Delia leads successful ag society funding campaign
Lobbying by the Delia Ag Society and societies across the province seems to have worked in persuading the Alberta government to maintain funding levels.
On March 20, the government announced Alberta’s agricultural societies would receive $11.5 million in funding for the next three years. This announcement came after a period of uncertainty for ag societies.
“The Alberta government confirmed they are going to keep funding stable for the next three years, which is good news, because there have been some rumours for a while there could be some major cuts to the ag societies,” said Delia Ag Society President Brett Seidler.
The concerns grew last year when societies were made to wait months to receive the grants. Seidler said Delia was very vocal in its lobbying efforts.
“Throughout Delia, there was at least 20-30 different letters sent in from community groups explaining the importance of these funds to the community and trying to stress the value of ag societies in the community,” said Seidler.
The Delia Ag Society operates the community hall as well as the arena, curling facility, and the campground.
“Each ag society is going to get a different rate, based on what kind of facilities they are running,” said Seidler. The Delia Society received about $35,000 a
year. While they welcome the stable funding, it doesn’t appear to reflect inflation.
“At least we can budget. It’s hard to keep an arena open if you don’t know what funds you have,” he said.
“The voice of people across Alberta about the value of ag societies made a big difference to their decision as to where they would cut,” he said.
He attended the provincial convention in Edmonton, and the efforts Delia was noted by a speaker. “They said Delia had the biggest voice across the province when it came to the number of letters that came from our community,” he said. “We even received a letter back from Minister Carlier saying he had heard our voices. A lot of time you don’t even know if someone reads those letters, so it is good to know they are looking at them.
Travis Sandum of the Hussar Ag Society is happy to see the funding will be maintained. It operates the Hussar arena and supports the 4-H.
“We are counting on that funding to help out,” he said.
Agricultural societies operate about 700 community facilities throughout Alberta, and collectively have more than 65,000 volunteers who support activities.
The Delia Agricultural Society, which operates the Delia Arena, curling facility and campground, was a prominent voice in the lobbying for stable funding for ag societies. Recently the Alberta government committed to maintain funding levels for the next three years.