Sask Wheat calls for grain transportation, handling to be federal election issue
With the most recent report estimating producer revenue losses caused by grain export capacity constraints to be $5-6.7 billion for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 crop years, producer organizations such as the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) are reminding the agriculture industry to keep transportation issues top of mind this election season.
“This is a big issue for producers, and for the west in general,” says Sask Wheat Board Chair Bill Gehl. “Make sure your candidates in the federal election are aware of the importance of having adequate transportation and handling capacity that works for producers.”
The report in question, produced by University of Saskatchewan ag economist Dr. Richard Gray, calculated the complete shipment and price data for the previous two crop years in order to outline the unique impact on farm returns. The estimated revenue losses of between $5-6.7 billion were incurred by producers over the previous two crop years as a direct result of elevated export basis levels, which were primarily driven by the lack of adequate grain handling and transportation capacity relative to the large 2013 crop levels.
“This report reflects a tremendous loss to producer income, a loss to the western economies, and a loss to our local business,” Gehl says. “Producers need to be directly involved in planning the future of grain handling and transportation capacity to make sure we aren’t hit with these losses again.”
Late last year, Sask Wheat joined with the Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission, and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers to submit recommendations to the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review Panel regarding planning for railway and grain handling capacity in order to facilitate growth of the Western Canadian economy. The CTA review is scheduled to be completed in December.
For more information, contact:
Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission