Grain Farmers of Ontario seeking new CEO

Barry Senft, shown here at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show in a 2017 GFO video, is stepping down in April as the organization’s chief executive. (GFO video screengrab via YouTube)

Ontario’s biggest ag commodity organization is on the hunt for a new CEO as its first chief prepares to exit.

Barry Senft announced Tuesday he will step down as CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario in April 2020, a post he’s held since the 2009 merger of the province’s corn, soy and wheat grower groups under the GFO banner.

GFO, which represents about 28,000 growers provincewide, said Tuesday it will “immediately” start the process of a CEO search.

Senft came to the GFO with a resume that included stints as chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission (1997-2002), second vice-president of Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (1993-97) and executive director of Cigi, the Canadian International Grains Institute (2002-09).

Senft, who hailed from a family farm at Lipton, Sask., “led the organization through its growth as the largest commodity organization in Ontario, including the addition of barley and oat growers into membership,” GFO said in a release.

“Having served more than 10 years as CEO, it is time for me to step aside. Grain Farmers of Ontario, its board, and its staff has been a wonderful organization to help lead and grow,” Senft said in the release.

GFO, under Senft’s oversight, “placed an unprecedented focus on public outreach about grains and grain farming, and farmer-members benefited from focused and advanced research investments and a team dedicated to market development,” the group said.

Senft “played a key role in fighting unnecessary government regulations on farming, and ensuring government programs were scrutinized for opportunities to better help farmers,” GFO said. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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