Letters to the editor – April 28, 2016

Quality, not quantity

The article “Too many wheat research projects point to problem” (WP, April 18 on www.producer.com) offers a brief and incomplete snapshot of wheat research projects underway in Canada.

While the number of ongoing research projects is important, the quality of this research and the collaborative initiatives that are underway will have a greater impact on Canadian wheat farmers and industry progress.

Many of the projects referenced in the article were initiated prior to the establishment of producer commissions who are now working together on several projects with a national or regional focus.

The Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and Alberta Wheat Commission have targeted priorities and oversight from farmer-directed boards that ensures research funding is invested responsibly and is directed toward projects that benefit Canadian growers. Crop commissions also collaborate with groups such as the Western Grains Research Foundation and the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance to co-ordinate research funding on a national basis.

In less than four years since their inception, the provincial wheat commission have made it a priority to plan and fund research together, most recently co-investing in projects through the Canadian Wheat Alliance and the Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics project involving advances in mapping the wheat genome. This type of research will provide improved varieties of wheat that will allow Canadian producers to maintain an advantage in a competitive global marketplace.

Provincial commissions have also been active in seeking partnerships with both public and private entities to allow for greater producer involvement in research and variety development.

The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission has entered into a partnership with SeCan and the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre to develop the CDC durum breeding program.

The Alberta Wheat Commission has partnered with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Canterra Seeds for development of new Canada Prairie Spring Red wheat varieties.

Additionally, the western wheat and barley development commissions have created a Wheat and Barley Variety Development Working Group. By collaborating across provincial boundaries, this working group intends to strengthen and emphasize the importance of continued and increased public, producer and private investment in variety development and its effect on increased farm profitability.

Wheat is a large part of Canadian agriculture and a major crop grown all over the world. The number of wheat projects currently ongoing across Canada shows the unique nature of this crop and the range of challenges farmers face. If anything, there is a need for even more wheat research to ensure this major agricultural crop is sustainable.

Focus should not be placed on the number of current wheat related projects, but rather the quality of the projects funded by the provincial crop commissions and we will continue to invest funds responsibly, allowing producers to reap the benefits.

Fred Greig, Chair
Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association
Bill Gehl, Chair
Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
Kevin Auch, Chairman
Alberta Wheat Commission

Heritage under fire

Borrowing to build, or borrowing to destroy?

In a March 18, 2015 press release, the then Sask. Party finance minister, Ken Krawetz, is quoted as saying the government was going to “borrow to build”, referring to the intense capital infrastructure financing plans for the 2015-16 fiscal year. However, given what has transpired over the past year surrounding the Regina Bypass, and the growing scandal surrounding land transactions, I can’t help but ask the question: are they borrowing to build, or borrowing to destroy?

They have all but destroyed several long-standing Saskatchewan homesteads (some over a century old), severely and negatively impacted commercial industries who oppose the project, divided farming operations( making it impossible to continue), and destroyed the health of many great individuals who have been dealing with the undue stress of the expropriation process.

While some are making more money than any of us would see in a lifetime, others are barely getting enough to replace their homes.

I would love to see the government building more in the name of progress. I don’t see this as progress, only another way to destroy the Saskatchewan that I’ve known and loved since I was a child.

Please don’t let the Saskatchewan Party destroy more of our heritage in the name of what they call progress. If we’re going to build, let’s do it with everyone’s well-being in mind. In the meantime demand a judicial public inquiry, as requested by the RM of Sherwood.

Donald Neuls,
Coppersands , Sask.

Farmers didn’t elect PM

It appears that the voters of Western Canada will visit the sins of the fathers on the sons forever, and will not ever forget the arrogance of Pierre Trudeau towards the West.

I don’t belong to a political party, but surely there cannot be two Pierres. Hasn’t Justin Trudeau showed that already? I certainly hope so.

When any politician brags that farmers voted him in I suggest that he has his head in the sand.

In the town where I voted, I knew all the volunteers at the polling booths in varying degrees.

Ahead of me was only one voter known to me. In the lineups behind I recognized one.

I doubt if any were born around here, probably not even in Saskatchewan. I expect all voted Conservative.

I do know that not one of them was a farmer.

There are rural municipalities in the south where one can drive for hours and see not one farmstead. There are signs here and there to indicate where a schoolhouse once stood.

In most constituencies the farmers and ranchers are out numbered by people in other walks of life.

Most of those people do not concern themselves much with what government might have done to farmers.

After all, when they go to buy groceries the shelves are always full.

What most people say to me is “at least the dictator is gone.”

Christine Pike
Waseca, Sask.


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