The industry group for Canada’s soybean sector faces relatively low exposure from a loss of funding by Prairie grain heavyweight Richardson International.
The privately-held Winnipeg grain firm recently announced it would not renew its funding commitments to the Canola Council of Canada, Flax Council of Canada and Soy Canada. The company said its total annual funding to the three groups totalled over $1 million, with the lion’s share going to the Canola Council.
A Richardson representative wouldn’t put a dollar value on its annual commitment to Soy Canada, but did say Tuesday its current funding commitment to the Ottawa-based organization expires at the end of March.
Asked about the company’s decision, Soy Canada didn’t respond directly to Richardson’s announcement or mention it by name, but did say the annual membership fees paid by industry members — such as seed companies, crushers and exporters — are based on sales or volume and vary from a minimum of $1,000 to a capped maximum of $25,000.
The annual contributions to Soy Canada from grower organizations, meanwhile, are instead based on volume of production and are not capped, the organization said.
Richardson’s soybean business is in seed and input sales and crop marketing; its oilseed crushing and processing operations are devoted to canola.
Soy Canada said Thursday via email it “values highly the participation of every member of the organization” and added that contributions by industry members “have a minimum multiplier effect of approximately 30-fold” when combined with funding from all sources.
Richardson, however, said Tuesday it now finds the value of membership in the three industry groups has fallen short of the financial cost and many of the issues each organization handles could instead be addressed on a “multi-commodity” basis by an overarching oilseed council.
Contending that it “currently has a strong value proposition,” Soy Canada said Thursday it’s nevertheless “committed to ongoing engagement with both existing and prospective member organizations and companies on potential opportunities for further refinement of all aspects of its operations.”
Members of the soy value chain have established a “collective and realistic target of a further doubling of production” by 2027, Soy Canada said, adding it “will invest in and act as a primary facilitator and catalyst for the realization of this target.” — AGCanada.com Network