WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) has unveiled a plan to invest C$90 million in an initiative designed to provide Canadian producers with more access to information on the quality of their crops. The investment, which will be made through the Surplus Investment Framework of the CGC’s Harvest Sample Program, will strengthen safeguards for producers, improve grain quality assurance programs and enhance grain quality science and innovation.

According to the CGC, Canadian producers who participate in the Harvest Sample Program will begin receiving falling number and deoxynivalenol results for their wheat samples at no cost beginning with the 2018-19 crop. The additional benefits to the Harvest Sample Program will be funded over the next five years though the investment of C$4 million from the CGC’s accumulated surplus.

“We are pleased to announce a key investment in the Harvest Sample Program,” said Patti Miller, chief commissioner of the CGC. “It’s an important tool that makes data available to promote the sale of Canadian grain, helps producers ensure the best return for their crops, and contributes to research on grain grades and the end-use quality of Canadian grain.

“The Canadian Grain Commission will invest surplus funds in programs and activities that will meet the evolving needs of the grain sector for years to come. We look forward to working with stakeholders to maximize the value of surplus investment initiatives.”

The investment in the Harvest Sample Program is the first step in the CGC’s broader Surplus Investment Framework. More details on the program are expected to be revealed later this year, but potential investments may center on real-time analytical testing at key locations in the grain handling system, e-services and information management, grain quality science and innovation, enhancements to producer protections and grain quality assurance, and new testing methods for grain quality and safety.

 In addition to amounts spent through the Surplus Investment Framework, C$40 million will be set aside for a contingency operating fund, to cover downward fluctuations in grain volumes. This will ensure consistent service levels and stable fees for the years to come, the CGC said.

The CGC is financed through a revolving fund, with more than 90% of its operations funded on a cost-recovery basis, through fees. These fees are primarily earned through official grain inspection and weighing services provided to grain exporters. Amounts collected from year to year fluctuate based on inspected grain volumes.

In years with higher-than-average grain volumes, the CGC said it will accumulate surpluses in its revolving fund, while in years with a lower-than-average volumes, it will draw on those surpluses.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, the CGC had a revolving fund surplus of approximately C$130 million. This surplus was accumulated because of higher-than-anticipated grain volumes and lower-than-expected spending, the CGC said.