Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
By Mr. Grant Jones chairman OBPMB
Acreage for white beans, also known as Navy Beans, increased to just under 72,000 acres in 2012 and yields have been average but prices are declining and have dropped to $36.00per cwt. (bag). This is due to excellent yields in Min/Dak and Manitoba and this may create a large carry over.
Merger talks between the White Bean and the Coloured Bean growers continued in 2012. However the original proposal which the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission accepted on June 7, 2012 was changed on July 12: 2012. The Ontario Agri Business Association asked that there be less regulations.
As a result one of the concessions the white bean board has been asked to make, is the ability to negotiate and establish charges for such “service charge” processes as drying, storage, and pick for all beans. It will only be able to negotiate these charges for the few beans that are sold through the pool system. Charges related to beans sold outside of a pool will have to be negotiated between a contracting grower and buyer.
Since the Ontario White Bean Producers Market Board has been entrusted the responsibility to act in the best interest of the growers it represents, it met on September 10 and the directors passed a motion, in a vote of 8 to 1, to pull out of the merger vote. The board felt some of the terms and conditions of the merger were concessions or give ups and not in the long term best interest of growers.
Nor did these align with the original guiding principles and proposals at the steering committee ‘level, hence the Board’s action to withdraw. On September 21 the Ontario Farm Products Commission chair, Geri Kamenz, sent a letter to the chairmen of both OBPMB and the Coloured Bean growers stating that the commission will proceed with the vote in late October.
I have always felt that a merger would have some benefits but not if it means taking away negotiations powers for all classes of dry beans in the province. It appears that a government body does not want to protect the rights of producers and it appears as if they have a mandate to deregulate all boards in the province.
I urge all producers, both large and small, to vote but to consider the ramifications of a yes vote.