At the end of January, Peace Country wheat farmer Greg Sears was named chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission.
Over the next year, Sears says one of the main focuses for him and the rest of the executive team will be to support the amalgamation of the Commission with Alberta Barley.
“The next six months to a year will be pretty heavily orientated on bringing those two organizations together, and continuing the work both groups are already doing but also creating a governance structure that makes the most of the efficiencies and the talents of the people already involved,” Sears says.
The decision to bring the two groups together was made after two plebiscites were held back in November, with the majority of producers who voted, in favour of bringing the two organizations together. Sears says the fundamental benefit of amalgamating is efficiency.
“We can do the same or more work with the same staff level, so it reduces the costs to the farmers in their levies, and allows us to spend those levies more efficiently.”
Sears adds the money can be spent more on initiatives which affect farmers’ livelihoods like research and extension activities.
The formal amalgamation is expected to be completed by August with an interim board of directors in place until the new regulations are approved.