A dramatic change in North American wheat marketing will take place this year with the end of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) monopoly over sales of western Canadian wheat and barley.

After nearly three quarters of a century of total control over milling wheat in the west, CWB's monopoly will end as of Aug. 1, 2012. Although several lawsuits are still pending, we expect that change to happen and are planning for the future.

Canada's wheat and barley farmers will now have the freedom to market their grain to whomever they choose. We expect the marketing system will evolve quickly to return to producers the true value of their wheat and barley.

On average, we expect Canadian wheat prices to increase at the farm gate, although locational differences will become more important and farmers may prosper or fail based on the marketing decisions they make.

Some will choose to continue to pool their wheat, even with a newly reconstituted CWB, and accept an average price, while others will embrace the opportunity and personal responsibility to manage the risk and capture the potential rewards of individual pricing schemes.

Western Canadian farmers already price their other crops by these methods and we expect them to adapt quickly.

Likewise their elevators and handlers have experience handling other crops and will do what they must to attract grain to their facilities. We expect that new pricing options and information will become available and that prices will be largely transparent and public.

International buyers of Canadian grain will see some very important changes. They will be able to seek multiple offers, rather than face a take-it-or-leave-it price from the CWB.