Alberta’s WRAP names new president

Members of Alberta’s general farm organization have named one of the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board as their new president.

At their annual meeting last week in Edmonton, members of Wild Rose Agricultural Producers (WRAP) named Lynn Jacobson of Enchant, Alta. as the group’s new chief.

Jacobson replaces Camrose farmer Humphrey Banack, who stays on WRAP’s executive as second vice-president. Keith Degenhardt of Hughenden was named first vice-president, replacing Jacobson.

Jacobson met last week in Edmonton with his counterparts Norm Hall of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) and Doug Chorney of Manitoba’s Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).

The federal government’s next suite of agricultural programs, tentatively dubbed "Growing Forward 2" for launch in April 2013, was on the agenda for that meeting, the groups said in a release.

"It is important that producers play a role in shaping what these programs will look like," Jacobson said. "Ongoing producer consultations in the months ahead in conjunction with the timely implementation of GF2 will provide some much needed stability to the industry."

"Including"

Jacobson and his wife Elaine farm on 1,400 acres at Enchant, about 75 km northeast of Lethbridge, growing cereals, pulses, oilseeds and alfalfa and managing a cow-calf operation. 

His history of voluntarism in the grain industry includes stints as a delegate for Alberta Wheat Pool (1993-98) and Agricore (1998-2001) and as a board member with the Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission (2000-02).

Jacobson was then named ASWPC president in 2002, and to the WRAP board in 2006.

"Being involved in farm policy development has shown me the importance of including producers in the decision-making process," Jacobson wrote in 2010, during a run for the District 3 seat on the Canadian Wheat Board’s board of farmer-elected directors. In a field of four candidates, he lost that race to former National Farmers Union president Stewart Wells.

Along with seven other farmer-elected directors, Wells was dismissed from the board last month, following passage of Bill C-18 to deregulate the CWB’s single marketing desk for Prairie wheat and barley.

As a member of FCWB, Jacobson has helped spearhead the legal effort leading to a ruling last month in Federal Court, finding Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz had erred in introducing C-18 without first consulting the CWB’s directors or holding a producer vote.

Jacobson has also served since late 2010 as co-chair of a steering committee examining the possibility of a new checkoff-funded commission, supporting variety and market development across all wheats grown in Alberta.

The committee, he said in October, has already drafted "strong and viable strategic business and startup plans," paving the way for what’s tentatively been dubbed the Alberta Wheat Commission to launch by Aug. 1 this year.

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