The Conservative Bill C-18 to kill the Canadian Wheat Board is the death of the family grain farm, says the Green Party of Canada.
“This bill will result in greater consolidation of prairie grain farms and the destruction of the prairie rural economy.
Farm consolidation means a loss of families, closures of schools, and the loss of small town Main-street businesses,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
The Canadian Wheat Board was formed to protect prairie grain farmers from unfair buyer monopoly practices by providing a single desk where all grain sales must be made.
That single desk mechanism ensures that every farmer has a chance to deliver grain, regardless of size, distance, or political connections.
Without this market protection, the grain monopoly buys from a select few farms and ignores the rest. Less privileged farmers are forced to sell below market price and soon go out of business.
We have seen this farm consolidation before.
A stark example is what happened with hogs in Manitoba. In 1995, Manitoba’s 5000 hog producers lost their single desk protection. Immediately, the buyer monopoly began to exclude many farmers and dealt only with a selected few. Within 15 years, 94% of hog farms are gone. Today there are only 300 hog farms. The same will happen to prairie grain farms within 10 years.
Buyers like to deal with large orders and they want short trucking distances. This eliminates the medium-sized family farm and even eliminates the big farms if they happen to be farther from the market. In 2011, there are 4000 Manitoba wheat growers. Without the protection of the single desk, most of them will be gone within the decade.
“Killing the Canadian Wheat Board is short-sighted and betrays rural voters. Promises of market choice are false. In fact, this bill will take away the farmers’ power to choose,” said Kate Storey, Green Party Shadow Cabinet Critic for Agriculture. Read what the Globe and Mail had to say The Vancouver Sun