Repurposing the Great Grain Robbery in Canada
The "Great Grain Robbery" was a term applied to describe the 1972 Soviet-American grain sales when the Soviets bought large quantities of U.S. grain at low prices. Due to their high demand being hidden by the requirements for secrecy in the sale, market prices did not increase to match the increased Soviet demand. As a result many American farmers concluded they missed out on the true value of their grain. Canadian farmers, however, sold their grain through the single-desk Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) which used pooling. They consequently benefitted from the Soviet purchases and did well from the increased Soviet demand. The "Great Grain Robbery" term was resurrected in the 1990s during the highly polarized debate over the value and continued relevance of the single-desk Canadian Wheat Board. It was also repurposed so that it no longer meant the 1972 Soviet-American grain sales. Instead, the "Great Grain Robbery" became a code-term that encompassed all the perceived problems with the Canadian Wheat Board. It became the main focus of the western Canadian agricultural community in the debate over agricultural policies, in particular "marketing freedom" by those opposed to the CWB.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorWaiser, William A.
CommitteeCunfer, Geoff; Zellar, Gary
Copyright DateAugust 2012
western Canadian history
Canadian Wheat Board
Great Grain Robbery