New wheat and oat commissions begin operations on Aug. 1
The Province established two new commissions to help grain farmers build a stronger industry, Aug. 1.
The Alberta Wheat Commission and the Alberta Oat Growers Commission, formed through regulations approved under the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, will advocate for producers and fund research and marketing projects.
“It’s a good idea,” said Ken Sackett, who grows about 300 acres of hard red spring wheat on his farm, located west of Crossfield. “The idea of a commission is to be able to collect some money for research projects. I would be in favour of putting more money into research. There are lots of people in the world that (can) grow better crops than us… the only way to compete is for us to be on the leading edge of (technology).”
The new wheat commission replaces the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission and Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission and will represent the more than 11,000 wheat producers of all seven classes of wheat in Alberta.
According to a news release put out by the new wheat commission, this is the first all-wheat commission in Canada.
Its creation coincides with the recent changes to the Canadian Wheat Board.
“The dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly has left a lot of gaps that industry is scrambling to fill. We need this new commission now more than ever before, so that Alberta wheat can stay competitive in the world market,” said Kent Erickson, co-chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission Steering Committee, the group that has been working on the project since 2008.
“This is an exciting time for Alberta’s wheat producers and represents the conclusion of several years of hard work,” added Erickson.
There was no organization dedicated to Alberta’s oat growers prior to the oat committee’s formation, said Gordon Pope, director of the Alberta Oat Growers Commission Steering Committee.
“The Alberta Oat Growers Commission is a big step for oat producers in our province,” said Pope. “The new commission will work with our partners in Saskatchewan and Manitoba on initiatives that will benefit the Western Canadian oat industry as a whole.”
Both commissions will be funded by a fully refundable service charge. The all-wheat commission will receive 70 cents per tonne for grain sold in Alberta, which will bring in an estimated $3.5 million/year.
The oat commission will receive 50 cents per tonne of oats sold in Alberta, an estimated $140,000 per year, which will be used for oat research, market development and advocacy.
Both commissions are required to fully refund service charges if requested to do so by producers. The Agricultural Products Marketing Council will appoint interim boards of directors until producers elect the board next Spring.
Steering committees for each commission consulted with producers and grain buyers over the past two years prior to the establishment of the commissions.