OTTAWA, Ontario (AP)
Western Canadian farmers have voted to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on barley sales. A total of 62 percent of just over 29,000 farmers who cast eligible ballots said they wanted the board out of the barley market altogether, or for the board to participate in a competitive market. The other 38 percent said they wanted to maintain the status quo. Federal Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl said he will now take steps to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act to remove the barley monopoly for the 2007- 08 crop year. When the results are broken down by province, the majority of farmers in Manitoba said they wanted the board to maintain its monopoly. But Strahl said it would be “pushing credulity to the limit” to ignore the bigger picture and results for the whole region.