Canola growers’ group crushes its CWB idea

Citing “insufficient producer interest,” the Manitoba Canola Growers’ Association has dropped a proposal for talks with the Canadian Wheat Board aimed at a “voluntary marketing option” for canola.

The MCGA last month floated the idea to Prairie canola growers through a survey, available to farmers both online and in print through both the Manitoba Co-operator and Western Producer farm newspapers, with a submission deadline of April 30.

The survey followed a resolution MCGA members passed at their annual meeting in 2005, which called for the association’s board to investigate an “alternative marketing option” for canola.

In a release Thursday, the MCGA said it has already advised the CWB that it won’t be proceeding any further with talks toward a voluntary marketing initiative “due to lack of producer interest.”

While the MCGA on Thursday didn’t offer any specific data from the completed surveys, the MCGA’s counterparts in Saskatchewan and Alberta publicly distanced themselves weeks ago from the idea, in statements proclaiming their support for an open market.

“Transparency”

SaskCanola chairman Brett Halstead on April 11 said the commission is “not supporting the MCGA on this initiative, but we can’t tell them what to do.”

“This is something MCGA is doing by itself; the (Alberta Canola Producers Commission) has not worked with them on it and no Alberta canola producer levy money is being spent on it,” ACPC general manager Ward Toma said in a statement April 9.

The Alberta and Saskatchewan groups, along with CWB representatives, attended a meeting in mid-November 2010 that Toma said was “essentially the MCGA informing the other groups what it was doing.”

The MCGA in April had cited a number of “potential benefits” to such an arrangement, such as “professional marketing by a farmer-controlled organization,” risk management through price pooling and greater use of producer cars and of port facilities at Churchill, Man., plus “increased transparency on costs and revenue.”

Such a project, the MCGA said last month, would have required “a minimum firm commitment of 200,000 tonnes of canola… across the Prairie region.”

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