With the first year anniversary of so called marketing freedom under their belt, Gerry Ritz and the rest of the grain trade are all smiles, or should one say they are gloating over their good fortune. For sure, the major grain companies have the producers of grain right where they want them.
But, perhaps Ritz will answer a few questions on how things are shaping up for farmers and their new marketing freedom.
1) Is it true, Mr. Ritz when the farmer has unloaded his grain at the elevator (terminal) his ownership of that grain has vanished?
2) Terminal blending of grain as was done in the days of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) produced monetary benefits in the multi-millions for the farmer. Are those blending profits still part of the farmers income under marketing freedom?
3) Wheat and Barley price premiums – Economists Kraft, Furtan, Tyrchniewicz, Schmitz, Gray, Storey have all shown the CWB earned an average total wheat and Barley premiums of $300 - $500 million per annum, for the producers of the grain. My question to you Mr. Ritz is this, are those premium dollars still accruing to the farmers under this new marketing freedom? Please tell us Mr. Ritz we need to know.
4) Interest earnings – Terminal rebates – penalties – tendering and despatch brought to the farmers over $100 million annually. Tell me Mr. Ritz what is the farmers’ yearly benefit from those earnings now that he has marketing freedom?
5) Farmers and Producer Cars - what happened? What level of service has slipped from the farmers hands, in this first year of market freedom?
6) Lest anyone believes I have padded the numbers when the CWB ruled the roost, think again. According to a 2007 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the CWB generates an estimated economic impact of $1.6 billion per year. What I have done, is seriously understated the economic benefit the farmers have lost with market freedom.
Henry Neufeld - Waldeck