The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association has hired a new executive director as Blair Rutter has stepped down from the position.
Rutter joined the Wheat Growers in 2005 and led the organization in advocating for ending the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly, while pushing for improved market access, a less restrictive variety registration process and improved grain transportation.
“We want to thank Blair for his dedication to the Wheat Growers over the past 10 years,” said Wheat Growers president Levi Wood, in a press release. “He has been a key player in helping us achieve some significant policy objectives.”
Rutter is pursuing “personal and professional interests” (he’s also president of the Manitoba Chess Association!) and will stay on as a Special Advisor for the organization until its annual meeting in March.
“It has been a thoroughly enjoyable run with the Wheat Growers, and an honour to serve its members. I’m very proud of our achievements,” said Rutter. “The organization is a strong, effective voice for forward-thinking farmers and I’m confident that will continue.”
The Wheat Growers wasted no time appointing a new executive director, announcing that Robin Speer has been appointed to the post, effective November 2nd.
Speer previously served as manager of government and commercial relations with Viterra, as well as vice president of public affairs for the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. Originally from North Battleford, he has experience working on Parliament Hill and in the Saskatchewan Legislature.
“We’re pleased to have Robin on board, taking on this important new role at an exciting time for prairie wheat growers,” said Wood. “With his successes in agriculture, and his management and public affairs experience, Robin will be a great asset for the Wheat Growers and will help us advance positive changes in agriculture.”
Along with Speer’s hiring, the association will be moving its office from Winnipeg to Saskatoon by the summer of 2016.
Speers says “there will continue to be strong advocacy efforts for a more efficient grain handling and transportation system, for ensuring sound and science-based environmental and food safety policies, and for expanding market access, on top of many other key priorities for wheat growers in western Canada—now and for the long-term.”