Alta. producers debate national membership

Benefit to producers


CLARESHOLM, Alta. — Alberta Lamb Producers members in zones 1 and 2 defeated a motion Oct. 27 to withdraw from the Canadian Sheep Federation.


Citing concerns about value for money contributed, one producer suggested the ALP would be better served by using the money to do its own lobbying and other work now undertaken by the federation.


Zone 1 director Howard Paulsen said the ALP board has spent a lot of time discussing the federation, but directors continue to believe there is value in membership.


“We thought about pulling out, but if we’re not at the table, we have no say,” he told those at the zone meeting.


The ALP paid $18,335 to the CSF in 2011-12, which is 15 percent of the organization’s check-off revenue.


The national federation is now undergoing a review and renewal process, which includes modifications to its funding model.


According to ALP materials provided at the meeting, the federation budget will need a 30 percent increase to meet its goals of advocacy, communications and fiscal autonomy. 


Dues for the national federation are now collected by dividing the re-quired budget among members according to the number of sheep in each province. Every province except Newfoundland has federation representation.


The new proposal would see dues of 25 cents for every Canadian Sheep Identification Program tag purchased.


However, the idea is still under consideration and an initially planned launch next September may not be feasible, Paulsen told the group.


Phil Kolodychuk, ALP chair and one of its representatives on the CSF board, said in a later interview that a national body has value for sheep producers.


“You have to have a national organization if you really want to have a chance at talking to the federal government because I don’t think the federal government is going to want to talk to every province when there’s organizations that will look after national interests.”


He said the federation is severely underfunded and a method must be devised so producers in all provinces contribute fairly.


The federation manages the national Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program and the traceability program and lobbies government as needed. 


Kolodychuk said it is instrumental in getting veterinary drugs approved for use in Canadian flocks. It is also working on a farm level biosecurity standard for the sheep sector.

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