Big changes are coming to the Canadian International Grains Institute and Western Grains Research Foundation.
Both groups had been funded through the Western Canadian Deduction, a farmer check-off that sunsets on July 31 this year.
CIGI’s new source of core funding will be the three wheat commissions and the seven grain exporters/handlers. They will contribute $7.7 million over the next two years.
With the new funding comes a new board of directors comprised of five representatives from the provincial wheat commissions and five from the grain exporters/handlers.
The new chair of CIGI is Kevin Bender from the Alberta Wheat Commission.
CIGI chief executive officer JoAnne Buth said the announcement comes after months of consultations with the wheat value chain.
“We are extremely pleased that the provincial wheat commissions and the grain companies and handlers developed a consensus on a sustainable funding and governance model for CIGI,” she said in a press release.
“This is an important milestone in CIGI’s 45-year history and we look forward to working with the new board to ensure CIGI remains a strong asset to the Canadian grain industry.”
Bender said CIGI adds tremendous value to Canada’s wheat brand.
“This is an opportunity for producers and industry to create dialogue around the board table that will both shape the future of CIGI and continue to build Canada’s global reputation as a producer of high quality wheat,” he said in a press release.
Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission chair Bill Gehl said the three wheat commissions are collaborating significantly on research and market development efforts.
“We feel CIGI is an important vehicle to open up and maintain global market opportunities for Canadian wheat,” he said in a press release.
“It is important we support CIGI and renew the organization’s commitment to wheat and wheat farmers.”
Gehl said the Western Canadian Deduction money that was going to the WGRF will be redirected to the wheat and barley commissions.
The WGRF will still have over $130 million in funding from the Endowment Fund, which is money that comes from railways exceeding their maximum revenue entitlements.