Flax council closes office; future uncertain

The Flax Council of Canada is laying off its employees, but the organization may continue in a different form.

The council, which represents the entire flax industry when it comes to market development, crop research and flax promotion, announced Jan. 8 that its Winnipeg office will close Jan. 31.

The council’s executive committee said in a news release that the closure was financially necessary.

“Over the course of the past year the formation of a combined oilseed council was thoroughly discussed at the request of some of our members that contribute significant levy dollars to the council”, said Brian Johnson, council chair and co-owner of Johnson Seeds in Arborg, Man.

“Through these discussions it became apparent that the formation of an oilseed council would not materialize in the foreseeable future. The result of this is a significant loss of funding to the council, necessitating cost reduction measures.”

Last fall The Western Producer reported on the possibility of a national oilseed council, which would represent canola, soybeans, flax and other oilseed crops.

A couple of grain companies have been unhappy with the amount of levies they pay to the Canola Council of Canada. Those firms have lobbied for a broader oilseed council to avoid duplication and cut costs.

The future of the flax council is unclear. Industry leaders will have to decide if a national organization is necessary or if provincial groups can do the market promotion and research work.

The council, which was formed in 1986, currently has three employees: an executive assistant, a financial administrator and an agronomist.

“The flax council executive and board of directors wishes to thank its staff who have worked hard and with professionalism for the flax industry during their time with the Flax Council of Canada,” the council said in a release.

“We wish them well in their future endeavours.”

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