After four years of dialogue, the members of Cereals Canada and the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) have approved the merger of their organizations into a single structure.

The new organization will operate under the Cereals Canada banner, with a division continuing to carry the Cigi brand, which is well-known among international customers of Canadian wheat.

Cereals Canada was formed in 2013 following the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk, to represent Canada’s cereal value chain on issues related to market access, market development, advocacy, and innovation.

Cigi has been around much longer, since 1972, working to support domestic and international customers of Canadian grain with technical services and end-use support. It was largely funded by the Canadian Wheat Board until 2012, and has since transitioned to a funding model that’s shared between producer organizations and grain companies.

“This merger brings together two strong organizations with a common vision to serve our members and build value for the Canadian cereals industry. Cereals Canada and Cigi have already established a close working relationship supporting the promotion of Canadian wheat and this merger will strengthen the benefits of this relationship,” says Jean-Marc Ruest, chair of the Cereals Canada Board of Directors, in a news release issued April 14.

“While unlocking new synergies, we will also be maintaining the key components and expertise that each organization brings to the table,” says Cigi’s board chair, Trent Rude.

Rude says the next major step will be the appointment of a CEO for the amalgamated organization. Cam Dahl has served as Cereals Canada’s CEO since its inception, while Dean Dias has been serving as interim CEO for Cigi since JoAnne Buth retired in May 2019.

“Our senior leadership team and staff will also continue to play a key role in guiding strategic planning with a view towards leveraging the opportunities of a fully integrated organization,” says Rude.

There are some differences in funding models between Cigi and Cereals Canada. Cigi is a partnership between producer groups and grain companies, while Cereals Canada also has seed and crop development company members. The news release from both organizations says the approved governance structure “ensures that all members can shape and influence future priorities and initiatives.”

Trent Rude of Viterra is the chairperson of CIGI talked to Shaun Haney about the merger. 

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