Alta. names more farmers to “green” institute

Alberta’s government has named two farmers to the board of its new institute to explore how the province can best tap into demand for environmental goods and services.

Jurgen Preugschas of Mayerthorpe and Terry Young of Red Deer will be the two farmer directors for the Institute for Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment. The new institute was first announced in January with the appointment of Lethbridge professor, farmer and former provincial Liberal leader Ken Nicol as chairman.

The institute, which will get $1.8 million for staff and other costs of a “virtual” institute as opposed to a bricks-and-mortar organization, is to hold its first board meeting June 18 and discuss its business plan.

“In doing so, the board will look at how our renewable resource sectors can evolve and adapt to benefit from the increasing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products, services and production processes,” the province said in a release Monday. The institute is meant to help brand Alberta as “an environmental leader and innovator.”

Young, the chairman of the Alberta Barley Commission and a UFA delegate, “serves as a perfect example of an environmentally conscious citizen, developing an environmental farm plan (EFP) for his farm. Terry’s concern for the environment makes him a role model for all those in the agriculture industry,” the province wrote.

Preugschas runs a 3,000-acre grain, oilseeds, alfalfa and custom grazing cattle operation and is a founding shareholder, director and principal breeder with Peak Swine Genetics of Leduc. He has also served as a director with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance.

The province also named the institute’s two directors from the forestry sector: Joe Costantino, a senior vice-president with Millar Western Forest Products, and Robert Nichol, a vice-president with Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries (Al-Pac).

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