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Oct. 15 deadline to comment on proposed cereal royalties

The online survey will allow farm groups to best represent grower interests

Farmers have until Oct. 15 to comment on proposed changes to cereal seed royalties at seedroyaltysurvey.com.

Survey results will be presented to the federal agriculture minister after the Oct. 21 federal election.

The online survey was launched in July by the Alberta Federation of Agriculture (AFA), the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) and Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).

The three Prairie farm groups are collecting producer feedback on proposed changes to the way royalties are collected after concerns were raised about the level of farmer input in the federal government’s consultation process launched last fall.

Two options were initially proposed to boost revenues to encourage more plant breeding — end point and trailing royalties.

An end point royalty would oblige farmers to pay a royalty when they deliver grain grown from a Plant Breeders’ Rights-protected variety to a buyer; a trailing, or contract royalty, would require farmers pay a fee to crop variety owners if they save seed for planting, ending a farmer’s ability to save money by planting saved seed.

KAP, AFA and APAS have discussed other options, including distributing funds collected from an end point royalty to private and public breeders, with a percentage managed by farm groups.

While the groups remain open minded about options they have agreed on six principles for a new system:

  • Maintain and enhance public research, development and finishing of new varieties;
  • Preserve or enhance current public funding;
  • Be transparent with farmer involvement;
  • Maintain the privilege of farm-saved seed;
  • Fair and equitable administration;
  • Ensure farmers remain competitive.

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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