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Sask. crop groups exploring merger

Sask. crop groups exploring merger

Farmers have until Dec. 11 to review a consultation document and provide feedback

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Two Saskatchewan crop groups want farmers to weigh in about a potential merger.

The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) and the Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission (SWCDC) are giving farmers until Dec. 11 to review a consultation document and provide feedback.

The four-page document proposes that Sask Wheat assume the mandate of SWCDC for winter cereals, including research, advocacy, market development, grower relations and communication activities.

Sask Wheat and SWCDC

The work to get to this point started about 18 months ago, said Carol Ann Patterson, executive director of the SWCDC.

“This has been in discussion for the last year and a half amongst our board about how to approach the next five to 10 years of winter cereals acreage on the prairies,” she told Farms.com. “Levy revenue is decreasing, and we did an analysis and recognized that winter cereals acreages are decreasing.”

Winter cereals acreages are lower because of changes in crop rotation.

Winter cereals used to follow a four-year cycle. But that’s changed to a two-year cycle given improvements in crop technology, she said.

“When you have canola not being harvested until almost late September, it reduces the window for producers to plant winter cereals,” Patterson said.

SWCDC approached Sask Wheat about a potential merger.

In January 2022, at each individual organization’s annual general meeting, both passed a resolution to explore amalgamation.

Those survey results cited multiple benefits to a potential partnership, including wheat having one voice and a better use of checkoff dollars.

“It’s not an easy decision when an organization decides it has to amalgamate, but everything is being done in the best interest of producers,” Patterson said. “The levy dollars are still going to go towards research and advocacy, and Sask Wheat will continue to work with other organizations across the prairies to promote winter cereals.”

Once the deadline passes for the December consultation, the two organizations will make the results public for farmers to review prior to upcoming AGMs.

“If the results come back positive, then separate resolutions will be put forth at our respective AGMs in January in 2023,” Patterson said. “If those resolutions are passed then we will look to amalgamate at the end of the crop fiscal year, which is always July 31 in Saskatchewan.”


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