SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA — Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced on May 22 that a new producer check-off will be set up to support vital research, market development and technical assistance for the western Canadian grain industry.

The draft regulations, to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, will name the Alberta Barley Commission as the administrator of the new check-off.

"With the global economy still very fragile, strengthening Canada’s economy continues to be our government’s primary concern," said Ritz. "The check-off will help the western grain industry to grow, increase profitability at the farm gate, and create a bright future for the Canadian economy."

The Alberta Barley Commission was proposed as the prescribed agency after much consultation with the industry. The commission was best prepared to take on the role of administrator, having successfully administered the Alberta barley check-off since 1991.

These regulations are scheduled to be in place for Aug. 1, the start of the new crop year. The government intends for Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the Canadian International Grains Institute, and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre to continue to receive the same level of funding they received through the previous arrangement.

As outlined in the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, the proposed check-off funds can be used for:

·         Research activities into new and improved grain varieties;

·         The promotion of the marketing and use of grain grown in Canada; and

·         Technical assistance relating to the use of grain grown in Canada.

The check-off will remain voluntary and will be in place for the upcoming harvest. The check-off will be done at point of sale and will appear as a deduction on producers’ cash purchase tickets when they deliver grain. This will be done in a manner that is fully transparent so that farmers can see the full amount of their support to grain research. It will not however apply to imports, producer-to-producer sales, and feed and exports not delivered through licensed facilities.

The proposed check-off regulations will be available once published in print in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on May 26.The current check-off for the WGRF funding will continue for the 2011-12 crop year.