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Man. cattle producers vote to dump KAP

The Manitoba Cattle Producers Association’s board of directors has voted to pull its membership from the province’s general farm group.

MCPA, in this week’s edition of its Cattle Country newsletter, said its directors passed a motion at their September board meeting to withdraw the group’s membership in Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).

“There are many issues over the years where we could have used KAP’s support and they weren’t there,” MCPA director Brian Sterling was quoted as saying in the Cattle Country item. “Beef represents two-thirds of the producers supposedly represented by KAP and we don’t even have a permanent seat on the executive.”

Sterling, a cattle producer from Tilston, about 75 km southwest of Virden, put forward the motion, seconded by director Art Jonasson of Vogar, about 140 km east of Dauphin.

“I am confident we can stand together with KAP on issues where we have mutual concerns,” Jonasson said, “but on the issues that are specific to the beef industry, we can speak for ourselves.”

MCPA said in the newsletter that its KAP membership has been a topic of debate at the board table for years. While it was felt MCPA needed to be at the KAP table to know what’s going on within KAP, the cattlemen’s group said it’s also “uncomfortable” with a public perception that “because they (MCPA) have a seat at the table, that KAP has consulted with the beef industry and their position reflects the best interest of beef producers.”

Given the “complex nature of a trade-dependent commodity,” MCPA’s board decided that “KAP cannot represent the interests of beef producers without watering down its support to either beef or the other commodities.”

At the time of MCPA’s vote, its KAP representative, Jay Fox of Eddystone, said there are times when the beef sector “is not adequately represented” on KAP’s executive because the red meat sector’s executive seat alternates between beef and pork producer groups.

Fox was quoted as saying he didn’t feel comfortable speaking on pork producers’ behalf and that he lacked the expertise on pork production to do so.

However, MCPA said, a proposal to add a extra seat on the KAP executive to accommodate both beef and pork producers was “refused” by KAP.

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