Nominations for director can no longer be made from the floor of the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association’s annual meeting.
And resolutions to the annual meeting must be made by Dec. 1 — more than two months before the association’s annual meeting held during Crop Connect in February.
The changes were included in a bylaw approved during the MPSGA’s annual meeting in Winnipeg Feb. 11.
The bylaw also allows the association to officially request provincial regulators change its name to Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association, executive director Francois Labelle said in an interview. The association added “soybean” to its name a year ago to reflect soybeans’ prominence. Soybean is Manitoba’s third-largest acreage crop behind canola and wheat.
Before the bylaw change, MPSGA members had to submit resolutions 90 days before the annual meeting. Some years harvest was still underway, Labelle said.
Lowe Farm-area farmer John Dueck raised a concern about members not being able to move resolutions during the annual meeting.
“That would require a bylaw change and would be something for the future board to look at,” Labelle said.
Butch Harder, also of Lowe Farm, said having to submit resolutions by Dec. 1 really means the association doesn’t want resolutions.
Harder also questioned the nomination process for new directors.
“The line that got me was ‘only candidates put forward by the nominating committee shall be eligible to be elected to the board of directors,’” Harder said.
“You say that doesn’t mean what it says.”
Members wanting to serve on the MPSGA’s board are only required to inform the association nominating committee because its job is to find people to run for office, Labelle said. The decision to get a slate of potential candidates ahead of the MPSGA’s annual meeting was made so members would have time to consider who to vote for, Labelle said.
This year’s annual meeting was the last allowing nominations for director from the floor. Five positions were open, but only four people were nominated and subsequently acclaimed. They are as follows: incumbents Jason Voth of Altona and Rick Vaags of Dugald and newcomers Calvin Penner of Elm Creek and John Preun of Selkirk.
The board of directors will appoint someone to fill the remaining vacancy at the board table.
Last year the MPSGA invested about half its checkoff revenue from farmers — $1.4 million — into 27 research projects, production specialist Kristen Podolsky told the meeting. Total research spending when ongoing projects are included was $4.2 million.
The MPGSA is expanding its on-farm research network, which involves working with farmers and private agronomists to do field-size research into things such as soybean plant population, inoculates, fertilizer and fungicides.
One project is assessing the impact hail damage at different grow stages has on soybean yield, quality and maturity. In 2015, the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) deferred adjusting soybeans hit by hail in July expecting they’d recover, Podolsky said.
“It certainly wasn’t the case,” she said. “It was more management cost for the growers… waiting for soybeans to mature or they didn’t mature at all.”
MASC is using adjustment practices developed for much warmer areas than Manitoba, Podolsky said.
“Crop insurance is on board with this (research),” she said. “They approved the protocols. We are going to see this over three years and it will either validate what we’re doing currently or improve what we are doing, so I am really excited about this project.”
Harder, a former MASC director, said when MASC adjusted his hail-damaged soybeans near harvest he received 18 per cent coverage versus five per cent from private hail companies that adjusted soon after the hail struck.
“I learned through them and through personal experience if you wait until harvest to do an adjustment you can see a hell of a lot more damage than you can when they are green,” he said.
Both MASC and private hail companies use the same adjustment procedures and private companies are aware of the MPSGA’s hail research, Podolsky said.
The MPSGA is also working with its Saskatchewan counterpart to avoid duplication, she said. Manitoba is swapping its expertise on soybeans for Saskatchewan’s insights on lentils and field peas, she said.