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Alta. livestock agency adds three directors

Alberta’s provincial government has named three more prominent ag industry figures to its new Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).

“Hisakazu Hayakawa, Jeff Kroll and Kim McConnell all have diverse areas of expertise and are recognized as leaders in fields that are crucial to the success of ALMA,” Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld said in a release Thursday.

They join the previously appointed board chair Joe Makowecki and board members Ted Bilyea, Charlie Gracey and Kee Jim.

“The industry is at a turning point and these individuals possess the experience and skills to help ALMA create a better business environment for Alberta’s livestock and meat industry,” Makowecki said in the province’s release.

McConnell is a founder and former CEO of AdFarm, an international ag-focused marketing firm, and has been involved in developing many national and international brands, the province said. His experience and business relationships “span all sectors of the value chain from producers to branded retail products,” the province added.

Hayakawa is an advisor for the Japan Meat Traders Association and the Japan Ham and Sausage Processors Association, with “extensive experience” marketing and trading meat internationally for major Japanese processor Starzen, the province said. He was also previously chairman of the Japan Meat Traders Association for 15 years.

Kroll, currently the senior vice-president, national supply chain, for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd., has held a number of management positions within McDonald’s both in Canada and the U.S. since 1981. He’s also a board member of the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality and Tourism.

Modeled after similar organizations in other countries, ALMA was first announced in June as part of the provincial government’s Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy.

ALMA, which will get $56 million from the province this year to support its work, is expected to redirect government funds, resources and programs to help revitalize the livestock sector, enhance the value chain and achieve the necessary changes to build a competitive livestock industry, the province said.

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