CIGI plans funding after CWB

VAUXHALL, Alberta. — The Canadian International Grains Institute is proceeding into its 40th anniversary year without its largest partner.

As of April 1, the Canadian Wheat Board will no longer be funding the market development work undertaken by CIGI, which means the institute must develop its own plans.

Rex Newkirk, director of research and business development for CIGI, said initial fears have faded about the future of the institute once the wheat board no longer has a monopoly on wheat and export barley and thus no longer provides funding.

“It’s quite a dynamic time for CIGI, really,” he said at the Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission meeting Feb. 16.

“Now, instead of being directed by the wheat board, and being responsible to them for the work that was occurring, now we’re responsible directly to the producer, so it’s one more step closer.”

Newkirk said the wheat board spent $4.5 million annually on market development, much of it through CIGI.

To replace that funding, Newkirk said the federal government has promised to implement a temporary levy on wheat, barley and durum to carry CIGI through until more formal arrangements are made.

The institute has proposed a 25 cents per tonne levy, but the government has yet to reveal its plan.

“We feel that 25 cents would allow us to carry on with that market development work and we’d also have to take over some of the roles that the wheat board played in that market development as well.”

The temporary levy, which is expected to start Aug. 1, could last as long as five years, said Newkirk. A formal structure would likely be implemented within that time to manage checkoffs for both CIGI and the Western Grains Research Foundation.

The federal government has committed funds to continue operating CIGI operations between April 1 and Aug. 1.

Newkirk also expects it will take on a role in market analysis formerly done by the wheat board.

CIGI works with Canada’s grain, oilseed and pulse customers by educating them on crop quality, product development, processing and other technical expertise.

Newkirk said CIGI provides “after-market support” that helps retain customers for Canadian commodities in a competitive global market.

He expects CIGI will still work with the CWB as the board develops its own programs and market development needs.

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