Two new farmers and two incumbents have been elected to the Manitoba Canola Growers Board (MCGA) of directors.
The newcomers are Ron Krahn of Rivers and Bill Nicholson of Shoal Lake; Jacob (Jack) Froese of Winkler and Clayton Harder of Narol (near Winnipeg) were re-elected.
Hugh Drake of Elkhorn, who has served on the board since 2009 and is currently treasurer, was defeated, as was newcomer Cory Barker of Kenville.
The newly elected directors will take their positions Feb. 12, following the MCGA’s annual meeting Feb. 11 in Winnipeg during the Crop Connect Conference, MCGA executive Bill Ross said in a brief interview Dec. 18.
Half the eight-member board is up for election every two years. The other directors are Ed Rempel of Starbuck president, Charles Fossay of Starbuck, vice-president, Brian Chorney of East Selkirk, secretary, Larry Bohdanovich of Grandview and Dale Gryba of Gilbert Plains who was ineligible to seek re-election due to term limits.
The vote was conducted using a mail-in preferential voting system that allowed members to rank the candidates in order of preference, Réjean Vermette, returning officer with Avenue 4 Communications, which ran the election, said in a news release.
Candidates were required to win more than 50 per cent of the active votes in any particular count to win one of four positions (see the vote tabulation here).
Eight thousand, four hundred and fifty-five preferential ballots were mailed out to eligible Manitoba canola growers in November and 1,170 valid envelopes were returned by the deadline 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 2015.
Ninety-eight ballots were rejected for the following reasons:
- Completed improperly (using and “x” or checkmark instead of placing preferential numbers).
- Written message on ballot instead of vote.
There were 18 return envelopes containing other information and no ballots.
A total of 1,054 ballots or 13.84 per cent of the eligible ballots were counted in the tabulation.
Krahn moved back to the family farm with wife Anita in 1999 after getting a degree in agricultural engineering. The Krahns, who have three children, farm with Ron’s brother Robert, and father Abe.
“Our vision for the Manitoba Canola Growers should be to maintain and hopefully improve the profitability of growing canola in Manitoba and keep those profits in farmers’ hands,” Krahn said in a biography published on the MCGA’s website.
Nicholson, who also has a degree in agricultural engineering and farms with family, served three terms as an elected director of the Canadian Wheat Board.
Nicholson’s biography says he “has always put farmers’ interests first and he believes that to be the key consideration for every decision taken by the directors of the MCGA.”
Nicholson pledged to enhance MCGA’s work in research, market development as well as providing farmers with useful and independent information on agronomy, variety performance, marketing and transportation.
In his biography, Froese noted through experience he has gained insight in policy, trade, market development, market access, food safety and traceability, environmental concerns and social licence. He has served as a director on Manitoba Pulse Growers Association and as chair of Pulse Canada. He currently represents MCGA on the Grain Growers of Canada.
Harder, who is the MCGA’s research chair, also represents the organization on the Canadian Canola Growers Association’s board.
“If re-elected I would support research and initiatives that increase farmers’ bottom line,” he said on the MCGA’s website.
“Canola is a very important crop to Manitoba farmers. While production and profitability improvements can be made, it’s important that MCGA supports Manitoba-specific research priorities that benefit farmers first.”