Wheat Grower Groups Call for Open Trade Between U.S., Canada

Most wheat growers should know by now that in December, the Canadian Wheat Board was forced to disband the Canadian Parliament. Thus, the CWB will lose its grain marketing monopoly beginning Aug. 1. This should allow western Canadian farmers to sell wheat and barley in the open market.

The U.S. Wheat Associates and National Association of Wheat Growers each passed a resolution on Jan. 29 that calls for an open border with Canada that provides reciprocal bilateral wheat trade. The agencies issued a dual press release on Jan. 31 to note the event.

Gordon Stoner, a Montana farmer who serves as the head of the U.S. Wheat/NAWG Joint International Trade Policy, says the CWB only allowed wheat to flow from Canada to the U.S. The abolition of the CWB could allow some U.S. wheat farmers to sell wheat to cash markets in Canada.

“Our wheat farmers are ready to accept that outcome as long as we similarly have a fair opportunity to deliver into the Canadian handling system. This resolution gives NAWG and USW the authority to work with farmers, the grain trade and government agencies here and in Canada to give U.S. farmers reciprocal access to the Canadian market. We seek an open border – in both directions,” Stoner said.

Stoner said some key issues must be resolved before U.S. farmers could sell their wheat to cash markets in Canada, such as Canada’s narrow wheat class variety eligibility lists that do not allow most U.S. varieties to be marketed in the country as top grade milling wheat.

“Ultimately, open trade across the border will be good for both Canadian and U.S. wheat farmers by adding efficiency and allowing Canadian and U.S. wheat handlers, users and growers to compete on the basis of quality and location,” Stoner said. “At the same time, with the CWB monopoly gone, the international market that determines our prices will become more transparent, fair and efficient.”

For an audio report from Stoner on happenings at the NAWG/USW Joint International Trade Policy Committee meeting Jan. 28, please visit http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/audio-stoner-report-jitpc-20120131.mp3.

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