important to his region’s farmers. He says the ACPC board has directors who farm 1,000 acres, and those who farm 60,000 acres. He prefers to see both experienced and younger producers on a board in order to have a mix of voices, and to share different perspectives. Building an Industry Network As the son of a seed grower, Ward Oatway grew up watching his father attend board meetings. In his youth, his summer family holiday was attending the national meetings. It was at one of those national meetings later in his career where Oatway was approached by the Alberta Seed Growers to join the board – and knowing what they had accomplished in the past helped entice him to put himself forward as a nominee. “It was initially a bit of nostalgia that led me to the board, but today I see just how many people are involved to make sure that our industry is being heard,” he says. “For me, working with seed growers across the country, not just around the province, gives me the kind of insight into what different growers face, and also into how solutions in one part of the country can help in Alberta.” This is Oatway’s first year as the president of the Alberta Seed Growers and he says that while there has been a steep learning curve, having a supportive past president has helped him in his role. “Our past president has helped me to prioritize and provided guidance on the direction he took the board while allowing me to find my way. It’s a very democratic process, so it’s important to make sure you are representing growers in the way they have asked.” He says boards can also step in when the roles of different provincial and federal departments change suddenly. He points to when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency eliminated their crop inspectors. Several agricultural boards, including the Alberta Seed Growers, stepped up to make sure the new inspection process was in place so that the shift to third party inspectors went seamlessly. “What was a big change that could have caused panic instead transitioned easily in part because of the involvement of various boards,” says Oatway. “It seems like policy continues to change quickly, in terms of breeding and technology and global markets. We make sure our growers’ interests are being heard in those policy discussions. Oatway grows 1,300 acres of pedigreed pea, barley and wheat seed along with commercial canola on his farm near Clive. He says he wants to see more people volunteer to become members of boards. “I think if people ask to become members they have a really good mindset coming into the process,” he says. “Ours is a very young board but we need a mix of experiences as people have more or less time, based on where they are in their lives. Board experience is worth the time it takes to become fully invested in your industry, and to help make a difference going forward.” Jennifer Barber AAC Synergy Barley CDC Copeland Barley AAC Penhold CPSR Wheat AAC Brandon CWRS Wheat AAC Lacombe Yellow Peas—NEW! CDC Amarillo Yellow Peas Snowbird Faba Beans AC Foremost CPSR Wheat Office: 403-556-2890 Cell: 403-994-0290 OLDS, ALBERTA Twitter: @BrianEllisSeed 73 Advancing Seed in Alberta | fall.2017