Unfortunately, Gertrude Sawatzky was misinformed about the Canadian Wheat Board’s branding and advertising efforts (“CWB promotion waste of farmers’ money,” Co-operator, Aug. 27, page 5). The advertising budget is spent on ensuring Prairie farmers are aware of and informed about the CWB programs and services they can use – everything from notifying farmers of upcoming PPO deadlines to promoting the annual Variety Survey to raising awareness about initiatives such as the Wheat Storage Program.
In addition to advertising, the CWB has $1 million designated exclusively to branding, which is used to support and leverage the reputation of western Canadian grain in the international marketplace and to Canadian customers. This is not about CWB self-image, it’s about promoting a product to customers. It’s also an investment that is overwhelmingly supported by grain producers. In our 2009 producer survey, 94 per cent of farmers supported branding and promoting western Canadian wheat in foreign markets and 89 per cent supported these activities aimed at Canadian consumers.
To put that spending into perspective, it is what the CWB budgets for its branding and promotion efforts in total across the 70 markets we sell to internationally. We get more bang for our branding dollar by partnering with our customers to target messages at consumers about the high quality of the Prairie grains they use.
I’d also challenge Ms. Sawatzky’s assertion that farmers
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) have no control over how this money is spent. Farmers are in charge of the CWB. They sit as a majority of our board of directors, elected by their fellow producers. They insist on our farmer-first culture, which is incorporated into all aspects of internal performance evaluation and promoted to our staff on a constant basis. David Burrows Vice-president, corporate communications and
government relations, Canadian Wheat Board Winnipeg, Man.