The Mani toba Rural Adaptation Council is looking to expand its mandate and find new ways to serve rural Manitoba, says the council’s new chair.
“I think we can take the talent that’s around the table, and do an awful lot more for Manitoba,” said Shelley Curé, a dairy producer from St. Pierre- Jolys, who was elected chair at the organization’s annual general meeting on March 17 in Portage la Prairie.
The seven-year veteran director said the organization sees an opportunity to expand into other areas and go beyond the administration of the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) funds.
“In our strategic plan we want to move forward so that we are more than a single portfolio delivery agent,” Curé said, adding that could mean potentially providing project management or administration services for other kinds of organizations.
Joining Curé are newly elected directors Jody Bogacki, a Beausejour resident and member of the Consumer Interest Alliance Inc. , Curtis Rempel, an adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba as well as research and development manager at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, and Wayne Urbonas, director of regulatory and industry affairs with Granny’s Poultry. Re-elected for another term are Ryan Canart and Gwendolyn Donohoe, who will continue to serve as youth director.
The meeting also acknowledged the contributions of three of its outgoing directors: past chair Barry Routledge, Jennifer Hillard and Dave Shambrock.
About 80 people attended the AGM in Portage la Prairie last month. The council was conceived in the 1990s as a grassroots organization to help act as a catalyst for change by developing leadership capacity and providing resources to spur innovation in the agriculture and food sectors.
The meeting provided time to both reflect on the group’s past and think about its future.
Founding council member Owen McAuley spoke about the organization’s origins and original vision, urging the assembly to make sure the council continues to represent a broad spectrum of interests across the food system.
Executive director Ted Eastley outlined MRAC’s strategic planning objectives, stressing the need to be “forward movers and shakers, not just thinkers” and to produce measurable results.
CAAP is a five-year program which began in 2009 and will provide $163 million in funding for the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector. Part of MRAC’s mandate is to administer Manitoba’s portion of the CAAP funding ($9.5 million) to help farm families respond and adapt to challenges in their operations.
Over the past 15 years, MRAC has supported approximately 650 agricultural projects in Manitoba.
The Value Chain Manitoba Initiative has been a joint initiative between MRAC and Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives.
– SHELLEY CUR, MRAC CHAIR