The Canadian Wheat Board was part of a large grain management system. Industry is not static, and the global wheat value chain is no different. There has been huge investments in grain handling facilities, new organizations like Cereals Canada have been formed, and consumer trends and tastes have changed. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link though and the Canada Grain Act and Grain Commission that oversees it need modernization.
Many guidelines are outdated. Does anyone believe that grain regulations today will be sufficient in 3-4 decades? Why then should we accept today’s regulations that were created 3-4 decades ago? The Act and Commission need to be optimized to deliver value. Not all requirements are appropriate and required services could be offered more efficiently and cost effectively.
End user food companies do much research to “touch the consumer”. That link of the value chain must be engaged and farmers should be rewarded for growing grain with valued characteristics. Having both public and private breeders, with global networks and access to the latest technology, will improve the chances of Canadian Wheat Growers being competitive and profitable.
The Wheat Growers support a full review of the Grain Act and Grain Commission, from how it’s structured, to the services it offers, and how they’re provided.
The current surplus must be returned to farmers via reduced fees, and the surplus should not be used for anything else until a full review is complete.
Grading needs to be completely rethought based on the modern world of specifications and functionality. Farmers should be able to sell grain by class, or by specification, for which the current system must be optimized. Grain handlers and rail companies would be happy to handle one bulk class of various grades of grain, capturing margin in the blending process and optimizing profit. But that does not serve our customers or farmers well, and the remit of the Grain Commission is to act in the best interests of farmers.