Ian Wishart Leaves Kap Presidency

Keys tone Agr icul tural Producers is looking for a new president after Ian Wishart resigned suddenly from the position Oct. 14.

A KAP general council meeting sat in stunned silence as Wishart, his voice thick with emotion, announced he was stepping down, effective immediately.

“With considerable regret, I offer my resignation and my apologies. I hate to leave things partly done,” he told the group.

“I’m not going to disappear but I am going to have to change roles.”

The news came as a surprise to KAP council, although Wishart had informed executive members of his decision earlier in the week.

Wishart gave no reason for his resignation. Later, he said he would make an announcement following the Oct. 27 municipal elections.

Sources speculate Wishart may take a run at provincial politics for the Progressive Conservative Party in Portage la Prairie constituency, where he farms.

PC incumbent MLA David Faurschou announced in September he would not run in the next provincial election Oct. 4, 2011. A nomination meeting for the riding has not been scheduled.

Rob Brunel, one of KAP’s two vice-presidents, will serve as acting president until the KAP annual general meeting Jan. 26-28. Brunel told KAP councillors he had “big shoes to fill for the next four months” but had no plans to run for president at the AGM. Doug Chorney, the other vice-president, is said to be considering it.

Wishart was in his third one-year term as KAP president, having been first elected in to the post 2008. Previously, he served four years as vice-president.

Wishart is KAP’s eighth president since the organization was formed in 1985. Previous presidents were Jack Penner, Earl Geddes, Alan Ransom, Les Jacobson, Don Dewar, Weldon Newton and David Rolfe.

During his announcement, Wishart said he was leaving the organization in good hands.

“The real strength is in the members and there’s no question that this organization is respected, not only here in Manitoba, but across Canada.”

Later, he cited the Alternative Land Use Service program as one of his major accomplishments during his time with KAP.

ALUS, Wishart’s groundbreaking brainchild, is an environmental goods and services program which rewards farmers financially for ecologically sound on-farm management practices.

An ALUS pilot project ran successfully in the western Manitoba municipality of Blanshard, although it has not been renewed. Several other provinces have also had ALUSlike pilots.

Wishart said he was proud of KAP’s work on farm safety net programs and in getting government to listen to producers’ concerns.

But he expressed regret about “unfinished business,” including grain transportation issues and provincial nutrient management regulations coming into effect in 2013.

He also noted chronic problems with KAP’s membership checkoff, which is supposed to be deducted automatically from grain sales at elevators, have never been fully solved.

The meeting heard that KAP’s paid membership as of Sept. 30, 2010 stood at 3,922, down from 4,033 in 2009 and 4,584 in 2008.

Part of the reason for the decline is the loss of farmers from the industry. But another reason is that the checkoff still isn’t working as it should, the meeting was told. [email protected]

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“I’m not going to disappear but I am going to have to change roles.”

– IAN WISHART

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