Today, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association called for an immediate reduction on Grain Commission user fees paid by grain farmers, and called for the refund back to growers of tens of millions of farmers’ dollars having been collected in overcharges, creating a massive and unnecessary surplus.
“With approximately $100 million of farmers’ hard-earned money having piled up into this enormous surplus, it’s time to immediately give growers a break and reduce these user fees,” said Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers, who farms at Pense, Saskatchewan. “User fees are supposed to help pay for their operations, but a nine figure surplus in user fees is shocking.”
Farmers are currently being charged about $1.80 per tonne of grain delivered, which are for inspection and weighing certification of grain being sold for export. An average grower who delivered 5,500 tonnes of grain to an elevator for export in the past year would have paid about $10,000 in these user fees in just one year, ultimately creating this now approximate $100 million surplus.
“It’s a fair point that export volumes have been higher in the past few years than first estimated, so the volume of fees has also been much higher, but that’s no reason to now hoard farmers’ money,” said Matt Sawyer, Director of the Wheat Growers, who farms and ranches at Acme, Alberta. “However, it is a great reason to now reduce these user fees—which are clearly out of line for their intended purpose of those operations—and it’s time to refund the surplus, giving the money from growers back to the growers.”
The Wheat Growers also launched a petition on the issue, asking all western grain growers to join with them in requesting an immediate reduction in user fees and a refund of the surplus back to farmers.
“It’s been a tough year with the nasty weather we’ve had, and lower commodity prices, so a fee reduction and refund will go a long way to help growers,” said Graeme Manness, Director of the Wheat Growers, who farms at Domain, Manitoba. “And it is growers’ money, that’s why we’re asking our farming colleagues to join with us in calling for the reduction and refund of our hard-earned dollars back to us at the farm-gate.”