GGC’s New Executive Director Hails From Alberta (PCN Summer 2014) JUL 9 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.
Bryan Rogers, Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada
Greetings from Ottawa! This is my first time writing to you as the still relatively freshly-minted Executive Director of the Grain Growers of Canada, so I thought a brief introduction might be in order. I came to the Grain Growers after having spent six years as the Manager of Government Affairs for Scotiabank, which was preceded by a stint at the government relations firm Hill & Knowlton. Prior to (re)joining the private sector, I spent just over six years as a federal political staffer – two years in my hometown of Edmonton, and another four here in Ottawa, where I moved in 2003 to work for a then-Opposition Leader named Stephen Harper.
While it’s no secret that my political background is Conservative, my professional approach to government relations is multi-partisan, as it is in any organization’s best interest to actively build relationships across the political aisles.
While my professional background is in government relations and politics, agriculture has always been a keen interest of mine. My family has had a long standing connection with farming, as my great-grandfather was a homesteader in Alberta, and growing up I seized every opportunity to spend time on an uncle’s farm.
I remember informing my uncle when I was 10 or 11 years old that I wanted to be a farmer. He just shook his head and told me that “nobody can make money farming anymore.” I know he’d be shocked but ultimately pleased by the advancements in crop genetics, crop options, better management practices and marketing freedom, as well as the impact they’ve had on volumes and the bottom line. He wouldn’t be surprised that we’re still fighting for good rail service.
In early April, Grain Growers of Canada Director and Transportation Committee Chair Art Enns appeared before the Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food for their study on Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. GGC supports this legislation, which builds on the Order in Council, as another positive step forward. We were also pleased to see the government’s amendment to the legislation, which opens the door to Service Level Agreements with reciprocal penalties.
The next step will be the expedited Transport Canada Act review, which may begin as soon as this summer. Grain Growers will be an active participant in both. Our goal is unchanged: to help ensure a transportation system with adequate rail capacity to serve all commodities well.
Trade and Marketing
It was a busy winter on the Trade and Marketing front, with GGC taking part in several trade missions and conferences. Gary Stanford, GGC President, attended the U.S. Wheat Associates AGM in Washington, D.C. at the end of January. In March he attended the Global Grains Asia conference in Singapore, where he gave a presentation promoting Canada as a reliable supplier of high quality grains, oilseeds, and pulses.
In April, GGC Director Irmi Critcher took part in Minister Ritz’s trade mission to Asia, celebrating the recent conclusion of negotiations on the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, as well as visiting Japan to assure our customers that despite the current transportation challenges, Canada remains a reliable supplier of good quality grain and oilseeds.
In April, I attended the inaugural Canadian Global Crops Symposium in Winnipeg. It was my pleasure to meet many of the key players in our sector, including several GGC and member association directors. It would be hard to meet a more dedicated, talented and friendly bunch of people anywhere. There were also many excellent presentations, including Pulse Canada’s Nick Sekulic, who is also an APG Commissioner.
Canadian Grain Commission
GGC was invited to submit comments to the CGC for their consultation on outward inspection and the quality assurance deduction (new funding model). In principle, GGC supports co-delivery of outward inspection, believing that the introduction of competitive market forces would be beneficial to producers in terms of bringing price discipline to outward inspection. However, we cannot support a new funding model that simply defaults to a grower check-off, particularly if the current cost structure of the CGC is expected to be shouldered overwhelmingly by producers.
However, before making any decision on which alternative funding model will work best, a better understanding of the services the CGC provides and how these services are valued and used (directly or indirectly) by the entire value chain is required. Moreover, we believe that increased transparency of the CGC’s operations, including better details on its costs, and further cost-reduction measures, are required.
Contact Grain Growers of Canada at 613-233-9954 or firstname.lastname@example.org.