Why #GaryinGeneva Matters — Connecting with Canada's Overseas Customers

Many in Western Canada may be surprised to learn that the Triffid flax fiasco of 2009 is still weighing heavily on the minds of some European customers. That’s according to Gary Stanford, the president of the Grain Growers of Canada and a farmer form Magrath, Alberta.

Stanford was recently asked to represent Canada’s famers in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Global Grains conference. After his presentation, Stanford fielded questions from the audience, and was surprised by the focus of some of the concerns. “I expected questions about biotechnology,” Stanford says, “but I wasn’t expecting (the attendees) to be worried about Triffid.”

It’s experiences like this, Stanford says, that really shine a spotlight on why it’s critical that Canada have representatives at meetings in our export destination countries. Exploring that point further, Real Agriculture’s editor, Lyndsey Smith, spoke with Stanford after his return from Geneva to get his thoughts on what happens at these conferences, what was on our European customers’ minds, and how a hashtag (#GaryinGeneva) is connecting farmers and industry across the globe.

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