Saskatchewan Pulse Growers is extending the temporary reduction of the levy it collects on pulses and soybeans grown in the province for another year, as it draws down its surplus accumulated with record pulse acres and strong prices in recent years.
SPG reduced its non-refundable checkoff from 1 to 0.67% of gross sales on August 1, 2016 for a one-year period. The 0.67% rate has now been extended until July 31, 2018.
“By temporarily reducing the levy to 0.67%, SPG is looking to bring levy revenue closer in line with the organization’s operating expenses and to reduce the accumulated surplus,” says Corey Loessin, SPG’s chair, in a statement on August 3. “The level of pulse acres planted in Saskatchewan this year is second only to last year’s record acres. We recognized that we were still in a situation where a 1% levy rate may result in SPG adding to its accumulated surplus. Based on that, we have chosen to extend the reduced 0.67% levy rate for an additional year.”
The combination of increasing acres and prices resulted in SPG’s levy revenue growing from $13 million in 2013-14 to $22 million in 2015-16. After reducing the levy for 2016-17, the organization estimates its levy revenue will be $16.5 million, which it says will result in a reduction of its surplus.
“Even with a temporarily reduced levy, SPG will continue to make strategic investments and capitalize on opportunities that enhance the profitability of pulse growers,” notes Carl Potts, Executive Director of SPG.
Some growers have called on SPG to make its levy refundable, passing a resolution to that effect at the group’s annual general meeting in January 2016. The board decided against following through on the motion, citing mixed views from the membership after further consultations and how all pulse growers benefit from royalty-free varieties thanks to SPG’s investment in breeding.