An introduction to Team Alberta Crops’ government relations and policy manager – Reg Warkentin
As the modernization of Team Alberta Crops marches on, the expanded group of commissions now comprised of Alberta Barley, Alberta Beekeepers Commission, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Seed Growers, Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, Alberta Wheat Commission, and Potato Growers of Alberta, held a first joint advocacy meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development, Honourable Nate Horner, on April 27, 2022.
In addition to formally introducing the expanded collaboration, Team Alberta discussed pertinent areas of concern in advance of the Federal, Provincial and Territorial meeting of Agricultural Ministers, held on May 2, 2022. These concerns included the next agricultural policy framework, proposed environmental cross-compliance mandates in business risk management programs, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s transformation agenda, and the need to ensure Canada’s robust regulatory system maintains a scientific, evidentiary approach. The group also discussed concerns around the Government of Canada’s proposed targets for the Emission Reduction Plan.
As a first exercise in joint advocacy Team Alberta Crops’ government relations and policy manager, Reg Warkentin, who joined Team Alberta in March 2022, was instrumental in coordinating our outreach efforts. I sat down with Reg for an informal interview to get his take on the future of Team Alberta Crops.
Tell me about yourself?
RW: I was born and raised in central Alberta. My partner and I have five children together between the ages of three and nine years. When we are not busy herding children, we like to play rural golf courses. We never keep score and always sample the clubhouse fries and local beer selection.
What interested you in the role with Team Alberta?
RW: Coming from the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce I recognized the importance of policy, advocacy and power from speaking with a collective voice. My time at the chamber was powerfully awakening on the effectiveness of pulling many voices of influence together.
What opportunities and challenges do you see associated with the role?
RW: Like any large group comprised of busy and motivated people, communication and scheduling will be our biggest challenge. The commissions are large, complex organizations focused on producers, guiding research and educational programming and working on issues unique to their industry. The largest opportunity comes from the success of bringing together eight commissions in a collaborative manner and effectively harnessing the knowledge base, reach and influence so we can achieve joint policy priorities.
In your view, how do you see the modernized Team Alberta Crops benefitting farmers?
RW: With farmers being the one per cent of the population feeding the other 99 per cent, farmers benefit immensely from representation. Team Alberta provides farmers with another strong voice that will complement and amplify work done by the commissions and ensure farmer priorities are heard by the government and reflected in legislation.
What does success look like to you in year one?
RW: Like a well-oiled machine. Team Alberta Crops will proactively advocate on issues both on the horizon and that emerge. Producers and government will know Team Alberta Crops as a group that brings forward policy ideas based on research, best practices, and grassroots feedback. We will work with the government to ensure farmers can compete and succeed at the highest possible level.
Please welcome Reg to the team and view ongoing updates from Team Alberta Crops at teamalbertacrops.com.