A new program to protect farmers when licensed grain companies fail to pay them could be implemented Aug. 1, says Elwin Hermanson, chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission.
“I’m not betting my life we’ll be ready by Aug. 1 but that’s still our goal and it’s still possible,” he said during an interview April 2 during the Canada Grains Council’s annual meeting in Winnipeg. “If we don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Our existing program will continue. There’s not going to be a gap.”
The CGC has asked companies to submit proposals for the new program.
The CGC has said it wants to replace its current security program with an insurance scheme, which it says will protect farmers better and cost less.
The CGC has said grain company participation in an insurance program would be mandatory.
Late last year CGC commissioner Murdoch MacKay didn’t rule out the possibility the new scheme could include grain selling to feed mills. That’s something the Keystone Agricultural Producers have asked for in the wake of Puratone going into creditor protection owing a number of farmers hundreds of thousand of dollars for grain they delivered.
The current CGC security program only applies to licensed grain buyers. Feed mills are exempt. Grain companies must post security to cover what they owe farmers. It ties up working capital and the CGC says it’s hard to stay on top of what companies owe.
Sometimes in the past when companies ran into financial trouble or went under, their security failed to cover all the money owed to farmers.