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This article was published 2/6/2015 (1830 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
From enrolling in botany courses to becoming the CEO of the Canadian International Grains Institute, JoAnne Buth has come a long way since earning a Bachelor’s of Science Degree at the University of Winnipeg.
Buth, former president of the Canola Council of Canada who was later appointed to the Canadian Senate (which she resigned from in 2014), is being awarded The University of Winnipeg Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award on June 11 at the university’s spring convocation.
According to Kevin Freedman, president of the University of Winnipeg Alumni Association Council, the award is handed out every year, sometimes twice a year, to recognize excellent accomplishments by fellow alumni. The 12-member council chose to present this year’s award to Buth based on her excellent representation of the agriculture industry in Manitoba and the many noteworthy achievements she has made in her field.
"She has excelled particularly in an area that has been very heavily dominated by men and she has risen to the top of several different organizations," Freedman said. "She’s also excelled in politics being appointed as a senator by Prime Minister Stephen Harper a few years ago, so we felt she had accomplished just about everything that somebody could accomplish in life."
When Buth graduated from university in 1976 with a major in Biology, she moved on to work for the insect control branch, primarily on urban pest management, with the City of Winnipeg.
Through this position, she got involved with the entomology department at the University of Manitoba, where not long after she completed her master’s degree. After six years with the city, Buth accepted a new challenge that led her in a slightly different direction.
"I ended up going to the Agriculture Canada research station that worked primarily on the development of wheat, barley and oats varieties," Buth said. "They also had an entomology section and I was their information officer so that was the start of my career in agriculture."
She said Winnipeg is the centre of the grain trade and that a tremendous amount of research goes on here. After chasing down a number of opportunities, she says one of the achievements she is most proud of is her leadership at the Canola Council of Canada.
"During my time at the Canola Council, we set some pretty ambitious targets for the canola industry and we were able to meet those targets," Buth said. "The industry met the target after I left but we had a target of reaching 15 million tonnes of production of canola by the year 2015, and they met it two years ago."
Buth currently labours as the CEO of the Canadian International Grains Institute where she works with her team to provide technical support to customers around the world who buy Canadian wheat. She says the focus is on trying to make sure customers are going to ask for Canadian wheat and that they are going to pay a premium for Canadian wheat to ensure the entire value chain is making money, especially the farmers.
"At the University of Winnipeg, the professors and the size of the classes I think were very important for giving me the background to move forward in the area of science," Buth said. "I managed to take that into the agriculture industry but there are so many opportunities coming through for what you can do with a science degree."
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