Commodity Groups Renew Commitment to Explore Working Together
Carman, MB – May 1 – Five grower organizations have signed a second Memorandum of Understanding, with a renewed and focused commitment to delivering more value to Manitoba farmers through working together.
Manitoba Corn Growers Association (MCGA), Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers Association (MPSG), Manitoba Flax Growers Association (MFGA), National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC) and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA) signed the MOU Tuesday.
“We heard from some farmers, but we want to hear from more of you,” said NSAC President Mark McDonald, referring to the feedback heard during the regional meetings that took place late 2017 and the comments made during each group’s Annual General Meeting in February. “There were some concerns – which was to be expected – some praise and a lot of questions. We’ve got more work to do, but one thing is clear. We think it’s important to continue this process, developing a powerful and specific mandate for delivering more value to Manitoba’s farmers.”
Read full release here.
Crop Insurance Reforms to Benefit Corn, Soybean Farmers
Carman, MB – January 18 – Following years of working together with the province on crop insurance rates and policies that better represent and support farmers, the Manitoba Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) are pleased to share with their growers the news of a reformed AgriInsurance program heading into the 2018 growing season.
The province has removed the 15 per cent pre-harvest (Stage 2UH) claim deductible for corn and soybeans, a change both MCGA and MPSG have advocated for on behalf of their farmers for more than five years.
“We would like to thank the Province of Manitoba for listening,” says MCGA President Myron Krahn. “These changes will benefit farmers. We have been working with the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) on this file for a long time. We persisted. We’re thrilled.”
Previously, a complete write-off of either crop prior to harvest would result in only 85 per cent of the farmer’s eligible loss recovery. Now, in such cases producers are able to receive their full eligible coverage.
Read full release here.
Commodity Groups Release Amalgamation Report
Carman, MB – December 14 – In a watershed moment for agriculture in Manitoba, the five commodity groups that in May of this year began exploring an amalgamation are pleased to release a summary report highlighting the potential path towards a new, grassroots and farmer-driven organization.
The release of this report launches a consultation period for farmer members of the organizations to become involved in the process.
“Commodity groups need to be farmer-driven. They need to be run by their grassroots,” says Myron Krahn, President of Manitoba Corn Growers Association. “This report shows how amalgamating would not only maintain our connection to farmers from across Manitoba, but also how it would improve it. From better research capability to a greater potential to leverage research investments, we’ll have more impact as an amalgamated group. Together we can be better.”
The potential board structure, governance structure, core functions, legal process and timeline of this potential amalgamation are all laid out in this summary report, which changed and adapted as the steering committee received feedback from their farmer members over the past few months.
The report is the result of nine months of meetings between board and staff representatives from Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers, Manitoba Flax Growers, the National Sunflower Association of Canada, Manitoba Corn Growers and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers and Rob Hannam of the consulting firm Synthesis Agri-Food Network. It serves as a roadmap, the destination of which is a farmer-driven, grassroots organization that will reduce overlap, increase impact and deliver more value to Manitoba farmers.
Regional meetings and presentations are planned for January 2018 so that farmers across the province have an opportunity to hear the proposed plan and ask questions, in-person.
Dates and Locations for meetings and presentations are as follows:
- Jean Farm Days presentation Jan. 10 at 1pm
- Dauphin, MB meeting Jan. 11 at 1pm
- Stonewall, MB meeting Jan.12 at 10am
- Brandon Ag Days presentation Jan. 16 at 3pm
In addition, this report will be discussed at each involved commodity group’s Annual General Meeting, which will be held during the CropConnect conference on February 14 and 15, 2018.
Manitoba farmers who grow the crops represented in this amalgamation process are encouraged to get involved and “have your say.” The report will be available at the following temporary website set up for this consultation period: www.mbcrops.ca. Feedback from farmer members is welcome and encouraged through email directly to Rob Hannam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Exploration of potential commodity group merger taking shape
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.
Working Group Hires Advisor to Explore Merger, Get Farmer Feedback
Carman, MB – June 22 – The working group comprised of the executive directors and general managers of the five commodity groups that earlier this year committed to exploring a merger are excited to announce the hiring of advisory firm Synthesis Agri-Food Network to begin the precursory process.
“We received many good proposals from qualified firms, but we are confident Synthesis will be able to hit the ground running, building on the progress we have already made with respect to working together,” says Monika Haley, administrator at Manitoba Flax Growers Association. “Synthesis’s outcomes were very clear and its timelines were in keeping with our commitment to progress and member feedback. Rob Hannam and his team further strengthen our ability to continue working through the process of a potential merger of commodity groups.
In May of this year, the Manitoba Corn Growers Association, Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers, Manitoba Flax Growers Association, National Sunflower Association of Canada and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Association signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to begin exploring a merger. The MOU itself is a watershed moment for the agriculture industry in Manitoba, conceived out of a desire to increase administrative and research efficiencies and deliver more value back to farmers.
“We are thrilled to have been selected to help with this innovative and leading-edge exploration. It’s a great opportunity,” says Synthesis President Rob Hannam. “We have lots of relevant experience working with non-profits and agriculture organizations. We have successfully facilitated the development of several strategic alliances and mergers. For this project, we will look into a range of potential options, fleshing out those options in detail so that Manitoba’s farmers have the necessary information and tools to make an informed decision.”
The steering committee – which will be made up of the working group and a small delegation from each of the boards represented – as well as Synthesis Agri-Food Network have committed to ensuring that each of the commodity organizations involved and their members will have access to regular progress reports throughout this process.
About Synthesis Agri-Food Network
Synthesis Agri-Food Network is an Ontario-based firm with a diverse portfolio of past and current clients. It is committed to providing the needed tools to strengthen our governments, communities and organizations, believing such efforts will benefit the entire agri-food network.
Five Grower Organizations Sign Milestone MOU, Work Towards Merger
May 2, 2017 – A milestone Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed committing a group of five, like-minded commodity associations to work towards merging into one organization in order to increase efficiencies and maximize profitability and sustainability for Manitoba farmers. The involved organizations include Manitoba Corn Growers Association (MCGA), Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers Association (MPSG), Manitoba Flax Growers Association (MFGA), National Sunflower Association of Canada (NSAC) and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Association (MWBGA). The MOU represents a significant step forward following more than three years of talks surrounding how the above groups could better work together to maximize member value.
“The Board of Directors of the MWBGA and MCGA have taken a lead in showcasing how commodity groups can work together,” says Pam de Rocquigny, who was recently hired as general manager of both MWBGA and MCGA. “This MOU signals a more formalized relationship between all the involved commodity groups as we work together to explore new and innovate ways in how our organizations can improve efficiencies and deliver maximum value to our memberships.”…..Download Media Release
Manitoba Corn Growers & Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association hire Pam de Rocquigny as Joint General Manager
January 24, 2017 – The boards of the Manitoba Corn Growers (MCGA) and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA) are pleased to announce the hiring of Pam de Rocquigny as the General Manager for the two organizations. “Pam has a great understanding of the important grower organization issues for each of our crops and we are looking forward to working with her and MWBGA to uncover new opportunities and efficiencies with this new arrangement” says Myron Krahn chair of MCGA.
Fred Greig chair of MWBGA adds,“Manitoba Wheat and Barley have intentionally operated with contract leadership up to now in order to be able to seize an opportunity like this. We are very pleased to hire Pam and to break some new ground in collaboration among grower organizations”…Download Media Release