Recent History – 1998
Oct. 30, 1998 By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The question of dual marketing became a contentious issue when an all-candidates meeting for the district one seat in the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) board of directors elections was held at Farmington Hall on Wednesday.
When asked by Allen Watson to define the concept, Art Macklin said dual marketing, in which farmers would be able to opt out of price pooling in favour of cash pricing, is impossible because it would destroy the CWB monopoly.
“If the wheat board doesn’t have a monopoly, it’s just another grain trading company, but it’s one that doesn’t have any facilities,” Macklin said.
“It would have to count on its competitors and I don’t know of anybody in business who say they can compete against people who have the trucks and have the handling the system and think they’re going to be able to succeed.
“Quite frankly, without the monopoly, the wheat board is nothing. There is no such thing as dual marketing that can work.”
But Tom Jackson pointed to the Alberta Bean Pool as an example of a dual marketing system that works. “True dual marketing is working in Southern Alberta as we speak,” he said.
Albert Wagner also favoured dual marketing. “It gives you the knowledge that the price you are achieving is what the market will deliver,” he said.
Wagner later said that farmers should be given only so much freedom when it comes to opting in and out of price pooling.
“Once you’ve made that commitment, by signing a contract, you are committed to that,” he said.
But Macklin said not everyone will benefit from dual marketing.
“The cash pricing option is not going to add any revenue to the total pie,” he said. “It’s just a redistribution of that meaning that some people will just take more than others.”
Macklin proposed earlier final payments and allowing at-cost loan against the final payment.
Jackson, meanwhile, says tools like deferred delivery and cash pricing will discipline the CWB.
“Give away sales will instantly be obvious to all that monitor the CWB prices,” he says in his campaign literature.
Macklin, who sat on the CWB advisory council for 12 years, said he found the staff at the board to be competent. “The staff knows we’re paying their wages,” he said.
Some 19 area grain producers attended the meeting. Voting packages have been mailed out to CWB members who must have them postmarked no later than November 20.