Flax industry ready to build on crop’s potential
By Top Crop Manager
The Flax Council of Canada will operate under a revised structure where services to the flax industry will be provided through partnerships with like-minded operations.
This news follows Flax Council’s announcement earlier this year that it would be closing its office and operating at a reduced service basis.
Flax Council chair Erwin Hanley said in a statement that after a period of uncertainty, flax is well-positioned to become the next high-value addition to the Canadian’s farmer’s rotation.
The new Flax Council executive committee consists of:
- Erwin Hanley, director at large and chair
- Eric Fridfinnson, representing the Manitoba Flax Growers Association
- Bo Hallborg of Viterra, vice chair
- Brian Johnson of Johnson Seeds, past chair
The Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission (SaskFlax) and Manitoba Flax Growers Association will support flax agronomy and research, including the flax breeding program at the Crop Development Centre in Saskatoon, Sask. Michelle Beaith was recently hired by SaskFlax to lead research and agronomic programs for the industry.
Market development, market access and government relations services will be provided to the Flax Council on a cost-recovery basis by the Canola Council of Canada. The arrangement will provide access to professional staff and worldwide connections, while enabling the Canola Council to generate more value from the strengths the organization has developed over the past 52 years.
The Flax Council’s executive committee will set the direction for policy and programs, considering the interests of all those with a stake in the future of Canadian flax, from growers to processors. Hanley spoke to how the new structure offers a new beginning for the Flax Council, including a reliable flax breeding program, agronomic support and professional marketing.
The Flax Council of Canada is a national organization, funded by a voluntary export levy. Established in 1986, the Flax Council promotes the advancement of Canadian flax and flax products including nutritional and industrial uses in domestic and international markets.
The Flax Council played a key role in managing the aftermath following the detection of CDC Triffid seed in shipments to the EU, providing financial support to significant testing protocols in an effort to remove Triffid from the seed supply in Canada.
Since 2013, the Flax Council has managed more than 6.2 million dollars in research and market development programs with the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Manitoba Agriculture, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and both the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission and Manitoba Flax Growers Association.