Cereals Canada has a new member.
The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) announced June 22 that it has decided to join the industry group.
For years, Sask Wheat directors had opted against joining Cereals Canada, saying the organization may not always represent the best interests of Saskatchewan wheat growers on certain issues.
Sask Wheat is a provincial commission that collects levies on all the wheat produced in the province, which is then used to fund research and other programs that benefit the province’s wheat growers.
Cereals Canada is a national organization that aims to represent the interests of all stakeholders in the national wheat industry. Its membership includes farm organizations, processors, exporters and grain handling companies.
In a news release, Sask Wheat chair Laura Reiter said the provincial commission looks forward to working with Cereals Canada and strengthening collaborations within the industry.
She said several key issues will be affecting wheat markets, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership and country-of-origin-labelling requirements in Italy.
“We will combine our resources on these and other issues for Saskatchewan’s wheat farmers,” she said.
Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, said Canadian agriculture is facing a rise in protectionism around the world.
“Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission’s membership in Cereals Canada makes the value chain stronger and better able to manage the head winds we face today,” he said.
Cereals Canada communications director Brenna Mahoney said the addition of Sask Wheat, which represents nearly half of Canada’s wheat growers, will strengthen Cereals Canada’s efforts to address issues affecting the Canadian industry.
Cereals Canada now has a total of 27 members organizations.
“We now have all of the provincial producer organizations for wheat, which is really exciting,” Mahoney said.
She said recent issues affecting market access such as the discovery of unapproved genetically modified wheat plants in Alberta and Italy’s requirement for country-of-origin labels on durum products, illustrates the need to work together and share resources within the Canadian wheat industry.
“Having the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission really completes that package (and enables us) to truly represent everyone across the country.”
Producer groups make up 39 percent of Cereals Canada’s board of directors, exporters make up 39 percent and seed development companies make up 22 percent.