Critics of the Canadian Wheat Board have recently circulated a simplistic comparison between its administrative costs in 1997-98 and 2008-09. Not only do these comparisons ignore the impact of inflation, they fail to recognize all the new initiatives, programs and processes that have been instituted over the past 12 years.
Since the CWB’s board of directors (including elected farmers) assumed control in 1998, the CWB has been radically transformed. Instead of offering only price pooling and series delivery contracts, directors immediately asked that a range of flexible pricing, payment and delivery programs be instituted in response to farmers’ needs.
It is therefore ironic that the people who attack administrative expense increases are often the same individuals who profess a desire for a modern, responsive and flexible CWB structure. Change is not free, but it is necessary for any responsive and responsible corporation and – in the long run – costs much less than doing nothing.
It’s easy enough to grab a calculator, compare numbers and assume the worst, particularly if it matches your political agenda. As business people ourselves, Prairie farmers realize it’s never that simple.
Shoal Lake, MB