Thirteen Farmers Seek CWB Seats – for Oct. 25, 2010

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No candidate will sail through unopposed in any of the five districts up for contention in this fall’s Canadian Wheat Board director elections.

At least two candidates are up for election in each of Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, with four candidates seeking the District 3 seat alone.

Alberta Farmerhas offered each candidate for Alberta districts an opportunity to submit a 750-word summary of their platform. They will appear in the Nov. 9 issue.

Candidates for the CWB’s farmer-director seats in Alberta are:

District 1

(northwestern and northern Alberta, northeastern B. C.):

Dan Gauthierof Donnelly, Alta., a two-term member of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, through which he sat on the boards of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, Canola Council of Canada, and the Western Canadian Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee. “We need to keep our collective power in an industry that is becoming more and more concentrated,” Gauthier wrote in his profile.

Henry Vosof Fairview, Alta., the incumbent since 2006, a founding director of Canterra Seeds and formerly president of the Alberta branch of the Canadian Seed Growers Association, a public governor of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange and director and president of the Alberta Canola Producers Association. “As an organization (the CWB) must continue to change to reflect the needs of today’s farmers,” he said.

District 3

(southern Alberta, southwestern Saskatchewan):

Lynn Jacobsonof Enchant, Alta., a former delegate to Alberta Pool and Agricore, board member and current chairman with the Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission, and board member and current first vice-president of Wild Rose Agriculture Producers. “Without the presence of the CWB, the premiums associated with (its activities in transportation, market development and market access) would go to grain companies and not producers,” he wrote.

Brett Meinertof Shuanavon, Sask., founding chairman of the Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association and the Saskatchewan Mustard Growers Association, former chairman of the Inland Terminal Association of Canada and current vice-chairman of South West Terminal. “For powerful economic reasons the single-desk selling function of the (CWB) serves Canadian farmers well, which is why I support the board,” he wrote.

Brian Ottoof Warner, Alta., a former vice-chair of the Alberta Barley Commission, founding member of the Alberta Winter Wheat Association and Alberta Safflower Growers Association and current president of the Western Barley Growers Association. “Farmers want higher farm gate prices for their wheat and barley and I want to build a CWB that consistently demonstrates that it is getting them the best possible returns year after year,” he wrote. Stewart Wellsof Swift Current, Sask., a former delegate to Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, former adviser to the board of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute and former president of the National Farmers Union. “Steps need to be taken in order to stabilize the operations of the CWB and protect the CWB from political interference. The CWB is an effective marketer – and should not be used as a political football,” he wrote.

District 5

(northeastern Alberta, northern Saskatchewan):

Vicki Duttonof Paynton, Sask., director of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association, a founding committee member for the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and a member of the Canadian Grain Commission’s Western Grain Standards Committee. The CWB, she wrote, “requires leaders who are… not afraid to embrace new ways of doing business (and) have the determination and confidence to succeed in a competitive environment.”

Allen Obergof Forestburg, Alta., the incumbent since 2002 and CWB chairman since June, a former director of Alberta Pool and former chairman of the Western Grain Research Foundation. “With control of 20 million tonnes of grain in the world market, the CWB has the clout to take on the grain and rail companies when farmers’ rights are being threatened,” he wrote, adding he is “convinced that the single desk is fundamental to a strong and viable CWB.”

Voting procedure

Voting packages are to be mailed out to eligible voters starting Tuesday, Oct. 26. Packages will include voting instructions, candidates’ biographies and policy statements, a preferential ballot and an official postage-paid return envelope.

Eligible farmers who aren’t yet on the voters’ list, and those who need replacement ballots, must have their applications for ballots in by midnight Winnipeg time, Nov. 19.

Farmers’ completed preferential ballots must be postmarked on or before midnight Winnipeg time on Dec. 3 to be counted. Ballots will be counted and results announced (barring any need for a recount) the weekend of Dec. 11-12.

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