Commercial Grain Trade FAQs

Grain Commercial Questions & Answers

Download a full version of the Grain Commercial FAQs (pdf). If you have additional questions, please submit them online.

Sections:

Finding Buyers.
Grading System
Contracts & Pricing
Crossing the Border into the U.S.
Crossing the Border into Canada
Canadian Export Grain Through U.S. to 3rd Country – Phytosanitary Certificates
U.S. Export Grain Through Canada to 3rd Country – Phytosanitary Certificates

Introductory Questions

How does Canada’s new grain marketing legislation (the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act) affect U.S.-Canada trade?
Canadian wheat, durum and barley can be sold into the U.S. without restriction.  Export licenses are no longer required.  End-use certificates for U.S. and Canada-produced grain are no longer required in the U.S. or Canada and Canadian wheat is no longer required to be identity preserved in U.S. markets. Additionally, end-use certificates for U.S. produced grain are no longer required in Canada.

How will new Canadian phytosanitary requirements for U.S. grain affect U.S. exports to Canada ?
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) draft regulations D-12-05 stipulate that U.S. corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, canola and all other oilseeds and grains (except for wheat, rye, barley, oats and triticale, which are regulated under Directive D-99-01) must have a properly issued phytosanitary certificate to cross the U.S.-Canada border, or be imported under appropriate importer licensing to protect against risk of invasive plant species in shipments. This requirement is expected to change in 2014, as CFIA is proposing different regulations that could ease this requirement in some respects. The existing regulations for wheat, rye, barley, oats and triticale covered under D-99-01 address the need for phytos for certain origins of each grain that could pose a threat of exposure to karnal bunt, dwarf bunt or flag smut.

How are Canadian grain exports, transshipped through the U.S., treated by the U.S. regulations that govern issuance of phytosanitary certificates?  And, how are U.S. grain exports, transshipped through Canada, treated by Canadian regulations that govern issuance of phytosanitary certificates?
Because of the legislation deregulating grain marketing alternatives in Canada, and since the U.S. and Canada have the ability to share logistical system capacity for export movements, movements may increasingly be transshipped cross-border before moving to a 3rd party country.  Recognizing this trend, both APHIS-USDA and CFIA in Canada have endeavored to clarify specific situations in each country when re-export phytosanitary certificates may be issued; when original export phytosanitary certificates may be issued; and when neither the U.S. or Canada may be able to satisfy a company’s need to have a phytosanitary certificate issued.  Because of the complexity, and strong need for understanding by trade participants, requirements governing phytosanitary certificates of export commodities that are transshipped through a second country are detailed in the Phytosanitary sections.

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Finding Buyers and Sellers in Canada and the U.S.

How do I find buyers and sellers in Canada?
Most information can be found on the Canadian Grain Commission website.

How do I find buyers and sellers in the U.S.?

There are various sources.

Grading Systems in the U.S. and Canada

What are the major differences and similarities in the grain grading systems in the U.S. and Canada?

The two systems are similar in that both systems establish official grades for all major grains, provide standardized measures of quality for commercial trading and facilitate price discovery and market value communication.  Both grading systems allow for sales by specific factors as well as grades.

The two systems differ in that the official grading system in Canada encompasses a broader spectrum of specifications.  As a result, there are more statutory grades in Canada versus the U.S.  The U.S. system is more reliant on standard factor levels to establish base grades while allowing the contract specifications to capture customer desires that are different than those comprised within the statutory grade.

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Canadian Grain Shipped to the U.S.:  Can Canadian-origin grain receive an official U.S. grade?

Yes.

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Canadian Grain Shipped to the U.S.:  Can Canadian-origin grain be commingled with U.S. grain at a U.S. elevator?

Yes.

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U.S. Grain Shipped to Canada: Can U.S.-origin grain receive an official Canadian grade?

Yes.

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U.S. Grain Shipped to Canada: Can U.S.-origin grain be commingled in a Canadian elevator?

Yes.

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Measuring Protein Content, are there differences in Canadian and U.S. methods?
Yes, there are some differences, as well as many similarities.

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Contracts and Pricing

For grain sold in Canada, what are common contracting terms?

Grain contracts will generally contain quantity to be delivered, pricing terms, delivery period, and conveyance type – truck or rail.

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For grain sold in Canada, are there trade rules or common terms that are typically referenced?
No, there are no standardized rules for grains and oilseeds delivered to Canadian elevators.

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For grain sold in the U.S., what are the common contracting terms?

Grain contracts will generally contain quantity to be delivered, pricing terms, delivery period, and conveyance type – truck or rail.

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Crossing the Border into the U.S.

Where are the U.S./Canadian border crossings located?

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offices  and U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices.

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What customs and other documentation are required for grain to enter the U.S. from Canada?

Canadian Producer and Commercial Trucks would need a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) code and transmit information electronically through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

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What are the licensing and registration requirements for Canadian trucks transporting grain within the U.S.?

All trucks must be registered under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and have the appropriate IFTA sticker(s) affixed to their vehicle.

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What are the load restrictions for grain trucks on U.S. highways?

The U.S. has federal, state and local (county and city) restrictions and requirements for vehicles that move over roads and bridges.

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What documentation is required to import grain of Canadian origin into the U.S.?

Primary responsibility for administering the U.S. laws related to import, export and the collection of duties is given to the U.S. Customs and Border Protecion (CBP), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

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Are end-use certificates required for shipments of Canadian origin in the U.S.?

No.

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Where can I find current and additional information related to border crossing?

There are several websites that offer different types of relevant information, including current border wait times, weather conditions, road conditions, current traffic conditions and more.

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Crossing the Border into Canada

Where are the Canadian/U.S. border crossings located?

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offices  and U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices.

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What identification is required to enter Canada from the U.S.?

Canadian Producer and Commercial Truck drivers require a valid driver’s license for the transport unit they are operating. All drivers and passengers need a passport or FAST card.

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What customs and other documentation is required for grain to enter Canada from the U.S.?

All carriers (Producer and Commercial) require a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) issued carrier code to cross the border. U.S. trucks arriving at the border must have Customs paperwork including Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) bar-code stickers, to reference entry information that has been filed with Customs in advance of arrival at the border.

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What are the licensing, registration and fuel requirements for U.S. trucks transporting grain within Canada?

U.S. commercial trucks must be registered and licensed in each jurisdiction they will travel through and for the weight they will be hauling. They must register through the International Registration Plan (IRP) in the base (home) jurisdiction of the vehicle.

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What are the load restrictions for grain trucks on Canadian highways?

The Provincial and Territorial governments in Canada have authority over the weight and dimension limits which apply to the highways within their boundaries.

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What documentation is required to import grain of U.S. origin into Canada?

Depending on the crop type being imported, its origin and its intended end use there may be phytosanitary import requirements (i.e., a phytosanitary certificate, an import permit, certificate of origin, or other document required).

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What if the grain requires further processing (includes cleaning) after entering Canada?

The importer will need to ensure that any grain or seed imported into Canada that requires further processing (such as cleaning), meets the requirements of CFIA directive D 96-07 (Import Requirements for Screenings and Grain and Seed for Cleaning).

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Are there any additional requirements if the grain or grain products being imported into Canada are for animal feed?

All ingredients intended for use in livestock feeds must be approved.  Approved livestock feed ingredients are listed in Schedules IV and V of the Feeds Regulations.

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Are end-use certificates required for shipments of grain of U.S. origin into Canada?

No.

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Where can I find current and additional information related to border crossing?

Various websites can help.

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Canadian Export Grain Through the U.S. to a 3rd Country – Phytosanitary Certificates

USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provides services to U.S. exporters through the issuance of phytosanitary certificates that state that the commodity meets, within the regulations of the importing country.  APHIS also provides phytosanitary certification for Canadian-origin grain making official entry into the U.S.  “Official entry” means that the product was declared to U.S. border officials, with documentation showing the United States as the destination.  There are three situations that could affect Canadian commodities transshipped through the U.S. that are detailed in the questions and answers below.

When can Canadian grain move through the U.S. without any need for U.S. APHIS involvement for issuing a phytosanitary certificate?

There are several possible specific situations where this might occur.

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Under what situations would the U.S. issue a PPQ form 579 (re-export phytosanitary certificate)?

If Canadian-produced grain enters the commerce of the U.S. with a Canadian Phytosanitary Certificate, APHIS will issue a 579 re-export phytosanitary certificate (without further physical inspection) if several conditions are met.

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Under what situations would the U.S. issue a PPQ form 577 (U.S. Export Phytosanitary Certificate)?

If grain enters the U.S. with no original Canadian phytosanitary certificates, the U.S. can provide an original export phytosanitary certificate.  The grain would need to be inspected by APHIS.

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U.S. Export Grain Through Canada to 3rd Country – Phytosanitary Certificates

Canada’s Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provides services for U.S. grain being transshipped through Canada for export to a 3rd country in very similar ways to the services offered by US-APHIS for transshipped Canadian grain.  The goal is to facilitate trade, provide importing country assurances that products are pest and disease free, and to stipulate origin of products.  CFIA has provided general guidelines for issuance of transshipment certificates, but advises that its directive D-99-06: Policy on Issuance of Phytosanitary Certificatesprovides additional guidance.

When can U.S. grain move through Canada without any need for CFIA involvement in issuing a phytosanitary certificate?

If grain is admitted into Canada as an “in-transit” shipment, then the grain is not eligible for a Canadian phytosanitary certificate, and all the requirements of the importing country must be met by the original phytosanitary certificate (if any is required) issued by US-APHIS.

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Under what situations would Canada issue a Re-Export phytosanitary certificate?

If U.S. grain comes into Canada with a U.S. phytosanitary certificate to Canada, CFIA can issue a phytosanitary certificate for Re-Export listing the origin as the USA, and the U.S. original phytosanitary certificate will be attached.

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Under what situations would Canada issue a Canadian phytosanitary certificate?

If U.S. grain enters Canada with no U.S.-issued phytosanitary certificate, CFIA will issue a Canadian pharmacy, indicating origin as U.S., provided CFIA is able to stipulate on the basis of its inspection that the grain is compliant with the importing country’s requirements (this may or may not be possible, depending on requirements).

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