Seed World

Value Creation: What do Farmers Think?

Kevin Bender

The chairmen of Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley say growers are largely uninformed and unsure about the conversation surrounding value creation in cereals.

On why the topic of end-point/trailing royalties is controversial among growers:

“There’s a reluctance among farmers to have to pay yet another fee, and that is a historical phenomenon. Some growers are often critical about the high cost of canola seed, but yet most often the highest priced seed is the first to sell out. This is because our potential return on investment is better than it is with lower priced or older varieties. I think the same could be true for wheat. If there is value, growers will invest. By nature, we don’t want to pay more or see another deduction on our grain check unless it’s clear or proven that it will generate more profit.

On why many growers are not informed on the topic of value creation:

“No matter how hard we try to get the message out to stakeholders, it doesn’t always get there, or it doesn’t always get taken up. It’s a hard one.”

Kevin Bender

Chairman, Alberta Wheat


On whether growers are very informed on the topic of value creation:

“I don’t think farmers are very informed about any of these discussions about value capture, or furthermore, about the Seed Synergy initiative. Certainly, anyone involved within industry organizations are somewhat aware of it, but I don’t think the general farming public is aware at all.”

On why planned consultations regarding value creation are so important:

“As a commission we’re most concerned about the reasons behind value creation, and further, the details of the preferred collection model of the Canadian Seed Trade Association’s Intellectual Property Committee, that being the trailing royalty model. Right now, there’s not much detail. We suspect there will have to be a lot of administration built into it. What’s the plan for any sort of compliance or enforcement? We don’t have those answers to convey to our stakeholders.”

On what it will take for many growers to accept the idea of value creation in cereals:

“As chairman and a farmer myself, I understand the need to attract more private investment into wheat and barley breeding, but farmers need to see benefit from that. Whether it’s done through checkoffs or a royalty system, wheat and barley farmers need to see increased value come out of it and back into our operations. We need to see either significant yield improvement or improved disease resistance in wheat and barley varieties. I suspect that this will need to be viewed as a long-term investment by farmers.”

Jason Lenz

Chairman, Alberta Barley