Amalgamation talks have continued over the past few months for the potential merger of five Manitoba farm groups and come next February, the vote will take place. At the CropConnect conference, held in Winnipeg, Man., members of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association (MCGA), Manitoba Flax Growers Association (MFGA), National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC), Winter Cereals Manitoba, Inc. (WCMI) and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA) will be able to vote in-person.
According to a news release, the steering committee comprised of directors from the five organizations with assistance from their legal counsel have drafted bylaws of the potential new organization (NEWCO), as well as a draft of the amalgamation agreement.
“To be open, transparent and provide as much information as possible prior to the vote in February 2020, the steering committee wanted to draft the legal documents with respect to the formation of the new organization,” says Gregg Fotheringham, NSAC president. “The draft bylaws cover topics including the purpose of NEWCO, who are its members, how NEWCO will operate, the duties of its crop committee delegate and board of directors, and how meetings are conducted.”
From now until February 12th, the committee is in hopes that its members read and understand the draft bylaws as “good governance lays the foundation for a highly functional and effective organization.” The group of directors has also reviewed a draft of the amalgamation agreement.
“The amalgamation agreement sets out the terms and means of carrying out the amalgamation,” shares Fred Greig, MWBGA Chair. “To address concerns from members, the agreement includes the provision that NEWCO will invest cash reserves collected by each of the five organizations before the date of amalgamation into research and market development initiatives into the specific crop types it was collected on.”
Myron Krahn, MCGA director, adds, “The draft amalgamation agreement also includes that after the date of amalgamation, NEWCO will make all reasonable efforts to ensure research and market development initiatives relating to each specific crop type be maintained at comparable levels.”
Back in May and June, meetings were held with the Manitoba Farm Products Marketing Council (MFPMC) and the Minister of Agriculture, Ralph Eichler along with his senior staff to provide updates on the potential amalgamation. The MFPMC determined that a vote in favour of amalgamation by the five organizations would be enough to establish the representative nature of the amalgamated organization.
Additional webinars are being planned after harvest to engage with members and answer any questions leading up to the vote in February 2020. Feedback from farmer members can be made directly to Rob Hannam at [email protected] or to any of the directors and staff of the five organizations.