Producer research checkoff for wheat and barley in place by August 1

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced that a producer check-off will be in place for August 1, 2012 as planned, to fund research, market development, and technical assistance for the western Canadian grain industry. 

The implementation follows a consultation process to develop the new regulations.

"Our government committed to ensuring that a producer check-off would be in place beginning August 1 so that farmers continue to benefit from important research and market development," Ritz said in a release.

The check-off will be administered by the Alberta Barley Commission, and funding derived from it will support the work of the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Canadian International Grains Institute, and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre. The check-off is designed to provide the same level of funding that these organizations received through the previous arrangement.

As detailed in the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the check-off funds can be used for the following:
research activities into new and improved grain varieties;
the promotion of the marketing and use of grain grown in Canada; and
technical assistance relating to the use of grain grown in Canada.

The government received comments from 16 organizations and individuals during the consultation process.

Two parts of the proposed regulations were improved as a direct result of stakeholder input. The refund submission deadline of Dec. 31 was deemed too early in the crop year and has been extended to July 31. As well, the proposed regulations were adjusted to clarify when the collected check-off funds are to be submitted to the prescribed agency.

The check-off will remain voluntary. It will be charged at point of sale and will appear as a deduction on producers’ cash purchase tickets when they deliver grain. This will be done in a manner that is fully transparent so that farmers can see the full amount of their support to grain research and market development. It will not, however, apply to imports, producer-to-producer sales, and feed and exports not delivered through licensed facilities.

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