Structural changes coming to ABP

INNISFAIL, Alta. — Alberta Beef Producers plans to make major adjustments during the next two years.

The action is driven by a producer vote held a year ago that called for the producer checkoff to remain refundable, rather than make the fee non-refundable.

“It lit a fire under us,” said ABP chair Charlie Christie during a zone meeting in Fort MacLeod. “We were talking about things that we should change up, modernize…. We’ve been pretty stable for a long, long time and the plebiscite made us all kind of take a look inward and say, maybe we are doing some things not wrong, but we could update things a bit, so that would definitely be the nexus of it, is the plebiscite.”

Currently, the organization splits the province into nine zones with six delegates. A five-zone map with seven delegates has been suggested. Directors will not be elected according to zone but will be selected at large. The board will shrink from 16 to 12 members.

“It doesn’t give geographical representation on the board but what it does is ensures the best and the brightest of our delegate body are representing Alberta as a whole,” said Kelly Smith Fraser, vice-chair.

In addition, zone meetings will be replaced with five regional one-day meetings open to all producers free of charge. The semi-annual meetings will no longer be held and the annual meeting could be held during the Alberta Beef Industry conference.

The cow-calf council and feeder councils will also be eliminated but working groups and committees will continue. These groups are open to all interested producers.

“You may not have the time or desire to be a delegate but you may have an interest in a group,” said Fraser.

The new structure could save about $100,000 although a cost-benefit analysis has not been done.

The organization has seen its annual budget shrink by about half since the checkoff was made refundable. There were 1,028 refunds of $2.8 million in the last two refund periods.

This year’s budget is $5.1 million.

The proposal to change ABP structure will be voted on at the Dec. 2-4 annual meeting in Calgary. If passed, it will take two years to make the transition.

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