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Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture

Beginning in 1907, prairie co-operatives and grain organizations played a leading role in the formation of regional and national farm organizations. In 1939 a primary objective of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) was to have all provincial farm organizations (commercial and non-commercial) join a provincial federation. Prairie groups such as the Co-operative Conferences and the Western Agricultural Conference already existed and became part of the CFA structure. In Saskatchewan the Co-operative Council, formed in 1928, was renamed the Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture (SFA) in 1944. The purpose of the Federation was to advance the well-being of Saskatchewan agriculture. It believed that farm organizations working together to develop and promote provincial, national and international farm policies could achieve more security and a better life for farm families. Not only was it important to present policy recommendations to governments: one also had to be persistent in protecting the interests of the membership in relation to both existing and proposed legislation.

Membership was open to farm organizations that established farm policies and had a membership structure accountable to farmers. SFA membership grew after 1966 to more than fifteen organizations, which included co-operatives, marketing boards, municipal associations, commodity and women's groups. They financed the SFA on an “ability to pay” basis and in relation to the size of their membership. Member organizations sent at least two delegates and a wide range of resolutions to semi-annual and annual meetings for debate and possible approval. Most farmers belonged to one or more of the SFA member organizations; this meant that most views on farm policy issues were expressed in the SFA forum. Policies of a provincial nature were presented to the Saskatchewan government; policies of a regional and national level were submitted to the Western Agricultural Conference and Canadian Federation of Agriculture general meetings; international policy issues were submitted to the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture was a strong supporter of the Canadian Wheat Board and International Grain Trade Agreements. From the beginning to the end the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool played a major role in developing farm policy and providing finances; several of its vice-presidents were SFA presidents. However, tension among members, particularly on marketing issues, existed in the federation-type structures from their inception a century ago and ultimately caused the demise of the Saskatchewan Federation of Agriculture in 1984. Saskatchewan is now represented at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture table by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and the Agricultural Producers of Saskatchewan (APAS).

Gary Carlson

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This web site was produced with financial assistance
provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan.
University of Regina Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Center
Ce site Web a été conçu grâce à l'aide financière de
Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada et le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan.