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New APG Chair & Board Builds on the Positive Pulse Story for Producers & Consumers (PCN Spring 2017) MAR 28 2017 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Pulse Crop News.

The new Chair of the Alberta Pulse Growers (APG) is looking forward to working with the APG board to build on the many strides made for beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas during International Year of Pulses in 2016.

“We had a highly successful International Year of Pulses, and I am looking forward to continuing the momentum in pulse production and consumer awareness,” said APG Chair D’Arcy Hilgartner. “Pulses have a great economic story to tell for producers, and I eagerly anticipate announcing further developments in the areas of export and value-added production. For consumers, we will build on the health and sustainability awareness that has already had such a positive impact.”

Hilgartner farms near Camrose where his family grows a wide range of crops, including peas, wheat, canola, barley, and flax. Pulses have been a staple in the farm’s rotation for over 25 years due to rotational benefits and lower input costs. Hilgartner has participated in research plots and demonstration trials for many years. He joined the Alberta Pulse Growers as a Zone 5 Advisor in 2009, and was elected to the provincial board in 2013. He served as APG Vice-Chair for the past two years. Hilgartner has represented APG at a variety of international events, including most recently at the Pulse Conclave in India, which allowed him the opportunity to explore a country that depends on Canadian pulses to feed its growing population.

Hilgartner said he appreciated the board’s confidence in electing him as Chair for 2017-18, and looks forward to working with the new and returning Directors to keep building Alberta’s pulse industry.

“I am looking forward to working with the other Directors,” he said, “and drawing on their vast experience with APG, other boards and on their own operations.”

Rycroft beef and grain producer Caroline Sekulic was elected as Vice-Chair. She joined APG in January 2016 and has a keen interest in the profitability, sustainability and strength of Alberta’s agriculture industry.

“There has been, and will be, a great deal of agricultural policy change over the next year,” Sekulic said. “Our export markets for whole and pulse fractions are thriving. I am excited to help our industry navigate and welcome change to position ourselves for success.”

The Executive Committee is rounded out by Past-Chair Allison Ammeter of Sylvan Lake, who led the APG board for the last two years.

APG welcomed Greg Stamp, a partner in his family’s seed farm near Enchant, to the board as a Zone 1 Director following the Annual General Meeting held in January during FarmTech.

“I wanted to represent Zone 1 with APG because I believe pulse acres, production, and processing have lots of room to grow in Alberta,” Stamp said. “We have a very diverse climate throughout the province, irrigation opportunities in drier regions provide stability, and room to expand pulse business in Alberta. I look forward to advocating for the farmers in my region and encourage promotion, communication, and research of pulse crops. I want to encourage and help farmers and industry continue to build a sustainable and growing pulse industry.”

Stamp replaced Robert Weisgerber, who completed his maximum six-year term.

“The best thing about being on the provincial board is the people you meet along the way, from other board members and staff, to all the connections that are made through the committees and
other organizations that you can get involved with,” Weisgerber explained. “There is opportunity for travel and to get involved with national boards, and hopefully make a real difference in the industry. I would highly recommend getting involved to anyone.”

Directors also bid farewell to Zone 3’s provincial representative James Jackson.

Zone 3 selected third generation farmer Chris Allam from the Fort Saskatchewan area as the new Zone 3 Director. The farm Allam grew up on transitioned from dairy in 2007 to grains, oil seeds and pulses, and he recently formed a partnership with his family called Allam Farms Partnership.

“As an APG board member, I would like to focus on pulses that could be a true scalable crop rotation, instead of the traditional roughly 10 per cent of farm acres,” he said. “I feel that serving on boards will help with networking and enhance agriculture in Alberta.”

Incumbent APG Director-at-Large (Bean) Tim VanderHoek and Director-at-Large (Non-Bean) John
Kowalchuk were each acclaimed to remain in these positions for a one-year term. The Board of Directors for 2017-18 also includes: Rodney Volk (Zone 1); Doug Sell (Zone 2); Ryan Kubinec (Zone 3); Fraser Robertson (Zone 4); and Don Shepert (Zone 5).