New grains council president has deep roots in agriculture

Richard Phillips is a seed grower from Saskatchewan who has worked for several industry organizations

Richard Phillips is the new president of the Canada Grains Council.

The 54-year-old has been the executive director of the Grain Growers of Canada for the past six years and is “ideally suited” for his new role, said grains council chair Chantelle Donohue.

Phillips, a third-generation seed grower from Tisdale, Sask., has worked as an aide to federal and Saskatchewan politicians, and for the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, United Grain Growers, and Canola Council of Canada.

Phillips said his focus will be on “developing better co-ordination with the grain sector value chain, not just with grower groups.”

He cited the grains council’s leadership in pushing for international policy that would allow for low levels of GM contamination as the type of initiative that benefits the entire grain sector. It makes sense to have one organization leading these types of efforts, said Phillips, who plans to remain in Ottawa while running the Winnipeg-based grains council.

“There’s too much duplication and triplication of effort when we need to pull the whole thing together to get more cost savings,” he said.

Transportation is an issue the grain industry needs to discuss with other bulk shippers “so we have a more effective common voice.”

The grains council’s members include producer organizations, crop input suppliers, grain handling and transportation companies, and primary and further processors.

Phillips succeeds Dennis Stephens, who retired in December after a storied 45-year career in agriculture, including heading the Canadian International Grains Institute and serving as an assistant deputy minister at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

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