The Canadian Wheat Board has added a feature on its website encouraging farmers to pay special attention to details of their malting barley contracts with grain companies.
While the CWB controls the sale and pricing of domestic and export malting barley, selection of the high-quality grain required for the process is managed by grain companies dealing directly with producers. Since malting barley is not a grade under the Canada Grain Act, the producer and company must agree on the quality specifications, and unlike official grades, disputes cannot be referred for a binding decision to the Canadian Grain Commission.
The CWB says producers should “Think B.E.E.R” — Be sure to get it in writing; Ensure your contract clearly defines all quality specs; Evaluate the risk of not meeting specifications and Retain samples (original and from time of delivery).
“Farmers have to be aware of what they are signing. You need to know the terms and conditions, and you should have all your bases covered and know your rights,” Harold Frieze, a CWB Farm Business Representative in the Yorkton area says in an article on the website.
The article says three keys to helping prevent unwelcome surprises are to ensure you have the amount of charges and discounts in writing, ensure quality characteristics are clearly defined, and ensure you keep a sample.
The article also notes significant differences between a two-party production contract and a three-party CashPlus contract. The CWB is party to a CashPlus contract, and can work to help iron out disputes. However, the CWB has no role in a two-way contract between a producer and a grain company.
It also encourages producers to retain samples and to pay attention to charges, discounts, premiums and other terms of the contract.