Earlier this week, the Alberta government announced that they had established the Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee.
The committee will meet regularly with Devin Dreeshen, the minister of agriculture and forestry, to provide “strategic advice and recommendations on emerging issues and priorities related to consumer confidence, and work to debunk myths in the agriculture industry.”
Here are the committee members:
- Jill Harvie: committee co-chair
- Nichole Neubauer: committee co-chair
- Allison Ammeter
- David Collwell
- Jeff Fitzpatrick-Stilwell
- Bob Lowe
- Jean-Marc Ruest
- John Simpson
- Baljit Singh
- Gary Stanford
Jill Harvie is owner/operator of Harvie Ranching, near Olds. She has also been involved with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, first as the program manager and public & stakeholder engagement manager. During part of that time, Travis Toews, now the minister of finance, served as the CCA president.
Nichole Neubauer is the owner/operator of Neubauer Farms, near Medicine Hat. Last month, Neubauer was appointed to the provincial non-profit organization Results Driven Agriculture Research.
Allison Ammeter is a farmer near Sylvan Lake. She is also chair of Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta and chair of Pulse Canada. In 2018, her spouse Michael donated $200 to the United Conservative Party and $500 to the UCP Innisfail–Sylvan Lake constituency.
David Collwell is from Calgary and is the president and CEO of JBS Foods Canada, the operator of a meat processing plant in Brooks, which as of Monday had seen 469 cases of COVID-19 among their workers. In 2014, JBS donated $375 to the Wildrose Strathmore–Brooks constituency association.
Jeff Fitzpatrick-Stilwell is based out of Toronto and is a senior manager and the sustainability and agriculture lead with McDonald’s Canada.
Bob Lowe ranches in the Nanton area with Lowe Ranches, runs a feedlot operation called Bear Trap Feeders, and is the president of Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, which means they have two members on the committee. Interestingly, the first feedlot Lowe built was done without the required permits. Lowe has no record of political donations, but his business parter—his brother Don—donated roughly $1,500 to the PC party in 2009, as well as the 2008 and 2015 election campaigns for Evan Berger. His mother, Betty, donated $400 to the Wildrose party in 2013 and $300 in 2017, as well as $400 to the UCP last year and $400 during the election campaign.
Jean-Marc Ruest is located in Winnipeg and is the senior vice-president of corporate affairs with Richardson International, as well as their general counsel. He has a law degree.
John Simpson owns and operates Simpson Ranching near Cochrane. He’s also the chair of the CANA Group of Companies, a construction firm. He has donated to political parties several times, including $1,000 to the PC Calgary–Buffalo constituency in 2006, $5,000 to the PC party in 2004, and $4,000 each to the UCP in 2018, 2019, and during the last election. He also donated $18,000 to Ric McIver’s PC leadership campaign and $30,000 to Jim Prentice’s leadership campaign, both in 2014, as well as $2,000 to Brian Jean’s UCP leadership campaign. Shepard Development, one of the companies owned by CANA, donated $6,000 in 2012 to two PC constituency associations in Calgary and to campaigns for Rick McIver and Rick Fraser.
Baljit Singh is the dean, of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary.
Gary Stanford is a grain farmer from the Magrath area. He is the past-chair and co-founder of the Alberta Wheat Commission, as well as a regional representative for them.
There is no labour representation on the board.