The Alberta government has tabled legislation to once again give producer groups the option of making their check-offs non-refundable.
Before 2009, the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act gave commissions the option of refundable or non-refundable service charges. Provincial beef, pork, lamb and potato commissions collected non-refundable check-offs until 2009, when the Ed Stelmach government changed the act to require commissions issue refunds at the request of members.
“With this amendment, government would restore autonomy to agricultural commissions and their members. We want them to have the power to determine their own service-charge model, because a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t make sense in today’s diverse agriculture,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
Members of Alberta Beef Producers’ executive were in attendance to show support when the Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Act was introduced in the provincial legislature on Tuesday.
“These amendments will allow producers to make the decision to return to a non-refundable service charge through a plebiscite. We’ve been talking about the state of industry funding for a long time and how it impacts our competitiveness,”said ABP chair Bob Lowe. “Producers have given us clear direction at our fall meetings, as have delegates at our general meetings, to seek a return to a non-refundable service charge.”
ABP executive director Rich Smith said they applaud the changes, which they expect will be passed during the spring session.
“We look forward to working together with industry partners to move towards a plebiscite and put the decision in the hands of producers.”
Agricultural commissions in Alberta:
Alberta Barley Commission
Alberta Beef Producers
Alberta Beekeepers Commission
Alberta Canola Producers Commission
Alberta Elk Commission
Alberta Lamb Producers
Alberta Oat Growers Commission
Alberta Peace Region Forage Seed Commission
Alberta Pork Producers Development Commission
Alberta Pulse Growers Commission
Alberta Wheat Commission
Alfalfa Seed Commission
Potato Growers of Alberta