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LETTERS – for Nov. 20, 2008

At least on ballot, choice is clear

I, along with three out of the five Canadian Wheat Board director candidates, wish to thank the Co-operator for your even-handed manner of providing equal space to all the candidates (Co-operator, Nov. 13, pages 21 to 25).

While these three candidates advocate a particular policy they name as “choice,” I note few fellow media advocates of this particular type of choice come anywhere close to living up to the standard they preach.

It is interesting that Barry Reimer still advocates a dual market, when even Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own government study found that was impossible. So when Reimer concludes his bio with “If you elect me, I will not change my position on that issue,” he reminds me of bison, who once in full motion, will even follow their leader over a cliff.

Rolf Penner keeps speaking of all the money he keeps losing because of the CWB’s single desk. Any good operator knows that should the CWB price be

below prevailing market conditions, that operator, through a buyback, can cash in on the difference. With his claim on the CWB election website that the CWB averages $61 below the spot price, why is he leaving that much money on the table, unless, of course, his talk is not bankable?

Curtis Sims equally talks about marketing freedom and through the buyback he can exercise all the freedom he wants, even if he wants to sell below the CWB asking price. However, if he does so, only he and not all others bear the cost of such mindless adherence to his peculiar brand of freedom – a freedom he makes no public comment about that I have seen regarding the wide basis U. S. farmers pay on wheat and soybeans or that Canadians pay on canola and these other “cash” crops.

Eduard Hiebert

St. Francois Xavier, Man.

No appetite for sensational science

I love a good smoke screen, and we certainly got one in the

response by Don Flaten and Karin Wittenburg to an Oped piece by Laura Rance in the Nov. 6 issue.

Rance criticized the irresponsible sensationalism of a press release from Flaten and Wittenburg’s own organization – the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment (NCLE). Flaten’s and

Wittenburg’s response in the Nov. 13 issue did not confront Rance’s criticism, but instead provided us with a testimonial for the excellence of the staff and research work of the NCLE.

I am sure that the NCLE is everything Flaten and Wittenburg claim it to be, but honest and excellent research should not be communicated using techniques that would make a used manure spreader salesman blush.

John Whitaker

Erickson, Man.

Candidate’s numbers misleading

I’m finding District 10 Canadian Wheat Board candidate Barry Reimer’s math a bit mysterious. Reimer makes the claim that “if the CWB is as successful at extracting premiums as it says it is, then our prices should be as good as, if not better than, what the U. S. market pays its farmers on a daily basis.”

Reimer should know that “our prices” are annual pooled prices and therefore cannot be compared honestly to a “daily” spot price. He needs to compare CWB pooled prices to weighted average annual prices received by U. S. farmers. Had he done this, Reimer would have discovered that CWB pooled prices for red Spring wheat in the 2007-08 crop year are approximately $1.05 per bushel higher than the weighted average price received by U. S. farmers.

For winter wheat, the comparison shows that Canadian farmers received a premium of approximately $1.29 per bushel over U. S. farmers.

He states that the 2008-09 pool return outlook (PRO) for winter wheat as of Oct. 3 is $4.40 per bushel. The most recent PRO for winter wheat (Sept.) is $6.30 per bushel, backed off to a Manitoba delivery point. He states that the 2008-09 PRO for Red Spring

wheat is $5.88 per bushel as of Oct. 3. The correct number is approximately $7.42 per bushel. He shows a PRO of $4.80 per bushel for malting barley when it should read approximately $5.56 per bushel.

He then compares his incorrect numbers to what I presume are U. S. spot prices. Of course, this is an impossible comparison. But it’s even more misleading because the 2008-09 PRO numbers he’s using are incorrect.

Sadly, this is typical of the misinformation being circulated by candidates claiming that a strong voluntary wheat board can coexist with a dual market. This is why it is so important that farmers vote for Bill Toews in the current CWB director election. Bill’s numbers can be taken to the bank.

Wilfred (Butch) Harder

Lowe Farm, Man.

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

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