The remaining members of the Canadian Sheep Federation will be discussing its fate after Alberta Lamb Producers and the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency gave notice they are pulling out of the national organization.
Ontario will no longer be a member as of Sept. 1 and Alberta leaves Oct. 20, said Alberta Lamb Producers chair Erin Yaremko.
The announcements came as a surprise and were disappointing, said federation chair Phil Kolodychuk, who is a lamb producer from Bluesky, Alta.
A conference call will be held early next week to discuss whether they should carry on or dismantle the organization.
Advice may also be sought from the federal government because the federation administers national programs such as traceability, on-farm food safety and scrapie monitoring.
“We have reserves in place to operate for a year and we have obligations to meet,” he said.
There are monthly meetings and member provinces have representation on the board of directors, but Kolodychuk didn’t think anyone had indicated dissension at these meetings. Votes at the board were weighted based on the size of the provincial flock.
“It is bad news for producers in this country,” he said.
“We had a national organization that was underfunded but what are you going to do when provinces would hold you hostage to do what they want,” he said.
The federation is a non-profit organization funded with 25 cent per identification ear tag sold. Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan contributed money through their provincial organizations because they could not have a tag levy.
Alberta provided $25,000 per year.
News releases from the two provincial organizations said they believed the national federation represented their interests but would not comment further.
Ontario, Quebec and Alberta have the three largest flocks in Canada. Quebec has not been a member of the federation for several years.