Quebec to wind down wheat pooling

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Quebec’s grain growers’ organization has officially halted any plans for wheat pooling in 2012-13, as per the results of a wheat growers’ referendum this spring.

The Federation des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Quebec (FPCCQ) said in a newsletter that its board of directors voted June 12 to call off plans for a 2012-13 pool.

However, the FPCCQ noted, any grower obligations to the pool for the 2011-12 marketing year still must be met as planned, up until growers receive their final payments for the year.

Most of the 2011 crop has already been sold, with “limited tonnages” still to be marketed, and final payments for the year are expected to be available early this fall, the FPCCQ said.

The FPCCQ board’s vote to shut down pooling beyond 2011-12 directly follows the June 6 release of results from a mail-in grower referendum held from May 14 to June 4, supervised by the provincial farm marketing board.

That vote, conducted from a list of 2,021 eligible voters who had delivered wheat at least once between March 30, 2005 and March 7, 2012, saw 953 votes cast against maintaining wheat pools, 191 in favour of the pools, 22 ballots rejected as improperly filled and 46 rejected for arriving too late.

The referendum stemmed from a resolution at the FPCCQ’s annual meeting in March last year. The resolution sought a new vote on the sales agency program for food-grade wheat — a program run by the federation since 2005.

That resolution cited the high cost of operating the sales pool, relative to the small volumes it handles. It also cited “dissatisfaction” of a significant number of producers with the program and its wheat quality requirements.

The resolution also alleged a large number of Quebec grain growers have been bailing out of wheat production, adding that the pooling program had been intended to revive wheat production in Quebec in the first place.

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