Sask. moves to set up wheat, barley commissions

Committees are being set up in Saskatchewan to create research and development commissions, tasked with managing checkoff funds from sales of that province’s wheat and barley.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart on Friday said two new committees will work with the provincial ag ministry, the provincial Agri-Food Council and an unnamed private consultant to help establish wheat and barley development commissions.

The two new committees are to remain in place until elections can be held for the boards of directors to run the new commissions. Wheat and barley commissions are expected to be "in place and operational" by August 2013, the province said.

Collection of wheat and barley checkoffs until Aug. 1 had been the lookout of the Canadian Wheat Board, under that agency’s single marketing desk for Prairie wheat and barley.

With the single desk eliminated as of Aug. 1, Saskatchewan growers "will have an opportunity to direct how check-offs from the sale of wheat and barley grown in Saskatchewan will be used for research and development," the province said.

"Saskatchewan is a leader in wheat and barley production and these commissions will help direct research to keep producers at the forefront of the industry," Stewart said.

Elsewhere on the Prairies, Alberta has already made moves to set up such commissions. Inaugural regional meetings and an annual meeting (Jan. 28, 2013 in Edmonton) have already been scheduled for an Alberta Wheat Commission.

The Alberta commission’s interim board on Oct. 9 put out its first call for director nominations, with a filing deadline of Oct. 31.

The Calgary-based Alberta Barley Commission was asked by the federal government in May to oversee an interim Prairie wheat and barley checkoff for up to five years. Levy Central, administered by the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan, will collect that checkoff.

In Manitoba, general farm group Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) said in May it would spearhead a new wheat commission for that province.

Related stories:
AAFC to clarify wheat, barley checkoff authority, June 11, 2012
Feds set up interim Prairie grain research checkoff, May 22, 2012
Prairie wheat commissions under construction, May 10, 2012

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