Manitoba commodity groups examine potential merger

Five of Manitoba’s agricultural commodity groups are working towards a potential merger.

In May, the groups signed a memorandum of understanding and this month made significant steps towards their goal of completing phase one by April 2018.

The merger steering committee met with Synthesis Agri-Food Network’s Rob Hannam in Carman, Manitoba. There, they discussed how the potential merger could make the groups more effective and established timelines for consultations with farmer members of each of the organizations.

The group has also started discussions around: guiding principles; purpose; board and governance structure; decision-making processes; and the benefits of collaborating in this way.

The five commodity groups involved in the discussion:

  • Manitoba Corn Growers Association
  • Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers
  • Manitoba Flax Growers Association
  • National Sunflower Association of Canada
  • Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association

“This is a watershed moment for agriculture in Manitoba,” says Myron Krahn, president of Manitoba Corn Growers Association. “The directors involved in this process still have a lot of questions and there is still a lot of work to do, but progress on developing a comprehensive member-consultation plan has been made. As farmers, we need to make sure we look at the health and sustainability of the whole farm and not just one commodity over another.”

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The potential merged organization would, like its member groups, see crop research, agronomy and market development as their main focus.

By November, the group hopes to have a proposal completed and will begin sharing it with farmers. Consultations with farmers who grow barley, corn, edible beans, flax, pulses, soybeans, sunflower or spring wheat will continue through the winter, culminating at the CropConnect Conference in Winnipeg, where commodity groups will be sitting down to their annual general meetings.

“It is quite important that we hear from as many farmers as possible.” says Hannam. “So we have set up a special email address as a way to gather feedback. You can email your comments, ideas, as well as any concerns to me at [email protected].“

 

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