By Ontario Soybean Growers
The process of combining corn, soybean and wheat organizations into one entity has resumed, following the signing of an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the organizations' chairpeople.
By Ontario Soybean Growers
April 3, 2008
Guelph, ON – Plans to form one Ontario corn, soybean and wheat organization are officially back on the table today, after the chairs of the three organizations signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The Chairs of Ontario Corn Producers’ Association (OCPA), Ontario Soybean Growers (OSG), and Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board (OWPMB) officially signed the updated Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming all three boards’ commitment to bringing plans for a single organization to a producer vote.
“In signing the MOU today we’re saying we’re committed to seeing this process through, to allow producers of corn, soybeans, and wheat to decide whether we’ll have one organization for the three commodities,” says Leo Guilbeault, Chair of Ontario Soybean Growers.
Work on the MOU began in 2004 when the all three organizations signed on to an original agreement to pursue the formation of one organization, with no predetermination of what that organization might look like. While much progress has been made in firming up a proposed structure for the organization – called Grain Farmers of Ontario – the process was suspended in November 2007.
“Signing this MOU today allows us to recognize the progress that has already been made, while committing to specific objectives and structure that will take this process to a producer vote,” says Dave Whaley, newly-elected Chair of OWPMB.
While the previous MOU outlined a parallel process – involving one committee with elected representatives, and another with general managers and staff – the newly-appointed working group involves Chairs and General Managers from all three organizations with Rod Stork serving as facilitator.
The Working Group is working closely with the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (OFPMC) to ensure all requirements are addressed to move forward with a producer vote. The OFPMC is the regulatory body responsible for the supervision of Ontario’s marketing boards and representative associations.
Producer participation in the future vote, which is conducted by OFPMC is extremely important. The results of the vote will be used by the OFPMC to determine whether it recommends to the Minister that the formation of Grain Farmers of Ontario should occur.
“During the interval this winter when the process was suspended, grain and oilseed producers made it clear that they wanted to be able to vote, and we’re pleased to be able to respond to their direction,” says Dale Mountjoy, President of Ontario Corn Producers’ Association (OCPA).
Producer information packages and timelines for conducting a producer vote are currently being finalized.