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Jan 8

Alberta Barley’s new GM excited about industry’s future

Posted on Jan 8 By: Ellen Cottee

It was on his uncle’s farm near Russell, MB, that Rob Davies developed his lifelong enthusiasm for all things agriculture. Davies credits summers spent on the farm with starting him off on the path that would eventually lead him to become Alberta Barley’s general manager.

Davies earned a bachelor of science in agriculture at the University of Manitoba. Graduating in 1984, he began working in various crop input sales and service positions before taking on management positions with United Grain Growers.

For much of his career, Davies worked at the Weyburn Inland Terminal in Saskatchewan. While there, he spent over 15 years as chief executive officer, working directly with federal government groups and agriculture industry boards on many issues, including grain transportation and marketing issues.

“We were a relatively small player working with a lot of larger ones, so developing good relationships was important,” he said. “We would identify where the opportunities were for us and work to leverage those opportunities to grow our business.”

With multiple areas of focus, much of Davies’ job was building relationships with various business partners and government agencies.

After Weyburn Inland Terminal was sold to a private company in March 2014, Davies spent a year at Battle River Implements in Camrose before joining the Alberta Barley team. Despite his 30-plus years in agriculture, working for Alberta Barley is a new experience Davies is eager to take on. “Canadian agriculture is exciting, but to be able to work more directly on the farmer side, to focus more on research and market development, will be a great experience,” he said. “There are some great opportunities going forward.”

Already looking ahead, Davies said he is thinking about how these opportunities can be transformed into real results for farmers and consumers. He said he is most excited about advances in barley varieties designed to improve feed, malt and food barley production and processing for all value chain participants. “That’s hopefully where we can provide the most value for our farmers,” he explained.

Davies pointed to the opportunity to improve on the acceptance of new malting barley varieties by maltsters and brewers in order to improve returns to farmers.

Davies remains positive about the future of the barley industry.

“With Alberta Barley, I want to invest in opportunities for our farmers to be more profitable,” he said.

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