May 6, 2009, Calgary, Alb. – The Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) is
urging the Alberta government to reconsider recently introduced
legislation allowing the refunding of levies paid to the organization.
May 6, 2009, Calgary, Alb. – The Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) is urging the Alberta government to reconsider recently introduced legislation allowing the refunding of levies paid to the organization.
The provincial government is introducing legislation that will allow potato producers to request a refund of any levies they have paid to the PGA. All farmers growing more than five acres of potatoes in the province are required to pay levies to the association.
The PGA serves its membership under the authority of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act. According to PGA officials, “The act clearly defines a democratic process that the commission must operate under and offers the membership the ability to introduce any change into the operation of the commission.”
According to a press release from the PGA, the Alberta government has determined that this process does not afford all producers an individual choice.
“The government is also stipulating that commissions must continue to offer services to these producers, even after they have refunded any levies collected,” the press release states. “This comes on the heels of continued withdrawal of services by the province, fuelled by this government’s intention to have industry take care of itself.”
According to the PGA, the best interests of Alberta potato producers are not being considered.
“Contrary to government statements, there has been no consultation between government and the Alberta potato industry on this issue,” states a press release from the association. “The government has clearly demonstrated that it does not fully comprehend the function of the PGA and the services it provides. This legislation, if passed, will create a divided industry with a support system that cannot provide the necessary services to sustain profitability or generate future growth.”
The PGA was established by growers in 1966 and currently has a membership of 120 growers.
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