History of the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers
The Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) began in 1983 when a group of bean growers, along with John Rogalsky from Manitoba Agriculture, met to discuss strategy for accessing the Agricultural Stabilization Act support for Manitoba bean producers which was at the time being paid to Ontario producers only. When producers contacted Ottawa, they were told that Ottawa would deal with an organized entity only, not with individuals.
The organization was incorporated on March 13, 1984 with a developed constitution and by-laws. Founding directors were:
- Don McIntosh, Carberry
- Frank Sissons, Portage la Prairie
- John Rogalsky, Winnipeg (MB Ag.)
- Bob McCallister, Portage la Prairie
- Elgin Drayson, Neepawa
- Reg Stow, Carman
- John Dueck, Lowe Farm
- Neil Stewart, Roblin
- W.E. Awmack, Winnipeg
- Peter McVetty, University of Manitoba
- Ferdinand Kiehn, Morden Research Station
- Frank Labelle, Continental Grain
Because the organization was very small and had no funds, Manitoba Agriculture provided the secretarial and accounting support, primarily through John Rogalsky and later John Dean.
During the mid-1980s MPSG received funding through the Agri-Food initiative, which allowed them to become involved in pulse crop demonstrations. Ongoing activities included support for the Morden Research Station, continuing discussions with governments on pulse issues, a number of pulse promotion initiatives, involvement with Western Canada Pulse Growers Association, and a newsletter which was written and sent out by Manitoba Agriculture.
In 1987, the Association hired a part-time secretary-treasurer to handle the accounting and clerical duties. With the termination of the Agri-Food program, funds for any research or education support became desperately short.
In 1989, the Manitoba Government passed the Agricultural Producers Funding Act which granted check-off funding to producer organizations. The government conducted the vote for MPSG, sending ballots to pulse producers throughout Manitoba. A strong majority of the ballots returned favoured a check-off, and the system was put in place by October 1989.
In 1991, MPSG hired a second staff person because the workload for one person had become too much.
In 1992, MPSG contributed $53,000 to research, developed a high-quality quarterly magazine for its 2,500+ members, and built a reserve to ensure programs could carry on even through a year of crop failure.
MPSG staff worked out of home offices until 2000, when the association began renting office space in Carman, where they are still located today.
In the early-mid 2000s, MPSG contributed $350,000 per year to research. Since the expansion of soybeans in Manitoba, MPSG’s revenue has continually grown and the board budgets 60% of its revenue towards research projects each year. In 2015, this equated to $1.1 million. MPSG prides itself on obtaining leveraged funding from various government sources and other funding agencies for their progressive research program and for other production and business-related activities.
MPSG currently has eight staff to administer the policies, programs and strategic goals of the organization- Executive Director, Director of Finance and Administration, Finance and Member Relations Administrator, Research and Check-off Administrator, Production Specialist – East and West, On-Farm Network Agronomist, and On-Farm Network Technician. MPSG collaborates with other associations and government groups to address issues relating to the pulse and soybean industry on a provincial and national basis, produces a high quality magazine (Pulse Beat) for its 4,000+ members, and has built a reserve high enough to ensure all programs carry on even through a year of crop failure.