“The silos of agriculture are crumbling, like it or not,” says Eric Fridfinnson, chair of the Manitoba Flax Growers Association — one of five commodity groups in Manitoba that are working toward amalgamating.
“It’s a change we’ve all observed over the years,” he continues. “This approach – the approach we’ve been working on – has the whole farm in view. We want farmers to have access to commodity-specific information as well as resources that deal with the health and sustainability of their entire farm operations, from rotation BMPs to soil health to multiple-crop growing tips.”
The Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, Manitoba Flax Growers, the National Sunflower Association of Canada, Manitoba Corn Growers and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers have been working with Synthesis Agri-Food Network consultant Rob Hannam on creating a commodity group amalgamation report since formally committing to explore a merger in May.
The groups say this document includes information on board/governance structure of a new, combined organization, a potential operations structure, as well as a list of farmer benefits, which they say includes improved agricultural research, improved innovation and increased member value for Manitoba growers producing the represented crops.
In a November 2nd update, they say a summary report will be made available in December. Hannam and working group representatives will be hosting a meeting at St. Jean Farm Days on January 10th. The amalgamation report will be presented at Manitoba Ag Days on January 16th. Regional consultation meetings are also being planned for Stonewall and Dauphin. As well, the amalgamation process will be discussed during all of the organizations’ annual general meetings at CropConnect in February.
The groups says their steering committee met with Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler and his staff in September and were met with optimism and enthusiasm, noting their plan to work together to “reduce overlap, increase efficiencies and increase research and agronomy capacity is consistent with the province’s commitment to reducing red tape and improving agricultural research and innovation.”
The committee has also met in October to discuss the legal steps involved in amalgamating.
Farmers wishing to provide feedback and input are asked to contact Rob Hannam directly at [email protected]