Manitoba farm group grows

Amidst the continual slumping of the farmer population and the proliferation of new agricultural commodity groups, Keystone Agricultural Producers has experienced a startling rejuvenation.

The organization is also trying to revamp itself from the inside so it can better fit the new farming reality.

“It’s certainly nice to see at this 30-year milestone for the organization to see such renewal and people coming back,” KAP president Doug Chorney said about the 727 members added in 2014, which take overall membership above 4,000 again.

Those 727 represent a 22 percent membership increase, which was the result of a campaign to sign up new members and get lapsed members back into the fold.

It’s good news for the organization’s budget because members pay dues through a checkoff, and more members equals more budget.

“Our budget was significantly less aggressive,” said Chorney, noting KAP expected to have only 3,700 members this year.

“It was a much more successful effort than we thought we would be able to achieve.”

KAP is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and delegates attending its annual meeting Jan. 30 debated a number of organizational issues.

They pondered whether more commodity group seats should be placed around the KAP executive table because of the growing importance of new commodity organizations.

“Hopefully, the Manitoba wheat and barley growers association will look at joining as a commodity group as well,” said KAP vice-president Rob Brunel.

Delegates also discussed districts amalgamation but KAP executive favoured keeping the grassroots network widespread like it is now.

“Our districts and our broad representations are really what makes this an effective organization,” said Brunel. “Those are core values.”

Keeping the momentum is the new objective.

“Year over year growth is going to be a priority,” said Chorney.

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