Representatives from across Canada’s soybean industry have united under one organization to promote and advocate for the industry.
To date, 27 organizations and companies have signed a letter of intent to support the formation of the organization, the fledgling group says in a release. Soy Canada will act as a unified voice to address industry challenges and opportunities from a national perspective. Its mandate is to maintain and expand market access, open new markets, increase industry profile, and strengthen relationships among stakeholders.
During a meeting on August 22, an interim board elected an executive and put steps in motion to formalize the entity. “The potential for growth in the soybean industry is amazing. The advancements we’ve seen in the past few years have come without a national voice to speak for it. We’re hoping we can take this industry that has been maturing so well and transition it into something that has even more opportunities,” says Mark Huston who is honoured to be the first chair of the organization. The farmer from Chatham-Kent is also a director for Grain Farmers of Ontario.
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Joining Huston on the executive for the organization is Ernie Sirski (Manitoba Pulse Growers Association) as vice-chair, and Clint Munro (representing crushers) as secretary-treasurer.
Producer directors include: Ramzy Yelda (La Fédération des producteurs cultures commerciales du Québec); John Bennett (Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association); Barry Senft (director-at-large); and Edgar Scheurer (director-at-large). Industry directors include: Sue Robert (representing commodity exporters); Andrew McVittie (representing food-grade exporters); Mike Nailor (representing seed companies); and Martin Harry (director-at-large).
Canadian soybean production has increased significantly over the past five years and is poised for future growth, but the industry faces challenges both domestically and internationally. With soybean acres at an all-time high, Sirski points to Western Canada as an opportunity for even more growth and underscores the key part that soybeans will play in the future of Canadian agriculture.
“By joining together producers, processors, exporters and seed companies, we are creating an organization that can help everyone move forward in a positive way,” says Sirski, who farms near Dauphin, Manitoba. “The participants in Soy Canada are committed to helping shape the future of Canadian agriculture, particularly in the soybean sector.”
Soy Canada has started a search for an executive director to lead the organization, which will be based in Ottawa, Ontario. The organization is expected to be fully operational by November 2014.