With approximately 8.5 - 9 million tonnes produced on more than 7 million acres every year, wheat is a significant agricultural crop in Alberta. However prior to the Alberta Wheat Commission’s inception, only 5% of all wheat producers (those growing Canada Western Red Winter Wheat and Canadian Western Soft White Spring Wheat) were represented by provincial agricultural commissions; the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission (AWWPC) and the Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission (ASWPC).
Wheat producers engaged
In 2008, members of the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission (AWWPC) resolved to investigate grower interest in creating an all-wheat commission. Then in 2009, Ipsos Forward Research was engaged to survey more than 300 diverse wheat producers across Alberta. A majority of survey respondents (58%) said they favoured the establishment of an all-wheat producer commission. Those surveyed saw the primary focus of the new commission as supporting and developing Alberta’s wheat industry through:
Advocacy and lobbying
Producer extension and education
Encouraged by these survey results and additional producer feedback, the AWWPC along with the Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission (ASWPC) established a steering committee of Alberta wheat producers in January 2011 to develop a strategic business plan that would form the foundation for and initiate the process that would establish an all-wheat commission in Alberta.
Alberta Wheat Commission is launched
With significant collective effort on the part of the Steering Committee and Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, on August 1, 2012, the new Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) was officially launched with a mission to increase the long-term profitability of wheat and Alberta wheat producers through innovative research, agronomic support and extension, market development, communications and policy development.