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Letters – for Sep. 30, 2010

Open letter to Premier Greg Selinger

As a cattle producer of this province, I would commend your government’s announcement for changes to the Animal Welfare Act.

Like all cattle producers, we take pride in our animals and will do anything for their wellbeing while in our care and do not support any form of failure to do so.

There is an old saying that cattle producers live by, and that is, if you look after your cow she will look after you.

Since BSE in 2003, cattle producers have held on to their cows, looking after their herds the best they can hoping that the next year would be the year prices turned around and then once again financially the cows could look after our families. This fall looks like maybe, just maybe, prices are going to turn in the right direction, so next year calves will be profitable finally once again.

Producers of this province have been waiting for a signal from you as to any help they could receive, to help with expenses of looking after their herds this trying year. All they have asked for is the same treatment and assistance that was afforded the grain farmers of this province.

Until now all that we have received, is wait and see, it’s out of our hands, until today, when instead of cash to help protect our herds we are given extra prosecuting powers and fines. Who does this help? The livestock that has been mistreated? The producer that has asked for help to keep their herds? My answer to this? No one.

If you were in the cow’s shoes who would you feel has their best interest at heart. The old farmer with hat in hand asking for help to keep their herd for one more year, or the arrogant government that thinks, that doubling fines that is all she needs to survive the winter. Allan Downey Coulter, Man.

Price per bushel doesn’t tell the whole story

In his latest letter to the editor, Stewart Wells slams the Western Canadian Wheat Growers for pointing out Canadian farmers can’t participate in price rallies as we could in an open market.

Wells states Canadian farmers received about $8.53 per bushel in 2007-08 for 12.5 per cent protein Hard Red Spring wheat through the board while American farmers selling in August of 2007 only received about US$5.53.

What he conveniently forgets to mention is that while some American farmers did sell early, others that sold later received $10 per bushel, some $15 per bushel and some over $20 per bushel. As the rally went on, each individual farm decided what was best for their individual needs and sold accordingly.

The farmers who sold early were also able to take their entire payment up front, pay down bills, and buy fertilizer that was then $320 per tonne. Canadian farmers that did receive the $8.53 per bushel didn’t get all their money until December of 2008 and in the spring of 2008 had to cope with fertilizer prices of over $1,200 per tonne.

Price per bushel doesn’t paint the entire picture on when a farmer decides he should sell grain.

Wells doesn’t mention the absolutely dismal marketing of durum by the CWB the last two years where we were forced to carry over more than 20 per cent and 40 per cent of our inventory. He doesn’t mention the CWB’s lousy job of marketing barley during the current rally.

Wells and others that strongly support the monopoly believe that anyone who questions anything about the CWB is simply wrong without ever seeming to realize the CWB isn’t run by some divine figure. It is run by people and by nature, people make mistakes.

It is the job of the WCWGA and other organizations to point out these mistakes and try to improve things on the farm. Business, not ideology, should run the CWB.

Con Johnson Bracken, Sask. instead of supporting the CWB monopoly.

The Wheat Growers believes each individual farmer should be free to decide what is best for his or her farm, whether that means selling their grain on their own or in co-operation with others. In matters of commerce, we do not believe the wishes of one farmer, or even a majority of farmers, should be imposed on others. Each farmer should be free to make the business decisions that best suit his or her farm.

The Wheat Growers favours a grain-marketing system where all farmers are treated equally under the law, with the freedom to sell their grain to a buyer of their choice.

Kevin Bender

President Western Canadian Wheat

Growers Association Red Deer, Alta.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)

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