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Sask. farmers tapped for new policy teams

Saskatchewan’s government has picked from the farm, food, farm machinery and biotech sectors for membership on its new “sector teams” to help steer provincial economic policy.

Enterprise Saskatchewan, the agency charged with improving private sector participation in the province’s economy, on Tuesday named chairs and members for a list of teams to discuss and collaborate on policy-related issues facing their sectors.

Sectors covered include agriculture, “agri-value,” transportation, biofuels, biotechnology and manufacturing, among others such as energy, alternative energy, arts, mining, tourism and forestry.

The province granted that several sectors already have industry associations and pre-existing industry-government partnerships at work. Enterprise Saskatchewan said its sector teams are expected to “collaborate with these organizations on common interests, building on, rather than duplicating efforts.”

“These sector teams will be pivotal in positioning Saskatchewan as a jurisdiction that is competitive, investment friendly, enterprising and entrepreneurial,” said Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart in the province’s release Tuesday.

The teams are meant to “clarify” the roles of government and other partners in growing each sector; identify goals and performance measurement indicators; and monitor and report on progress in achieving those goals.

The teams are also meant to identify and report on any barriers to growth, make recommendations to remove barriers, prescribe action and report annually on progress.

Teams

The agriculture team’s chair will be Gerrid Gust, a farmer from Davidson, secretary-treasurer of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and candidate in the current Canadian Wheat Board director elections.

The team’s members include Dwayne Anderson, a farmer at Fosston, chair of the Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission and a former CWB director; Everette Bear of Muskoday First Nation, southeast of Prince Albert; Carievale farmer Maurice Berry, chair of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers; Western Canadian Wheat Growers president Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel of Mossbank and director Kenton Possberg of Humboldt; beef rancher Gary Jones of Crane Valley; David Sefton of Broadview, a director with the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission; and Doug Steele of Paterson Grain.

The “agri-value” team, meanwhile, will be chaired by Tim Wiens of Regina-area egg farm and feed manufacturing firm O and T Farms. Members include Murad Al-katib of SaskCan Pulse Trading in Regina; Chantelle Donahue of Prairie Malt at Biggar; Gene Dupuis of Saskatoon’s Prairie Meats; Kelly Edgar of Drake Meats, at Drake; Terry Helary of Northern Lights Foods/Kitsaki Meats at La Ronge; Paul Rogers of SJ Irvine Fine Foods in Saskatoon; Darrell Schneider, chief operating officer for the Saskatchewan Food Processors Association; and Tom Steve of Viterra in Regina.

Ray Malinowski of Leon’s Manufacturing, which makes blades, scrapers, front-end loaders and other tractor tools at Yorkton, will chair the manufacturing sector team, whose ag sector representatives also include Gerry Bourgault of St. Brieux cultivator and air seeder maker Bourgault Industries; Gurcan Kocdag of grain and bulk trailer maker Doepker Industries of Annaheim; Nathan Stobbe of Saskatoon’s Cover-All Building Systems, which makes shelters for livestock production and other industries; and Carol Vibert of Harvest Services, a harvest equipment maker at Craik.

Brad Wildeman, chairman of beef and ethanol firm Pound-Maker AgVentures at Lanigan and president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, will head the biofuels and bioproducts team, including representation from Milligan Bio-Tech, Ag-West Bio, Terra Grain Fuels and other firms.

Joe Vidal of Bioriginal Food and Science, a Saskatoon maker of essential fatty acid ingredients, will chair the life sciences and biotechnology team, which will also include representation from Performance Plants, AgWest Bio, Novozymes BioAg (formerly Philom Bios), POS Pilot Plant and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan.

Denis Prud’homme, past president of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association, will chair the transportation and logistics team, whose ag sector representation includes Gayleen Creelmann of Cargill and Robert Weibe of Viterra, as well as members from CPR and the Shortline Railways Association.

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