Today marks one year since the CWB was stripped of its monopoly. This climax of, oh, 40 years (or more?) of bickering between those for and against the monopoly was a great day for many, but also rather anti-climatic. As RealAgriculture.com shared then, August 1, 2012 dawned with no earthquakes, riots in the streets or collapse of wheat prices.
Looking back on the year that has been, pro-monopoly folks had the deck stacked against them — high grain prices over the last year made even the poorest crop marketer look like a skilled grain trader. Beyond simple profitability, though, the 2012/13 crop marketing year has gone rather smoothly, as many will attest. Grain was sold, contracts were signed and, as more than one farmer pointed out on Twitter, bins were emptied on farmer’s own timelines, and are ready and waiting for 2013’s crop. Farmers shared that the cash flow management issues of waiting for final payments was not missed. Others believe they’ve simply kept more of their own money and are rather pleased with that. From where I sit, I’ve heard very few complaints about the open market.
Now, that’s not to say there haven’t been changes and that there aren’t still adjustments and challenges ahead as the west settles in to this new reality. Even the pro-open market farmers realize there are some market and industry voids that the CWB as the great and powerful Oz filled that now need some serious attention. The cropping up of provincial wheat and barley commissions has happened relatively quickly, though not all believe provincial commissions are the way to go. The wheat and barley industry is in a major state of flux in terms of research, marketing and even politics. So while the move to farmers selling grain unencumbered by a single desk was smooth and quick, this shuffling of responsibilities is going to take years to work itself out.
How do you feel the first year has gone? What do you believe will be the biggest challenges for the wheat and barley industries moving forward? Share your thoughts in the comments below!