BCC Working Group to expand opportunities for the barley value chain
September 13, 2012 – CALGARY, ALBERTA
Brian Otto of Warner, Alberta, has been appointed Chair of the Barley Council of Canada (BCC) Working Group. The BCC Working Group—established in fall 2011—is finalizing the business plan, bylaws and corporate governance for the formal establishment of the Barley Council of Canada. Otto replaces Rob McCaig of the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, who remains an active member of the working group.
“This is an exciting time for Canada’s barley industry,” said Otto. “The BCC will be a producer-led organization representing the interests of the barley value chain and working to grow and expand our industry and create new opportunities.”
The official establishment of the BCC is forthcoming.
“We plan to incorporate and elect our first Board of Directors before the end of this calendar year,” said Otto. “Right now, we are reaching out to all of our stakeholders, explaining what the BCC is all about, and seeking support and involvement from farmers, industry members and government.”
In August, the Government of Saskatchewan endorsed the creation of the BCC. Both Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada support the organization’s formation in principle. Throughout the barley value chain there is widespread recognition that a commodity-specific national organization will best focus the interests of the industry as a whole.
“Growing the barley industry and its profitability will benefit the entire value chain,” said Otto. He added that the recent changes to the Canadian Grain Commission’s barley grading system to include food grade barley have already raised the profile of Canadian barley internationally.
Otto said there is significant potential for a food grade barley market in light of the recent Health Canada claim that recognizes that eating barley beta-glucan lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Otto operates a 4300-acre, third-generation farm near Warner, Alberta. He is on the Board of Directors of the Grain Growers of Canada, Past President of the Western Barley Growers Association, and a past director with the Alberta Barley Commission and the Western Grains Research Foundation. He is the founding director of the Alberta Safflower Growers Association, Alberta Winter Wheat Association, Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission and Prairie Winds Specialty Seed Producers Ltd.
Otto is supported at the Barley Council of Canada by Acting Executive Director Matt Kjarsgaard of Winnipeg and Project Manager Lisa Bastarache of Calgary. The Alberta Barley Commission is actively providing administrative support for the new organization.
For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Barley Council of Canada Working Group