From FCC Express by Owen Roberts
A vote will be held this fall among Ontario oat and barley growers to determine whether they join forces with the Grain Farmers of Ontario, ultimately to help develop new sources of research funding to boost substandard oat and barley yields.
GFO, which represents 28,000 corn, soybeans and wheat growers in Ontario, supports the notion of adding the $82-million oat and barley industry to its roster.
But it wants oat and barley growers to lead the effort to join. So, a vote is scheduled for November to determine farmers’ desires, and see if they agree with the initiative’s research-oriented direction.
“Oat and barley yields lagged behind yields of other field crops over the past 20 years because of less research,” says Craig Martin of Wintermar Farms, chair of the Oat and Barley Representation Committee which is leading the initiative. He and the other committee members – three growers and one representative each from SeCan and GFO – believe research would help boost oat and barley yields to more profitable levels.
A positive vote to join GFO would mean direct investment in public breeding programs by the organization, as well as leveraged investment through agri-science clusters such as the Canadian Field Crops Research Alliance, in which federal funds are available to match producer support.
Direct research investment would come from a proposed licence fee – $1.20 per tonne for barley, and $1.50 per tonne for oats. It would be collected from oat and barley growers when they deliver their crop to a licensed receiving point, such as an elevator. On-farm use and farm-to-farm sales would be exempt from the licence fee.
Ontario farmers grow about 258,000 acres of oats and barley.
Martin outlined the proposal to about 300 farmers and others gathered to recognize the 25th anniversary of Cribit Seeds last week in Winterbourne.