Prairie farmers could still see an increase to their Canadian Wheat Board initial payments by the end of November.

With the significant rise in markets in late summer and early fall, on October 4th, the CWB announced it had applied for a 50 to 70 dollar per tonne increase to initial payments for wheat and barley.

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz placed blame on the CWB for delaying the increase to initial payments.

"The Wheat Board did apply for an increase to the initial prices. We have looked at that. The first application was done improperly, so a good portion of the blame for the delay goes right back to the Wheat Board itself," said Ritz, in response to questioning from Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin. Martin was alleging the government was "withholding initial payments to producers as a cheap and irresponsible way to interfere with the election of Wheat Board directors."

"It's my understanding that the Canadian Wheat Board submitted an adjustment request in the first week of September," says David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary for the CWB. "Then for whatever reason they withdrew that request and they re-submitted that request on September 30th."

"Those requests typically take about 6 to 8 weeks to go through the approval process. This one is in the middle of that process and there is no delay on the government side," says Anderson.

He says that means adjusted initial payments could be going to farmers' pockets by the end of the month.

Anderson points out the Conservatives have introduced legislation to the House which would shorten the approval process for CWB payment adjustments. Bill C-27 was introduced in May. Anderson says it would cut out a portion of the Treasury Board approval process, meaning the entire approval process might only take 4 weeks.

~ Thursday, November 4, 2010 ~