Keystone Agricultural Producers fonds, 1915-1997
MSS 69, (A.93-92, A.96-32, A.98-29, A.00-31, A-01-34)
42 m of textual records. -- one audio cassette
The Manitoba Farm Bureau, the predecessor to the Keystone Agricultural
Producers, was formed in January 1965, necessitated by years of
turmoil between farmers and associations/organizations. This grief
resulted from a steady decline in membership participation, a shortage
of finances, lack of unity between groups, and constant internal
quarrelling. In short, these various independent organizations were
not meeting the voluntary and commercial needs of their members.
In the 1930s two non-commercial farm organizations existed. The
Manitoba Co-operative Conference, made up of commercial co-operative
institutions, and the United Farmers of Manitoba, including educational
institutions. In 1935 a proposal was made for unification, to connect
educational and commercial activities, but no action was taken.
Thus, they remained detached and uncoordinated.
In September 1938 Manitoba Premier John Bracken had the United
Farmers of Manitoba select representatives to join in discussions
to form a new organization. From this a sub-committee of five was
selected to make recommendations for a new recognized farm organization
to include educational and commercial bodies. The name of this organization
was to be The Organized Farmers of Manitoba. At a meeting in June
1939 a new organization was formed but given the name Manitoba Federation
During the 1940s there was a great deal of discussion regarding
the Manitoba Federation of Agriculture's relationships with co-operatives
and credit unions. The Manitoba Federation of Agriculture feared
loss of support through the formation of a distinct organization.
Therefore, a reformation took place in 1945 in which the Manitoba
Federation of Agriculture and Co-operation replaced the Manitoba
Federation of Agriculture.
In 1947 farm unions rose in popularity throughout western Canada.
In Manitoba the Manitoba Farmers Union played the greatest role.
During the late 1940s and early 1950s battles ensued between these
rival organizations on the matter of commercial co-operatives in
non-commercial farm organizations. Despite divergent viewpoints
attempts at unification continued. In 1954 and 1955 a negotiating
committee was formed to discuss the possibility of amalgamation.
A structure was even set up for a proposed new organization which
would be called Organized Farmers of Manitoba. At their annual conventions
each side endorsed unity; however, they could never agree on basic
issues. In February 1957 a major meeting of 1200 farmers was held
to make the decision. By vote amalgamation was rejected. The central
issue once again was the place of co-operatives in the farmers'
union. Meetings continued between 1956 and 1960 but unity remained
out of the question.
On 16 October 1964 a committee was appointed to make a plan for
a formal provincial farm organization. On 16 November it presented
its report and suggested the name be Manitoba Farm Bureau. It proposed
the following membership: all commodity groups; commercial co-operatives;
Manitoba Women's Institute; Manitoba Federation of Agriculture;
Diploma Agricultural Graduates' Association; agricultural societies;
municipal associations; livestock breeders' associations; farm management
groups; and the Manitoba Farmers' Union. The Plan was adapted with
minor amendments, although the Manitoba Farmers' Union refused to
The goals of the new Manitoba Farm Bureau were multiple and included
the following: to be affiliated with the Canadian Federation of
Agriculture; to seek affiliation with national producer groups--seed
growers, dairymen, livestock organizations, etc.; to co-ordinate
groups and look for common agricultural policy; and to provide a
strong voice to the farmers of Manitoba.
Representation was based on the number of producers in member groups.
The greatest representation was by the Manitoba Pool Elevators.
It provided 37,000 members and eight representatives. Next were
the United Grain Growers and the Manitoba Women's Institute, each
with four representatives. Other member groups each had three
The first president was W.S. Forrester, former president of the
Manitoba Beet Growers' Association. Vice-president was G. Franklin
of Deloraine, representative of Manitoba Pool Elevators. Second
vice-president was Mrs. D. Buron of Swan River, president of Manitoba
Problems first to be dealt with included taxation of real property
and gasoline, farmers' income position, and unemployment insurance
for farm labour.
The stated aims and objectives of the Manitoba Farm Bureau were
as follows: to unify the purposes and policies of organized agriculture
in Manitoba; to promote the interests of farmers and farmers' organizations
and promote common interest through collective action; to formulate
and promote provincial, national and international agricultural
policies to meet changing economic conditions; to represent farmers
before government and authorities; to study and protect interests
of membership relating to existing and considered legislation (both
provincial and federal); and to promote the social, economic and
cultural well-being of rural Manitoba, and develop programs of mutual
assistance and self-help.
The initial membership consisted of the following: Canadian
Co-operative Implements Ltd.; Diploma Agricultural Graduates'
Association; Federated Co-operatives Ltd.; Hog Producers
Association of Manitoba; Manitoba Beet Growers' Association;
Manitoba Branch, Canadian Seed Growers; Manitoba Chicken
Broiler Industry Association;
Manitoba Egg and Pullet Product Association;
Manitoba Hatchery Association; Manitoba Pool Elevators; Manitoba
Stock Growers Association; Manitoba Turkey Association; Manitoba
Women's Institute; United Grain Growers Ltd.; Vegetable Growers
Association of Manitoba; and Winnipeg District Milk Producers
Co-operative Association Ltd.
Groups against joining immediately were Manitoba Stock Growers'
Association, Manitoba Dairy and Poultry Co-operatives, and the Manitoba
The Manitoba Farm Bureau continued to operate until 1984. In 1984
a new company was formed which took its place, remaining a separate
entity. The new company, Keystone Agricultural Producers, took over
the assets and liabilities. It also agreed to put the Manitoba Farm
Bureau files into the Department of Archives and Special Collections
of the University of Manitoba where they would be preserved.
During the third week of October 1984, the Manitoba
Farm Bureau held its last meeting, approximately two years after
members disagreed over how to handle the loss of the Crow Rate.
In their last two motions, the MFB offered its best wishes to its
successor, a fledgling general farm organization called Keystone
Agricultural Producers, and thanked their employees for years of
hard work and dedication.
Manitoba's new general farm lobby organization
began one year earlier when the MFB formed an ad hoc Committee on
Farm Organization Structure to address serious difficulties brought
about by a stormy Crow debate and the subsequent loss of support
from Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1982, and United Grain Growers in
1983. The MFB also faced reduced involvement of the Manitoba Cattle
Producers Association due to funding problems.
Over the next few months, the Committee, chaired
by Bert Hall and Earl Geddes, developed a proposal for new general
farm organization and organized a series of 25 meetings throughout
the province to consult directly with producers. These meetings
took place from 9 January to 20 January 1984, with close to 1400
farmers participating, 1026 returning questionnaires desinged for
the rural meetings. Bert Hall was one of the co-chairs of the Committee
on Farm Organization Structure, instrumental in forming KAP.
The need for a farm lobby organization to represent
agriculture on issues common to all, was overwhelmingly endorsed
with almost ninety-seven per cent in favour. The questionnaires
also included sections on structure, funding, fee levels, and additional
comments. Given a clear mandate from the grassroots level, the Committee
on Farm Organization Structure prepared a report and proposal for
a new farm organization which was submitted 6 March 1984.
The ad hoc Committee set out to travel the province
again in April 1984, as a second series of rural meetings was scheduled
to seek support, funding and delegates for the yet unnamed organization.
General Council representatives and twelve delegates at the local
level are elected by the time the meetings are complete on 19 April
1984. At about this time, and also due to the stormy Crow debate,
the Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture collapsed after representing
farmers for forty years. The decision was brought about by group
members' resistance to contribute funds, the continued withdrawal
of members, and the failure of support for a restructuring proposal.
Alberta's farm organization, Unifarm, was facing its own difficulties
at the time for much the same reasons. They eventually evolved into
their present form as Wild Rose Agricultural Producers and Agricultural
Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
By 24 April 1984, the new Manitoba farm organization
had 400 paid members. Eight days later, membership exceeded 500
with a reported six to sisteen memberships arriving in the mail
daily. The first General Council meeting took place on 15 June 1984
and by noon the yet unnamed farm organization was no longer unnamed.
Out of ten possible choices, delegates decided on Keystone Agricultural
Producers. Rather than elect a president and executive, an executive
committee was chosen consisting of sixteen members (one from each
of the twelve districts, and one from each of four commodity group
The new group took its first few cautious steps
toward autonomy after the meeting as the KAP executive met to form
a committee to draft a constitution, by-laws and deal with the organization's
finances. In late September, KAP General Council met again where
the constitution and structure was changed slightly and adopted.
For the first time, KAP began to seriously discuss policy, passing
four resolutions recommended by the executive committee.
Comfortable that their successor was healthy
enough to stand alone and there would not be a farm lobby vacuum
in the province, the MFB handed over the reigns to KAP almost one
full month later. The MFB then closed shop permanently.
January of the following year, 1985, was a historic
month for producers in Manitoba. Keystone Agricultural Producers
held its first Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg where funding
and membership were the top priorities. During the two day meeting,
over fifty resolutions were discussed, Jack Penner was elected president,
Earl Geddes was elected first vice-president, and Cam Henry was
elected second vice-president.
KAP is a democratically controlled farm lobby
organization which represents and promotes the interests of agriculture
and agricultural producers in Manitoba. It is a grassroots organization
wholly run and funded by its members, with all policy set by producers
KAP has standing policy on a variety of issues
including Safety Net Programs, Western Grain Marketing, Land and
Resource Use, Taxation, Environment and Sustainability, Livestock
Manure Management Strategy, Farm Labour, Health and Safety, Affiliations,
Farm Inputs and Finance, Transportation, Government Services, Property
Rights and Wildlife Resources and Trade.
Policy is set by delegates and directors elected
from individual and group members. Close to twenty committees, comprised
of members and the President (ex officio), research a number of
issues and report back to the executive and the General Council.
Both the elected executive and management are responsible for implementing
policy in the best interests of the members.
Its mission is to be Manitoba's most effective,
democratic policy voice, while promoting the social, physical and
cultural well being of all agricultural producers.
The material was donated to the University of
Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by the Keystone Agricultural
Producers in six separate accessions between 1986 and 2001.
The first accession of the Keystone Agricultural Producers Collection
consists mainly of office files of the Manitoba Farm Bureau which
were generated from 1965-1984. Also included are files produced
prior to 1965 by the Manitoba Farm Bureau's predecessors.
These files, arranged for the most part in their original chronological
order, contain the following: by-laws; reports; submissions; minutes;
news releases; and correspondence of the Manitoba Farm Bureau and
its eighteen-member organizations. Also included are materials from
outside related organizations such as L'Union Catholique des Cultivateurs,
National Farmers Union, federations of agriculture of other provinces,
After the proper chronological sequencing, up to 1984, there are
files which were not included in this manner. They cover other activities
which took place during 1979 and 1980.
Significantly, the Manitoba Farm Bureau's early files are not as
complete as the later ones. This is due to a basement flood which
occurred in the basement of the Manitoba Farm Bureau headquarters
which destroyed a number of them.
The five unprocessed accessions of the Keystone Agricultural Producers
consist of agricultural publications, files, reports, correspondence,
by-laws, minutes, newsletters, press releases, memorandums, financial
statements, resolutions, submissions, notices of meetings, mailing
lists, press clippings, policies, and pamphlets and brochures regarding
KAP and other agricultural organizations and issues.
Title based on contents of the fonds
There are no restrictions on this material
Further accruals are expected
Finding aids available: