Cereal commissions raise concerns about royalty proposals

Farmer-funded cereal grain commissions from across Western Canada are calling for major changes in a federal consultation process that’s looking at new ways to fund varietal development in Canada.

In a joint news release issued Jan. 14, wheat, barley and oat commissions representing growers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba said current consultations seeking feedback on two funding models — end-point royalties and trailing royalties on farm-saved seed — are unlikely to gain industry wide support.

In a letter to federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, the commissions said the likelihood of achieving an industry wide agreement on either end-point royalties or trailing royalties on farm-saved seed is low.

The commissions are calling on Ottawa to consider other funding options and launch further consultations that are focused on producer engagement and offer primary producers a “new value proposition.”

Organizations that signed the letter include SaskWheat, SaskBarley, the Alberta Wheat Commission, the Alberta Barley Commission, the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, and the Prairie Oat Growers Association.

“The commissions agree that there is a need to maintain, sustain and grow research and have been involved in value creation discussions through the Grains Round Table (GRT),” the Jan. 14 news release states.

“However, the GRT has not approved these two models and had requested that AAFC conduct an economic analysis of the two options prior to any farmer consultations.

“To date, this analysis has not been done, making it impossible for producers to make an informed decision on a path forward.”

The provincial commissions said Ottawa must put the time and due diligence into the issue of varietal development funding to ensure the outcomes are in the best interests of producers.

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