Saskatchewan grain farm­ers must be heard be­fore value cap­ture changes made

The Southwest Booster - - MARKET PLACE -

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 en­duse 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 p.m. 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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