Alberta farmers who pay a levy to the Alberta Barley Commission or the Alberta Wheat Commission will have the opportunity to vote on amalgamating the two organizations in October.
The Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council, working with third-party advisor MNP and the two commissions, will be administering two online plebiscites: one for barley growers, and one for wheat growers, which will run from October 3 to November 1.
“We are confident the convenient online format and month-long voting period will provide farmers with increased access to cast their ballots during the busy harvest season,” says Alberta Barley chair Tara Sawyer, in an August 25 news release.
The commissions plan to have the results from the plebiscites ready for discussion at regional meetings in November.
The two commissions have shared office space and administrative staff since 2013, and have been operating with a joint management structure since late 2017. Discussions and consultations on amalgamating have also been underway for some time (see links to earlier coverage on RealAgriculture below).
Additional details about the amalgamation votes (courtesy the commissions):
- Farmers who grow both barley and wheat crops will have two votes (one for each crop)
- Farming corporations, cooperatives or partnerships will have one vote on behalf of their legal entity
- Alberta barley and wheat farmers who have remitted check-off in the past two years, including those who have requested refunds, are eligible to vote
- During the first week of September, farmers will receive a letter from Marketing Council and MNP with more information on the amalgamation plebiscites
- During the first week of October, farmers will receive a second letter that includes a voting PIN – their unique identifier to cast their vote(s) via the online voting platform
- Farmers who grow both wheat and barley crops will only receive one letter from Marketing Council and MNP and one voting PIN, but will be able to submit one vote for each crop
- Eligible growers who do not receive their plebiscite information by mail in early September should contact Marketing Council at 780-427-2164 or [email protected] The deadline to register to vote is September 16, 2022
- Alberta barley and wheat farmers gave their approval for the commissions to proceed with amalgamation plebiscites via formal motions at each commission’s annual general meeting during the 2021-2022 meeting season.
To learn more about the plebiscites, farmers can visit the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions’ website.