Sunday November 23, 2014

Letter to the Editor - Malt barley idea runs counter to CWB stance


Dear Editor:

Recently the Federal Agriculture Minister, Ritz pledged over half a million dollars in federal funding to develop a “Canadian Malt Barley Brand.”

Imagine that, someone trying to brand Canadian Malt Barley to command a premium price! It would appear the Minister did not know the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) has been doing this on behalf of farmers for over 75 years.

And so, welcome to the new reality now that the Conservatives have plunged ahead with their hell bent desire for marketing freedom; this is just a taste of the ironies to come.

The CWB used to do such branding on behalf of Canadian malt barley. Farmers had input into the process but now that has been handed over to the malting barley industry groups. However, it looks like before things have barely begun, the big players like this crew can’t even brand on their own and need Ritz’s help. The Big Boys like to talk big but they need the Minister’s money! The Minister probably did this to ensure that during the “transition” of the CWB to Gerry’s grain company no one could accuse him that branding of Canadian malt had stopped. It will be interesting to see if the Minister will provide the “trade” with money to brand Canadian Wheat?

We can’t expect much more out of this Minister as her never attended a CWB board meeting, even though he received formal invitations 3 times and many more verbal invitations from Directors. Time to cue the old cliché, but in this case it has never been more applicable - you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Except for the Minister, he never knew what farmers had so for him he probably thinks this is something new! Too much for an Ostrich farmer to learn in such a short time!!!

Eric Sagan
Melville, Sask.



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