Sask Wheat advocacy and policy update
By: Kelsey Tollefson
Value creation/capture collaboration
Sask Wheat continues to be engaged in the ongoing value creation consultation led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Sask Wheat Chair, Laura Reiter, is participating on a producer panel that is providing feedback on the next steps of the consultation. For next steps, AAFC and the CFIA are planning an online survey for producers to provide feedback. Sask Wheat encourages all producers to participate in the online survey.
The Sask Wheat Board of Directors does not support either of the options as presented by the federal government and believes development of additional options is needed in the consultation. There are other models available to producers to support varietal development efforts, and these need to be explored through further consultations with producers. Sask Wheat will continue to work to keep producers informed on this consultation and opportunities for producers to provide input.
Transport Canada: Freight rail data consultation
Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, became law on May 23, 2018 and introduced new requirements for Class 1 railways to submit weekly service and performance metrics and detailed waybill data to Transport Canada. The metrics put in place with the passing of Bill C-49 were transitional, and Transport Canada has now launched a regulatory process to move these requirements into the Transportation Information Regulations. Sask Wheat is hopeful that this reporting will improve transparency and help to keep railways accountable for their service.
In 2018, Sask Wheat joined the Ag Transport Coalition (ATC). The ATC is an important group to monitor railway performance and report performance metrics back to the industry. Having this information collected and disseminated to the industry is critical for identifying emerging issues within the grain handling and transportation system and improving future performance. The data and experience ATC has in monitoring railway performance will be extremely valuable in this consultation.
Sask Wheat will continue to work with the ATC and our producer coalition partners (APAS and SaskBarley) on developing a common response from the grain industry to the freight rail data consultation.
CGC: DON and falling number consultation
In March 2019, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), launched a formal discussion on the use of falling number (FN) and deoxynivalenol (DON) as official grading factors. Sask Wheat is encouraged to see the CGC moving forward with some of the initiatives outlined in the Grain Grading Modernization project. Producers have identified DON and FN as important factors when marketing their grain; however, producers have no way of validating or challenging the results from tests at primary elevators.
Sask Wheat supports, in principle, making FN and DON official grading factors by setting a reasonably low value for FN and a reasonably high value for DON on a class basis. This would ensure that the values would not be an issue for meeting class standards, but would give producers access to the “subject to CGC inspectors’ grade and dockage” clause of the Canada Grain Act. This would be similar to the approach taken when protein was added as an official grading factor. Furthermore, adding FN and DON as official grading factors would allow for the standardization of sampling and testing procedures.
Sask Wheat will continue to be engaged in this discussion moving forward.
Code of Practice for grain production
The Grains Roundtable recently endorsed exploring the development of a Code of Practice for the production of grains in Canada through the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC). The idea behind the development of a code is to assist efforts in gaining and maintaining public trust in Canadian agriculture, both domestically and internationally.
The proposed code would be voluntary and initial policy discussions are just beginning. Sask Wheat is a member of the CRSC and will be participating in these initial discussions. Sask Wheat believes that it is crucial for Saskatchewan farmers to be represented and involved in the development of any potential code of practice.
Sask Wheat will work to keep producers informed as we gain more information on the code of practice. Continue to watch our website, newsletter, and Twitter feed for updates going forward.