The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) has divergent views on the May 22, 2012 announcement by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz 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.
“APAS is pleased that the federal government moved quickly to ensure that funding to the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Canadian International Grains Institute and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Center will continue beyond August 1, 2012 when the Canadian Wheat Board transitions from its former role in these areas with the implementation of Bill C-18,” APAS President Norm Hall said. “The continued role of these organizations in innovation and research is pivotal to the future competitiveness of the Western Canadian grain Industry.”
The naming of the Alberta Barley Commission as the administrator of this new five year temporary check-off raises questions for Saskatchewan wheat and barley producers. “What will be the administrative efficiencies and costs? What will the check-off amounts be and will sufficient revenue streams be provided to the three organizations? Transparency will be all-important. These questions and issues are important to the success of this approach and we look forward to further information,” Hall noted.
APAS regards this announcement as a short-term solution and believes that cereal producers must be engaged in discussions as to how provincial Commissions and, potentially, a Western Canadian Commission could be established and operated on the long-term beyond the five year life-span of this temporary check-off. “As farmers, we need to invest in research, market development, product development, and promotion. Check-offs established for these purposes should be controlled and directed regionally by the farmers who pay the check-offs,” Hall said.
In early April, APAS publicly announced that it supported the development of Wheat and Barley Commissions in Saskatchewan and that it was prepared to play a leadership role in the formation of Commissions in Saskatchewan. Since then, we have learned that the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is taking leadership in initiating a meeting or meetings to discuss the formation of Commissions and we will be participants in those discussions. APAS will continue to work towards the principles which we believe are integral to effective Commissions – inclusiveness, representativeness, transparency, and accountability - all intended to gain wide support from grassroots producers. “Broadly based buy-in at the outset will ensure the success of a Wheat Commission in the long run,” Hall concluded.
For More Information, please contact:
Norm Hall, APAS President
Office: 306.789.7774 ext 151 or Cellular: 306.530.3668
APAS is Saskatchewan’s general farm organization formed to provide farmers and ranchers with a democratically elected, grassroots, non-partisan, producer organization based on rural municipal boundaries. As the united voice of thousands of agricultural producers in Saskatchewan, we strive to represent the views of a wide variety of agricultural stakeholders in order to form comprehensive policies that can benefit all sectors of society.