Grain farmers CEO steps down

Barry Senft led the organization for a decade

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Barry Senft is leaving Grain Farmers of Ontario.

Senft, who has been CEO of the farm organization since 2009, will step down from the role in April 2020.

He took leadership of Grain Farmers of Ontario just before the organization was relaunched after the amalgamation of the Ontario Corn Producers‘ Association, Ontario Soybean Growers and the Ontario Wheat Producers‘ Marketing Board. Senft led the organization through its growth as the largest commodity organization in Ontario, including the addition of barley and oat growers into membership.

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“Having served more than 10 years as CEO, it is time for me to step aside. Grain Farmers of Ontario, its board, and its staff have been a wonderful organization to help lead and grow,” says Senft. “I have had the privilege of working with the finest board of directors in Ontario agriculture at Grain Farmers of Ontario, and I know that the organization is in good hands with this board and its current leadership.”

Senft came to the GFO with a resumé that included stints as chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission (1997-2002), second vice-president of Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (1993-97) and executive director of Cigi, the Canadian International Grains Institute (2002-09).

He comes from a family farm at Lipton, Sask.

Senft played a key role in fighting unnecessary government regulations on farming, and ensuring government programs were scrutinized for opportunities to better help farmers. Under Senft, Grain Farmers of Ontario placed an unprecedented focus on public outreach about grains and grain farming, and farmer-members benefited from focused and advanced research investments and a team dedicated to market development.

“We cannot thank Barry enough for his consistent leadership, dedication, and innovative spirit as this organization was formed and experienced a decade of growth in global reputation for excellence, for modern solutions and ideas, and for always having the needs of its farmer-members at the heart of every decision,” said Markus Haerle, chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario.

Grain Farmers of Ontario says it will immediately begin the process of finding the next CEO.

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