CFA’s Pellerin to head supply management council

One of Canada’s highest-profile farm leaders is leaving his post for a new job overseeing Canada’s supply-managed egg and poultry systems.

Laurent Pellerin, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and former president of Quebec’s Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), has accepted a four-year term as chairperson of the Farm Products Council of Canada, effective May 31.

The council, known until last year as the National Farm Products Council, supervises the operations of the four national marketing agencies that manage supplies of Canadian chicken, turkey, eggs and broiler hatching eggs. It also oversees the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency.

The council’s chairperson is accountable for managing and directing its operations, and reports to the federal agriculture minister — in this case, Gerry Ritz, who announced Pellerin’s appointment in a release Tuesday.

“Over the course of many years leading producer organizations, most recently as president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Mr. Pellerin has earned the respect of farmers,” Ritz said Tuesday. “I look forward to working with Mr. Pellerin in his new role.”

Pellerin’s departure leaves the CFA president’s chair empty until the general farm group’s annual general meeting and executive elections in February 2011. Until then, the CFA said in a release Tuesday, its leadership duties will be shared in the interim by its first and second vice-presidents, Ron Bonnett of Bruce Mines, Ont., and Garnet Etsell of Abbotsford, B.C.

Pellerin, a hog producer and cereal grower at St-Gregoire, Que., south of Trois-Rivieres, led the ubiquitous and politically influential UPA from 1993 to 2007, when he was handed a surprise defeat by current UPA president Christian Lacasse.

However, he continued to represent UPA on the CFA board, becoming co-interim president in 2008 on the departure of then-president Bob Friesen. Pellerin was then formally elected as the CFA’s president last year, becoming the organization’s first chief from Quebec.

Pellerin had previously served as president of Quebec’s hog producer group, la Federation des producteurs de porcs du Quebec, from 1985 to 1993, joining the UPA council and becoming vice-president of the Canadian Pork Council.

Pellerin’s resume also includes stints as the founding chairperson (2001-07) of the board of la Financiere agricole du Quebec, the provincial farm financing agency; as president of Agricord, a Belgium-based network of non-governmental ag organizations focused on international development; and as an executive member of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.

Pellerin was also named to the rank of chevalier in l’Ordre national du Quebec in 2005.

“In speaking with Canadian farmers across the country, I have learned a tremendous amount about the diverse issues that farmers face in Canada and I look forward to continuing to work with industry in my new role,” Pellerin said in the CFA’s release Tuesday.

“Laurent has been a committed contributor to CFA and provided great leadership to this organization,” said Bonnett, who Pellerin defeated last year in the election for the CFA presidency.

The Ottawa-based CFA is the farmer-funded national umbrella organization representing provincial general farm organizations and national commodity groups, through which it represents over 200,000 Canadian farm families from coast to coast.

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