Letters to the editor – March 9, 2017


Lower prices

Both Kevin Hursh and Levi Wood (seem happy) to be making less money selling wheat than if we still had our farmer-directed Canadian Wheat Board. (WP Feb. 23.)

Elevator excess basis, weaker protein premiums, disappeared assets, exporters undercutting, trouble keeping track of quality branded Canadian wheat, and poor delivery co-ordination all saddle western farmers with losses approaching $8 billion and counting without our single desk.

Why would anyone work harder to make less money? Why bring American wheat here to bog our system capacity and dilute our price? What next? Would Hurst and Wood advocate for a U.S. style farmer-support system here?

Wood states post-CWB exports to the U.S. have increased. This is true. He doesn’t say that this is because the price of Canadian wheat has now dropped below that of American wheat at port, and farmers close to the boarder are hauling south to get some of their money back if they are lucky.

Before anyone brings up the “buy-back,” remember, A) we have all lost that much and more since Aug. 1, 2012, and B) if you couldn’t make more than the buy-back on a private deal, that meant the CWB was doing a better job of marketing than you anyway.

Many think that the 62 percent majority who voted to keep the CWB as it was has grown.

The challenge for Hurst, Wood and former Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, or anyone else who thinks that getting rid of our own marketer was a good idea: find even one peer-reviewed economic study that shows western wheat farmers had a net benefit because of the end of our CWB, or admit a mistake.


Ian L. Robson
Deleau, Man

Climate change

It was with some incredulity that I read Stephanie McDonald and Dana Stefov’s article entitled Remember the poor in climate agenda in the Producer (Feb. 2).

This article is replete with assumptions and statements that conflict with the scientific realities of anthropogenic climate change.

First, the droughts experienced by farmers in various parts of the world have nothing to do with anthropogenic climate change, and certainly not warming trends. As Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of Environmental Science from the University of Colorado, stated to a Senate hearing, anthropogenic global warming has yet to cause any change in extreme weather events. As he put it, any “echo” of human-induced global warming within the “short-term variation” (weather) will not be measurable for at least another 60 years, and probably 100 years.

 Simply put, a climate data point is a 30-year average and the weather “echo” of changes in temperature lags multiple decades behind any atmospheric temperature change. We have not yet experienced any change in weather patterns due to human-released CO2 heating effects, and few of us, who are currently alive and reading this, will live long enough to do so. 

Second, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s own analysis, if all the measures agreed on during the Paris Climate Conference are put into effect on time, the difference in temperature at year 2100 from the difference expected if we do absolutely nothing, will be in the region of 0.04 C. This is well below the accuracy resolution of even NASA’s deep atmospheric temperature measuring system, so the change expected 83 years from now will be effectively zero. We might have to wait two to three centuries before the effect is measurable.


As former Vice-President Al Gore has publically admitted, these measures are “symbolic.”

The science is pretty unequivocal: human released CO2 is having an effect on the atmosphere’s ability to trap solar radiation, most scientists agree on this point (97 percent seems to be a popular figure). However what is far from clear, from a scientific viewpoint, is whether this effect is significant in comparison to other existing natural forcing agents, whether climate sensitivity to atmospheric gas concentrations is statistically significant and, most importantly, whether the effects represent a net positive or negative effect on a global scale.

A growing view among ecologists is that both increase temperatures and an increase in atmospheric CO2 may well represent a significant increase in the Earth’s biomass carrying capacity. A warmer atmosphere increases its water vapour carrying capacity, with attendant increases in rainfall, causing the Earth’s temperate and tropical bands to expand and our desert bands to shrink.

The poor of North Africa have been dealing with the negative effects of climate change for at least the last 3,500 years. The failure of agriculture in northern Europe during the mini ice age of the 16th through 19th centuries forced many to take the risky voyage to North America in order to survive.

So, when you remember the poor when considering climate policy, it is not enough to look at local weather variations in Cuba; you must take a holistic global view.

Symbolic measures that do nothing more than cost us the economic power to help the poor around the world offer little more than hollow platitudes to the suffering.


Stewart Staudinger
Alix, Alta.

Ian L. Robson

  • BillD314

    The reason why the phrases “Anti-science”, “Evidence-deniers”, and ”Global Warming Deniers” are used is that the “Anti-science Deniers” ignore demonstrable evidence, and fabricate stories and “facts” that are not true.
    Stewart Staudinger’s claim
    “We have not yet experienced any change in weather patterns due to human-released CO2 heating effects, and few of us, who are currently alive and reading this, will live long enough to do so. ”
    is absurd and illustrates the mindless parroting of denier falsehoods.
    Temperature anomalies at all 4 primary temperature databases, the Berkeley Earth Temperature Results, the UAH and RSS satellite interpretations, and Radiosondes (Weather Balloons) are all setting new warmth records.
    For example:
    Graph: http://www.durangobill.com/TempPictures/NOAAanomalies.png
    NOAA Graphics: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/global/globe/land_ocean/12/12/1880-2016
    Data: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/anomalies.php

    • Harold

      The reason why the phrases “Anti-science”, “Evidence-deniers”, and ”Global Warming Deniers” are used are to convince the public at large to buy into a proposed bag of goods. The very phrases are not from actual science, and are in fact unsupported by the rule of science. These phrases are a construct of social engineering and is, and has been used, solely to create more laws, more regulations, and more taxation; for which “parroting” evolves from here for public support. The public are not immersed into any of the related sciences to enable the public to become either a “denier”, or a approver, or an anti-anything. These phrases are of fiction. Only between two scientists can there be a denier and each with clear data and code in support; the data and code deny. Where are the denier’s codes and data? I noticed that your graph was not standing against the denier’s prepared graph. Oops! What is absurd, is to have the thought that the so called “climate change deniers’ are not equally or possibly even more qualified scientists. How many scientists are there, and in what study field and qualifications; can disprove the theory that climate change is man made? How many? Don’t know? To think that the Public is spearheading and doing the “denying” this is truly absurd.
      The biggest lie is that 97% of the scientists agree to “climate change”,[2%] and the example of social engineering, is the fact that the public don’t know who they are, to even verify. “Some authority said so”, and that’s good enough to wave their company flag. Bravo NOAA!

  • Welderone

    Some market freedom grain farmers have written to The Western Producer lately that they got $6.30 a bushel for wheat. And these are better prices than the CWB. Either these people are not good at math or have a short memory. The single desk Canadian Wheat Board got $8.00 a bushel for wheat for all western grain farmers. I believe the year was 2010. Also for people like Levi Wood who think they can haul wheat to the United States. When the United States does not want extra Canadian wheat in their country. It would probably take the U.S. congress about two weeks to pass a law not allowing any more Canadian wheat to be hauled to the United States.

    • ed

      Actually in the 2007-08 crop year, the farmer owned and operated CWB collective marketing agency return “net to farm gate” for #2 15.5 protein wheat, $12.64 per bushel for every single bushel that they handled, (more than 95% of that grade for that year) from the world market. The railways and handling companies on the prairies and at ports made more than adaquate incomes on top of that. Some very good or lucky marketers got over $17/bushel that year for their wheat with the innovative “market you own wheat” programs developed by the farmers CWB that work within the CWB’s marketing structure that ensured that the price to the collective could not be undermined. The use of those “I can market my own wheat” options represented less than 5% of that wheat grade for that year, and very sadly 99% of that volume was sold at $5 per bushel or less. That was a $300 per acre loss on that grade for that year. That had to hurt. That clearly highlighted the definite need for the farmers CWB orderly marketing process. By the small uptake of those programs and their disastrous financial results, it appears as though that was clearly understood at that time. History is a great teacher and the lessons of the past are slowly being learned once again. Not a week goes by that a seemingly new, old problem from the past that were accurately outlined at the Senate Standing Committee meetings held and recorded in handsart in late Nov. early Dec. of 2011 at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, are not being bantered around as if they are some kind of an “actual” new problem. Some of the companies profits have six folded on the farmers backs with the loss of the CWB and of coarse it is not really going to end well.

  • ed

    Good job Ian.