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Letters – for May. 12, 2011

As reported in theManitoba Co-operator,some time ago (24 Dec. 2009), Ron Friesen tells us that Canada has joined an international network devoted to helping farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This is an interesting vision and undertaking, for today’s industrial food production methods all have a bearing on global warming.

So after doing some research, I will share with the readers, the following illustration of “The making of a loaf, of factory-made bread.” This is just one example of the extent of industrial foods’ fossil fuel dependence.

The farmer first prepares the field with tractors and other factory-made and fossil- fuelled devices. The seed is delivered by truck to the farm and then sown mechanically on the land.

The farmer applies fossil fuel-derived fertilizers to the crop. Pesticides and herbicides, also emanating from fossil-fuelled chemical plants are subsequently sprayed on the crop.

The farmer harvests the wheat with a fossil fuel-driven combine harvester and stored, with the aid of mechanical blowers to prevent it from spoiling.

The wheat is transported to a large flour mill where electric motors turn plates that grind it into flour. It is then refined, treated and transported to flour storage facilities, and later goes to a bread factory where the flour is made into bread by what is known as the Chorleywood process.

This process is itself highly dependent on fossil fuel-derived mechanical power. Once out of the ovens and cooled by electrically driven fans, the bread is mechanically sliced, placed in fossil fuel-derived plastic bags and transported to a supermarket, to which customers drive themselves.

At the end of each day considerable quantities of industrial-produced bread are discarded because sell-by dates are exceeded.

This is but one example that will challenge the research team in helping farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I think I am going to try to bake a loaf of homemade bread. John Fefchak Virden, Man. work paid for by the CWB users?

What about the CWB being taken advantage of by the elevator companies or any other grain dealers who will have first pick at the best-quality grain that flows through their system? Or first pick at the handling facilities to get grain to customers? First pick at prime customers while holding the CWB at bay by not allowing it space in the system while they (the grain dealers) pick the best customers, with the best grain, and only then will allow the CWB to come in and use their systems to sell the leftovers to customers they didn’t really want anyway.

The CWB will just become a garbage can that will be taken advantage of at every turn, and be expected to solve all the woes in the industry, and then be blamed for everything that goes wrong.

I had hoped I would never have to express the sad scenario in this last paragraph. But now, with a Conservative majority in Parliament, with the present logistics of our grain-handling system, and with the way the CWB works, one has to be realistic.

The writing is on the wall. Unless our federal government makes a real turnaround and is willing to work with the CWB with the single-desk authority intact, our board of directors should seriously look at dissolving the CWB in as orderly a manner as possible in the best interests of the farmer users of the CWB.

If not, the board will just be disgraced at home and abroad and be stuck with huge expenses, with nothing to show for it, and be forced into bankruptcy or inevitable destruction anyway.

Sincerely, a somewhat depressed farmer,

Bill Acheson Somerset, 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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