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Bill C-18 draws grain grower support


October 29, 2014
By Grain Growers of Canada

Oct. 29, 2014, Ottawa – Appearing before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food Tuesday morning, the Grain Growers of Canada strongly encouraged the passing of Bill C-18 the Agricultural Growth Act.

Oct. 29, 2014, Ottawa – Appearing before the
Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food Tuesday morning, the Grain
Growers of Canada strongly encouraged the passing of Bill C-18 the Agricultural
Growth Act. 

The bill’s proposed amendments to the Plant Breeders’
Rights Act (PBR) will align Canadian legislation with the International
Union for the Protection of New Varieties (UPOV’91). This is important for
ensuring Canadian farmers have access to the newest seed varieties and will
create a regulatory environment that will encourage investment in innovation.  

“Canada is one of only a handful of countries not covered
under UPOV’91,” said Grain Growers president Gary Stanford. “This has put our
farmers at a competitive disadvantage to their international counterparts.
Aligning our regulations will not only level the playing field for our
producers, but it is also expected to encourage foreign breeders to release
their varieties in Canada. This would give our farmers access to new varieties
their competitors are already using.”  

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Both private and public investors require intellectual
property protection tools allowing them to capture their investment. Amending
the PBR Act to comply with UPOV’91 will help pave the way for much greater
investment in the development of new seed varieties that will deliver higher
yields and better agronomics for Canadian farmers.  

The proposals contained in Bill C-18 also enshrine into law
the right of farmers to save, store and clean seed – something which is missing
from the current regulatory framework.  

Also important are key amendments to the Agriculture
Marketing Programs Act. These changes bring more flexible terms for
growers when using the cash advance program. Citing a need to keep up
with increases in farm size, Grain Growers took this opportunity to push for
more improvements to cash advances by requesting consideration of an increase
in the limit that farmers can apply for under the Advance Payments Program.  

Canada’s grain growers strongly urge the swift passing and
implementation of the bill.  

The Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice
for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers
through its 14 provincial and regional grower groups, representing wheat,
durum, barley, canola, oat, corn, soybean, pea, lentil, rye, and triticale
farmers from across Canada. Its mission and mandate is to pursue a policy
environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal
policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.