While she’s new to the role of president, Erin Gowriluk is already quite familiar with the organization she’s leading, as she’s spent the past decade working for organizations that are members of the Canada Grains Council.
“I’m new to this role, but not new to the Council,” she explains, discussing her new gig with RealAgriculture’s Lyndsey Smith in the interview below.
Gowriluk stepped into the post with the Grains Council on April 17, after serving as the executive director of Grain Growers of Canada from 2019. Prior to that, she worked in government relations and policy roles with the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, and Syngenta Canada.
“It’s not often that you see farmers sitting around a board table with life science companies and processors and grain companies — all having a collective conversation about the opportunities and challenges that they all face, with a collective commitment to build consensus on areas where they have a shared interest. It’s a really unique forum. And I think it was what most attracted me to want to work with this organization, and to lead this incredible team,” she notes.
As part of strategic planning work that’s already underway, she says the council is committed to expanding the scope of its work.
“So I think you’re going to be seeing and hearing a lot more from Council in the coming days. This is an organization that’s going to be highly visible. And we’re going to continue to position ourselves as a trusted advisor to our government partners. So expect that you’re going to be hearing a lot more from council than you have in the past,” says Gowriluk.
When it comes to challenges and issues facing the entire grain industry, she sees most of them falling into two related categories:
“I think the two biggest challenges right now are likely around climate change. That’s affecting everybody around the world, but in particular, this government’s commitment to sustainability, and their international targets that they’ve set. And the other challenge is the unprecedented levels of food insecurity that we’re facing globally. What is Canada’s role in all of this? And I would suggest that innovation and science is going to play a big role in positioning the Canadian agriculture sector to help solve some of these increasingly complicated challenges.”
As examples, she points to the confusion created by Health Canada’s label change for lambda-cy crop protection products, and the same federal department’s delayed guidance on new plant breeding methods.
Listen to the interview below for more with Erin Gowriluk on her new role and what she sees on the horizon for the Canada Grains Council: