The commissions have been moving towards a merger since 2017
By Diego Flammini
Two Alberta organizations representing cereal growers will vote on a merger later this year.
An update posted on the Alberta Barley and Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) websites indicates the vote on the amalgamation will take place in the fall.
“Farmers can expect to receive plebiscite information in their mailbox this fall, although voting will be conducted online,” the notice says.
Voting is open to any Alberta farmers who have sold wheat or barley in the last two years.
As a result, many producers can vote in the plebiscites for each individual organization.
The work towards this vote started about five years ago.
In September 2017, Tom Steve, the general manager of the AWC, was named interim general manager of Albera Barley on a four-month trial term to evaluate the viability of merging management teams.
Board members made this decision after recognizing multiple areas of overlap between the two organizations like policy, market development and research.
The ag groups have operated in a shared capacity since 2018, resulting in $400,000 in annual savings between the two
In November 2018 at the AWC meeting in Strathmore, a resolution passed calling for Alberta Barley to explore a formal merger of the two organizations.
In October and November 2021, barley and wheat farmers attending regional meetings gave their feedback on a potential merger.
When asked if they think the two organizations should formally amalgamate, 71 per cent of farmers said yes.
At Alberta Barley’s annual general meeting in December 2021, a motion passed to conduct a plebiscite about a merger.
A similar motion passed at AWC’s annual general meeting in January 2022.