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Ex-SaskPool VP to chair CWB 2.0

The pared-down board of directors at the Canadian Wheat Board has elected a former Saskatchewan Wheat Pool executive as its new chairman.

Bruce Johnson, who was first named to the CWB’s board in 2006 by then-agriculture minister Chuck Strahl, was announced Monday as the board’s chair.

Johnson brings a substantial grain industry resume to the job, most notably as former executive vice-president of SaskPool’s grain group and, previously, CEO of AgPro Grain, the Pool’s Prairie grain handling business outside Saskatchewan.

Johnson was fired from the Pool in 1999 as the company spun into financial woes ending in major restructuring, from which it emerged and eventually merged with Agricore United in 2007 as Viterra.

He later became CEO of FarmGro Organic Foods (now NutraSun Foods, an arm of Paterson GlobalFoods), worked as an ag industry consultant and now works in regional management in the propane business in Regina.

"Steadfast goal"

Johnson and the board’s other government-appointed directors — former Manitoba ag minister Glen Findlay, former Viterra chief financial officer David Carefoot, former AU board member Ken Motiuk and current CWB CEO Ian White — remained after the passage Thursday of the federal Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act.

The bill’s legislative amendments ended the tenure of the CWB’s remaining farmer-elected directors.

"Our immediate focus as a board will be to provide stability in the marketing of western Canadian grain," Johnson said in a CWB release Monday.

The CWB’s directors and management, he said, will now work "to offer farmers and international grain customers a superior package of contracts and services."

Johnson, in Monday’s release, also offered thanks to the farmer-elected former directors "for their dedicated service to the farmers of Western Canada.

"We have all been committed to a single purpose, which is to assist farmers in the profitable marketing of their grain," he said. "That continues to be our steadfast goal."

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