CWB not yet buying 2012-13 grains

The Canadian Wheat Board said on Friday it will offer farmers grain pools, cash contracts and marketing advice in its new role after it loses its monopoly this year.

But it is still working out details and is not yet offering those programs, said CWB spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry, while grain handlers lock up more of the 2012-13 crop through forward contracts.

The CWB on Friday offered slightly more detail of what its role will be in August when it loses its marketing monopoly over Western Canada’s wheat and barley for milling or export.

More detailed program information will be announced "throughout 2012," the board said.

Grain handlers such as Viterra, Cargill and Richardson International are already signing forward contracts with farmers for delivery of the 2012-13 harvest after the CWB’s monopoly ends on Aug. 1.

The CWB said Friday it will offer short- and longer-term pools for grain, as well as cash contracts, in which farmers choose when they price and sell their crops.

The shorter-term pool will create early delivery opportunities for farmers, while the longer-term pool will call deliveries throughout the pooling period, the CWB said. Payments would take the form of initial payments, followed by adjustment and final payments; early payment options (EPOs) will also be available.

CWB cash contracts, meanwhile, would help farmers "increase profitability and cash flow through upfront price certainty." Farmers choose when they price and sell, and receive full payment soon after delivery, the board said.

"Grain marketing is the CWB’s entire focus," CWB CEO Ian White said in a statement. "It’s what we do. We’ve got the expertise and the experience to serve farmers really well in the new environment."

The board also plans to help farmers develop marketing strategies for their crops and hedge their price risk on futures markets, the CWB said.

Farmers will be able to take advantage of the CWB’s "extensive experience" hedging wheat on the Minneapolis, Kansas City and Chicago grain exchanges, the board said.

Under CWB futures contracts, farmers would be able to protect an attractive price based on futures markets, lock in a price that "takes care of futures values, foreign exchange and delivery with one decision" and choose a base grade of wheat.

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