Alta. canola growers keep distance from CWB idea

Alberta’s canola grower group has moved to distance itself from a proposal to gauge grower interest in voluntary marketing of pooled canola through the Canadian Wheat Board.

Following an announcement from the Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA), which took out full-page ads in two farm papers seeking grower input, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission (ACPC) last week stressed that it “supports the marketing of canola by farmers in an open market.”

The MCGA said on its website earlier this month that it already approached the CWB to explore the feasibility of helping growers market canola through a voluntary program.

Representatives of the Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta canola growers’ bodies had met with CWB officials in Winnipeg in mid-November, the MCGA previously said on its site.

The ACPC, however, said in a release last week that the discussion in mid-November “was essentially the MCGA informing the other groups what it was doing” and that part of the statement on the MCGA site “has since been removed.”

“The ACPC board appreciated being invited and attended only for the purpose of being informed of the MCGA initiative,” ACPC general manager Ward Toma said in the Alberta group’s release.

“This is something MCGA is doing by itself; the ACPC has not worked with them on it and no Alberta canola producer levy money is being spent on it,” he said.

The ACPC said it “supports the marketing of canola by farmers in an open market as it always has been done, and advocates within the grains and oilseeds industry and to government that it remains that way.”

The MCGA’s grower survey, available online, is meant to gauge interest only in the idea of marketing canola through the CWB “on a voluntary basis,” MCGA vice-president Ed Rempel said at the time.

To make such an open marketing project viable, the MCGA said a “minimum firm commitment” of 200,000 tonnes of canola from across the Prairies would be needed.

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