Alberta Wheat Commission will move to single check-off saving farmers nine cents per tonne this August
Following a vote at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) earlier today, the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) announced that the province’s wheat farmers will pay nine cents per tonne less on a single wheat check-off of $1.09 in August 2017, subject to provincial government approval processes intended to be in place by this time. The new, single wheat check-off will combine the current AWC levy with the Western Canadian Deduction (WCD).
The move to a single wheat check-off is part of AWC’s plan to assume the funding obligations of the WCD that will sunset on July 31, 2017. In this model, AWC will assume a greater role in funding new wheat varieties and will maintain current funding commitments for the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi), which contributes to market support, education and testing services to meet the needs of Canada’s key customers. AWC will also maintain its current portfolio of programming.
“Farmer profitability is always our first priority,” said Kevin Auch, AWC Chair. “As we looked ahead to this shift in responsibilities, we settled on $1.09 based on the projected income we’ll need to ensure farmers continue to have access to new, premium wheat varieties as well as the value that our industry receives from Cigi’s work. We believe this move will enhance efficiency and accountability in the administration of producer dollars.”
The WCD check-off is currently applied to all sales of wheat delivered to licensed grain buyers in Western Canada, and AWC’s western Canadian counterparts, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, will also transition to a single check-off. The three commissions recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to absorb the responsibilities and funding obligations of the WCD.
“Funding for Canada’s public breeding programs through the WCD has resulted in some of the top varieties that farmers grow today,” said Auch. “We will work with Sask Wheat and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association to maintain alignment in variety development priorities, while keeping all funding commitments in place.
Prior to the vote on the new check-off at its AGM, AWC administered a survey of Alberta’s wheat farmers to garner producer perceptions on the new check-off value. Survey results indicated 75 percent either strongly or somewhat support the proposed $1.09 check-off. Following approval from the provincial government, AWC will work with grain companies to implement the new service charge amount.