Friday October 24, 2014

Town and Country Women discuss agricultural issues


The Town and Country Women had an agriculture-themed program during their Apr. 14 meeting, which was held at the home of Clara Bell with eight members in attendance.
The club women’s creed was repeated to open the meeting, followed by the thought of the day — “Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty, if only we have the eyes to see them,” a quote by John Ruskin.

Roll call was an exchange of plants or something pertaining to plants and gardening. The members brought forth a display of potted and blooming plants and ornaments with which to deorate plants or a garden. Each of the members contributed and likewise took home something useful for her indoor plants or garden.

President Clara Bell chaired the meeting. The minutes of the March meeting were read by the secretary, Kathryn Groshong, and treasurer Edith Jacobs gave the financial report. The club congratulated their member, Margaret Lukey, for winning the Weyburn Quota International M. Isabelle Butters Community Service Award for volunteerism in the recent Women of the Year awards. The club also congratulated Jacobs for having recently turned 90 years old.

Ruth Prost is researching ideas for the summer outing. She told the group about entertainment functions that take place in Forget, which members found interesting. She will bring more information to the next meeting.

Groshong, also the agriculture convenor, gave a talk on the “Crisis in Grain Marketing” and the impact it is having on farm grain prices. She used articles from the farm paper, “The Western Producer”, for research.

She told the club how there is billions of dollars at stake because the inability to export this record crop is having a profound impact on farm grain prices across the prairies. West coast number one wheat prices are close to $11 per bushel and cash prices in Saskatchewan are at $5.25 per bushel. Farmers are currently paying $160 per tonne beyond normal freight and hauling costs to export thier crop. This is costing famrers $100 to $200 per acre in foregone revenue and several billion dollars in total. At the same time, these margins have substantitally increased the bottom line of grain companies and processors.

“The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and the Canadian Wheat Board were organized because the grain companies were doing the same thing back in the 30s and 40s,” said Groshong.

The removal of the Canadian Wheat Board, who were respected worldwide for their orderly marketing system of grain, has caused a grain marketing crisis of $5-8 billion in lost revenue.

Groshong reminded club members that in the game Monopoly, the winner was usually the player who owned the railways and pointed out that many of the long trains travelling through Weyburn recently have very few grain cars compared to oil cars. Shipping oil is more lucrative for the rail companies.

She also told the club that she hopes more grain cars will come to Weyburn and area soon to haul out the large crop from last year, which many farmers have been storing in bins and bags. She suggested the farmers could use some help with the costs of storage.

Groshong described how the government of the United States has had a program in effect for over 50 years to reimburse farmers for on-farm and off-farm storage of their grain because it is seen as a national commodity and suggested a similar program be instituted in Canada.

Lunch was served after the meeting by hostess Clara Bell.


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