Letters to the editor – June 19, 2014 edition

FEEDING THE WORLD

Re: Schmeiser fighting GMOs.

Percy has indeed made a big name for himself and his “cause”.

Isn’t it time though to step back and ask, after 20 plus years of GM crop cultivation, what harm have these crops caused?

Worldwide, proteins, starches, oils sourced from these crops have been safely ingested with zero ill effects. On the other hand, crop yields have risen dramatically and pesticide use dropped.

Protestors, environmentalists, innocent urbanites, choose only the side of the story they want to hear; meanwhile our farmers need to produce food to feed the billions.

Martin C. Pick,
Cavan, Ont.

CONSIDER THE PITFALLS

Finally getting the distinct pleasure of sitting in one of those long lineups at the elevator to sell grain at a price somewhere hopefully near the cost of production. I had The Producer with me to occupy the hours. I came across a photo and article about a fellow who has built a 212 foot seeding unit, then puts it in a field dotted with random trees. Here’s an innovator, I thought, but at the same time with no apparent knowledge of tree removal technology. An analogy here in my opinion can be made with what our present government has done with the wheat board — blind ideology without consideration for any pitfalls. Thanks for injecting a healthy shot of humour into my humdrum day.

Stephen Light,
Lloydminster, Sask.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE?

One meaning for cognitive dissonance is to ignore or deny any information that conflicts with existing beliefs. If the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance is right, cognitive dissonance might reach epidemic proportions before the next federal election.

According to the Alliance, last February, with wheat priced $11.38/bu. at Vancouver, producers received $4.69/bu. or 41 percent of the selling price.

Under single desk, with wheat priced $10.61/bu. at Vancouver, producers received $9.99/bu. or 94 percent of the selling price.

Now, I don’t care one little bit if MP David Anderson and MP Gerry Ritz suffer from a bad bout of cognitive dissonance but I feel compassion for those hard working producers who supported “market freedom” because of Conservative lies.

It is possible to get the single desk back and the first step is making sure the likes of Anderson and Ritz are not around after the next election. If a 50 percent drop in the farmer’s share of the selling price won’t do it, nothing will.

Bev  Currie,
Swift Current, Sask.

PATH TO SERFDOM

I attended an organic chapter meeting in Muenster, Sask., and the grain transportation meeting in Raymore, Sask., March 8 and 9 respectively. The information brought forth at those meetings has compelled me to voice my concerns at our lack of awareness on the direction agriculture is taking today.

I am listening to the same story, over and over, but other than minimal fines imposed on the railways by the federal government, there is seemingly no action addressing the backlog of grain, the demurrage farmers are paying on waiting ships, the lost markets, and total confusion with grain shipments.

A new theory is circulating now and governments should not discount this as coffee shop talk, because it will likely come to votes. This is the story out there now.

With farmers looking at the complete picture now and into the future, the grain transportation problems not only include the railways but other players as well.

It may well be the grain companies, the multinationals, the railways and the governments of the day are working together in a bid to take complete control of agriculture in Canada, all to benefit the shareholder.

The promise to “help” farmers by advancing loans to pay previous and present expenses only digs the hole deeper, with multiple principals owing, plus interest, plus lost grain sales, lower prices at the farmgate, and to top it off, elevated operating expenses.

The grain industry is now poised to be taken over without a shot fired, so to speak, not too far removed from what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin just pulled off in Russia. The path to serfdom is just around the corner, or maybe it is already here and we have just been too busy to notice.

Bill C-18 is on the horizon, another takeover tool which is quietly being shoved through Parliament. UPOV91, part of the Agriculture Growth Act, I quote ,“should you decide to save seed from crop that you grow, you have the ability to do that and, again, just pay the royalty on the end when you sell it out”, as stated by agriculture minister Gerry Ritz, Dec. 9, 2013.

There goes our foundation seed and will more than likely be replaced with GMOs, undermining organic
 agriculture completely, a real concern to me as I am an organic farmer.

I wonder if our urban, Metis and First Nation neighbours are aware of these actions, and I also wonder what their reactions would be if they were to research Bill C-18 in its entirety?

Politicians, do not forget, you do have a certain responsibility to us, who voted for you, and did so with the hope you would have our best interests at heart.

But there are some harmful decisions being made, especially at the federal level. Take note, there is the power of the vote, and as I was once told and I quote, “there is not a man on the property who can’t be replaced in 10 minutes”.

Believe me, I did see it happen, and that man was at the top.

My fellow farmers and I are one of the many “sheep led to slaughter,” quite evident with the loss of orderly grain marketing in this country.

I do not understand why we did not get the chance to vote on the issue of the Canadian Wheat Board, or why we lost the hard assets we had paid for.

Our reputation for quality wheat, delivered in a timely manner, is gone along with the buyers who have gone elsewhere. Maybe whoever is behind this fiasco will get those markets back. We really doubt it. We do expect a reply from our elite politicians, but know this,regardless of reply, we will all be at the polling station next time, and will have our “neighbours” with us to vote.

Erling Brakefield,
Wynyard, Sask.

HOG INDUSTRY WOES

Too few hogs, too many processing plants, or just no planning?

“When Maple Leaf sneezes, Brandon, MB catches a cold. We need more hogs. 1800 people have light paycheques.”(Brandon Sun, May 28)

Maybe it’s because of our Canadian dollar comparison, and Manitoba hog producers are getting a much better price in the U.S.?

It seems the Hylife hog plant in Neepawa has no hog shortage problems.

In 2006, Manitoba had the distinction of being the No. 1 hog producer in Canada, over nine million animals.

Then in 2009 there were too many hogs, and barns were shut down, herds were culled, feed prices were high, and South Korea no longer imported hogs from Canada, and governments subsidized the industry. Now the complaints are not enough hogs?

And in the muddle of all this, the taxpayer is footing the promises of government to support and subsidize this industry. What’s next?

An economics professor has this to say. “It would have been far less costly for taxpayers and certainly more friendly to the water sources, environment and the quality of life to the rural population to pay, yes pay bribe money to the hog industry and say a polite, “No thank you, we don’t want your business and we are paying you to stay away.”

It’s clear this corporation, raising hogs as a meat exporting industry, is not economically sustainable without taxpayers cash and environmental subsidies.

If the industry can’t succeed within the laws that are supposed to protect the public, our water sources and the environment, and refuse to adapt, then they must be allowed to fail.

John Fefchak,
Virden, Man.

Martin C. Pick,


4 Responses

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  1. Dayton on

    @Martin C. Pick, feed Billions? Of what cattle,hogs,chickens, cars and chemical companies? Politician’s starve their people there is no lack of food. We could probably produce enough food in our ditches, golf courses, parks and front lawns to feed any nation. All without GMO’s!

  2. Feeding The World. “meanwhile our farmers have to produce food to feed the billions”.
    I couldn’t improve on the following.
    Suzuki sighed and shook his head when asked about the need for farmers to increase production to feed nine billion people by 2050.
    “You mean to tell me that western farmers have a responsibility to feed people in India, China and Europe? Bullshit,” he said, as about a dozen people waited for a box of his recent book, The Legacy, to be delivered to the table.

  3. George on

    There is no shortage of food in the world. There is only poverty that does not let some people buy their share. Over the years much wheat has been grown on my land. Some people grow wheat or barley or canola. I call these people grain farmers. People that grow vegetables or fruits make up about 30% of the floor space in any store I shop in. This also includes the canned fruits and vegetables.I call these people vegetable gardeners and fruit growers. Call them as you wish. But people that grow wheat or barley or potatoes or fruits help to feed the world. No one group feeds the world and to write so is an incorrect statement.

  4. We are already growing ten times more grain annually than the human population could eat with three squares a day. It is being used to feed livestock at as high as a negative 8 to one conversion rates, ethanol plants at a net effect of a net 30 BTU’s worth of fossel fuel to get one BTU of ethanol fuel to be blended back in with other fossel fuel to save the environment????, and now in Canada since the loss of the CWB single desk premium price badger and logistics coordinator a portion of it is completely rotting in uncovered piles and in grain bags in the very fields in which it was produced at a dead 100% loss. Beyond the ill informed farmer who’s believe’s are being abused and thinks he or she may be actually feeding the world, nobody cares about anything but stealing their needs for as much below the actual cost of production as possible. People are starving in a world awash with food and will continue to starve under a dishonest system such as we have in the world today. More will die in wars to preserve this system’s present form. To think or express anything different is knowingly disingenuous or extremely naive.

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