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Oct 14

The importance of being earnest: Former chairmen reflect

Posted on Oct 14 By: Sydney Duhaime

Alberta farmers Glenn Logan, Matt Sawyer and Mike Ammeter all have at least two things in common: a passion for agriculture, and a willingness to get involved in their industry.

With regional meetings and elections just around the corner, these past and present Alberta Barley chairmen took time to talk about their experience with grassroots democracy—and their work with the Commission over the years.

Glenn Logan and CFO and human resources director Syeda Khurram in Dubai for Gulfood 2015

Learn about your industry
For Logan, a Region One delegate who hails from Lomond, his time with Alberta Barley has been both an educational experience and a passion project.

“It was a rewarding experience to learn so much about the industry,” he explained. “At the end of the day, this is more than just a job—it is the industry that you live.”

Now with nearly two full decades of Alberta Barley service, as a chairman, director and delegate, on his resumé, Logan’s biggest takeaway has been that every term offers opportunities to learn about and become an expert in the areas you are enthusiastic about.

“I have always been interested in promotion of product and trade,” said Logan. “Over the years, I have had the chance to go on trade missions, connect our grain with customers and see how business is done overseas.”

Matt Sawyer working on his farm in Acme, AB

Move your industry forward
Like Logan, Sawyer, a Region Three delegate from Acme, began attending Alberta Barley’s regional meetings to find out more about agriculture and to see what impact he could have.

“I wanted to learn what makes this industry tick,” said Sawyer. “I joined as a delegate because I was interested in getting involved in the industry and moving things forward.”

For Sawyer, working with Alberta Barley (and serving five years as chairman) was an opportunity to meet with key industry members and share farmers’ perspective on issues that impact their bottom lines.

Going forward, Sawyer said he hopes more farmers will participate in Commission business, as he has always believed that this industry is what you make it.

“I would encourage them to get involved,” said Sawyer. “It allows people to step up and make the changes they want to see.”

Mike Ammeter at the 2014 Alberta Barley AGM in Banff, AB

Voice your opinion
With two decades of regional meetings under his belt, Ammeter, Alberta Barley’s current chairman and a director-at-large, knows a thing or two about getting involved.

One thing he has learned is that farmer participation in Commission activities is vital to the growth of agriculture in Alberta.

“If there is no engagement from farmers, decisions will be made for you,” said Ammeter. “When you are involved, you have the opportunity to influence decisions.”

While participation requires a time commitment that you have to balance, Ammeter said the first step is easy.

“You may think it’s complex, but really it is all about showing up at the table, putting your hand in the air and sharing your opinion.”

This article was originally published in GrainsWest magazine, the fall 2015 issue.

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