Common sense tells all of us that before we sign a contractual agreement we should fully understand all of the terms and agreements. As farmers, we often simply sign an agreement that is put in front of us by our retailer and view it as just one more thing that we need to do to get on with our day. We know that this is not the right approach but most of us would be guilty of not fully understanding all agreements that we sign, especially when it comes to those directly related to the growing of our crops.
As stronger lentil varieties containing the Clearfield trait are released, more growers are including them in their seeding plans. Maybe you read the contract before you signed it, maybe you didn’t. Either way it is important to know the terms and your obligations that go along with it.
WHAT ARE YOU AGREEING TO?
So what exactly are we signing when we sign a Clearfield Lentil Commitment? We agree to all the terms and conditions attached to the form that we sign but of most importance to the majority of farmers are the following points:
1) We receive an annual licence to use BASF’s Clearfield technology. The signed form is good for the upcoming growing season only. Commitment forms must be signed for each subsequent year that we would like to grow Clearfield lentils on our farm.
2) We agree to allow BASF to conduct a farm audit for up to two years after signing the commitment form. The farm audit may include an in-field audit of your Clearfield lentil crops and/ or a paper trail of lentil contracts or sale tickets. BASF has modified the audit process this year to include an acre measurement to ensure that the acres reported are accurate for their Grow Forward rebate program.
3) We agree to spray our Clearfield lentils with only a registered herbicide. If we spray our field with an imi-based product, it has to be a BASF product (such as Odyssey or Solo). We are agreeing to not spray our lentils with non-registered products such as Pursuit.
4) We agree to have any future seed tested for tolerance to an imi-based herbicide with a Clearfield Confirm test. The Confirm test needs to be completed on any seed that you are planning on re-seeding the next year or selling to your neighbour. The cost of the Confirm test is paid for by BASF.
What benefits do you receive from signing the commitment form? Most of us complain about all of the agreements and licences that we need to sign now to grow different crops. BASF has tried to set up some tangible as well as intangible benefits to encourage all of us to work through their process for Clearfield lentils.
The agronomic benefit is the most obvious, as the Clearfield trait expands your in-crop herbicide options for lentils. This has a dramatic impact on the success of the lentil crop and allows many farmers to consider growing lentils when they previously didn’t have a fit on their farm. This year, there is no licensing fee attached to the commitment form, and a portion of the revenue generated from the sales of herbicides used on Clearfield lentil acres is used to support the CDC breeding program for varietal improvements.
A signed Clearfield commitment can help farmers qualify and save for BASF’s Grow Forward Rebate program. Savings of up to five per cent on herbicides and up to 20 per cent on fungicides could be realized. BASF will support product guarantees on products used on Clearfield lentils with a signed commitment form.
There is no doubt that farmers see a benefit to being able to spray and in-crop weed control in their lentils. Currently BASF has a process set up to gather farmer’s information and grant farmers the licence to use this technology. Currently there are very few negatives associated with this especially considering for this growing season the licence continues to be free to the farmer. It is important to note that because this is an annual licence it very well may change in the future. It is important for all of us to fully understand what we are signing and agreeing to so that we can make informed decisions to what is beneficial to our farm.
BobbieBratrudfarmswithherhusbandMark nearWeyburn,Sask.TheyalsorunBratrud AgAdvisoryServices( www.bratrudag.ca)