Cigi moves to new funding model and board, signalling end of post-CWB transition


The Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) has announced its new board of directors as it adopts a new funding model and board structure with the end of the temporary check-off that followed the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk in 2012.

The three prairie province wheat commissions — the Alberta Wheat Commission, the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association — will fund Cigi through their single wheat checkoffs, replacing the five-year Western Canadian Deduction implemented by the federal government in 2012.

Viterra, Richardson International Limited, Cargill Canada, Parrish and Heimbecker, Paterson Grain, G3 Canada Limited, and the Inland Terminal Association of Canada are also providing core funding for Cigi.

Prior to 2012, the Canadian Wheat board was responsible for approximately 70 percent of the funding for Cigi’s market development and technical expertise training around the world. The federal Conservatives gave the industry five years to develop its own funding mechanism, levying $0.15 per tonne of wheat sold for Cigi through the Western Canadian Deduction until July 31, 2017.

Cigi’s home in downtown Winnipeg (along with the Canadian Grain Commission and Canadian Malting Barley Technical Institute)

Altogether, Cigi says the three wheat commissions and seven exporters/handlers have agreed to provide $7.7 million in core funding over the next two years, with that total split 50/50 between the producer groups and grain companies.

“Today’s announcement represents the culmination of months of consultations involving the value chain,” says JoAnne Buth, Cigi CEO, in a news release on July 4. “We are extremely pleased that the provincial wheat commissions and the grain companies and handlers developed a consensus on a sustainable funding and governance model for Cigi. This is an important milestone in Cigi’s 45-year history and we look forward to working with the new board to ensure Cigi remains a strong asset to the Canadian grain industry.”

As for the new board of directors, Kevin Bender, farmer from Sylvan Lake, Alberta and Alberta Wheat Commission director, was elected chair at Cigi’s annual general meeting on June 29. Brent Watchorn of Richardson International is the new vice-chair, while Jim Smolik of Cargill Canada will serve as secretary. Directors include Drew Baker, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association; Harvey Brooks, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission; Bill Gehl, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission; Trent Rude, Viterra; Jean-Marc Ruest, Richardson International Limited; Gary Stanford, Alberta Wheat Commission; and Ward Weisensel, G3 Canada Limited.

“As new board members and funders, we are excited about our role in supporting and shaping Cigi’s future. It’s an organization with a long and distinguished history of working on behalf of farmers and industry to promote and demonstrate the quality and functionality of Canadian grain in international markets,” notes Bender.

Former chair Murdoch MacKay; Henry Van Ankum, farmer from Alma, Ontario; and Lawrence Yakielashek of FarmLink Marketing Solutions will remain on Cigi’s board as observers to provide continuity during the transition. Randy Johner, farmer from Estevan, Saskatchewan and Jim Wilson, farmer from Darlingford, Manitoba, are retiring.

Bender also acknowledges the outgoing board members: “Through their foresight and determination they succeeded in guiding Cigi through a period of significant industry change and have provided the new board with a solid foundation to build upon.”

More to come.

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