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Merger conversations ongoing between five Manitoba farm organizations

Merger conversations ongoing between five Manitoba farm organizations

The groups would like the merger process to be completed by CropConnect 2018

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Five commodity groups in Manitoba continue to develop a plan and timeline to complete a potential merger.

Manitoba Corn Growers Association (MCGA), Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association, Manitoba Flax Growers Association, the National Sunflower Association of Canada, and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Association announced in May that they signed a memorandum of understanding to work towards a merger.

Discussions are ongoing to make sure the plan that’s eventually presented is the most suitable for the commodity groups, according to Pam de Rocquigny, MCGA general manager.

“We’re still going through the process and developing a plan to present to our membership in order for them to consider what a potential merger can look like,” she told today.

Since the merger announcement, the groups disclosed that crop research, agronomy and market development will be the focus of the new organization.

Each individual group focuses on those items, making those parts of the discussion a little easier, according to Rob Hannam, president and client director of Synthesis Agri-Food Network. He has been brought on to aid with the merger process.

“When you think about the five organizations, they all have a similar mandate,” Hannam told today. “The first goal is about research. The (organizations) collect a levy from farmers and they invest a large portion of that (money) into research and development.

“The second (part) of their mandate is market development, which is smaller than research, but still an important part. Because these groups have similar goals, we think it’s a good fit and a merger should work well.”

And while it may seem complex to bring five groups together into one, the process is a bit simpler since the organizations are working towards the same goal.

“At first glance it seems very complicated because there’s five organizations representing farmers that grow about eight different crops,” Hannan said. “But when you come down to it, many of the farmers are growing a number of those crops during a period of crop rotation.”

While farmers may have concerns about what the potential merger, the five involved parties are hearing those concerns and addressing them in the final plan.

“We’ve talked about the purpose and benefit of such a group (for) farmers,” de Rocquigny said. “We’re developing a communications plan to set up options for producers to give their input as well.”

The groups would like the merger to be completed by CropConnect 2018, scheduled for Feb. 14 and 15 at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

Producers with questions about the merger are encouraged to call their membership groups or email Rob Hannam.

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