It is easy to miss the review of the Canadian Grain Act as you are looking at your cropping plans this spring, selecting seed based on yield, disease resistance, etc. Yet this review can impact your profit margin for many years to come. It is for this reason that I feel compelled to write this letter.
The consultation on changes to the Canada Grain Act closes April 30th.
The Canadian grain production system is unique, and the leading source of high-quality cereal grains in the world. Western Canadian produced wheat is often blended with wheat grown elsewhere to bring the quality up to the specifications needed by millers, allowing them to produce the product the consumer demands.
This isn’t left to chance, as the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) which administers the Act manages the processes that include the following:
1. A grain classification system where varieties are placed in a class based on their end use functionality (loaf bread, flat bread, pastries, etc.).
2. A grading system that allows segregation of grain based on quality (protein level, and visual elements such as frost or fusarium damaged kernels as well as disease and pests that we deal with annually).
3. The crop handling system including collection and transport system oversight from the prairies, to port.
4. A successful payment assurance program for grain delivered to a licenced facility
The CGC Grain Services Lab in Winnipeg is tasked with ensuring that the grain we are growing meets customers’ needs, as well as setting and adjusting grading requirements on the prairies and at port.
Inspection at port includes weighing and grading and ultimately providing a “Certificate Final”, which guarantees that the grain meets specifications, and protects the Canadian Brand and farmers’ interests.
We farmers must be careful not to be mislead by such language as “efficiency” or “modernization”. Efficient for whom? Does modernization mean stripping away farmers’ protection? Does the phrase “to benefit the industry” mean giving up producer protection?
We farmers are being asked to determine where we stand on recommended changes. It is essential that we are clear that the primary functions of both the Canadian Grain Commission and Canada Grain Act must remain protecting farmers’ interests and ensuring customer satisfaction.
To have your say, go to http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-our-department/public-opinion-andconsultations/canada-grain-act-review/?id=1610042989728 You have until April 30, 2021 to make your opinions known. Don’t let someone else decide your future.
Bill Gehl is an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Sask. Wheat Development Commission