WCD - Single Check-off Proposal

Alberta farmers currently have two wheat check-offs on their grain cash ticket: the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) check-off of $0.70 cents per tonne; and the Western Canadian Deduction (WCD) of $0.48 cents per tonne.

The WCD was established in 2012 by the federal government as a transitional program to maintain support for research and market development that had previously been funded by the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), while provincial wheat commissions were established. The WCD check-off investment is divided as follows, $0.30 cents goes towards Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) to fund variety development, $0.15 cents goes to the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) in Winnipeg and $0.03 cents covers administration costs.

Subject to approval of a motion at our Annual General Meeting in January 2017, AWC will move to a single wheat check-off of $1.09 effective August 1, 2017 and consolidating all current AWC programs and WCD obligations in a model directly accountable to Alberta farmers. The amount of $1.09 per tonne for the check-off is a $0.09 reduction, as growers are currently paying $1.18 through the AWC check-off and WCD. Bottom line - less check-off dollars will be paid by AB wheat farmers in August 2017 and all existing programs will be maintained.

AWC will assume all of the funding obligations of the WCD, including core funding for the development of new wheat varieties. AWC is committed to ensuring continuity in Canada’s public breeding programs by providing financial support to breeding programs at AAFC and universities. AWC will also continue to provide funding for the market support, education and testing services provided by Cigi to continue to meet the needs of Canada’s key customers.

Most of the top wheat varieties grown in Alberta today, including CDC Go, AC Stettler and AC Foremost were developed with the support of producer check-off dollars administered by WGRF.

Why a reduction? Board and management looked at a variety of options and based on projections an additional $3 million to $3.7 million per year would be required to meet future commitments to variety development and Cigi. At $1.09, AWC will collect an estimated $3 million in additional revenue each year, meeting this financial goal.

Our western Canadian counterparts, the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, are also well positioned to continue their work to support growers’ bottom lines and will also transition to a single check-off. 

AWC has been discussing these upcoming changes in Wheat's Up, GrainsWest, and at our November Regional Meetings. We are always looking for grower feedback and questions about the single check-off proposal. Feel free to contact our office at 1-403-717-3711, 1-855-917-3711 or at info@albertawheat.com.

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