2015 Policy Directions

As a grassroots organization, our members set out the path for our efforts during Annual General Meetings held in January. For 2015, the focus will be on the following areas:

Agricultural Education

  • Investigate the feasibility of sponsoring grain-grading information sessions for agricultural producers.

Contracts

  • Form a committee on behalf of, and with Alberta grain, oilseed and special crop producers, to work with the appropriate levels of government to develop a standardized contract for open market grain purchase agreements (or deferred delivery contracts) with grain companies, feedlots and grain processors in Alberta. The document will:
    • have a clear set of obligations, terms and conditions for both the buyer and the unpaid seller;
    • describe a reasonable grace period for the buyer to take delivery and the seller to deliver;
    • describe that the delivery period and delivery location are obligations to the contract and cannot be changed without compensation to the seller;
    • describe what actions by each party constitute a breach of contract;
    • describe damages for non-acceptance and liquidated damages for both parties, along with any other changes the committee would deem fit.
  • Initiate discussions with livestock producer groups and appropriate levels of government to develop a standardized contract for livestock sales in Alberta between producers and slaughter facilities. This document will outline a clear set of obligations, terms and conditions for both the buyer and seller.

Energy

  • Lobby the provincial government to change the rules to encourage small electrical generators to produce energy to sell into the grid at cost effective value.
  • Urge the provincial government to require that the Alberta Utilities Commission review the current 8.75% guaranteed rate of return (ROR) granted to electrical distribution and transmission utilities and reduce it to bring it more in line with current prevailing financial market-based RORs with similar risk and investment.
  • Ask the provincial government to require the Alberta Utilities Commission to implement performance-based regulation that requires the electrical distribution and transmission utilities to demonstrate ongoing efficiency increases before granting a guaranteed rate of return.
  • Request the provincial government to mandate that before any new wind turbine licenses are granted, a 'needs assessment' be prepared, at the developer's cost, to satisfy the Alberta Electrical System Operator that the additional generation capacity is needed at that specific site and the additional electrical system reinforcement costs are justified.

Environment

  • Approach the provincial government to develop a plan whereby producers are compensated for leaving natural areas of trees, wetlands, and prairie grass.

Export Grain Reporting

  • Lobby the Canadian government to mandate that grain exporters report all grain export sales to Statistics Canada so these sales can be published or made public on a weekly basis.
  • Lobby the Canadian government to mandate that grain terminal operators report what grains are being loaded onto vessels at their terminals.

Grain Quality and Inspection

  • Advocate that the variety registration recommendations of the Working Committees of the Prairie Grain Development Committee be accepted by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
  • Support the research-funding model for varietal development proposed by the Alberta Seed Growers and other interested prairie farm groups which allows for strong producer input and funding.

Insurance

  • Urge the provincial government to extend wildlife damage compensation to include swath grazing and winter forage grazing along with winter bale grazing.

Rural Development

  • Urge the provincial government to make agriculture a primary focus of investment to bolster and diversify the economy, including reinstating the Agriculture and Food Innovation Endowment.

Transportation

  • Urge the federal government to order CN and CP to allocate 20% of their grain cars to producer car use and to short line railways.
  • Request that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture ensure that their advocacy regarding changes to the Canada Transportation Act include:
    • increased transparency with respect to detailed grain, oilseed and pulse pick-up and delivery and cars requested and delivered, and
    • enhanced ability of small shippers, short-line railways and producers to be adequately compensated, without repercussions by the major rail companies, for non- or poor service and entitlement for all grain shippers, regardless of size, to similar and consistent Service Level Agreements.