The Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ board of directors is keeping its levy non-refundable.
The board had one year to respond to a resolution passed at the organization’s 2016 annual general meeting requesting the check-off be made refundable.
SPG chair Tim Wiens informed members of the decision in a letter distributed December 13 (see below.)
SPG is funded by a non-refundable check-off of one percent of the gross value of all pulses marketed at the first point of sale. For 2016-17, the levy has been temporarily reduced to 0.67 percent.
The motion, introduced by Cherilyn Nagel and approved by members at the group’s annual meeting last January, directed the SPG board to “ask the provincial government to amend its regulations to make its check-off refundable.”
Several growers expressed concerns about the group’s growing financial reserves, with revenues climbing rapidly alongside pulse crop acres and prices.
In the letter, Wiens outlines the steps they took to obtain feedback from members, through meetings, phone calls, emails and mailings.
Insightrix Research was also hired to survey growers. Based on 739 completed phone surveys, the agency found 50 percent were in favour of a non-refundable levy while 44 percent favoured a refundable check-off. Six percent were indifferent.
“With these mixed views, we did not believe there was a clear case that growers were in support of moving away from the current non-refundable levy,” says Wiens.
The survey also asked growers whether they would request a refund if it were made refundable. 54 percent said they would not, while 46 percent said yes, they would ask for money back. 47 percent said they would prefer if the levy were applied on a flat per-tonne rate, while 45 percent said they favour having it calculated as a percentage of sales (read more survey results here.)
Another factor in the decision, notes Wiens, was that “a significant portion of the levy is invested into pulse crop breeding, and the varieties that result from those investments are made available to all pulse growers in Saskatchewan royalty-free.”
The organization’s 2017 AGM will be held during CropSphere on January 9, 2017 at 5pm at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon.
According to its 2015/16 annual report, SPG represents 17,000 Saskatchewan pulse growers.
Letter to Saskatchewan pulse growers:
December 13, 2016
Dear Pulse Grower,
This letter is to inform you that after consulting broadly with producers, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) has decided to maintain a non-refundable pulse levy.
The discussion related to levy refundability began at SPG’s 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) where we received a resolution requesting the pulse levy be made refundable. In the months that followed the AGM we sought to obtain input on the subject from growers across Saskatchewan. We did this by encouraging discussions at our regional meetings, through calls, emails, and letters directly to the office, by notifying all pulse growers via mail of an open call for feedback on our website, and by conducting a statistically-valid survey of pulse growers through Insightrix Research.
Through each of these channels we learned that the views of growers on whether the pulse levy should be refundable or non-refundable are mixed. This was evident in the letters/emails we received, the informal discussions we had with growers, and in the survey undertaken by Insightrix Research which showed that 50 per cent of growers were in favour of a non-refundable levy and 44 per cent were in favour of a refundable levy (6 per cent were indifferent). Similarly, the input from those who participated in the open call for feedback on our website were also varied. With these mixed views, we did not believe there was a clear case that growers were in support of moving away from the current non-refundable levy.
Another important consideration that factored into our decision to maintain a non-refundable pulse levy was that a significant portion of the levy is invested into pulse crop breeding, and the varieties that result from those investments are made available to all pulse growers in Saskatchewan royalty-free.
Included along with this note are some of the highlights from the survey of growers undertaken earlier this year. If you are interested in a more comprehensive report of survey results, please visit saskpulse.com.
We will be reporting on this further at our 2017 AGM, which is being held on January 9, 2017 at 5:00 PM at Prairieland Park. For more details on the AGM please click here. Also, to see a copy of our latest annual report, please click here.
Chair, Board of Directors