The voluntary code of practices created by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops heard mixed feedback in its recent consultation process
Representatives from SaskCanola recently released information online for their members about the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops’ (CRSC) voluntary code of practice document, Responsible Grain.
CRSC members created the first draft of Responsible Grain in 2020 and were working on consultations with farmers, commodity groups and industry in early 2021. This is when feedback on the document started to be very mixed.
“We're receiving various forms of feedback, whether that's calls into the office here at SaskCanola, or calls to directors, various social media platforms, and lots of questions as to what's going on, why it's being developed,” said Bernie McClean, chair of SaskCanola. Feedback “varied from complete outrage to just general concerns that it's intrusive.”
SaskCanola staff received a lot of feedback from their members and they wanted to give them some information and background on the document so they posted information online for farmers. They also wanted to make it clear where this document was coming from because some farmers thought it was initialed by the canola sector, said McClean.
“Canola, specifically in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, seem to be really being targeted (by farmers) as you guys didn't speak on our behalf and that couldn't be further from the truth. The reason these consultations happened is because canola recognized that, hey, this is not going to be favourable and farmers need to have feedback on that,” he told Farms.com.
SaskCanola staff and other canola organizations in Canada saw the first draft of the document to be confusing, said McClean.
“The code maybe doesn't represent our best interests as farmers. As it stands right now, there's kind of unclear objectives. Some areas, it's pretty prescriptive, some areas it seems a little vague, and the most concerning part is it tends to imply that growers aren't being responsible stewards of the land and that couldn't be further from the truth,” he said.
As the document is currently, SaskCanola does not support it.
Consultation on Responsible Grain wrapped up in January and while the CRSC wanted to have a finished document ready to go for this spring, things have changed after this round of consultations, said McClean.
Consultations have “been extended now to a second consultation period, which will happen this fall after harvest,” McClean said. “If these consultations proved anything, it's that feedback was required, and it gives a clear message now that there is considerable concern. So, that concern is definitely being taken forward to Responsible Grain and CRSC.”
If farmers have questions or concerns about the document, they can contact the SaskCanola office by email or phone.
“If growers have concern by all means we want to hear the feedback. It's imperative. That's why these consultations were set up because we wanted and needed that feedback. We knew there would be concern out there,” said McClean.