He officially starts in his new role on Sept. 19
By Diego Flammini
Dion McGrath is the new executive director of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) beginning Sept. 19.
“I’m tremendously excited to get started,” he told Farms.com. “I’m joining an organization whose sole purpose is to help solve challenges and create conditions for success for Saskatchewan’s agricultural community.”
APAS began searching for a new executive director after Duane Haave retired as the organization’s general manager August.
McGrath brings years of experience in the public and private sector to the position.
Between 2006 and 2012 he spent time working with the provincial ministries of regional economic development and advanced education on files like public policy and public institutions.
From 2012 to 2019 he served as the president and CEO of Southeast College in Weyburn. During that time, he also cofounded Above the Fold, a digital marketing company.
He wanted to join APAS because of the work the organization has done for farmers for the last two decades.
“The biggest reason I wanted to be part of APAS is because of the success it has had in supporting the needs of farmers across the province,” McGrath said. “I’m also familiar with talented team at APAS. It’s a huge asset the organization.”
But he got his start on the farm.
McGrath grew up on a mixed grain and hog farm near LeRoy and looks to channel that experience in hew new role with APAS.
“Growing up on the farm, you learn a lot of value-based things like hard work and how to build relationships,” he said. “Growing up on the farm gave me the foundation I need to progress throughout my professional career. Coming to be part of APAS is a full circle moment for me.”
Though his professional career took him away from the farm, McGrath has kept up to speed on issues facing the ag community.
And with agriculture there’s no shortage of challenges to overcome, he said.
“There are so many things that need to be attended to and there’s never a dull moment,” he said. “From inputs to marketing to policy and helping lawmakers understand what farmers are facing.”
The first months of McGrath’s tenure as APAS’s executive director will be spent getting to know the people around him and the board of directors.
But meeting the board will only happen once farmers are finished harvest, he said.
“Given the timing I won’t be able to meet my board until they’re finished with the busy time of the year,” he said. “But I want to do a lot of engagement with people because those relationships matter and will influence future discussions.”