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Published February 11, 2011, 01:32 PM

Barley growers oppose Canadian Wheat Board buying ships for Great Lakes

WARNER, Alta. — The Western Barley Growers Association says it strongly condemns the Canadian Wheat Board’s purchase of two new ships.

WARNER, Alta. — The Western Barley Growers Association says it strongly condemns the Canadian Wheat Board’s purchase of two new ships.

The wheat board said Tuesday it is spending $65 million on the boats to ferry Canadian grain across the Great Lakes.

Barley growers’ president Brian Ottawa says western Canadian producers were not consulted.

He says that it’s outside of the wheat board’s mandate, which is to market grain.

The wheat board has said the ships will help move grain more effectively.

It also predicts the move will make $10 million per year for prairie farmers.

“Decisions of this magnitude and direction require consultations with farmers,” said Otto. “The CWB board insults western Canadian farmers with this cavalier approach.”

He said the possibility of the wheat board making infrastructure investments with farmers’ money was not presented as an issue in the election of directors, even though three incumbents would have known of the plans.

“We understand that while a deal of this nature is being negotiated, details cannot be made public,” Otto said.

“But the concept of investing farmers’ money in infrastructure could have been discussed openly without violating confidentiality.”

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