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Choice or no choice

Should this even be a question? As a Canadian grain farmer, I ask this question a lot: why can’t I have a choice in selling my wheat and barley?

I operate a 3,900-acre grain farm in Killarney, Man., and I am running for CWB director in District 10. I believe that every farmer should have the right to sell their grain to whomever they want to: this is marketing freedom.

To have that choice is what I believe in, and I will pursue marketing choice as long as I am a farmer.

My wife and I ran a custom combine business for five years in the U. S. starting as far south as Arizona, going through the entire wheat belt and ending up in Swan River, Man. I have experienced how the open-market system works in the U. S. I compared prices with each U. S. farmer, as we talked in their homes and compared notes. I hauled all their wheat to many types and sizes of elevators each year.

During all the years of farming, never has the CWB come close to these U. S. prices, which are off the Chicago and Kansas futures. The CWB claims to receive a premium for our wheat, but I have never received this premium from them in my lifetime.

The argument that the U. S. border will close is valid. But I know that the price will come to us; we will not need to go to the U. S. How many farmers haul their cash crops to the U. S. to receive a higher price? Not many. How many times have you sat in the elevator line surrounded by U. S. farmers hauling canola, peas, or corn? For myself, the answer is “often.”

Small, rural communities are the homes to western Canadian farmers. We are the backbone to many of our communities. If our crops – which we plant, spray, fertilize and harvest – were to bring each farm a world premium price, imagine what a benefit it would be to both our own business and also to the local businesses in our communities.

I want each rural town to flourish. I want my hometown to flourish. This is not happening under the CWB control of our marketing.

The CWB claims to be farmer friendly. This past January at Manitoba Ag Days, the CWB had me removed all three days because of a flyer that showed the current same-day price of grain in the U. S. and Canada. Is this how to treat all farmers who support choice in marketing?

This is not the way to deal with the truth, but it is their way. I plan to change this and have more freedom for every farmer.

I believe that all farmers should have a choice, and that the CWB can work under a dual-market system. I also believe in transparent prices and accountability in their marketing. Don’t listen to their claim that the price will drop; look at canola, oats, peas, corn, beans and flax. These commodities are what we call “cash crops.”

Wouldn’t it be sensible to put barley and wheat in this group of crops too?

Why should you vote for me? I know what it is like to survive in farming. I have a deep love for the family farm and those around me in farming, I know that the CWB can work in a dual market, and we will benefit from it.

The CWB will use all kinds of scare tactics of why it can’t work, but we know that they will have to become aggressive and accountable in their marketing. They’re scared of it; I am not.

Thank you Manitoba Co-operator for letting us have a say in your paper.

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