this blog has moved to a new address:

Please update your RSS, bookmarks, and links to

Monday, December 07, 2009

new generation co-operative railway in alberta.

In the spirit of sharing good conversations, I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch yesterday afternoon with Justin Archer, Jerry Iwanus and his wife, Michelle.

As the Mayor of the Village of Bawlf, Jerry is a wealth of information about people, politics, and current events in east central Alberta. One of the interesting stories that Jerry shared with us was about a New Generation Co-operative railway that has been formed in that region. I am told that the Battle River Railway is the first of its kind in Alberta (there are similar Railway Co-operatives in Saskatchewan) and it is located on the former CN line from the Village of Alliance to the City of Camrose.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development provides a description of New Generation Co-operatives:
A cooperative is a legally incorporated business arrangement that provides for the control of the business by its membership. A new generation co-op (NGC) is a type of cooperative that uses a system of delivery rights and obligations to encourage business loyalty and provide a form of vertical integration. NGC’s are particularly suitable to ventures involved in value-added agricultural processing and marketing.

Based on a model first used in California, NGC’s emerged and flourished in the mid-western US in the 1990’s. Since that time, all three Canadian Prairie Provinces have introduced new laws or modified existing legislation to allow for NGC’s. Alberta's Cooperatives Act, (effective on April 2, 2002) defines NGC’s in sections 422 to 429.

There are some key attributes of NGC’s that are consistent with all co-ops:
  • NGC’s are controlled by their membership using the principle of one member, one vote
  • Earnings are distributed to the members based on patronage.
  • The board of directors is elected by the membership.
However, there are several characteristics of NGC’s that differentiate them from traditional co-ops:
  • NGC’s may issue designated shares which carry delivery rights and obligations.
  • Individuals (members and non-members) may hold higher levels of equity through the purchase of investment shares.
  • Membership may be restricted to designated share holders.
  • In Alberta, NGC’s are applicable only to agricultural ventures, and the word "co-op" or "co-operative" does not necessarily have to appear in the name of the venture.
In general, New Generation Co-ops are typified by restricted, project-oriented enterprises which require significant investments from their members, and a membership which strives for increased profits and return on capital through this investment.
I have found that living in a large urban centre makes it is easy to be blinded by the big city lights and overlook the creative local business and community initiatives that are happening outside of the city limits (we are lucky that people like Jerry are around to remind us of that).

Here is a video interview with the Chairman of the Board of Directors Ken Eshpeter that was posted on YouTube:


The Rurban Fringe said...

Hey Dave - thanks for highlighting a great rural project ... there's an increasinging interest/trend in co-ops and New Gens ... proving that rural communities can creatively address sustainability issues ... when the interest, support, and will exists.


Anonymous said...

Really interesting. Thanks for sharing, Dave!

Gustav (grew up on a farm) said...

Dave, what did you think of Swan on the Journal's live chat? I thought it was very disappointing, he could only handle a small fraction of the questions (I hope there is a technology excuse). Is it that he just doesn't translate to that medium?
I want the Tories defeated, but if this is the best the Liberals can do? Ain't happening anytime soon sadly.

P.S. this question is impressive: [Comment From nk:]
We need more seats in cities, the uneducated rural 'folks' who support stelmach are ruining this province, do you plan to push for more seats in calgary and edmonton?

You stay classy nk!

rc said...

Sounds awesome. Too bad the CP line south from Calgary\Okotoks to Fort Macleod couldn't have been purchased and run in the same manner - my family is from that way, and now farmers are driving hours and hours to ship their grain.... for the sake of the railway company's profits.

Anonymous said...

christian louboutin
christian louboutin shoes
christian louboutin discount
designer handbags
louis vuitton handbags
gucci handbags
discount handbags
replica handbags
Herve Leger
ugg classic tall
UGG Classic Short
UGG Ultra Tall
christian louboutin boots
discount MBT Shoes
MBT Shoes
UGG Classic Cardy
MBT Chapa shoes
MBT Sport shoes
MBT M.Walk shoes
MBT Lami shoes

Term Paper Sample said...

In this era of web 2.0, we easily get nice & updated information for research purposes... I'd definitely appreciate the work of the said blog owner... Thanks!

good term paper-Essay Writing Help