Agriculture Canada and the CFIA are looking at changes to the way crop research and variety development is funded.
Two proposals are being considered a trailing contract or an endpoint royalty both of which many believe will restrict a farmer’s ability to save their seed without paying royalties to the large multinational seed and chemical companies.
Hanley area farmer Cam Goff is the NFU’s Vice President of Policy is raising questions around how the process would work.
“The trailing contract requires an extremely what I would consider to be an invasive data collection system. They have to keep track of which variety every farmer is growing, how many acres they're growing it on and what seed rate their using, (as far as how many bushels or pounds they're seeding it at) and then they also have to have an enforcement system in place.”
He notes the costs for a data collection system and an enforcement system would also end up coming out of farmers pockets along with any other fees.
“All of the control of whether a farmer can seed them at all, whether they can treat it, whether they can put in in their bins even. All of those things can be controlled by a company and any charges that they want to levy on to those privileges would be passed back to the farmer.”
He says farmers understand the need to have a well-funded seed variety development system, but the current public system has given Canadian farmers the best variety of grain crops in the world.