Western grower groups want more options than currently proposed in seed royalty consultation

Western Canadian cereal commissions from Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan are asking federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay for more consultation on proposed seed royalty collection models, including consideration of other options. Further consultations must focus on engaging producers with a new value proposition, the commissions say.

The groups are calling for major changes in the Government of Canada’s current consultation process on value creation and say the likelihood of an industry-wide agreement on either of the proposed models is low.

The two models include end point royalties and trailing royalties for wheat, oat, and barley seed. Producers provided significant input on these models during recent consultation meetings and the majority of producers were not in favour. Producers put forward alternative options that must be included in further consultations, the group says.

The commissions agree that there is a need to maintain, sustain, and grow research and have been involved in value creation discussions through the Grains Round Table (GRT). However, the GRT has not approved these two models and had requested that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada conduct an economic analysis of the two options prior to any farmer consultations. To-date, this analysis has not been done, according to a joint press release by the provincial commissions, saying  it’s impossible for producers to make an informed decision on a path forward.

The cereal commissions in Western Canada recognize the importance of variety development through public plant breeding programs and provide funding for variety development through provincially-regulated levies that are mandatory, yet refundable to producers, the group says.

Farmers who are in Saskatoon this week for CropSphere and Crop Week are encouraged to attend a Q&A on the seed royalty discussion, Wednesday, January 16 at 2:30 pm. Registration for CropSphere is not required to participate in the session. Details can be found here.

Read the full letter to minister Lawrence MacAulay here.

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