‘New’ Cereals Canada selects Alberta farmer Todd Hames as chair

June 1 Cereals Canada and Cigi merged and held its first annual meeting June 22

Alberta farmer Todd Hames was elected the chair of the recently reconstituted Cereals Canada at its first annual meeting June 22.

The ‘new’ Cereals Canada was created June 1 when it and the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) amalgamated after two years of discussions and the approval of their respective boards April 13.

Hames, who farms near Marwayne, Alta., also chairs the Alberta Wheat Commission and served as chair of Alberta Canola.

Hames, who has a degree in computer engineering from the University of Alberta, was employed as a computer software engineer before returning to the family farm in 1991, Cereals Canada’s website says.

Hames, “a dedicated zero-tillage farmer,” has grown canola, wheat, peas and barley under conservation tillage for 25 years.

“I believe in working together in partnerships to achieve larger goals,” Hames states on his Twitter account (@CanolaFarmer).

Why it matters: Cereals Canada has an important and challenging mandate — representing Canada’s cereal sector from farmer to exporter based on consensus with the goal of making all participants better off.

The new Cereals Canada board has 16 directors, which elected Jennifer Marchand as vice-chair, Robert Misko as treasurer, and Jean-Marc Ruest as secretary.

Marchand is with Cargill.

Misko farms at Roblin, Man., and is a director with the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association.

Ruest, Cereals Canada’s former chair, is Richardson’s senior vice-president of corporate affairs and general counsel.

The executive committee will also serve as the search committee to find a chief executive officer, Hames noted in a news release June 23. That job is currently held by Cam Dahl.

A human resources consultant has been hired to lead the search, Dahl said in an interview June 23.

“The board needs to do its due diligence at looking at all the available candidates and that’s in the best interests of the organization,” he said. “And I absolutely believe that.”

The board also selected a governance committee consisting of Jake Leguee, Henry Van Ankum, Jeff Bertholet, and, Jeff Cockwill.

Leguee is a Saskatchewan farmer and vice-chair of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission.

Van Ankum farms in Ontario and is a director of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.

Bertholet and Cockwill are with BASF and Viterra, respectively.

Cereals Canada’s new board and CEO will consider where to locate, Ruest said in an interview April 14.

Cereals Canada, with six employees, is located in the old Grain Exchange Building in downtown Winnipeg.

Cigi has just under 30 staff located a few blocks away in the Canadian Grain Commission building.

While Cigi, created in 1972 to teach Canadian grain customers, including millers and bakers, how to get the most value from Canadian grain, is now part of Cereals Canada, its role and name will continue, outgoing Cigi chair Trent Rude said in an interview April 14.

“One of the main things we wanted to do is maintain the brand of Cigi,” Rude said. “In the milling industry globally it has a very, very strong brand and is very well respected when it comes to nations around the world that are buying Canadian wheat and milling Canadian wheat. That was one of the main, important things.”

Meanwhile, the amalgamation between Cereals Canada and Cigi is proceeding smoothly, Dahl said.

“According to the bylaws we needed 21 days’ notice for an annual meeting, so in fact yesterday (June 22) was the very first day that we could provide that much notice after June 1,” he said. “So as quickly as we can, the members and directors have come together to take those next steps to secure the future of the new organization.”

The new Cereals Canada board

  • Todd Hames, Alberta Wheat Commission
  • Jean-Marc Ruest, Richardson
  • Hannah Konschuh, Alberta Wheat Commission
  • Jeff Cockwill, Viterra
  • Brett Halstead, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
  • Jennifer Marchand, Cargill
  • Jake Leguee, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
  • Darren Amerongen, Parrish and Heimbecker
  • Glenn Tait, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
  • Matt Bingham, G3
  • Robert Misko, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association
  • Trish Jordan, Bayer
  • Drew Baker, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association
  • Jeff Bertholet, BASF
  • Henry Van Ankum, Grain Farmers of Ontario
  • Adam Dyck, Warburtons

About the author


Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.



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