System needs more give and take


An active grain and beef producer, and also employed off the farm.

Has experience dealing with people, in all areas, including business (board rooms), and in the community as a full-time police officer. My wife Joyce and I have farmed in the Dugald area for the past 25 years. We have four children who are employed in other industries.

New opportunities are being discovered every day in the agriculture community. I am committed to represent all farmers in District 10, by listening to their concerns, and bringing new ideas to the table. I have found that most problems in an organization are usually a result of poor or no communication. I believe better communication between the farmers and the CWB will combine opportunities with ideas to create a better business environment for the farmers of District 10.

This election appears to be about pro choice, which some narrowly define as the ability for each individual producer to choose exactly when and where and for what price they sell their wheat or barley. This group does not tell us how they can achieve this without taking away the choice of other producers. They fail to see or understand that by opening up the market completely to an open or dual market that the CWB would likely fail or evolve into some kind of an association that has no wheat sales at all.

This would take away the choice of a large number of farmers who want to use the CWB, and have a pooled price. The farmers who use the producer car system will also lose that choice, in all likelihood. From my background in law enforcement, I clearly understand that we always have to have some give and take in the system to make it democratic and workable to everyone. No one likes our laws, but we all realize that it would be a very bad place to live without them. At the same time we do not want to stand in the way of progress. Our markets have changed; the way we do business has changed. So we also need some changes in the CWB. Since the farmer-elected board was started in the late ’90s there have been a lot of changes. I believe the changes can be improved, by making them more efficient and transparent.

I believe we can have some dual marketing, in certain areas. This could be done, for example, by easier access to export permits, and niche markets. These and other ideas need to be explored. But we have to move in such a way that we do not lose the CWB altogether. I have not met one producer who has told me he wants the CWB gone.

I believe we must have real choices but I feel the CWB provides a valuable option to most producers. We have to work together, and come up with new ideas to make the CWB more effective and efficient at meeting the needs of the individual, and a resource to be used by the producers and the agriculture community to transform these ideas into real value-added to our wheat.

In talking to farmers, they are concerned about the price they can get for their wheat, but that is not the only concern. The bigger issue is the ability to deliver the grain when they want to deliver it. Grain storage is a problem that needs to be looked into. The railways and the cost of freight and alternatives to the system we use today need to be explored. Some of these issues we would be well served to have the CWB on our side, fighting with us against the big grain companies and the railways.

The Canadian Wheat Board has been with us for many years. It has evolved and will continue to change in the years to come. I am confident that working together we can change it to better suit the farming community of today.

I have been described by a farm organization as being an independent candidate. I believe that describes me very well. I do not have any large organization backing or funding me. I do not work for the CWB. I do not work for any large grain company. All I want to do is represent the farmers and their views in District 10, in the CWB boardroom. If you think I can do that for you with integrity and honesty then vote for me as your first choice. If you believe I would make a better second, third, fourth or fifth choice then mark the ballot appropriately. The power is in your hands. The directors you elect will be responsible for the overall governance of the corporation and its strategic direction.

I thank you for your support and encourage you to vote for me.

About the author

Harvey Vaags's recent articles



Stories from our other publications