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Grain farmers debate the Canadian Wheat Board

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The Canadian Wheat Board is coming under scrutiny -- from all over. As the federal Minister of Agriculture in Ottawa announces that a committee has been formed to study the CWB, hundreds of farmers travel to Regina to make their voices and opinions heard. Some are there to support keeping the monopoly method of distributing their grain, but they have competition from their defiant fellow-farmers who vow to sell their wheat and barley on the open market. In this 1994 CBC News report, both sides speak out on keeping or canning the CWB.
• The Canadian Wheat Board, established as a voluntary marketing board in 1935, was established to help farmers in need during more than a decade of falling wheat prices, drought, and infestations of crop disease and insects. The Board existed briefly post-First World War, then farmers in the three prairie provinces organized compulsory pools in the early part of the 1920s. But the Great Depression caused the collapse of that system. The Board became compulsory in 1943, and in 1949 was expanded to include oats and barley.

• Revenues from the four grain pools (wheat, durum, malting barley and feed barley) provide farmers with a payment derived from an average of what is received over the year. Farmers do not have to wait until the grain has gone to market, but receive an 'initial payment', with a final payout in November.

• The Canadian Wheat Board is referred to as the 'single desk'. This means that the Board, which is farmer controlled, directed, and funded, is the sole selling agent to work on behalf of farmers wishing to sell their grain in the international market. Although it exists under federal legislation, it is not funded by the government, nor is it a government agency.

Medium: Television
Broadcast Date: Oct. 20, 1994
Program: Prime Time News
Reporter: Eric Sorensen
Duration: 2:00

Last updated: March 10, 2014

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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