Amalgamation Consultations 2021

As directed by the boards of the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley, the two commissions solicited farmers’ opinions on the potential merger of the two commissions to one formal entity. Held during the fall of 2021, the consultations were an opportunity for Alberta wheat and barley farmers to contribute their input on the topic. 

The commissions held farmer consultations through an online survey, two online sessions in October and Regional Meetings in November.

Scroll to learn more about the latest updates following Alberta Barley and AWC's annual general meetings.

Our Past

Prior to 2018, AWC and Alberta Barley operated independently with separate teams but shared finance, HR and administration staff, as well as office space.

In September 2017, the commissions' boards decided to enter into a pilot project to explore the idea of a single team to manage both commissions. The two boards recognized areas of overlap such as policy, market development, research, extension, events and communications, and agreed to test the concept of operating as a joint management team.

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.

The catalyst

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.

Our Present

AWC and Alberta Barley remain as two organizations with separate governance structures, but continue to operate with a single management team. Since both commissions operate as two separate legal entities, the management teams are accountable and obligated to report to two governing boards as required by the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act and Regulations. 

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.

Our Future

The future of the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions remains to be determined as the direction must be decided by farmer stakeholders. This is where we need Alberta wheat and barley farmers’ help! The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions want to gauge farmers’ opinions on the potential to merge into a single farmer-led organization – to increase efficiencies, add more value, and have a stronger voice.

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:

Farmer Governance

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.

To learn more about the value proposition for this proposed model, check out the Frequently Asked Questions from the online survey.

Get involved! 

The consultations held in 2021 were an initial step in soliciting farmers’ views and opinions towards the potential of amalgamating AWC and Alberta Barley. Farmers had ample opportunities in 2021 to provide input through an online survey, a series of town hall events in October, and Regional Meetings in November.

Curious to see the results from the online survey and frequently asked questions? Click the links below!  
Online Survey ResultsFrequently asked questions

LATEST UPDATE: February 2022

During Regional Meetings in November of 2021, the commissions reported on the farmer consultations continuing the dialogue on the topic during the in-person meetings. During the Regional Meetings, resolutions were brought forward from both Alberta Barley and the Alberta Wheat Commission to conduct a farmer plebiscite on amalgamating the two organizations. 

The resolutions were then taken to their respective commissions' Annual General Meetings (AGMs): 

  • Alberta Barley's AGM was held in Banff, Alberta on December 8, 2021: Motion PASSED.
  • AWC's AGM was in Edmonton, Alberta on January 26, 2022: Motion PASSED.

The results from the two AGMs provide clear direction for the commissions to conduct a farmer plebiscite on amalgamating the two organizations. 

The commissions are currently exploring the plebiscite logistics and encourage farmers to stay engaged and informed by subscribing to our Latest News emailing list.