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Wheat Board and ‘Crow’ in the headlines

Our History: January 1982

The wheat board and the Crow rate dominated the front page of our Jan. 28, 1982 issues. The Western Agricultural Conference of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture passed a resolution calling for the CWB’s Producer Advisory Committee to be replaced by a producer-elected board of directors, to which the CWB would be directly responsible. The policy change was implemented a few years later.

Delegates avoided a contentious discussion on whether to pay the Crow benefit to railways or to producers, instead, calling on the federal government to resolve the issue.

Up for discussion at Advisory Committee meetings that winter was a proposal for a change in the CWB’s quota system, which would remove some summerfallow acreage from the quota base. The change would have added to the base for more than 50 per cent of producers in Manitoba, where there was less summerfallow than in Saskatchewan. The change was never implemented, with the CWB instead moving to a contract system rather than an acreage-based quota system.

The 1981 grain crop in the Soviet Union was estimated to have dropped to 175 million tonnes, 60 million less than the previous year, creating the need to slaughter livestock because of low feed supplies. Port and transport restrictions were expected to limit imports to 43 million tonnes for the year. Today those facilities are moving grain in the opposite direction, with Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine expected to export 104 million tonnes of wheat and coarse grains this year.

Despite high interest rates, Manitoba farmland sales had been brisk in 1980-81, with about a million acres changing hands for an average of $330 per acre, $39 higher than in 1979-80.

In livestock news, the U.S. lowered the tariff rate on Canadian “portion control” beef cut imports from 10 per cent to four per cent.

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