A century of farmer-owned co-operative grain companies comes to an end

Our History: September 2001

The headlines on our Sept. 6, 2001 front page announced that the delegates of Agricore — which had been formed in 1998 with a merger of Manitoba and Alberta Pools — had voted to merge with United Grain Growers to become Agricore United. It was in turn taken over by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in 2007, with the merged companies now operating as Viterra. The vote meant the end of a century of farmer-owned co-operative grain companies in Western Canada.

Those companies had all been in cash-recovery mode and another story that issue reported that SaskPool and Agricore had sold their interest in Heartland Livestock to Nillson Bros. for $32.9 million.

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The Canadian Federation of Agriculture warned of a Canada-wide crop disaster — drought in the West was the worst since the record-dry year of 1988 and yields in Ontario were also down 30 to 50 per cent due to lack of rainfall.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said she was optimistic for a favourable result from the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization talks, which were due to kick off in November, though she said they would be “difficult.” She was correct. They are still continuing, 14 years later.

And also in the “still waiting” department, below that story was another which said German scientists had developed a genetically modified tomato that could deliver vaccines.

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