Letters to the editor – July 9, 2020

Corporate seed tax unacceptable

The corporate seed entities, or Canadian Seed Trade Association, would like to impose a “trailing or end-point royalty” on every acre or bushel of grain that is grown or marketed by farmers on certain varieties.

Primary producers make this imperative suggestion to the CSTA — use the marketplace, spend your own or borrowed money, then proceed with your endeavor and work toward a successful production of a superior variety. You can then sell your product on the market for whatever price you want.

Just make sure that the initial price you establish will give you your desired return. You most likely will do a bit better financially if you could guarantee your variety as superior. That is how private enterprise and primary producers get their created value.

Once you enter the marketplace, you will be operating on a level playing field and using accepted business practices to obtain financial return, which appears to be your goal of creating value and guaranteed corporate income. Now you will have the horse in front of the cart where the horse should be.

Canada has been a leader in the seed industry regarding research, development and quality. Canada has a very credible publicly funded system that is extremely focused, relatively cheaper to operate and does so without any big problems. It has a mission of producing the best varieties for production, quality and feeding the world. Any suggestion that our system has fallen behind is a fallacy.

This begs the question — is it more effective for corporate entities to use the marketplace to assure returns or is it just easier to lobby a government that appears to support corporate interests by simply regulating or applying an additional tax onto the backs of primary producers? Farmers have had enough, and are saying, “no more to unfairness and taxes.”

There are approximately 120 to 130 members in CSTA. Priority members appear as large companies. There are approximately 100,000 primary producers in Western Canada.

Do corporate entities really think that because we bought more capital assets that we are sitting pretty? In 1974 a bushel of wheat was $4 a bushel to the producer. In 2020, 46 years later, a bushel of wheat is $5.72 to the producer. Where is the room for increased costs?

The primary producer is being threatened with being charged an ongoing royalty approved by governments to pay a corporate entity to control the seed that we, the primary producer, seeds, grows and sells relatively cheaply.

We ask the question — will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?

Is it becoming obvious that primary producers must be allowed a “bill of rights” and allowed to become part of a farmer-owned co-operative seed company that works in conjunction with our present research and development system?

W. Douglas Fawcett,

Consort, Alta.

Pain from hail damage remembered

Regarding your Alberta hailstorm story (June 25, page 1) — any crop injury is devastating because it is your yearly income.

Hailstorms over my farming years have caused anything from a slight yield loss to a total loss, depending upon the storm’s timing, duration as well as other weather items at the same time, including rainfall, wind and crop stage.

I have never had a total yield loss in a hailstorm before July. Yields were altered, anything from reduced to multi-fold increase. Yes, in all cases maturity was always made later. Total yield loss only occurred for me in a pre-harvest storm.

Total crop losses happened from drought or flooding before July, but not hail.

A delayed harvest always affects yield.

Yes, indeed weather causing crop devastation is very hard to take because we have no control upon it happening. On three occasions I have had to endure crop yield loss caused by others, out of my control. Once was due to a fire that was set, two others were done by vehicles, or ATVs, driving across my crop. Those should not have happened because people were to blame and had control. With weather, a farmer has zero control.

I wish any farmer who is feeling this frustration good luck with it this year.

Delwyn Jansen,

Humboldt, Sask.


Stories from our other publications