Photo: Alberta Wheat and Barley commissions website
After years of working under one management team, the Alberta Wheat and Barley commissions are looking at amalgamating to form a single commission, the group says in a news release on June 21. The consultation on the possible merger will start in July with an online survey, followed by town halls in October after harvest, and further discussions at regional meetings in November.
Since 2018 the commissions have operated under one management team with two separate boards and financial structures. In 2019 at the commissions’ annual general meetings, the groups passed resolutions to complete comprehensive reviews on a potential merger, the release says.
“Through collaboration, the commissions have leveraged synergies, removed duplication and in-turn expanded key priority areas such as research and agronomic extension. The future of the organizations is at a crossroads so farmer participation is key during this pivotal time,” Tara Sawyer, Alberta Barley chair, says in the release.
The commissions have formed an amalgamation sub-committee of current and past directs, regional representatives and delegates from both commissions, the release notes. The key objective of this sub-committee has been to draft a model for an amalgamated governance structure. The proposed governance model consists of four positions from each region, for a total of 24 farmers. Research, market development, agronomy and extension, policy advocacy and farm business management will remain top priorities for the proposed organization with funding merit-based.
The release notes the consultation launching this summer is not a formal plebiscite but an initial step for the commissions to gauge farmers’ opinions on governance amalgamation. Alberta wheat and barley farmers can expect the online survey to go live at the beginning of July.