Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

May 22, 2012 15:58 ET

Marketing Freedom Train on Track to Boost Research and Innovation

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - May 22, 2012) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today that a new producer check-off will be set up to support vital research, market development and technical assistance for the western Canadian grain industry. The draft regulations, to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, this week, will name the Alberta Barley Commission as the administrator of the new check-off.

"With the global economy still very fragile, strengthening Canada's economy continues to be our Government's primary concern," said Minister Ritz. "The check-off will help the western grain industry to grow, increase profitability at the farm gate, and create a bright future for the Canadian economy."

The Alberta Barley Commission was proposed as the prescribed agency after much consultation with the industry. The Commission was best prepared to take on the role of administrator, having successfully administered the Alberta barley check-off since 1991.

These regulations are scheduled to be in place for August 1, 2012, the start of the new crop year. The Government intends for Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the Canadian International Grains Institute, and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre to continue to receive the same level of funding they received through the previous arrangement.

As outlined in the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the proposed check-off funds can be used for:

  • research activities into new and improved grain varieties;
  • the promotion of the marketing and use of grain grown in Canada; and
  • technical assistance relating to the use of grain grown in Canada.

The check-off will remain voluntary and will be in place for the upcoming harvest. The check-off will be done at point of sale and will appear as a deduction on producers' cash purchase tickets when they deliver grain. This will be done in a manner that is fully transparent so that farmers can see the full amount of their support to grain research. It will not however apply to imports, producer-to-producer sales, and feed and exports not delivered through licensed facilities.

The proposed check-off regulations are available on the Canada Gazette website and will be published in print in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on May 26, 2012. The current check-off for the WGRF funding will continue for the 2011-12 crop year.

The Government of Canada's top priority is the economy, and the agriculture industry plays an important role in creating jobs and keeping the economy strong. Canada is the world's fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and food products, with last year's exports hitting an all-time high of more than $40 billion.

Additional information on marketing freedom can be found at www.agr.gc.ca/freedom.

BACKGROUND

The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, which received Royal Assent last December, removed the Canadian Wheat Board's (CWB) authority to collect a check-off to fund wheat and barley variety research as of August 1, 2012, and authorizes the development of regulations for implementing a voluntary check-off to support wheat and barley research, market development and technical assistance.

The Government's intent is that the Canadian International Grains Institute, Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre receive similar levels of support when marketing freedom is fully implemented on August 1, 2012. This will be done in a manner that is fully transparent to farmers, who will see the full amount of this support on their cash purchase tickets when they deliver their grain. In the past, support was provided through a combination of producer check-off (transparent to farmers) and direct grants from the CWB pool accounts (non-transparent to farmers as these lowered the final payment for all farmers).

The new regulations establish a voluntary check-off for research for wheat and barley delivered to licensed grain buyers issuing a cash-purchase ticket.

The check-off will be applied to wheat and barley grown in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Peace River District of British Columbia, and delivered to a licensed facility where a cash purchase ticket is issued. It will not apply to imports, producer-to-producer sales, and feed and exports not delivered through licensed facilities.

Producers will be able to request a refund of the check-off if they wish. Historically, the average percentage of producers requesting to opt out of the WGRF check-off has been approximately five per cent.

The regulations will not impede the development of additional check-offs under existing provincial and federal regulation.

The proposed regulations are available on the Canada Gazette website and will be published in print in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on May 26, 2012. Prepublication of the Canada Gazette gives various interested groups and individuals, as well as Canadians in general, a final opportunity to review and comment on a proposed regulation at the last stages of the regulation-making process, before it is enacted and published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.

The proposed regulations will remain open for comment for a 30-day period.

This check-off is temporary and will last up to five years, after which it will be up to the grain industry to have developed and administered its own check-off, if it considers this to be a priority for the sector.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972

    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    613-773-1059