POLITICS

Canadian Wheat Board prepares to market canola

08/24/2012 01:24 EDT | Updated 10/23/2012 05:12 EDT
For the first time in 63 years, the Canadian Wheat Board is preparing to market canola.

This is the first time the board has added a new crop.

Earlier this year the wheat board lost its monopoly to market western wheat and barley and is now expanding its business in new directions.

Frank Groeneweg, with the Canadian Canola Growers Association, told CBC News it was a good move.

"They have customers for wheat, barley and durum for years.. .now they'll be able to supply them with canola...so it gives them an advantage that way," he said.

Groeneweg said it is still uncertain if the wheat board can survive such a major change to its business.

Bill Gehl was a wheat board supporter when it was still a monopoly, but now he said the organization is just another company in the mix.

"The wheat board really is just another grain company now," said Gehl. "Really, they're a grain company without facilities.

What they do have is a pile of farmers' money right now...with the contingency fund. They've got some rail cars and they've got some buildings and excellent staff."

Gehl pointed to what is known as the "pool system," which he said is another advantage of the board.

The pool system is a program that pays farmers the average price for their crops over a period of time, to even out bad and good crop years.