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Advocating for canary seed

Advocating for canary seed

An industry group wants the crop included in the Canada Grain Act

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

An ag organization is taking steps to have a crop included in a piece of federal legislation.

The Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan (CSDCS) will be writing letters to Patti Miller, the chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission, and to Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to have canary seed included under the Canada Grain Act.

The organization voted in favour of this decision at its annual general meeting on Jan. 13.

Grains regulated under the act which include corn, canola and soybeans, are protected by security held by the Canadian Grain Commission. If a licensed grain company refuses or fails to pay a producer for a grain delivery, the farmer can make a claim to receive compensation.

Because canary seed isn’t included in the act, producers don’t qualify for the same protections.

“We’re looking to have the same payment protections as other farmers,” Kevin Hursh, executive director of the CSDCS, told Farms.com. “There’s a lot of hesitancy right now from producers about being paid for their canary seed.”

Some of the producer uncertainty stems from ILTA Grain’s bankruptcy in July 2019, Hursh said.

That bankruptcy left 44 canary seed growers out “millions of dollars,” Hursh said.

But on Jan. 6, the Canadian Grain Commission determined that 222 other grain producers would be eligible for more than $11 million in total compensation.

“You can understand why canary seed growers want the crop to be included in the act,” Hursh said.

Placing canary seed in the Canada Grains Act could also lead to a crop-specific grading system.

Right now, graders are using outdated charts for another crop, said Lucas Sutherland, a producer from Eston, Sask.

“There have been discrepancies with what charts people are using,” he told Farms.com. “Some companies are using flax charts but there are differences between that chart and the canary seed chart. The canary (seed) chart was last updated in 1991 and seems to just exist without much backing.”

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