Deadline Nov. 2 to register for seed royalty meetings

The proposal is for farmers pay more for seed, but the proponents say the payoff is better varieties

The deadline register to attend meetings to discuss ways for farmers to pay more for cereal and pulse seed so plant breeders have more money to develop superior varieties is Friday Nov. 2.

The consultations being led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) focuses on two options — end point royalties and trailing contracts.

End point royalties would see farmers pay a royalty to variety developers when they deliver grain to an elevator.

Trailing contacts obliges farmers to remit a royalty on farm saved seed.

Two years ago the Grains Roundtable initiated an industry-led process to discuss a new funding mechanism for public and private cereal breeding programs in Canada.

Proponents of the two options say collecting more revenue from seed sales and returning it to developers will attract more investment in cereal development.

“This would ultimately support greater profitability and competitiveness in Canada’s cereals sector,” an email from AAFC and CFIA says.

But some farm groups have concerns. The National Farmers Union says both options erode the savings farmers currently enjoy by saving and sowing their own seed.

The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) fears the proposed changes could undermine commodity commissions and associations funded via refundable checkoffs on delivered crops.

“Our commission supports the (oat) breeding program, but if all this money is going back to the breeding program and the farmer faces a non-refundable end point royalty perhaps producers will start taking their checkoff money back and then who is going to manage the market development and agronomy?” POGA’s executive director Shawna Dempsey-Mathieson said in an interview Oct. 31. “Our board feels those producer dollars should be managed by producers and they wouldn’t be, so producers would basically have no say in where those dollars are going then.”

There are many unanswered questions about the proposals, Dempsey-Mathieson said. POGA hopes its many of its members participate in the consultations, she added.

An economic analysis prepared on cereal and pulse seed royalties says Australian invests twice as much as in Canada in wheat development thanks to end point royalties.

The study also says private companies don’t invest in developing Canadian wheat and pulse crop varieties because there isn’t a big enough return on investment, unlike in crops such as corn, canola and soybeans.

See the Nov. 8 issue of the Manitoba Co-operator for more details on the proposals and the economic analysis of them.

To register email your preferred date and language of preference (English or French) to Kyle Kierstead of AAFC at [email protected] by Nov. 2. Space is limited.

Here are the dates and locations for the meetings:

  • Winnipeg — Friday Nov. 16, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M., Delta Hotels by Marriott, 350 St. Mary Avenue.
  • Ottawa — Friday Nov. 30, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M, Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport, 2400 Alert Road
  • Saskatoon — Tue. Dec 4, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M, Saskatoon Inn and Conference Centre, 2002 Airport Drive.
  • Edmonton — Thurs. Dec 6, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M, Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel, 4236 36th Street

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

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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