Kevin Serfas and Robert Semeniuk new canola and pulse chairs

Three of the big four crop commissions have new leaders following recent annual general meetings

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Some familiar faces have departed the leadership ranks of Alberta crop commission but some equally well-known ones — as well as some newcomers — are taking on leadership roles.

Turin-area producer Kevin Serfas is the new chair of Alberta Canola. He takes over from John Guelly, who has been a director for Region 5 for six years (including the last two as chair).

Roger Chevraux of Killam is the new vice-chair while Justin Nanninga from Neerlandia is the new Region 5 director.

Meanwhile, Todd Hames continues as board chair of Alberta Wheat but is joined by a new vice-chair, Jason Saunders of Taber who is starting his fifth year on the board, and a new second vice-chair, Greg Sears, who farms near Sexsmith and is a former chair of Alberta Canola.

Departing from the executive (but remaining as directors) are Hannah Konschuh, who has been vice-chair for the past two years, and Janine Paly, who was interim second vice-chair the past year (a new position formally approved at the group’s recent AGM).

The new chair of the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission is Robert Semeniuk, who farms near Smoky Lake. After serving as vice-chair for the past two years, Semeniuk takes over from Don Shepert, who remains on the executive as past chair. Chris Allam of Ardrossan is the new vice-chair.

New opportunities await for the 6,500 farmers who grow pulses in the province, Semeniuk said in a news release.

“Beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans have a fantastic sustainability, economic and health story to tell,” he said. “I’m looking forward to sharing news about more successes in the near future.”

At Alberta Wheat, Hames said he is expecting another busy year.

“Given the uncertainties that arose in 2020, I am pleased with how the commission managed to navigate the pandemic,” he said. “I foresee another eventful year for AWC starting with the current Canada Grain Act consultations.”

As well, Alberta Wheat and the Alberta Barley are in the midst of considering whether to merge. The two cereal commissions moved to a combined management structure in 2018 (saving more than $400,000 a year) but still have their own boards and governance structure.

The pandemic has slowed down the process but a subcommittee examining the pros and cons of merging expects to issue a report for members of both groups in the coming year.

Acme-area producer Tara Sawyer became chair of Alberta Barley in December.

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