Australia’s Experience in Having Wheat Marketing Choice – Geoff Honey

Farmers in Western Canada will be going through a big change come August. The end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk will open up a whole new landscape to producers. It’s a landscape that some farmers are unsure about and other farmers are excited for. For those who land on the unsure side of the fence, it’s important to have some idea how this change will play out for them. While there is no certain way of knowing until things actually start to happen, we can look to similar situations for some ideas.

One of those similar situations was the end of the single desk monopoly in Australia. Geoff Honey was there when the Australian government ended the AWB single desk system. Geoff is with Grain Trade Australia and was at Cropwwek 2012 to talk about the similarities of the two situations as well as the differences and talked about the current state of the wheat marketing system in Australia following the transition to an open market. I spoke to him at Cropweek 2012 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

SEE MORE CROPWEEK 2012 COVERAGE.

If you cannot see the embedded video below click here.

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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6 Comments

Jock Munro

Rest assured Canadian Farmers:deregulation of wheat exports in Australia is an issue with many growers openly saying that they will reduce production because of the low prices and the unmanageable risk and volatility.
The Australian wheat industry has been turned into a trader’s picnic.
Growers have lost billions in terms of reduced prices and increases in logistics charges.
We are also losing our reputation as amarketer of quality wheat.
Mr Honey represents the traders-you would not expect him to say anything but good things for deregulation.

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Jock Munro.Australian Wheat grower.

Mr Honey speaks of the Iraq Oil for Food Inquiry and the damage to Australia’s reputation.
Let me tell you-Australia’s reputation did not suffer-the whole thing in our country was a beat up.
Cargill now own the former grower company and manager of the single desk ie AWB and they are now openly promoting the brand AWB which was built up over 60 years by Australia’s wheat growers.This is very humiliating for Ausralia’s growers and a blight on our Nation.
Mr Honey was also misleading on the politics surrounding the loss of the single desk.
The conservative coillition of Liberal and Nationals(a rural based party) would never have deregulated the industry.The Nationals would never have allowed it to happen-it would have broken the coillition-something that the Liberals could ill afford.
The coillition went to a Federal election supporting the single desk.The Labor Party won the election and deregulated wheat exports.The Liberal Party supported the Labor Party and to their eternal shame crossed the floor of Parliament.(google Youtube Liberal Wheat treachery).
The Labor Party were driven by a desire to split the Liberal and National coillition.Labor a socialist party had always supported the single desk and had in fact introduced the single desk as we knew it in 1947.The Act was known as The Wheat Stabilisation Act.
Australia has now ceded control of its wheat industry and placed it in the hands of traders such as Cargill and Viterra.
Our Rural sector and the Nation as a whole will pay a huge price for this act of stupidity and treachery.

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Rod Guest

Obviously Mr Honey didn’t ask Australian farmers their opinion. Most farmers I speak to are very unhappy with what is happening. The goverment totatly ignored 3 polls and the farmers wishes. Our company ( AWB ) was stolen from us and is now owned by Cargill. This harvest ASW wheat is $140 t. What are you getting? This was all about free trade B.S.

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mark dwyer

Mr Honey seems to have a short memory saying that AWB had no international networks, but he’s paid for his ability to spin. The only time there was evidence of the heavy hand of Government was when AWB was corporatised and forced to list as a public company…which immediately set up a conflict between grower shareholders and institutional shareholders. The Bipartisan support for the removal of our Single desk was entirely a case of wedge politics played out by the major political parties here in Oz, mainly an attempt to divide the Conservative Government in the run up to the 2007 Federal election.
The only thing Mr Honey says that is half right is that the increased acreage here has little to do with our new marketing arrangements. The big thing has been the shift to zero tillage and continuous cropping regimes with no livestock. What we’re struggling with is the logistical nightmare of trying to cope with multiple exporters reducing the through put of our limited and mostly antiquated port and rail networks. There has been a takeover of the existing upcountry handling facilities with very little real investment in infrastructure by the new players, that has been left to us.

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Martin Honner

How unfortunate the Canadians would rely on the word of Australian politicians or the traders to help make up their mind about scrapping an orderly marketing system because from here on in they will find the traders care about one thing- and we are pretty sure it isn’t farmers…Good Luck

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Ken

The scheming and manipulation by the grain trade to take the AWB Company away from farmer’s in Oz has been a disaster for farmers, this harvest we have received some of the LOWEST REAL FARM GATE PRICES IN HISTORY as a result of the gouging and price manipulation by the trade that we are now subjected too.
The changes that we have been subjected to by the thieves and robbers from the trade and politicians who have been conned or “on the take” has been a travesty for the future of grain production in Australia

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