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Letters – for Jun. 9, 2011

Cargill’s stance hardly a surprise

The Page 9 headline in the May 19 issue of theManitoba Co-operatorreads: “Cargill calls for orderly end to orderly marketing.” Cargill’s stance should hardly come as a surprise to farmers. After all, what wolf wouldn’t welcome easier access to the sheep. So farmers, let us beware of the big bad wolf by holding on to our CWB.

Peter Galawan

Virden, Man.

Fed Up With Harper Policy

I am thoroughly fed up with the Harper government policy, which is the disbanding of the wheat board. All through their election campaign I never heard a word about it, now that they are back in power here we go again. Their majority is in no way attributable to their anti-wheat board policy, whereas the election of directors to the CWB most definitely shows what we want.

I am also concerned that the vociferous anti-board politicians and others such as Western Barley Growers and John DePape, who have probably never taken the trouble to actually find out what happens when you deregulate a statutory power.

When my wife, our two sons and myself decided to emigrate to Canada, the wheat board was one of the attractions. I myself had been farming on my own for 30 years. In Scotland, we had a single-desk milk board selling our milk produced in a supply-managed system which was working pretty well.

The Conservative government decided to deregulate this system. They also wouldn’t allow the newly formed voluntary co-op to have vertical integration and go into value-added processing. They were of the opinion that dual desk would please everyone.

Well, the only ones who were pleased about it were the big dairy processors. Within six months the processors were on the farmers’ doorsteps offering a penny or so more if you would supply them directly and miss out the dairy co-op.

This worked well for them. Within a couple of years they had weakened the bargaining power of the farmers’ co-op, mostly through younger farmers (who had no memory of the disastrous prices prior to the milk board which was pre- 1937).

Once this happened, they then brought the price of milk down. In 1995, we were receiving 60 cents per litre. Three years later it was just 32 cents and even today it is 46 cents, despite much higher production costs.

This is the true picture of what a dual-desk selling system could bring.

David Caldwell

Kenton, Man.

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

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