August 1, 2013

Grain Growers of Canada celebrates marketing freedom

August 1, 2013 – “It has been a very smooth transition to the free market for wheat and barley,” says Stephen Vandervalk, President of the Grain Growers of Canada. “Along with farmers across western Canada, we are celebrating marketing freedom and the right to choose who we sell our wheat and barley to – just like any other crop.”

“While we are having a prosperous year of good crops, good quality and fairly good prices, one of the biggest benefits of the marketing freedom is that we now have unprecedented flexibility and better cash flow on our wheat and barley,” explains Vandervalk.

Farmers, industry and the entire wheat and barley value chain has adapted and thrived in the new environment. Gary Stanford, Vice-President of the Grain Growers of Canada, explains, “I was just in Ottawa on Tuesday, where I explained to the US Grains Council that there haven’t been any line ups or runs on the border because the market has adjusted naturally so farmers are now being compensated fairly on both sides of the border for their wheat and barley as new cash crops.”

“A really remarkable amount of progress has been made in one year on new marketing opportunities for wheat and barley,” says Stanford. “I am a Director of the newly formed Alberta Wheat Commission, the Barley Council of Canada is also in place, in June Saskatchewan announced the formation of their provincial wheat and barley commission and Manitoba is also working on its commission.”

“The new grassroots grower commissions are important. We are working with key industry players like the grain companies, Canadian Wheat Board, millers, bakers, pasta manufacturing, food processors, malting and feed industries,” says Stanford. “As farmers and industry begin to interact more directly with their buyers at home and abroad, more value added opportunities will arise. And catering more directly to our customers’ needs will help us make more informed future research decisions focussing on better wheat and barley varieties.”

“We continue to urge farmers to work together in the new marketing environment,” Vandervalk explains. “There is a is a lot more work to do on areas like the Canadian Grain Commission, and streamlining the variety registration process for cereals to create an environment more favourable to research and innovation. The farmer’s voice is very important and greatly needed in these areas.”

The Grain Growers of Canada is an umbrella organization with 14 provincial and regional grower groups from across the country involved in the grain, pulse and oilseed sectors. Representing tens of thousands of successful wheat, durum, barley, canola, oat, corn, pea, lentil, rye and triticale farmers, the Grain Growers is well known as the national voice of Canadian grain farmers.

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