Brian Innes is Soy Canada’s new executive director.
Innes, who was the Canola Council of Canada’s vice-president of public affairs based in Ottawa, started his new position May 3, replacing Ron Davidson who is retiring after 50 years of public service in agriculture and foreign affairs.
Like the canola council where Innes worked for 9-1/2 years, Soy Canada represents the crop’s value chain from farmers to crushers and exporters.
In an interview May 28 Innes said his priorities include:
- Ensuring the soybean value chain comes together to share information and co-operate to meet challenges.
- Improving soybean protein content in western Canadian soybeans so they become a more attractive crop in rotations.
- Maintaining Canada’s reputation for exporting top-quality, food-grade, identity-preserved (IP) soybeans.
“You don’t stay on top without effort,” Innes said. “As a sector we need to remain laser focused on our competitive advantage there. That’s where I see a real role for Soy Canada to tell that story internationally and to ensure things are in place here in Canada to deliver on that world-leading business.”
Innes said he enjoyed his time with the canola council and expects to work with it as Soy Canada has done in the past.
“In discussions with the board and the industry there is certainly a willingness and interest in more collaboration across agri-food organizations,” he said. “Soy Canada and the canola council have actually shared staff in the past. There’s nothing firm now but the spirit of working together with oilseed organizations I see continuing between Soy Canada and the canola council.”
Soy Canada was founded just seven years ago and the sector has much to gain through increased collaboration, Innes said.
“There’s certainly lots of need and I see a real benefit for those in the soy industry to come together as a value chain,” he said, adding he hopes more grain companies will join.
Trade, including the development of trade deals, and the ongoing dispute with China, were major issues during Innes’s time at the canola council.
While at the canola council Innes served as president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance.
Before joining the canola council Innes worked for a consulting company on government relations.