SK farm group brings Western Canadian grain farmers’ concerns to parliament hill
April 28, 2015 – Saskatoon, SK A Saskatchewan-based farm coalition group, consisting of Sask Wheat, Sask Barley, and the Agricultural Producers of Saskatchewan (APAS), is meeting with members of the Federal Government on Parliament Hill this week, to voice the concerns of Western Canadian grain farmers about failures in the transportation and handling system and to call for improvements.
“Over and over we see that Western Canadian grain farmers are being uniquely and significantly affected by failures in the transportation and handling system, and consequently losing billions of dollars,” says Cam Goff, Sask Barley Board Chair. “We are in Ottawa this week to bring this message directly to the most powerful people in the Federal Government and to ensure they are hearing the voices that are often lost at this level of politics – those of the farmers.”
According to a report published last December, Western Canadian grain farmers lost an estimated $3.1 billion in 2013/14 and reports from March 2015 showed that they stand to lose a significantly higher amount this marketing year. In February 2015 the excess basis cost for grain farmers, relative to the posted costs for rail freight and primary and terminal elevator charges, was over $62/metric tonne or $1.69/bushel. (These reports are available at saskwheat.ca.)
“These numbers mean that farmers marketing 2,000 tonnes in 2014/15 will lose $80,000-$120,000, depending on when they market their grain,” says Bill Gehl, Sask Wheat Board Chair. “These numbers really reinforce the need for improved government regulation of the industry.”
Last December, the coalition group submitted recommendations to the CTA review panel for improvements in the grain transportation and handling systems. These included: the completion of a formal costing review and adjustments of the maximum revenue entitlement accordingly; the creation of a rail oversight group that includes agricultural farmer representation to assess ongoing operations of the railways; mandatory information reporting; and more. The complete report is available at saskwheat.ca.
For more information, contact:
Manager, Communications and Marketing
Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
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