Manitoba s largest general farm policy organization has taken its share of lumps lately, a reflection of just how acrimonious the debate of the day in farm policy has proven to be.
To their credit, members of the Keystone Agricultural Producers general council tackled some difficult discussions at their recent meeting with jocularity after an in-camera session that allowed some venting.
KAP has been accused of being too soft, of being afraid to take sides on the CWB and other issues. But as an organization, it accurately reflects the polarized views within the farming community.
While it must be careful not to be bullied into submission by those on either side of the question, it must also challenge its membership to look beyond the obvious toward the bigger questions.
The issue at hand is not the future of the Canadian Wheat Board so much as it is the ability of farmers to protect their interests in the marketplace.
The board, with its regulated monopoly, was but one tool toward that end. If it disappears, or even if it continues to exist in a weakened form, farmers will need alternatives. It doesn t appear the present government is interested in providing any degree of regulated fairness in the system.
One of the discussions at the recent KAP meeting was about overly invasive contracts grain companies are proposing. While it s unlikely KAP can intervene directly, it can help farmers connect with each other and provide them with information.
In the future, as in the past, it s likely farmers will accomplish more by working together. Organizations like KAP can play a key role.