Cereal groups want to harvest farmers’ views on merger

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Producers being asked if Alberta Wheat, Alberta Barley should go for full amalgamation

The seeds were planted long ago and now producers will get their say on whether they want Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley to merge.

“The consultation will begin in July with an online survey, followed by online town hall events after harvest in October, with further dialogue and sessions during regional meeting events in November,” the two groups said in a joint news release.

The two organizations merged their management teams in 2018, and delegates of both groups passed resolutions at their 2019 AGMs calling for a study of the pros and cons of full amalgamation.

“Through collaboration, the commissions have leveraged synergies, removed duplication and in-turn expanded key priority areas such as research and agronomic extension,” said Alberta Barley chair Tara Sawyer. “The future of the organizations is at a crossroads so farmer participation is key during this pivotal time.”

The two groups stressed the consultations don’t amount to a plebiscite “but an initial step for the commissions to gauge farmers’ opinions on governance amalgamation.”

The review — conducted by current and past directors, regional reps and delegates — also came up with a proposal for a board structure for a single cereal organization. It recommended a 12-person board with wheat and barley farmers from six regions in Alberta (two directors per region). The boundaries of each region (which would also elect four delegates) haven’t been determined.

“Currently the commissions operate with separate governance structures, yet share a management team that reports to both boards,” said Alberta Wheat chair Todd Hames. “It’s up to Alberta wheat and barley farmers to determine whether this is sustainable or if merging is the path forward. We encourage wheat and barley growers to learn more and get involved in the consultation process.”

More info will be posted online and producers can sign up at the website so they will be notified when the online survey is launched, which is expected to occur in early July.

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