Grain Farmers of Ontario to wind down wheat pool

Programs to end after 2020 marketing year

A wheat crop in progress on May 24, 2016 north of London, Ont. (Ralph Pearce photo)

The remnants of Ontario farmers’ former single wheat marketing desk are set to disappear at the end of the 2020 crop marketing year.

Grain Farmers of Ontario, which inherited the pooling system from one of its heritage organizations, the Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board, announced Tuesday it will wind down its wheat pool and its forward-contract wheat marketing programs.

The organization’s wheat pool dates back to 1973, when the OWPMB assumed responsibility for marketing the province’s wheat. At the time, GFO said, “there was a single-desk marketing system and fewer ways to market wheat in Ontario.”

Today, GFO said, there are more than 267 licensed dealers and 372 licensed elevators in Ontario. Grain farmers in the province resumed full open marketing in 2003.

GFO’s board made its decision “after several years of gathering feedback from our farmer-members and watching the trends in wheat marketing,” GFO chair Markus Haerle said Tuesday in a release.

“It became increasingly clear that our farmer-members are successfully marketing their wheat on their own through other wheat buyers.”

The GFO wheat pool handled 3,300 tonnes of wheat in the 2019 crop year, when total harvested area sat at 752,000 acres. Ontario farmers grew more than 1.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2019 for the 2020 crop year, GFO said.

GFO farmer-members “have shown through decreased engagement with our wheat pool and contract programs that they are able to market their wheat successfully through other vendors, and that they prefer to do so.”

The 2020 pool and contracts will continue to be marketed without any changes, GFO said. The organization said it will work on an individual basis with any farmer-member who has wheat contracted past the completion of the marketing year, expected by May 31, 2021.

GFO said it will also continue to provide daily price reports and bids as well as the SellSmart market information app it set up in 2010-11. “The only change to information shared by (GFO) about prices and markets is that our own bid will no longer exist.”

The organization said it will also continue to work with the SGS Grains Analytical Lab to provide “credible quality data and enhanced customer confidence” and will still “actively promote Ontario wheat to domestic and international markets.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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