National | Media Release

Grain commission reverses direction on export standards: NFU plays key role in this important win for farmers

Saskatoon, SK—On July 19, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) published amendments to regulations that would impose export grade standards on wheat delivered to country elevators.  (See the CGC news release and the Canadian Gazette).

On July 26, the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Wheat Growers Association (WGA) co-authored a letter to Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay asking him to stop those damaging regulatory changes.  The letter underscored that “The new rule will have a massive and long-term negative impact on Prairie wheat farmers’ incomes.”

Today, July 28, the CGC announced in a news release that “In response to stakeholder concerns, the Canadian Grain Commission is repealing the alignment of primary and export tolerances for test weight and total foreign material for all grades of the following classes of wheat.”

NFU Former President Terry Boehm commented: “This is a tremendous success for farmers.  It demonstrates the importance of organized policy advocacy that puts farmers’ interests first.”

Glenn Tait, NFU member and CGC Western Standards Committee member, noted that the CGC had acted against the opposition of virtually all of the farmer members on the Standards Committee—seeming to align with grain companies against farmers.  Moreover, noted Tait, at no time did the CGC ever provide evidence that this move was necessary or beneficial to farmers.

The Canada Grain Act is clear: the CGC “…shall, in the interests of the grain producers, establish and maintain standards of quality for Canadian grain and regulate grain handling in Canada…” [italics added].  Tait commented: “The CGC violated its own Act by taking steps harmful to the interests of producers.”

The published, but now repealed, changes to grain standards would have transferred any remaining financial benefits of blending from farmers to grain companies.  Tait explained: “The value of having separate country and export standards is that farmers’ deliveries that exceed export standards can be blended with those that fall a bit short and the result can be higher grades for all farmers while still enabling us to meet export standards.  Thus, farmers retain a portion of the financial benefits of that blending.  Under the CGC’s published changes that have now been repealed, grain companies would have pocketed all remaining blending premiums.”  If the CGC were allowed to impose export standards in the country, many farmers would have received a #2 grade for wheat that will now remain as #1.

Boehm concluded: “For more than a half-century, the NFU has advocated for a strong CGC that is vigorous and unflinching in its key role of ensuring that farmers’ rights and interests are protected within the grain handling system.  The CGC’s move to align primary and export standards was a mistake—a breach of its mandate and its responsibility to farmers.  We are pleased to see those ill-conceived changes reversed.  We thank incoming Minister McAuley for any role he may have played.”


For more information, please contact:

Glenn Tait, NFU member and CGC Western Standards Committee member:  (306) 481-4449,

Terry Boehm, NFU Former President:  (306) 255-7638,