Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission launched a pilot project called the “Market Support Program” in January 2009. It helps Saskatchewan flax producers make informed, timely decisions in the marketing and cropping of flax by providing up-to-date market data and opinions on the SaskFlax website. Already posted are four key reports, seven audio podcasts, and seven monthly summaries with data on supply, demand, and world markets. Weber Commodities of Saskatoon has partnered with SaskFlax to provide market information and outlooks.
Monthly reports consist of two main components: a commentary on the major factors affecting flax markets in the short future and a snapshot of the prices offered at four representative buyers within the last month. “Podcasts” are audio interviews with flax buyers, financial analysts, weather experts, and others with insights on market factors. Key reports provide more in-depth information, like how to use the S/U ratio, weather outlooks for the world’s top five flax-producing countries, and the effect of external factors such as the Baltic Dry Index.
A 14-member focus group of Saskatchewan producers and industry representatives have provided feedback on the project over the past year. Reviews have been positive, pointing out that this program offers flax-specific information that simply is not available anywhere else. Comments indicate that the data is “empowering for farmers” and “is what we need to keep our industry growing.”
Financed through grower checkoff dollars and ACAAF funding, the one-year pilot project is due to end in February 2010, but SaskFlax is already investigating ways of expanding and continuing the program into the future.
Anyone can access the SaskFlax Market Support Program by going to the “Marketing” section at www.saskflax.com. Also, users can sign up online to be notified whenever new reports are posted.
Would you like to submit a short report about an exciting project your organization is funding with checkoff dollars? Please contact the editor, Jay Whetter. See page 2 for his phone number and email address.