Alta. farmers to vote on amalgamation in October

Alta. farmers to vote on amalgamation in October
Aug 29, 2022

Voting information will begin to arrive in September

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Alberta barley and wheat farmers will finally vote in support of or opposed to amalgamating the two individual crop commissions this fall.

Online voting will begin at noon on Oct. 3 and close at noon on Nov. 1.

“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,” Greg Sears, chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), said in an Aug. 25 statement. “We encourage farmers to engage and vote in October, even if it’s from the combine.”

MNP will act as the third-party election advisor.

Voting is open to any Alberta farmers who have paid wheat and/or barley check-off between January 1, 2020, and April 30, 2022.

This means many producers can vote in the plebiscite for each individual organization.

April 30, 2022 is the cut off because “grain companies have 60 to 90 days to remit check-offs to the commissions so any levies paid to Alberta Barley and the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) beyond that date would not yet be in our database,” an information sheet says.

The journey towards amalgamation between the two crop organizations began in 2017.

In September of that year, Tom Steve, general manager of AWC, became interim general manager of Alberta Barley for a four-month trial period to determine if amalgamation is viable.

This decision came after board members recognized multiple areas of overlap between AWC and Alberta Barley.

In November 2018 at the AWC meeting in Strathmore, members passed a resolution calling for Alberta Barley to explore a formal merger.

In October and November 2021, 71 per cent of polled barley and wheat farmers voted in favour of the idea of amalgamation.

In December 2021 and January 2022, respectively, both crop organizations passed a motion to conduct a plebiscite about a merger.

The deadline to register to vote in Sept. 16.

Farmers who don’t receive voting information are encouraged to call 780-427-2164 or email the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council.

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