CGC security to remain pending other ideas: Ritz

Farmers who fear losing the Canadian Grain Commission’s (CGC) security program, which protects against payment defaults on delivered grain, won’t have to do without the program until it’s replaced by other options.

According to Thursday’s Manitoba Co-operator, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said so to Keystone Agricultural Producers vice-president Rob Brunel last month during the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s annual meeting in Ottawa, Brunel said.

According to Brunel, “Minister Ritz responded that they will keep the current program in place until we have other options.”

A similar statement came from in a March 4 radio interview, the farm newspaper said.

“We’re not removing (CGC security) holus-bolus,” Ritz told farm broadcaster Kelvin Heppner in an interview on Golden West Radio March 4. “We’ll only do it in light of something better being offered for producers.”

But it’s not yet known if Bill C-13 — the legislation that proposes to end CGC security and make other changes to the CGC and Canada Grain Act — would be delayed until other options are fleshed out, or would include transition measures.

KAP’s Brunel, who farms at Ste. Rose du Lac, about 50 km southeast of Dauphin, Man., said he’s curious about how Ritz’s promise will be implemented, but relieved farmers won’t go unprotected.

“Our concern from Day 1 was to have another system in place before we got rid of what we’ve got,” Brunel said in an interview with Co-operator reporter Allan Dawson.

Farm groups, including KAP, recently hired a consultant to compare and contrast potential farmer-industry administered replacements for CGC security, sometimes referred to as “bonding.”

The report, which attempts to compare the insurance and clearing house options, was expected to be completed this week and up for discussion at KAP’s general council meeting at Portage la Prairie, Man. on April 9.

As it stands now, licensed grain companies, which buy grains using CGC grades, must post enough security to cover what farmers are owed. Twenty-one crops are covered, with canaryseed a notable exception.

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