Francois Labelle, executive director of Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG) since 2014, is retiring July 15, the organization announced Tuesday.
Daryl Domitruk, the organization’s director of research and production, will be the new executive director and keep his current position also, MPSG said in a release.
“Francois’s contribution to Manitoba’s pulse and soybean industry is immeasurable,” MPSG chair Calvin Penner said in the release. “He was on the board that formed what is now MPSG and he has been involved with it ever since. His knowledge of the ag industry runs deep. He’s got some great stories to tell. Francois will be missed. We’re sad for the loss, but his retirement is well deserved and we wish him all the happiness, as he embarks on the next stage of his life and career.
“We’re excited to have Daryl assume the executive director role and I speak for the entire board when I say the organization will be in good hands.”
Labelle’s formal career in agriculture began as a summer student in 1977, working on weed research with the University of Manitoba’s Ian Morrison. Since, he has worked at Cargill, Seedex, Continental Grain, Agricore, Agricore United and Viterra.
“It’s been an honour to witness the pulse and soybean industry grow and it’s been an honour to work for such a strong board, as well as alongside top-of-class staff,” Labelle said. “The association will need to adjust with fluctuating markets as well as fluctuating acres, but the important role pulses and soybeans play in crop rotations and sustainability needs to remain a priority, I believe.
“Daryl, with his years of experience and knowledge of the ag industry, will help take the association to new heights. MPSG will continue to be the pride of Manitoba’s pulse and soybean farmers.”
Since 1987 Domitruk has had a variety of positions in agriculture. He worked for the Manitoba Zero Tillage Association in the early 1990s. From 1996 until 2018 he worked for Manitoba Agriculture.
Domitruk, who holds agriculture degrees from the University of Manitoba and a Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan, started working for MPSG in January 2018.
“The key is staff,” Domitruk said in Tuesday’s release. “Across the board, from administration, production agronomy, research to communications, Francois Labelle and the board have assembled a small but mighty team who are committed to serving our members.
“We’re especially fortunate in possessing well functioning on-farm testing and crop surveillance programs. You can’t top that as a starting point. Expanding these services and increasing collaboration with MPSG-funded research at universities, colleges and federal labs will provide our farmers with a powerful knowledge-generating machine. In a grower-owned organization, the things we do must also be useful.”
Labelle said looks forward to spending on his hobbies, as well as spending more time on his farm, where he and his wife tend a menagerie, Heart and Soul Stables, which includes miniature donkeys, a couple of which were featured in the 2017 movie A Dog’s Purpose.