The Wheat Growers Association want to see a contingency plan in place to deal with the impact the PSAC strike could have on the ag sector, especially as it relates to grain movement and exports.
President Gunter Jochum says they'd like to see the government move to third-party inspectors for grain exports, something that is currently being done by Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).
"What we are saying is there's no need for the Canadian Grain Commission to actually do the actual inspection. A lot of our grain, up to 70 per cent already gets inspected by third-party private inspectors, who incidentally, do it for less than half the cost of what the CGC is doing that same service for. So, there's a doubling up of service. If the CGC would just step aside from the actual inspection part that would save farmers upwards of about $60 million a year."
Jochum adds its time CGC services be moved to a regulatory oversite model like the United States.
"While we recognize that would require a legislative change, until then we expect the government to ensure that CGC staff not in the PSAC union be available to pick up, bag, and tag samples provided by a third party for CGC grading, thereby ensuring vessel loading and movement impacts are minimized because of the strike."
The strike is also expected to cause delays in the delivery of various agricultural programs and services like business risk management programs and the new SCAP.
Jochum points out there's another concern for farmers who use seasonal foreign workers or students.
"I have friends who rely on these seasonal employees to come from overseas, they're students who come who fill that need and they will not be able to get the work visas in time to arrive here in Canada to help put the crop in the ground."
He says this can have serious implications again, for farmers.
"It's terrible. We are handcuffed by the strike to do our jobs, to look after our livelihoods and our farms."
To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Wheat Growers Association President Gunter Jochum click on the link below.