Five Manitoba crop associations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work towards merging into one organization.
The agreement includes the Manitoba Corn Growers Association (MCGA), Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers Association (MPSG), Manitoba Flax Growers Association (MFGA), National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC) and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Association (MWBGA).
The groups that have signed the MOU represent around 60 percent of check-off eligible annual crop acres in Manitoba, based on Statistics Canada estimates for 2016 and 2017.
“This is the first step in a long process,” says Jason Voth, chair of MPSG’s Board of Directors, in a news release distributed May 2. “I am very pleased to hear that these groups are willing to work together. As a farmer, this makes sense. Good farming is about growing more than one crop. I represent one farm that grows multiple crops. This merger makes sense.”
The group says it has “no predetermination of what this common commodity organization will eventually look like.”
Discussions about collaboration at the manager/director level date back to the spring of 2014, after which some funds were allocated to pursue the idea of working together. A group was later formed to look at ways to maximize member value, and the topic of collaboration/merger was publicly proposed for discussion at the CropConnect conference in February 2017.
“The Board of Directors of the MWBGA and MCGA have taken a lead in showcasing how commodity groups can work together,” says Pam de Rocquigny, who was recently hired as general manager of both MWBGA and MCGA. “This MOU signals a more formalized relationship between all the involved commodity groups as we work together to explore new and innovate ways in how our organizations can improve efficiencies and deliver maximum value to our memberships.”
The group is currently seeking the help of an advisor to facilitate the process and develop a plan that includes timelines and consultations with producers.
The head offices for all of the involved groups, with the exception of the Manitoba Flax Growers, are already in the same building in Carman, Manitoba.
The five organizations say they are willing to allow other commodity groups to join the merger talks “provided they have the same level of commitment to delivering value and increasing profitability among their farmer members.”