Cereals chair appointed

Alberta grain farmer Todd Hames has been named the chair of the newly amalgamated Cereals Canada.

Hames, from Marwayne, Alta., will lead the new organization, which merged with the Canadian International Grains Institute.

Other western Canadian farmers named to the board include Hannah Konschuh, Brett Halstead, Jake Leguee, Glenn Tait, Robert Misko, Drew Baker and Henry Van Ankum.

Hames and Konschuh also sit on the Alberta Wheat Commission’s board of directors.

Halstead, Leguee and Tait are board members at the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission.

Misko and Baker sit on the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Commission’s board of directors.

Van Ankum is a director with Grain Farmers of Ontario.

The new Cereals Canada board also includes industry representatives Jean-Marc Ruest from Richardson, Jeff Cockwill from Viterra, Jennifer Marchand from Cargill, Darren Amerongen from Parrish & Heimbecker, Matt Bingham from G3, Trish Jordan from Bayer, Jeff Bertholet from BASF and Adam Dyck from Warburton’s.

The new board will lead a strategic planning process that will be undertaken this summer.

Marchand will serve as the board’s vice-chair. Misko will serve as treasurer and Ruest will serve as the board’s secretary.

“Each director is passionate about the cereals value chain and brings to the table diverse experience and strategic knowledge to strengthen the organization’s impact in Canada and beyond,” said Hames.

“We are excited about the unique expertise that each individual brings to the table as we continue to evolve and lead the organization forward.”

In a recent interview, Hames said the new board, comprising eight farmer representatives, will allow the new organization to represent all aspects of the Canadian grain value chain.

“We have a 50-50 split between industry and producer groups and that was certainly a criteria for bringing the two (organizations) together,” Hames said.

When asked about specific issues that farmers would like to see addressed, Hames mentioned market access.

“We feel that we can compete as farmers. We have a good product to sell, we have safe farming practices and we’re really proud of what we produce,” Hames said.

“What we need most is for the marketplace to allow us to compete fairly. We need our government to help us with … trade barriers so that we can continue to sell our grain. We need to remove those roadblocks.”

Another key issue affecting farm competitiveness is transportation, he said.

“We need to make sure that the transportation infrastructure enables us to get our product to market….”

Hames said the next priority of Cereals Canada will be the appointment of a chief executive officer for the amalgamated organization.

The search for a top executive is already underway, he said.

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