Sask. wheat, barley checkoffs expected by Aug. 1

Saskatchewan’s new wheat and barley commissions are expected to be collecting checkoffs of 52 and 50 cents per tonne respectively by Aug. 1.

Speaking Thursday at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina, provincial Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced the commissions’ establishment with interim boards, ahead of board elections expected to take place by December.

The new commissions’ checkoffs are expected to generate annual revenue of about $4.3 million and $1 million respectively for wheat and barley research, market development and promotion initiatives.

“Now that Saskatchewan farmers enjoy marketing freedom, they have more control over their individual operations,” Stewart said in a release.

“Furthermore, with the establishment of these commissions, the elected boards will see wheat and barley producers have greater control over the future of their industry.”

“Our goal is to have a strategic plan that the commission members and elected board can endorse at the first annual general meeting in January of 2014,” Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission interim chair Cherilyn Nagel of Mossbank said in a separate release Thursday.

“We want a plan that represents the needs of Saskatchewan wheat producers and reflects the opportunities to improve wheat profitability.”

The wheat commission’s interim board also includes Norm Hall of Wynyard, David Marit of Fife Lake, Gerrid Gust of Davidson and Joan Heath of Radisson. The interim board is expected to focus on the new body’s start-up requirements and development of its strategic plan over the next six months.

“Our priorities in the short-term are to get the commission operational and move quickly into the development of the commission’s long-term strategic plan,” barley commission interim chair Bill Cooper of West Bend said in another release.

“During the consultations with producers, we heard about the importance of having a barley commission that will invest in research and market development. It’s now time to develop the plan to carry out that mandate.”

The new barley commission’s interim board also includes Bill Copeland of Rosetown, Todd Lewis of Gray, Tom Hewson of Langbank and Dennis Fuglerud of Outlook.

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