The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) is a voluntary organization of Prairie oat growers established to promote the interests of Western Canadian oat growers. POGA was formed in 1998 by a group of oat producers from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba.
Recognizing that oats was the only major grain commodity which did not have a representative support and advocacy group, the goal for POGA was to enhance the profitability of oats for producers.
Increase the long-term profitability of producing oats for growers across Western Canada.
Optimize oats as a competitive crop and increase grower profitability through the grower supported levy which directs and funds research, helps develop new markets and products for oats, influences policy, and builds partnerships with the oat industry around the world to better serve the Western Canadian oat grower.
POGA currently represents about 10,000 Western Canadian farmers and has long recognized that oat growers are major stakeholders in the oat industry. Many growers use newly developed oat varieties, but for many reasons, they are not involved in either directing or funding research, or in other activities which could advance their industry.
The POGA membership directed its leadership to begin seeking ways to correct that situation. It became evident that oats needed a strong advocacy group which would require stable on-going funding. That’s when a decision was made to explore the check-off option, following which it became clear each province would need to be under a separate check-off protocol.
Each of the three Prairie Provinces has created its own oat producer association which is funded through the collection of a check off, or levy, as authorized under provincial legislation.
POGA uses producer funds for oat research and market development to enhance the profitability of oats for growers and increase its value to the customer.
The overall objective of the organization is reflected in POGA’s vision and mission statement, and in the organization’s values:
POGA is comprised of the Alberta Oat Growers Commission (AOGC), the Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission (SaskOats) and the Manitoba Oat Growers Association (MOGA) which all collect a $0.50/tonne levy on oats grown within each province.
POGA is led by a board of directors that is fully reflective of its Prairie-wide membership. The board consists of six members from each provincial oat producer association.
Each provincial association has a Chair who is elected by the board, and that Chair is automatically a Vice-President of POGA. The head office of POGA is in Regina, SK.
- Grower Focus:Focus on oat growers in Western Canada in all decisions, initiatives and activities.
- Market Development: Make strategic investments in the creation of new oat markets, while expanding current markets and continuously looking for opportunities to assist in the development and export of new oat products that provide the most benefit to oat growers.
- Research and Development: Support research into the development of high quality and high yielding oats, in addition to oat products that meet consumer demands.
- Fiscal Responsibility: Ensure funds collected from growers are utilized to maximize the benefit to oat growers while managing risk.
- Leverage Relationships: Build and sustain collaborative relationships with other organizations that share common objectives to advance mutually beneficial projects and policies.
POGA focuses on five strategic priorities including: research, market development; advocacy; building partnerships; and communication with oat growers, consumers, the oat industry and governments.
POGA distributes a newsletter at least two times annually to inform producers with timely information on events, industry issues, research findings, and market information.
POGA also communicates with oat producers and industry at the annual general meeting (AGM) and Conference held in early December and the meeting rotates among the three prarieprovinces. The AGM is an opportunity to inform producers of the activities of the organization, build relationships, and encourages members and the oat industry to bring their views to the board in-person.
Through its ongoing efforts, POGA has successfully contributed to the profile, representation, and profit of Prairie oat farmers.
As of 2021, through the three provincial associations, Prairie oat growers have turned $3.9 M of levy dollars into $27.4 M which means growers in Western Canada have contributed less than 15 cents of every dollar spent on research and marketing.
The remainder is funded through partnerships and collaboration among industry and government. For a full listing of projects go to the Market Development tab and the Research tab.
The continued success of POGA is based on ensuring that producer interests are at the forefront of all decisions.