After a goodwill request to meet to build trust and discuss the re-establishment of a Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) that represents all provinces at a national level, the CSF has responded with a resounding no.

Marc Carere, chair of Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF), committed to the membership an open and transparent process regarding any discussion in rejoining the CSF. As such, Carere shared with membership both the letter that was sent to CSF, and the CSF’s response, to the invitation to present to the OSF board.

“We understand that our collective leadership voice is stronger than any individual opinion or position,” Carere writes in the letter shared with RealAgriculture. “We know that engaging each other with respect and dignity is essential to generating the best results for Ontario producers and indeed for our sector across the country. As you know, Ontario sheep producers have an interest in a strong, unified, trusted national voice for the industry.

“I believe the OSF board, and the sheep industry broadly, would benefit from an understanding of the CSF vision for the future and your approach to building trust both externally (with governments, partners and the public) and within the national sheep farmers family, including Alberta, Quebec and Ontario.”

CSF’s response, via Allan Ribbink, chair of CSF, says that CSF does not solicit membership, and that instead, Ontario should have to propose what value the province provides the industry group.

“…we would like to invite the Chair and General Manager of OSMA (sic) to make a presentation to the CSF Board outlining the value OSMA can bring to CSF as well as the methods by which they would rebuild the trust broken by the past actions of OSMA. Furthermore, to begin building that trust we would expect an official end to the NSN prior to moving forward.” (It should be noted Ontario Sheep Farmers changed its name from OSMA in 2017).

The National Sheep Network that Ribbink refers to is a cooperation between Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec producer groups on matters of national interest. The NSN is a member of the Ag Growth Coalition.

The Canadian Sheep Federation is tasked with administering the Canadian Sheep Identification Program and the Scrapie program on behalf of all Canadian sheep farmers.

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