Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CWB rejects FNA overture

The Canadian Wheat Board has rejected purchase plans by Farmers of North America.

The farmer-owned co-operative had earlier asked the federal government for six to eight weeks more time to gather its forces to make a bid.

But in a telephone call to Farmers of North America, based in Saskatoon, the management of the Canadian Wheat Board, based in Winnipeg, said the farmers are out of the running.

Several global grain-trading companies, such as Louis Dreyfus, are said to be close to making bids for the board.

It is owned by the federal government and used to have a monopoly on exporting Prairie-grown wheat and barley.

The Harper government stripped that monopoly power and announced its intention to privatize the board.

Since then the Canadian Wheat Board has purchased some grain elevators and announced plans to build more.

Farmers of North America asked farmers to make an “expression of interest” in buying the board by pledging investments in $1,000-tranches.

Bob Friesen, president of FNA, said about $50 million has been gathered so far. He said FNA will continue with its plan, called AgraCity, to invest in grain handling and marketing and in fertilizer production and marketing.

It has another venture underway to build a major nitrogen-producing facility.