Prairie farmers applaud legislation for voluntary CWB

Prairie farmers applaud legislation for voluntary CWB

Winnipeg, October 18, 2011 – Today the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes the introduction of legislation which will make participation in the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) voluntary.

“This all boils down to the basic rights of farmers to market their wheat and barley to the buyer of their choice,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB’s senior vice-president of legislative affairs. “Our farm members have been calling for marketing change for years so we certainly welcome this long-overdue legislation to make participation in the CWB optional.”

Earlier this year, CFIB released its Prairie farm members’ views on the CWB in a research report, Time for a New Vision at the CWB. In fact, 83 per cent of CFIB’s Western Canadian producers said they wanted the option to market their wheat and barley outside of the CWB. When asked what the main benefits would be, farmers indicated they would have access to better marketing signals, greater opportunities to niche market their product, greater control of the profitability of their farm business, and growth opportunities in the value-added industry.

“Our farm members have never advocated for the complete dismantling of the CWB. In fact, 59 per cent say it is very or somewhat important for the CWB to remain a marketing option,” explained Kelly. “We believe the Canadian Wheat Board can exist – just not as a monopoly.”

“Farmers have a lot on the line and control all of the major management decisions on their farm like budgeting, crop rotation, and crop inputs,” stated Virginia Labbie, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for agri-business. “Yet, when it comes to marketing their wheat and barley, they have had very little control and are obligated to sell their product through the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.”

“We are pleased to see the Federal government introduce this important legislation during Small Business Week to give farmers the ability to voluntarily participate in the CWB,” noted Labbie. “In 2011 – the Year of the Entrepreneur – this positive step will help unleash entrepreneurship at the farm gate and in the value-added industry.”

“Giving farmers more control over their wheat and barley marketing decisions, just as they already enjoy with their pulse and oilseed crops, is an important ingredient in driving innovation in the farm sector,” concluded Labbie. “Our farm members look forward to August 1, 2012 and the opportunities ahead.”