Offer of free grain storage gets Sask Pool up in arms

The Western Producer takes a weekly look at some of the stories that made headlines in issues of the paper from 75, 50, 25 and 10 years ago.

75 years ago: Nov. 14, 1940

The federal government said it was taking a close look at a recently announced Australian plan to stabilize wheat production.

Under that plan, Australian farmers would be guaranteed a minimum price.

In exchange, the government would dictate how much farmers could grow and farmers would be committed to marketing all their wheat through the government.

A resolution at the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool’s annual convention asked the pool to investigate the practice of downgrading split wheat kernels, which the resolution said was “in many cases unfair and uncalled for.”

50 years ago: Nov. 11, 1965

The National Grain Company opened a can of worms when it announced it was waiving storage charges on grain deliveries in November and December as a way to move more dry grain to the Lakehead. Sask Pool president Charles Gibbings lambasted the move, and the following week the pool took out a full page ad in The Western Producer explaining why free storage was “inconsistent with the philosophy on which the pool was founded.”

Canadian Federation of Agriculture president J.M. Bentley said spiraling wages of organized labour were having an inflationary effect on the economy and were the main reason why farmers’ incomes weren’t keeping ahead of costs.

25 years ago: Nov. 15, 1990

United Oilseeds Products Ltd., a major buyer of canola, closed its doors in Lloydminster, Alta.

The plant was capable of processing 250,000 tonnes of canola a year.

A federal forecast warned that prairie grain and oilseed farmers would receive zero net cash income from the marketplace in 1992 if present conditions re-mained.

It said the $800 million in net cash income expected for that year would come entirely from farm support programs.

“Yes I know we are all tired after the 1980s,” said Doug Hedley, Agriculture Canada’s director general of planning.

“But we have to be ready for the 1990s; 1992 is a pretty rugged year.”

10 years ago: Nov. 10, 2005

The Canadian Wheat Board found itself linked to a scandal that eventually ended single desk wheat marketing in Australia, but the board denied any direct role in uncovering questionable dealings between the Australian Wheat Board and Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq.

An Australian foreign affairs officials had alleged that the Canadian government made allegations that the AWB paid kickbacks to the Iraqi government in exchange for grain sales.

The incident also prompted Conservative MP David Anderson to accuse the CWB of illegally selling wheat to Iraq, for which the board demanded an apology.

Farmers were told there were signs that the door was beginning to open for shipments of genetically modified crops to Europe.

“The good thing is, things are moving,” Connor Dobson of Bayer CropScience said of a recent regulatory committee meeting in the European Union.

The optimism proved to be premature.

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