WAGG says growers want choice

Sarah Allen —  May 1, 2009

WA Grains Group (WAGG) withdraws its support for the compulsory GRDC levy as members push for more influence on where their dollars are spent…

M E D I A   R E L E A S E

Growers want choice

WA Grains Group withdraws it’s support for the compulsory GRDC (Grains Research & Development Corporation) levy.  At the recent meeting held by the WAGG, members felt that they would like to be empowered to decide where their dollars are spent.

 It is about choice, farmers want to be able to choose where their research dollars are spent, if they want to spend it, and how much they want to spend.  Currently farmers can be in a position where they are relying on overdraft funds to compulsorily fund GRDC.

Chairman Doug Clarke had attended the AGM of the Soft Wheat Growers Association the previous week and heard the concerns raised by the members who had been recently notified that there would be no further funding for the Soft Wheat Trials by the GRDC.  “Everywhere I go farmers tell me that they do not think they are getting value for money from the levy’s that are compulsorily acquired by the GRDC” Mr. Clarke said.   “More and more I hear farmers say that they would prefer to say where their money is being spent, and not have it spent on their behalf”.  There is also a lot of ill feeling that the levy is taken out before it is determined if the farmer has even made a profit for the year “GRDC get paid before we do”.

The WA Grains Group called a meeting at Harrismith in 2008 with CEO of the GRDC Peter Reading and members of the Western Panel of the GRDC, unfortunately this was not well attended by farmers.  There was however good presentations by farmer Brian Smith from Pingrup who put a very convincing case for the GRDC levy only being paid if the farmer makes a profit.  The other presentation by Julie Newman showed the number of times a farmer pays for new varieties of grain – GRDC levy, Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) levy and the End Point Royalty (EPR) levy without owning the intellectual property.

“The issues of levy’s has probably been brought into the spotlight recently by Intergrain intending to charge $2 per tonne EPR on Carnamah wheat which was a publicly owned variety” Mr. Clarke said.  Following discussion at the meeting on the GRDC levy the meeting moved ‘WAGG call for the abolition of a compulsory levy paid to the GRDC”.


Doug Clarke

Chairman WA Grains Group


Sarah Allen


Headstrong girl leaves the country for the big smoke, vowing to pursue an edgy career, void of marriage, children and farming. Then, said girl moves to the country, marries a farmer and has two children. I don't know what went wrong either... Now, amid raising two little boys on a farm with my husband, I'm slowly finding time to reclaim my creative pursuits. And so was born Crosshatch Media...