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Due diligence underway on CWB initials: Ritz

Needling the Canadian Wheat Board for the time it took to ask Ottawa for an adjustment to its 2007-08 initial prices, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz today said a decision is in the works.

The federal government approves and authorizes initial CWB payments for Prairie wheat, durum and barley, which the CWB then posts. The CWB can review and recommend adjustment payments if markets and sales so warrant, but must ask Ottawa to approve said adjustments.

“My departmental officials and I are working hard to do the due diligence to review the request and deliver the best possible decision as quickly as possible,” Ritz said in a release.

The National Farmers Union on Sept. 12 had pressed the government to authorize an adjustment, saying Ottawa has been setting CWB initials too low. The NFU also suggested the Conservatives might be deliberately stalling in an effort to damage the CWB.

“By the time the Canadian Wheat Board released its initial prices on August 2, it was already clear that commodity prices were rising and the CWB acknowledged the need to raise the initial prices,” Ritz said.

“On August 15, the Canadian Wheat Board officially asked the government for the initial price increases. It’s unfortunate that it took the CWB nearly two weeks to make the request to begin the process to adjust the initial price.”

The NFU had said some farmers are mistakenly blaming the CWB for the current low initials.

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