Soy Canada has announced Brian Innes will be joining the organization as its new executive director.
Innes is currently vice-president of public affairs for the Canola Council of Canada, and past-president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance.
“Brian brings to Soy Canada an extensive background in agriculture and government,” says Ernie Sirski, Chair of Soy Canada. “His experience in working with all aspects of the agricultural value chain will serve Soy Canada well into the future.”
“One of the things about Soy Canada, is that it really does span east and west and it spans commodity as well as food-grade,” says Innes. “While the Canola Council has been a long-established value chain, Soy Canada is a more recent organization.”
The nature of the organization and what it represents is a bit more complex than a more regional supply chain, like canola, says Innes. While some issues between soybeans and canola are similar, the interesting thing about the soybean business is that it’s the “top dog” crop in Ontario, split between a million acres of food-grade (IP) soybeans for export and three million acres of commodity soybeans.
China has a big piece of the soybean demand, as well as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, so the “gravity of Asia for all Canadian crops, whether soybean or canola is really quite strong,” says Innes, whose goal is to uphold the reputation of Canadian soybeans in those markets.
Another goal of Innes’ is to see soybean acres expand, especially in Western Canada, where he thinks the crop has tremendous potential, particularly in Manitoban rotations.
Listen to the full conversation between Innes and RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney, story continues below.
Innes sees two challenges to tackle for soybeans in Canada: the first is maintaining the IP food-grade business in Ontario and Quebec; and the second is increasing the protein quality of western grown soybeans.
Innes has worked on many files ranging from trade negotiations and resolving non-tariff barriers for canola, to biofuels and the proposed Clean Fuel Standard since joining the Canola Council in 2011. He will begin his new role with Soy Canada on May 3, 2021.
Innes will replace Ron Davidson, who is retiring in April after a 50-year career in Canadian agriculture and food.