Cargill names new Canadian chief

Canada’s biggest beef packer and third-biggest grain handler have a new hand at the wheel.

U.S. agrifood giant Cargill on Tuesday announced Jeff Vassart as the new president of its Winnipeg-based Canadian arm, Cargill Ltd., and as lead of the Cargill AgHorizons grain handling and crop input retail business in Canada.

Vassart replaces Len Penner, who’s retiring from the post after almost eight years as president and 38 years in all with Cargill.

Vassart, who was raised on a cattle operation near Pilot Mound in south-central Manitoba, has worked for 17 years with Cargill in sales and general management.

In 2007, he was named Cargill AgHorizons’ vice-president and national sales manager in Canada. He later served as the company’s general manager for grain and oilseed origination in Melbourne, after Cargill bought the former Australian Wheat Board’s commodity handling business from Agrium in 2010.

“The experience he brings from years both in and outside of the business will help Cargill better serve Canadian farm customers and food processors,” Penner said in the company’s release.

Vassart noted Tuesday the company has been “expanding its footprint and creating opportunities for growth and development” such as its new canola crushing plant under construction at Camrose, Alta., new canola oil refining capacity for its crush plant at Clavet, Sask. and a new flour mill through its interest in Horizon Milling at Guelph, Ont.

“To me, this is a strong indication of the direction the industry as a whole is moving towards,” Vassart said in the same release.

Cargill Ltd. remains one of Canada’s biggest merchandisers and processors, with interests in grain handling, flour milling, canola crushing and beef packing but also in processing malt, eggs, corn, livestock feed and salts.

Vassart, who now lives at LaSalle, Man., attended North Dakota State University and studied agribusiness at Brandon’s Assiniboine Community College before joining Cargill. — AGCanada.com Network

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