Barley industry adds new voice


New board of directors | Organization hopes to boost barley acres

The Canadian barley industry has taken another step in efforts to establish a national organization that represents all interests within the sector.

The recently formed Barley Council of Canada announced last week its inaugural board of directors. The 14-member board will include seven representatives from grower groups in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Eastern Canada.

The remaining seven seats are reserved for industry groups representing maltsters, brewers, feed manufacturers, feed users, grain handlers and exporters, researchers and life science companies.

Chair Brian Otto said the council expects to be incorporated in the next two weeks.

Board members are scheduled to hold their first face-to-face meeting next month in Winnipeg, where discussions will focus on establishing a budget and identifying a funding structure.

Funding to support the council’s operations is expected to come from membership fees and other forms of support rather than producer levies.

Otto, a barley producer from Warner, Alta., who is also a director with the Western Barley Growers Association, said the new council is modeled after the Canola Council of Canada and Pulse Canada.

The main difference is that producer representatives will fill half of the chairs at the barley council’s board table.

The council’s main priorities will include innovation and research, best management practices for producers, market development, improving market access and enhancing communication and collaboration within the barley supply chain.

Otto said the council will strive to maximize efficiencies and avoid duplicating functions provided by existing organizations.

The council’s architects were careful to ensure that board membership was equally distributed between farmer and industry interests, he added.

“As industry members and farmers, our board of directors recognizes the importance of equal representation when developing national strategies to strengthen the Canadian barley industry.”

One of the council’s key functions will be to foster growth in the barley industry by identifying common priorities and providing a unified voice for all participants including producers, buyers, sellers, processors and end users.

Industry representative Pat Rowan said Canadian barley acreage has been diminishing while other crops such as canola and wheat continue to dominate the western Canadian landscape.

Acreage has dropped to an estimated eight million acres this year from more than 12 million acres in 2004.

“One of the things that we want as a council is to emphasize the need for more barley acres,” said Rowan, manager of Canadian barley operations for BARI-Canada Inc.

Rowan said stakeholders in the barley industry must work collaboratively and develop a unified vision.

He said even though stakeholders have different interests, there are many areas of common interest such as market development, market protection and investments in varietal development.

“We’ll all be pulling in the same direction, that’s the intent,” he said.

In addition to the formation of a national barley council, new provincial commissions have also been established in Western Canada to collect producer levies on wheat and barley.

The Alberta Barley Commission and the soon-to-be established Saskatchewan Barley Commission are represented on the barley council’s inaugural board.

Manitoba barley farmers are represented by Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney.

KAP is leading efforts to establish provincial wheat and barley commissions in that province.

Otto said the barley council has been in contact with proponents of the Cereals Council of Canada and will work with that organization, which is also in its formative stages.

The Cereals Council of Canada is expected to serve a similar function but is expected to deal with multiple crop types, including wheat, barley and oats.

Alberta Barley Commission: Trevor Petersen, Alberta Barley Commission vice-chair.
Manitoba Barley Farmers: Doug Chorney, Keystone Agricultural Producers .
Saskatchewan barley industry: Bill Cooper, Sask. wheat-barley working group.
Western Barley Growers Association: Brian Otto, WBGA president.
Directors-at-Large: Atlantic Canada, Neil Campbell, Prince Edward Island Grain Elevators Corp.; British Columbia, Garnett Berge, B.C. Grain Producers director; across Canada, pending.
Malt: John Holliday, Canada Malting.
Brewer: Patrick Rowan, BARI Canada Inc.
Feed user-feeder: Jay Burrows, Western Feedlots.
Grain Handlers-exporters: Chantelle Donahue, Cargill Canada.
Research: Brian Rossnagel, University of Saskatchewan, agriculture college professor emeritus.
CropLife Canada: Janice Tranberg, CropLife.
Feed manufacturer: pending.

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