Promoting Canadian Oats

Letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, on behalf of Western Canadian barley and oat commissions regarding value creation consultations.

Letter to the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau

Dear Minister Bibeau,

On behalf of Western Canadian barley and oat commissions, we appreciate the preliminary consultation that has been conducted by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) on the topic of “value creation.” Our provincial barley and oat commissions, which include Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, have attended many of the consultation sessions and have provided significant feedback to AAFC, including a letter to Minister MacAulay on behalf of all cereal commission in Western Canada, dated January 11, 2019 (copy of letter included).

Respectfully, our commissions feel that the consultation proceedings to date have not been sufficient given the potential impact of this proposed change. The models proposed by AAFC have not been adequately analyzed to meet the needs of Western Canadian barley and oat producers and therefore, producers do not have enough information to make an informed decision.

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Cereal Commissions Call for Changes in Value Creation Consultations 

Background

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are currently conducting engagement sessions around “Value Creation” to discuss changes to the way new varieties of wheat, barley and other Canadian crops are developed in Canada. These consultations are currently underway and they are asking for producer input.  

Variety development (breeding) programs across Canada are supported mostly (72%) by government, or public, funding. The balance of the funding for these programs comes from producer check-off via farm commissions. There is also a small amount that comes from the private sector, however this remains a small portion of overall investment.  

Proposed changes

Under this consultation, AAFC and CFIA have proposed two models for evaluation:  

End Point Royalties

• A Plant Breeders’ Rights Act (PBRA) underpinned national non-refundable royalty payable on all harvested material (i.e., grain)

• Leverages the exiting provincial check-offs system to collect the non-refundable royalty

• Royalties to be distributed to breeders based on their respective market share

• Need for a mechanism to provide rebates/exemptions, ensuring royalties not collected on production from certified seed


Royalty Collection Enabled Via Contracts  

• A Plant Breeders’ Rights Act (PBRA) underpinned mechanism allowing for contracts where producers agree to farm saved seed conditions

• Purchasers of certified seed for eligible varieties agree to extended contract on farm saved seed use (e.g., agreeing to a “trailing” royalty on farm saved seed)

• Participating producers report on their annual use of farm-saved as part of their contractual obligation

• Will require at least some degree of centralization in royalty collection and distribution

Both these proposed models have the potential to have a large financial impact on producers. Given the lack of detail presented by AAFC and CFIA it is impossible to quantify the impact to producers at this point. It is important to note that these models are not the only options for future funding of variety development.  

What can you do as a producer?

• Provide feedback to the government directly. Comments can be submitted to:

  AAFC – Carla St. Croix  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 613-773-1221

  CFIA – Anthony Parker This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 613-773-7188

• Learn more about the potential changes. Continue to check back to our website for more information as it becomes available. Some information is available at: https://seedinnovation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Government-Value-Creation-Consultation-Deck-1-.pdf

• Provide feedback to any farm commissions you are a member of.

• Raise awareness about these proposed changes and their potential impact on producers amongst your family, friends and neighbours about this.

• Attend our session on this topic, hosted by the Saskatchewan crop commissions during Crop Week 2019 in Saskatoon. This session is free and open to everyone. There will be an opportunity for you to provide feedback directly to AAFC officials: Wednesday January 16, 2:30PM TCU Place, 35 22 St E, Saskatoon

Press Release - Jan 14, 2019 (PDF - 200 KB)


Oat Commission Perspective on "Value Creation" Models Proposed by AAFC 

Based on the December 4th Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) meeting on Cereal “Value Creation” in Saskatoon, SK, it was very clear that the vast majority of farmers (approximately 90% present) in the room were opposed to the two options presented: End Point Royalties or Trailing Royalties.

Many producers and producer groups, including the oat growers, would like a third option considered. The one most often suggested in the December 4 meeting was to increase the amount of check-offs across the provincial commissions with an agreed upon percentage designated for breeding.

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Seed Royalty Consultations Question and Answer Session

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. - during CropSphere in Saskatoon, Sask.

SaskBarley, SaskCanola, SaskFlax, SaskOats, SaskPulse and Sask Wheat 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.  


Letter to the Editor Western Producer

Big Opportunities in Canadian Oats

Letter to Editor:

The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) Board is always pleased to read oat-related news articles published by The Western Producer and to know that the media is keeping an eye on this important Canadian crop. This letter is in response to your articles of July 19 (“Funding loss a blow to oat research” and “Ag economist questions future of oats”).

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POGA Response to CGC Accumulated Surplus Decision

Dear Minister MacAulay and Ms. Miller,

The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) is incredibly disappointed in the Canadian Grain Commissions decision to disperse $90 million of its $130 million surplus into numerous special projects and expand its operations rather than reducing service fees for Canadian grain farmers in the form of reduced fees.

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