Letters to the editor – September 21, 2017

Tax and stress

Farming and ranching is rated as one of the dangerous occupations as well as hard work. Yet we feed the whole country and export the rest.

The agriculture industry at harvest time is a very stressful place to be. (The proposed tax changes) show how ignorant the government of Canada is about the stress it is putting on the farmers and their families.

Its kind of thinking will bring an end to families in rural communities and only “outside interests” will buy the land. That is already happening. Great plan.

We have been farmers for 60 years.

Olga Yanishewski
Spirit River, Alta.

Praise for CWB

Re: Ed White’s column, Growers need to hone marketing skills to get the best price (WP Aug. 31).

Ed does not say much about the CWB but I got the impression that he feels it is good that it is gone.

I seem to have different memories of the effectiveness of the CWB for several reasons. I can’t recall the year, but there was an incident when the open market was paying 75 cents per bushel for feed barley.

The CWB managed to get the contract to supply Saudi Arabia with its entire supply of feed barley for their racing camels.

The board price to farmers selling into this market was $2 per bushel. If a private grain company made a deal like that, do you suppose there would be a similar arrangement or would the profit go to the company?

I realize that the CWB was supposed to be at “arm’s length” from the government but in practice politics entered into its operation. On one occasion it was instructed not to export any feedgrains until it was certain the domestic market was supplied.

Did the livestock industry send a thank you card? I doubt it.

The employees of the CWB did not get the recognition they deserve. They had to have meetings that always included a few people who knew exactly where the CWB had gone wrong.

The fact that their information was in hindsight or just plain wrong did not dampen their enthusiasm for criticism.

Never once did I see a CWB representative not act calmly and inform the questioners of their side of the story. I recall speeches by folks such as Greg Arason that were always informative and addressed the issues and never criticized anyone else. I can’t remember not being impressed by statements issued by the CWB.

Regarding the main focus of the article, I would agree that more knowledge is never wrong, but farmers have to realize the folks they are dealing with do marketing on a full-time basis.

It appears that hiring an analyst or broker is now almost compulsory and, I hope, folks remember that for eight to 10 cents a bushel the CWB co-ordinated trains and ships, supported trading offices around the world, made sure all involved were bonded, partially funded CIGI and research and made the loans to purchase Canadian grain.

Ed says the CWB was a “monopoly,” but only for human consumption for wheat and barley. Look at what is happening in the rest of the grain business.

Try buying a grain bin not handled by AGI or fertilizer from someone other than Nutrien. Everyone else is concentrating but farmers shouldn’t?

The market is still driven by greed and fear, so I hope knowledge can overcome some of the volatility and bring some profit to farmers.

Horst Schreiber
Ohaton, Alta.

Goodbye to Ritz

We were relieved to hear that former Conservative agriculture minister Gerry Ritz is resigning from politics, although it is another example of leaving his sinking ship after he has drilled it full of holes.

I don’t consider myself a vengeful person, but I almost hope Ritz overcomes the same kinds of stumbling blocks he has set up for farm families. 

Erika Altwasser
Yellow Grass, Sask.

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