Grain Producers Australia has recently discussed our policy for growers on End Point Royalties (EPRs).
This has included presentations from representatives of Australian Crop Breeders (ACB); the peak body representing organisations (public and private) that generate new varieties for Australian grain producers.
ACB has raised their concerns about the decline in EPR compliance and the impact this is having on EPR collections, and the subsequent impact on the capacity to drive continued investment into crop breeding and the development of improved varieties for Australian grain growers.
As a consequence, ACB has informed GPA and other stakeholders that the effected crop breeders will be commencing audits this month of growers they suspect may be intentionally avoiding paying their EPRs.
However, ACB have also acknowledged that the Annual Harvest Declaration process is cumbersome and a frustration point for growers. They have now committed to reviewing the Harvest Declaration system, with the aim developing a more simplified and grower friendly tool.
ACB recently conducted their first grower focus group to discuss a proposed improvement to the harvest declaration process; including grower representatives from GPA. Following on from this, ACB intends to run a further three focus groups between now and mid-2024, with the goal of implementing a new process for the 2024 harvest (2024/2025 CHD).
As well as starting compliance audits in September this year, ACB will also do marketing to improve awareness of EPR’s and their role in funding plant breeding in Australia.
GPA’s relevant policy is being reviewed with a discussion paper to members, and current states:
GPA supports end point royalties as the most equitable method of collecting a royalty on a new variety. However, GPA believes that in order to ensure continued grower support for End Point Royalties (EPR) collection there should be:
1. Collection needs to be cost effective and collected at the first point of sale
2. Time limits on how long after commercialisation a levy can be collected
3. Percentage based price limits
4. No closed loops,
5. Full transparency regarding the setting of levies
6. Allowance for grower-to-grower sales
7. That revenue collected from royalties is returned to breeding.
To ensure growers are fully aware of the issues regarding these matters and the longer-term impacts on our industry, GPA is sharing these key messages from ACB (below), as part of their work to improve the system and grower compliance.
To ensure the long-term competitiveness of the Australian field crop industry and on farm profitability we need the field crop breeders to continue to make the long-term investment in plant breeding. This will only be done if they have sufficient EPR’s to invest. Therefore, growers are being requested to do the following:
1) review and ensure you understand your obligations under the variety licenses associated with most open pollinated crop varieties and the rights that crop breeders have under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994;
2) correctly declare varieties on all sales and deliveries;
3) complete your annual harvest declaration; and
4) assist variety owners if you are asked to participate in an audit of your production and sales.
For more information on the value and benefits of the EPR system, click HERE