Alberta replaces sacked board at controversial farm loan agency

Alberta replaces sacked board at controversial farm loan agency

Almost a year after firing the board that oversees farm loans and crop and animal insurance, Alberta's agriculture minister has announced eight new members.

Last June, Oneil Carlier dismissed the board of the  Agriculture Financial Services Corporation after an audit found that well-paid executives were claiming golf fees, hockey tickets, meals and alcohol as expenses.   

"I lost confidence in the last board after an investigation of staff expenses left me seriously concerned that there was a culture of entitlement at the AFSC," Carlier told reporters Thursday. "These staff expensed were approved by the former board."

Three executives were suspended with pay, but have since retired or had their contract expire.

The RCMP continue to investigate, Carlier said.

Carlier unveiled the new eight-member board led by Jennifer Wood, a professional agrologist and agribusiness executive. The province selected them from 42 applicants, he said.

Carlier rejected criticism from the Wildrose, which accused him of taking too long to assemble a new board.  An interim board did a fine job in the meantime, the minister said.

The corporation provides crop and animal insurance for farmers, plus lends money to both urban and rural entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry.