Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are currently conducting engagement sessions around “Value Creation” to discuss changes to the way new varieties of wheat, barley and other Canadian crops are developed in Canada. These consultations are currently underway and they are asking for producer input.
Variety development (breeding) programs across Canada are supported mostly (72%) by government, or public, funding. The balance of the funding for these programs comes from producer check-off via farm commissions. There is also a small amount that comes from the private sector, however this remains a small portion of overall investment. According to a report by JRG consulting, under the current system approximately $56 million is invested annually in wheat and barley breeding programs.
Under this consultation, AAFC and CFIA have proposed two models for evaluation.
End Point Royalties
Royalty Collection Enabled Via Contracts
• A Plant Breeders’ Rights Act
(PBRA) underpinned national non-refundable royalty payable on all harvested material (i.e., grain)
• Leverages the existing provincial check-offs system to collect the non-refundable royalty
• Royalties to be distributed to breeders based on their respective market share
• Need for a mechanism to provide rebates/exemptions, ensuring royalties not collected on production from certified seed
• A Plant Breeders’ Rights Act (PBRA) underpinned mechanism allowing for contracts where producers agree to farm saved seed conditions
• Purchasers of certified seed for eligible varieties agree to extended contract on farm saved seed use (e.g., agreeing to a “trailing” royalty on farm saved seed)
• Participating producers report on their annual use of farm-saved as part of their contractual obligation
• Will require at least some degree of centralization in royalty collection and distribution
Both these proposed models have the potential to have a large financial impact on producers. Given the lack of detail presented by AAFC and CFIA it is impossible to quantify the impact to producers at this point. It is important to note that these models are not the only options for future funding of variety development.
What can you do as a producer?
- Provide feedback to the government directly. Comments can be submitted to:
AAFC – Carla St. Croix email@example.com or 613-773-1221
CFIA – Anthony Parker firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-773-7188
- Learn more about the potential changes. Continue to check back to our website for more information as it becomes available. Some information is available at: https://seedinnovation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Government-Value-Creation-Consultation-Deck-1-.pdf
- Provide feedback to any farm commissions you are a member of.
- Raise awareness about these proposed changes and their potential impact on producers amongst your family, friends and neighbours about this.
- Attend our session on this topic, hosted by the Saskatchewan crop commissions during Crop Week 2019 in Saskatoon. This session is free and open to everyone. There will be an opportunity for you to provide feedback directly to AAFC officials:
Wednesday January 16, 2:30PM
TCU Place, 35 22 St E, Saskatoon