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Time for change, say Canada’s grain farmers
(Posted on 26/05/21)
On welcome news of the Canadian Grain Commission’s fee reduction, effective August 1, 2021, Canada’s grain farmers continue to underscore the need for comprehensive change to the organization’s scope and services.
As the voice of grain farmers in Ottawa, the Grain Growers of Canada recently submitted a series of actionable and urgent requests to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under the Canada Grain Act Review – chief among them the need to redefine the role of the Grain Commission and avoid any need for excess surpluses in the future.
“We have a historic opportunity to redefine the role of the Grain Commission and make it work for farmers,” said GGC chair Andre Harpe from his farm in Valhalla Centre, AB. “Part of this big change should involve returning surpluses to farmers and relying on third-party providers for weighing and inspection services.”
Third-party service providers are already performing weighing and inspection services for approximately $0.50 per tonne – nearly half the rate that of the current Grain Commission model, even under a reduced fee structure.
By shifting to an oversight role, the Grain Commission can focus on fostering a regulatory environment that enhances agriculture’s competitiveness and ensures the delivery of high-quality grain for domestic and export markets. This would come with the added benefit of reducing the huge surpluses that are a consequence of the current model, and which place a huge burden on farmers.
“We have been calling on the Grain Commission to reduce their service fees ever since 2017, when we learned that they had accumulated a significant surplus by overcharging farmers,” Harpe added. “Farmers are price takers, and we need a model where costs are not passed on to us when a more viable option is available.”
Under the current system, the grain industry incurs the costs for both the third-party inspection company and the CGC inspection.
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