Celebrating 100 years of service to grain producers and industry
WINNIPEG, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – The Canadian Grain Commission is
celebrating its achievements after 100 years of service to Canada’s
grain producers and the industry.
“We are proud to be a part of an industry that has helped shape and
continues to shape Canada,” says Elwin Hermanson, Chief Commissioner.
“We have guaranteed producers the right to fair treatment since 1912,
and we’ve kept pace with the needs of a changing industry over the last
Grain is one of Canada’s main export commodities and has been
instrumental in Canada’s economic development. Since April 1, 1912, the
Canadian Grain Commission has worked with Canada’s grain producers and
industry to ensure that Canada’s grain is a dependable commodity for
domestic and export markets.
Origin of the Canadian Grain Commission
Beginning in the 1890s, grain farmers in Western Canada began
petitioning the Canadian government for protection against unfair
practices. A full history of the early days of grain farming and the
beginning of the Canadian Grain Commission, called 100 years of quality
assurance, is available on the Canadian Grain Commission’s web site at www.grainscanada.gc.ca.
In 1912, the Canadian government passed the Canada Grain Act, in response to demands from farmer organizations for legislation
ensuring farmers were treated fairly in Canada’s grain handling system.
This Act created the Board of Grain Commissioners, as the Canadian
Grain Commission was then known. Even today, producers continue to
enjoy rights first guaranteed a century ago. Canadian grain producers:
-- Can dispute the grade and dockage received at a licensed primary elevator and ask Canadian Grain Commission inspectors to provide a binding decision. -- Are guaranteed the right to ship their grain using producer cars. -- Are offered payment protection for deliveries to licensed primary elevator
Century of adapting to change
Over the last century, the Canadian grain industry has kept pace with
changes in technology and in farming.
From King Wheat to canola: grade standards for 21 grains
In 1912, the Canadian Grain Commission set grading standards for 7 types
of grain: wheat, durum, barley, oats, rye, flaxseed and buckwheat. At
that time, wheat was king. By 1913, Canadian producers were producing
7.7 million tonnes of wheat.
Today, reflecting the diversity of crops grown by Canadian grain
producers, 21 grains are regulated by the Canadian Grain Commission.
Wheat is still an important crop. In 2011, Canadian producers produced
over 20 million tonnes of wheat. However, other crops, such as canola,
have grown in importance. In 2011, producers produced over 13 million
tonnes of canola, a crop that did not exist in 1912.
Expansion of quality research: pulses
Since 1914, the Grain Research Laboratory has been providing a
scientific foundation for Canada’s grading system. In its early days,
the laboratory focused on wheat quality for bread-making because wheat
was Canada’s primary export crop. Over the years, the laboratory has
grown to include different crops and technologies.
In response to an increase in pulse production, the Pulse Research
program began in 2000. Pulses, which include beans and chick peas, were
once a minor crop in Western Canada. In the 1990s, about 1 million
tonnes of pulses were produced. By 2009, production increased to 5.6
million tonnes. That same year Canada exported 4.1 million tonnes of
pulses worth nearly $2.2 billion.
Development of new testing methods
Quality testing has always been an important role for the Canadian Grain
Commission. Researchers in the Grain Research Laboratory and inspectors
work to develop scientifically valid testing methods that meet the
needs of the industry.
In the 1970s, researchers developed a protein testing method using
near-infrared reflectance (NIR) technology. This method, which replaced
more cumbersome, laboratory-based methods, is still the industry
standard for determining protein content in grain.
Market access: Grain safety research
Customers of Canada’s grain are concerned about the safety of grain
products. Providing assurances to export customers helps keep markets
open for Canadian grain. Since the 1960s, the Grain Research Laboratory
has been conducting research and cargo monitoring to support this goal.
In the 1960s, the Pesticide Residue Unit used 2 methods to test for 15
compounds. Today, the Trace Elements and Trace Organic Analysis
Programs (which replaced the Pesticide Unit) use over 15 methods to
test for over 200 compounds. Researchers review methods and develop
new ones as required to maintain market access for Canada’s grain.
About the Canadian Grain Commission
The Canadian Grain Commission is the federal agency responsible for
establishing and maintaining Canada’s grain quality standards. Its
programs result in shipments of grain that consistently meet contract
specifications for quality, safety and quantity. The Canadian Grain
Commission regulates the grain industry to protect producers’ rights
and ensure the integrity of grain transactions.
SOURCE Canadian Grain Commission