CWB director Jeff Nielsen quits

by World Grain Staff
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OLDS, ALBERTA, CANADA — Director Jeff Nielsen of Canadian Wheat Board on Oct. 31 announced he resigned, effective immediately, from the organization. Nielsen represented District 2 in west-central Alberta and is the second director from Alberta to resign in a week. Henry Vos of Fairview resigned on Oct. 26.

Nielsen, who farms 1,350 acres near Olds, Alberta, Canada, said he consulted several producers in his district as well as others across Western Canada before making the decision. In a letter to constituents, Nielsen said "in recent months, as the government of Canada has built momentum to bring about positive and exciting changes, several board members have resisted all change in favor of the status quo."

In his letter to CWB chairman Allen Oberg, Nielsen said "I cannot condone your and other directors' continued lack of understanding and respect to producers in Western Canada."

"This lack of understanding and respect was apparent at what should have been informative, forward-moving producer meetings this past summer, yet your and other directors' personal fight to maintain the status quo has prevailed. You personally have said you recognize the need for proactive change, and that view is reflected by producers in the CWB's annual surveys. This, however, has not been reflected in your ongoing leadership or public actions or comments."

Nielsen noted that: "More recently, the board's decision to take legal action against the federal government — even after hearing from our counsel and our external counsel that such a challenge would be fruitless and would have little to no effect on the government moving ahead with Bill C-18-shows a total disrespect for producers and the stable government infrastructure that underpins our society. The CWB has an opportunity to move forward and adapt with farmers to help them compete in the global marketplace. You and other directors committed to the status quo have instead chosen a path of self-destruction. It is truly an unfortunate day for producers of wheat and barley."
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