Sask. canaryseed farmers warned about company

The Canaryseed Development Commission has taken a dispute with a Melfort, Sask., grain buyer public. |  File photo

The Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan says growers need to take “extra care” when marketing their grain to Naber Specialty Grains Ltd.

The Melfort, Sask., company was in arrears submitting check-off levies it has collected from growers to the commission.

The commission issued a news release March 30 saying it has also received reports from producers that they have not received payment for grain delivered to Naber.

Commission chair David Nobbs said he received a call from Todd Naber shortly after issuing the news release, saying he would have payment to him later that day.

“He hasn’t paid yet, but he’s claiming he’s going to straighten it out,” said Nobbs.

Naber said in a March 30 interview that this was the first he heard of the commission’s concerns and that the $540 owed was paid in full that day.

He said there are no outstanding issues with his company failing to pay growers for grain they delivered.

“We don’t have any grower complaints at this point at all. Everything has been resolved a long time ago,” said Naber.

Naber was a principal in Naber Seed & Grain Co. Ltd. when that Melfort firm was placed into receivership in June 2002.

The company did not have a big enough bond in place with the Canadian Grain Commission to fully compensate growers.

Growers received 51 cents on the dollar for the grain they delivered, leaving 112 farmers with $960,000 in unpaid deliveries.

Naber said what happened with the old company has no bearing on the new one.

“That company has no relationship to this one,” he said.

Nobbs said the commission felt an obligation to growers to go public with the information, even though it was a small amount of money involved.

“I think it’s extremely important,” he said.

“Growers allow these deductions to be made in good faith, and organizations must ensure that those companies deducting them are submitting them.”

He said the commission would issue a follow-up news release once payment was received.

Nobbs said canaryseed growers have to be particularly cautious where they deliver their crop because it is not one of the 20 grains regulated by the Canadian Grain Commission.

There wasn’t much appetite for becoming the 21st regulated crop when the topic was raised at the canaryseed commission’s annual general meeting in January.

Nobbs said the commission and Levy Central made numerous attempts by phone and e-mail to collect the outstanding check-off money from Naber, but there was no response from the company until the news release was issued.

Naber was in arrears for submissions from December, January and February.

Nobbs said Naber told him the company didn’t collect any check-off money in December but it would be submitting what was owed for January and February.

Contact sean.pratt@producer.com

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