cowgirl-ad-300

A Canadian Wheat Board ad using a cowgirl pinup encourages farmers to sign up for its winter pool offering. (Western Producer website)

The Canadian Wheat Board is taking some heat over a print advertisement that uses a leggy pinup girl to sell its services.

The ad, which has been running recently in farm publications, features a well-known illustration of a young woman with a cowboy hat straddling a fence.

The original painting — Hi-Ho, Sliver — was created by U.S. pinup artist Gil Elvgren in 1969, but it has resurfaced in recent weeks in the wheat board ad and on its website.

The ad — titled Still on the Fence? — encourages farmers to sign up for the board's "winter pool" offering to sell their grain.

It's garnered mixed reviews among online commenters, with some saying it's harmless and other suggesting it looks like something one might see hanging up in a garage 50 years ago.

A spokesman for the National Farmers Union says the ad is offensive, adding it will likely cause farmers to sell their grain elsewhere.

"What an image of a long-legged woman straddling a fence has to do with selling grain is beyond me," Joan Brady, NFU women’s president said in a news release.

Brady said the CWB apparently doesn't realize that women are farmers and make decisions about who they want to do business with.

"Whether in our own right or in partnership, we are deeply involved in all aspects of farming," she said.

The controversy comes after a year of wrenching change for the Canadian Wheat Board, a Winnipeg-based grain agency that for decades enjoyed a monopoly on the marketing of Prairie wheat and barley.

The Conservative government ended the monopoly, a move that many farmers applauded, but others said would hurt them in the long run.