The Canola Council of Canada announced sweeping changes to the organization today at the Canola Industry Meeting in Saskatoon.
The main changes are that it is reducing its role in extension agronomy, will no longer be doing market promotion and is restructuring its funding model.
Council president Jim Everson told delegates attending the meeting that the cutbacks are necessary at a time of reduced resources.
The council’s core budget in 2019 will be $5.2 million, down from $8.7 million in 2017. Producer groups will fund half of the core budget with industry paying the other half. The levy will no longer be based on production.
“We’re going to have a budget that reflects our priorities, not the production of canola,” Everson said in an interview following his presentation.
The council will continue to play a leadership role in co-ordinating national research projects and in agronomy work related to key issues such as clubroot, blackleg and stand establishment.
However, it is reducing its role in extension agronomy, relying more heavily on the private sector to take on knowledge transfer and communication of best management practices.
“We’re not going to walk the fields with one or two farmers,” said Everson.
“But if we can get 50 farmers together and some commercial agronomists and make a bigger impact with that kind of event, that’s what we’d like to do.”
There has already been some staff reductions at the council, either through layoffs or attrition.
However, the biggest budget cut is happening externally in market promotion, where the council had been managing consultants in key export markets.
“We have withdrawn a lot of that expenditure in consultants in markets and promotion work that we’ve been doing with social media,” said Everson.
“That’s a major area where we’ve really cut back.”
Other changes include combining the council’s annual convention with that of the Canada Grains Council, reducing its role in provincial disease and pest surveying and turning over administration of the Canola Performance Trials to industry.