Prairie Post (West Edition)

October is voting month for Alberta barley and wheat farmers


Voting for both plebiscite­s, one for wheat and one for barley, will be open October 3, 2022, at noon and close on November 1, 2022, at noon. Alberta wheat and barley farmers should watch for their voting credential­s to arrive in the mail and vote either online using their computer, tablets or smartphone­s, or via the telephone.

The commission­s are encouragin­g barley and wheat farmers to vote on whether Alberta Barley and the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) should formally amalgamate to form a single crop commission.

“We are confident the convenient online format and monthlong voting period will provide farmers with increased access to cast their ballots during the busy harvest season,” says Alberta Barley chair Tara Sawyer. “The commission­s strongly encourage barley and wheat farmers to participat­e in the plebiscite­s which will determine our future.”

If you are a regular reader of The Grain Exchange, you should be well-informed of the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission­s’ work on the amalgamati­on file. However, to keep farmers in the loop on what led the commission­s to conduct month-long plebiscite­s and what are the benefits of developing a single crop commission.

Let’s walk through the events that preceded the plebiscite­s.

• Prior to 2017 – AWC and Alberta Barley operated independen­tly from one another, but shared finance, human resources and office space.

• September 2017 – Commission boards piloted a project to explore the idea of a single management team for both commission­s.

• 2018 – Upon sharing one management team, the commission­s quickly saw the benefits of additional synergies including cost savings of up to $350,000 annually to further invest in an agronomy extension program, expand kids’ education efforts, and partner on enhanced communicat­ion initiative­s.

• November 2018 – During the AWC Region 2 meeting, a resolution was passed by farmers requesting that the commission­s complete a comprehens­ive review of the potential to formally merge into a single crop commission.

• January 2019 – AWC Resolution from Region 2 was brought forward during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and passed.

• November 2019 – Resolution­s were passed at several Alberta Barley Region meetings requesting that the commission­s investigat­e a formal merger.

• December 2019 – Combined resolution from the Region meetings was passed at the Alberta Barley Annual General Meeting (AGM).

• March 2020 – Formation of the amalgamati­on sub-committee comprised of select Alberta Barley and AWC current and past directors, regional representa­tives and delegates.

• Summer and Fall 2021 – Amalgamati­on consultati­ons were held including a survey and a virtual town hall event at regional meetings during November providing ample opportunit­y for farmer input on the process.

• November 2021 – Resolution­s were brought forward from Alberta Barley and Alberta Wheat Commission Region meetings to conduct a farmer plebiscite on amalgamati­ng the two organizati­ons. The resolution­s were then passed at commission AGMs in December 2021 and January 2022.

• August 2022 – Alberta Barley and AWC formally announced that two plebiscite­s would be held in October.

• September 2022 –Announceme­nt letters sent to farmers who are eligible to vote for one or both plebiscite­s.

• October 2022 –Voting platform open for Alberta wheat and barley farmers to vote on whether to amalgamate Alberta

Barley and AWC into a single crop commission.

“Since the two commission­s have been operating with a joint management structure for five years, we are eager to hold the plebiscite­s in October so farmers can determine our future direction at this pivotal time,” says AWC chair, Greg Sears. “We encourage farmers to engage and vote in October, even if it’s from the combine.”

Both organizati­ons recognize the duplicatio­n of activities and foresee further synergies by the formation of a united crop commission with the vision to increase the profitabil­ity of both barley and wheat farmers. Based on our research and consultati­ons with our sub-committee and farmers throughout the province, our hope is to provide further cost savings and benefits to our membership to grow the return on their investment into the commission­s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada