After 5 years of the loss of the Canadian Wheat Board, farmers have turned back the clock 100 years. The farmers missed the boat by letting both the Saskatchewan Party and the federal Tories get rid of the CWB — at what cost to them?
Commodity prices posted publicly are usually the lowest available. Farmers shipping their grain wind up begging for a good price. Today #1 wheat with 11% protein is selling for $4.23/bushel. Wheat export price in Vancouver is $9.44/bushel and in Thunder Bay $11.80/bushel. Six years ago I sold my #1 wheat to the CWB at $8.50/bushel. So much for the open market but not so open information! The blame is on every farmer who was sleeping at the switch.
In the last election Ritz announced you could sell all the grain you produced –but at what price?
For example, the average farmer today produces 70,000 bushels of wheat. 5 years ago #1 wheat 13.5% was $8.50/bushel, so if you sold 70,000 bushels you would get $595,000. Today you are likely to get $5.10/bushel, so 70,000 bushels would bring $350,000. Instead of getting $595,000 for his crop the farmer gets $350,000 – a loss of $245,000. This amount of loss over the 5 years without the CWB comes to $1,225,000 – one and a quarter million dollars!
Under the CWB, farmers would get paid 88% of export prices. Today under the open market we get 40%. Farming without the Crow rate and the CWB is hard to do. Other farm leaders were destroying what our forefathers fought for. How can anyone’s farm survive on wheat at $5/bushel and canola at$12/bushel? A four wheel drive tractor imported from the USA costs $700,000. With $5 wheat you need 140,000 bushels to buy the tractor. At thirty bushels an acre, you need 4,700 acres to grow the crop to pay for this tractor.
The big farmers have been sleeping since the loss of the CWB. Farm Credit tells us a 3 year loss is the end of farming. Big volumes of grain do not pay the outstanding bills. Because the big farmers did not support the CWB their only option is to sell out or to down size.
We have to thank both the federal and provincial conservative governments for this.
National Farmers Union
National Board, Saskatchewan Region