GFM Network News


As a producer, are you getting enough feedback from the consumers of your grains? If not, you need to ask why.

Time to take control

When it comes to the future of Canada’s grains sector, no one is steering the ship. We can’t let that continue

In September, I challenged farmers to think about how Canada’s agricultural production should be branded. I questioned how consumers and foreign buyers view the commodities we produce. And most importantly, I wanted every farmer to ask themselves if production practices they use add or diminish that brand. That column upset some farmers. Readers felt my […] Read more

Whether you were for it or against, a proper study has never done to measure the impact of the end of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Why don’t we know?

Whether you were in favour of changing the CWB or against it, isn’t it time we get clear, unbiased answers about what the impact has been?

Ask any western grain farmer what is significant about August 1, 2012, and most will tell you it was the day the federal government eliminated the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly on the sale and export of wheat and barley from Western Canada. Some farmers will refer to it as the “grain marketing freedom day.” Others […] Read more


CWB class action suit takes step forward

A proposed class action lawsuit against the federal government and G3, alleging farmers’ money helped privatize the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), is another step closer, says Anders Bruun, one of the lawyers working on the suit. In a written ruling released Monday, Master Shayne Berthaudin of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench ruled against the […] Read more

The falling number test requires laboratory-like conditions, and is usually only done at selected central locations when there is a general concern about sprout damage.

Better than meets the eye?

Canada’s quality-control system still has a lot of support, but some are calling for grades to be determined by machines, not the human eye

Is that No. 2 CWRS just as good for milling and baking as a No. 1? Or does that No. 1 CWRS have some quality damage that can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it no better than a No. 2? The answer could be yes in both cases, sometimes, in cases that might […] Read more


Great railroading and sound business: general manager Travis Long and Kevin Friesen, a farmer owner, plan BTRC’s next step.

The little railway that did

These Manitoba farmers show how much can be achieved with superior leadership skills

Remember The Little Engine that Could? It’s a story about optimism, hard work and determination, which pretty much sums up the story of the Boundary Trail Railway Company (BTRC), a producer-owned, short-line railway in southern Manitoba. In 2008, a group of Manitoba farmers, with no clue how to run a railway, signed a piece of […] Read more

When the wheat board monopoly ended, so did clearance associations reporting how much grain was being loaded to which vessels arriving or waiting at the West Coast and Thunder Bay.

Open market, but not-so-open information

Five years post-CWB, farmers are still waiting for information that puts them on a more even position with the companies buying their grain

The characters in the play “Waiting for Godot” and Prairie grain market transparency apparently have something in common — waiting for something that never arrives. It’s been five years since the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, when one of the goals was to expose Prairie wheat and barley growers to the mechanisms of […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Even in the East, it’s good the West won

Five years after Ottawa put the last spike in the Canadian Wheat Board, farmers are showing they’re more than sharp enough to do their own marketing

Of course the optics might have been much different. If commodity prices had sunk far below the average cost of production, the West’s cartoonists would have had a field day calling for Ottawa to throw a life ring to farmers who had lost their pool. Even so, as Country Guide field editor Lisa Guenther reports […] Read more

After the CWB

Whether you farm in the West or East, looking at how Prairie farmers are managing their sales after five years on their own will make you a better marketer

Maybe you mourned its demise, or maybe you danced on its grave. Either way, five years after the federal government put the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk six feet under, it’s clear there will be no resurrection. How have farmers adapted to marketing wheat without the single desk? Where are they excelling, and where not? […] Read more



Durum is a type of wheat, but its prices can move much differently than for its bread wheat cousin.

Durum marketing 101

Durum is grown in a few distinct regions of the world, and problems in just one can mean a sharp change in prices

If you’re selling bread wheat — Triticum aestivum — there’s a new price signal literally every second as it’s traded on futures markets. If you’re selling its cousin T. durum, finding a fair value is another matter. There’s no viable futures market for durum wheat, and there can be days or even weeks between trades […] Read more