Two Saskatchewan hall of fame inductees share thoughts on generational changes in agriculture

Six new inductees have been announced for the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame. The range of experience of these six individuals  is an example of just how diverse agriculture is and how many changes have occurred in the span of a generation.

Chantelle Donahue, a farmer and vice-president for Cargill, has been a leader in the efforts to maintain agriculture’s social licence. Arnold Petracek served 40 years on the Saskatchewan Municipal Hail Insurance Association board of directors, was a seed grower, a councillor, and later reeve of the Rural Municipality of Fertile Belt.

When Petracek graduated from university he was supposed to receive a fellowship and do a Master’s degree. Somehow the fellowship got lost and so the newly-married graduate headed into the workforce instead. This was in the time of a world-wide glut of grain, the Canadian Wheat Board, and  “five bushel quota.” Just one of Petracek’s accounts in Alberta sold more fertilizer than was sold in the entire province of Saskatchewan, at that time.

My, how times have changed. Production was restricted, but at least people weren’t afraid of what they ate.

It is quite a different reality for Donahue.

Donahue says she doesn’t have to worry about a five bushel quota, but she does have to worry about people being afraid of their food and being suspicious of what farmers do..

Donahue has been a part of the change to add value to the products grown in Canada. She worked at Prairie Malt at Biggar and now leads the oil division with Cargill. On top of this she has recognized that there is a greater and greater disconnect between people, their food, and where their food comes from. She has worked hard to build bridges between farmers and consumers.

In addition to Donahue and Petracek, the hall of fame will welcome inductees Clarence Hookenson (Kisbey), Roger Pederson (Outlook), Daniel Prefontaine (Saskatoon), and Neil Shantz (Saskatoon) at Saskatoon on April 27, 2019.

For more information on all of the inductees please follow this link.

Listen to the interviews below with Petracek and Donahue.

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