Author: 800 CHAB News / CWB

 A pilot program for marketing organic Prairie wheat will be conducted during the 2006-07 crop year as a partnership between the CWB and the Canadian Organic Certification Cooperative (COCC).

"Many organic producers are interested in marketing their grain for a pooled return that includes an organic premium," said Ken Ritter, chair of the CWB's farmer-controlled board of directors. "They can also leverage the CWB's excellent international reputation for high-quality wheat and its network of marketing contacts."

COCC secretary Bill Rosher said many organic wheat growers are looking for improvements in how their organic grain is marketed. He said his group had actively pursued the creation of this program and is devoting resources to ensure its successful execution.

"Not only does this approach give us some risk-management benefits, it allows us to work cooperatively for our mutual benefit," he said, adding the COCC has decided to move away from organic certification to focus on marketing.

Under the trial program, participating farmers will be offered the opportunity to market through the CWB for a pooled return and organic premiums.

At present, growers who want to sell organic grain either market on their own under the CWB's Producer Direct Sale process or sell to CWB accredited exporters that negotiate organic premiums with individual growers.

This fall, the CWB will offer an organic delivery contract for high-quality milling wheat (Nos 1 and 2 CWRS with high protein levels, to be determined once the harvest grade pattern is evident). Producers will be paid the conventional initial payment upon delivery, plus an initial organic premium. Producers would receive conventional adjustment, interim and final payments, with the remaining organic premium paid out at the close of the pool year. The CWB will also consider programs for lower grades of wheat, depending on crop conditions and market opportunities.

Each partner plays an important role in the pilot program. While the CWB markets the organic wheat and administers the program, the COCC will conduct contract sign-up, organize sampling and coordinate delivery.