NFU President Looks Back on 2012

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2012 proved to be another interesting year in the ag sector.

Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union, says as farmers look back on the past year, many are mourning the loss of the Canadian Wheat Board's single-desk monopoly on grain sales.

"We see that right now, there is virtually no difference in the price of feed wheat versus high-quality, high-protein wheats, and we see in the future that one of the sales' 'aces in the hole' that Canada had, quality wheat, is likely to evaporate as farmers conclude, 'why should they bother growing high-protein, high-quality wheat when the feed wheat spread is so small?'" he said.

Boehm says another key issue for producers is the concentration in the grain sector, and changes to the Canadian Grain Commission, seeing the changes as being a fundamental dismantling of the institutional systems put in place to balance the power between farmers, the railways and big grain companies."

He adds producers had their share of challenges with high feed costs in the hog sector and the unexpected shutdown of XL Foods, but there were some bright spots.

"Farmers are seeing decent returns for those that were able to produce a reasonably average or slightly above average crop, and we had the weather smile on us for harvest, so we were able to get the crop off in good quality," Boehm added.

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