General Farm Organizations (GFOs) need Stable Funding
In Manitoba only KAP receives stable funding from farmers through check-off dollars at the elevator. Seeing as how there are 2 general farm organizations (GFOs) in Manitoba, this system is unbalanced. The provincial laws which allow only one farm group to gain stable funding are prescribed under “The Agricultural Producers’ Organization Funding Act”.
It is clear that this bill needs to be revamped to include NFU-Manitoba.
It also creates a bias on the types of farmers who pay for Stable Funding. The collection for GFO funding by farmers at the elevator means that there are several types of farmers in which a GFO is unlikely to receive any dollars from through a check-off mechanism. It rules out direct market farmers, CSA’s, many livestock and poultry producers, many who sell for feed, and those you produce their own products.
For those farms who are required to send money to a GFO as a portion of their sales it can be a cumbersome process. Not to mention that a GFO may feel it needs to restrict speaking out against a company that is also sending it vital money if the current status quo is maintained.
All farmers should be offered the opportunity to support the general farm organization of their choice through stable funding as is done in the provinces of PEI, New Brunswick and Ontario. Volunteer driven membership funding has proven very challenging and yet farmers’ voices need to be represented to governments.
National Farmers Union – Manitoba advocates for our provincial government to strengthen all farm sectors by giving all farmers an equal say by paying one fee at the beginning of the year that goes to their farm organization of choice and allows farmers to receive farmer benefits when they pay that fee.
It is simply unreasonable and undemocratic to allow only one farm organization to state that they represent all farmers.
It’s time for NFU-Manitoba members and supporters to speak out.
Since the new provincial government came into office we have been reminding them that the National Farmers Union in Manitoba deserve stable funding in the same way that Keystone Agricultural Producers do. I’m attaching our press release. You can review the recent article in the Manitoba Co-operator here.
On Friday, Feb 24th, 2017 however the Provincial Ag Department released a survey asking for basic input on The Agricultural Producers’ Organization Funding Act with no mention of the National Farmers Union – Manitoba, or the ability for general farm organizations other than KAP to be allowed stable funding etc. The survey ends March 9th!!! Needless to say, we aren’t impressed. It is clear the voice of the National Farmers Union is trying to be ignored.
But, we have a voice that supports having more farm families on the land, not less; we believe in policies that support cleaning up the environment not just mitigating it and; we’re not afraid of supporting government run services if they are for the benefit of the collective good of farmers. The list goes on and it’s clear that a diverse farm voice in Manitoba is essential. I’m asking if you would consider helping us by doing these things right away:
1) Call Premier Brian Pallister: 204-945-3714 and Ag Minister Ralph Eichler’s Office: 204-945-3722 and your MLA and let them know that you want a choice of voice in Manitoba farm organization stable funding and you want NFU-Manitoba included in the new stable funding model.
2) Send the Minister a letter to: 165 Legislative Building 450 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8 or e-mail: to firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Sign our attached Petition (can you get 10 signatures?) and bring it to our convention on March 30th, 2017. (please note, there is a front and back side)
4) Invite people to attend our NFU – Region 5 (Manitoba) Convention on March 30th at the Canad Inns in Portage la Prairie. We’re going to have a deeper discussion as to the history and the importance of a Choice of Voice in Manitoba at this important annual event. Updates will be found at nfu-mb.ca.
5) Fill out the Survey https://manitobasurveys.gov.mb.ca/checkbox/funding-of-general-farm-organization-in-manitoba.aspx and add something like this to the last comments on line #12.
Change as you see fit:
“Thank you for realizing that the stable funding model for general farm organizations in Manitoba that is in place needs to change. Unfortunately, this survey does not recognize the need for a choice of voice of general farm organizations in the province of Manitoba. Diversity of voices is an essential part of democracy and no one organization can do everything on behalf of farm families. Due to the fact your department has not included these questions I will include them and answer these questions as well.
1) Do you believe that only one general farm organization can represent the voice of all Manitoba farmers? – NO
2) Do you believe that farm families should have the opportunity to choose which general organization they can support through stable funding? – YES
3) Do you believe that the National Farmers Union – Region 5 (Manitoba) should be included in the stable funding model in the same way KAP is? – YES
4) Should farmers be allowed to fund more than one organization through a stable funding model? – YES
For more information, please read this important article. https://www.manitobacooperator.ca/crops/opinion-choice-of-voice-needed-for-manitoba/
I deeply hope that you change the unfairness of prior governments by not ignoring the important request I am making of allowing a choice of voice for all Manitoba general farm organizations.”
Thank you for your support. It’s time to be heard. Let us know how it goes.