Letter from Saskatchewan
Unparalleled opportunity to regain wealth

By Paul Beingessner


Meet Paul

Saskatchewan farmer Paul Beingessner has missed only a handful of deadlines in writing a weekly column during the past eight years. He covers Canadian agriculture from a High Plains perspective. His straight-talk style informs readers about corporate influence in national and international agriculture, national ag politics on both sides of the border, and why some farmers do the things they do. Click here for more information about Paul.


TRUAX, Saskatchewan, Canada, August 8, 2003:

Dear Readers:

The following email appeared in my inbox a few days ago. It seems like such a good opportunity, but I am worried it could all be a hoax. Perhaps readers could give some helpful advice.

Dear Sir:

With due respect to your person I kindly wish to ask for your attention and consideration just for a while.

My family and I are in dire need of assistance. Our late grandfather, who was the paramount ruler of our farm and also the undisputed leader of our region, left behind a great deal of wealth and treasure which most of our elder uncles and members of our family have for the past decades exploited upon. By breaking up this virgin soil and developing a network of small towns and communities complete with all the services one's heart could desire, my late grandfather and his counterparts paved the way for decades of prosperity. They developed marketing institutions, research facilities and always understood that they had to work together to maintain their way of life.

Unfortunately, the wisdom of my grandfather and his equals seems to have dwindled away with each successive generation. Now we are left with a situation whereby the great wealth inherent in our farm and our rural way of life has been stolen from us. It has been taken by the very people we trusted and whom we also helped to attain great wealth. I am talking about those people who for generations have sold us the very things we need to continue our farm operation and who have bought from us the fruits of our labors. Complicit in the actions of these people have been our governments which have made the rules that allow us to be exploited.

While we were busy running our farm and raising our family, these sellers and buyers have increasingly joined together through the marriages of their families, which they call mergers, and the less congenial unions called hostile takeovers. The end result has been that, where there used to be many buyers and sellers, there are now only a few and they seem so friendly with each other. This has caused an untold hardship on us.

Some of the vestiges of the old ways still persist. My grandfather was involved in the development of a marketing agency, the Canadian Wheat Board, that he entrusted to sell his wheat for him. The enlightened rulers of his day decreed that this Canadian Wheat Board should be the only seller of farmers' wheat. That way, the buyers could not play us off against each other.

Now, a small number of my uncles, who have apparently taken leave of their senses, think that it would be better if the Canadian Wheat Board were destroyed. Unfortunately, this fifth column in our midst has a very powerful ally in the giant neighbouring country to the south. That country, the United States of America, wants to see the control of our grain industry turned over to its multinational companies. It employs continuing guerilla warfare against us in the form of trade harassment and complaints to the World Trade Organization. It loses every one of these actions, but these never-ending skirmishes are bleeding us to death one bit at a time.

Now this same country has attacked our cattle herds, by refusing to let them cross the border to graze, claiming they might be sick. This is a much quicker way to bring us to our knees, since these same cattle will eat us out of house and home if we cannot send them across the border. Nor will the United States tell us what we must do to satisfy its demands. You can see what a predicament we are in!

But now, I am very happy and glad that our family attorney just informed me in confidant that my late father, God rest his soul, confined in him the secret by which we can regain our prosperity and our former status.

The secret is a simple one which I am willing to share with you in complete trust and confidence: farmers must begin again to work together, and abandon their foolish independent ways to defeat the power of the large companies that control our lives.

I am writing to ask your kind assistance in regaining control of our lost wealth. If you consent to join with me, I promise you will share in the prosperity that is so rightfully ours.

This is the only opportunity for us to reclaim this treasure and hand it over to the generations that succeed us and thereby secure our future. If you please, you must urgently write to me and let me know that you are on side. If you do not, we will continue to be exploited by the ruthless and gigantic companies that now are the only ones to prosper from our toils.

Awaiting your kind and anticipated consideration and co-operation.

Yours truly,

Joseph Farmer
Canada


© Paul Beingessner, beingessner@sasktel.net . The author is a columnist, transportation consultant and third-generation farmer in Truax, Saskatchewan.