Wheat Board battles to compete in open-market era
By Murray McNeill, Winnipeg Free Press March 29, 2012
WINNIPEG - The Canadian Wheat Board on Thursday unveiled the weapons it plans to use in its battle to attract farm customers in the new open-market era forced upon it by the federal government.
The Winnipeg-based agency announced it will be offering Prairie farmers two new pooling programs and three cash-contract programs for their wheat, durum and malting barley, as well as malting barley production contracts.
The pools and cash contracts, which farmers can begin signing up for immediately, are all backed by government guarantees.
"We've heard what farmers want and we've shared our plans with them," said CWB president and chief executive Ian White. "Our programs offer competitive returns and solid risk management, with options designed for maximum choice and minimum hassle."
White said the board already has agreements with two Prairie grain handlers - Cargill and South West Terminal near Gull Lake, Sask. And it's confident it will soon have agreements with all of the other major Prairie grain handlers, he added.
He said board officials are confident the new program offerings will enable it to compete in the open market system the federal government created late last year when it legislated away the CWB's monopoly over the marketing of Canadian wheat and barley.
The new open-market system takes effect at the start of the next crop year on Aug. 1.
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