Manitoba producer groups plan amalgamation vote for early 2020

Farmer directors representing five Manitoba producer organizations have completed a proposal to amalgamate into a single, new not-for-profit organization focused on research, communication and market development.

The five groups looking to form one organization are: the Manitoba Corn Growers Association (MCGA), Manitoba Flax Growers Association (MFGA), National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC), Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA), and Winter Cereals Manitoba Inc.

Each organization will now take the amalgamation proposal to its membership for consultation, with a vote to amalgamate planned for each organizations’ annual general meetings in February 2020.

The proposal includes information on a governance structure of the proposed new organization which includes four crop committees made up of 34 farmer delegates that will focus on the research and market development specific to each crop type.

“We heard the concerns expressed on the original proposal. Many felt director workload would be unmanageable in reducing the overall number of directors from over 30 to 12,” says Fred Greig, MWBGA chair, in a press release. “There were also concerns about crop representation, young director involvement with a smaller board of directors, and the ability to gather grassroots feedback. With the updated proposal, we feel strongly that the new governance structure addresses those concerns.”

“One organization means one bank account, one audit, one payroll, one annual general meeting, and a more coordinated communication effort where members aren’t receiving five different newsletters. As farmers, we don’t have separate bank accounts for each crop grown on our farm. This simplicity will lead to move time and resources spent on the research and market development we need as farmers,” says Myron Krahn, director with the MCGA.

The steering committee and staff met again with the Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler, as well as the Manitoba Farm Products Marketing Council, to ensure the department was updated on the revised proposal. Staff have also met with legal counsel to ensure the steps to amalgamation are being done properly, according to the release.

The five organizations want to ensure members have all the necessary information prior to the vote in 2020. On January 15 and January 29, 2019, the steering committee will host online webinar meetings for members to learn more about the updated proposal. The webinars will be recorded and made available for viewing later, if farmers are unable to participate on those days. Directors of the five organizations are also encouraging farmer members to attend the organization’s annual general meetings at the CropConnect Conference on February 13 and 14, 2019, to receive updates on the amalgamation proposal and to gather feedback.

The updated proposal will also be available at the following temporary website: www.mbcrops.ca.

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