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Farmers seek independent Alberta wheat commission

Following the formal demise of the Canadian Wheat Board last month, Alberta producers have said theyíre overwhelmingly in favour of creating an all-wheat commission for the province.

Following the formal demise of the Canadian Wheat Board last month, Alberta producers have said theyíre overwhelmingly in favour of creating an all-wheat commission for the province.

ìTo date, producer support for forming the proposed Alberta Wheat Commission is at more than 80 per cent,î said Kent Erickson, co-chair of the steering committee to form the new Alberta Wheat Commission.

Committee members have been travelling the province to discuss their plans for the commission with wheat producers. They have attended a number of regional and annual general meetings for producer groups such as the Alberta Barley Commission, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission and Alberta Pulse Growers Commission.

ìIn southern Alberta, we have about 99 per cent acceptance,î said steering committee co-chair Lynn Jacobson. ìWheat producers are very interested in how they will benefit from the commissionís leveraging of check-off dollars to increase research and development.î

Financial forecasts for the proposed commission estimate annual revenue of $3.5 million based on a refundable check-off rate of $0.70/tonne.

In current plans being shared with wheat producers, $3 million a year would go to research and market development priorities.

By leveraging check-off funds with funds from organizations focused on wheat research and market development, such as the Western Grains Research Foundation and the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund, up to $12 million of wheat-specific research could result.

ìWheat producers are also impressed that the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission and the Alberta Soft White Wheat Producers Commission are leading the efforts to form the new commission,î Jacobson said.

ìThis shows the commission is not government driven. Itís producer driven and supporters are saying time has come for this type of organization.î

The steering committee hopes to receive government approval for the proposed commission this spring a potential startup date of Aug. 1.

Wheat producers can voice their opinions of the proposed Alberta Wheat Commission through a survey posted at www.albertawheat.com


Airdrie City View Staff

About the Author: Airdrie City View Staff

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