Manitoba growers to vote on resolution on funding, says MWGBA

Wheat and barley growers in Manitoba will be asked to support a resolution next week that gives the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association the authority to collect producer levies that provide financial support to the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Canadian International Grains Institute and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre.

Those three organizations currently receive funding through the Western Canadian Deduction but that deduction is due to expire on July 31, 2017.

If supported, the resolution would give the MWGBA’s board of directors the authority to complete the transition of WCD and ensure uninterrupted funding from Manitoba growers to CIGI, the WGRF and the CMBTC.

The resolution is expected to be presented to growers Feb. 11 at the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association’s annual general meeting, part of next week’s Crop Connect Conference in Winnipeg.

Brent Vankoughnet, executive director of the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, said the resolution is not proposing to increase the amount that Manitoba’s cereal growers pay in wheat and barley checkoffs.

Instead, it is aimed at ensuring a smooth transition when the interim WCD expires next year.

“It has always been our understanding that when the Western Canadian Deduction was established, it was established for a five-year period so that grower commissions like ours could get their feet under them and get established before continuing those (responsibilities) … on behalf of producers,” Vankoughnet said.

“We expect that for our producers, there is no downside to us accepting the responsibility to do this …. We think it gets Manitoba producers closer to the decision making process and the direction of where those dollars go.”

Vankoughnet said organizations like the WGRF, CIGI and the CMBTC play a critically important role in supporting the western Canadian cereal grains sector, adding that continuity of funding is essential to their operations.

The MWBGA and other provincial cereal commissions are already making commitments to those groups and other industry partners to ensure that stable funding agreements are in place, he added.

By seeking member support for a resolution this year, the MWBGA will have almost a year and a half to adjust its operations and ensure a smooth transition when the WCD ends.

The WCD check-off is set at 48 cents on every tonne of wheat sold in western Canada and 56 cents per tonne on barley, except in Alberta.

Alberta’s barley rate is lower because that province’s barley growers were already making contributions outside the WCD.

If provincial cereal commissions across the West take over the responsibility for funding the WGRF, CIGI and the CMBTC, growers would likely see a single larger deduction on cereal grain sales, as opposed to two smaller deductions that are now applied.

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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