Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wisdom of the elders, CWB edition.

Farmers who were born out of the Depression-era have a long perspective on farming issues. A couple of my interviewees who are in their 70s weighed in on the Canadian Wheat Board. A historical perspective:

"The first generation struggled to get it established. The second generation fully understood why it was so. The third generation got the most benefit out of it. The fourth generation have no idea what the background is and don't make any effort even to try to find out or care or what. And it seems to be something in the human psyche that – are they going to have to learn all over again?"

And a comment on ideology:

"It's true, if we don't have a Wheat Board you get your freedom, but then the other people that support the Wheat Board don't have the freedom of having the benefits of a single desk that works... But the farmers think that they're going to be able to load up their trucks and take it across the border and get the premium price. But when you get down there you're going to find out that all the grain companies up here have got farmers' grain that they bought, they're down there selling too – and often times to mills that grain companies like Cargill up here own, they own the mills down there, so who do you think they're going to get it from? And the only way you can sell it to their mill is if you undersell what they're buying it from from the farmers up here. Why should they pay you more for what they can buy from the stupid farmer who sells it off-Board here? And that's the argument. They say, 'well, yeah, but I want my freedom I guess.'"

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