Fonds MSS 150 - Agricore Cooperative Ltd. fonds

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Agricore Cooperative Ltd. fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording
  • Cartographic material

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10 metres of textual records [Note: Includes 36 video cassettes; 74 audio cassettes; 6 audio compact discs; 6 maps]

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Administrative history

Agricore Cooperative Ltd. was created November 1, 1998, through the friendly merger of Alberta Wheat Pool Ltd. and Manitoba Pool Elevators. It existed for only three years, then merged with United Grain Growers to form Agricore United in November 2001. Before the merger, it was one of the largest agribusinesses in Western Canada. Moreover, as Agricore United is a publicly traded company, Agricore can be seen as the last of the farmer-owned cooperatives, a movement that significantly altered prairie-farming practices in the twentieth century. Agricore officially began operations on November 1, 1998. Extensive preparations were made to ensure that a seamless transition occurred when the two historic cooperatives became one new entity. Winnipeg was selected as the head office and staff was shifted accordingly. In late 1999, Agricore weathered its first serious crisis when the cooperative's unionized staff went on strike. The next year and a half saw Agricore expand its business in a variety of ways including the establishment of high throughput elevators in Elva, Manitoba and at the junctions of highway 3 and 14 between Morden and Winkler, in Manitoba. Though wheat and grain prices in 1999-2000 reached historic lows, Agricore managed to increase earnings and further enhance its reputation as one of western Canada's most influential agribusinesses. On July 30, 2001, Agricore announced that the boards of both UGG and Agricore had unanimously agreed to a merger that would create a new company, Agricore United, which would be modeled after UGG's share structure. On November 1, 2001, the merger took place and Agricore, the last of the prairie cooperatives, ceased to exist.

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Administrative history

The Alberta Wheat Pool, a voluntary cooperative organization, was incorporated in 1923 to create stability in the wheat market in response to a downward trend in wheat and farm prices in 1920-1923. Its first president was Henry Wise Wood. The pool, from its first office in Calgary, became one of the largest grain-handling cooperatives in Canada. Owned and controlled by its members, it operated country grain elevators across Alberta and northeast British Columbia. It handled approximately two-thirds of Alberta's grain exports. In addition to its original mandate of enabling farmers to bargain collectively with grain buyers, the AWP also provided grain services for members including storage and handling, grain merchandising, fertilizer and seed grain sales, farm equipment, financing, and agricultural research. It has also ensured farmers a voice in the formation of national grain-marketing policies and has been involved in the establishment of the Canadian Wheat Board. On November 1, 1998 the Wheat Pool merged with Manitoba Pool Elevators to form Agricore. In 2001 Agricore merged with United Grain Growers Ltd. to form Agricore United. In 2007 Agricore United was purchased by the Saskatchewan Wheat Poll and the new company was rebranded to be known as Viterra. For further information see Tides in the West / Leonard D. Nesbitt. - Saskatoon : Modern Press, 1962.

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Administrative history

The forerunner of Manitoba Pool Elevators, Manitoba Wheat Pool, was created in 1924 as a mechanism to allow for the co-operative marketing of wheat by Manitoba producers.Such an approach promised to stabilize the market price of grain and ensure a fair market price to producers.Initially the Pool was very successful. However, in 1930, the Manitoba Wheat Pool found itself burdened with an unsold surplus from the preceding year that had been bought from the farmers at a price that was significantly higher than any possible return during the depression. As a result, in 1931 the Pool's Central Selling Agency defaulted on its bank loans. Despite attempts to save the organization, it was forced to declare bankruptcy in November 1932. A subsidiary, Manitoba Pool Elevators Limited, remained active. In this way, the Manitoba Pool was transformed into an co-operatively owned elevator company. Following the Great Depression, Manitoba Pool Elevators expanded operations and initiated new co-operative business ventures. On November 1, 1998 Manitoba Pool Elevators merged with Alberta Wheat Pool Ltd. to create Agricore Cooperative Ltd.

Custodial history

The Archives & Special Collections of the University of Manitoba acquired the records of Agricore on November 6, 2001. The gift of 10 metres of unprocessed material was sent from the Agricore head office in Winnipeg to the University of Manitoba under the stewardship of archivist Brian Hubner. As Agricore merged with United Grain Growers on November 1, 2001, to form Agricore United, no further accruals of records explicitly dealing with Agricore are expected.

Scope and content

Agricore was formed on November 1, 1998, and ceased to exist only three years later with the creation of Agricore United on November 1, 2001. The fonds includes materials compiled by the two companies that merged to form Agricore, Alberta Wheat Pool (AWP) and Manitoba Pool Elevators (MPE). AWP and MPE materials include annual reports, policy reports, and policy manuals. However, the majority of the materials concern the creation and functioning of Agricore as a company during the three years it existed. Materials include annual reports, Agricore publications, policy manuals, news clippings related to Agricore, and other administrative materials that offer a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of one of Western Canada’s largest agribusinesses. In addition to traditional textual materials, the fonds includes a small collection of Agricore maps, assorted Agricore ephemera, and Agricore video and audiocassettes.

The photograph collection (PC 156) consists of 31 videotapes relating to Agricore and agricultural issues. Each videocassette constitutes its own sub-series.

The Agricore Cooperative Ltd. Tape Collection (TC 102) consists of 47 cassettes compiled by Agricore in the course of operations during the three years of its existence. Cassettes include recordings of media reports about Agricore and agriculture, Agricore communications to employees, Agricore conference calls, Agricore Annual meetings, Agricore radio ads, and other miscellaneous recordings.

MC 6 consists of 6 maps relating to Agricore. The maps have been divided into two sub-series, Manitoba Pool Elevator maps and Agricore maps.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired by the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections in 2001


As Agricore maintained adequate control of their records, all efforts have been made to preserve the collection in its original order. The collection comprises two series that reflect the creators of the records, the Resource Library series, donated by Agricore Corporate Communications Head Diane Wreford, and reflecting materials taken from the Agricore resource library at the time of the merger; and the Corporate Affairs series, donated by Dale Riddell, Agricore’s head of Corporate affairs. Within the two series, there exists a multitude of sub-series, and again these reflect the provenance and original order of the creator. However, non-textual and oversize media have been separated from the collection to enable the different handling each media requires. Thus videocassettes, audiocassettes, audio CDs, CD-ROMs, maps and other oversize materials connected to the collection are housed separately. Please see the corresponding inventory.

Language of material

  • English

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There are no restrictions on access.

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Finding aids

A finding aid can be downloaded from the fonds-level description by clicking on the "Download" link under "Finding Aid" on the right-hand side of the screen.

Associated materials

United Grain Growers Ltd. fonds Mss 76, Pc 83, Tc 96 (A.90-35, A.90-70, A.92-04, A.92-06, A.92-09, A.92-11, A.92-13, A.92-17, A.95-15, A.95-41, A.01-10) at ; Records of Alberta Wheat Pool Ltd. are held by Glenbow Museum Archives. An online finding aid can be found at (accessed February 21, 2017). The records of Manitoba Pool Elevators are held by S.J. McKee Archives at Brandon University. (accessed February 21, 2017).

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As Agricore ceased to exist November 1, 2001, no further accruals are expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Photograph Collection

PC 156

Tape Collection

TC 102

Map Collection

MC 6

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Inventory and finding aid prepared by Scott Goodine on July 11, 2002
Edited by Mary Grace P. Golfo on 21 February 2017.

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