Letters to the Editor

NO MIDDLEMEN

To the Editor:

Re: UAE holds untapped potential for farmers, WP July 4, by Karen Briere.

Sometimes urban, or rural, legends such as the “dozens of people” between farmers and destination processors-importers and the goal of “taking out as many of the middlemen as possible” needs to be confronted, especially when it is repeated as fact by people who should know better, such as past Agriculture Canada trade commissioner in Dubai Nicole Rogers, now of Agriprocity.

I wonder who these phantom middlemen are?

  • The processor who buys the grain from the farmer in a very competitive market place?
  • The processor who has invested in significant capital to mill the grain and finance trade?
  • The grain buyer that has posted a bond with the CGC (Canadian Grain Commission) to ultimately ensure payment to the producer?
  • The policies, protocols and procedures in place and required by buyers to maintain integrity of the grain?
  • The exporter that has travelled to destination markets to develop markets? The railroad that moves the grain efficiently to port?
  • The transloader at port that loads the containers and delivers them to the dock?
  • The grain terminals that load the grain?
  • The vessel operators?
  • The marine insurance?

All of these steps add value. They are not some parasitic “middlemen.”

I have spent 30 years of my professional life marketing western Canadian agri-products. The firms I have worked for have invested heavily in processing assets and market development. They take the risk of ownership and marketing of the grain. We buy grain, we sell food.

I was recently in India and Dubai meeting the largest pulse buyers. Our firm and many others buy peas and lentils directly from Saskatchewan producers, process through our mills, sell directly to millers in destination markets. The marketing route is clear and direct.

Each entity and step adds value. There are no mysterious “middlemen” in the chain or ”dozens” of people between buyers and sellers.

EMMIE ODDIE TRIBUTE

To the Editor:

My sympathy goes out to the family of Emmie Oddie on the loss of their mother and, I presume, grandmother.

I loved her column in The Western Producer and as a young mother in the ’60s, always turned to her page first. She was never stumped by a home-making question and her answers were well researched and practical. Those were the days when most of the food served in the farm homes was home grown. I still use some of her recipes.

Rest in peace, Emmie.

Thank you for keeping the Farm Living section with Team Resources and their recipes and ideas for us mothers and grandmothers. Actually, the men have been known to refer to their page as well.

ACREAGE-BASED VOTING

To the Editor:

With the demise of the CWB single desk, the federal Conservative and provincial Saskatchewan governments are quickly establishing a wheat and barley commission to collect funds from farmers and do research for the grain trade. Leading this noble mission to develop the wheat and barley commissions are Cherilyn Jolly Nagel and Bill Cooper, one of whom isn’t even an active farmer.

These two government appointees are advocates of acreage based voting. They believe farmers who have more acres than their neighbours should have more say in those organizations. This was a point they pressed for years in the CWB elections. Since the CWB will no longer have elections, one would assume they would keep to their principles and promote this acreage-based voting in their commissions.

It’s also interesting that Bill Cooper, a retired farmer, always previously complained that the CWB director elections “allowed retired farmers” to vote if they had a permit book and owned land. Now as a retired farmer, he is leading the creation of an organization designed to take money from farmers?

I wonder what sort of interest farmers will have in these elections knowing the mega voters will carry the day, whoever they are.

And if acreage-based voting is not brought in, one has to wonder who is really running these commissions since these two individuals have always advanced acreage-based voting in their previous lives.

DRAINAGE? THINK TWICE

To the Editor:

As farmers, we all know the blessings of water, and the curses….

Many places in this province are dealing with disastrous consequences of too much water right now. So are we on our farm.

First the positive: the house is safe and not under water as other people are experiencing, and the family is safe and healthy.… Nevertheless, we needed to evacuate our home. From here things go downhill, literally.

As per the Water Security Agency, water should go only one way: the natural way. We do not argue that. It is how nature intended it to be.

Do keep in mind, though, we are at the receiving end of that water flow. On our farm, we deal with a certain amount of natural flow every year, which was always manageable. When we bought the farm 10 years ago, the sloughs were dry. Last year trouble started.…

We lost our driveway, our only access to our farm, three times and with it the RM gravel roads going north and south. In other words, we were stuck. Water kept coming in large volumes after every rain shower. That, in itself, is suspicious. Never mind, we were hopeful for this year. Although there was more snow than last year, when you look at the majority of the sloughs on our land, the water level is not above average. So it is not the amount of snow that causes this huge current flood we are experiencing now….

The amount of water that flooded us this year is just unreal. An aerial picture showed us that this is not caused by natural flow anymore. This is man made. We lost our driveway again, which is now five feet under water, the north and south access on the RM road, a considerable amount of acres for seeding and grazing and three-quarters of our corrals….

So, thanks a lot, ditchers. Some of you probably didn’t even realize what the consequences would be of your actions. But now you know….

This letter is meant to open a discussion between the people who make the rules and the people who feel the consequences of the rules, not to find a scapegoat.

What frustrates us is the injustice that we are experiencing …. We would like to see better water management, as in controlling surplus water by directing it to places where it does no harm. At the same time, we could also look at storing water for times of drought….

Instead of throwing money at disaster relief, that money could be spent in a positive way to prevent disasters.

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