By CBC/Canadian Press
Dec. 20, 2011 - A Regina business executive has been named chairman of the new, five-member Canadian Wheat Board.
Bruce Johnson, who replaces ousted chairman Allen Oberg, a farmer, had served as a wheat board director since 2006.
Last week, the wheat board's 15-member board was replaced by five directors appointed by the federal government.
"I look forward to the opportunity to serve farmers during this time of great change, as we transition to a competitive market environment," Johnson said in a news release Monday.
"Our immediate focus as a board will be to provide stability in the marketing of western Canadian grain."
The board's monopoly on western wheat and barley sales ended last week.
The new law allowing farmers to sell on the open market becomes effective Aug. 1 in time for the next crop year.
Supporters argued the monopoly prevented producers from competing against each other for sales and ensured better prices. They also said the new legislation leaves farmers at the mercies of the railways and the big, international grain companies.
But opponents wanted the freedom to seek better deals on the open market.
"On behalf of the new board of directors of the CWB, I would like to recognize and thank the former farmer-elected directors for their dedicated service to the farmers of Western Canada," Johnson said.
"We have all been committed to a single purpose, which is to assist farmers in the profitable marketing of their grain. That continues to be our steadfast goal."
Johnson currently works in the propane industry and has held executive positions at the former Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Ag Pro Grain in Winnipeg and FarmGro Organic Foods in Regina.
He also has served on the boards of numerous grain handling and processing entities, including acting as chairman of the Western Grain Elevators Association.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Johnson attended the University of Manitoba.