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Sask. winter cereal group votes to join wheat commission

The Sask. Winter Cereals Development Commission took a virtual vote on the amalgamation last week.
wp sprouts in test tubes
Amalgamation will also reduce administrative expenses, allowing more of the budget to be spent on research.

WESTERN PRODUCER — The Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission plans to amalgamate with the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, or Sask. Wheat.

During the SWCDC's annual general meeting held virtually during the Western Canadian Crop Production Show, voting members unanimously passed a motion that called for Sask. Wheat to assume SWCDC's mandate.

Brad White of Gull Lake is the vice-chair of SWCDC and he moved the motion.

He said the SWCDC faces significant issues, including the cyclic pattern of winter cereal acres.

"We've had a series of bad falls and we're kind of in that downside in the cyclic of acres right now. The other is that winter wheat is being sold as either spring wheat or feed wheat and the checkoff is already going directly to Sask. Wheat," White said.

With depressed check-off dollars coming into the SWCDC, it doesn't have enough money to support upcoming cluster agreements, he said.

"There's an opportunity to make sure that breeding and agronomy programs will continue. There's a lot of support out there, whether it's through WGRF or other commissions to keep winter wheat and rye as viable crop options on the Prairies. Whether it's from an agronomy standpoint, or environmental sustainability standpoint, or just market opportunities," White said.

Wade Gray from Eyebrow, the treasurer of SWCDC, said with fewer check-off dollars, a larger portion of the money now goes into administration of the commission.

"Administration costs in the budget are probably over 35-40 percent. So, if you could reduce those admin expenses even in half, it's that many more dollars that can go to research," Gray said.

Jake Leguee, vice-chair at Sask. Wheat, said the group has also discussed taking over SWCDC's mandate.

"I'm also a fall rye and winter wheat grower myself. This is a sensible thing to consider. There's a lot of research that would really be simplified in terms of funding if we could fund it as one whole organization," Leguee said.

"Our administration costs, of course because we're a larger organization, are much, much less. I mean we're 10 percent or less in our budgets for administration and payroll. So, I think there's a lot of benefits that we could bring by working together in a formalized way on this."