Calling it a “watershed moment,” five Manitoba farm groups have published their plan to amalgamate into a single provincial organization.
The proposal was released on Thursday after nine months of meetings between board and staff representatives from Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, Manitoba Flax Growers, the National Sunflower Association of Canada, Manitoba Corn Growers and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers, as well as Rob Hannam of the consulting firm Synthesis Agri-Food Network.
“This report shows how amalgamating would not only maintain our connection to farmers from across Manitoba, but also how it would improve it. From better research capability to a greater potential to leverage research investments, we’ll have more impact as an amalgamated group. Together we can be better,” said Myron Krahn, president of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association.
The document outlines the potential board structure (15 elected farmer directors), governance structure, core functions, legal process and timeline for the proposed amalgamation.
According to the plan, members would vote on resolutions to amalgamate at their respective annual general meetings in February 2019, with the new organization formally taking shape on August 1, 2019.
Listen to Myron Krahn on why Manitoba farm groups are looking to amalgamate, how they see each crop being represented, and how they plan to go about forming this new provincial farm group:
The proposed guiding principles say directors would not be crop-specific, but would represent all farmer members who grow crops included in the new group’s mandate. The merged organization would focus on research and agronomy, as well as market development. It would “not advocate on issues that are directly detrimental to other crop types, and will not promote one crop directly in opposition to the other.”
“We feel farmers within the province are very well versed. We do grow many different crop types,” notes Krahn. “There will be a wide-ranging body of directors and knowledge within the board to make sure every crop type gets its fair attention and to make sure any problems within that specific crop’s industry are dealt with.”
It would also be structured so other crop organizations or crop types (canola, for example) could join in the future.
The five groups are seeking feedback from members and will be holding regional consultations at the following locations in January:
- St. Jean Farm Days presentation Jan. 10 at 1pm
- Dauphin, MB meeting Jan. 11 at 1pm
- Stonewall, MB meeting Jan. 12 at 10am
- Brandon Ag Days presentation Jan. 16 at 3pm
The amalgamation plan will also be discussed at each group’s annual general meeting during the CropConnect conference on February 14 and 15, 2018.