Toban Dyck, Director of Communications, MPSG
When you take your seat at the coffee shop, place your breakfast order and start listening to the latest news your fellow farmers are talking about, do you think to yourself: While these things could negatively affect my operation, I know that Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) is aware of them, and that my membership to the organization ensures my interests are being actively represented?
It is important to MPSG that you feel supported. We want you to know that if there’s a file, such as trade, business risk management programs, transportation, market access – you name it – we’re actively representing the interests of our farmer members.
At MPSG, we work on the array of issues affecting farmers but we specialize in research and extension. When we’re not performing in these areas, we voice Manitoba’s perspective to partner organizations that lead on files such as trade, business risk management programming, transportation, market access, you name it.
I, like all of us, had a lot of time to think this summer. Confined to my house/yard, I had little choice, but to ponder things I may not have otherwise given the light of day. MPSG’s real value was one of those things. Even as an employee of the organization, I question our worth (though, perhaps I am more critical of it as an employee – or, more likely – I am naturally predisposed to fall into such intellectual rabbit holes).
When I say to you now that MPSG is a busy organization and that we’ve got your farms in mind, I do so because messaging is part of a communications director’s job. But I also say this because in my four-plus years with the organization, I am still routinely impressed with all that we’re able to do on our own and in collaboration with others. It seems as though I am attending local or national virtual meetings more often than not, and I know other MPSG staff participate in even more.
On the issue of improved business risk management programming, we engage with the provincial government, our fellow commodity groups, our sister organizations, as well as local and national ag-policy groups, such as Grain Growers of Canada and Keystone Ag Producers.
On research, a subject on which I am wholly under-qualified to comment on in light of the impressive brainpower I have the privilege of working alongside, we are similarly busy and effective.
Our close relationship with Pulse Canada, and the many committees we sit on at their well-run organization is just another example of many whereby our presence means you’ve got a voice at the table.
The things that concern you, also concern us, and on most of the issues that affect your farms, I’d be willing to bet MPSG is actively guiding discussion, if not policy, in your favour. That is, in favour of a strong, healthy and profitable pulse and soybean sector in Manitoba.
On communications, COVID-19 has been a tangible challenge. MPSG’s flagship events, such as SMART Day, and in December, our On-Farm Network appreciation dinner, have been cancelled. Along, of course, with all of the other field days that usually characterizes our summers.
Meaningfully connecting with farmers during the pandemic is something we not only discuss regularly, but have also taken quantifiable steps towards achieving. It’s too early for me to divulge what these steps are, but I think you’re going to enjoy what we’ve got up our sleeves.
It is, after all, more effective for me to show you how we’re an organization worthy of your pride than to tell you to be proud of us. I don’t like people telling me what do to, and I’d be willing to bet you don’t, either.
Continuing Bean Report through the winter months and including in it a space for me to update you on the latest MPSG happenings is something we hope will only add to the already rich experience the newsletter offers.
We are pursuing ways to become more familiar with the local conditions of our farmers. We don’t have regional board representatives, but we’re usually well distributed and we’re keen on understanding and experimenting in all the nooks and crannies of agroMan.
As always, we welcome your feedback. Until next time, remember to use your bin fans and, for what it’s worth, cold weather is fun if you dress for it.