PRESS RELEASES

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.

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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 rob@mbcrops.ca.“

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.

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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.

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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