LETTERS – for Aug. 15, 2011

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Re: “CWB demise means big changes to grain-marketing landscape,” July 4. On behalf of the steering committee for an all-wheat commission in Alberta, we would like to clarify a comment that our commission would be created in response to anticipated changes to the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). Members of the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission (AWWPC) first discussed the notion of an all-wheat commission in 2008, long before current plans for the CWB took shape.

While a number of groups and individuals across the Prairies are examining what role they can and may have in a changed marketing system for grain, ours is not one of them.

The all-wheat commission stems from a desire to better represent the interests of Alberta wheat producers, the vast majority of whom are not represented by a provincial agricultural producer group.

The AWWPC then conducted research that found considerable producer support and interest for such an organization. Since the steering committee was formed late in 2010, our priority has been to create an organization focused on:

“Providing leadership that fosters innovation and improves the demand, competitiveness and profitability of Alberta-produced wheat. The commission would also contribute to policy development and advocacy initiatives that strengthen capacity and encourage investment in the wheat industry.”

During intensive and extensive discussions about the purpose of the all-wheat commission, we have not once expressed any desire or intention to take on any of the marketing activities currently conducted by the CWB. In fact, our organization would operate in much the same way and under the same provincial legislation governing the Alberta Canola Commission, the Alberta Barley Commission, the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission and some 20 other producer-run organizations in Alberta. Like those organizations, our primary focus will be research.

We would also like to mention that the all-wheat commission is currently in the planning stages; the provincial government needs to approve the commission before it can be formed, tentatively by Aug. 1, 2012.

AlbertaAll-WheatCommissionSteeringCommitteeLynnJacobson,co-chairKentErickson,co-chairLethbridge

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