The Federal Government has introduced Bill C-18 to end the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) single desk effective August 1, 2012. The implications of this change for the grain marketing handling and transportation system are widespread if this legislation passes. Business arrangements and policies will need to be modified to accommodate the changes, to mitigate potential adverse impacts and to take advantage of opportunities created by the change.

The Purpose

The purpose of this conference was to lay out key issues that farmers, agribusiness firms and government will face in the grain marketing, handling and transportation system that will emerge after the passage of Bill C-18. With the changes that are underway in the grain's industry, the status quo will not be viable. All the participants in the grain system will have to respond and adapt. This conference examined the areas most likely to see change and provides specific suggestions on how industry participants can respond.

Conference Layout

The conference was divided into eight sessions – four each day. In each session there was a lead speaker, followed by industry discussant(s) and a general forum for input, discussion and debate, to address one of the key questions outlined below. The conference included an open forum on the evening of the first day at which participants could discuss and debate additional issues beyond the eight chosen by the conference planners.

Conference Hosts

U of S PBE



Conference Organization, Advertising, Registration and Related Issues

Handled by the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy in conjunction with the conference planning committee

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PDF Agenda (PDF format)

Presentation slides (PDF format) are now posted. Scroll down the agenda and click on the presenter's name or the PDF icon beside their name to view their presentation slides.

Each presentation was also video recorded. To view the recorded presentations, click here.

Day 1 - Sunday, December 11
7:00-10:00 PM Registration (Wine & Cheese, Cash bar)
Hotel Courtyard

All registrants receive a continental breakfast, lunch and two refreshment breaks for December 12 & 13 as part of their registration.

Day 2 - Monday, December 12
7:30-8:30 AM

Continental Breakfast (Conference Room B)

8:45 AM

Welcome & Opening Remarks
Gary Storey, University of Saskatchewan
Mary Buhr, Dean, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan

9:00 - 10:15 AM

Session 1: How would a voluntary CWB operate?

  • What are the requirements for a successful voluntary CWB?
  • Can the CWB meet these requirements? What is the experience with voluntary pooling in the grains sector in North America?
  • What marketing options would a voluntary CWB create? What functions will it perform? Is there a role for policy?

Chair: Gary Storey

Emap Lead speaker: Murray Fulton, University of Saskatchewan
(PDF File Size:225 KB)
Discussant: Terrence Veeman, University of Alberta
(PDF File Size:1.1 MB)
10:45 - 12:00 PM

Session 2: What is the most effective design for futures markets in wheat, durum and barley? What are the fundamentals of an efficient futures market?

  • Where should the delivery point be set? What are the merits of a west coast delivery point? What are the appropriate contract specifications with respect to grade, months of delivery and contract size?
  • What do policy makers and agribusiness firms need to do to ensure that a viable futures market emerges?

Chair: Derek Brewin, University of Manitoba

Emap Lead speaker: Colin Carter and Joe Janzen, University of California, Davis
(PDF File Size:737 KB)
Dan Holman, North West Terminals
Brad Vannan, ICE Futures
LUNCHEON (90 mins)
  Luncheon Speaker
"European Sovereign Debt Crisis"
Robert Lucas, University of Saskatchewan
1:30 - 2:45 PM

Session 3: How do we effectively use the ports of Churchill and Prince Rupert?

  • What are the incentives for the private sector to utilize these ports?
  • What is the likely impact on these ports? How much will sales through these ports change?
  • Are there profitable strategies for using these ports? Are there policy initiatives that would be desirable for the grain marketing, handling and transportation system?

Chair: Eric Micheels, University of Saskatchewan

Emap Lead speaker: Barry Prentice, University of Manitoba
(PDF File Size:8.2 MB)
Sinclair Harrison, Hudson Bay Route Association
3:15 - 4:30 PM Session 4: How would grain related trade disputes be addressed?
  • How important have grain-related trade disputes been in the Canadian grains industry? What causes trade disputes? How have they been resolved?
  • Are we likely to see trade disputes in the new grain marketing system?
  • What steps should policy makers, farmers and agribusiness firms take to reduce the impact of trade disputes on the industry?

Chair: Danny Leroy, University of Lethbridge

Emap Lead speaker: James Rude, University of Alberta
(PDF File Size:156 KB)
  Discussant: Andrew Schmitz, University of Florida
4:30 PM First day's program concludes
5:00 - 6:00 PM Cash bar (on your own for supper)
8:30 - 10:00 PM Open Forum
  Three topics (30 mins each) to be discussed. Conference participants to post the topics that they would like to see discussed during open forum. Participants to post their names under the particular topic that they would like to see discussed and debated. Topics garnering the most interest will be selected and announced prior to conference closure at 4:30 pm day one. Each session to be 30 minutes, with the participant who posted the topic leading the discussion—approximately five minutes.
Day 3 - Tuesday, December 13
7:30-8:45 AM Continental Breakfast
8:55 AM

Opening Comments for Day 2
Gary Storey

9:00 - 10:15 AM

Session 5: How will wheat quality be affected and managed?

  • What are the factors that determine the quality of grain sales, both domestically and to export markets? What has been the experience in the US system?
  • How will these factors play out in Canada? How compatible are Canada-US quality systems? Is this important?
  • What can policy makers, agribusiness firms and farmers do to achieve the desirable quality level?

Chair: Richard Gray, University of Saskatchewan

Emap Lead speaker: Bill Wilson, North Dakota State University
(PDF File Size:2.1 MB)
Elwin Hermanson, Canadian Grain Commission (PDF File Size:1.3 MB)
Brian Rossnagel, University of Saskatchewan
10:45 - 12:00 PM

Session 6: What will happen to rail freight rates and level of service?

  • What is the regulatory environment in the United States? What are the relevant freight rates in the United States for grain shipment? What level of service is being obtained?
  • Could the railways use market allocation systems for rail cars within a revenue cap? What will be the impact of a removal of the rate cap?
  • What steps should farmers and shippers be taking to ensure that they have satisfactory access to railcars at a reasonable price?

Chair: Bill Brown, University of Saskatchewan



Lead speaker: Richard Gray, University of Saskatchewan
(PDF File Size:664 KB)

Emap Lead speaker: Bill Wilson, University of North Dakota
(PDF File Size:2.1 MB)
William Drew, Transportation Consultant
Whiteside & Associates (PDF File Size:8.8 MB)
LUNCH (60 mins)
  Luncheon Speaker
"Bill C-18 and the Crop Logistics Working Group"
Paul Martin, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1:15 - 2:30 PM Session 7: How will producer cars and short line railways be used in the new system?
  • What have been the driving factors behind the use of producer cars and short line railways in Canada? Why have producer cars been predominately used for CWB grains?
  • What are the requirements for producer cars to be an effective tool for the marketing of grains? Are these conditions likely to be met?
  • What steps do policy makers, farmers and grain companies need to take to maintain the viability of producer cars and short line railways?

Chair: Doug Faller, APAS

Emap Lead speaker: James Nolan, University of Saskatchewan
(PDF File Size:1.7 MB)
Rob Lobdell, West Central Road and Rail
Lonny McKague, Red Coat Road and Rail
3:00 - 4:15 PM Session 8: How will grain logistics and crisis management be handled?
  • How significant is the issue of limited rail capacity and limited port capacity at the West Coast? How do these capacity limitations affect grain logistics and crisis management?
  • To the extent that capacity is limited, what is the likelihood that this capacity will be used effectively and efficiently?
  • What mechanisms (e.g., bidding systems, pooling of rail cars at port) can be used to ensure that capacity is used effectively and efficiently, and that transportation and shipping crises are averted?


Emap Lead speaker: Mark Hemmes, Quorum Corporation
(PDF File Size:4.1 MB)
  Discussant: William Drew, Transportation Consultant
4:15 PM Summary and Conclusion - What did we learn?
Emap Michele Veeman, University of Alberta
(PDF File Size:2.2 MB)
4:45 PM Closing Comments
Gary Storey, University of Saskatchewan

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The conference was held at the
Saskatoon Inn Hotel & Conference Centre
2002 Airport Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7L 6M4
Phone: (306)242-1440
Toll Free: 1-800-667-8789

Saskatoon Inn

Hotel Website


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© Knowledge Impact in Society 2011. All rights reserved.
KIS, c/o Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, 101 Diefenbaker Place,
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B8 Canada
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To watch recorded presentations, click here!