First intake is scheduled for this fall
By Diego Flammini
An Alberta ag organization has introduced an award for deserving canola farmers.
During the Alberta Canola Conference, which ran Jan. 24 and 25, the Alberta Canola Producers Commission unveiled the Walter Paszkowski Farm Leadership Award.
The award “pays tribute to (Paszkowski’s) legacy and dedication to canola, while emphasizing Alberta Canola’s unwavering commitment to fostering leadership and excellence within the canola industry and within Alberta’s rural communities,” Christine McKee, chair of Alberta Canola’s Grower Engagement and Extension Committee, said in a statement.
The recipient of the award will receive a $5,000 bursary to support their participation in Farm Management Canada’s National Farm Leadership Program.
This program includes virtual learning, an in-person residency, and leadership effectiveness support.
Paszkowski is an important leader in Alberta ag.
“He is the reason why there is a canola commission in Alberta,” Christi Friesen, an Alberta farmer, posted on X on Jan. 24. “Thank you, Walter, for everything you’ve contributed to the agriculture industry.”
Paszkowski joined the Alberta Rapeseed Growers in the 1970s and stayed involved as Canada transitioned from rapeseed to canola production.
The transition became necessary after competitors were criticizing the erucic acid in rapeseed oil.
“Rapeseed was further advanced in Canada than sunflowers or soybeans and it could be grown across all farming regions,” Paskowski told the Canola Digest in 2017 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Canola Council of Canada. “I have to give the researchers a tremendous medal of honour for what they did to create canola in such a short period of time.”
As president of the Alberta Rapeseed Growers, he was the organization’s representative on the Rapeseed Association of Canada and was involved in the vote to change the name to the Canola Council of Canada.
He served for three years as president of Alberta Canola, and for two years as chair of the Canola Council of Canada – an organization he has high praise for.
“The Canola Council of Canada, which brought together all the players including crushers, exporters, provincial grower organizations, government, universities and food and feed manufacturers, became and still is the best and most complete commodity organization in Canadian agriculture,” Paszkowski told the Canola Digest in 2017. “That has been a major reason for the canola industry’s growth to become the major crop in Canada. And it’s still growing.”
Alberta Canola is developing the application and selection guidelines for the Walter Paszkowski Farm Leadership Award.
First intake is expected to open this fall.