SaskWheat looking forward to meeting with new Chief Commissioner of CGC

The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission welcomes the appointment of David Hunt as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).

Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lawrence MacAulay announced the appointment on Tuesday.

“I would like to congratulate David Hunt on his appointment as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission. The CGC plays a vitally important role in supporting the interests of Canada’s hard-working grain producers, and I have no doubt that Mr. Hunt’s leadership experience and commitment to a competitive, innovative, and resilient agriculture sector will ensure Canada continues to be recognized as a leading producer, processor, and exporter of high-quality grain.” said MacAulay in a news release.

Chair of SaskWheat Jake Leguee says their relationship with the Grain Commission is an important one.

“Now we can start building that relationship and beginning to work with our new Chief Commissioner to ensure the Canadian Grain Commission continues to live up to their mandate of working in the interest of grain producers.” Leguee said.

According to the federal government, the CGC is responsible for, among other things, “deliver grain quality and quantity assurance programs for exports of Canadian grain”; “carry out scientific research to understand all aspects of grain quality and grain safety”; “establish and maintain Canada’s science-based grain grading system”; and “ensure farmers receive fair compensation for their grain”.

Hunt’s first day of a four-year term is May 13 and Leguee hopes to have a meeting with him soon.

“We’ll do what we can to try and arrange an opportunity to meet with him but he’ll have a very busy schedule too,” Leguee said. 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada notes the appointment of Hunt “is the result of an open, transparent and merit-based selection process.”

Competition Bureau’s report on proposed Bunge-Viterra merger

Leguee also shared his thoughts on the Competition Bureau having concerns with the Bunge-Viterra merger, mainly the reduction of competition. He noted SaskWheat did its own report on the possible impact the merger would have on grain farmers in Western Canada. They came to the same conclusion that it would reduce competition.

“It would impact competition both at local point of delivery for a few locations where there is a Bunge – but they also have a significant interest in G3 which has a lot of locations. There would be an impact at the Port of Vancouver where G3 has quite a nice, new facility, so it would make for a very large grain company that would have an awful lot of power over the markets, so we have a lot of concerns about it. We were pleased to see the (Competition Bureau) report recommended against allowing the merger without at least some divestitures or anything like that. At this point, it’s up to the federal government to make that decision; the report that was put together by the Competition Bureau is only advice.”

Leguee went on to say SaskWheat will be writing a letter to the federal cabinet, urging them to not allow this deal to go through without some substantial modifications to how the new company would eventually look.

Once the process is complete, the merger would increase the value of the new company to approximately $34-billion, including debt. Analysts have said Canada is one of the countries in which both companies’ assets had the most overlap.

The Competition Bureau said Canada will ask the companies to address any overlapping concerns related to competition and transportation. Such remedies often involve selling assets to third-parties in sensitive markets. 

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