ABP finance chair Melanie Wowk outlines the proposed changes to the organizations structure designed to better serve members and make the ABP more efficient to operate. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Input wanted on ABP reorganizing proposal

Five-year review comes up with major revamp to cut costs

A major restructuring of the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) is being proposed and the organization is looking for input from its members.

The proposal was a key piece of the regional zone meeting in Ponoka on Nov. 7 that drew about 40 people. There were two other zone meetings held in Camrose and Breton.

A review of ABP operations, held every five years, was completed earlier this year and the result is a suggested move to fewer zones, delegates and board members plus changes to zone and annual meetings.

Melanie Wowk, ABP board member from Zone 8 and finance chair, explained the changes are meant to make the ABP leaner, more efficient, lower expenses and generate more engagement of members. The proposal will be voted on at the annual general meeting (AGM) next month. If approved and the changes are accepted by the province, it’s expected to be fully implemented by mid-2021.

“We really want feedback on what you think,” she said, adding there will also be time for producers to provide suggestions on the proposal through their delegates or by contacting the ABP office prior to the AGM.

“We really need it, as this involves numerous important regulatory changes that need producer input.”

The details of the proposal include dropping to five zones from nine, decreasing the board by four to 12 directors who will be elected by the delegates, which would be going from 54 to 35. The semi-annual meeting would also be eliminated and there would be only one fall meeting per zone.

“The hope is a one-day meeting would allow for more educational topics that might draw more of the younger producers,” Wowk stated.

Chris Simpson, a Rimbey-area producer, welcomed the proposal as it would mean a more efficient organization. However, he expressed concerns about having to travel some distance to attend an all-day meeting when it can be difficult to get people to attend one close by. He also wondered about region representation on the board with the change to elected directors.

Wowk acknowledged both concerns have been discussed and are the most contentious items in the proposal, adding other zones have aready passed resolutions to suggest solutions to them.

Zone 6 delegate Jill Burkhardt, who was part of the committee that developed the proposal, stated nothing is set in stone — even the map of the new proposed zones.

“We struggled to come up with a new map. Our thought was to focus more province-wide instead of regional,” she said.

“Though the make or break for this will be how far you are willing to travel for a meeting. If you have a better idea, let us know.”

Burkhardt added the meetings would also see industry speakers, subjects and networking opportunities, though zones could still host smaller informational sessions.

More details on the proposal is available by going to www.albertabeef.org.

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