Let your name stand: MCA delegate nominations open July 1

Thinking about getting more involved in your industry?

Manitoba Crop Alliance’s (MCA) governance structure is unique among Manitoba commodity groups. MCA has four crop committees – corn, flax, sunflower, and wheat and barley – each composed of delegates who are elected from among farmer members who grow the respective crop. The committees range in size from eight delegates for corn, flax and sunflower, to 10 for wheat and barley.

MCA is governed by a board of 11 directors, each a delegate appointed by their respective crop committee. Delegates are nominated and elected every two years.

This election period there are four open positions on each of the corn, flax and sunflower committees, as well as five open positions on the wheat and barley committee. MCA will be accepting nominations from farmer members to serve as delegates on all four committees.

Delegate nominations open July 1 and close Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m. CDT. The nomination period has been moved up one month compared with previous years to allow adequate time if an election is required.

MCA delegates work towards strengthening the mandate of research, agronomy, market development and access, and communication and advocacy initiatives within each of the four crop committees.

Scott Mowbray has been a delegate on the wheat and barley committee for one year and sat on similar boards at the community level. He is a delegate for the Keystone Agricultural Producers’ District 2 and sits on the transportation committee.

“Being a delegate is a great way to get involved,” he says. “It’s a small time commitment, with only a few meetings per year, as well as other learning opportunities such as CropConnect. Staff are always considerate of farming commitments when scheduling meetings.”

When asked why he wanted to be nominated, Mowbray says he saw it as a chance to stay connected to events in the industry and he appreciates being able to help guide research priorities.

Ryan Hueging joined the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association in 2019 prior to the amalgamation and is a delegate on MCA’s wheat and barley committee. He served on the MCA board of directors from 2021 through 2023.

“What I’ve learned so far as a delegate is that many industry stakeholders need to work together to shape the future of ag, whether it’s policy, plant breeding or marketing, for example,” he says. “What I’ve found most fascinating is the process of plant breeding and all the necessary steps involved.”

As a director, he has enjoyed the access MCA has within the ag industry. “When decisions are made at committee levels and forwarded to the board, I enjoy having the opportunity to see what happens across the entire organization, and to work to resolve issues involving other crop committees.”

Richard Dureault was originally a director for the Manitoba Corn Growers Association and joined MCA’s corn committee as a delegate after the amalgamation. This was his first experience in this type of role.

For Dureault, meeting and learning from others has been a highlight. “The delegates and staff are well spread out around the province and you can learn something from everyone,” he says. “We share ideas and have many opportunities to connect in person.”

Crop committee delegates play a unique role in the organization. “It’s growers’ money that goes into the organization and, as a delegate, you have a say where your money is going. On top of that, you don’t need any experience to join,” he says. “Kudos to the MCA staff for the easy transition into the role and the direction provided.”

Warren McCutcheon is a delegate on the corn committee and had sat on the Manitoba Corn Growers Association board of directors since 2019 prior to the amalgamation.

“I wanted to be a delegate to have a say in where my check-off dollars are going, and make sure there is value there for my – and other farmers’ – dollars,” he says.

One of the biggest takeaways for McCutcheon is the relationships and connections made, learning from each other and MCA’s unique operations.

“I would encourage other growers to get involved, as there is only one way to have a voice and make decisions on how farmer check-off dollars are spent,” he says. “Get involved!”

Gregg Fotheringham has served on many boards over the years locally, provincially and internationally, and was involved with the National Sunflower Association of Canada prior to the amalgamation. He is an MCA director and a delegate on the sunflower committee.

“The interests of the smaller crop types are certainly being heard and considered by the MCA board,” he says. “All crops are being looked at as a necessity for grain farming in Manitoba, and sunflower issues are being heard in a far better manner than ever before.”

Fotheringham says the biggest initiative of MCA is research at a reasonable cost, which has been happening since the amalgamation, but there are other important activities the average member is not aware of. “Our membership roles with Cereals Canada, Grain Growers of Canada and the Canadian Malt Barley Technical Centre, our liaisons with Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, as well as keeping our provincial government abreast of our efforts and concerns, to name a few,” he says.

Leigh Smith joined the flax committee in 2023 and the MCA board of directors in 2024. Smith explains the role as “coming forward with an open mind, knowing that you are going to learn something, but also that you have something to offer and that you will be heard.”

Although flax is a smaller acreage crop, from an organizational standpoint it still gets its fair share of attention, he says. “Credit to committee members and management who bring forward good topics to discuss. I see all committees receiving the same amount of prep from management and I think as a group we are benefitting from being under the branch of MCA.”

Becoming a delegate with MCA provides personal growth opportunities, such as networking with fellow farmers, researchers and industry stakeholders; the chance to gain an in-depth understanding of the crop industries MCA represents; and the ability to attend educational and leadership-building workshops and seminars.

Participation on the crop committees also provides development opportunities for a potential future role on the board of directors. For more information on the roles and responsibilities of crop committee delegates and MCA directors, click here.