they will likely be limited in the arguments they can advance.  Given that the Wheat Growers have been denied intervener status, we will have no legal representation in the courtroom.   Director Mike Bast and I will of course be there to provide as much assistance to the DOJ lawyers as possible.

The Wheat Growers and our legal counsel had prepared an affidavit, which we believe countered many of the arguments being advanced by the 8 ex-directors.  However, having been denied status, we were denied the opportunity to submit our affidavit to the Court.  We have however shared it with the DOJ to assist them in their arguments.

After the decision denying us status was relayed to all parties yesterday, lawyers for the 8 ex-directors filed several documents with the Court, including an affidavit (attached) that consists mainly of the transcript of Minister Ritz’s speech at our convention.   You’ll note the affidavit draws specific attention to comments made by Ritz in which he asks farmers to submit any forward contracts they have signed to his office, so that he may use them in the legal challenge.   Our view is that the lawyers for the 8 ex-directors are betting that the Minister’s office will not be able to provide the Court with many forward contracts, which they will then use to argue that the granting of the injunction will not cause much disruption or harm to farmers or the industry.   We therefore make an urgent appeal to you to fax any forward contracts you may have signed directly to the Minister’s office at 613-773-1060.

In our view, this action in the Manitoba court is the only legal action underway that represents a threat to your marketing freedom.   We understand that an unfavourable ruling would only apply in Manitoba initially, however others could then apply to have the court decision applied in the other three western provinces.   It is for this reason that the Wheat Growers had been concentrating our efforts on this legal challenge.   Being denied intervener status is certainly a disappointment, although our lawyer has advised that it may be an indication that Justice Perlmutter intends to decide the case on the narrow legal questions, and ignore all the arguments that the 8 ex-directors have advanced regarding the value of the single desk and the merits of overturning the Act.

I offer no prediction on what the Court may decide, however the Wheat Growers will continue to do our utmost to defend your interests.  Again, if you or your neighbours have any forward contracts that you can provide to the Minister’s office, we urge you to do so.

affidavit-of-agnes-tolka-sworn-jan-13-2012

Blair Rutter

Executive Director

Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association

(204) 256-2353

Western Canadian Wheat and Barley Farmers Finally Get Marketing Freedom

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Balgonie, Saskatchewan, December 16, 2011 - Western Canadian wheat and barley farmers finally have the freedom to market their wheat or barley as they choose, whether that is with a grain company, processor or the Canadian Wheat Board, following the Royal Assent of the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act. Western farmers, the grain industry, business groups, provincial governments and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz celebrated this historic day with the signing of the first forward contracts for wheat and barley.

“The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act repositions the entire grain sector for the future - one that is better able to attract investment and allow farm and industry entrepreneurs to seize new markets, increase sales and drive our economy,” said Minister Ritz. “Today and every day, the Harper Government is standing up for farmers, delivering on our promises and working with industry to make Canada a better place to live and work.”

As of today, Western wheat and barley farmers now have the freedom to forward contract for the delivery of wheat and barley to the Canadian Wheat Board or the buyer of their choice for delivery after August 1, 2012.

With the passing into law of the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the first steps are in place to remove the monopoly, unleashing the true economic potential of the prairie grain sector. The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) will be a voluntary marketing option for farmers, supported by the Government as it transitions to a privately owned entity.

“This is a historic day for Western wheat and barley farmers, the grain industry and Canadians,” said Parliamentary Secretary David Anderson, Member of Parliament (Cypress Hills - Grasslands). “The Harper Government promised to give Western wheat and barley farmers marketing freedom and we have delivered.”

Working with the CWB, farmers, the grain value chain and provincial partners, the Government of Canada is implementing an orderly transition to market freedom which includes a viable, voluntary CWB, as part of an open and competitive Canadian grain market.

Additional information can be found at www.agr.gc.ca/freedom.

Prairie farmers are one step closer to grain marketing freedom

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Media Release

November 28, 2011

Western Canadian grain farmers are one step closer to reaping the benefits of an open market for wheat and barley as Bill C-18, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, is expected to pass third and final reading in the House of Commons later today. The legislation will then move forward for consideration by the Senate.

“It will be great to see this legislation clear the House,” says Kevin Bender President of the Wheat Growers. “We can’t wait to have the freedom to sell our own grain.”

Kevin is one of more than 50 prairie farmers who have travelled to Ottawa to witness and commemorate this historic event. Prairie farmers are on the verge of having the freedom to sell their own wheat and barley for the first time since 1943.

The legislation is expected to pass the Senate and be enacted into law prior to the New Year. At that time farmers will be able to sell their food-quality wheat and barley directly to any buyer, providing delivery takes place on or after August 1, 2012.

“This legislation can’t pass soon enough,” says Cherilyn Nagel, Past President of the Wheat Growers, who also made the trip to Ottawa. “We urge the Senate to pass this legislation quickly so we can start reaping the benefits of an open market.”

The Wheat Growers note the Canadian Wheat Board is again turning in a dismal marketing performance in the current crop year. Last Thursday the CWB issued its monthly Pool Return Outlook which projected a final return to farmers of $6.60 per bushel for milling quality wheat (1 CWRS, 13.5% protein), basis Saskatchewan. Open market prices available to U.S. farmers since the start of the crop year (August 1, 2012) have averaged Cdn $8.57 per bushel for wheat of the same quality. [Spreadsheet showing price comparison is available upon request.]

“Western farmers can no longer afford to be shackled to the CWB,” says Bender. “Creating an open market for wheat and barley will give us the opportunity to capture higher returns and generate greater prosperity throughout the prairies.”

The Wheat Growers congratulate and thank federal agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and the Conservative government for ensuring the Bill was dealt with on a timely basis in the House. Speedy passage of the legislation by the Senate will be important to create market certainty and ensure farmers and the trade are in a good position to capture all available market opportunities in the 2012/13 crop year.

For further comment, please contact:

Kevin Bender
President
(403) 350-4949

Cherilyn Nagel
Past President
(306) 354-7368