Cigi’s Board Positions Cigi for New Funding


The Canadian International Grain Institute’s Board of Directors is pleased to welcome three new directors who will fill two positions previously occupied by Canadian Wheat Board representatives and one vacant “director at large” position. 

The new directors are LeRon Torrie of Grassy Lake, Alberta; Randy Johner of Midale, Saskatchewan, and Jim Wilson of Darlingford, Manitoba (see biographies).

Ward Weisensel, a long-time Cigi Board Director, has been asked to act in an advisory capacity to ensure a smooth transition. Other current board directors are Murdoch Mackay (Canadian Grain Commission), Susie Miller (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) and Henry Van Ankum, a farmer from Ontario in a “director at large” position.

“This is an important and appropriate step to take with the announcement of the regulation that will define the funding check-off that the federal government has put in place,” says Murdoch Mackay, Cigi Board Chairman. “It ensures that the market promotion and development activities that Cigi undertakes on behalf of Canadian farmers continues in the new marketing environment.”

He says that the Cigi Board recognizes the CWB’s support over the years as one of Cigi’s founders and appreciates their naming farmers as part of Cigi’s transition to a farmer check-off system.

Earl Geddes, Cigi Executive Director, says that this new governance approach will ensure that Cigi is receiving clear guidance from farmers who are now directly funding Cigi. “This will enable Cigi to undertake wheat promotion activities that farmers want to see their funds used for.“ 

The board will next meet at Cigi’s Annual General Meeting on June 25 at Cigi in Winnipeg.

Cigi is an independent market development institute created in 1972. Its mission is to create profitable opportunities for Canadian field crops through the delivery of technical expertise, support and customized training to the domestic industry and customers around the world. Cigi is funded by farmers, the Government of Canada (AAFC) and industry partners.


 LeRon Torrie is a third-generation farmer who operates a 1,214-hectare grains and oilseeds farm at Grassy Lake in southern Alberta. The main crops grown are wheat, durum, peas, and hybrid canola seed.  LeRon’s three sons are currently taking over the operation. He has served on the board of the St. Mary River Irrigation District, the largest irrigation district in Canada, for 12 years and currently serves as Chairman. He also served for two years on the Alberta Utilities Consumer Advocate Advisory Council.  LeRon graduated in 1978 from Brigham Young University at Provo, Utah, with a BSc in Agricultural Economics. In addition to involvement in community and commodity organizations, he has taught adult education classes in computer applications for agriculture. 

 Randy Johner operates the family farm he grew up on in Midale, Saskatchewan which has expanded to more than 10,000 hectares. He grows peas, lentils, chickpeas, flax, canola, canary seed, wheat and durum. Randy has tested new equipment for companies such as Bourgault and Degelman and has given presentations on seeding equipment at Bourgault Dealer Days. He has also served on committees with John Deere to develop new equipment. Randy travels regularly to Europe for Agritechnica – the largest farm show in the world – and last year he toured farms in Germany and the Ukraine. Randy has been married to his wife, Della, for 30 years and has four grown children.

 Jim Wilson and his wife Norleen operate a grain farm and a pedigreed seed plant at Darlingford, Manitoba, where they produce, process and market cereals, oilseeds and pulse crops. He obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 1974 and worked in public practice until 1993. In 2007, Jim received the designation of Chartered Director from the Directors College, DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. He is currently a board member of SeCan and Canterra Seeds Ltd. and previously served as Director and Chair of Agricore United, Director and First Vice-President of Agricore Cooperative Ltd., and Director of Manitoba Pool Elevators. Jim is also past Chair of the Canada Grains Council, and served on the boards of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the Cereal Grains Value Chain Roundtable, and the National Safety Nets Advisory Committee.

 For more information contact:

Earl Geddes
Executive Director, Cigi
(204) 983-4980/cell: (204) 955-1191

Ellen Goodman
Communications Specialist, Cigi
(204) 983-1145