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CWB FACTS

Federal Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl has appointed a committee to study ways to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on wheat and barley exports. Some facts:...

Federal Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl has appointed a committee to study ways to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on wheat and barley exports. Some facts:

-- The board is governed by the Canadian Wheat Board Act. The act was amended in 1998 so that the board no longer is a Crown corporation but an agency governed by 10 elected farmers and four members appointed by the federal government.

-- It is the sole marketing agency for more than 85,000 farmers in western Canada who grow wheat and barley for export or for human consumption in Canada.

-- The board has about 20 percent of the world's market share in wheat, 65 percent in durum wheat, 30 percent in malting barley and 15 percent in feed barley.

-- The federal Conservatives campaigned on a promise to give western Canadian farmers the freedom to make their own marketing and transportation decisions. Participation in the board would become voluntary.

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-- The board opted not to participate in the committee, leaving six of the seven seats to groups that support the government's plan. They are the Western Canadian Grain Growers Association, the Alberta Grain Commission, JRG Consulting Group, Weyburn Inland Terminal, GrainVision and Windrow Consulting Ltd. Howard Migie of Agriculture Canada is the chairman.

-- The committee will look at issues such as risk management, market development and research and how to deal with old export credit receivables.

-- The committee is expected to finish its report by late October.

- Sources: The Canadian Wheat Board, Canadian Press

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