As directed by the boards of the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley, the two commissions are soliciting farmers’ opinions on the potential merger of the two commissions to one formal entity. The consultations will be an opportunity for Alberta wheat and barley farmers to contribute their input during the summer and fall of 2021.Take the Survey
Upon amalgamating the staff, the commissions quickly realized additional synergies such as the ability to collaboratively fund an agronomy extension program (The Growing Point and Plot2Farm), share event spaces and heighten their kids education efforts (Wally Wheat and Betty Barley’s Grain Gallery), partner on enhanced communication initiatives (The Grain Exchange and Spotlight on Research), and more.
In November of 2018 at the Alberta Wheat Commission's Region 2 meeting in Strathmore, a resolution was passed by farmers that read:
Whereas: the Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley are currently operating with a shared management team and have successfully demonstrated the potential efficiencies and synergies an integrated organization can provide to producers and ensure that producers’ levies are used to greatest benefit.
Be it resolved: that Alberta Barley complete a comprehensive review of the potential to formally merge the Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley and if appropriate, conduct a producer plebiscite to obtain member approval for a merger.
The resolution was passed by both commissions at their respective annual general meeting events. For more information on how the commissions’ governance operates including resolutions, regional meetings and annual general meetings, visit the Farmer Governance pages for both AWC and Alberta Barley.
Over the years, this unified management structure has resulted in significant cost savings upwards of $350,000 annually.
These savings have allowed the commissions to advance key areas such as agronomic extension, research and communication initiatives.
The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions have adopted the mantra of ‘Better Together’ as seen in annual update videos, press releases, the new joint website, etc. The well-established integrated management model has created a culture of excellence for both organizations.
Moving the needle
In order to guide the amalgamation exploration work as set forth by the formal resolutions from the 2019 AGMs, the commissions formed an amalgamation sub-committee in 2020 comprised of select AWC and Alberta Barley’s past and current directors, regional representatives, and delegates. The sub-committee is also supported by the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions’ general manger, Tom Steve and chief operating officer, Syeda Khurram.
As a key objective for the amalgamation sub-committee, a draft model of an amalgamated governance structure has been developed for farmers’ consideration during this consultation period. The proposed model consists of:
One farmer-led board of 12 representing wheat and barley farmers from six regions in Alberta (two directors from each region). Plus, four delegate positions from each region for a delegate body of 24 farmers.
Priorities and Check-Off
Research would remain the top priority for the proposed amalgamated organization and funding would be merit-based. AWC and Alberta Barley check-off would also remain the same at $1.09 per metric tonne for wheat and $1.20 per metric tonne for barley. However, this is subject to review by the first board of the combined organization.
We need to hear from wheat and barley farmers!
It is important to note that this is not a formal plebiscite! This consultation period is an initial step in soliciting farmers’ views and opinions towards the potential of amalgamating AWC and Alberta Barley. Throughout this process, farmers will have ample opportunities to provide input through an online survey and a series of town hall events in October. All input will be collected and presented to farmers during Regional Meetings in November.Take the Survey