Canada not so “COOL” on wheat

Canada ‘un-COOL’ on US wheat

By Ron Suppes, Kansas Agland

via The Hutchinson News (KS) – Dec 1, 2015

This is not the first time another country such as Canada has taken advantage of the United States when it comes to international trade.

However, perhaps it is time to call them out. If Canada were made to comply, maybe other countries would take heed.

Last year at the Commodity Classic held in Phoenix, Arizona, Alan Tracy of U.S. Wheat Associates pointed out this very fact. Canada wants to be able to treat U.S. wheat going into Canada as feed wheat while Canadian wheat going into the U.S. should be classified as if the Canadian wheat was actually U.S. wheat. This results in Canadian wheat enjoying the same price as U.S. wheat while U.S. wheat going to Canada receives a large discount in the market as it is priced as feed wheat.

Canadians think exactly opposite pertaining to beef and COOL – country-of-origin labeling.

For about a year and a half, I have been involved with an International Trade Advisory Committee with the Kansas Department of Agriculture. An opportunity arose out of this committee allowing me to apply to be on an advisory committee on the national level with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. I currently represent all U.S. farmers of wheat, small grains and oilseeds with the USDA pertaining to international trade.

At my first in-person meeting in Washington with the Agricultural Policy/Technical Advisory Committee (or APAC), Neal Fisher, North Dakota Wheat Commission administrator, and I were afforded an opportunity to comment about trade deals from the U.S. farmer’s perspective. Our one comment to the committee was that the American farmer is confident in his ability to compete with any farmer from anywhere in the world as long as the playing field is level, and we as individual farmers do not have to compete against the governments of other countries.

Farmers are becoming frustrated with trade deals that seem to promise equality yet do not enforce fair trade.

Thus, we pointed out the inequities pertaining to wheat and the Canadians, as well as other unfair domestic supports from other countries such as China, India and Brazil that subsidize their wheat farmers by guaranteeing them a set price per bushel for their wheat.

Canada’s new minister of agriculture, Lawrence MacAulay, has stated he will no doubt support Canada in its retaliation against the U.S. to gain full repeal of COOL, and if the WTO does not impose action, Canada will do so through tariffs.

The hypocrisy pertaining to the Canadians is the fact they are satisfied to be able to treat wheat the way they do not want beef to be treated under COOL.

Ron Suppes farms in Lane and Scott counties and serves on a number of state and national boards, including the Kansas Wheat Commission. He was recently named by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to APAC’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds.

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