Two national sheep organizations remain after Ontario AGM

Defeated resolution would have allowed producers to decide who represents them on a national level

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A resolution to allow Ontario sheep farmers to vote on who represents them nationally was defeated at the Ontario annual meeting.

Why it matters: Two national organizations means funds to support sheep farmers across the country are split.

The OSF left the Canadian Sheep Federation and created the National Sheep Network with Alberta and Quebec. However, some members question which organization best serves their needs.

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The OSF board of directors decided to leave the CSF in 2016, and later joined Alberta and Quebec to form the National Sheep Network. Both the CSF and the NSN still exist.

However, some OSF members disagree with the board’s decision to leave the CSF, saying they were never given a chance to have their say.

The resolution raised at the AGM stated: “When the OSF decided to leave CSF, the membership was not a part of the decision process and it (has) left many members with questions and concerns of the reasons why, and a feeling of not having a say in the final decision to leave.”

It was suggested the NSN and CSF develop proposals that outline “exactly (what) each organization will do for our membership, and let the OSF producers vote on who they want as their national voice.”

Currently, the NSN represents 75 per cent of Canada’s ewe flock composed of Ontario Sheep Farmers, Alberta Lamb Producers and Les Eleveurs d’Ovins du Quebec. The Canadian Sheep Federation represents all other provinces.

Ontario left the Canadian sheep industry organization, saying the OSF was unsuccessfully supporting the national organization on a limited budget.

The 2019 OSF AGM district resolutions noted “a shortage of resources (financial and human) has plagued the industry and led to the national body (CSF) being an organization that, more often than not, chases project funding to support its work. The perceived result is that the national organization is often working less on what the producers need and more on what the government is willing to fund.”

The resolution was defeated during the Ontario Sheep Convention.

“The membership trusts the knowledge and judgment of the board and is comfortable with the direction they are taking,” said Jennifer MacTavish, general manager of Ontario Sheep Farmers, after the resolution was defeated.

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