Oats had their service charge increased for the first time in nearly two decades for Manitobans this week.

The Manitoba Oat Growers Association made that decision during their AGM this week, as part of the CropConnect Conference in Winnipeg.

Executive Director Shawna Mathieson talked about some of the items that were brought up at the meeting.

"We had the producers vote and they approved a motion to increase the service charge from $0.50 to $0.75 a ton on every bushel of oats sold in Manitoba, which is really exciting because it was also approved in Saskatchewan and Alberta over the last month, and it allows us to do a lot more research and marketing."

"This service charge hasn't been increased since the Saskatchewan Commission came into effect in 2006 and as everyone knows, there's been a lot of price increases in those eighteen years. So, it's good to see the support from the oat growers."

Mathieson says that because of previous success, the current year might see a decrease in revenue.

"This year, which was the 23-24 year, we expect to see a very significant decline because of the reduction in acres this past year and so therefore the harvested acres that happened this last harvest. So, we will be running a deficit in most of the provinces or that's the expectation unless it comes in differently."

Statistics Canada has come out with a report that next year will see a 25% increase in acres, but Mathieson is approaching the coming year more conservatively.

"We're just looking at those numbers initially right now on what our producers are telling us I will say that that seems a bit high on what it looks like right now. However, with the profitability of votes compared to some other crops like wheat and barley. It's looking quite favorable, so it's possible that some producers that are on the fence about some of those acres might move them to oats, just because the profitability of it does look better when compared to some other crops."

Mathieson says that as a whole it's an exciting time to be an oats producer.