Winnipeg, MB – August 31 – The roadmap exploring the potential merger of five provincial commodity organizations is starting to take shape following a series of productive meetings and a unanimous commitment to ensuring the process remains farmer-driven.
“This is a watershed moment for agriculture in Manitoba,” says Myron Krahn, president of Manitoba Corn Growers Association. “The directors involved in this process still have a lot of questions and there is still a lot of work to do, but progress on developing a comprehensive member-consultation plan has been made. As farmers, we need to make sure we look at the health and sustainability of the whole farm and not just one commodity over another.”
On August 1 of this year, the merger steering committee comprised of the staff leads from each involved commodity group and directors from each of the represented boards (Manitoba Corn Growers Association, Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers, Manitoba Flax Growers Association, National Sunflower Association of Canada and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association) met with advisor Rob Hannam of Synthesis Agri-Food Network in Carman, Man. The day-long meeting led by Hannam tackled topics related to direction, identified how a combined organization can be more effective, answered questions and concerns and established timelines for farmer member consultations.
With the intention of creating a proposal highlighting a path forward, the steering committee has begun talks surrounding the guiding principles of a merged organization; the purpose and benefits of such a group; the board and governance structure; maintaining relationships with partner and sister organizations and the decision-making process for members. Crop research and agronomy along with market development activities will continue to be the main focus and mandate of a merged organization, as it is today for each of the five groups.
“I think we all left the meeting with an appreciation for the sensitivity and attention to detail this process requires,” adds Krahn. “I will say this: farmer members need to drive this and we as directors need to make sure that happens.”
On August 22, another meeting between the commodity group heads (working group) took place to add the next layer of details to the plan and to establish timelines for communications, including engagement with all board members, the farmers who grow the represented crops and government.
“It is quite important that we hear from as many farmers as possible.” says Hannam. “So we have set up a special email address as a way to gather feedback. You can email your comments, ideas, as well as any concerns to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.“
Farmers who grow barley, corn, edible beans, flax, pulses, soybeans, sunflower or spring wheat are encouraged to send their feedback and/or questions to the email address listed above.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers
|Rob HannamClient Lead
Synthesis Agri-Food Network
|Pam de RocquignyGeneral Manager
Manitoba Corn Growers and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers