Saskatchewan grain farmers must be heard before value capture changes made
Saskatoon, SK (January 8, 2019) – The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) is calling on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to engage in broader consultations with Canadian grain farmers before making any changes to how research and variety development are funded for Canadian crops such as wheat.
“The Sask Wheat Board of Directors does not support either of the options as presented by the federal government and it’s clear that neither of the two models have resonated with farmers,” says Laura Reiter, Sask Wheat Chair. “Too few farmers know about what is being proposed and have had a chance to express their views. The current federal consultations need to be expanded and more options and information must be made available before any value capture changes are made.”
The government is considering either an end point royalty on all delivered grain or a trailing royalty collected from the use of farm saved seed. It is unclear how these systems may affect the ability to use farm saved seed and what the financial implications could be for farmers, which concerns Sask Wheat. “Sask Wheat is supportive of farmers’ right to use farm saved seed,” says Reiter. “There must be a full discussion with farmers before making changes that may impact the use of farm saved seed.”
Sask Wheat is committed to being a part of a system that will maintain farmer involvement and grow funding for wheat research in Canada. This system must include strong public sector wheat research programs and continue to provide for public, private, producer partnerships such as Sask Wheat’s partnership with the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre and SeCan for the development of new durum varieties.
Farmer funded varietal development of wheat has led to improved varieties with increased yields, resistance to serious pests and diseases, and desirable end-use characteristics. Farmers have provided variety development capacity funding through Core Breeding Agreements with AAFC and the western universities as well as research project funding through the Canadian National Wheat Cluster, Genome Canada, and provincial funding intakes.
Sask Wheat, SaskBarley, SaskOats, SaskFlax, SaskCanola and the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers will be hosting an engagement session on the seed royalty consultations on Wednesday, January 16 from 2:30 to 4:30 at TCU Place in Saskatoon. This question and answer session will give farmers an opportunity to provide feedback directly to AAFC as part of the ongoing consultation and understand how farmers will be impacted with respect to all farmer-directed research. All producers are welcome and encouraged to attend.
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