Two new provincial commissions underway

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Alberta’s wheat and oat producers now have commissions established under the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act. The commissions can now collect refundable checkoffs to fund research, marketing and promotion. They began operations on Aug. 1.

The Alberta Wheat Commission will represent the interests of 11,000 wheat producers of all seven classes of wheat grown in Alberta, and is the first all-wheat commission in Canada.

“The end of Canadian Wheat Board monopoly has left a lot of gaps that industry is scrambling to fill. We need this new commission now more than ever before, so that Alberta wheat can stay competitive in the world market,” Kent Erickson, co-chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission Steering Committee said in a release. The committee has been consulting with producers and grain buyers over the past two years.

Erickson gave credit to the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers and Alberta Soft Wheat Producers commissions for leading the project. They conducted a survey which indicated that 58 per cent of producers favoured a commission for all classes of wheat.

The commission’s revenue will be generated by a mandatory but refundable checkoff of $0.70/tonne on commercial wheat sales in Alberta. The estimated $3.5 million annual revenue raised through the service charge will fund research, market development activities, policy and advocacy initiatives, as well as educational opportunities. Operations officially began on Aug. 1 under an interim appointed board until director elections can be held this fall in each of the commission’s five regions.

For more information visit www.albertawheat.com.

Oat growers commission

An interim board will also lead the new Alberta Oat Growers Commission until director elections expected to be complete by spring 2013.

“Until now, an organization dedicated to the specific needs of Alberta’s oat growers didn’t exist. The new commission will work with our partners in Saskatchewan and Manitoba on initiatives that will benefit the western Canadian oat industry as a whole,” Gordon Pope, director of the Alberta Oat Growers Commission Steering Committee, said in a release.

A refundable service charge of $0.50/tonne for oats, raising an estimated $140,000 per year, will allow the commission to fund oat research, market development and advocacy initiatives for oat-related issues.

It is expected that the newly formed Alberta Oat Growers Commission will join the Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA), which had successfully organized oat grower associations in Saskatchewan (2006) and Manitoba (2008). For more information visit www.poga.ca.

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