Changes are afoot for wheat growers in Canada, as well. The wheat-growing provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba have called on the Canadian federal government to hold a referendum on the Canadian Wheat Board. The referendum would allow growers to vote on the Board's single-desk marketing authority ... and whether farmers can choose where they market their grain.
Since 1943, western wheat farmers in Canada have been compelled by law to sell only through the board. According to Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert, "the supposed implementation of an open-market system would result in a serious financial loss for western Canadian grain producers of more than $500 million."
U.S. wheat growers long have held that heavily government subsidized wheat from Canada has depressed domestic wheat prices. In hopes of stemming the flood of cheaper Canadian wheat into the country, outraged U.S. producers have, at times, attempted to block shipments at the border.
Canadian critics of the move to an open market system denounced the plan this week as "unprecedented, unethical and undemocratic."