Flax is no longer listed on an exchange, so price discovery can be a challenge. A new service aims to fill the information void.

Flax growers can get free flax market information — something that can be hard to find — online at www.saskflax.com.

Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission (SaskFlax) announced the new “market support program” at its annual conference in Saskatoon earlier this month. Enter the website, and click “Marketing” at the bottom left.

The service is free, and for now, anyone can use the pilot program. Linda Braun, executive director of SaskFlax, says that depending on how the first year goes the service may become passcoded. In that case, only registered flax producers can sign on. Registered flax producers are anyone who sold flax in the past two years.

“This program will enable farmers to make informed, timely decisions in their cropping and marketing of flax,” says Braun. Larry Weber of Weber Commodities will post a series of detailed reports about supply, demand and world flax markets. His presentation from the conference is the first posting.

Weber calls flax “one of the most exciting commodities I can think of,” with its upside in food, fibre and animal feed markets. “The potential of this crop is limitless — there’s the flaxseed, the oil, the fibre and the vast number of products that can be made from it,” Weber says. “But how do you market the stuff? That’s what this program will provide.” SaskFlax has a focus group of 10 farmers who will check the site and provide regular feedback on the content and how useful it is. “They will help build the site,” Braun says. If the focus group determines after February 2010 that the site works and that it should continue, then SaskFlax will look at passcodes to limit access. While SaskFlax serves only Saskatchewan growers, Braun says the Manitoba flax growers association could contribute and therefore gain access for its members.

Jay Whetter is the editor of Grainews.

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