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News Release – Commodity Groups Develop Amalgamation Roadmap

Carman, MB – November 2 – The five commodity groups that signed an MOU in May to explore an amalgamation have met with Manitoba Agriculture, developed a comprehensive member consultation plan and are excited to announce the release of a summary report that will be made available to farmers in December.

“The silos of agriculture are crumbling, like it or not. It’s a change we’ve all observed over the years,” says Eric Fridfinnson, Chair of the Manitoba Flax Growers Association. “This approach – the approach we’ve been working on – has the whole farm in view. We want farmers to have access to commodity-specific information as well as resources that deal with the health and sustainability of their entire farm operations, from rotation BMPs to soil health to multiple-crop growing tips.”

Representatives from Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, Manitoba Flax Growers, the National Sunflower Association of Canada, Manitoba Corn Growers and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers have been working with Synthesis Agri-Food Network consultant Rob Hannam on developing a commodity group amalgamation report to present to the province’s farmers.

The report will include information on board/governance structure of the new, combined organization, a potential operations structure as well as a list of farmer benefits, which includes improved agricultural research, improved innovation and increased member value for Manitoba growers producing the represented crops.

Since the MOU was signed in the spring, the working group, consisting of staff representatives from each of the five groups involved, has met on a regular basis to develop questions for the steering committee (made up of board and staff representatives), as well as develop a consultation plan that ensures this process remains driven by Manitoba’s farmers.

In September, the steering committee met with the Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler and members of his office to bring the province up to speed on the MOU and the nature of the upcoming report. The committee was met with optimism and enthusiasm over the project.

Working together to reduce overlap, increase efficiencies and increase research and agronomy capacity is consistent with the province’s commitment to reducing red tape and improving agricultural research and innovation.

The committee met again in October to discuss the legal pathways involved in amalgamating organizations. These talks have helped anticipate and answer questions that the group and/or committee is likely to receive. And each of these talks/meetings will be represented in the soon-to-be-released report.

On January 10, Mr. Hannam and a working group delegation will host a meeting for interested farmers at St. Jean Farm Days. And on January 16, the amalgamation report will be presented at Ag Days in Brandon. Check the website of the event that’s closest to you for presentation details.

Regional consultation meetings are also being planned for Stonewall and Dauphin. The working group will send out details related to those dates before the end of the year.

We strongly encourage farmers to attend the regional consultation meeting or presentation scheduled for their area. We also encourage farmers to attend their organization’s Annual General Meetings (AGM) at CropConnect Conference this winter to discuss the report.

We want to hear your thoughts, take your questions and chat face-to-face.

Feedback from members on this process is always welcome. Please email your questions or comments or thoughts directly to Rob Hannam at rob@mbcrops.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Rob Hannam
Client Lead
Synthesis Agri-Food Network
519.822.7272
rob.hannam@synthesis-network.com

Pam de Rocquigny
General Manager
Manitoba Corn Growers and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers
204.745.6661
pam@mbwheatandbarley.ca

Toban Dyck
Director of Communications
Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers
204.227.8875
Toban@manitobapulse.ca

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