Cigi CEO JoAnne Buth receives Distinguished Alumni Award from The U of W

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Here at Cigi, we want to congratulate our CEO, JoAnne Buth, for receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from The University of Winnipeg. She graduated from the university in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

“When I look at the list of other recipients I’m humbled essentially that I was chosen for the award,” says JoAnne. “It is a special honour because I have been chosen by my peers—other alumni who also recognize the importance of The U of W.” The award was presented at the university’s spring convocation ceremony on June 11.

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JoAnne with Kevin Freedman, President, University of Winnipeg Alumni Association. Photo credit: Jason Halstead

JoAnne says The University of Winnipeg laid the framework for her future, giving her the tools she needed to succeed in life.

“The University of Winnipeg provided a very progressive and innovative environment during my degree,” says JoAnne. “One of the most important things I learned was critical thinking, and I was able to use that and the information and other skills I developed to try to make a difference in the places that I worked.”

Science was the starting point for JoAnne’s career, which makes the award that much more humbling for her, as only a select few who have come through the sciences at The U of W have been recognized with the award. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Entomology from the University of Manitoba.

“I didn’t really have an inkling that I was going to move into the agricultural area until I started working,” she says, but it quickly became her passion. “Agriculture is a dynamic and progressive industry with tremendous opportunities.”

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Enjoying a light moment during the ceremony. Photo credit: Jason Halstead

Whether working in private industry, government, or non-profits, JoAnne has devoted her professional career to agriculture. She’s worked as a research and development manager, weed management specialist, and managed programs related to crop, soil and water management. She served as Vice President of the Canola Council of Canada from 1999 to 2007 and President from 2007 to 2012. She was appointed to the Canadian Senate representing Manitoba in January 2012 where she worked to increase the understanding and visibility of the agriculture industry with politicians, government and all Canadians. In 2014 she was hired as Cigi’s CEO, bringing to the position years of expertise in the agricultural field.

“For me, my passion is trying to make a difference for farmers, so they can produce safe and nutritious food for Canadians and customers around the world,” says JoAnne. “Whether that is on-farm production, policy, or international marketing, it is all about the farmers and their profitability.”

JoAnne’s commitment to Canadian agriculture and to creating global recognition of Canadian grain and field crops makes her a real asset for Cigi, and we’re thankful that The University of Winnipeg was able to instill such passion in her.