MAKING AGRICULTURE BETTER
By Tyler Difley
Greg Porozni, chairman of Cereals Canada, has a long history in agriculture, both on the farm and in the boardroom.
The fourth-generation farmer runs a 5,000-acre operation in Willingdon, east of Edmonton, where they grow wheat, canola and peas. Porozni’s two sons, Jeff and Adam, live on the farm in Willingdon, while he and his wife Laura live nearby in Mundare (a stone’s throw to the local golf course where the chairman can be found during his downtime).
In addition to his more than 30 years of farming experience, Porozni has a wealth of agricultural policy knowledge from his involvement with several regional and national agriculture organizations. In addition to his position with Cereals Canada, Porozni is also a director for the Alberta Wheat Commission.
In the past, he has also chaired the Alberta Canola Producers Commission and served as a director for the Canola Council of Canada, the Canadian Canola Growers Association, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers and the Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta.
Porozni’s experience goes beyond agriculture as well. After graduating from high school, he attended the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, where he studied petroleum engineering.
“I knew a lot about farming of course because I did it all my life, but I wanted to make sure I had some expertise in another field,” he said. “I just wanted to diversify my knowledge of industry, not just of agriculture.”
It is this diverse collection of experiences that Porozni brings to his role with Cereals Canada.
“I felt I could provide some leadership and provide some experience to benefit the national body,” Porozni said.
Although Cereals Canada is still a relatively new organization, Porozni is passionate about the value the organization can provide for him and his fellow producers.
“It’s quite exciting, frankly, to be on a national body with full representation of the value chain,” he said. “Because whenever we make a policy decision, it affects our bottom lines as producers, either directly or indirectly.
“You make a difference to producers, whether it’s regionally, provincially or nationally.”
However, Porozni is careful not to get too caught up in that excitement. It is important for producers to recognize their responsibilities, he said, when they represent their peers on the boards of agricultural organizations.
“The bottom line is just to make the industry more viable and increase profitability for all producers in all of industry,” Porozni said. “It’s important that we have that in the back of our minds whenever we’re participating on any board.”
When it comes to the Canadian cereals industry, Porozni predicted that major changes to the way Canada markets grain are on the horizon.
“We have to become much more customer focused. We have to create value,” he said. “We have to determine what a customer’s wants are specifically, and each country has different wants and needs.
“We’re saying, ‘OK, this is what we have. What do you think?’ Instead of asking the customer exactly what they want, but we’re going to get there very quickly.”
After decades of involvement in the industry, Porozni remains resolute in his commitment to agriculture—a commitment he shares with all the producers that represent the many diverse segments of Canadian agriculture.
“I think a lot of people that are involved in the industry want to make a difference,” he said. “Instead of sitting back and complaining about things we want to be proactive instead of reactive.
“We’re all kind of cut from the same cloth. You talk to any director from any board throughout the provinces and I think you’ll hear that same answer. Just improve the industry. Make it better, period.”