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KAP wants U.S. farmers held accountable for misrepresented grain

Delegates want to know if the same penalties apply to U.S. farmers who break the rules

The Americans are pushing for their wheat to be graded the same as Canadian wheat when delivered to a Canadian elevator.

That prompted a resolution to the Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) to investigate the consequences and possible penalties for American farmers who misrepresent grain they deliver to a Canadian elevator.

“The reason we brought this to KAP is there is another organization out there in Western Canada — it seems like it wants to open up the border to all American wheat,” Ridgeville farmer Les Felsch told KAP’s advisory council meeting July 13.

“If we want to continue the integrity of our Canadian quality in our hard red springs and all of our wheats, we have to have some way of not necessarily discouraging American wheat from coming in, but guaranteeing that any wheat that is delivered into the class that they claim it is they have the same penalties… as we have.”

Canada has a reputation for selling high-quality milling wheat. Maintaining that reputation requires the quality and consistency of Canadian wheat classes be protected.

To that end, western Canadian farmers must sign a declaration pledging the wheat they deliver is eligible for the class of wheat for which payment is being requested. If a farmer breaches the declaration, the grain company can sue the farmer.

Same rules

KAP wants to know if American farmers who deliver wheat to Canadian elevators are subject to the same rules as Canadians delivering south of the border.

“When I deliver grain to the U.S. it’s a little different scenario. I get a lesser price for my product than what the U.S. producer can get for his, due to the fact that they claim they can’t come after me on this side of the border if I misrepresent what I deliver to them.”

Currently American wheat can be purchased by a Canadian elevator, but it’s ineligible to receive a Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) grade, even if the wheat variety is registered for production in Canada. The new Canada Hard Northern Red (CHNR) wheat consists of several American Dark Northern Spring wheats registered for growing in Canada, including Faller, Prosper and Elgin ND.

American wheat is only eligible for the lowest CGC grade in the CHNR class, which is feed.

However, the Canadian government and Canadian Grain Commission say there are no rules blocking Canadian elevators buying American wheat and paying the full value based on its specifications.

Canadian primary and terminal elevators are not required to segregate American wheat, the CGC’s manager of corporate information services, Remi Gosselin, has said in previous interviews. But Canadian wheat exports that include American wheat must be declared as such.

The U.S. Wheat Associates claims disqualifying American wheat varieties registered to grow in Canada from getting a CGC grade is illegal under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because it unfairly discriminates against American wheat.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association (WCWGA) and Cereals Canada agree. Both are urging the federal government to amend the Canadian Grain Act to accommodate the U.S. They fear not doing so could disrupt Canadian wheat exports to the U.S., which is a major market.

The previous Conservative government included the necessary amendments twice in bills that never were passed.

Lowe Farm farmer Butch Harder said it doesn’t make sense to want more foreign wheat to be imported into Canada.

“I think the real reason is they (WCWGA)… always have to discredit our quality control system and kind of neuter the grain commission,” Harder said.

KAP debated a total of nine resolutions at its July 13 meeting, passing eight of them.

The seven others that passed are as follows:

  • KAP will lobby the Public Utilities Board to review feasibility test requirements to create more opportunities for rural natural gas expansion.
  • KAP will lobby the Manitoba government to increase crop damage compensation from waterfowl to 100 per cent. KAP will also lobby for increased hunting bag limits on geese and/or ducks to enable proper population control.
  • KAP will lobby the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to re-establish the protocol that livestock trucks coming from the U.S. are sealed at the border and sanitized at a facility in Manitoba with the equipment and expertise to combat porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv). Since the protocol was lifted, PEDv has spread in the province and more than 50 cases have been reported.
  • KAP will lobby the Manitoba government to find alternatives for weighing trucks transporting pigs, or to initiate a system of cleaning and sanitizing scales as they could be a source of PEDv infection.
  • KAP will lobby the Manitoba government to allow tendering for ditch mowing on specific stretches of road for multiple years.
  • KAP will seek to work with its sister organizations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to investigate poor tire quality.
  • KAP will present a summary of its financial reports at advisory council meetings rather than going over them line by line. However, an in-depth review of financial statements will continue at KAP’s annual meeting.

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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